Places of interest29 November 2018

Lake Bucura – the largest glacial lake in Romania

The trails in the Retezat Mountain are especially beautiful because they are scattered with “blue eyes”. One of these eyes is Lake Bucura

Lake Bucura - The Retezat Mountains

Lake Bucura - The Retezat Mountains

The Retezat Mountains are considered the pearl of the Carpathians. The difficulty of the trails is more than compensated for by the spectacular sceneries and the feeling of being in a place uncorrupted by man. These mountains alone have over 50 glacial lakes, among which, worth mentioning are Lake Zănoaga – the deepest glacial lake in Romania, Tăul Porții – the highest lake in Retezat (2269m) and Lake Bucura – the biggest glacial lake in Romania.

In fact, the Retezat Mountains are called “the enchanted land with blue eyes” due to the many glacial lakes found here. Each one is special and beautiful in its own way, but the largest and most significant is Lake Bucura.

Lake Bucura covers a surface of almost 9 hectares and is located at an altitude of 2040 m. It has a length of 550 m and a width of 160 m. Its depth reaches 15,5 m. It is fairly easily accessible, itself providing access to the highest peaks in Retezat: Peleaga, (2,509 m), Păpușa (2,508 m) and Retezat (2,482 m).Tourists can even camp on its edge if they want to rest before attempting the summits.

Glacial lakes are formed by glacier erosion. The glacier erodes the land and then melts and fills the created cavity. Tarn lakes like Bucura – lakes formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier – are usually shallow and are found in the vicinity of a mountain ridge.

To get to Bucura, you can start from the village Cârnic. The only way of access is a forest road, covered with large boulders that multiply the more you ascend. If you follow it, you will first get to Pietrele Cabin after a two hour walk. From here, you continue your track through the coniferous forest until you get to Gențiana Cabin. Next, the trail takes you on a difficult mountain plateau that is covered with huge boulders and juniper trees.

As you get higher, the vegetation lessens and your endurance is more challenged by steep ridges and collapsed stone blocks that you sometimes have to climb with the help of your hands. After this difficult ascent, you get to a ridge called Curmătura Bucurei, from where you can see the lake. Now all you have to do is descend the ridge in order to get to your destination. But once there, you will be fully rewarded for your effort. The pure, unaltered beauty of this place, the mountain tops within reach, the fresh air, the clear uncontaminated springs, the wildlife… you have to experience it to understand. 


“Lacul Bucura, cel mai mare lac glaciar”, On the road, September 29th 2012, Available at:, Accessed: 08.19.2015.

“Munţii Retezat”, Welcome to Romania, Available at:, Accessed: 08.19.2015.

“Trasee turistice către Lacul Bucura, munții Retezat”, Blogul Hotel Guru, July 10th 2015, Available at:, Accessed: 08.19.2015.

Guță, Daniel, “Lacurile glaciare: minunile albastre din Parcul Naţional Retezat”, Adevărul, September 10th 2014, Available at:, Accessed: 08.19.2015.  

Andra Mihaela Cimpean




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