Discover the Retezat National Park, which is famous for its many glacial lakes and spectacular mountain peaks
The Retezat National Park lies in the area of the mountain massif of the same name, in the south eastern Carpathians. It is a place far away from human intervention, full of value, according to Zoran Acimov, director of the Retezat National Park.
Zoran Acimov: “These values are related to beauty. The most famous of them are the over 50 glacial lakes. It has the highest density of alpine glacial lakes in Romania. In addition to lakes, the mountain scenery is spectacular, with peaks over 2,200 m high. We have 20 peaks, some of them over 2,500 meters in height. They are part of the spectacular scenery to be discovered by tourists. There are many more such details, such as the natural forests, quasi-virgin by today's standards. It is a beautiful blend of deciduous forests with monumental beech trees, wide areas with coniferous trees and brush, which form a protective layer spread over the sides of the mountains. They have a special charm when seen from afar.”
This is a place with a huge tourist potential, with an old tradition in this area, according to Zoran Acimov: “Retezat has been visited by tourists for many years. The history of tourism in Retezat dates back to the early 20th century. Right now, we have 27 marked trails, spread all over the park. The entire park can be visited, whether tourists want to see the lakes in the north and center or the limestone peaks in the south.”
If you want to visit the Retezat National Park by yourself, you definitely need information about these trails. Which is why the park administration has set up a number of information points.
Zoran Acimov, director of the Retezat National Park: “We have two visitors' centers, one in Nucsoara, in Salajul de Sus commune, where we have the headquarters of the national park. Another is in Ostrovel, in Raul de Mori commune, in the northwest of the park. There you can get information, documentary materials, maps, and flyers. Also, during the tourist season we have staff patrolling the park. Last year we built a ranger outpost, which also serves as an information point, in Gura Bucurei, which is also the highest point in the park, which can be reached by car. We also have the Buta information point on the western Jiu Valley. You can get information all over the place, mainly from park personnel, but also from our collaborators in the Hunedoara County Public Mountain Rescue Service, and the Mountain Gendarmes who patrol the park.”
Retezat is a fascinating massif. In 1935, when the national park was set up, a scientific reserve was also put in place there. The park was declared a Biosphere Reserve, a heritage of humanity venue, and protected as such. The Retezat Mountains lie between two major depressions, Petrosani and Hateg, and between two major rivers, Raul Mare and Jiul de Vest. It is surrounded by the mountains Tarcu, Godeanu and Valcan. The most important part of the massif is mostly crystalline rock and is called Retezatul Mare; the southern part, with a mostly limestone relief, is called Retezatul Mic, and its most important peak is Peleaga, 2,509 m high. Towards Hateg Depression there is a huge mountain face, with triangular facets, typical of erosion. All these areas are recommended by most owners of mountain cabins. There are many of these all over Retezat, and prices per night vary, depending on the category, but are generally affordable, between 20 and 70 Euro per person.
Zoran Acimov: “It depends on what tourists want. If you are partial to flowers, the beginning of July is the best. It also depends on the weather, because we have snow on the ground as late as May. However, right after that there is an explosion of flowers, and many of them don't last long. The season to admire alpine flora is short, mostly the month of June. In the summer, when the days are longer, you can take longer, more spectacular trails, covering more ground. In autumn, early October is the most propitious time. Even if the days are shorter, the clarity of the air is exceptional, and the color of the forest is terrific. It is a great reward for tourists who choose the autumn season.”
Tourists come to Retezat all the year round, and the fame of the park goes well beyond the country's borders. Zoran Acimov: “We have more and more foreign tourists, from an astonishing range of countries. They come from Japan, from Asian countries, you wouldn't believe they would come so far away. Most foreign tourists, however, are European, they come from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy. Surprisingly, in the last few years we've had more and more tourists come here from Israel. We talk to them when they get here, and we also have a book for impressions at our headquarter in Nucsoara. We urge tourists to write their impressions in it, and we have 99% positive impressions. They are impressed, and most of the time they are pleased with the experience.”
There you have an excellent offer for a great and relaxing vacation in the middle of nature. It is also worth mentioning that since this is a protected area, tourists are encouraged to travel here accordingly, with an eye towards protecting nature.