One of the most beautiful destinations for mountain lovers has got to be Retezat National Park in Romania. The numerous peaks offer breathtaking views of green valleys strung with crystal clear lakes. I consider them to be the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen with my own eyes.
What makes these mountains so unique is the large number of glacial lakes, including Bucura, the largest one of its kind in Romania. There are more than 50 of them throughout the entire range, and are sometimes found in small groups. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking,
I’ve been to Retezat National Park three times until now, and I’m planning to travel there every summer from now on. There are tens of high peaks accessible though numerous trails, either leading up to them from the woods or connecting them to each other along various ridges. The highest one is Peleaga (2509m).
Retezat National Park: First Trip
This was one of the most tedious and tiring days of hiking I’ve ever had. My knees were bothering me more than usual during that time, forcing me to go quite slowly throughout the entire trip. At higher altitudes, the big flat rocks you’re stepping on may wobble so I was extra careful not to twist anything. Thank goodness they’re not slippery, even if they’re wet! Most of the rock in Retezat is composed of crystalline schist and granite. We got to the highest point and started our descent on another trail, towards the cabin in the woods where we were sleeping.
Retezat National Park: Second Trip
The following year we organized our trip over two and a half days, sleeping first in the cabin, then in our tents in the campsite at lake Bucura. Morning there was glorious: the air was extremely cold for the end of July, almost freezing point. Yet the sun was slowly lighting the tops of the peaks across the lake, offering one of the most marvelous pictures nature could paint. Tall red and purple flowers seemed aflame in the morning light. At the beginning of out third day we slowly left the entire mountain range behind while following a gently sloped trail cutting across the hills.
Retezat National Park: Third Trip
Nasty weather almost made us turn back this time. We were out of the forest, up a steep ridge leading to the main peaks, when the entire sky darkened with hues of lead and creamy grey, and a fine cold rain started to pour down incessantly. We took a break, waiting for the skies to give us a sign: turning back might have been the better option instead of risking being exposed during a storm. Miraculously however, the rain stopped and a little patch of the late afternoon sky showed through the grey clouds. We decided to go on, and it was well worth it: to our right, an entire valley enclosed by the almost semicircular ridge we were walking on, green and lush with a sparkly stream losing itself down in the bottom of it. Two shadowy lakes perched up the slopes were reflecting the last light of the sun.
It’s the place I will always come back to.