Activities

Walkers are spoilt for choice with 516km of marked trails, most of them substantial five-plus hour treks. Excellent hikes begin from Râușor, northwest of the park, to Cabana Pietrele and deeper into the park. Cabana Gura Zlata is another key entry point. Retezat Park Administration Centre is a superb first port of call for hikers.

Worthy trails include the following. Approximate durations are one-way, and vary according to fitness levels.

Râușor to Lake Ştevia (three to four hours) This medium-difficulty trail follows red markings past spruce forests to a glacial lake.

Cabana Codrin to Poiana Pelegii (5½ hours) Start at Cârnic north of the park towards Cabana Pietrele along the blue trail, peaking at Lake Bucura (total elevation difference is more than 1200m) before a descent to Poiana Pelegii.

Cabana Pietrele to Lake Bucura (6½ hours) The challenging yellow trail hoists hikers to 2041m-altitude Bucura, the largest glacial lake in the Retezat Mountains. The lake is also reachable by seven-hour hike from Cabana Gura Zlata.

Sleeping

Choose between no-frills hiking huts within the park, and simple pensions on its outskirts. Sleeping options in the Retezat Mountains aren't usually luxurious, or indeed charming, but the scenery amply compensates. Haţeg is a good base if you have a car and want access to restaurants, supermarkets and other amenities.

Eating

Haţeg has a couple of restaurants and supermarkets, otherwise you'll be eating at your guesthouse. Stock up on picnic provisions well before arriving in the national park.