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When considering a destination for a hiking holiday, Romania might not instantly spring to mind. However, this relatively untapped destination boasts almost as many peaks to scale as the Alpine giants, France and Switzerland.
With the rugged landscapes of the Southern Carpathians sweeping through the centre of the country, compared to other European nations, Romania really is a hiker’s paradise.
All-told there around 35 mountain peaks that visitors can conquer throughout the nation, either in a day or as part of a two or three-day camping trip. Moldoveanu stands tallest of them all, reaching a total elevation of 2,544m, situated in the heart of the Fagaras range. To reach the summit you may have to conquer a number of the Carpathians’ other prominent peaks along the way.
That includes Vistea Mare, 17m shorter than its neighbour as the pair give way to sweeping green slopes and valleys. That is, in the summer at least. In Winter, once the snow settles, the landscape has a more wild and unforgiving feel.
Conquering these peaks might be seen as a bit of a hollow victory if you’re not rewarded with incredible views. Romania doesn’t let its intrepid visitors down.
The view from atop Peleaga Peak, located within the Retezat National Park, is just one example. Situated at 2,509m above sea level those who conquer the highest mountain in this particular range are treated to the site of around 80 glacial lakes along the way.
One of these lakes, Burcura, is the largest of its kind in Romania and covers nearly nine hectares. The turquoise waters are a prominent feature on the landscape for hikers treading the trail in the warmer months.
The Retezat National Park also acts as the perfect location to tick-off some of Romania’s resident fauna.
Home to both red and roe dear, chamois, wolves, wild boar and brown bears, there’s a chance you could see some of the amazing wildlife Romania has to offer – albeit, hopefully from a distance.
If you’d rather give your legs a break on some of your excursions within the Carpathians, you’re in luck. By swapping feet for wheels, you could enjoy what Jeremy Clarkson once described as “one of the best roads in the world”.
Transfagarasan, as the name suggests, is the road that takes visitor across the Fagaras Mountains. It’s twists and turns make for an enjoyable, if a little challenging, drive. The sweeping hairpins guide visitors past some of the Carpathians’ most visited landmarks. Balea Lake at the foot of Moldoveneau, and Poenari Castle, home to Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula according to some, are visible along the route.
Picking your route and mountains to conquer will take some planning and thought. Many of the areas interspersed by the Carpathians are dotted with top things to see and enjoy. From incredible gorges and waterfalls such as Ramet Gorge and Bigar Falls to ancient monuments including Babele and the Sphinx, Romania has it all.
The Romanians are well aware of the natural playground that takes up a large swathe of their country. Hikers are well catered for, even when heading deep into the ranges, with trails, signage and information fairly commonplace.
British visitors planning a Romanian hiking trip can reach the country for under £100 return. A number of budget airlines flying direct to the Transylvanian hub of Cluj-Napoca and national capital of Bucharest, as well as other regional airports.
To find out more about what else you could get up to, check out the Romania Tourism website and start planning your next hiking adventure.
If you do opt for a trip to south-eastern Europe, make sure you are fully covered for hiking. Our Hiking Insurance, including cover for Romania starts off at just £16.01 for a week’s cover. Get a quote today!