Mountains dominate the skyline around Bran. To the southeast is the almost sheer wall of the Bucegi range – it takes about seven hours to hike from Bran to Mălăieşti or eight hours to Mount Omu, where there are cabanas. To the west, gentler slopes run up to the Piatra Craiului, a 20km-long narrow limestone ridge known as the Royal Rock. Now a national park, it’s home to bears, lynx, chamois and over a thousand species of flowers including edelweiss and the endemic Piatra Craiului pink.

The gateway to the park, and a good starting point for hikes, is ZĂRNEŞTI, some 25km west of Braşov and reachable by bus and train via Râşnov. The town was notorious in communist times for its 1 Mai bicycle factory, which in fact produced heavy artillery and ammunition, largely beneath a hill just east of the centre.

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