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Visit Retezat National Park

If you are in search for breathtaking sights in a truly wild environment than the Retezat National Park is the perfect destination for you! Go and discover the 80 magical glacial lakes, explore the 20 peaks with an altitude of more than 2000 meters, unravel the mysteries of the hidden mountain Gugu, or simply explore the untainted and untouched forests, home for many wild animals and unique plant species. Because the park is isolated, with no real roads that go through, it represents a wildlife photographer's dream with shots at each step. So we dare you to continue reading this article and see how your own adventure will begin!

Bucura Lake - Camping 



Best road to Retezat





Highlights

Retezat is one of my personal favorites and it is the first official national park of Romania dating since 1935.
  • 20 peaks of over 2000 meters, perhaps of all, Peleaga, is the most spectacular because it’s in the center of the park and offers a stunning 360 view of all the surrounding mountains. Other fascinating peaks would be Vârful Păpuşa, Vârful Retezat, Vârful Custura, Vârful Gugu, Vârful Piatra Iorgovanului, and more.
  • 80 glacial lakes, the blue eyes of Retezat or also called "God’s Eyes". Among them, you can find Bucura, the largest glacier lake in Romania and Zănoaga, the deepest glacier lake in the country.
  • Retezat National Park hosts more than a third of the total plant species found in Romania and 90 plant species that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
  • Because this area is quite remote, with no real road that passes through, the biodiversity here had less to suffer from the reach of “civilization”, the fauna thrived in this area. Do note that in this park you can find a large number of wild bears but with some minimal safety measure in mind you should be fine! No matter if you are an amateur or a professional, Retezat is a wildlife photographer's dream!

Good to know

retezat-park-questions
  • Road: You can enter the park from many directions but you should know that, at some point, you will need to abandon the car and continue on foot. This is an advantage for mountain lovers because most people that visit the park are really in love with nature.
  • Accommodation: Camping is restricted to designated areas for such activities. A great place to enjoy camping is the campsite at Poiana Pelegii. Another great camping place, is up in the heart of the mountains, at Bucura Lake (starting point for many hiking routes). Important tip, it is strongly recommended to camp in designated areas because of the bear population. Do note that in the central area of the park there are little other accommodation possibilities besides the Mountain Ranger’s huts or personal tents. For those seeking accommodation there are several emergency shelters (which should be used only when you need them) and several chalets, the most famous would be: Pietrele (accommodation and restaurant), Gențiana (accommodation and bar), Buta (accommodation and restaurant). Also on accommodation, be aware that at Bucura Lake the weather is a little bit windy so you need a decent tent unless you want to also go paragliding at midnight.
  • Tax: At the entrance in the park you need to pay 7 lei (~ 1.5 euro) per person and 10 lei (~2.5 euro) per car.
  • Campfire: As in most national parks the fire business is somewhat delicate, you can build a fire in Poiana Pelegii (at least that was the rule thus far) but not at Bucura lake. Do not push it with the Park Rangers as they will enforce the rules.
  • Water sources: Water sources are in great number so most likely you will not die of thirst. Permanent sources can be found at Bucura lake (main starting point for most hiking trails) and at Poiana Pelegii. Speaking of water, we might have 80 lakes at our disposal but do not take a swim in them as they are protected by law and bathing is strictly prohibited.
  • Please note that Retezat National Park includes a protected area Gemenele Scientific Reservation. The area protects endemic and extremely rare flowers and vegetation therefore a special permit from Romanian Academy is requested for passing through. 

Stuff to do

  • Because you are in the center of a mountain range you have a wide range of hiking tracks available, from easy to hard.
  • Cycling on forest roads (unpaved) that can take you to the heart of the park.
  • Touring ski (there are no ski slopes available).
  • Bouldering for the climbers out there.
  • In clear weather, you can fly with a glider or paraglider from Clopotiva Village.
  • A great place to relax in the wild, truly wild!
  • For an overview of all hiking track in the park please follow this map of the park.

Average temperatures

  • Under 1800 meters, the coldest month of the year is January with common temperatures of -11 to 5°C and the warmest would be July/August with 16 to 26°C. Above 1800 meters, the highest temperatures go up to 10 - 15°C in July-August. During the summer nights, it is not uncommon for the temperature to hit close to 0°C at about 2000 m. Before planning a trip here, we encourage you to check the local weather forecasts as it can even show at over 2000 m in June. Check the current weather conditions on Retezat peak (2482 meters).


Hope you enjoyed the article and find the information here useful for you travels! If you have been to any of the above places please tell us which you loved the most and what was your adventure there like!


