The Măcin Mountains are the oldest ones in Romania, and what they lack in height they make up for in the diversity of landscapes and flora. Their highest peak, Tutuiatu, is 467 meters tall, making this mountain range accessible to a wide range of hikers.
There are ten marked trails in the Măcin Mountains National Park, each revealing different scenery: rocky landscapes, wavy ridges, and the archaic formations on the Pricopan Heights mix with the forest-steppe woods where the Dobrogea peony grows, the beech forests, and the canyons dug by water streams. The western part of the range and the Pricopan Heights are used as observation points for predatory birds, and visitors can also expect to encounter turtles during their hike.
The park’s administration has set up an equestrian trail to discover the park, as well as a bike one. More on the available trails here.
How to get there: The Măcin Mountains are located in Tulcea county, in eastern Romania. Coming from Bucharest, you will need to cross the Danube in Brăila or Galați.
Băile Tușnad sits surrounded by fir and deciduous forests, in between the Hargita and Bodoc mountains. Sometimes called “the little Switzerland,” the resort is not just a destination for those looking to try the curative effects of its waters.
With so many massifs in the area, it is a good departure point for various trekking trails. One of the best known trails goes up to the Apor Tower, built in 1883 as an observation point. If the Ciucaş Lake, located in the middle of the resort, is not enough, another trail leads to the nearby St. Ana lake, the only volcanic lake in the country. It sits to the left of the Olt river, covering the bottom of an extinct volcano called Ciomatu Mare.
For those who would rather bike, the 10-km trail linking Tusnadul Nou to Bixad is the way to go. Forest routes, meadows and a suspended bridge over the Olt are part of the fun.
How to get there: Bucharest is some 243 km away from Băile Tușnad on the DN1/ E60, while Braşov is only 75 km away.
The commune of Moieciu, in Brașov county, is an oldie but goldie. Close enough to Bucharest to work as a weekend destination, it offers picturesque vistas throughout the year. It started to take off as a tourist site only some two decades ago but now accommodation options abound.
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Located in between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului, the commune is in an area made for wondering through the Popii or Băngăleasa valleys. Bran and its ‘Dracula’s castle’ is also close, as is Zărnești, where visitors will find a bear sanctuary and the Wolf Adventure Park.
How to get there: From Bucharest, the DN1/E60 covers the 182 km distance up to Râșnov and then down to Moieciu.
Wild and spectacular, the Nerei – Beusnita Gorges are part of the Cheile Nerei – Beușnița National Park, in western Romania. The gorges take up some 22 km, where the river Nera and its tributaries dug up canyons, caves and waterfalls. The Ochiul Beului lake, with its clear waters, and the Beușniței waterfalls are some of the area’s landmarks. The wider park is home to the Bigăr waterfall, one of the most beautiful in the country and where access has been made easier thanks to some recent works.
How to get there: Anina can serve as an entrance point to the park. It is 485 km west of Bucharest, via Drobeta Turnu Severin on the DN6/E70.
The city that has Eastern Europe’s coolest cafe culture and is the unofficial capital of Transylvania is filled with events this October. Cluj-Napoca hosts the Jazz in the Street event on October 14, the Transylvania International Book Festival, where Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares is a guest of honor, between October 2 and October 7, the local edition of Les Films de Cannes a Bucarest from October 26 to October 28, but also the International Wine Festival of Romania on October 27 and 28. You can also head towards the Cetățuiei Hill or the Botanical Garden for some colorful, fall views. More on the city’s landmark sites here.
How to get there: From Bucharest, you can reach Cluj by car via E81. By train, it is a ten-hour trip. For a shorter traveling times, Tarom and Blue Air connect the capital to Cluj.
(Opening photo: Visit Cluj Facebook Page)