Rooms from 24€/night

The Transfagarasan Highway

Partially CLOSED Until the 1st of July 2024 Scroll down for details
" FAQ Transfagarasan Highway

Frequently Asked Questions about the Transfagarasan Highway

Transfagarasan Highway Road Conditions

When will the Transfagarașan Highway be open to circulation?

In 2023, the Transfăgărășan road is accessible along its entire length between undetermined dates, as long as the condition of the road allows safe circulation. On the 6th of November the road was physically blocked and it will remain blocked until the 1st of July 2024!

🚗 Road Conditions
Find a room on Transfagarasan Highway

How much does a room cost on a hotel located on the Transfagarașan highway?

Depending on the period and the level of comfort, a room can cost as low as 12 EUR/night per person (at a guesthouse) and can exceed 80 EUR/night per person at a luxury hotel

🛌 See hotels

The Weather on the Transfagarasan Highway

How is the weather on the Transfagarașan Highway?

🌄 In the summer, you can enjoy pleasant temperatures, generally between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, but the weather is quite unpredictable and rain can suddenly start.

🏔️ During the winter, temperatures drop a lot, often falling below -10 degrees Celsius, and snow is present starting from November-December until April.

Click the button below for real-time weather data and webcams!

See Forecast
Tourist Attractions on the Transfagarasan Highway

What tourist attractions can I visit on the Transfagarașan Highway?

🏰 Besides the amazing landscapes, the Transfăgărășan Highway has many tourist attractions scattered along it, the most popular being The Bâlea Lake, The Poienari Citadel, The Vidraru Dam, The Curtea de Argeș Monastery and numerous engineering monuments.

Towards Sibiu, we recommend you to visit the theme parks "Clay Castle of the Valley of Fairies", "The Story of the Calendar" and "The Brambura Park", each one with it`s unique charm.

📷 Tourist Attractions
Restaurants available on the Transfagarasan Highway

What restaurants can I find on Transfagarașan Highway?

One of the well-known restaurants on Transfăgărășan is La Cetate, located at the base of the mountain on which Poienari Citadel is built. There are also a few more famous restaurants worth trying, such as Valea cu Pești and Posada Vidraru - both overlooking Lake Vidraru. Those who want to dine at altitude can choose either the restaurant at the Piscul Negru Hotel or the one at Bâlea Cabin - for those who want to dine on the most famous glacial lake in our country.

🍲 Restaurants
Experiences available on the Transfagarasan Highway

What activities can experience on the Transfăgărășan Highway?

You can relax on a boat ride on Lake Vidraru or, for the adventurous, a kayak ride on the famous reservoir. Those who want to leave with some new knowledge, not just memories, can participate in workshops such as "Survival techniques in the Fagaras Mountains with Relu Nica" and other gastronomic and cultural workshops in the Sibiu area. Nature lovers can explore the forests and subalpine pastures while horse riding using the services of the many equestrian centres in the Avrig area.

🏹 Activități
Hiking trails, peaks and lakes in the Fagaras Moutains

What hiking trails should I try in the Fagaras Moutains?

If you want to fully enjoy the Făgăraș Mountains, you can spend the day on a hiking trail such as the trail through Stan's valley canyon or the alpine trails that leat to the Negoiu Peak, Lespezi Peak or Vânătarea lui Buteanu Peak, enjoying the fresh air and the impressive views. There are also numerous guides who you can hire to organize and lead customized adventures.

⛰️ Explore
Black bears on the Transfagarasan Highway

Will I meet black bears on Transfagarasan Highway?

Yes, starting from April, the bears start coming out of the den and some of them come down to the road, especially in the Vidraru Lake area. If you encounter bears, do not feed or approach them! Photograph the bears from inside the car but avoid any other interaction with them.

🐻 Habituated Bears
" Discover the Transfagarasan Highway

Discover
the Transfagarasan Highway

Nicknamed "the road from the clouds" and "The Great Dragon" or "The Dragon" and cherished as "Manole's Dream", but especially appreciated as the most beautiful high-altitude road in the world, Transfăgărășan is certainly among the most loved paved routes of in our country and deserves to be loved both for the continuous spectacle it provides and for the history, legends and stories surrounding it.

View of Transfăgărășan, from Bâlea Lake
View of Transfăgărășan, from Bâlea Lake

It is certainly one of the 10 objectives you must see in Romania in order to discover that the desire to see it again and again, winter or summer, gives you no peace!

The pioneers trail

Originally it was supposed to be just a forest road. The invasion of the Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia and the autonomy from the USSR, on which Ceaușescu's popularity was based, turned it into a road of strategic importance, which would connect Muntenia with Transylvania and which would allow troops from Transylvania to reach Muntenia, and vice versa, within a maximum of 12 hours.

