The Carpathian Mountains are the third longest European mountain range. Overcome only by the Urals and the Scandinavian Mountains, the Carpathians go through seven European countries. With a total length of 1,500 km, this mountain chain forms an arc throughout Central and Eastern European. Starting in the Eastern Czech Republic (3%), the range stretches through Slovakia (17%), Poland (10%), Hungary (4%), Ukraine (10%), Serbia (5%) and Romania (50%). Therefore, half of the Carpathian chain is in Romania. Moreover, there are several reasons to explore them here.

Carpathian Mountains range
Carpathian Mountains in Europe via Google

Slovakia is home to the highest range within the Carpathian Mountains. Here, the highest peak is the Gerlachovský štít at 2,655m. However, the Romanian Carpathians have impressive heights and peaks to be discovered. For instance, the second-highest range in the Carpathians is the Southern Carpathians.  Here you can find the highest peak in Romania, while also is the second in this mountain chain: the Moldoveanu Peak at 2,544m. Furthermore, watching the sunset from Romania’s rooftop is one of a kind. Must-do if colors, nature and mountains are your things!

Romanian Carpathians

While the Carpathian Mountains in Romania are home to one of the largest tracts of undisturbed forests in Europe, their biodiversity is not disappointing. 45% of Europe’s big carnivores found their home here. Some of the animals that live in Romania can still be found only in a few places around the globe. For example, the European wildcat, the red fox and the golden jackal can be spotted here. However, the most well-known inhabitants of the Romanian mountains are the Eurasian lynx, the brown bear and the grey wolf. Wildlife watching? Indeed you are in the right place! Go wolf watching Romania and see all the werewolf stories become real!

Eurasian lynx romanian postage stamp
Eurasian lynx on Romanian postage stamp around 1993

With 60% of Europe’s brown bear population living in these mountains, the Carpathians are also hosting the world’s greatest concentration of brown bear. Bear watching Romania shouldn’t be missed! Go and admire these majestic animals in their natural habitat. It might change the way you relate to wildlife. Anyway, it is essential to know when to see bears in Romania, in order to make the most of this experience.

Large species of non-carnivorous mammals are also living in Romania. The Carpathian boar, fallow deer, red deer and roe deer can be spotted while hiking the Carpathian Mountains. Additionally, the only mountain goat living in Europe can be easily seen here.  The largest population of chamois are found in Piatra Craiului National Park, Bucegi, Retezat and Făgăraș Mountains.

Chamois in Făgăraș Mountain via Pinterest

Equally important is the largest European land mammal, the European bison. It became extinct in the 18th century. However, the European bison is returning to Romania. Significantly, there are over 100 individuals living in wild or semi-wild areas across the country. And they are big!

Wonders of Carpathian Mountains

Home to the second-largest surface of virgin and quasi-virgin forest in Europe, the Romanian Carpathians are full of surprises. Let’s see!

Transylvania is surrounded by the Southern Carpathians, shaped as a semi-circle around the region. After you get to Transylvania, step off the beaten path and explore the wilderness. Piatra Craiului National Park features the longest and highest limestone ridge in the Carpathian Mountains. Hiking it is indeed a challenge, but the reward awaits on the top. That’s a view that you don’t want to miss! Here, spotting a chamois is a matter of time. Nevertheless, several national parks are worth visiting while in Romania.

Piatra Craiului ridge, the longest limestone ridge in the Carpathian Mountains
Piatra Craiului limestone ridge via Wired for Adventure

And that’s not all! Romania has one-third of Europe’s thermal and mineral waters. Here you can enjoy the comfort of a hot spring in every season. We recommend trying it in winter. Relaxing in a natural Jacuzzi is the best way to warm up. Even more, they also have healing properties.

And how about visiting the only volcanic lake in Central and Eastern Europe? Around 80km from Brasov are Mohos Nature Reserve and one of the most magnificent natural treasure of the Carpathians: Lake Sfânta Ana. Formed in a volcano crater, Lake Sfânta Ana is at 945m altitude and has a total length of 1,73km. The lake is supplied exclusively from precipitations, as a consequence of not being linked to any other source of water. Due to underground “leakage”, the deepest point is constantly decreasing: it used to be 8,5m in 1907 and nowadays it is only 7m.

What Else?

Nevertheless, speleology lovers will have the best time in the Carpathian Mountains. With over 12,000 caves hidden in the mountains, Romania sets an impressive record. There are more than 1500 caves in the Apuseni Mountains. Furthermore, the Ice cave is the most famous. Because of its size, The Ice cave is one of the largest underground glaciers in Europe. Certainly, you don’t want to miss that!

Ice cave in Apuseni Mountains
Ice cave in Apuseni Mountains via Tumblr

Last but not least, you can also admire these majestic mountains while driving. Hiking is great, indeed. Anyway, after that, there are landscapes that you can enjoy from the comfort of your car. In addition, don’t miss these spectacular road trips Romania.

Finally, take your headlamp, pack your backpack and spend a few days in the Carpathian Mountains. The great outdoors is waiting for you! Now is the right time to get those hiking boots back on track. They have been waiting for too long, right? And certainly, you won’t regret it!

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