Transfagarasan Road Trip: Conquer the most Scenic Highway in Romania
A Transfagarasan road trip is an adventure like no other. The Transfagarasan Highway is a winding mountain road that traverses the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and an unforgettable driving experience. If you’re looking for a unique and memorable way to explore Romania, a Transfagarasan road trip should be at the top of your list.
The Transfagarasan Highway was built in the 1970s as a military route and connects the regions of Muntenia and Transylvania. It was constructed as a strategic passage through the mountains, and it took over four years to complete. Today, it is one of Romania’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors from all over the world.
The road stretches for over 56 miles (90 km) and reaches an altitude of over 6500 feet (2,000 meters) at its highest point. The journey takes you through stunning scenery, from deep valleys to high mountain peaks, and along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of landscapes and attractions.
One of the highlights of a Transfagarasan road trip is the opportunity to drive through the famous Balea Tunnel, a 880-meter-long passage through the mountains. The tunnel is a marvel of engineering, and the views from inside are breathtaking. As you emerge from the other side of the tunnel, you’ll find yourself on the shores of Balea Lake, a glacial body of water that sits at an altitude of over 6000 feet. The lake is surrounded by towering peaks, and it’s a popular spot for hiking, fishing, and skiing in the winter.
Continuing along the highway, you’ll pass through several picturesque villages, each with its own unique charm and character. The villages are typically small and remote, with traditional architecture and a slow pace of life. One of the most popular villages is Cartisoara, which is located at the foot of the Fagaras Mountains and is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills. Here you can visit the Cartisoara Monastery, a 17th-century Orthodox church that features beautiful frescoes and intricate wood carvings.
While near Cartisora, don’t miss stopping by Castelul de Lut Valea Zânelor, also known as the “Clay Castle.” This is a unique and fascinating attraction located in the heart of Transylvania. The castle resembles something out of a fairytale with its whimsical, rounded towers and intricate details.
Further along the road, you’ll reach the Vidraru Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Europe. The dam was built in the 1960s and required the relocation of several villages and the construction of a new road through the mountains. The views from the top of the dam are stunning, and you can take a guided tour of the dam’s interior to learn about its history and operation.
As you approach the end of the Transfagarasan Highway, you’ll pass through the charming town of Curtea de Arges. The town is home to several historic landmarks, including the Curtea de Arges Monastery, a 14th-century church that is considered one of Romania’s most important religious sites. The monastery features impressive architecture and intricate carvings, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in history and culture.
A Transfagarasan road trip is not for the faint of heart. The road is narrow and winding, and it requires careful attention and skill to navigate safely. However, for those who are up for the challenge, the rewards are truly incredible. The views from the road are amazing, and the sense of adventure and accomplishment that comes with completing the journey is unparalleled.
If you’re planning a Transfagarasan road trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. The road is typically open from June to October, depending on weather conditions. During peak season, the road can be crowded, so it’s a good idea to plan your trip outside of peak times if possible. You’ll also want to make sure that your car is in good condition and that you have all of the necessary supplies, such as food, water, and a first-aid kit. It’s also important to check the weather forecast before setting out, as the road can be dangerous in bad weather.
Another important consideration when planning your Transfagarasan road trip is where to stay along the way. There are several small towns and villages along the road that offer accommodation, but it’s a good idea to book in advance to ensure availability. Alternatively, you can camp along the road or stay in a mountain refuge.
When it comes to packing for your Transfagarasan road trip, there are a few things you’ll want to bring along. Comfortable and sturdy shoes are a must, as you’ll likely be doing some hiking along the way. Layers of clothing are also important, as temperatures can vary widely throughout the day. Sunscreen and a hat are also essential, as the sun can be intense at high altitudes.
A Transfagarasan road trip is an experience that you’ll never forget. It’s an opportunity to explore some of Romania’s most stunning scenery, to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history and culture, and to challenge yourself in ways that you never thought possible. Whether you’re a seasoned road tripper or a first-time adventurer, a Transfagarasan road trip is an experience that is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
If you have any questions about doing a Transfagarasan road trip, leave a comment below. If you have any questions about doing an extended Romania road trip, I have created a comprehensive guide. Until next time, we’ll see ya on the road…