The serpentine section under Bâlea Lake during construction
The serpentine section under Bâlea Lake during construction

The investment holders were the Ministry of Forest Economy and Construction Materials on the northern side and the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications on the southern side, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Defense, as an element of execution, for the entire route. In particular, the tunnel at elevation point of 2042 meters was entrusted to the Ministry of Electric Energy.

The coordination of the activity of the troops deployed on the construction site was given to the Explosives Engineering Troops Command, also called the "1st Geniu Regiment", led by Lieutenant General Vasile Șilicariu.

In the beginning, two units of pioneers from the 1st Geniu Regiment "Alexandru Ioan Cuza", Râmnicu Vâlcea, acted. Approximately 200 soldiers in each group approached the project from two sides: from north to south, from the Sibiu-Făgăraș road, towards the Bâlea Waterfall Cabin, and from south to north on the edge of Vidraru basin and the Capra valley.

Later, in December 1970, the 1st Geniu Regiment joined and concentrated on the South side, while the 52nd Alba Iulia Geniu Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Nicolae Mazilu, entered the North side. Pioneer units were also reinforced with soldiers from units of other arms, these soldier groups changing every six months.

The discipline and force of the Army contributed most to the fulminant progress of the works
The discipline and force of the Army contributed most to the fulminant progress of the works
The 53rd Geniu Alba Iulia Battalion built in five years what would probably be done today in 20!

Only the Army`s coordination, strict rules and discipline made this feat possible.

I took with the hearse, which was carrying food to the people, a bulldozer in pieces, which my man assembled up at the 2000 m altitude level.

That was the strategy: wherever possible, a work front is opened. The pioneers worked for free, but a system of bonuses worked very well.

It wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible, and the best proof is that we did the Transfăgărășan Highway in just under five years, tunnels included!

General Nicolae Mazilu, project manager

The Gate of the Pioneers, on the road section "Bâlea Cabin - Bâlea Waterfall", located at an altitude of 1200 m, recalls the moment of breaking through a difficult portion of the rock wall with dynamite. The monument consists of a pointed piece of rock, with a commemorative plaque, dedicated to the pioneer troops of the Romanian Army.

The Gate of the Pioneers
The Gate of the Pioneers

The project was adapted several times along the way, after construction work had actually begun.

If in the initial stage it was foreseen that the road would have a single traffic lane, plus a verge, and the route around the Vidraru Lake would follow the western shore, in the spring of 1971 the project changed radically.

The Transfăgărășan becomes a national mountain road, with two traffic lanes, a minimum width of six meters, a verge of one meter along the entire length, with over-widening and over-elevation in curves.

The route on the contour of Lake Vidraru moves "on the go" from the west to the east, after it was found that the western shore is extremely difficult to approach, although shorter by 10 kilometers.

The area was relatively accessible, the Transfăgărășan asphalt laying on the route of the forest road previously used, but also during the construction of the Vidraru Dam. Few people know that a viaduct disappeared from the original project, opting instead for a larger detour on the contour of the lake, which lengthened the route by about eight kilometers, but which reduced costs.

The Transfăgărășan passes over the Vidraru Dam and bypasses the lake along its entire length
The Transfăgărășan passes over the Vidraru Dam and bypasses the lake along its entire length

Quick facts

The slope of the serpentines is 6% and only in a few places, exceptionally, it exceeds 8%. The minimum radius of curves is 25 meters, and for serpentines 15 meters.

The northern segment is 35.1 kilometers long. It starts at the national road Sibiu-Făgăraș, through Cârtisoara and continues to Bâlea Lake. The tunnel crosses the ridge of Făgăraș between Capra and Paltinul Peaks, between 2025 and 2042 meters altitude and is 887 meters long.

The Southern segment has two parts, the first from the exit of the tunnel, on Caprei Valley, is 25.6 kilometers long; the second leaves from Arefu and follows the contour of Lake Vidraru totaling 29.5 kilometers. In total, there are 90.2 kilometers of two-way alpine road.

Excavation and slope consolidation in the southern area of Transfăgărășan
Excavation and slope consolidation in the southern area of Transfăgărășan

For the construction of the road, approximately:

  • 40 lives were lost;
  • 6.000.000 kilograms of explosives;
  • 4.000.000 cubic meters of earthwork;
  • 598.000 square meters of superstructures;
  • 290.000 cubic meters of foundation;
  • 290.000 cubic meters of masonry;
  • 830 transversal works;
  • 27 viaducts and bridges.

Transfăgărășan did not only mean digging and opening the road in the rock, but also works to consolidate the slopes. In most areas there has never been any intervention since the work was completed because it simply wasn't needed.

Also, adductions and hydrographic arrangements were executed to direct the water of the streams and that resulting from the melting of the snow on the slopes. Concreting of the vertical walls and strengthening of the banks were added to these works. All of the work was truly completed in the summer of 1980.

