Retezat National Park is between Transylvania and Oltenia in Romania Hunedoara. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful parks in Romania, and probably even Europe. It covers an area of 380 km², and around it another 710 km² of protected area. In total there are more than 100 glacier lakes. The maximum height is about 2500 m, the Peleaga height. There are also restricted areas with untouched forest.
Flora and fauna
A third of all Romanian plant species can be found here, and about 130 of them are endangered in Europe. There are also animals like wolves, bears, lynx, wildcats, otters, and badgers.
A popular access point is Cârnic, just after the village of Sălașu de Sus, near the train station Ohaba de sub Piatră. When you get off the train in Ohaba de sub Piatră you will see a poster-board with info on the park and a list of numbers to call for taxis to Cârnic. From Ohaba de sub Piatră, there is a guy with a mini van that takes people from the train station to the entrance of the park at Cârnic. However, there is no concrete information on schedule or operating season for this service, so make sure to find information on buses in the local area beforehand! Deva and Hunedoara might be good places to ask.
Fees and permits
You don't need a permit or to pay a fee to access the park. But if you do something against the rules, you can get fined. There is no place to leave the garbage, not even at huts, so you have to carry it with you.
The most popular way to get around is by foot. There are also routes for bikes and the like. Travelling by Jeep or ATV is not allowed and you will have to pay a fine of about €500 if you don't respect this.
- 1 Bucura Lake (Lacul Bucura). The biggest glacier lake in Romania. It is in the Retezat Mountains.
- 2 Zănoaga Mare Lake (Lacul Zănoaga Mare).
- 3 Tăul Negru.
- 4 Lacul Ana.
- 5 Lacul Lia.
- Tăul Peleaga.
- 6 Peleaga Peak.
You can buy milk and maybe cheese from the shepherds who are in the mountain. They don't speak a word of English, but 5 lei for 1 liter of milk is normal. You can also try with cigarettes. Expect to be charged more because you are a foreigner.
You will have to eat the food you take with you. In the small villages around the park, you will have a hard time finding food to take with you. You can also eat at a hut for about €3 a meal.
There are refuges, where you can usually stay, especially in the winter. However it can get quite crowded in the summer and you need a reservation.
There are also big huts, like the one at Pietrele (2 hr from Carnic). Here you can also drink and eat for fair prices (€2-3 a meal and €1 a drink). Here it is also good to make a reservation in summer. Do not expect comfort or to be treated like a customer. The prices for lodging are about €5/person/night, but the rooms are usually for at least 5 people. There is no clear policy about lodging or occupying a room so you will probably have to negotiate with the staff who don't speak a word of English. Maybe another traveller can help you translate, as the travellers are very friendly.
There are camping areas where you are allowed to camp. There are no facilities like toilets, and fences.
You are not allowed to make fire, so you should bring a gas stove if you are planning to cook.