In the mountains. Looking for bears… and castles

There are about 5000 brown bears living in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania.

After seeing a bear cross the road the other night during a night-time drive down a mountain (see transfagasan pass post), I wanted to see more. I spent the next 3 days touring the Piatra Craiului Mountains and the Parcul Natural Bucegi trying to look for more bears.

I didn’t see any. This post has 1 bad picture of a bear (2 if you count the picture of the bear sign). Still, I thought I’d share my 3 day mountain detour with you anyway…

looking-for-bears-romania-map

Bear facts:

  • The brown bear is one of the largest species and weigh between 300 to 700kg (largest in Romania weighing 480kg)
  • brown bear population of Romania is the largest in Europe outside Russia (estimated 4500 – 5000)
  • they live for up to 30 years
  • the highest bear densities are found in the areas of Brasov, Harghita, Covasna, Mures, Bistrita, Arges, Vrancea and Sibu counties (central part of the Romanian Carpathians)
  • autumn can be a dangerous time as bears use the same paths and roads as humans to enter the villages where they raid gardens for apples, plums and pears.

A story I heard: I heard some story of a drunk student who started a fight with a bear in a neighbourhood street of Brasov. He didn’t win. ­­

A 3 day tour of the Southern Carpathians – I want to see a bear!

I’ll start with the worst thing about the mountains: Loads of Romanians selling big inflatable balls along the roadsides. Someone must be buying these …?
I’ll start with my least favourite thing: people selling big inflatable balls along the roadsides. Someone must be buying these?
In Romania, if you see people selling tat, always expect a to see a castle round the corner
In Romania, if you see people selling tat, always expect a to see a castle round the corner
woahh a bear! Oh wait… Another wild dog. They’re pretty friendly though despite what on the Internet says.
woahh a bear! Oh wait… Another wild dog. They’re pretty friendly though despite what on the Internet says
I went to the village of Sinaia. It’s a good village for access to the Bucegi Mountains. There’s a cable car to the top. I started walking up the hill to Hotel Cota 1400. There are numerous hiking routes coming off this road. This is all bear land.
I went to the village of Sinaia – a good village for access to the Bucegi Mountains. There’s a cable car to the top. I started walking up the hill to Hotel Cota 1400. There are numerous hiking routes coming off this road. This is all bear land
I stulmbed on this castle (Peles castle) so I took an unnecessary, overindulgent HDR photograph. Pretty good castle.
I stumbled on this castle (Peles castle) so I took an unnecessary, overindulgent HDR photograph. Pretty good castle.
Yes! Bear signs. This is what I want. I think it says something about not leaving litter because a bear will come and fight you… ?
Yes! Bear signs. This is what I want. I think it says something about not leaving litter because a bear will come and get you
I heard that going into bear land when it’s dark in autumn is a stupid thing to do – let alone all the litter. No one knows where I am. I’m going back to the van.
I heard that going into bear land when it’s dark in autumn is a stupid thing to do (it was getting dark). But with the litter as well? Surely I’m asking for it? No one knows where I am. I’m going back to the van
I came back in the morning but this time with a bike. Bears can run 30mph! My bike can go 31. I cycled right up to the hotel Cota (1400m)
I came back in the morning but this time with a bike. Bears can run 30mph! My bike can go 31. I cycled right up to the hotel Cota (1400m)
More dogs at the top. There are so many to choose from.
More dogs at the top. There are so many to choose from
Woahh. Little bear cubs! … Oh no, just another bunch of roadside puppies. Pretty cool dogs
Woahh. Little bear cubs! … Oh no, just another bunch of roadside puppies. Pretty cool dogs
(Yeah I used this picture on the other post as well) So I didn’t see any more bears. This remains the best picture I have.
(OK you’ve seen this already on the best road in the world post) This remains the best picture I have.

I didn’t see any more bears but I had a great time exploring these mountains. If you like wildlife, camping, hiking, climbing then you have to go to Romania. I’d love to come back in the summer for a few days/weeks of camping and exploring. This is free-camping country!

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