The Carpathian Mountains (Munții Carpați) are a continuation of the Alps on the territory of Romania. They are comprised of 3 large ranges – Southern (Meridionali), Eastern (Orientali) and Western (Occidentali) and occupy around a third of the country’s surface area. The Carpathians offer views that are as varied as they are seductive and they are the ideal place for alpine sports and hiking.
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 we find the well-known ski resorts Predeal, Sinaia and Bușteni, 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 and Wallachia. 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 Orăștiei 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. No 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.