Vânturarița Mare and Buila Peaks, Buila-Vânturarița Mountains

The charm of the Buila-Vânturarița Mountains

Pahomie Hermitage (850 m) – Șaua Ștevioara (1,790 m) – Vânturarița Mare Peak (1,885 m) – Buila Peak (1,849 m) – Curmătura Builei (1,560 m) – Pâtrunsa Hermitage (1,010 m) – Pahomie Hermitage (850 m)

Access to the Pahomie Hermitage

Pahomie Hermitage is located in Vâlcea county, 30 km from Râmnicu Vâlcea via DN64 and DJ654. Required time 1 hour by car, because the last 12 km are on a forest road, in places quite bad. With care, this destination can be reached by any type of car. From Bucharest there are 200 km, which can be covered in 3 hours. You can park on the side of the road in the wider areas or in the area of ​​the waterfall in front of the hermitage, a good source of water supply. A ranger quickly crossed our path and we paid the 5 lei fee for access to the Buila Vânturarița Natural Park. Let it be said, I didn’t see any trash on the route.

About Buila Vânturarița Mountains

The Buila-Vânturariţa Mountains are part of the larger group of the Căpățănii Mountains, but they can be seen as a well-defined entity. They are karst mountains. The limits of the Buila-Vânturariţa Mountains are: to the east are the Bistriţei Gorges, to the west the Olăneștilor (Folea) Gorges, to the south the Oltenia Subcarpathians, to the north the Costești Valley and the Căpățănii Mountains through which they are connected by Plaiul Netedu, Plaiul Lespezi and Plaiul Hădărău. They have a southwest-northeast orientation, with a length of 14 km and a width of 1-2 km. The maximum altitude is reached in Vânturariţa Mare Peak (1,885 meters above sea level). Other important peaks are: Vioreanu Peak (1,866 m) and Buila Peak (1,849 masl).

You can read other information on the link https://buila.ro/localizare-parc.

Route Map

(click on objectives for extended version)

Technical Box

Difficulty: difficult

Duration / distance: 9 – 11 hours / 15 km

Marking: blue dot / red stripe / blue cross / red cross

Water sources: Izvorul Pahomie, Izvorul Otărăului, at the 2 hermitages; after Izvorul Pahomie there is a 7-hour trail without a water source

Minimum altitude: 850 meters above sea level, at Pahomie Hermitage

Maximum altitude: 1,885 meters above sea level, in Vânturarița Mare Peak

Difference in level: +1,200 m / –1,200 m

Remarks: inaccessible in winter, avoid the ridge on days with lightning, the ascent to Șteviora Saddle is steep

1. Pahomie Hermitage (850 m) – Stâna Ștevioara (1,400 m) – Ștevioara Saddle (1,790 m)

3 – 4 hours / blue point / difficult

Start from Pahomie Hermitage for our large group of 16 amateurs. A few hundred meters after the hermitage, a visible sign marks the actual entrance to the route. I appreciated that in addition to the estimated duration of 4 hours, it is mentioned that it is a difficult, steep route, prohibited in winter,

After only a few steps we come across a captured spring, Izvorul Pahomie, a reminder of water supply, especially since I didn’t see another source of water until I left the ridge, although there should be another option near Stâna Ștevioara. We were climbing quite seriously from the beginning, but in the coolness of the forest it is a pleasure. Some pick mushrooms, others medicinal plants, but they all blow harder and we take more breaks to regroup.

After 2 hours, close to elevation 1,400, we leave the forest. In the large clearing we see the construction of the former Stâna Ștevioara. From now on, the sun will smile directly at us or, to rephrase, it will hit us on the head. Hats, bandanas fulfill their role. As every time we enjoy everything that lives around us, for starters cockroaches and flowers. In the valley, you can see some cars parked in a clearing. I climbed something! To the right appears the unmistakable Ciuha Mare Peak of the Cozia Mountains, which we recognize by the antenna on the top. You can also see the peaks from the end of the Capatanii Mountains, from Olanesti. And extensive hectares of forest at the foot of the mountains up to the edge in the Subcarpathians.

