Apuseni Mountains - hiking in to the Western Romanian Carpathians

Apuseni Mountains - hiking in to the Western Romanian Carpathians

Page Type: Article
Activities: Hiking

Feel like the need of something different? 

Go explore the Apuseni National Park in the Apuseni Mountains (Romanian: Munții Apuseni and Hungarian: Erdélyi-középhegység) in Romania which belong to the Western Romanian Carpathians. Munții Apuseni in Romanian means Mountains "of the sunset" bordering the Partium and the western Transylvania region. The highest peak of the Apuseni Mountains is Cucurbăta Mare at 1849 metres a little above 6000 feet. One of the major attractions of this mountain range are the 400 caves it gives home to, one of the most famous among tourist being the Bears’ Cave .

The Apuseni National Park has lots of opportunities no matter what you’re into relaxing, trekking, hiking, cycling, rafting and speleology. Due to the dense population of this park, it will give a good point of view on the traditional local way of life, cuisine, and culture. There are many accommodation possibilities in the region; however nothing compares to sleeping by tent that allows you to truly connect to this place and to its people.

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Best road to Apuseni

There are various roads that lead to the the Apuseni National Park, so choosing the right road depends from which part of Romania you approach the park. There is a main road that runs through the middle of the park.

From Oradea: If you approach from the west border of the country, you’ll need to take the E79 from Oradea till Stei, where you’ll switch to national road 75 till you reach Ariesieni. The road from Oradea to Stei has been rebuilt in 2016 so you’ll have a smooth ride, however expect some bumps here and there from Stei.  

From Cluj-Napoca: If you approach from the middle of the country, drive from Cluj-Napoca on road E60 till you reach the town of Huedin, where you switch to national road 1b till you reach the town of Belis.

Highlights

The karstic landscape of the Apuseni Natural Park is an excellent place for soft walks, scenic routes and it’s fueled by many local legends. The Apuseni Mountains have more than 400 caves and other great attractions like Cetățile Ponorului or Lumea Pierdută (The lost world), which is an impressive hike that is suitable for anyone and which gives an unforgettable visual experience. Along your path you’ll be pleasantly surprised by many waterfalls that invite you to admire them, such an example is Laia Mare
Waterfall. Even though, the altitude isn’t bigger than 6000 feet the views are magnificent  in the Apuseni Natural Park with a lot of opportunities for photography. If you are looking for something more challenging the Galbena River track is longer and offers a more exhausting hike with cable sections, chains, and pleasant surprises everywhere.

Accommodation: There are plenty of accommodation possibilities in the area, as it is well developed, you’ll find a wide variety of hotels, guesthouses and lodges. Check HotelsCombined for accommodation offers in the Apuseni National Park. Although like previously mentioned, sleeping by tent is what will make your experience in the Apuseni Mountains complete and there is a great place to set up a tent in Padiş at Glăvoi camping site (use google translate). At Glăvoi camping you can build a campfire as long as you keep all rules and the protection measures, so you won’t start forest-fire. Designated fire-pits will ease your work. You’ll find freshwater behind the Mountain Ranger’s outpost.

Things to do 

  • Speleology: with over 400 caves around you that the Apuseni Mountains represent a perfect opportunity to try your speleology skills, of course we recommend to hire a guide which will help you with your cave quest.
  • Hiking tracks: there are various hiking tracks most of which have an easy to moderate level of difficulty.
  • Cycling: Mountain Bike or Touring Bike? Doesn’t really matter you have the opportunity for both.  With the recently completed roads you can enjoy your touring bike just as much as off-roading with your MTB.
  • Cuisine: You’ll have to try out the delicious stuffed cabbage  and local fruit pies and all kinds of other goodies from the Transylvanian locals.
  • Paragliding and hang gliding: check Griding Transylvania for details.
  • Therapeutical Spa tourism: need some refueling, there is a perfect spot in the Stâna de Vale area for some relaxation.

Unfortunately I could not find a complete map of all hiking tracks of the area but as a reference you can can consult this map. Another map you could use it GisModulo, it has many tracks included but, no English support for now.

Climate

Temperature average’s here between 4-6°C. In the summer, you can expect  pleasant temperatures ranging between 20°C -25°C and in the winter around -4-5°C. These numbers fluctuate more based on altitude. If you want to check the current local weather have a look Muntii Apuseni weather forecast on meteoblue.com. If you have been in this park share you experience below, would love to hear the stories of other fellow hikers.

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