Family Hikes in the Carpathians: 10 Easy Routes

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

If you’d like to go hiking in Romania, check out our adventure tours

Hiking is our favorite summer sport, and it just so happens to be one of the best things to do in Romania. But what do you do when life gets in the way and instead of hiking with your friends, you have to bring along a curious kid who is eager to discover everything at once?

The good news is you still have use for your hiking boots, but you have to adapt and offer your small noisy friends the best time while you can enjoy the fresh mountain area and the great outdoors with no toys to step on everywhere in sight.

family hikes in the Carpathians

Pestera, Piatra Craiului National Park

To help you plan, we give you a list of easy family hikes in the Carpathians, with lower elevation gain, suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. The roundtrip duration is estimated in each case based on the best behavior a toddler could have. If you’re a parent, you know what this means.

We recommend avoiding summer weekends as much as possible, packing enough snacks, sweets, and drinking water. If you have other suggestions, we’d love for you to share them in the comments section.

Discover also our itineraries for family roads trips in Romania

1. Peles Castle – Poiana Stanii Regale (Bucegi Mountains)

If you live in Bucharest, this is probably the most convenient option, even for toddlers. You can take the train to Sinaia, don’t even think about driving, walk to Peles Castle, and then follow the Royal Path (Poteca Regala) to Poiana Stanii Regale (1,270 meters). If you still have the energy, walk with your little one up to Franz Joseph’s cliff.

Duration: 2 hours round trip from/to Peles Castle

Trail sign: blue stripe

2. Fantana lui Botorog – Zarnesti Gorges (Piatra Craiului Mountains)

You can do this nature walk even with a baby as it’s the easiest of all the listed family hikes in the Carpathians. The spectacular views of the abrupt walls from Zarnesti Gorges are a treat for the adults, and the relatively flat terrain is safe even for toddlers to randomly walk everywhere. It usually gets crowded, so try not to park too close to Fantana lui Botorog (820 meters).

Duration: 2 hours round trip from/to Fantana lui Botorog

3. Babele – Caraiman Cross (Bucegi Mountains)

Caraiman Cross

Caraiman Cross, Bucegi Mountains

Photo source:

Consider this option for older toddlers or preschoolers who’ve been once or twice hiking before. Even though it’s not technically difficult, this is a higher altitude trail, above 2,000 meters, and you want to be sure your kid is comfortable and enjoys hikes. Be sure the forecast looks great, with no rain in sight, and make it back to the cable car in time. If possible, avoid summer weekends because Bucegi is the most popular hiking destination close to Bucharest.

Duration: around 3 hours round trip from/to Babele Cable Car

Trail sign: red cross

4. Ochiul Beiului Lake – Beusnita Waterfalls (Aninei Mountains)

Cheile Nerei Beusnita

Vaioaga Waterfall

This is a wonderful option for families especially in spring when Beusnita Waterfalls are breathtaking. You can start at Pastravarie, a popular trout restaurant and camping site, to avoid walking the 5 km from Podul Bei. Stop along the way to see Vaioaga Waterfall and reward your awesome kids with pancakes from Pastravarie at the end.

Duration: around 2 hours round trip from/to Pastravarie

Trail sign: blue triangle

5. Red Lake Circuit (Hasmasul Mare Mountain)

day trips from iasi

Red Lake

This bizarre-looking lake is a popular family vacation destination for generations. While too many people go there to sit on the shore and barbecue all day long, we’re sure your kids will have a better time wandering around the forest than watching adults eating too much. The circuit around the lake takes close to two hours with a toddler (Trail 3 on a red cross), while the roundtrip on Trail 4 to Suhardu Mic Peak (1,435 meters), marked with a blue triangle, takes around 3-4 hours.

Duration: 2-4 hours

Trail sign: red cross and blue triangle

6. Coltesti – Coltesti Fortress (Trascaului Mountains)

With its lower altitudes and small villages, Trascaului Mountains is a sure choice for the youngest hikers. The major challenges are the distance from the major cities and the bumpy roads, but if time is not an issue, then buy a map, and take a closer look at the itineraries.

Coltesti Fortress

Coltesti Fortress

One of the shortest options is from Coltesti village to the ruins of the medieval fortress from the hilltop. Since there isn’t a lot of shade on the way, avoid hot summer days.

Duration: 2-3 hours round trip from/to Coltesti

Trail sign: blue triangle

7. Rasnoavei Gorges – Poiana Secuilor (Postavarul Mountain)

family hikes in the Carpathians

Trail sign to Poiana Secuilor

You can spend all day in Cheile Rasnoavei, soaking up the sun and fresh air while your toddlers are busy catching bugs with their little hands. Or you can hike all the way to Poiana Secuilor (1,070 meters) and back. The best part is that Poiana Secuilor Hut has a cold beer for you and desserts for your tireless tots.

Postavaru Mountain

View from Poiana Secuilor

Duration: 3 hours round trip from/to Rasnoavei Gorges

Trail sign: yellow triangle

8. Pestera – Saua Joaca – Pestera (Piatra Craiului Mountains)

family hikes in the Carpathians

From Pestera to Saua Joaca, Piatra Craiului National Park

Turn it up a notch, and take your preschoolers on a longer trail from Piatra Craiului National Park for a scenic family hike in the Carpathians. Sure, you’ll give anything to leave them behind with your partner and hike all the way up to the ridge or at least to Curmatura, but daydreaming won’t last long. Enjoy a picnic with the fabulous view of Piatra Craiului in Saua Joaca (1,436 meters) before heading back.

Duration: 3-4 hours round trip from Casa Folea, Pestera

Trail sign: red cross

9. Porumbacul de Sus – Serbota Waterfall (Fagaras Mountains)

This is one of the most accessible routes from the Fagaras Mountains if your car can survive the very bumpy forest road along the valley of Porumbacul. Otherwise, the long walk will bore the kids, and no parent ever wants that.

family hikes in the Carpathians

You can stop at Serbota Waterfall (1,410 meters), one of the most impressive in the Carpathians, or continue to Negoiu Hut for a warm lunch. The kids have plenty of space to play, and you can enjoy your break imagining how it would be hiking further to Negoiu Peak.

Duration: 3-4 hours from/to Porumbacul de Sus (the end of the forest road)

Trail sign: blue triangle

10. Hanul Pintea – Creasta Cocosului (Gutaiului Mountains)

A longer trail is the one from Hanul Pintea to the iconic Creasta Cocosului Peak (1,428 meters) from Gutai Mountains, in Maramures. Except for the last rocky part, the route is rather simple to follow, but given its length, you should embark on this adventure if you know for a fact that your kids enjoy nature walks.

Creasta Cocosului

Creasta Cocosului, Gutai Mountains

Duration: 5-6 hours round trip from/to Hanul Pintea

Trail sign: red stripe

We hope our suggestions will encourage you to plan a getaway with your kids in Romania’s fabulous outdoors. It’s the best way to raise happy, healthy, and curious children.

What family hikes in the Carpathians do you recommend for toddlers and preschoolers? Add your suggestions in the comments section below.

If you’d like to go hiking in Romania, check out our adventure tours

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