Located in south central Romania in the Bucegi Mountains, Bucegi Natural Park covers a total area of 325 km2 (~125 sq mi). Half falls within the Dâmbovita county with the remainder split relatively equally between Prahova and Brasov. Unsurprisingly, given its location, it is a mountainous landscape with caves, canyons, sinkholes, valleys and waterfalls, alongside meadows and forests. Significant features include the Babele (Old Women) and the Sphinx.
Prahova Valley is the most popular weekend destination for people from Bucharest and numbers of tourists from other countries is increasing. The park was created in 2003 to protect the natural beauty of the Bucegi Mountains area in the light of increased visitor numbers.
The diversity of the landscape and altitudes up to 2,500 m (~8,202 ft) hosts a wide diversity of plant species, including rhododendron, and the protected species edelweiss and white ivy. Trees include isolated specimens of yew and Swiss pine, juniper and mountain ash.
Fauna includes the Alpine newt, capercaillie, chamois, raven and the protected species: yellow-bellied toad and wolf.
Bucegi Natural Park has a good network of 39 well marked and well maintained hiking trails, ranging in length from just 20 minutes to 13-15 hiking hours.
Ialomita cave, at an altitude of 1,530 m (~5,020 ft), features a 16th century monastery at the entrance. A small entrance fee helps pay for cave’s lighting. Its official length is about 480 m (~1,574 ft), but scientists estimate its stretches to 1,120 m (~3,674 ft) of cave galleries.
With its ski resorts and great access for various mountain destinations, Prahova Valley is a major tourist region and an especially popular destination for winter sports fans, hikers and mountaineers.
The park is easily accessible from the popular resorts in Prahova Valley, less than two hours north from the capital Bucharest.