The bulldozer in the embankment

Near the Meeting Gate, the junction of the southern and northern construction sites, where there is a monument dedicated to those who built the Transfăgărășan, during the works, an avalanche of boulders completely buried a bulldozer. A huge boulder, weighting about 700 tons, fell right on top of the machine.

The machinery used to build the road was much more rudimentary than today's
The machinery used to build the road was much more rudimentary than today's

Because the area was marshy due to the mountain streams, the bulldozer was swallowed up in the ground within a few hours by the weight of the stones. The machine was abandoned under the rocks because the costs for dynamiting the rock and the eventual recovery of the bulldozer, unusable anyway, were not justified. So, a few months later, the road would pass over him.

The Switchbacks and Hairpins in the Road

The Transfagarasan Highway is known for its winding shape, absolutely necessary to conquer the steepness over which the road stretches.

From above it looks as if someone has used every great curve in every great track in the world to craft the perfect track: an unbroken gray ribbon of motoring perfection.Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear UK

Motorists from all over the world come annually to Transfăgărășan to enjoy what British Jeremy Clarkson, from the show Top Gear, called "That's the most amazing road I've ever seen!".

There are three road segments famous for the series of hairpins and panoramas. It's fabulous both to drive on these stretches and to assist from the passenger seat. Hard to say which is the first choice and which is the most exciting. We will list them coming from the South (Curtea de Argeș) to the North:

1. The rocky segment from the Poienari Fortress to the Vidraru Dam

Even if it is not as impressive as its brothers, the road segment from Poienari Fortress to Vidraru Dam amazes with its engineering achievements. From tunnels that pierce the slopes to viaducts that seem ripped from the movies, all the elements that make up this segment manage to arouse excitement and anticipation for what is to come.

The section from the Poienari Fortress to the Vidraru Dam is amazing thanks to the viaducts and tunnels that make it up
The section from the Poienari Fortress to the Vidraru Dam is amazing thanks to the viaducts and tunnels that make it up
2. The alpine segment from the Conacul Ursului Hotel to the Bâlea Glacial Lake

This segment begins timidly, in a forest of firs clustered between steep valleys that deny the hiker the privilege of anticipating the spectacle that follows: in a few minutes, the valleys open up, the forest thins and the mountains become visible in all their splendor.

You'll pass waterfalls, race the wild Goat Creek and gain more and more altitude. On this segment you will want to stop every 2 minutes, the valleys becoming irresistibly beautiful and the landscape torn from fairy tales.

Like the first segment, the climax is preceded by a tunnel, this time the longest alpine tunnel in Romania, 800m long. When you come out of the tunnel it seems like you are stepping into another world, the weather being very different from one side of the mountain to the other. It is very possible that in the South there was sun and heat and in the North you found clouds and snow.

Tip: In the summer months (May-June), you can drive to the tunnel entrance and cross it on foot. A particularly interesting effect is the pressure difference that manifests as a jet of air that pushes you out when you try to enter the tunnel.

This segment impresses with its green pastures and numerous waterfalls
This segment impresses with its green pastures and numerous waterfalls
3. The alpine segment from Bâlea Lake to Bâlea Waterfall

This is the most famous road segment due to its ideal shape that resembles the great racetracks. The numerous and tight turns, dozens of bridges and viaducts, the course along the cliffs and the opening of the valley, give this segment the charm for which it is renowned worldwide.

The hairpins on Transfagarasan Highway are among the most famous road sections in the world, they are often mentioned in tourism shows
The hairpins on Transfagarasan Highway are among the most famous road sections in the world, they are often mentioned in tourism shows

Among all the turns, that of Radovici (military topographer) is considered the most beautiful alpine hairpin in the world and has become a landmark on it`s own. It is a hairpin shaped turn, with curved arms over a viaduct and footbridge, with a perfectly circular loop at 1700 meters on the north side.

Traffic on Transfagarasan Highway

In the summer, you can reach Bâlea Lake by car, from July 1st until November 1st at the latest. For the rest of the year, the Transfagarasan is officially closed on the road sector between kilometer 104 (Piscu Negru - Argeș county) and kilometer 131 (Bâlea Waterfall- Sibiu county), traffic being permitted on the other sections, except in situations when the weather is unfavorable.

In the months of July and August, especially on weekends, the Transfăgărășan gets considerably crowded and its crossing is prolonged for many hours
In the months of July and August, especially on weekends, the Transfăgărășan gets considerably crowded and its crossing is prolonged for many hours
Don't ignore the traffic restrictions!

Physically, the road is blocked only from the Bâlea Waterfall to Bâlea Lake, otherwise it is accessible to authorized personnel who do road maintenance. From the south, you can reach Capra Cabin by car, but it is not recommended because of the high risk of avalanches.

