Transalpina: From the Devil’s Path to the King’s Road

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

Transalpina, the highest altitude road in Romania, competes with the stunning Transfagarasan for the most beautiful drive in the country. Whichever is more impressive is hard to say, and it’s up to you to decide. The great news is that in just one summer weekend you can discover both.



Who built Transalpina and when?

Transalpina reaches a maximum altitude of 2,145 meters in Urdele Pass and connects Transylvania with Southern Romania, from Sebes to Novaci. That’s a fact. Its history, however, is more blurry given the many suppositions regarding its origins. The Romans in the ancient time, the locals in the 18th century, or the Germans during WW1 are seen as the responsible parties depending on the source you’re consulting.

What’s certain is that King Carol the 2nd inaugurated this spectacular road in 1938. Known as the King’s Road, it was viewed as a strategic military route that could ease the movement of army troops between regions. The itinerary of the road follows the old trail used by shepherds who crossed from one province to the other across Parang Mountains. Because of the abrupt and high-altitude landscape, this route gained a frightening name, the Devil’s Path.


Oasa Lake, Transalpina

Less fearsome today, when cars, motorcycles, and bikes replace horses and donkeys, Transalpina is a dazzling succession of curves and alpine panoramas, especially on the sector from Obarsia Lotrului to Novaci.

You can also reach Obarsia Lotrului on the scenic DN7A road from Brezoi, driving along Vidra Lake, or from Petrosani. If you prefer to take your time and explore on foot, you can choose from several hiking trails that intersect the road. Don’t miss a hike to the largest glacial lake in Parang, Galcescu, located at 1,925 meters altitude, or to Iezer and Setea Mare Peaks.

Before planning your drive on Transalpina, you should know that the road is officially open from July 1st to November 1st. Avoid the mid-summer season when the road becomes a mainstream attraction. Early autumn is a much better time.

Travel tips

Discover more beautiful roads in Romania.

In just two days you can see both Transalpina and Transfagarasan, especially if you stay overnight in Sibiu.

Just a few kilometers from Obarsia Lotrului you’ll find the Ski Resort Transalpina.

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