Transfagarasan: The Best Road in the World

Transfagarasan is included in many of our private tours. Check our offers on

This is the best road in the world – said Jeremy Clarkson in a Top Gear episode while comparing it to a race track. Still, Transfagarasan offers so much more besides the amazing driving experience, connecting the south of Romania with Transylvania, going straight across the massive Fagaras Mountains through five tunnels and winding roads that needed 6,500 tons of dynamite to be built.


Transfagarasan is 90 km long and reaches an altitude of 2,042 meters, being the second highest road in Romania after Transalpina that has the maximum altitude of 2,145 meters. A veritable road from the clouds, but with a history that has much to do with the communist regime and its obsession with oversized projects.

A landmark of the communist regime

Transfagarasan was finalized in 1974 after almost five years of hard work done mainly by soldiers and engineers. The army started working at the same time from the two opposite ends, in Arges and Sibiu counties, and a monument marks along the way the place where they finally met. Another monument, this time the Engineers’ Gate, was done in the memory of those who lost their lives in this project – officially 40 people died –, but some of the witnesses indicate hundreds of deaths among their colleagues.


If initially, Nicolae Ceausescu – Romania’s communist leader from 1965 to 1989 – argued the road was needed for military purposes since a Russian invasion was possible at any time, when the project was finalized, the goals were to ease the distribution of resources and to create a tourist center at the glacial Balea Lake. Nicolae Ceausescu himself had a hunting chalet next to it.

Must-see attractions along the Transfagarasan

One of the first attractions as you drive from the south is Vidraru Lake, a major dam built before Ceausescu came to power. Another big project of the communist authorities, the dam was a major achievement of the 1960s, being one of the top 10 dams of this type in Europe. An entire village, Cumpana, was drowned to build the dam of impressive dimensions: 166 meters high walls, a surface of 900 hectares and 42 km of underground galleries.


Another top attraction from the Transfagarasan is Balea Lake, an iconic glacial lake located at an altitude of 2,034 meters, close to the highest point of the road. It’s the main resource for creating a unique attraction in Romania, the Ice Hotel. Every year, the hotel is built from ice blocks taken from Balea Lake, and every year it’s fully booked before it starts to snow in Romania.


If you need even more reasons to drive the Transfagarasan, you should know that Fagaras Mountains are the highest in Romania and offer spectacular views over the surrounding landscapes of the Carpathians. An easy and popular hike you can take is to Balea Waterfall, the biggest stepped waterfall in Romania with a height of 60 meters. It’s located between the highest peaks in Romania, Moldoveanu (2,544 meters) and Negoiu (2,535 meters), and you can reach it in about one hour from Balea Lake Chalet.


The Black Peak is a good starting point for more intense hikes. After about three hours, you can reach Caltun refuge (2,135 meters), and you can continue from there to Caltun Peak’s twin: Lespezi Peak or even to Negoiu Peak (2,535 meters). But, be prepared for the effort because the astonishing views will make you work really hard.

Many people drive the Transfagarasan for the hiking routes that start along the way, but many more go simply to drive on one of the most amazing roads in the world. Whichever option you prefer, you’re in for a great day and experience.

Travel tips

The road is open from July to November. Avoid summer weekends as the road becomes too crowded with cars.

Visit Curtea de Arges Monastery and Poenari Fortress on your way to the Transfagarasan.

Transfagarasan ends in Cartisoara, only 45 km away from Sibiu, one of the must-see cities in Romania.

Go back to Bucharest on the highest mountain road in the country, Transalpina.

Transfagarasan is included in many of our private tours. Check our offers on

About the author

Alexandra is studying business and economics, enjoys traveling and writing about the beautiful places she sees. You can find Alexandra Balaceanu on Twitter

Back to the top