Tourists who ignore the increased avalanche risk, risk serious injury. As the road is closed, any material damage is not covered by insurers
Tourists who ignore the increased avalanche risk, risk serious injury. As the road is closed, any material damage is not covered by insurers

At the beginning of 2023, an avalanche surprised a group of tourists who were on vacation at Capra Cabin. The snow destroyed the cars, entered the lodge and injured some of the tourists. This event was widely described in the press

The cable car, the best alternative

On the North side, on the Bâlea Valley, between Bâlea Waterfall and Bâlea Lake (over a length of 3,700 meters), it can only be crossed with the cable car located in the immediate vicinity of the Bâlea Waterfall Cabin at 1,234 meters altitude. The cable car can be reached in good conditions all year round.

In winter, the only option to reach Bâlea Lake is the cable car, which departs from Bâlea Waterfall
In winter, the only option to reach Bâlea Lake is the cable car, which departs from Bâlea Waterfall

Viewpoints and rest stops

If you go by car, Transfăgărășan does not allow you to stop wherever you want. Throughout the entire route, there are designated stopping places, usually at points of interest, but also where the spectacle of nature should be admired in peace rather than in the rush of the car.

A few places in this category are definitely worth mentioning

Stan's Viaduct

After you pass Poienari Fortress, before the hairpin from Stan's Valley, the road, like a "dragon's" neck, can be seen winding along the side of the mountain; in a short time you will come across a large bridge, on the right side of the road, this is Stan's Viaduct, one of the most beautiful and representative works of art of Transfăgărășan.

Access to Stan's Viaduct is made directly from the road, there is a parking space right at the entrance to the viaduct, but you are not allowed to cross the viaduct towards the base of the dam
Access to Stan's Viaduct is made directly from the road, there is a parking space right at the entrance to the viaduct, but you are not allowed to cross the viaduct towards the base of the dam 📌 View Location
The Vidraru Area

Vidraru Dam and Vidraru Lake are other points to be admired and praised: so is the Statue of the Iron Man, Prometheus, whose platform can sometimes be climbed for an absolutely spectacular overview of the lake and the dam. Those who catch the moment when the water from the lake overflows through the dam's overflow can consider themselves truly lucky and happy as the water falls through the three mouths, from a height of 160 meters.

Especially in the rainy season, Lake Vidraru reaches the overflow level of the dam of the same name and the water falls into the huge gap offering a spectacular show
Especially in the rainy season, Lake Vidraru reaches the overflow level of the dam of the same name and the water falls into the huge gap offering a spectacular show 📌 View location
The Calugarita Waterfall

From the Vidraru Dam, to the left, towards the Cumpăna Cabin, the road to the boathouse is formed, and above, you can reach the Călugărița Waterfall, from where the view over the lake is unique, on a forest road.

Due to the positioning of the viaduct next to the Călugărița Waterfall, the perspective from here on Lake Vidraru is a unique one
Due to the positioning of the viaduct next to the Călugărița Waterfall, the perspective from here on Lake Vidraru is a unique one 📌 View location
Golul Alpin

Once you reach the alpine gap and start climbing towards Bâlea Lake, the landscape seems straight out of a fairy tale, with deep valleys, rapid rivers, waterfalls and green belts, rich in vegetation. All this is bathed in a sea of clouds, which is gently caressed by the sun's rays.

We recommend doing the route in the morning, a few hours after sunrise, then you will catch the most dramatic effect of nature
We recommend doing the route in the morning, a few hours after sunrise, then you will catch the most dramatic effect of nature 📌 View Location
The Bâlea Plateau

The highlight of the road is the plateau and the Bâlea Lake. If from the waterfront you will be able to catch the sharp ridge of Făgărași, from the observatory next to the cable car you will be able to photograph Transfagarasan Road in all its splendor.

From this position, in the evening, using a long exposure technique, you can capture the road outlined by the lights of cars passing it
From this position, in the evening, using a long exposure technique, you can capture the road outlined by the lights of cars passing it 📌 View location
Caprei Meadow (Goat`s Saddle)

Those who are physically fit and have two hours at their disposal can do the route from the Bâlea Lake Cabin to the Goat's Saddle. It starts right behind the lodge, takes about 90 minutes round trip, and takes you out into a meadow from which you can see the entire valley and the lake at its top.

From the Goat's Saddle you can admire both Bâlea Lake and the road to Bâlea Waterfall. Also, on the opposite side of the clearing is the beautiful Capra Glacial Lake
From the Goat's Saddle you can admire both Bâlea Lake and the road to Bâlea Waterfall. Also, on the opposite side of the clearing is the beautiful Capra Glacial Lake 📌 View location

The Fagaras Mountain Range - The Transylvanian Alps

The Făgăraș Mountains are the most interesting, largest and most massive spine in the entire column of the Romanian Carpathians. They have an area of about 2,800 square kilometers, and the development of the ridges in the east-west direction adds up to 70 kilometers with altitudes that frequently exceed 2,000 meters.