The slope increases again, but the fact that we see the greatness of Vanturarița Mare Peak on the right gives us the strength to approach it even with small steps. The marking must be followed very carefully. Soon it looks as if we have reached the ridge. Partially true! In the front left, we can see the Buila Peak, the second target of the trip. We still have a little way to go between the two mentioned peaks, the flags of this massif. It really was a sustained climb of 1,000 meters difference in level, a route that many prefer to go down. It is obvious that Ștevioara Saddle must appear in front of us, which also marks the intersection with the ridge route.

Pachomie Hermitage


Pahomie Spring


we climb through the forest

Stâna Stevioara


Cozia Mountains and Capatanii Mountains


Capatanii Mountains

Vanturarita Mare Peak

Vanturarita Ridge

Buila Peak

close to Saua Stevioara

2. Ștevioara Saddle (1,790 m) – Vânturarița Mare Peak (1,885 m)

45 minutes / red band / easy

Since the terrain became flat and the map encouraged us, we shortened the route a little by turning right in front to reach the red lane, the classic ridge marking. We are at the peak. I went very well after the stall. 3 hours instead of 4 as written on the bottom indicator.

From Ștevioara Saddle, where we connected to the red tape, new horizons opened up over … the fence, towards the main and long summit of the Capatanii Mountains, of which Buila – Vanturarita is a part. The deep valley of the Costesti river separates Buila Vanturarita from the ridge line of Capatanilor. From here, next to it, you can clearly see Buila Peak on the left and Vanturarita Mare Peak on the right.

In fact, there is an intermediate peak up to Vanturarita Mare, but which the marked path leaves on the right. It is Ștevioara Peak(1,835 meters above sea level). As we climbed, it seemed steep, but look what’s under the ridge on the other side! After a gentle climb, we reach the highest point of this peak, Vânturarița Mare Peak.

the ridge route

Capatanii Mountains in the foreground

me on top of a chimney


3. Vânturarița Mare Peak (1,885 m)

On the top we also read the famous sign to Curmatura Oale in the continuation of the ridge over Vioreanu Peak, crossing an exposed and dangerous route, rough but marked! From other sources, the marking is precarious, and orientation difficult on the edge of the gorge.

We are lucky with excellent weather and start the horizon tour from Vânturarița Mare Peak (1,885 m above sea level). To the right, in the distance, with traces of the snow of Mount Fagaras, closer to Mount Cozia and Mount Capatanii. On the left, on the horizon, the Retezat Mountains, also with patches of snow, and a little further in front, as if they were a package, the Parang Mountains, with patches of snow. In the close-up, the entire summit of the Capatanii Mountains with the peaks of Negovanu, Nedeia, Ursu and closer Govora and Zmeuret can be seen. Yes, I have listed the peaks in Capatanii and I have not honored the distant ones that exceed 2,500 mdm, but we will keep talking about them this year.

A moment of rest .. of 15 minutes, at the top, we deserved it.


me on Vanturarita Mare Peak

Fagaras Mountains (in the distance)

Cozia Mountains

the group on Vanturarita Mare Peak

4. Vânturarița Mare Peak (1,885 m) – Ștevioara Saddle (1,790 m) – Buila Peak (1,849 m)

45 – 60 minutes / red band / easy to medium

We leave the highest peak of these mountains, Vânturarița Mare Peak, with the firm desire to return to this place. We quickly went down to Ștevioara Saddle on the same route we went up. Now we pass right at the point where the marked trails intersect. We continued forward in a gentle ascent, through a small juniper forest, towards Buila Peak.

Stevioara Saddle

Saua Stevioara and Vf. Vanturarita Mare seen from Vf. Buila

steep walls

5. Buila Peak (1,849 m)

From Buila Peak we again have a 360-degree perspective. First we were admiring Vânturarița Mare Peak from which we just came. The landscape that opened towards the descending part of the Buila ridge is spectacular, with steep walls towards the Costesti Valley. On an alpine meadow, located at the shelter below the peak, we took a break for lunch and regrouping. There follows an almost interminable break of an hour and a half in the shadow of a cloud that protected us from the sun.

