The Măcin Mountains are the oldest mountains in the territory of Romania, being created during the Hercynian orogeny.
The landscapes of the Măcin Mountains are alike those of Southern Europe due to the presence of sub-Mediterranean and Balkan forests. They also resemble Eurasian steppes, defined by saxicolous vegetation, the Măcin Mountains being the largest such area in Dobrogea and Romania.
The landscape originality is given by megalithic granite formations, as well as by the contrast between mesophilic forest vegetation and the xerophile steppe-like pastures. Rock weathering processes are active, resulting in surprising archaic landscapes.
The representative character of these mountains at national level is given by the existence of three layers of vegetation proper to the Dobrogean Plateau: mesophilic Balkan deciduous forests, xerothermic sub-Mediterranean forests and the forest-steppe with sub-Mediterranean forests.
The climate of these mountains has created a specific variety, unique in Europe, enhanced by the interference of the Black Sea-sub-Mediterranean, Central European and Asian ecosystem types. This gives the Măcin Mountains the look of a miniature synthesis of two great continents – Europe and Asia.
Inside the perimeter of the Măcin Mountains National Park the following main categories of landscapes are identified:
- Arid rocky landscapes on the empty ridges of the main heights of Măcin Mountains and all the Pricopan Heights.
- Weathering granite rock landscapes with bizarre archaic forms especially on Pricopan Heights
- Balkan, Mediterranean and Central European forest landscapes, which mixed together, create a great color variety of the foliage on the middle part of the slopes and in the valley at the base of the slopes, surrounding the barren steppe ridges like a belt.
- Forest-steppe woods with Dobrogean peony in which the sinuous forms of the downy oak trees pleasantly contrast the blood-red of the peony and the blue of the locally endemic Bellflower.
- Impressive beech forests due to their height and column-like shape of the Dobrogean beeches.
- Glades with interferences from the Black Sea, Asian and Central European ecosystems, with herbaceous species which reveal an impressive color mixture, and which includes trees and shrubs of downy oak, flowering ash, ash, sessile oak, Dobrogean olive, spirea, nettle tree, viburnum, and Chequer.
- Steep slopes on the Western frame of the Măcin Mountains and Pricopan Heights as lookout points over the wavy ridges, the sinuous forms of the Danube’s distributaries, also used as observation points for predatory birds
- Stream-dug canyons which although have a low flow, still create an impressive view due to the tiny waterfalls formed on the short distance level differences.