The width between the north-south terminal portions is up to 40 kilometers, and their massive and harmonious structure, austere, but incredibly beautiful, highlights the storied interfluves and deep glacial cirques, emphasized by the biopedoclimatic peculiarities that make up the typical alpine geology of Făgăraș.

Făgăraș Mountains, aerial perspective
Făgăraș Mountains, aerial perspective

The tallest peaks

Moldoveanu Peak is only 111 meters shorter than the absolute summit of the Carpathians, Gerlachovský Peak (2655 meters), in Slovakia. Seven other peaks that exceed 2500 meters:

  1. Negoiu | 2535 m;
  2. Viștea Mare | 2527 m
  3. Călțun-Lespezi | 2522 m
  4. Vânătarea lui Buteanu | 2507 m
  5. Cornu Călțunului | 2510 m
  6. Hârtopu | 2506 m
  7. Dara | 2501 m

Another 42 summits exceed well over 2400 meters and more than 150 peaks are over 2300 meters tall.

The peaks of the Făgăraş mountains gently touched by the sun's rays on a clear morning. View from the top of Vănătarea lui Buteanu
The peaks of the Făgăraş mountains gently touched by the sun's rays on a clear morning. View from the top of Vănătarea lui Buteanu

Massive, formidable, spectacular, the Fagaras mountains were hardly tamed. Before the construction of the Vidraru Dam and, a little later, of the Transfăgărășan Dam, they could barely be crossed, in the summer, by horse, on paths beaten by black goats and bears.

Such a density of ridges, peaks, valleys and steeps can only be found in the Alps. From the ridge areas slide, to the north and south, mountain legs arranged almost perpendicularly on ridges with different appearances, oriented to the north or to the south.

At sunset, the Făgăraş mountains offer a show of lights and shadows that delight even the most insensitive eye
At sunset, the Făgăraş mountains offer a show of lights and shadows that delight even the most insensitive eye

Most of the northern branches are steep, rocky, narrow and jagged in places (eg. the Albota ridge). We find the smoother branches only in the areas with dense coniferous forests, mostly below the 1700-meter altitude line. The ridges to the south are longer and gentler, partly covered by pastures.

The deep valleys of the Făgăraş mountains in the same morning
The deep valleys of the Făgăraş mountains in the same morning

The northern branches of Făgărași are crenellated and spectacular: Portița Arpașului with the Fereastra Zmeilor, the saddles between the valleys of Şerbotei (in the North) or the area of the springs of Scara and Negoiu, in the South. The valleys to the north are very steep and descend in jumps, conducive to waterfalls and seasonal torrents. The valleys of Moașa, Șerbotei, Bâlei, Brezcioarei, Ucei Mari, Ucișoarei și Sâmbetei are among the most picturesque.

The 95 lakes of the Făgăraş Mountains

The Făgăraș Mountains keep visible the largest surface shaped by the frozen formations of the last glaciation. The glaciers dug deep basins into the rocks that sheltered them, and after their melting, the places filled with water.

The view of Călțun Lake, seen from the Peak of Lespezi, is proof that the Făgăraş mountains housed huge glaciers that gave the valleys the shape of a bucket
The view of Călțun Lake, seen from the Peak of Lespezi, is proof that the Făgăraş mountains housed huge glaciers that gave the valleys the shape of a bucket

The result of erosion, the debris deposited by sliding glaciers caused dams in some valleys that ultimately contributed to the formation of glacial lakes located at high altitudes. Some of these are fed by underground springs.

The glacial lakes of Făgăraș are among the most beautiful in Europe. The wildness of the mountain areas, the impressive landscapes, the valleys, the geological formations resulting from the effects of glaciation, make the Făgăraș area and its lakes a challenge and a goal in itself, one intended for those who truly love the mountains.

Lake Podragu is preferred by those who walk the long ridge route due to the cabin of the same name located near the lake
Lake Podragu is preferred by those who walk the long ridge route due to the cabin of the same name located near the lake

Some of the lakes in Făgăraș are well-known, but the smaller ones come in return. To reach some of them being an adventure of the skilled mountaineer. However, the effort is always rewarded by the excitement and joy of success.

Capra Lake, a short hike from the parking lots near Bâlea Lake, is preferred by anglers looking for an accessible place to spend a night in a tent. Here you will often find youth, folk music and a lot of good cheer
Capra Lake, a short hike from the parking lots near Bâlea Lake, is preferred by anglers looking for an accessible place to spend a night in a tent. Here you will often find youth, folk music and a lot of good cheer

Of the almost 100 lakes of Făgăraş, some very small, some clogged, some seasonal, 75 are on the southern slope and 20 on the northern slope. In total area, they constitute the largest area in Europe that has been shaped by Quaternary glaciers.