Buila Peak

towards the Capatanii Mountains from Buila Peak

6. Buila Peak (1,849 m) – Curmătura Buila (1,560 m)

45 – 75 minutes / red band / easy

Come to the valley! We are climbing hard from the Buila Peak. The red band marking appears on stones through the grass. You can’t really go wrong with the path if the visibility is good, keep the ridge gently descending. The surrounding frames are fine. We pass Albu Peak and begin a descent among some spectacular rocks, up to the deep inlet called Curmătura Builei. The two refuges appear in the saddle, one disused, the other in good condition. What a wonderful place!

sharp rock

stone and pasture

spectacular cliffs

we go down to Curmatura Builei

7. Curmătura Builei (Saddle) (1.560 m)

We are doing a new regrouping in Curmătura Builei. Let’s take a look at the Curmătura Builei Refuge. But also to the surroundings. In the continuation of the ridge, you can see a beautiful chimney, which I took a picture of, even if we won’t go there, but also some impressive rocky peaks. We were admiring the dandelion meadow from ground level.


Curmatura Builei Refuge

in the refuge

Curmatura Builei


the chimney seen from Curmătura Builei

8. Curmătura Builei (Saddle) (1,560 m) – 2nd branch with yellow dot (1,000 m)

1.5 – 2 hours / blue cross / average

We will leave the ridge… We begin the great descent from Curmatura Builei from the level of 1,560 to below 1,000. There are two variants marked with a blue cross and a yellow dot. The two start together, separate a little further down and come together again. With the map in my hand, I scanned the area and realized that I even spotted the shorter path – the one with a yellow dot – but which crosses an exposed area.

We change the direction we came by 90 degrees to the left in the obvious descent along an opening valley. The indicator shows us 2 hours to Patrunsa Hermitage. We enjoy the flowering fir trees, but especially the spring, with cold water, which comes our way in a few minutes. It is the Spring of Otărăului. Some comrades were with water reserves on “empty”. Honestly, I didn’t like the taste of the water from this spring, even though I drank about 1 liter of water here.

Below the spring where we cross a dry stream, the two paths separate, but the place is not marked. You can see that a path turns half to the left and goes up to a rocky wall, it is the one with a yellow dot, and another well marked with a blue cross continues and soon enters the forest. Pay attention to this bifurcation if you want to opt for the spectacular route in case of good weather! Our path descends continuously through the forest and does not raise any obstacles.

I still whistle from time to time, that’s how it is in the forest… After 50 minutes we go out into a bright clearing, where we regroup and take pictures. A little further down we find the yellow dot marking.

the path that the yellow dot shortcut goes down

flowering firs

Spring of Otărău

we went down through the forest

rocks in the forest


bright clearing

9. Branch (1,000 m) – Pătrunsa Hermitage (1,010 m)

15 minutes / yellow dot / easy

From the well-marked branch, we will continue on the yellow dot, which we will follow from this point to the left at a sharp angle. We are already at the level of the hermitage, but a little further. On an almost flat path we head through the forest to Patrunsa Hermitage.

2nd branch

through the forest towards Pătrunsa

meadow with flowers


10. Patrunsa Hermitage (1,010 m)

Patrunsa Hermitage is a monastic settlement with many buildings located in a clearing. I met several donkeys. A place where we and the butterflies enjoy flowers…. I also entered the church built in such a nice and quiet place.

Patrunsa Hermitage

me and the donkeys

inside the church

11. Patrunsa Hermitage (1,010 m) – Pahomie Hermitage (850 m)

1.5 hours / red cross / easy

To get to the cars, we first followed a path, then a wide forest road. We walk almost 5 km on the red cross marker. Pahomie Hermitage – the end of our beautiful tour! We say “Goodbye!” from Buila Vanturarita

Buila Vanturarita

towards Pachomie

Of encouragement

Hard, awesome, worth it!

Opinion and challenge

If the soft part of the Buila Vânturarița Mountains is so cool, what remains to be done but to return to their wilder area.

All the best!