The paradise for hikers. Retezat mountains in Romania.

 - Outdoor Activities in Romania

Retezat National Park – Hikers Paradise

Widely regarded as one of the most spectacular massifs in the already spectacular Carpathians, the Retezat Range is an endless row of breathtaking views just waiting around every corner. 

It was the first Romanian National Park ever established all the way back in 1935 and it takes just a short stroll in the area to figure out why – over 20 peaks over 2000 meters and a network of more than 50 hiking trails ranging from easy to extremely difficult.  

Peaks and Glacial Lakes

Its most distinctive feature, however, is the over 80 crystal-clear glacial lakes spread out along the entire range. Makes perfect sense that the locals affectionately call it Blue Eyed Country. 

Once you’re there, it’s just a matter of picking your line from the endless labyrinth of mountain trails connecting the peaks and lakes. Make sure you do your research before-hand, some of the markings are old and faded and the difference between the easy and difficult hikes is significant. One wrong turn and a nice pleasurable hike can turn into a less than happy experience. 

 - Outdoor Activities in Romania

 - Outdoor Activities in Romania

That being said, whatever trail you choose, be sure not to miss the crown jewels of the Retezat Range  – the glacial lakes. Lake Bucura at 2040 meters altitude, the biggest glacial lake in Romania and its sister Lake Zănoaga, the deepest glacial lake in the country at 29 meters depth. If you are more adventurous, stray from the beaten track and go see Lake Galeș or Lake Pietrele, they are both worth the extra time. 

For the summit enthusiasts, there’s Peleaga and Păpușa Peak towering at 2509 m and 2508 m respectively, followed by 17 smaller peaks of over 2300 m. Whichever trail you choose, you are bound to come across one of them. 

The range is mostly unconquered by man, with endless plains to setup your tent and just a few modest cabins that serve homemade food and tea to the weary travellers.

What to do besides hiking

For man-made active fun check out the bouldering walls along Pereții Bucurii (Bucurii Walls) and Colții Pelegii (Pelegii Fangs), an unforgettable experience but only with the proper equipment. For a tamer, easier, version check out the Adventure Park in Râușor. Open all year round, it tests your balance and stamina with a mix of bouldering, hiking and obstacle courses, all culminating in the 85 meter zip-line at the end. During wintertime, bring your skis and enjoy the slopes here or the endless ski touring terrain. 

Special mentions to some other unique amazing places in the area, since you can’t be running up and down the mountain your entire stay, these are some great options for rest days. 

  1. The Village Museum in Peșteana, a collection of household items used hundreds of years ago.
  2. The Dinosaur Geopark featuring fossils and original nesting grounds. 
  3. Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana, the preserved ruins of ancient Dacia’s capital city. 

 

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