The typical glacial relief is found on both sides of the main ridge, between the peaks of Ciortea (2472 m) in the west and Urlea (2473 m) in the east and covers a length of 28 kilometers. The Ciortea-Avrig, Negoiu-Calțun, Bâlea-Capra, Podragu, Vistea Mare-Moldoveanu, Sâmbata, Urlea-Zârna glacial complexes should be mentioned in this space.

Bâlea Lake

The Bâlea Glacial Lake is dominated by crenellated ridges from which rise, from east to west, the peaks of Vânătarea lui Buteanu (2507 m), Văiuga (2443 m), Iezerul Caprei and Paltinu. The peaks are separated by the Capra Saddle (2315 m) and the Curmătura Bâlei (2208 m) - small plateaus from which you can admire the valleys.

Bâlea glaciar lake is one of the largest glacial lakes in Romania. Due to the easy access, it is often visited by tourists who stop at the top of Transfăgărășan
Bâlea glaciar lake is one of the largest glacial lakes in Romania. Due to the easy access, it is often visited by tourists who stop at the top of Transfăgărășan

Lake Bâlea is located at a distance of 77 km from the city of Sibiu, 68 km from Făgăraș and 85 km from Curtea de Argeș, on the Transfăgărășan.

Three natural reserves

The natural reserves in the Făgăraș massif are too few compared to the wealth of these places.

The alpine gap and Bâlea lake

The first and best-known reserve has an area of 120 hectares and includes a territory guarded, to the south, by the peaks of Vânătarea lui Buteanu (2508 m), Capra (2450 m) and Paltinu Mare (2480 m), on the western flank, by Muchia Buteanu, and on the eastern side of Muchia Bâlea. The reserve includes the Bâlea glacial cirque and the homonym glacial lake, the largest glacial lake of the Făgăraș Mountains.

The alpine gap in the Făgăraş Mountains seems like an endless plain that wears the sharp edges of the rocks
The alpine gap in the Făgăraş Mountains seems like an endless plain that wears the sharp edges of the rocks
The Arpășel Natural Reserve

The Arpășel Reserve, with an area of 736 hectares, is located on the northern slope, comprising the alpine, subalpine and upper mountain floor, from 2500 m to 1000 m altitude.

Rhododendron or peony - its popular name, is often found in alpine meadows
Rhododendron or peony - its popular name, is often found in alpine meadows
The limestones from Turnul Roșu

This reservation, near the town of Turnu Roșu in Sibiu, includes a strip of limestone superimposed on crystalline schist. Rich fossil deposits are included in these limestones.

Eocene limestones from Turnu Roșu - Porcești
Eocene limestones from Turnu Roșu - Porcești

Hunting in the Făgăraş Mountains

Due to their wildlife, the Făgăraş mountains are often preferred for hunting parties carried out by some of the most famous practitioners of this sport. From the famous black goats, to bear and wild boar, these mountains abound in biodiversity.

Carpathian deer and fallow deer trophies are coveted by hunters who come especially from Western Europe to enjoy the wilderness of the Făgăraş mountains
Carpathian deer and fallow deer trophies are coveted by hunters who come especially from Western Europe to enjoy the wilderness of the Făgăraş mountains

The Vidraru Dam

It is certainly one of the most beautiful in the country. Also, it is always cool here, being the most suitable place to escape the heat.

Lake Vidraru is one of the largest reservoirs in Europe
Lake Vidraru is one of the largest reservoirs in Europe

Lake Vidraru is a reservoir in Argeș County, created in 1965 by the Vidraru Dam, on the Argeș River. Its purposes include electricity production, irrigation and flood prevention.

The construction of the Vidraru dam took five and a half years, starting in 1960
The construction of the Vidraru dam took five and a half years, starting in 1960

Also, the lake and related facilities are used for recreation, tourism and sports. Located between the Frunții Mountains and the Ghițu Massif, the lake has a total area of 893 hectares.

The Moldoveanu Peak

It reaches a height of 2544 meters, but the last official measurement was made about 25 years ago with rudimentary instruments so it is not excluded that the height has changed since then.

The most popular route to Moldoveanu Peak is the one through Sâmbetei Valley that passes by the cabin of the same name. The plateau next to the cottage has become a place of pilgrimage every spring thanks to the meadow saffrons that complete the view towards the ridge of Făgăraşi
The most popular route to Moldoveanu Peak is the one through Sâmbetei Valley that passes by the cabin of the same name. The plateau next to the cottage has become a place of pilgrimage every spring thanks to the meadow saffrons that complete the view towards the ridge of Făgăraşi

Seen from the Vidraru dam, Moldoveanu is somewhere in the upper right, but it is not visible, because it is surrounded by other peaks of over 2500 meters. From Buda Valley, on the opposite side of Râiosu Peak, you go on foot, pass Muchea Mircea, you reach the first barn in Giurgiului Bridge mountain, towards Curmătura Moldoveanului. From here, you can barely see Moldoveanu Peak, on one side, and Roșu Peak, on the other.

