Retezat National Park

Retezat National Park, in the Southern Carpathians, in the Hunedoara county has the status of protected natural area by a national and international interest. The Retezat National Park in Romania was in 1979 recognized as a Reservation of the Biosphere. With almost 80 glacial lakes, 58 being permanent lakes, Retezat Mountain Mass holds almost 40% of the glacial lakes that exist in Romania. The Retezat Lakes, filled by the melted snow from the crests, offer dream-like views. Retezat National Park was chosen by New 7 Wonders Foundation as a great challenge for becoming one of the seventh natural wonders of the world. Over one third of the Romanian flora can be found in the Retezat Mountains and the National Park. The flora of the Retezat National Park consists of approximately 1190 plant species, of which 130 have the “endangered” or “vulnerable” status. High meadows within the Retezat National Park create a haven for rare alpine flora. Long, steep slopes of the Retezat Mountains are covered with different types of forest, especially beech, spruce and fir. At the sub-alpine level or Retezat, slopes shaped by ice are often protected by dwarf pine. The Retezat Mountains forest line reaches 1850 metes with some spruce adapted to the harsh climate. More than one quarter of the Retezat mountain range is above the 1750 meters altitude where timberline and glaciers have created terraced valleys that end in magnificent glacial bays, lakes and waterfalls. The highest peak of the Retezat Mountains, Peleaga, 2,509 meters. Extraordinary natural passes, gorges, cavernous limestone caves and sinkholes can be found on the south-eastern part of the Retezat mountain range, in the limestone area of the Retezatul Mic (the Small Retezat).

Wildlife enthusiasts will find in Retezat National Park many species of animals, including chamois, red and roe deer, wild boar, bear, wolf, and fox, and may come across lynx tracks. Otters find themselves at home in the park’s rivers. Chaffinch, song thrush, ring ouzel, red-breasted flycatcher, chiffchaff, nutcracker and the rare golden eagle, leaser spotted eagle, eagle owl, pygmy owl, crag martin, scarlet rosefinch, three toed woodpecker, horned lark are among the 120 nesting bird species of Retezat. Retezat National Park was included in the Important Bird Areas Network. Butterflies are abundant in Retezat, in number and species, and specialists designated two Prime Butterfly Areas here.

Hiking in Retezat National Park you may well lose your breath, not from the climb, but from the breathtaking views of nature at her wildest. Peaks of differing heights, many topping the 2450 meters mark (such as Peleaga Peak), provide hikers with plenty of challenges. Travelers willing to tackle them will have their efforts well rewarded. Local communities and cultural sights from around the Retezat National park area add a special value to that of the landscape and the biodiversity inside the Retezat National Park. In regard with the historical and geographical aspects, the Retezat National Park is located in the Hateg Lands, that are considered the cradle of the Romanian peoples and the Romanian language. The people in the villages of Salasu de Sus, Rau de Mori and Campu lui Neag preserve to this day the traditional lifestyle of the area.