Sometimes we need a break from our busy schedules at work. But we have tons of work to do at home too and no holiday planned for the next weeks. Then we can take a break from everyday routines and have one day hike into the mountains. There are 17 National Parks in Romania. Reaching the mountains is easy almost no matter where you are located. I went alone, but in an organized group, to wander around Bucegi National Park and see “Coltii Lui Barbes” (Barbes Fangs).
You arrive at Bucegi National Park after a 1,5 hours drive from Bucharest. However, if you plan to make this trip during the weekend, you must know the traffic is painful on this road. So, to travel 1,5 – 2 hours, you must leave very early in the morning or late at night. Otherwise, train your patience and prepare yourself for more than double the time. From Bucharest you have two options to get to Bucegi National Park:
- either the highway (A3) until Ploiesti city and the DN1 national road,
- or to use DN1 national road directly from Bucharest.
In my case, I’ve chosen a guided hike for this short escapade, with transport included. This way, I didn’t have to worry about driving.
I’ve looked online as usual to find some reviews, asked friends about them. The feedback I received was excellent. People often told me that you need a great physical condition to keep the pace and that their trips are more for the sportive type of person. I can’t say I am a very sporty person. I would say average.
So you can imagine that after choosing to make this 6 hours trip, I had some doubts if this is fit for me. Or instead, me being fit for it, haha!
I liked the fact that on their website for each trip you can find some recommendations concerning the necessary equipment. Depending on the trip, there is mandatory equipment and recommended equipment. For safety reasons, you should respect the items required in the “Mandatory list.”
Hiking along with 45 people
To my surprise, the group was quite big, like 45 people, whoa!. We left early at 6 AM. For so many people, we had four guides accompanying us. They took care of confirming the accessibility of the trail with people from Mountain Rescue and that everyone enjoys the hike to the max. The views were incredible! We also made some adjustments on our way because of the slippery muddy areas.
When you choose to go on such treks, you should expect the guides to make changes adjusting the route to weather conditions. You should train your flexibility and be ready for last-minute changes. It is always better to change the schedule or trail than to take unnecessary risks.
The guides were well trained and had the correct approach when it came to managing the group. All the way, they were encouraging the slowest people to walk in front and set the pace. Also, they had a good sense of humor telling jokes all the way.
It was a beautiful hike, indeed! Part of the trail was directly through the forest. This part I liked the most. Some areas were indeed steep, but they alternated with moderated regions, and so I could keep the pace quite well.
There were also enough breaks, well adapted to rest and admire the landscape. The hike lasted around 6 hours, and the ascend was 600 meters. We covered a distance of approximately 16 km. It was a medium difficulty hike.
The weather was perfect that day, sunny and not too hot so that our short expedition was even more enjoyable.
Some final thoughts
Three things I enjoyed about this short hike with Oxigen Tours:
1.The professionalism of the guides and the excellent management of the group. Also, funny and friendly people who created a pleasant atmosphere. I highly recommend them for any other trip.
2. Communication with the group. Very well structured email communication before, during, and after the trip. Also communicating the names of the guides and their contacts before the trip. After getting on the bus, we had to complete a list and mention any health problem we might have, for safety reasons. The follow-up email with a link to the photo album of the trip on Facebook was sent two days after the tour. Prompt, clean, and clear communication with the same rules for everyone.
3. Modern bus with a USB charger for phones (essential detail for me, hahaha!) and mini Tvs for every seat. Cool!
Fact and Figures
Bucegi National Park is one of the 17 National Parks in Romania and was founded in 1990.
The Park is 320 square km and has abundant wildlife. We can find here over 3500 animal species and over 4500 plant species.
Amongst the most famous and rare plants in Romania, this is the place where we can meet the Edelweiss. This flower is a landmark of the Carpathians Mountains. It symbolizes love and purity. In ancient times, young men who lived in the mountains were searching for this rare flower and bringing it to their loved ones, demonstrating their love and bravery. Nowadays, this is a protected flower, and it is a criminal act to pick it up.
So if you are wandering around Bucegi National Park and have an unexpected encounter with the Edelweiss, show your appreciation and kindness for nature: admire it and don’t pick it up. 🙂
Apart from trekking, there are some other activities that you can try in this area:
- Mountain bike
- Ski and snowboarding (you will find a lot of resorts in the area: Sinaia, Poiana Brasov, Busteni, etc.)
- Visit Bran Castle, Peles Castle, or natural rocky monuments like Babele and the Sphynx.
Make sure to check Oxigen Tour’s website and see their new programs. Taking into account the current conditions, the groups are smaller but the fun and joy are the same.