The road is hard, bumpy, and is only recommended in July and August, when there is no avalanche risk. At a brisk pace, it takes 4-5 hours.

The route preferred by those in good physical condition is the one through Rea Valley. On it, the Moldoveanu Peak can be conquered in a few hours at a sustained pace
The route preferred by those in good physical condition is the one through Rea Valley. On it, the Moldoveanu Peak can be conquered in a few hours at a sustained pace

The hiking trail Vâlsanului Valley – Moldoveanu Peak is a 12-16 hour route, relatively difficult and recommended for those who train on the mountain. It is ideal in September and not recommended in winter. The route is about 35 kilometers long, it starts at the Vâlsan Dam, goes on Scarișoara saddle, reaches Galbena Peak, then towards Lake Galbena and Roșu Peak and ends at Moldoveanu Peak.

You cannot climb without mountain equipment, thick clothes (the average annual temperature on Moldoveanu is -3 degrees Celsius), food, water and a mobile phone (although there is limited coverage in some areas).

Stan's Valley Canyon - hiking trail

One of the most beautiful stories of Făgăraș is Stan's Valley. The trail is accessible to anyone who is in good physical condition and knows their limits. The route requires attention, avoiding any excesses and a lot of respect for the mountain.

Stan's Valley Canyon is very popular among those looking for a challenging route, full of adventure but also very well laid out, so completely safe
Stan's Valley Canyon is very popular among those looking for a challenging route, full of adventure but also very well laid out, so completely safe

The entrance to the route is less than three kilometers after the Poienari fortress, going up from Curtea de Argeș. The place is marked with a triangle right at the entrance to the route. Here, the Transfăgărășan makes a 180-degree turn.

The area of cliffs and stairs - the difficult part, it takes an hour and a half to cross. After finishing this part of the route, through the gorge, you reach the small dam that marks the end of the landscaped route, the marking continues with a steep climb through the forest to a clearing where all the groups stop to discuss the beautiful canyon.

There is a descent through the forest, then a section of forest road that goes around the tail of the lake, which leads to the Vidraru dam. The complete journey takes about 4-5 hours, depending on the capacity of each person.

Bâlea Lake to Bâlea Waterfall - hiking trail

Probably the most famous route in Făgăraş, and one of the easiest, but impractical in winter. The route starts near the cable car station, crosses the Bâlea stream and climbs steeply for about 30 minutes through the forest, from where you can see the Bâlea Waterfall.

Being a simple and easy route for anyone to walk, Bâlea Waterfall - Bâlea Lake is full of tourists all summer long
Being a simple and easy route for anyone to walk, Bâlea Waterfall - Bâlea Lake is full of tourists all summer long

The Waterfalls

Nine waterfalls put on a show in the Făgăraș Mountains, especially at the beginning of summer, when the snow melts. Sometimes, during the rainy periods in autumn, the spectacle becomes thrilling again, with the waterfalls having high flows.

The Bâlea waterfall, located at an altitude of 1200 meters, is the largest waterfall in steps, the water falling from a height of 60 meters. Also called Urlaotarea Bâlei, it is located between the peaks of Moldoveanu and Negoiu, on the course of the Bâlea stream.

Although less visited due to difficult access, the Bâlea waterfall is one of the largest in the Făgăraş mountains
Although less visited due to difficult access, the Bâlea waterfall is one of the largest in the Făgăraş mountains

The Capra Waterfall, also known as the "Iezer Waterfall" is on the southern slope of Făgărăși, at 1690 meters, right on the edge of Transfăgărășan.

he most photographed waterfall in Romania, the Capra waterfall helps you cool down on the way to Lake Bâlea, with Transfăgărășan passing right over it
he most photographed waterfall in Romania, the Capra waterfall helps you cool down on the way to Lake Bâlea, with Transfăgărășan passing right over it

The waterfalls in "Bad Valley" stretch along the valley and collect the waters from under the Moldoveanu and Viștea Mare ridges. From the Valea Rea lake, also called Triangular Iezer because of its shape, three large waterfalls form, on a difference in level of 600 meters and on three glacial steps, of which the middle one is bigger and more spectacular.

Every year, thousands of tourists pass by this waterfall located near the famous Stâna lui Burnei point - the starting point, on Valea Rea, to the Modloveanu peak
Every year, thousands of tourists pass by this waterfall located near the famous Stâna lui Burnei point - the starting point, on Valea Rea, to the Modloveanu peak

The water fall called Zbuciumata Waterfall (Pișătorea lui Buteanu, as it is known by hunters and shepherds), fed by the Galbena stream, has a height of about 100 meters and is also in three steps.

Tourist attractions

Basically, the Transfăgărășan starts from the town of Bascov near the city of Pitesti, where it branches off from the National Road 7 (DN7/E81), this why the Transfagarasan is officially called the National Road 7C (DN7C). DN7C ends in Cârțișoara, at the intersection with National Road 1 (DN1/E68), one hour from Sibiu and two hours from Brașov.

