A day trip from Sibiu on the most spectacular road in Romania. Guaranteed stops at Balea Lake and Balea Waterfall
If you are on vacation in Romania between July and October, the Transfagarasan tour from Sibiu is an amazing and unforgettable experience. Built in the communist time as a military road, it was never used by the army. It became fast a popular tourist road, crossing the Carpathians Mountains from north to south. The 90 kilometres of twists and turns laid over the Carpathians, marvellous waterfalls, scary ravines, steep rocky walls will take your breath away. If you don't believe us, the guys from BBC show "Top Gear" rated Transfagarasan as " the best road in the world"
the long tour, which includes driving on its entire length, thus being able to enjoy, besides the amazing mountain views, Vidraru Dam, Poenari Fortress (the real Vlad the Impaler fortress) and Curtea de Arges monastery (the burial place of the Romanian Royal family). After visiting the Curtea de Arges monastery we will return to Sibiu on another route. We will no longer drive on the peaks of the Carpathians, but we will use a road dug in the mountains by the river Olt. Thus, we have the possibility to add another tourist objective to our trip: Cozia Monastery, built in the 14th century, in a special natural setting at the entrance to Cozia Gorges.
the short version of the tour includes driving on the most spectacular part of the road, up to Balea Lake and a few kilometres on the south side of the mountain, as far as Capra Waterfall, and visit the fairy-tale Clay Castle, Carta Abbey or the Brukenthal Palace.
If time permits and weather allows, we can have a picnic up in the mountains. You just have to tell me what you'll want to eat. I'll do the shopping and I'll bring with me the rest we need for our picnic on the roof of Romania, Thus, you'll have the chance to drink a glass of wine, taste the local foods, breathe the fresh air and admire the amazing view from Transfagarasan.
winter version: the road is closed between November 1 and July 1 due to bad weather at over 2000 meters altitude. During this period, we can have an adapted version of the Transfagarasan tour. We will drive on a short portion of the Transfagarasan highway as far as the cable car station, from where we take the cable car to Balea lake. The cable car ride takes about 10 minutes and offers us the same breathtaking views, and even more. We can see Balea Waterfall and the Road from above, and if it is snowing, the boreal landscape is jaw-dropping. Arriving at Balea glacier lake, we can visit the Ice Hotel and we can fully enjoy and play in the snow. If it is clear, a special view opens up from the roof of the Fagaras mountains to the Transylvanian plateau. After returning back to the car, we can visit The Clay Castle or Carta Abbey, like in the short tour.
Hiking along the Transfagarasan road: If you want a more active trip and enjoy even more amazing views, we suggest some hiking trails from where you can admire the Transfagarasan road, Balea Lake or Balea Waterfall from the lofty peaks of the surrounding mountains. For more details, please check our hiking tours from Sibiu page.
This is a Transfagarasan tour starting from and ending in Sibiu, but depending on your location we can customize this journey and adjust the itinerary to make your dream trip on Transfagarasan possible.
We leave Sibiu in the morning, and after one hour of driving we reach the famous mountain road. In the first half on hour, the road cut its way through the deep beech and fir tree forests. As we approach the Balea Waterfall, the spectacular mountain scenery starts to reveal itself. We stop for the first time near the Balea Waterfall, for the first photo shooting and the first portion of fresh air.
Then, the ride continues on the most spectacular part of the road, where we will stop as many times as you want for more photo sessions. We soon reach the highest part of the road, at 2000 meters altitude, near Balea Lake. We will have a stroll around the lake, where we can have a coffee break. Then, we continue the ride on the south side of the road, after passing through the almost 1 km long tunnel drilled in the mountain. We will stop next to Capra Waterfall, where we can touch the fresh and cool water which looks like it is coming from the skies and of course, we can have another photo session. This is where we turn back to continue with the short version of the tour, or, if we choose the long version, we start our descent from the roof of Romania.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT Transfagarasan highway:
The road was built in 4 years, between 1970 and 1974.
Transfăgărăşan has a total of over 830 bridges and 27 viaducts.
Over 6520 tons of dynamite were used for the construction of the road, of which 20 tons only at the Capra - Bâlea tunnel.
The Capra-Balea tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the country, with over 800 meters.
Transfagarasan reaches an altitude of 2042 meters, being the second highest road in the country, after Transalpina, which reaches 2145 meters.
The traffic is closed during the night, due to tight turns and the risk of falling into a vacuum is particularly high.
Balea Lake is a glacial lake located at an altitude of 2034 meters. The road passes only a few meters from the lake, and tourists cand find in the area 2 chalets for food or accommodation and many kiosks with food and souvenirs
. The lake has an area of 4.6 hectares and a depth of 11 meters. In winter, the ice that forms on the surface of the lake has a thickness of over 1 meter and is used in the construction of the Ice Hotel.
The lake together with an area of 180 hectares forms a nature reserve.
Bâlea Waterfall is located in the Făgăraș Mountains between Moldoveanu and Negoiu peaks (the highest peaks in Romania), at over 1200 m altitude.
It is the longest stepped waterfall in Romania, with a drop of 60 m, and marks the lower stage of the Bâlea glacial circus.
The waterfall can be seen from the road, from a distance of several hundred meters. You can also reach the base of the waterfall, following a path that starts from the cable car station.
The route is easy to medium (you need proper hiking equipment) and can take about an hour. Not recommended in winter.
The Poenari Fortress or Poenari Castle was a secondary residence of Vlad Țepeș (the Impaler). Built by his predecessors in the 13th century, the fortress was repaired and consolidated by Vlad, using, according to legend,
the forced labor of his political enemies. Built on top of a mountain overlooking the Transfagarasan, the fortress was almost impossible to conquer due to its position.
And even now, the access is not easy, as tourists who want to visit it, have to climb over 1480 steps, built through the forest. Due to the presence of bears, access to the
fortress was banned for almost a year, until an electric fence system was installed.
Vidraru Dam, put into use in 1966, is the largest arch dam in Romania, and at the time of its inauguration was ranked, with over 166 meters high, among the top five arch dams in Europe, ranking 9th in terms of world.
The total area of Lake Vidraru, created when the dam was built, is 893 ha, 10.3 km long and 28 km in circumference. The water in the lake supplies a hydroelectric power plant with an installed capacity of 200 MW. To reach the hydroelectric plant,
the water travels several kilometers through tunnels dug into the rock.
Curtea de Argeș Monastery is an orthodox monastery located in the city of Curtea de Argeș, built in the 16th century by prince Neagoe Basarab. Considered one of the architectural wonders of this country, the monastery was chosen in the 19th century by King Carol I to become the royal necropolis. The first 2 kings of Romania are buried in the old church, while the last 2 were buried in a new church, which was built especially to have this role.Ask for a quote