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The Rarău and the Giumalău Mountains dominate the charming regions of Bukovina, enchanting the tourists with their picturesque beauty and wild natural landscapes. Full of dense coniferous forests and secular woods, bathed in quick and crystalline springs, animated by the cheerful chirping of the birds, these mountains invite you to discover their charm. On the trails of the massifs, at the foot of the great white rocks, or in the meadows full of multicolored flowers, you will come to know the harmony of the stone fortress surrounded by legends. Hike lovers will enjoy spectacular panoramas, mysterious sunrises and sunsets and ancient stories passed on from the elders.

Rarau Mountains

Romania’s historical regions intersect at the foot of the mountains – MaramureÅŸ and NeamÅ£ region, Transylvania and Bukovina. From MaramureÅŸ up to Siretului Valley, DragoÅŸ Vodă crossed wide forests, killing wild animals. In Moldavia he killed an auroch, whose head appeared on the flag of the region ruled by the prince. Although not impressive in their heights, the Rarău and Giumalău massifs fascinate you with their fairy tale landscapes, where you can see the silhouette of the Lady’s Stones (Pietrele Doamnei) or of the Priests of RarÓ‘u (Popii Rarăului). Each season spreads a special atmosphere on the hills and valleys here; the spring’s green carpet, the splendor of the sunny summer days, autumn’s golden shades and winter’s bright white coat offer you different experiences on the trails of the mountains.

The Beauties of the Rarău - Giumalău Mountains

Raising loftily over BistriÅ£a Valley, the Rarău-Giumalău Mountains house gorges dug in limestone, natural reservations and impressive belvedere points. The Lady’s Stones (Pietrele Doamnei) represent one of the most impressive tourist attractions. It is said that during a Tartar invasion, Petru RareÅŸ the ruler took his family and part of his fortune in the mountains, to protect them from the invaders. It is said that big rocks came off from the sky, falling over the place where the treasure was hidden. Lady Elena and her son got away alive, but from then forth the place got the name of the Lady’s Stones. The three imposing towers are situated close to the old Rarău chalet, at an altitude of 1634 meters. The area is declared a natural reservation due to the plant species here, protected by law: the edelweiss, Venus’s slipper, the mountain avens. The rocks can be escalated with special equipment, and the panorama they offer is amazing.

Rarau Mountains


Rarau Mountains

Only 1 kilometer away from the tall and white rocks there is the Bats’ Cave (PeÅŸtera Liliecilor), the biggest karst formation in the Rarău Mountains. The grotto is made of six rooms linked in an underground labyrinth. The cave is not set up for visitors, as its name comes from the bat colony populating it.

Another point of interest for the tourists are the Devil’s Mills Gorges (Cheile Moara Dracului), dug in stone on a length of 60-70 meters. The noisy water falls over the vertical walls in white cascades of various sizes. The geological reservation houses species of yew, spruce, mouse ear and a rich fauna, with lynxes, deer and Carpathian bears. The smooth valley gradually narrows, leading the traveler to Pietrele Arse, Popii Rarăului, Piatra Åžoimului or Piatra Zimbrului. Near Câmpulung Moldovenesc there are the Izvorul Alb Gorges, flanked by Piatra Buhei, an immense rock and a fossil of great importance. Owls nest in this reservation, which is one of their favorite places. Surrounded by grass lands and traditional households, the reservation offers a picturesque and harmonious view.

Don’t miss the Zugreni Gorges either, close to Chiril village. Between Pietrosul BistriÅ£ei and Giumalău massifs, BistriÅ£a River forms quick whirlpools, small cascades and islets. On one of these islets there is the Zugreni chalet. You can practice fishing, zip lining and rafting in the area and you can also find picnic spaces, to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. The reservation houses species such as the edelweiss, the dianthus, or the campanula alpine and rocks of surprising shapes: ColÅ£ul Acrii, Piatra lui Osman, Stânca Coifului.

Rarau Mountains


Rarau Mountains

In the Giumalău and Rarău Mountains the forests are very vast and long-lasting. The Giumalău secular forest and the Slătioara secular woods are two forest areas representative for these massifs. In the coniferous, deciduous or mixed forests one can see the capercaillie, the marten and the lynx or species of butterflies. Visiting Slătioara woods, the oldest in Europe, you will discover an extremely wild space, extremely quiet and perfect for meditation.

Explore the Giumalău and Rarău Mountains

Surrounded by white peaks, the Giumalău and Rarău mountains display their unique charm and reveal their pastoral splendor. On the hills you will meet flocks of sheep and you will hear shepherds’ stories, you will see wooden houses and golden haystacks. In the morning, the alpine meadow is surrounded by a thick fog, giving you the impression that you are above the clouds. Those who conquer the heights will enjoy generous and amazing panoramas. From Giumalău Peak (1857 meters) one can see the CÓ‘liman, Dornelor Land, the MaramureÅŸ Mountains, while on clear, sunny days you can distinguish the silhouette of the enigmatic Ceahlău.

The GiumalÓ‘u and the RarÓ‘u are easily accessible, having a vast network of roads. Acces is done from the following localities: Pojorâta, Chiril, Slătioara, Vatra Dornei, Câmpulung Moldovenesc. You can find accommodation at the foot of the mountains, at the hotel on the Rarău plateau or at the chalets in Zăgreni, Giumalău and MestecaniÅŸ. We recoomend some routes along which you can see the genuine beauties of the massifs.

Rarau Mountains


Rarau Mountains

RarÓ‘ul Chalet - Colbu Brook - Zugreni Route (3 hrs).

Rarăul Chalet - Rarău Peak - Popii Rarăului Peak - Todirescu Peak - Slatioara Secular Woods - Slatioara Commune Route (4 hrs).

Câmpulung-Est train station - Sihăstriei Glade - Rarăul Chalet Route (4-5 hrs).

Câmpulung Moldovenesc - Sub Varful Runcul - Prasca Hill - Obcina Flocenilor - Munceii RarÓ‘ului - Tiharaia Peak - the 1435 m altitude saddle - Rarăul Chalet Route (5-6 hrs).

Rarăul Chalet - the 1435 m altitude saddle - Stana din Basca - Fundul Colbului saddle - Polita Caprelor - Giumalău Peak - Ciungi Glade - Obcina Mica - Stana din Obcina Mica - Chilia Brook Route (10-11 hrs).

An alpine asphalt road starts from Câmpulung Moldovenesc leading the traveler near the Rarău Chalet. The serpentines and the marked trails intersect, revealing the stately Lady’s Rocks which ascend slenderly towards the sky. In Giumalău massif, in the place called 'Flat Foot' you will find the Mestecani Monastery, while in Chiril village there is the RarÓ‘u Monastery, two simple halidoms where you will discover the spirituality of the people in Bukovina.

Rarau Mountains


Rarau Mountains

The Rarău and the Giumalău are mountains which impress with their wilderness, being traveled by the lovers of authentic natural sceneries. Combining the abruptness and the greatness of the rocks with curious shapes and the harmony of the haystacks and the grass lands, they will lure you to the heights to offer spectacular panoramas. Their charm is enhanced by the picturesque of the traditional houses dotted about the hills and by the welcoming people, who keep their doors open for tourists. 

[An article written by Andreea Bertea]