For spring break this year, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a mini road trip to visit the place where he grew up: Busteni and its surroundings.
Busteni is a beautiful small town located at the foothills of the Bucegi Mountains, in the North of Prahova County, Romania. The town is 900m above sea level and its name literally means ‘tree logs’ in Romanian.
Even if it’s small, Busteni is quite a popular place with the tourists as from here you can easily go for hikes, rock climbing, mountain biking and it’s the easiest way to reach the plateau on top of the Bucegi Mountains through the Busteni-Babele cable car.
I got to Bucharest on Saturday morning and we left for Busteni in the afternoon. The town is located around 150Km North of the capital so it didn’t take us too long to drive there, but since I was exhausted after my trip from London to Bucharest, we decided to chill that evening and our adventure only started the next day.
We didn’t plan a hiking trip this time, as at the beginning of April when we were there, the amount of snow was still considerable on the top of the mountains and since it was also my first time there we decided to just drive around to visit the surroundings.
We drove from Busteni towards the Bucegi Plateau until we reached the Piatra Arsa Cabin (located at 1950m altitude) where the road closes for vehicles and you’re supposed to go by foot if you plan to reach the top of the Plateau. You could tell it had recently snowed in the area as the snow was taller than I was.
From there, we turned around and got back to Saua Dichiu, where the Bucegi Plateau starts, and followed the road towards Lake Scropoasa. Tavi remembered he had once hiked in the area and got to that lake by mistake, and he remembered it having a cool colour. He wasn’t very sure but he sold me and so we went on a quest to find the lake.
On our way there, we stumbled upon a really beautiful waterfall called Cascada 7 izvoare or the 7 springs waterfall. I simply love waterfalls and I was extremely happy to have found this one by mistake. The little cabin located at the top of the waterfall is actually a point for collecting mineral water which, I read afterwards, is said to be one of the purest in the country. I wouldn’t bet my life on that information though.
From the 7 springs waterfall we soon reached Lake Scropoasa – mission accomplished!
Located at 1200 meters altitude, Lake Scropoasa is an artificial lake built to supply water to one of the oldest hydroelectric power plants in Romania – the hydroelectric power plant from Dobresti.
Tavi was right about this place – the lake is stunning and it has one of the most beautiful colours I’ve ever seen.
From Lake Scropoasa we got to another reservoir, a much bigger one this time, called Lake Bolboci.
Also known as the sea from Bucegi, Lake Bolboci is one of the most spectacular attractions in the Bucegi Massif. It’s located at around 1400m altitude and it’s an important hub from where one can start hiking on marked trails in the Bucegi Mountains.
We drove around the lake which was still frozen and enjoyed some stunning views.
After enjoying the beautiful views of Lake Bolboci we started towards Padina Plateau, passing Tatarului Gorges. Tatarului Gorges has some pretty cool rock climbing routes which one day I hope I’ll have the courage to try out.
We went to Padina to grab something to eat at Padina Cabin and also visit a cave nearby called Ialomitei Cave. Unfortunately we couldn’t visit the cave as by the time we got there it was already closing but at least we filled our tummies and refilled our batteries.
After eating we were happy campers and started back towards Lake Bolboci. When we got to Bolboci Cabin, Tavi suggested we should try finding this place called Podul cu Flori or the Bridge with Flowers, which was supposed to be nearby. He had never been there himself but heard rumours about the beautiful views from that place. So after he called some friends to get more information about this place and how to get there, we started on another quest to find this Bridge with Flowers. And we found it but to my surprise there was no bridge there. It’s actually a plateau from where you can enjoy a stunning view of the Bucegi Massif and Lake Bolboci. Definitely worth climbing there.
During the communist regime, they blew up part of this mountain, called Zanoaga Mare, to get rock for building the Bolboci Dam nearby. It’s insane to see how much destruction humans can cause really…we blew up a mountain!
This was our last stop of the day as it was getting dark already and we were quite exhausted and needed the rest for the next day!
The next day we decided to take the cable car to the top of the Bucegi Plateau as I really wanted to see the rock formations called Babele and Sfinxul or the Sphinx.
Located at around 2200m altitude, the Sphinx and Babele (Babele literally means old ladies) are natural rock formations that, if looked at from a certain angle, resemble…you guessed it…one the sphinx of Egypt and the other, two old women. They have these shapes due to the process of erosion of the rock from the strong winds that happened over tens of thousands of years. They represent two of the most important natural symbols of Romania.
The Sphinx is 8 meters high and 12 meters wide and from the two rock formations I believe it is easier to spot the resemblance of this rock with a sphinx than of Babele to some old ladies. It took me ages to actually notice the old ladies in this rock formation. And it didn’t happen while we were on the plateau even though I stared at it from all the possible angles. I later saw a photo of it on an advertisement panel and had the revelation 😊
These 2 rocks aren’t the only ones you’ll spot while on the Bucegi Plateau but they are the most famous for resembling something somewhat familiar.
After freezing a bit up on the plateau, we took the cable car back to Busteni and we went to visit the Cantacuzino Castle. They were having a Matisse exhibition there at the time and I really wanted to see it. It was a bit disappointing as they didn’t have any original work by the artist. The exhibition consisted of around 80 litographies, so copies of some of his work.
They also included some traditional Romanian costumes to somehow reference Matisse’s famous painting called “La Blouse Roumaine”, a painting that made the Romanian blouse called ‘ie’ famous outside the country. That was a nice touch and the costumes were very beautiful but overall it wasn’t what I was expecting.
Afterwards we drove to Brasov to have dinner at this really nice Italian restaurant called Trattoria Del Chianti. Really tasty food and nice location. The only downside was the music they were playing while we were there.
After eating we went to the city centre and climbed to the place where Brasov’s citadel is located and we were lucky enough to catch the pink Full Moon that night! Even though it was more orange than pink it was still a breath-taking view and I’m so sad I didn’t have my tele lens with me to take a proper shot of it. The best I could do was the shot below.
This was my first time in Busteni and the Bucegi Mountains and I loved it. We later went back to Bucegi for my first proper hike, trying to reach the highest point of the Massif, called ‘Omu’ but I’ll write more about that in a future post.
Until next time, happy travelling!