©Bucegi, Romania. Before the storm (copyright: creative commons)
The first plans to make the Bucegi Massif a protected zone were drafted before the World War II. However, it wasn’t until 1990 that a national park was established in the area. Bucegi is one of the 16 national parks currently existing in Romania.
The park stretches over 32,000 hectares of mountainous terrain, divided between the Dambovita, Prahova, and Brasov counties.
There are 14 nature reserves within the national park, which are protected spaces that contain valuable natural monuments, including rare plants and animals, and spectacular scenery.
Rock formations – the Bucegi mountains are renowned for the natural sculptures modeled in the soft limestone by the natural elements. The Sphinx and Babele (The Old Women) are the best known, but there are several other oddly shaped formations throughout the park – the Twins, the Frog, the Dolphin, the Lizard, the Emperor, and the Dog.
Rich fauna and flora – one of the main reasons for establishing the park was the rich wildlife that can be found in the Bucegi Mountains. There are over 3,500 animal species and 4,500 plant species in the park, including several rare or endemic ones, such as the iconic “floare de colt” (edelweiss).
One of the best ways to visit the Bucegi National Park is by bicycle. There are over 60 kilometers of bike trails crisscrossing the park, of various lengths and difficulties. Some of them are marked. You can rent a mountain bike from the nearby resorts, and don’t forget to wear a helmet and protective clothing.
Mountain climbing– the Bucegi area has been a hotspot for mountaineers for decades. Some of the most challenging vertical walls in the country are found here, like the Costilei Wall and the Vaii Albe Wall.
A trip to the Babele and the Sphinx is a must-do for any family visiting the Bucegi. The Sphinx, an anthropomorphic formation that resembles the Egyptian Sphinx when looked at from certain angles, is one of the symbols of Romania. Shrouded in legend, the mysterious rock is said to be the place where Dacians carried their sacrifices more than 2,000 years ago. The mushroom-shaped Babele are just as intriguing, albeit less imposing. The simplest way to reach these two formations, located at an altitude of over 2,000 meters is by taking a ride on the cable car from Busteni.
Ski and snowboarding – the nearby resorts of Sinaia and Busteni are some of the best places in Eastern Europe for skiing and other winter sports. There are three ski runs near Babele, and a cable car to take skiers to the top.
The whole area is a tourist magnet, thanks to the many manmade and natural monuments, from the Bran and Peles castles, to the Saxon fortified churches, and the numerous nature reserves.
How to get there
Situated in the vicinity of Brasov and of the road that connects it to Bucharest, the Bucegi National Park is easily accessible from of the nearby resorts and towns, such as Sinaia, Busteni, Azuga, Bran, Rucar, or Zarnesti.