Fagaras Mountains

Also known as the “Transylvanian Alps”, Fagaras Mountains belong to the Southern Carpathians. They are situated in the southern part of Transylvania, orientated from east to west.

The main ridge is about 70 km long and 40 km wide, with an altitude above 2000 meters, with 8 peaks over 2500, from which Moldoveanu, 2544m is the highest in the entire country. They are bordered in the north by Fagarasului depression and Olt river valley, in the south by Campulung, Bradetu, Arefu and Jiblea depressions, in the west by the Olt defile and in the east by Barsa and Damboviţa rivers.

Fagaras Mountains are formed mainly from crystalline rocks. There are many glacial valleys and more then 50 lakes, especially in the northern side of the main ridge, between Suru and Berevoiu Mare peaks. In the north the slope of the secondary ridges are very steep, descending over 2000 meters in less then 10 km, while in the south the slope is milder and the ridges are much longer.

The flora is rich, changing according to altitude, from deciduous forests to spruce fir and pine forests, to sub alpine and alpine vegetation, above 1800m. There also are a variety of endemic flowers, including the edelweiss.

The fauna used to be rich, unfortunately the number of lynx, wolfs, deer, chamois and marmot decreased in the last century. Wild bores and brown bears are still to be found in a large number. There are a several bird species, including the mountain cock, the eagle and the vulture.

Crossing the massif from north to south, reaching an altitude of more then 2000m, is the Transfagarasan road, built in early 70’, during Ceausescu regime. It was built as a strategic road, now being the access way to Balea Lake and the center Fagaras main ridge, and a major attraction by itself.

Tourism is well developed, especially in the lower areas, hotels and pensions being spread on the valleys. For hikers there are only a handful of mountain huts, not exactly in the best shape, mountain refuges and camping sites. The hiking routes are marked and well maintained, but hiking on Fagaras require a good training and mountain experience, difficult and exposed passages being common on the high trail.