For this reason, below we list tourist attractions both on Transfăgărășan and in Curtea de Argeș or Sibiu:

Curtea de Argeș

The first capital of Romania, the city declined after the administrative center was moved to Târgoviște, but it was reborn with the designation of the Curtea de Argeș Monastery as a royal necropolis. King Mihai and Queen Ana are buried here, and Manole's monastery and fountain are important landmarks both historically and architecturally.

The architecture and paintings of the Curtea de Argeș Monastery rival those of the great European cathedrals
The architecture and paintings of the Curtea de Argeș Monastery rival those of the great European cathedrals

Don't forget to visit the ruins of the Royal Church, a 14th-century monument on the UNESCO list, and the Olari church, impressive with its exterior murals.

It is worth visiting and admiring several houses, which have become historical monuments: Goangă House, Cioculeștilor House, Rădulescu House, Chiriță and Teodorescu House, Rozelor Villa, Dumitru Norocea House and Călinescu House - the latter belonging to Armand Călinescu, former prime minister of Romania, assassinated by legionnaires in September 1939.

The house of the painter Dumitru Norocea now houses the museum dedicated to the artist
The house of the painter Dumitru Norocea now houses the museum dedicated to the artist

Both in the city and in the adjacent villages there are enough hotels and guesthouses to suit all budgets and tastes. Do not miss the picturesque places of Corbeni and Arefu, they have a special charm thanks to the good preservation of local traditions.

Fans of fish dishes and fishing can try Păstrăvăria Zăvoi, from Valea Danului commune, about two kilometers from Curtea de Argeș. It is a travel complex that offers rooms and the opportunity to fish for trout and carp.

Pastrăvăria Zăvoi is an oasis of peace a few minutes from Curtea de Argeș
Pastrăvăria Zăvoi is an oasis of peace a few minutes from Curtea de Argeș

The Poienari Fortress

Located in the Argeșului Gorge, near Arefu, the Poienari Fortress was built by Negru Vodă in the 14th century, with the aim of being an observation and defense point.

From the height of the fortress, you can see the Argeș Gorges in all their splendor, the Vidraru Dam and the Făgăraș Mountains. To visit, you have to climb the 1480 steps, in order to discover the mysterious ruins and legends of Vlad the Impaler.

The Poenari Fortress, digitally reconstructed in this image, is at the end of a climb of almost 1500 steps that starts right from Transfăgărăşan
The Poenari Fortress, digitally reconstructed in this image, is at the end of a climb of almost 1500 steps that starts right from Transfăgărăşan

The Badea Cârțan Museum

Located in Cârțișoara, the museum was inaugurated in 1968 and includes various objects that belonged to the shepherd. The collection includes glass icons, Badea Cârțan's books, old photographs, ceramics and dowry boxes. The household is comprised of the attic, the cellar and the house itself, which in turn consists of three rooms, typical of the 19th century.

The Dacian descended from Trajan's column, Badea Cârțan, spiritually welcomes you with open arms in his house, now a museum
The Dacian descended from Trajan's column, Badea Cârțan, spiritually welcomes you with open arms in his house, now a museum

Badea Cârțan met the writers and historians Ioan Slavici, Spiru Haret and Nicolae Iorga, learning from them about the past of the Romanian people and the idea of Romanity. He then traveled on foot to Rome in 1896 to see Trajan's Column. Cârțan lay down at the base of the Column, and the Italian press wrote that “A Dacian came down from the Column – long haired, with a shirt, a cap, homespun peasant trousers and moccasins”.

Out of the love she had for the history of the Romanian people, Badea Cârțan traveled through Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Egypt, Jerusalem and Germany, in order to convince himself about the stories in the history books he was reading about his ancestors.

Sibiu

After you have overcome Transfăgărășan and crossed over to the other side of the mountains, from Cârțișoara, where the "road of the clouds" ends, there are only 45 kilometers to Sibiu, a one-hour road trip that is worth taking.

If you had the impression that the Transfăgărășan adventure ends with the road, then the Red City will quickly prove you wrong
If you had the impression that the Transfăgărășan adventure ends with the road, then the Red City will quickly prove you wrong

Sibiu is one of the cities that must be seen at leisure because the offer is more than generous. Also called the "Red City", for the dozens of red brick buildings in the Medieval Citadel, which could be seen from a great distance, Sibiu is one of the cities that you fall irreparably in love with.

The Astra Museum - Museum of Traditional Popular Civilization, is one of the largest open-air museums in Romania. The houses, workshops and building complexes are located around a lake, among the trees of Dumbrăvii Sibiului.

The ASTRA complex is a replica of Romanian architectural and craft culture from ancient times to today
The ASTRA complex is a replica of Romanian architectural and craft culture from ancient times to today

The "Emil Sigerus" