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Tarcu Mountain Hikes - Tarcu Peak

Tarcu Mountains may not be as widely known as other mountain ranges or national parks in Romania but they sure are a nice little piece of wonderland. With over 2000 m peaks, Tarcu is a peaceful idyllic  mountain that you will fall in love with at the first moment you arrive ... or right after you will see the beautiful pictures I am sharing with you. 

On top of  Tarcu Mountain - beautiful scenery.

Hiking stats

  • Time: 8 hours
  • Distance: 22 kilometers
  • Altitude gain: 1200 meters
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Route: br.gif GPS Track

Where is this?

The best way to get there, if your starting point is Timisoara, is to go to Borlova Village via Caransebeş. If the GPS went crazy, from Caransebeş just make sure to follow the signs to Muntele Mic (the same road). Note that you will need a personal car to get here as there are no buses in the area. 

You will have to pay a little attention as there is no sign where you need to stop for this hike but after some very sharp turns you will see a big opening and an off-road place on the right where you can park the car - this place is called Şaua Jigoriei. 

Let’s start!

Ok, so hopefully you found the starting place for this track - you can check this just by getting out of the car and look for a br.gif sign on the trees. This is the touristic marking for this route. You will start a 4.5 km gentle walk in the thick of the beautiful forest on an off-road path. This is very easy and it can be done during the whole year. The altitude of your starting point is around 1200 m. If you are lucky to catch a day when the clouds are really low, but the sun is shining you will have breathtaking sceneries here. Make sure not to forget your camera either way! 

First part of the trail - mystic clouds in the forest

After about one hour, you will arrive at a nice little glave called Poiana Seroni. From here you have a beautiful opening to see Tarcu peak and the rest of the peaks around - the view is amazing. Take a short break, make a nice pic, just breathe and be happy you are here!

View towards Tarcu Mountain from Poiana Seroni

Further, the path takes you back to the forest but just for a little while, because soon you will arrive at Cuntu Meteo Station - from here we leave the forest behind and we enjoy the specific alpine landscape you can find at over 1600 m altitude.

In front of the hut, you will see a little pond, do not drink water from there, just go towards the cabin and somewhere behind it, you will find fresh drinking water. Ask the people there if you do not find it at once.

Cuntu Meteo Station (above the station on the left sided path)

Take a short rest and prepare as the real hike is just about to start! The path continues on the same marking following the trail on the left side of the hut. All this is well marked for spring-autumn hikes and therefore you can’t get lost. You will start the ascent - and even if the trail rises no technical difficulties it can be a bit demanding if you have no training. The good part is that somehow, with all the beauty around, you won’t even realize you are tired until you will be up there! 

Final ascent before reaching the peak

On this path, you will arrive at one point where you would have to choose if you take the left or the right way. As an advice, continue on the dirt road that climbs the peak through the right side - it is shorter and easier. On your return you can take the other trail back - I promise you won’t regret this decision! 

Alpine sea - view from the intersection point.
Before reaching Tarcu Peak you will pass near Sadovanu Peak, 1996 m - there is no sign for it so you will have to trust my word. 

Although Tarcu peak has 2190 m, it looks just like a gigantic hill towering his somewhat more sharp “brothers”. At the very top of if, you will find the second meteo station. After a few moments of rest prepare for the descent. So, as mentioned above, you have two options here, either you return on the same path or you simply make a loop and see more nice spots.

Under Tarcu Peak, near Tarcu Lake. In the left side you can see the Meteo station on the peak.

If you choose to make this loop, then, from the peak, you will have to continue on the dirt road, about 1 km, keeping the Red Stripe marking and circle the valley you see to the left until you reach Saua Plaiului and find the most suitable place to start your descend towards the small lake you can spot down there - Iezerul Tarcu. After this, keep on the Red Stripe and start your ascent that will take you to the intersection and then back to Cuntu Meteo Station and then the road where you parked the car on the same track. 

Near Tarcu Lake

Mountain ridge trail from Tarcu towards the descent path (if you are doing the loop) or towards Retezat Mountains

Where do I sleep?

This is a one day hike so there is no particular need to find a nice place to sleep, nevertheless if you plan ahead for multiple routes and stay more days I will further advise you where the best spots are and what options you have. In this area, you won’t find any camping but you can pick your place to camp free of charge wherever you feel like it, but note that there are no showers or toilets available. 

There is a possibility to find a warm bed ( at around 5€/ person/night) at Cuntu meteo station as well but places are limited and you might not find one. You can call before to ask for a place and other details at +4 0720 610204. Also, note that here there's only a hut with no restaurant or bar available. 

     Good places to sleep by tent:

  • Cuntu Meteo Station: the forest is near (for shade) and you can find a permanent spring water source there.
  • Tarcu Iezer: right under Tarcu Peak, you can find spring water to drink there.
  • Suculetu Lake: under Caleanu Peak.
  • Pietrele Albe Lake: between Caleanu Peak and Nedeia (Matania) Peak (on the right side as you go).
  • Somewhere in Saua Iepii, probably an excellent spot to catch the sunset and sunrise. 
  • Under Brusturu Peak, there is a big private mountain cabin and there you can also find a spring.
  • At Lake Poiana Marului

The orange little stars are the best places to sleep by tent in the Tarcu Mountains 
Click on the image to open it in the gallery. 

What do I eat?

You know that word: you are what you eat! So make sure to bring food with you as there is no place you can get or buy food around - the price of being in the wilderness. The last place you can find a shop or something to eat will be in Borlova or if you continue the road to Muntele Mic - as there is a big resort with lots of restaurants. 

Good to know!

This is one full-day hike, but you can also build your own track combo if you would like to spend more time here. 

Even in the summer nights can get really cold (close to 5 Celsius degrees) and also note that this is a windy area. Make sure to bring warm clothes, a good alpine tent, enough food and water. You can find fresh spring water if you go a bit below, in valleys, but some of the springs might dry up in the summer. 

There is no entrance fee for this area.

Other close destinations?

There are a lot of other destinations you can go to in the close vicinity, but consult this overview map of the hiking routes in Tarcu.

Places you can reach from Tarcu Peak with estimations on distance and altitude difference:

  • Caleanu and Brusturu Peaks - Poiana Marului: 17 km, - 1500 m altitude difference
  • Saua Suculetului - go towards Godeanu Mountains (a different range): 18 km, altitude difference of +900m / - 500m.
  • Saua Iepii - Gura Apelor Lake (Retezat National Park): 20 km, altitude difference + 400 gain / -1400 m loss 
  • Nedeia (also called Matania) Peak - Poiana Marului: 23 km, altitude difference - 1800 / + 400 m

So, be honest with yourself, pack your things and head on to Tarcu! :)

Hope you found the information helpful and accurate, but remember, if you have any questions drop them in a comment below!

Last part through the forest 

Tarcu Mountain Hikes - Tarcu Peak Reviewed by Karina on 09:22 Rating: 5


  1. Brilliant post. This mountain looks amazing. Can we climb it early November do you think?
    Cheers Andre

  2. Hello Andre,

    Many thanks for the kind words! Tarcu is a wonderful spot to reach in Romania because it's never crowded, safe and it has a little bit of magic you won't forget!

    Now early November for Tarcu is, in my opinion, the best time to go. The photos you saw in this post (except the ones with snow) are taken in early November. The snow doesn't usually fall there and the track itself it's long but easy. If you are experienced hikers, you will have absolutely no issue.

    So if you start climbing early in the morning you have sufficient time to go down till evening but I highly recommend you pack some lights with you in case it gets dark. And do keep in mind Tarcu peak can be very windy and cold, so pack warm clothes as well.

    Hope this helped, and please do let us know if you need any other details, info about other locations we would be happy to help you!

    Safe trip! :)


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