The Most Beautiful Roads in Romania You Should Drive

Andra Tudor
Andra Tudor
Andra is passionate about art, filmmaking, photography, nature, hiking and, of course, traveling. You can find Andra Tudor on Twitter and Instagram

If you’re planning to do drive across the country, here’s our list of the most scenic roads in Romania. Drive safely and enjoy the view from the Carpathians to the shore of the Danube. For the best experience, avoid summer weekends.

1. Transfagarasan (DN7C)

Transfagarasan is one of the most spectacular routes in Romania and the only one crossing the Fagaras Mountains, the highest in the country. The 152 km long road starts in Bascov, Arges County, and ends in Cartisoara, Sibiu County. It has a maximum altitude of 2,042 meters close to the glacial Balea Lake.

Transfagarasan

Transfagarasan

The Trasnfagarasan road is one of the main infrastructure projects of the communist regime. Built between 1970 and 1974, at the orders of Nicolae Ceausescu, Transfagarasan is yet another example of his unrealistic planning. Initially, the dictator wanted it to be a strategic military route across Fagaras, operational in case of a Soviet invasion. This feared outcome seemed likely after the one in Czechoslovakia from 1968. Despite his intentions, Transfagarasan was only used for tourism and leisure activities.

Travel tips

Transfagarasan is open only from late June to the end of October. Along the way, you can visit Poenari Fortress and stop to take photos at Vidraru and Balea lakes.

Several hiking trails start along the road, from Piscu Negru, Balea Lake, and Balea Cascada.

2. Transalpina (DN67C)

Transalpina or the King’s Road stretches across Parang Mountains, from Novaci to Sebes. It’s 148 km long, with 20 km above 2,000 meters, and a maximum altitude of 2,145 meters. It’s a scenic road with numerous winding curves and spectacular mountain views but less abrupt and rocky than the Transfagarasan.

transalpina

Oasa Lake, Transalpina

The road, the highest in Romania, was modernized in the time of King Carol the 2nd. Planned to be a strategic military access route, the German army continued its modernization during WW2. Still, the road was almost forgotten by the authorities during the communist time. It was opened again only a few years back.

Travel tips

You should check the driving conditions before you leave, especially in winter. Like the Transfagarasan, this road is only open in summer and autumn.

Several hiking trails cross Transalpina. Check Muntii Nostri for more details.

3. Along the Danube Gorges (DN57)

The road that links Moldova Noua to Orsova, along the breathtaking defile of the Danube, is for many the most beautiful in Romania. The road is just one of the many places to see from the Iron Gates Nature Park.

roads in Romania

The Danube Gorges

Don’t miss the highest rock sculpture in the country, the panoramic view of the Serbian shore, the caves Ponicova and Veterani, and the Iron Gates Museum.

Travel tips

Avoid the overcrowded summer weekends.

4. Rucar-Bran Pass (DN73)

This is one of the most scenic routes in Romania, offering panoramic views of the Bucegi, Leaota, and Piatra Craiului Mountains. The road is known and used since the medieval centuries as a main commercial route between Southern Romania and Transylvania.  The nearby Bran Fortress was its most important checkup point.

Travel tips

Take easy hikes in mountain villages like Sirnea, Fundata, and Fundatica.

Visit Dambovicioara Cave.

5. Transrarau Pass (DJ175B)

Transrarau connects the villages Pojorata and Chiril across Rarau Mountains, reaching its highest point at 1,400 meters. It has a maximum altitude of 1,400 meters and is open all year round. But, you should pay extra attention in winter, especially on Christmas when road blockages are frequent. This drive is an excellent option if you have a half-day free after visiting the painted churches of Bucovina.

Roads in Romania

View from Transrarau

Travel tips

The road is a popular ]route for the hike to the geological monument ‘the Lady’s Stones’. Take your hiking boots as the last part is rocky and abrupt.

Don’t miss the delicious trout dishes from the ‘pastravarie’ in Pojorata.

6. Prislop Pass (DN18)

Prislop Pass is one of the most beautiful drives across the Carpathians. The 50 km long road that connects Maramures and Bucovina, across Rodnei Mountains, has a maximum altitude of over 1,400 meters. It’s the highest road in the Eastern Carpathians and the best choice if you’re not in a hurry.

On a clear day, you’ll have great views of the highest peaks of the Rodnei Mountains. A shorter and easier hike is the one to Cailor Waterfall. With a plunge close to 90 meters, this is one of the most beautiful in the Carpathians. You can take the chair lift from Borsa or go on foot if you have enough time, about one hour and a half.

Travel tips

Winter is not the best time to cross this pass. Check the forecast and the road conditions before.

7. Bicaz Lake – Izvoru Muntelui – Durau – Poiana Larga -Bicaz Lake

Save around three hours for this superb circuit along the large Bicaz Dam, through dense forests, with splendid views of Ceahlau Mountain. Axialul (DJ155F) on the mountainside and DN15 along the shore of the lake are the driving routes to follow.

Bicaz Lake

View from Bicaz Dam

Travel tips

Summer and autumn are the best time. Combine it with a drive across Bicaz Gorges.

Izvoru Muntelui and Durau are the main access points to the hiking routes of Ceahlau National Park.

8. Bicaz Gorges (DN12C)

Winding from the Red Lake to Bicazu Ardelean, this road is one of the most popular in Romania. Part of Cheile Bicazului-Hasmas National Park, the area is a paradise for climbers who have here some of the most difficult trails in the country. Several hiking routes start from the road, and you wouldn’t believe the wilderness scenery that awaits once you leave the car and road behind.

Red Lake

Early morning on the Red Lake

Travel tips

It’s almost impossible not to stop at the natural dam Red Lake, even if only because of the traffic. If you have at least one hour free, walk on the marked path that follows the shore of the lake.

The lake is the starting point for many hikes, like the one to Hasmasu Mare Peak (1,793 meters). Check Muntii Nostri for a complete list.

9. Turnu Rosu Pass (E81)

The valley of the Olt River was used since ancient times when the Roman Empire conquered this part of the Dacian Kingdom. Back then, the road had a military and commercial importance, connecting Transylvania to the Danube.

The pass starts in the resort Calimanesti-Caciulata and follows the defile of the Olt River until Turnu Rosu. The valley offers close-up views of the Cozia Mountains, the faraway Fagaras Mountains, and Capatanii Mountains.

roads in Romania

The Olt Valley

Travel tips

Very close to the road, you can visit the ruins of the Roman castrum Arutela, Cozia Church, and Turnu Monastery.

This is one of the busiest roads in Romania because of the traffic from Sibiu to Bucharest. Avoid weekends and bad weather.

These are our top choices of scenic roads in Romania. But remember there are many more routes that will take you far away from the cities, to the hearts of remote and forgotten places. Have a great road trip!

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1 Comment

  1. Gonçalo says:

    Thank you for the suggestions. Great help.
    I’m a professional photographer visiting Romania on my bike. I’ll definitely take into account the roads you have pinned and try to make them part of my route.

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