For adventure-seekers in Romania, it’s all about the mountains
True adventure stems from boldly trying new things and expanding your horizons in exciting destinations. Whether you travel solo, with a few friends or as part of an organised tour, Budget Direct has great tips for a memorable holiday.
To help you plan your journeys, we’ve teamed up with some exceptional travel bloggers with ‘insider knowledge’ on all the best attractions and adventures around the globe. Don’t forget – all the activities and inspiring destinations featured in these videos can be covered by Budget Direct Travel Insurance.
First, select your mountain range
Romania offers some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Europe – and one of the best ways to see it is on foot. So lace up your boots, hoist your pack and take your pick from a huge array of jaw-dropping valleys, towering peaks, deep forests and stunning waterfalls.
Guided group walks are available if you don’t want to go on your own and accommodation in the more popular trekking areas is easy to come by – just make sure you’ve booked ahead in the peak summer season. Here are some of the most iconic destinations for a day hike, overnighter or long-term mountain trek:
Retezat National Park
If you really want to get away from it all, head to Retezat National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve tucked away in Transylvania’s south-western corner. Here you can trek through Europe’s ancient forests in a breathtaking wilderness where bears, wolves and other wildlife roam freely. Dotted across this landscape are a 100 alpine lakes: this is why the locals call this region ‘the land with blue eyes’.
For a true alpine experience, make your way to the Fagaras Mountains to see the most impressive peaks in the country. The main transport hubs in this region are Fagaras, Brasov, Sibiu and Fagaras Hollow. Tourist walking tracks are found in the small villages at the base of the mountains – these are accessible by slow-speed trains from the major centres. Popular trekking villages include Bradetu, Arefu, Dejani, Breaza, Sambata de Sus and Cartisoara.
If you’re planning on staying overnight, you’ll find an ample selection of lodges and guest houses scattered throughout the valleys. Expect to pay around 25 Euros for guest-house accommodation, depending on the location. The lodges at Balea Lake will cost a bit more but are a wonderful place to base yourself as you explore the area – and a reliable spot to stock up on food supplies.
Strategically placed shelter huts are also spread across the mountains, roughly one day’s walk from each other. Be aware that each hut holds only a dozen or so overnighters, so there’s no guarantee of a place in the high season.
There are designated tent campsites near these refuges and also at Caltun, Capra, Podragu Lakes and Avrig. Fresh spring water isn’t usually hard to find if you’re camping near the lakes, but always purify the mountain water with tablets, a filter or by boiling.
Stretching between the Wallachia and Transylvania regions, the Bucegi mountain range features massive rock walls (perfect for rock climbing), steep icy peaks and intriguing limestone rock formations, including the famous giant ‘stone mushrooms’.
Mountain huts are dotted across the terrain for walkers’ use, offering cosy accommodation and hearty food for weary trekkers on longer adventures.
Because the Bucegi Massif is a popular trekking location, you’ll find well-marked trails suitable for every experience level. Mountain huts are dotted across the terrain for walkers’ use, offering cosy accommodation and hearty food for weary trekkers on longer adventures.
Safety tips for outdoor adventure in Romania
Whether you’re trekking, sightseeing, mountain-biking, river-rafting or enjoying one of Romania’s other exhilarating outdoor pursuits, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to safety and health.
While you’re unlikely to run into a wolf or bear during your mountain wanderings, they do inhabit several parts of the country. Another potential danger is feral dogs, which can be quite common in certain areas. Since rabies is present in Romania, it pays to ask around about areas notorious for roaming dog packs.
It’s generally safe to drink the tap water in Romania, but check with the locals first. Always purify mountain water but be aware that iodine tablets are currently illegal in the European Union. Bottled water is inexpensive and widely available.
In grassy areas, beware of ticks and always check your body at the end of the day. Ticks can carry serious diseases.
Even in midsummer, the weather can be unpredictable in Romania’s alpine regions. A warm, sunny morning can quickly turn into a blustery afternoon with battering, icy rain and minimal visibility.
Be prepared with a quality tent and sleeping bag, a rain jacket, adequate food and water and the right sort of clothing that you can layer to adjust to the temperature. Stay on marked trails, know your physical limitations, carry decent maps and give yourself plenty of time to complete your day’s trek before the darkness sets in.
Other things to do in Romania
At the time of writing, Australians didn’t need a visa to enter Romania and were allowed to stay for a period of 90 days within a 180-day period. The hardest part about visiting this fascinating and quaint country is deciding where to go first. Here are three suggestions to get you started:
Take a rest in Bucharest
Bucharest has often been called ‘the most underrated city in Europe’. It doesn’t always make it onto typical European vacation itineraries, but those who take the time to visit are in for a pleasant surprise. It’s a compelling mixture of modern high-rises, medieval churches and cobblestone streets. And if you want to see the largest parliament building on earth, this is where you’ll find it, complete with 12 storeys and over 3000 rooms.
Marvel at the Painted Monasteries
Located in Bukovina in Romania’s north-east, the Painted Monasteries are superbly decorated with intricate frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries. The theme is religious, with artistic depictions of heaven and hell, prophets and saints, demons and angels and the life of Jesus Christ. You’ll find well-preserved monasteries in Probata, Sucevita, Coronet, Humor, Moldovita and Patrauti.
Float along the Danube Delta
Europe’s second-largest river delta is home to 23 different ecosystems, many unique plant and animal species and excellent opportunities for bird-watching. The sunsets can be spectacular across this huge wetland, which can be comfortably experienced on a guided boat tour.
Pack your bags!
If you’re looking for somewhere a little different for your next overseas holiday, this delightful country is definitely worth a look. Don’t forget to grab some affordable travel insurance for Romania before you go – Budget Direct can help ensure you’re covered for the unexpected.