Happy trails!


Featured hikes in Retezat National Park:

Bucura Lake
Curmatura Bucurei
Rhododendron flowers and a perfect view over Retezat
Peleaga and Papusa Peaks in the clouds
Visit Retezat National Park Reviewed by Alex on 09:51 Rating: 5

5 comments:

  1. Good afternoon, this looks amazing! We are planning to do a 2-night, 3-day trip here early August. What route/ hike would you recommend? Also, do you know a safe place to park my car and Where would you recommend to stay? Is there any "relatively" modern accommodation/ hotel nearby the park that we could use? Many thanks, Tom & Jolene

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Tom and Jolene,

      Please have a look at these articles for more details about possible hikes in the park: http://www.hereihike.com/search/label/retezat%20mountains?max-results=20

      Now, depending on where you want to start you can park your car in Poiana Pelegii - https://www.google.ro/maps/place/Camping+Poiana+Pelegii/@45.34057,22.8906099,16.5z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x474e0bd8cee93235:0xa24a7ea6fdc6150d!2sPoiana+Pelegii!8m2!3d45.3399297!4d22.8939629!3m4!1s0x474e0962777efab3:0xd73bc17ee6387707!8m2!3d45.3380547!4d22.8943357?hl=en (there is a parking place right before that at the end of the road - but please consider to get there you have to deal with 19 km of forest road, accessible for small cars). If you want to visit from the other side of the mountains, anywhere you can find a spot in Carnic (https://www.google.ro/maps/place/Cabana+Lolaia/@45.4320219,22.8947697,17.5z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x474e0bd8cee93235:0xa24a7ea6fdc6150d!2sPoiana+Pelegii!8m2!3d45.3399297!4d22.8939629!3m4!1s0x0:0xa6833d66b4adbd6b!8m2!3d45.4330722!4d22.8940333?hl=en), as well there are some accommodations available.
      For the accommodation part: you don't have many options in the park, usually people go by tent. The huts in the mountains are not 'modern' at all, they have minimal conditions and usually no shower possibilities.

      If you have a good physical condition you can consider this:
      Start from Carnic, hike 2 hours to reach Pietrele (facilities: drinks, food, accommodation) or Gentiana (facilities: drinks, accommodation). From here trek to Bucura Saddle – Bucura Peak – Peleaga Peak and camp at Bucura lake (wild camping – fresh spring water – mountain rangers hut). Then from here continue to Poiana Pelegii – Saua Plai Mic – Cabana Buta (https://www.google.ro/maps/place/Cabana+Buta/@45.3224189,22.9045194,16.5z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x474e099c0559d3d5:0x8b8e94f571384b27!8m2!3d45.321194!4d22.90717?hl=en). From here you would need to return on the same path back to Carnic.

      Another suggestion would be to sleep at Complex Cheile Butii (https://www.google.ro/maps/place/Complex+turistic+Cheile+Butii/@45.3017881,22.9743433,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x474de23f90674209:0xf6aae73781e701cb!8m2!3d45.3017881!4d22.976532?hl=en) the day before you start the hike. Day 1: Complex Cheile Butii – Cabana Buta. Day 2: Cabana Buta – Saua Plai Mic – Papusa Peak – Peleaga Peak – Bucura Lake – Cabana Buta. Sleep at Cabana buta and the third day you can descend directly to Complex Cheile Butii or visit Stana Scorota (sheepfold) and then descend.

      This interactive map will also help you spot some places: https://gis.modulo.ro/hiking2_0/hiking.html?zona=Retezat

      Let us know if you need any further help,
      Karina and Alex

      Delete
  2. Good afternoon, this looks amazing! We are planning to do a 2-night, 3-day trip here early August. What route/ hike would you recommend? Also, do you know a safe place to park my car and Where would you recommend to stay? Is there any "relatively" modern accommodation/ hotel nearby the park that we could use? Many thanks, Tom & Jolene

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey! Great guide! Really appreciate it!

    Just wanna ask is it possible to reach Retezat through public transport? As I am a solo hiker, renting a car is not exactly an option. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello GizaL,

      Unfortunately this is really a challenge for Romania and especially for Retezat Mountains. For sure you won't be able to find such a thing to reach Poiana Pelegii (that would be the best starting point for hiking) you might find transport (bus) to reach Sarmisegetusa or Hateg (http://www.autogari.ro/Transport/Timisoara-Hateg) and there look for a maxi-taxi or cab to get to Carnic or Rausor. From Carnic/Rausor you as well can start the hike.

      Hope this helps!

      Karina and Alex

      Delete

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