Have you ever heard of Transfagarasan or do you know where it is located? Well, Transfagarasan is the only accessible road that crosses Romania‘s highest mountains (Carpathians) and connects Wallachia and Transylvania – two of country’s main regions.
Transfagarasan features a two lane roadway that stretches over a length of 92 km and reaching the altitude of 2042 meters at one point. Because of the countless switchbacks, a car’s average speed is usually less than 40 kilometers per hour. The entire route features 27 bridges and viaducts as well as an 887-meter long tunnel which crosses Mount Paltinul between Goat at Balea Lake. Tunnel’s ventilation is natural due to extremely strong air drafts encountered at that altitude and the underground road has a six meter wide trafficway as well as one meter wide sidewalk.
Landscape and attractions: Those who want to “venture” Transfagarasan, are advised to do it from south to north. Romania‘s most famous road starts in Arefu (Arges county) and ends in Cartisoara (Sibiu County). The scenery is magnificent and the level differences and countless coils are considered a challenge for both car and driver. Unfortunately, due to harsh weather conditions, Transfagarasan is only open for a few months a year, i.e. from July to October.
The main tourist attractions along the route are: Vidraru Dam which is one of the largest in Europe, then Poenari Castle built during the reign of Vlad the Impaler, glacial lake Balea and Balea waterfall.
Winterpark- a challenging accommodation: The number of tourists has increased significantly in recent years due to the Winter Park project that was developed at Transfagarasan’s top spot. Before 2006 you could see nobody at the 2040 m altitude where the entire surroundings were deserted, however in the last six years the area began to be accessed by more and more tourists. The reason for this phenomenon relies on a famous an ice hotel built near Balea Lake. The hotel is the only of its kind in Eastern Europe and is flanked by other ice structures such as a church and an ice rink.
If you intend to stay overnight at the renowed ice hotel, then you should not not imagine that you will sprawl on chairs dressed in bathrobe as you do in a regular hotel, but instead try to stuff your luggage with thickest clothes, hats, scarves and gloves which are extremely demanding!
World’s Most Dangerous Road: In September 2009, the producers of the famed BBC auto show Top Gear, chose Transfagarasan for filming an episode as part of a promotional world tour series.
The show’s three creators –Jeremy Clarckson, Richard Hammond and James May – drove their bolides (Lamborghini, Ferrari and Aston Martin). After facing more than 800 tight turns along the 92 kilometers, the British showmen concluded that Transfagarasan can easily compete as the most dangerous and fascinating road in the world.
A media blog contributed to this article