The Retezat Mts. with their rocky peaks, multitude of clear alpine lakes, glacial circuses covered with the remains of ruined mountains will stir within the hiker a sensation completely different than anything felt before in the other parts of the Romanian Carpathian chain. The surprise of the unknown, the new sights, the ruins of former towering peaks that have now been transformed into piles of rubble, everything will melt into a strong sensation of magnificence and grandeur.
Home to the oldest National Park (1935) in Romania, this mountain range is home to numerous sightseeing wonders, from 2500+ metre peaks (Păpușa & Peleaga) to the clear waters of its glacial lakes (Bucura, Zănoaga, Galeș, Stânișoara, Ștevia, Tău Porții, etc.) and the ever present chamois and marmots.
Our proposed tour is intended to give you a comprehensive knowledge of the massif and its most iconic plants and animals. Along these 7 days we will climb rugged peaks, quench our thirst from crystal clear alpine lakes, rest in the shadow of trees disappeared anywhere else for thousands of years and delight in the majestic presence of the numerous chamois residing in the park.
Day 1: Arrival at Pietrele lodge
The first day we will arrive to our base for the next days, Pietrele lodge (1480 m). The car will be able to take us up to Cârnic lodge (1005 m) from where we will be engaging ourselves on a short hike (~2 hours) to Pietrele lodge.
Day 2: The legendary peak of Retezat (2482 m)
Our path starts in front of the lodge and winds up along the rushing waters of the Stânișoara stream on a mossy path through a coniferous forest. Several small waterfalls catch the eye on our left as we make our way up to the forest line which we will reach in about 1.5 hours from the beginning of the day's journey. We are here in the subalpine forest made up entirely of mountain pine although from place to place majestic stone pine specimens dot the area with their deep dark green hues. At the end of the valley we reach Stânișoara lake (1990 m) where our trail turns right and starts climbing steeply towards the Retezat pass (2251 m). From here there is a short ascent to Retezat peak (2482 m) our highest point of the day and one of the main vantage points in the northern part of the Retezat Mts. We continue from here maintaining the Lolaia ridge line almost to its northern end where our track starts descending straight to Pietrele lodge.
Day 3: The eyes of the mountain
This day's trek is centered around two of the most beautiful northern glacial valleys of the Retezat Mts. - Galeșul and Valea Rea. We begin by hiking up the Valea Rea, through coniferous forests in the beginning and then following the stream at the bottom of a beautiful glacial valley, easily identifiable by its U shape. All the while on our right we are guarded by the steep flanks of the Pietrele peak with the imposing Peleaga Fangs at its southern end; and by the Valea Rea ridge on our left. On the ancient glacial circus' floor at the end of the valley lie 5 to 8 glacial lakes with their turquoise waters contrasting deeply against the rocky background of their surroundings. Our path turns left from here and climbs towards Zănoagelor Pass (2270 m) where another 3 small glacial lakes please our sight. We enter the Galeș valley from here with its two crown jewels - Galeș lake (1990 m) and Tău dintre brazi lake (1740 m). The last part of the day consists of a pleasant hike through the forest back to Pietrele lodge for our last night there.
Day 4: Bucura, the largest glacial lake in Romania
On this day we transition from the North to the South side of the mountain range. We leave Pietrele lodge and head up on probably the most beaten track in the Retezat National Park - Pietrele lodge-Bucura lake. The path snakes its way up on one bank than the other of the Pietrele stream until the beautiful Pietrele lake. From here there's a short climb to Bucura pass (2206 m) from which we can admire the Bucura lake (2040 m) surroundings. This is quite a short hike so there's going to be a lot of free time to spend either enjoying the trails in the area that take you to little gems like Tăul Porții, Tăul Agățat, Viorica, Ica and Florica lakes or some of the surrounding peaks - Bucura I (2433 m), Bucura II (2378 m).
Day 5: As high as it gets
We start our day with a sustained hike up to the highest point in the Retezat National Park - Peleaga peak (2509 m). Once on top our view encompasses the horizons for tens of kilometers around (if the weather allows it) and gives us a preview for what awaits during the next couple of days. After returning to Bucura lake we pack all our gear and head downstream on Bucura valley until we reach Poiana Pelegii. From here we will enter the Southern Retezat realm which as we will see on the following day is quite different from the actual Retezat Mts. The trail takes us up to Plaiul Mic pass (1880 m) from which we have a dazzling view over the main Retezat ridge.
Day 6: Southern Retezat (Piule-Iorgovanu ridge)
Unlike the previous days, on this day the trail takes us on an East-West direction on the main ridge of the Southern Retezat Mts. The main feature that stands out is the presence of limestone escarpments as this area has been occupied by coral reefs in geological times. They are especially picturesque in the area of Scorota, Albele, Iorgovanu and Stănuleții Mari peaks. This is also an area with high numbers of chamois and known also for the presence of the beautiful edelweiss. From Paltina pass (1935 m) at the westernmost tip of the range we descend towards Lunca Berhina where we will be taking the car(s) towards our lodge for the night.
Day 7: Farewell Retezat
Photo sharing sessions, delicious breakfast and see you next time.
The proposed tour is made up so that you may see most of the attractions of the Retezat National Park, however it cat be modified in order to accommodate your needs in case you have more or less time at your disposal.
Prices start with 650 EUR/pers. and they have a 25 EUR/pers. discount for group bookings (for example if you book for 2 persons the price will be 625 EUR/pers.; if you book for 5 persons the pricewill be 550 EUR/pers. etc.)