The Bucegi Massif is one of the most famous tourist area in Romania, the cities at its base are located about 1 ½ – 2 hours away from the capital.
How do you get to Bucegi Plateau?
Trans-Bucegi or “The Road of Old Women” (Drumul Babelor), has the official denomination DJ 713 and connects between Sinaia, Lake Bolboci and Targoviste. At the intersection of Dichiu Cabin starts a road that takes you up to Bucegi Plateau, near Piatra Arsa Cabin.
The cable car is suitable for those who want to spend more time on the plateau without getting tired too much. Logs can take the cable car to Babele, Ialomita Cave – Babele; cable car or gondola from Sinaia – Cota 1400 and Cota 1400 – Cota 2000. You must keep in mind that most of them don’t work or begin later on Tuesday, the revision day. The work schedule varies between 7:30 and 17:45, but it can be affected by the wind and you can only find out when you get there.
If you want to move your legs, it’s good to know that you can attack the Bucegi Mountains from almost all directions. There are trails that take you to the Omu’ Peak from the following cities: Sinaia, Busteni, Rasnov, Bran, and not only. The most well-known are the Big and Small Jeeps (Jepii Mari and Mici). Make your research before so that you know what mark you need to follow in order to reach your desired destination.
The Omu’ Peak – is the highest peak in the Bucegi Mountains (2505 meters), but also the most populated. The Bucegi Massif lies between Prahova Valley and Ialomita Valley. On a clear day from this peak, you can even see Bucharest.
Once here, you come across the Omu’ Chalet, which is approximately the same place since 1888, being one of the first buildings of its kind in the Carpathians. And if you find yourself here on a cool day, a hot soup will go straight to your soul.
Babele – is the main starting point for hiking on the Bucegi Plateau. Here are some rock formations that look more like some “mushrooms”, which are known as “Babele” (Old Women). Unfortunately, they are surrounded by a pretty tall metal fence that kinda ruined all their charm, most likely it has been set up to stop tourists from climbing them. In the immediate vicinity of the Babele is the Sphinx. The formation of the two monuments created a lot of theories and legends, but most likely they occur due to erosion caused by water, wind, and ice.
The Cross of the Heroes – is a monument whose construction was completed in 1928, on Mount Caraiman, to honor heroes fallen in the First World War.
1. Small Jepi – Babele – Sphinx – Piatra Arsa Cabin – Big Jepi
We consider almost all the routes difficult or at least with an average difficulty for the not trained people.
The first route is for people with a good physical condition, who have little experience on the mountain, know to understand the marking and respect nature. For this route, you have to reach Busteni as early as possible at the cable car. Next to it begins the route, and it’s also where it ends. If you come by car you are in the advantage because you can park there and do not bother to go to the train station.
As we said above, the first rule is to start as early as possible and that’s because it takes more time than you can expect to admire nature. A few meters from the cable car, at the edge of the forest there is a road bifurcation, one on the left, for the “Jepii Mari” and one on the right for the “Jepii Mici”.
We followed the “Jepii Mici” path and we came down on the “Jepii Mari”, and we made the right decision, but you can draw your own conclusion at the end. “Jepii Mici” is steep, full of stones, and going under the cable car, but they are very beautiful. You have dreamy views, the trail is well marked and well defined.
Towards the end you’ll feel tired, that’s why it’s ideal to take a little break when you get on the plateau, enjoy a snack and admire the view. After the little break (or long break, how you like it) the “Babele” and the “Sfinx” are close, and they can be visited quite easily, no need to pay a fee or have a specific program, they are at your disposal to admire (but don’t touch or scratch them). Admiring of the monuments should not take more than 30 minutes, after which we continue our way to the Piatra Arsa Cabin, which is on the plateau and which can be a good stop to refuel you bottle of water (it is important to know that the water sources are few to none), and for a good and fairly cheap food, considering that you eat at an altitude of almost 2000 meters (1950 m).
After a nice meal at the cabin and after we have cooled (if we talk about summer, or warm up if it’s spring or autumn) we filled the water bottle and continued the adventure, descending on the “Jepii Mari” trail. This trail has less difficulty, without steep slopes and with much more vegetation, forest. The only difficulty was its length, we have the impression that it will never end, especially after our full day.
This route can be done both with mountain boots and trail shoes, you need shoes that will not let you slip easily. You will also need a snack and a water bottle, and of course the sunscreen.
2. Cable-car Busteni – Babele – Sphinx – Cross of Heroes – Omu’ Peak – Cable-car Busteni
The second route is one that can be divided into two, as follows.
The first option is to take a cable car from Busteni to 2000, where you can visit “Babele” and the Sphinx, then we go to the Cross. If you can take the first cable car (7:30-8 am) and move on the plateau quickly, it can go up to Omu’ Peak and back. The road is easy and long, climbing slightly almost all the way, at the end of the trail there will two steep peaks, but not something to be afraid of. The scenery is a wonderful one if you are lucky to be sunny. We caught fog and clouds on our way up, and the sun out on our way back and it revived an amazing landscape.
Walking all the way through clouds and strong wind, we were a little frozen when we reached Omu’ Peak Cabin, so the food offered was really great, tasty and especially hot. Just as the cabin at Piatra Arsa, the prices are acceptable given that someone offers you warm and good food at such altitude and isolation from the city. Unlike Piatra Arsa, where you have a well-structured menu and you can find something to suit your taste, at Omu’ Peak is just one menu (soup, main course, and dessert) of the day, which isn’t a bad thing if you want to be sure the food you eat is fresh.
On return, you have to hurry a bit because the cable car closes early and if you lose it, you have only two options, go down on the Jepi trail or spent the night at Babele Cabin. That’s why this route is difficult and if you think you can not move fast enough, you better limit yourself to a walk on the plateau, visiting Babele, the Sphinx and the Cross. Being a more relaxing route, ideal for a family day out at weekends.
The second variant for this route is to go by car to Piatra Arsa Cabin, yes, you can also drive by so-called TransBucegi road. Especially during the weekend, a good piece of the plateau, near Piatra Arsa, turns into a large parking lot. You have to keep in mind that this road isn’t officially open, and if you are not lucky and you go on a day when police want to do their job, you can also get a fine.
If you choose this option it is advisable to get up early in the morning to catch the parking space and not be very crowded on the trail between Piatra Arsa – Babele. TransBucegi is a relatively new road, recently paved, quite narrow but it has parapets (almost all the way) and connects Sinaia and Lake Bolboci (which is on the other side of the massif). Going by car, you are not pressed by time, so you can make the whole trail without problems, having time to enjoy nature, which is very important.
Just as in the description of the first route, you need a snack (small or large depending how hungry you know you will get) and water. The water is quite rare on the plateau, with few places to replenish (usually cabins, but not at all of them for free).
These are just two of the possible routes. We are waiting for you to tell us about your experiences.