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When it comes to spectacular roads, Romania occupies one the first places in Europe. It has some of the most breathtaking driving routes you can imagine, from the high-altitude mountains roads to those that follow river valleys and narrow gorges. Since we aim to inspire you, here’s our list of top 10 of the most scenic roads in Romania. Drive safely and enjoy the view.
Transfagarasan is one of the most spectacular routes in Romania, crossing Fagaras, the highest mountains in the country. It starts from Bascov, Arges County, and ends in Cartisoara, Sibiu County. The road is 152 km long, and it’s part of the national road DN7 C that links Southern Romania to Transylvania. Transfagarasan reaches the maximum altitude of 2,042 meters close to the glacial Balea Lake.
The road was built between 1970 and 1974 at the orders of Nicolae Ceausescu, the communist dictator who wanted to create a strategic military route across Fagaras Mountains in case of a Soviet invasion like the one in Czechoslovakia from 1968.
Because of the weather conditions, 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 of the lakes Vidraru and Balea.
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, making it the highest road in Romania with a maximum altitude of 2,145 meters. It’s a scenic road with numerous winding curves and spectacular mountain views.
The road was fully modernized in the time of King Carol the 2nd, being inaugurated in 1939 by the King himself. Conceived as a strategic military access route, Transalpina was also renovated by the German army during the Second World War. The road was completely unattended during the communist time and it’s only recently that it was restored and opened.
Some restrictions still exist during winter time. You should check the driving conditions before you leave, especially in winter. Plan your trip to have time to see some nearby attractions like Muierii Cave, Galcescu Lake or Icoana Monastery.
The road that links Oravita to Drobeta Turnu Severin is for many the most beautiful in Romania. Bordering the longest defile of the Danube and one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe, this Romanian road is a travel attraction by itself, one of the many from the Iron Gates Nature Park.
Besides a cruise between the Danube Gorges, you can hike on Ciucaru Mare, visit the caves Ponicova and Veterani or visit the monastery of Mraconia and the Iron Gates Museum.
A mountain pass from Bucovina makes our top 10 roads in Romania. Connecting Sadova and Vatra Moldovitei, Trei Movile is located in Obcina Feredeului, a green heaven of rolling hills and scattered villages from the Eastern Carpathians. The maximum altitude of the road is 1,040 meters and the pass is only eight kilometers long, enough to get a clear view of the surroundings.
The mountain pass Rucar-Bran is one of the most famous routes in Romania. It’s located between Bucegi, Leaota and Piatra Craiului Mountains, offering superb mountainous views everywhere you look. Known today mainly for its beautiful landscapes, the road was for centuries a historical access route between Southern Romania and Transylvania. Until 1918 when the Great Union took place, Bran had been a frontier point since the medieval ages.
The villages along its way are part of the charm and we recommend a weekend in Fundata, Sirnea, Fundatica, Pestera or Ciocanu where traditional houses and sheep herds are the main local attractions.
Besides the mountain villages, you can also visit the famous Bran Castle or Dambovicioara Cave.
Transrarau links the villages of Pojorata and Chiril across Rarau Mountains, reaching its highest point at 1,400 meters. The route was recently modernized, and its 28 kilometers offer great views of the surrounding mountains, being one of the most breathtaking roads in Romania.
The road is a popular access route for the iconic geological formations of Rarau, the monumental ‘Lady’s Stones’.
Mestecanis crosses the Eastern Carpathians and connects Bucovina to Moldavia. Its highest point reaches 1,096 meters, overseeing Giumalau Mountains. In case of a clear sky, you’re lucky to admire a spectacular image that will soon make you see why Bucovina is one of Romania’s most beautiful regions.
Check the weather conditions before leaving if you’re driving in winter. Many attractions are close to the road. We recommend the painted monasteries of Bucovina and the village of Ciocanesti.
Connecting Buzau and Brasov, Southern Romania and Transylvania, this pass crosses the Eastern Carpathians, reaching the highest point at 976 meters. It was historically used by the Turks and Mongols in their medieval attacks over Transylvania, the region being also one of the key combat zones from the First World War.
Besides Lake Siriu, which you’ll see along the road, you can visit the Bisons’ Reserve from Vama Buzaului and the fortified church of Prejmer.
Stretching from the Red Lake to Bicazu Ardelean, the road that crosses Bicaz Gorges is one of the most popular and crowded in Romania, connecting Transylvania and Moldavia. Part of the National Park Cheile Bicazului-Hasmas, the area is a true paradise for professional climbers who have here some of the best and most difficult climbing areas in the country.
Crossing the gorges, it’s almost impossible not to stop at the natural dam Red Lake, a traditional summer destination for locals. Our recommendation is to leave your car behind, hike on one of the many trails that will take you from the road and far away from the crowds.
The valley of the Olt River is known from ancient times when the Roman Empire conquered this part of the Dacian Kingdom. Back then, the road had a strategical military and commercial importance, connecting Transylvania to the Danube.
The most beautiful part starts in the resorts Calimanesti-Caciulata, crossing Cozia National Park, following the defile of the Olt River until Turnu Rosu. The valley offers spectacular views of Cozia Mountains and the distant Fagaras Mountains and Capatanii Mountains.
Very close to the road, you’ll discover the ruins of the Roman castrum Arutela, the medieval Cozia Monastery and Turnu Monastery.
These are our top 10 choices of popular and scenic roads in Romania, but there are many more splendid roads that will take you far away from the cities, to the hearts of remote and forgotten places. Have a great road trip!