Located on the banks of the Dambovita River, Bucharest is the largest city and the capital of Romania with more than 1.8 million residents. It is also the most prosperous city in Romania as the center of finance, culture, and industry.
Its iconic landmark is the stunning Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) which has more than 1,100 rooms. But Bucharest is also a fantastic place for a hike. Whether you are thinking of taking a long hike in the rugged or just enjoying a bit of light walking through Dracula's Castle, this is the city to do it in.
Although many die-hard mountain climbing hikers would rather hit the Carpathian Mountains, Retezat Mountains, or Fagaras Mountains, these are quite a drive to get to so you will have to plan an itinerary of a few days for any of these. The closest mountains to Bucharest are the Bucegi Mountains, which are about two hours to the north.
The parks in Bucharest are the best places to look for hikes. Some of the Bucharest parks include Cismigiu Gardens, Tineretului Park, the Botanical Garden, and Herastrau Park. Each of these has several walking paths or trails that can be considered hikes with spectacular views of the mountains all around Bucharest.
You can also visit some of the attractions like the Romanian Athenaeum, Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, or take a stroll through Old Town. But first, drop off your luggage and large bags at a luggage storage locker in Bucharest because you cannot hike with them!
Our Top Hiking Trail Picks in Bucharest
Tineretului National Park
Opened in 1974, Tineretului Park was designed as the central recreational space for southern Bucharest with approximately 230 acres and 13 trails to explore. Choose your best level from the easy 4.1-mile Parcul Natural Vacaresti Loop to Mihai Bravu which takes 1.5 hours to the 12-mile intermediate Arcul de Triumf Parcus Herastrau Loop which takes about 4.5 hours.
Piatra Craiului National Park
Just a short walk from Bran Castle, there is a very remote village by the name of Zarnesti. Continue on and you will be in the Piatra Craiului National Park. Piatra Craiului is a great option whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker looking for a more technical trail. But the hike to the Piatra Craiului Mountains, which are 3.5 miles to the northwest boasts the highest peak of La Om at 7,339 feet above sea level.
Herastrau National Park
Also known as King Michael I Park, this 462-acre park surrounding Lake Herastrau was renamed to honor the former King of Romania when he died in 2017. The main trail in this park is the Herastrau Park Loop, which is 3.6 miles and is rated as easy. It takes approximately two hours to complete, including seeing some of the sites.
The 36-acre Cismigiu Gardens surrounds a small lake and was established in 1847, making it the oldest park in central Bucharest as well as one of the largest. It is full of landmarks including stone busts of 12 famous Romanian writers, the Monument of French Heroes, and the Monument of American Heroes. There are several hikes you can choose from in this park, from the easy one-mile walk around the lake to the difficult 12.6-mile hike from Piata Unirii that will take more than five hours.
The Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Bucharest, which is located in the neighborhood of Cotroceni just a short way from the city center, is the largest in the country. Boasting more than 10,000 species of plants the 2.3-mile hike is rated as easy and takes about two hours, depending on how long you linger at each bloom.
Just to the northeast of Bucharest, you can find another forest, although it is not technically in Bucharest per se. The Tunari Forest hiking trail is an 8.3-mile loop that features spectacular views, fields of wildflowers, and a plethora of wildlife. Although it is an easy hiking trail during the summer, you may need snowshoes in the winter.
Mills Lake is a hiking loop of approximately six miles and features some great waterfalls, a lake, and stunning views. During your hiking trip, you will likely see a variety of native birds, waterfowl, and other wildlife too. This is an easy hiking trail good for any skill level, typically taking about 2.5 hours. Looking for something to do with the kids? This hike is a great choice.
Free Twister Loop Hiking Trail from Lujerului
This hike around Mill Lake, the largest lake in Bucharest, is of intermediate difficulty due to the terrain. You may start off at a lifesize Twister game but keep going and you will find yourself climbing stairs, crossing rivers, and dodging mud puddles. However, it is only 5.7 miles and there are no steep inclines so it typically takes about 2.5 hours.
The Ciucas Mountains make you feel like you are at the edge of two rock fortresses: the Eastern Carpathians and the Southern Carpathians. Its landscape lies beneath monumental geological formations, providing a magnificent mountain outlook from Romania. As soon as you leave Bucharest you have the possibility of climbing a height between 900 and 954 feet.
Seven Ladders Canyon
This hiking trip is typically part of a package of tours you can choose from in the city. Discover hidden nature trails and explore a region that has been mostly untouched for hundreds of years. You will feel like you are in a whole new world with the city so far away and so much beautiful nature surrounding you. This is one of the most unique tours in the country and with guided tours, you cannot get lost.
Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle)
The hiking trip to Bran Castle is worth every single step, even those that take you up into the Piatra Craiului and Bucegi Mountains. It starts with a steep climb through the remote villages of Pestera and Magura. This is a five-mile trek that takes you to one of the most talked-about castles in the world.
If some of these hikes are too mild for you or if you just want to see Poland from the highest spot in Romania, you can always try Moldoveanu Peak. It is about 4.5 hours from Bucharest in the Southern Carpathians. It is 8,346 feet above sea level and is considered a difficult hike that usually takes an experienced climber and hiker about two days. It is best to join one of the tours for this trip into the mountains.
Easy Hikes in Bucharest
Bucharest is full of places to trek, from climbing hikes that take you to a high altitude to casual walks through the park. No matter what you are looking for, you can find a diverse range of the best Bucharest hiking trails within minutes of the city. Go further north for some easy walks in the Fagaras Mountains or just take a stroll through one of the local parks.
Source Park Trail
With just over two miles, the Source Park trail is easily accessible by public transportation and is surrounded by large green open spaces near the Palace of the Parliament. You will get some spectacular views of the royal grounds and the palace as well as several amenities like a playground, picnic area, and even ping pong tables.
Baneasa Forest Loop
The Baneasa Forest is the only forest in the city limits of Bucharest and is a wonderful breath of fresh air as well as a fantastic place to take a nice easy walk. The Baneasa Forest Loop is a five-mile trek with an elevation gain of 500 feet that typically takes approximately one hour. It starts and ends at the Baneasa Zoo so you have a chance to visit that as well.
Intermediate Hikes in Bucharest
These hikes are considered intermediate or of medium difficulty and you will need to wear your walking shoes and bring a backpack of essentials with you. Those who want to hike these trails should also have an above-average physical condition to do some of the more intermediate rock climbing.
Japanese Garden Herastrau Hiking Loop from Pipera
Build up an appetite for Bucharest street food with this hike! This hiking path is a bit more rugged than the regular Herastrau Park Loop as it adds in the more difficult terrain to the south of the lake. The hike typically takes about four hours and is 5.6 miles long. The hiking paths vary from natural dirt and gravel to a small section of paving.
Lipscani Street Hiking Trail
Starting at Izvor, this is a 10.5-mile hike over intermediate paths. Some of the features include rocky areas and hills as well as mud after a good rain. The main highlight is the Arch of Triumph and a path along Cismigiu Park. Some of it is paved but it is mostly dirt and gravel. Those in good physical health can expect it to take about 4.5 hours to complete.
Difficult Hikes in Bucharest
For hiking through the difficult trails in the city, you will need to have a high fitness level and have a great deal of hiking and mountain climbing experience. There are many hiking trails in and around Bucarest that can also be considered day trips. If you want to visit the famous Carpathian Mountains though, you will need to travel about eight hours just to get there. Either way, it is best to hire a mountain guide if you are new to the area.
For example, if you want to do some climbing, the nearest mountain range is the Bucegi Mountains in Bucegi Natural Park, which are actually part of the Southern Carpathians. The Bucegi Mountains are less than two hours from Bucharest and you can find over 100 hiking trails.
Caraiman Peak on Bucegi Mountains
Keep going on to the north through the Bucegi Mountains hiking trails to reach Caraiman Peak where you can see Heroes Cross (Caraiman Cross), a monument built-in 1928. Continue on a bit further up the Bucegi Mountains to get to Omu Peak on Bucegi Plateau, one of the highest peaks in the country overlooking Prahova Valley.
The top of Omu Peak is more than just a mountain with breathtaking views. Omu Peak boasts a Romanian cabana that is the highest mountain building in the Carpathians. You will actually start near the cable car, so you can get a ride back if you get tired. In fact, the cable car from Bustena takes you directly up Bucegi Plateau if you want to ride up.
Hiking Trails in Bucharest
After a nice refreshing day spent hiking in the mountains or a natural park, enjoy a hot plate of lamb haggis or cabbage rolls at one of the great restaurants in Bucharest. Some of the traditional Romanian foods are not to be missed while you are in town.
Whether you want an easy meandering walk through the city or a rugged adventure in the woods and wildlife, Bucharest is known for having some of the best hikes in Romania. With so many trails, you may want to plan your itinerary carefully so you can do as much hiking as you can.