Transfaragasan road

• The Transfagarasan was built between 1970 and 1974
by military forces. After the 1968 invasion of
Czechoslovakia by the Soviets, Nicolae Ceausescu had
it built as a strategic military route to cross the
mountains in the event the Soviets attempted a similar
move into Romania. The builders used 6000 tons of
dynamite to clear a
path for the road on the
northern side of the mountains
(this is the most spectacular)
and on the tunnel. 40 soldiers
lost their lives during
A few miles beyond
Curtea de Arges the
Transfagarasan road
starts to face the
mountain slope. You
can see a typical
mountain landscape
with pines and alpine
meadows. The road is
not in good shape here,
so pay attention for
holes and stones.
The Transfagarasan runs trough the Arges River gorge. After
travelling beyond the last village, Capataneni, you'll see a road
sign to Poenari Castle. This castle was property of Vlad III the
Impaler. Vlad earned his nickname by impaling, torturing,
burning, skinning, roasting, and boiling people who did things
that displeased Vlad; stealing, lying, and adulterous relations.
In this way Vlad kept his people in order and taught them that
stealing would not be tolerated in his lands. Bram
stoker's Dracula was based on his
personality. When you look up on
the mountains you can see his
fortress on the top of a high and
remote cliff. It will take 1480 stairs
before you reach the top, but the
view is certainly worth the effort.
• If you follow the road further
north, you'll reach Vidraru
Lake. This lake is a man-made
reservoir retained by a dam.
The dam is 165 meters high,
305 meters long and holds
465 million cubic meters of
water. When the dam was
completed, it ranked 5th in
Europe and 9th in the world.
In an average hydrological
year it can generate
approximately of 400
GWh/year. The road runs over
this dam.
• As you continue you will see a waterfall and some
great scenic spots. Eventually, when you're near the
top of the road you will see the tunnel under the
Paltinu Ridge. Be careful inside the tunnel.
Regardless of weather conditions outside, the road in
the tunnel is always wet and can be slippery. When
you leave the tunnel you are at the highest point of
the Transfagarasan, Balea Lake.
• There is a parking just after the tunnel. Balea Lake is
a glacier lake with clear, icy water. It's surrounded by
mountain peaks. The first European ice hotel was
built here in 2006. Since then it's constructed here
every year in December with ice from the frozen
lake. Since the road is closed during winter, it can
only be reached by cable car from Balea Falls. Usually
the hotel remains open until it melts in April.
• When you go down on the northern side of the
road, you can see the sharp descent and the
hairpin turns. In good weather the road is almost
entirely visible.
The bends of the Transfăgărăşan are also an
attraction and a challenge for drivers and
motorcycle enthusiasts. Even though some may
be tempted to push the pedal, the recommended
speed is 40 km per hour. The road is closed from
the end of October until June, because of the
• The road became even more popular when the
crew from Top Gear filmed a show on the
Trasfăgărăşan, in September 2009. The host of
the show, Jeremy Clarkson said that
Transfăgărăşan should have the title of the best
road in the world, and that they were mistaken
when they gave the Stelvio Pass in Italy this title.