Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Fagaras Mountains

Romania is a mountainous country. The first glance at the physical map of Europe already leaves no doubt - the mountain trekking, mountain biking, skiing and other outdoor activity lovers will not get bored here. Also the countryside recreation enthusiasts will find what they are looking for - mountain villages where time has stood still... 

Carpathians, the largest mountains in this part of Europe, occupy a considerable part of the country and are split into over forty smaller massifs. Among the dozens of mountain ranges in Romania, those that are most conspicuous are the Fagaras Mountains. They are located in the center of the country. The highest peaks exceed 2,500 meters above sea level and one of them - Moldoveanu (2544 m) is the highest peak of Romania.

Most frequently visited attraction of Fagaras Mountains is the Transfagarasan Road - a beautiful scenic route crossing the massif along the north-south line. During a trip by car or by bike you can enjoy beautiful mountain views, waterfalls, lakes as well as kilometer long drive through tunnel under the main ridge of the Fagaras Mountains.

A dense network of hiking trails allows visitors to truly get to know these beautiful mountains during one day trips. If you prefer longer trekkings – mountain huts and other shelters do allow for multi-day hiking through ridges and valleys of the Fagaras Mountains. During the trips you will often meet shepherds who produce delicious cheese in the traditional way. 

 *NOTICE: Flocks of sheep are guarded by herding dogs that can be aggressive towards strangers. A good idea is to bring an ultrasonic dog chaser with you.

A good starting points for day tours are tourist destinations located at the previously mentioned Transfagarasan Road: Balea Cascada, Balea Lac and Cascada Capra.

1.) From the mountain hotel Balea Cascada we can go for an easy, but very exciting trekking route. It follows the signs of the red cross on a white background in the Doamnei Valley, passes picturesquely situated hut (yummy cheese!) and leads to two glacial lakes. Further the route gets a bit steeper and leads to the pass Saua Doamnei which offers a beautiful view of the valley Doamnei. On the other side of the pass we can see the lake Balea Lac. We get there coming down from the pass after about half an hour. Then we go back to Balea Cascada following the signs of blue triangle. The whole route takes about 6 hours.

2.) Balea Lac is a glacial lake located near the Transfagarasan Road at an altitude of 2034 m above sea level. From the tourist facilities located at the lake you can quickly reach the main ridge of Fagaras Mountains and then ascend Buteanu peak (over 2500 m). From Balea Lac you follow the signs of blue triangle leading to the pass Saua Caprei (great view of Lake Caprei). Then you travers the grassy slopes of Buteanu ascending the top of it. The last five minutes you climb on the rocks - in dry conditions the route has medium difficulty. Panorama from the summit is extremely broad. Return to Balea Lac is the same way - the whole route takes about 5 hours.

3.) Cascada Capra (1550 m) is a small tourist complex on the south side of the main ridge of Fagaras Mountains. It is a good base for 2-days trip, which goal is to climb the highest peak of the Fagaras Mountains - Moldoveanu. Following the signs of the yellow triangle we go from Cascada Capra in the direction of the main ridge up to Portitia Arpasului pass (2175 m). Then following the signs of the red bar you go near the main ridge up to the pass Saua Podragului. From the pass, you come directly to the mountain hut Cabana Podragu. After about 8-9 hours of walking you can spend a night there. On the second day, at dawn, you go back to the pass and heading east after the signs of a red bar come to Moldoveanu (it takes approximately 2-3 hours). In good weather, the views are splendid! You can see many mountain ridges surrounding the Fagaras. From Moldoveanu you go further east reaching the vicinity of the pass with the shelter Portitia Vistei. Then, following the signs of the red triangle, you come down to the village of Victoria. Walking time on the second day is 9-10 hours.  
The two-day trip to Moldoveanu requires good condition and favorable weather.

It is good to take a map of the Fagaras Mountains, because in addition to these trips you can make many other interesting hikes ther. Maps can be purchased in all those tourist facilities I mentioned above.

Fagaras Mountains are the most visited mountains in Romania but also here you will find peace and tranquility on less frequented paths. In the area there are many other mountain ranges with beautiful views, wildlife, shepherds and sheep... Bucegi, Piatra Craiului, Retezat and many others are waiting for visiting them :)
Text by Andrzej Śliwiński
Red cross on a white background trail in Doamnei Valley
The last meters below Buteanu summit
The Portitia Vistei shelter
Podragu mountain hut

1 comment:

  1. Witam
    Świetny wpis, przypomina mi się ostatnie lato w Górach Fogaraskich. Szliśmy na Moldoveanu od strony Sambata de Sus. Za rok może uda się zaliczyć jeszcze Negoiu, choć ciągnie mnie w Góry Rodniańskie. Zobaczymy ile czasu wystarczy, choć jest szansa na dwutygodniowy pobyt :)


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