Eastern Carpathians (Carpații Orientali)
In the north of the country, the spectacular Rodnei Mountains separate Maramureș from Bucovina. They represent one of the country’s best hiking areas and the numerous forest roads make them the perfect place for biking or practicing motor sports (motocross, off-road). In the winter, Rodnei Mountains offer skiing possibilities in Borșa. Other ski resorts
in Maramureș, located approximately 100 km west of Borșa, are Cavnic, Șuior, Izvoare and Mogoșa.
Breathtaking views are provided by Ceahlău Massif and the correspondent National Park. If you visit the area, take your time to admire the Bicaz Gorges and to see the romantic Red Lake.
Southern Carpathians (Carpații Meridionali)
The Southern Carpathians cross the country from East to West. To the east, the Bucegi Mountains run along the popular region Prahova Valley. Here you will find the well-known ski resorts Predeal
, which offer good ski slopes, bobsleigh tracks and cable cars. However, the most popular ski centre in the area is Poiana Brașov
, which offers superior slopes and facilities. In the summertime, the Bucegi Mountains are the ideal place for walks and hikes, providing easier ones on the mountains that guard Sinaia and Predeal and more difficult hikes above Bușteni. Important landmarks in the area are the Sphinx (Sfinxul) and the Old Ladies (Babele) - rock formations with suggestive shapes; the cross on the Caraiman Massif and the Urlătoarea Waterfall.
Easily accessible from Brașov
, Sinaia or Predeal is the Bran Castle
, residence of Vlad the Impaler (also known as Count Dracula
). The Rucăr-Bran corridor crosses the Southern Carpathians, linking Transylvania
. This area consists of many villages with agro-touristic pensions very sought by the tourists.
The Făgăraș Mountains are the highest in Romania (Moldoveanu Peak – 2544m). They are traversed by the Transfăgărășan Road, whose highest point is 2036m. The road reaches the glacial Bâlea Lake and descends to Lake Vidraru, which offer numerous possibilities for recreation, such as paragliding and bungee jumping, as well as comfortable accommodation.
Similarly, in the Parâng Mountains was recently inaugurated Transalpina, which reaches an even higher altitude, 2145m above sea level. Towards the southern end of the road is Rânca
, a fast developing ski resort. Jiu River separates Parâng Mountains from Vâlcan Mountains, where you can have fun in an adventure theme park.
Further to the East, at the border with the Western Carpathians, you find the Orăștie Mountains. Here you can visit the Dacian fortresses
Sarmizegetusa and Colonia Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, former capitals of the ancient Dacian kingdom. Numerous vestiges have been preserved, including a famous altar to the sun. Not very far away, in Cindrel Mountains, is located Păltiniș
, a popular ski resort where you can enjoy the wonderful sceneries, the ozone-filled air and the good ski slopes.
Western Carpathians (Carpații Occidentali)
The Apuseni Mountains in the Western Carpathians offer varied landscapes and unusual natural formations. They contain numerous subterranean galleries with lakes, waterfalls and caves
. Scărișoara, Meziad and Bears' Cave are some of the most interesting caves appropriately equipped for tourists.
Lately, the Apuseni receive more and more tourists, due to the creation of an excellent network of hiking trails. Adrenaline lovers have the chance to try mountain climbing in the Cerna Valley and rafting in Nera Gorges.
Between the Carpathians and the Balkans, on the border with Serbia, for a distance of 145 km, the Danube cuts the mountains’ stone and flows through the so called Cauldrons (Iron Gates). Enjoy the scenery, try the water sports and accommodate in one of the welcoming pensions on the Danube’s banks.
Photos: © Dragoş Asaftei
(1 - Rodnei Mountains; 2 - Ceahlău Massif; 3 - Bucegi Mountains; 4 - Cross on the Caraiman Massif; 5 - Transfăgărăşan Road)
Photo: © MyDestinationRomania Team (6 - Transalpina Road)