Carpathian Mountains

You can see Romania best from the heights of the Carpathian Mountains. The Carpathians are the Romanians’ treasure and their friends. They have protected gold and offered shelter in times of peril. In the Carpathians lies the very essence of Romania.

The Carpathians are part of the Alpine-Carpathian-Himalayan mountain chain.

Situated in the heart of Romania, the Carpathian Mountains are one of the few places left untouched by civilization, with virgin forests, vast wildlife, it is one of the key elements in Romania’s landscape.

The spectacular views, the beauty of the places where time seems to stand still, where we can still find shepherds herding their sheep, carriages with horses, medieval settlements that uphold ancient customs, make the Romanian Carpathians an open air museum.

Novelties about the Carpathians

The Carpathians are the second longest mountain chain in Europe. They are approximately 1,500 km long. The Scandinavian Mountains are the longest in Europe, with 1,700 km.

They shelter the largest bear, wolf and lynx population in Europe.

They have over 12,000 caves and ravines, but experts believe there are still some undiscovered.

The Sphinx in Bucegi Mountains is the same height as the one in Egypt. This is why some researchers believe it was man made, as a deity representation, not shaped by the forces of nature.

There is a place, in Bucegi Mountains, where the body suddenly and inexplicably become revitalized. Over the length of a kilometer, even uphill, you don’t feel tired at all. The place is located on the Ialomița Valley, close to “Șapte izvoare”.

The Carpathians got their name from a tribe that had lived in the Romanian region of Moldavia.

The untouched forests in Romania are 65% of Europe’s virgin forests. They have a huge importance in education, science, landscape, environmental protection and biodiversity.

The Sphinx in Bucegi Mountains is the same height as the one in Egypt.

What to do in The Carpathians?

Trips, mountain hikes

Admire the breathtaking panoramas (Caraiman Mountains, Rarău)

Visit caves, castles, citadels, ancient sites (Women’s Cave, Bears’ Cave, Hunedoara Castle, Peleș Castle, Bran Castle, Citadel of Suceava)

Going up to Poiana Brașov, Sinaia or Predeal, at 1,400 m and 2,000 m, by cable car

Mountain biking and climbing


Bungee jumping ( Vidraru)

Boat trips on dams and lakes

Winter sports

Relaxation, health and beauty centers and spas in Sinaia, Sovata, Brașov, Băile Herculane

Carpathians Geography

The Carpathians are divided into three distinct chains: the Eastern Carpathians, the Western Carpathians and the Southern Carpathians.

The Eastern Carpathians stand out because of their natural passes like Bratocea, Prislop, Bicaz, Gutâi, Oituz, which make traffic possible on both sides of the Carpathian chain.

Bicaz Gorges National Park, located in Hășmaș Massif, in the administrative range of Harghita and Neamț Counties, is the main attraction of the Eastern Carpathians.

Geological, botanical and panoramic reserve, Bicaz Gorges National Park is the paradise of rock climbers as it has the most spectacular gorges in Romania – Bicaz Gorges. They are divided into 4 sectors: Between gorges (km 26.5 – 28.7); Altar Stone (km 28.7 – 31), Hell’s Bottleneck (km 31 – 32.2) and Gorges’ End (km 32.2 – 34); also in this area you can find the Red Lake – a barrier lake.

Bicaz Gorges National Park is highly interesting scientifically, but it also provides a wide array of panoramas and biological diversity generated by the geo-climate conditions. Bicaz Gorges are famous in Romania because of their impressive scale. Moreover, The Red Lake, resulted after the natural damming of Bicaz spring waters (1837), caresses the viewers’ eyes with an exquisitely picturesque panorama.

According to field research and bibliography data, 1,147 species of superior plants have been identified.

Bicaz Gorges National Park also has spruce forests, beech forests, vast mountain grazing meadows and plenty of floral rarities. They include a lot of rare species: savin juniper and garland flowers. The following species have been declared natural monuments: lady’s slipper orchid, Edelweiss, nigritella etc.

The fauna in the Park is especially abundant in rare species as well as species common to the mountain area.

Here are some of the rare and protected species, proof to the existence of a durable balanced ecosystem: amphibians and reptiles – such as the yellow-bellied toad, the marsh frog, the Carpathian newt, the Danube newt, the salamander, the European grass frog, the common lizard, the common European viper, the smooth snake, birds – such as the wallcreeper, the Eurasian three-toed woodpecker, the rock bunting, the Western capercaillie (heather cock), the golden eagle, and mammals – such as the Carpathian red deer, the chamois, the brown bear, the Eurasian lynx, the Eurasian wolf.

The Western Carpathians are characterized by the diversity of karst phenomena and where caves like the Bears’ Cave, Scărișoara Cave and Wind Cave are genuine monuments of nature.

