Home to one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe, the Carpathian Mountains form a semi-circle around Transylvania and are made up of numerous national parks that represent outstanding natural beauty complete with dense forest, glacial lakes and lush rolling hills. At over 24km long and almost 2,000m high, Piatra Carilului also features the longest and highest limestone ridge in Romania and boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Carpathian Mountains. In fact, the landscape is so beautiful that the backdrop scenes for Cold Mountain were shot here.
In addition to the picturesque setting, the region is also home to an abundance of wildlife including chamois, wild boar, wolves and the elusive lynx as well as 110 species of bird, 270 species of butterfly and a plethora of fauna. The perfect Great Outdoors destination and home to bear hides where you’ll have the opportunity to view an array of wildlife including the mighty Brown Bear.
Mobile phone footage taken from one of the hides of a male brown bear.
Of an estimated worldwide population of 200,000 brown bears, the Carpathian Mountains in Romania host a whopping 60% of Europe’s brown bears. The Ursos Actos are amongst the largest living carnivores in the world, weighing up to 350kg and living for approximately 30 years with strong hearing and an excellent sense of smell. In Romania, the record weight found here is reported as 480kg! At the bear hide, you are highly likely to catch a glimpse of the bears feeding with around a 90% chance of sightings, while you’ll also visit the Libearty Bear Sanctuary which will provide plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with the rescued bears.
Footage taken by a guest of a mother bear leading her cubs in search of food with wild boars feeding in the background.
A visit to a bear hide takes place in the evening during the last few hours before dusk and then darkness fall over the Carpathian Mountains, offering an opportunity of seeing wild bears in their natural habitat. The hide itself is effectively a tree-house observation cabin where you sit and look out for bears and other wildlife. Due to big population of bears in the area, inevitably there has been human-wildlife conflict cities and towns encroaching on their natural habit, sighting of bears rummaging through bins looking for food was common. Now foresters leave tempting morsels of food around the area with the aim of attracting the bears over for a feast, this enables them to steer the animals away from urban areas where the bears are happiest and this has greatly reduced human-wildlife conflict.
Incredible footage taken by our very own Dragos of a mother brown bear will ferociously protect her cubs, even against a bigger male brown bear. Notice the little bear cub scaling the tree (midway up the left branch) to safety just as its mother gets territorial.
This means there is a very high probability of seeing these magnificent creatures but as with all wildlife, there are no guarantees! We’ve only had a handful of rare instances where bears weren’t sighted so there’s a high probability that you’ll get a glimpse. In fact, the last time we were up at the hide, we had a huge brown bear come within ten metres of the cabin!
“We had the most amazing trip on the Brown Bear Experience in Romania, seeing bears in the wild. Romania is an absolute gem and I would highly recommend a visit.”
J. Guy – Guest
The duration of the experience varies throughout the season depending on the exact location of the hide, the time of year and what you see but you can expect it to last anywhere from two to three hours. Depending on which hide the tracker chooses to use, it will be between a ten-minute to a thirty-minute walk to the location of the hide.
If you are interested in seeing brown bears in the wild then we’d highly recommend our 4-night Brown Bear Experience in Transylvania. For further information please have a look at the experience page here.