What better way to escape from the daily routine than going hiking in the mountains? We decided to spend a gorgeous august day, hiking to the “ROOF” of Romania: MOLDOVEANU PEAK. Although it was a beautiful and enjoyable experience, it was also a physical challenge. We did 30 kilometres in 14h40′, with several rests included. Will we do it again? Definitely, but we would break the hike in two parts and spend the night at Podragu Cottage. If you want to find out how to get to Moldoveanu Peak as one day hike from Balea Lake, read the complete article:
We double-check if the weather forecast was going to be okay so we hit the road. Before heading to our accommodation, we wanted to see the famous road that crosses the Fagaras Mountains. With a rented car from Brasov, the road is easy to access in summer. The ride up is epic, with sharp turns that drive you up to 2.042 metres. Indeed Transfagarasan Road is one of the most amazing roads in the world so you should give it a try the day before the ascent. Once we enjoyed the views over the valley and took some pictures, we drove down to the accommodation.
ALBOTA TROUT FARM (Pastravaria Albota)
We chose to stay at Albota Farm – a compound with a vast trout farm, a guest house and a large restaurant with a terrace. There are horseback riding facilities, angling options for children and adults and a store with homemade products. We loved the rustical Romanian ambience, the quietness of the area and the traditional food which was delicious.
After a delightful dinner, we went to bed early that evening, right after packing our essentials for the ascent. You can spend the night closer to the ascending point, at one of the cottages at Balea Lake, and save half an hour. Or you can camp at Balea Lake as the majority does.
BALEA LAKE – CAPRA LAKE
We woke up early that morning and by 6 am we were already at Balea Lake. We parked our car, took our belongings and began our ascent from Balea Cottage. The first part of the climb it’s quite challenging, mainly being in the early morning, with less visibility and steep. It took us no more than 30 minutes to reach CAPRA SADDLE (Saua Caprei), and on our way up, we were greeted by a beautiful chamois. We bypassed the Capra Lake on the left side and followed the path. Unfortunately, the trail is not well signposted, but we knew we had to head east.
CAPRA LAKE – THREE STEPS TO DEATH
From Capra Lake, we walked on a rim for 2.5 kilometres, up and down, until we reached a junction of two trails. We ignored the path to Podragu Cottage(Cabana Podragu) and headed to THREE STEPS TO DEATH (La 3 pasi de moarte) where we had to climb some rocks on iron chains. Luckily we knew about this part and brought cloves which made the ascent easier. Be careful on this section; it’s quite challenging and slippery. You might find it more demanding on your way back when you are already exhausted.
NERLINGER MONUMENT – SAUA VARTOPULUI – SAUA PODRAGULUI
Another tricky descent from NERLINGER MONUMENT, with slippery rocks, which seemed like it never ends. We realized we are closing by as we were able to see Moldoveanu Peak for the first time. And it looked so beautiful and still so far! But we never gave up! We passed some gorgeous mountain lakes, Saua Vartopului and Saua Podragului before reaching Vistea Mare.
THE CHALLENGING VISTEA MARE
Another difficult part before reaching the Moldoveanu Peak is VISTEA MARE ascent. Rocky, slippery and challenging. We were already eager to reach the summit, so we found this part tricky. Another half an hour and we were already on VISTEA MARE PEAK, at 2.527 metres, the third highest peak in Romania.
Another 20 minutes from Vistea Mare Peak and we approached the summit. After 15 kilometres and 6h40′, at 12.40, we reached the highest point of Romania, MOLDOVEANU PEAK, at 2.544 m altitude! What a joy! We took a well-deserved rest, we ate for the first time and enjoyed the view and the silence.
MOLDOVEANU PEAK – BALEA LAKE
The route back was the same, but the motivation was gone. There are many steep climbs and descents on the way back as well, but the walks along narrow ridges are gorgeous. It took us another 6 hours to reach Balea Lake. And the last section, Capra Saddle, was challenging once again since the sun began to set.
Things to keep in mind:
- I recommend this hike only between June and September since the days are longer and the weather warmer.
- Always check and double-check the weather forecast, especially the humidity. If it is too humid, the possibility to rain at some point is high.
- The trek is quite demanding, so do not underestimate it and remember it will be a very long day, therefore start early morning.
- Bring a headlamp in case it gets dark and you haven’t reach the final point.
- Wear trekking shoes and trekking poles if you have some.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and some sunscreen.
- It would be a great idea to bring gloves for the chain crossing part.
- Bring a lot of water, considering there are no water facilities in the area.
- Bring some snack bars, fruits or sandwiches, whatever pleases you.
I hope this article – Moldoveanu Peak – One Day Hike From Balea Lake was helpful. If you have more time and you are interested in doing something different in the area, check my post about Rasnov City, only 130km from Balea Lake!