The Ponor Stronghold is the most beautiful and lofty cave formation in Romania. It has become a natural reserve in 1952 and its custody was given to the Romanian Academy; it is formed of 3 large rock circles placed in wooded basin that is 300 meters deep and over 1 km in diameter at the up most level.

The Padiș tourist area is formed of the basin of the Ponor Stronghold, to the southwest, covering an area of 36 km² (including Galbenei Gorges and Florilor Glade), and Somesul Cald Gorges – Varasoaia Glade – Căciulata Glade, to the north.

Here a unique vegetal phenomenon occurs – conifer (evergreen) forests grow in the mountain valleys, and deciduous forests on the ridges. This phenomenon is a result of thermic inversion caused by the karst areas making the valley colder.

The Southern Carpathians are considered the most spectacular area of the Carpathians, reaching their tallest heights in Făgăraș Mountains – Moldoveanul Peak is 2,544 meters high.

Vidraru reservoir lake has a capacity of 465 million m³, is 10.3 km long and 2.2 km wide, has a total area of 870 ha and a maximum depth of 155 meters. The power plant is located underground, in Cetățuia Massif, at a depth of 104 meters and has an annual energy production of 400 GWh. At the time of its launch, Vidraru Dam was fifth in Europe and ninth in the world.

Bâlea Lake is located at an altitude of 2,040 meters, covers and ares of 46,508 m² and is 11,35 meters deep. In 1932, Bâlea Lake and a surrounding area of approximately 180 ha have been declared a science reserve.

Also here you can find the only ice hotel in Eastern Europe.

Bâlea Waterfall, located in Făgăraș Mountains, between Negoiu and Moldoveanu Peaks, at an altitude of over 1,200 meters, is the biggest cascade waterfall in Romania, with a 60 meters fall.

The Transfăgărășan is one of the most famous roads in Romania, and even in Europe, because of its altitude, gorgeous panoramas and numerous sharp curves. The road is spectacular because it goes over the Făgăraș Mountains, the tallest in Romania, so the Transfăgărășan road reaches an altitude of 2,042 meters, making it the longest highest road after the Transalpine road. It connects Ardeal region to Muntenia region (Wallachia) and is 92 km long, it has 27 overpasses (viaducts) and bridges and an 887 meter long tunnel – the longest in country, which goes thru the Paltinului Mountain.

The Transfăgărașan road reaches an altitude of 2,042 meters.

Retezat National Park has an area of 54,400 ha and is spread between the altitudes of 800 and 2,509 meters. The Park was established in 1935 on an initial area of 100 km² that had been the hunting grounds of the Romanian Royal House.

Last year, the Council of Europe has awarded Retezat National Park the “Diploma for Excellency in Protected Areas”. Starting 1999, the Park has its own administration, it has become a member of the Pan Parks Foundation in 2004, and since 2007 it has been protected as a site proposition for the Natura 2000 European ecologic network, whose objective is to conserve natural habitats and wild animals and plant species of community interest.

Retezat National Park is home to the largest glacial lake in Romania – Bucura Lake, and the deepest glacial lake in Romania – Zănoaga Lake. Also, you can find here 1,190 species of plants – over a third of the total plant species in Romania, and 90 species of endemic plants, which you don’t find anywhere else in the world.

The Park’s wildlife is diverse and represented by many species of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles, some of them protected by law and on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

Retezat National Park shelters 55 species of mammals (22 of these are protected by law) and provides good conditions for the survival of Europe’s most important large carnivores (wolves and lynxes). The chamois, European red deer and European roe deer are also well protected by the mountain. The limestone portion of the massif is still used by bears for refuge in winter time.

Retezat National Park is a nationally and internationally protected area, and it has been a Biosphere Reserve since 1979.

Wildcats are also part of the area’s abundant fauna and recently marmots joined (20 specimens of alpine marmot from the Austrian Alps were introduced in the Park as a result of The Romanian Academy efforts in the area of Lake Gemenele. Now, marmots can be seen in all the important glacial valleys located in these mountains). The total number of animal species that live in Retezat National Park is of the thousands.

Retezat National Park has recently entered the New 7 Wonders Foundation race for the 7 natural wonders of the world.

Bucegi Mountains showcase just a few of the most beautiful trips in Romania. The highest ridge offers panoramas, meadows with wildflowers and a multitude of trails and tourist attractions.

The nearby Prahova Valley is a wonderful sight, with famous resorts like Sinaia, Bușteni, Predeal and Poiana Brașov. Peleș Castle in Sinaia is one of the best preserved European castles, it was the summer residence of the first king of Romania, Carol I of Hohenzollern.