Home to the Carpathian Mountains, Romania is one of the most spectacular but underestimated hiking destinations in Europe. It should come as no surprise that the country has a lot to offer nature lovers and hikers alike, but it's only become recognized for its spectacular natural beauty in recent years. Here are just six of the breathtaking hiking destinations that Romania has to offer.
Located in Hunedora county, this section of the Carpathian Mountains is a protected national park and UNESCO Site. It's home to the third highest peak in Romania and is one of the few virgin forests left in Europe. You can find over 80 glacial lakes in Retezat and peaks over 6,561 feet. Be on the lookout for wildlife. Retezat National Park is home to lynx, brown bears, wolves, and chamois. Most of the trails in Retezat are for advanced hikers, but less challenging paths can still be found. Feel free to pitch a tent and stay awhile.
The Fagaras Mountains are the tallest mountains in Romania, with their highest peak being Mount Moldoveanu at 8,346 feet. Here you can find Lake Balea, a glacial lake situated at 6,673 feet, and the starting point for at least two of the trails in the region. Most of the other trails start from the villages around the area. Challenging paths, panoramic views and craggy rock faces are sure to delight even the most seasoned hiker. Like Retezat, most of the trails here have a difficulty level of moderate to advanced, but the landscape is still worth a trip regardless of your skill level.
Here's one for the casual hiker. The Macin Mountains are located in southeastern Romania and are some of the oldest in Europe. What they lack in size, they make up for in intricate rock formations. The flat landscape of Tulcea county allows for perfect views of the Danube, so you don't even need to get very high for that sunset photo.
In the Apuseni Mountains in western Romania, you can find easy to moderate difficulty trails. The Yellow Valley is a protected area with waterfalls and gorges that cut through the mountain range. The gorges can be easily hiked, but the Yellow Canyon located nearby requires specific canyoning equipment. Take a break from hiking at Apuseni's natural viewing point, Balcoane Apuseni, and admire the tree-topped peaks.
The Ciucas Mountains are one of the most popular hiking destinations in Romania for locals and tourists alike. They're easily accessible with a variety of trail difficulties sure to satisfy everyone's needs. The rocky peaks of the mountains are an iconic symbol in Romania, and can be found on the packaging of a beer that shares their name. Most trails are accessible all year round, so feel free to enjoy the unique landscape whenever you like.