Retezat Overview

Retezat National Park, established in 1935, is one of Romania’s oldest and most cherished national parks, located in the southern Carpathians, in the Hunedoara County. The park spans an area of approximately 380 square kilometers (147 square miles), encompassing the Retezat Mountains, which are part of the larger Retezat-Godeanu mountain group. This area is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity, breathtaking landscapes, and the highest number of mountain peaks over 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) in Romania, including Peleaga, its highest peak at 2,509 meters (8,232 feet).

Retezat National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and scientists alike, with its pristine glacial lakes, over 80 in total, earning it the nickname “the blue eyes of Retezat.” These include Bucura, the largest glacial lake in Romania, nestled amidst rugged mountain scenery. The park’s diverse ecosystems range from dense coniferous forests at lower altitudes to alpine meadows bursting with wildflowers in the higher reaches.

The park’s flora and fauna are exceptionally rich, with more than 1,200 plant species, a third of Romania’s flora, including numerous endemic and rare species. It serves as a sanctuary for wildlife, hosting large carnivores like brown bears, wolves, and lynxes, alongside chamois, deer, and over 100 bird species, making it a critical area for conservation efforts in Europe.

Retezat National Park offers a myriad of outdoor activities, from hiking and trekking on well-marked trails to exploring its scenic landscapes, making it a popular destination for those seeking adventure and tranquility in the wilderness. The park is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, highlighting its global significance for biodiversity conservation and sustainable tourism.

As a cornerstone of Romania’s natural heritage, Retezat National Park not only provides a refuge for wildlife but also offers a unique wilderness experience for visitors, embodying the untouched beauty and ecological diversity of the Carpathian Mountains.

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Park Map
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Retezat National Park Pictures

Retezat National Park Trails

Peleaga Peak Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 9 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 3,280 feet (1,000 meters)

Description: This trail leads to Peleaga Peak, the highest point in the Retezat Mountains.

Hikers will traverse dense forests, alpine meadows, and rocky paths to reach the summit, where they are rewarded with panoramic views of the park’s vast wilderness and glacial lakes.

Bucura Lake Circuit

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 1,640 feet (500 meters)

Description: Circling the largest glacial lake in Romania, this trail offers stunning views of the lake against a backdrop of towering peaks. The relatively easy path is perfect for families and casual hikers, providing a peaceful experience amidst the park’s pristine natural beauty.

Retezat Peak via Buta Valley

Rating: Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 10 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 4,265 feet (1,300 meters)

Description: For experienced hikers, this challenging trail ascends to Retezat Peak through the scenic Buta Valley.

The path includes steep climbs, rocky terrain, and crossing streams, culminating in breathtaking views from the summit over the entire national park.

Gentiana Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 980 feet (300 meters)

Description: Named after the alpine flower, this trail is known for its floral diversity and gentle streams.

It’s an ideal choice for nature enthusiasts and photographers looking to capture the park’s wildflowers and serene landscapes. The trail is accessible and suitable for all skill levels.

Zanoaga Gorge Loop

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5 miles loop with an elevation gain of about 1,500 feet (460 meters)

Description: This loop trail offers hikers the chance to explore the Zanoaga Gorge, one of the park’s most dramatic landscapes.

The trail features stunning rock formations, waterfalls, and the opportunity to spot wildlife. It’s a rewarding hike for those interested in geology and the park’s unique ecosystems.

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  • Romania Natural and Cultural, Retezat National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • SummitPost, Retezat Mountains,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Transylvania Beyond, The Retezat National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Trip101, 6 Trails Not to be Missed in Retezat National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Uncover Romania, Retezat National Park: Romania’s Most Precious Wilderness,, retrieved April 2024.
  • UNESCO, Retezat,, retrieved April 2024.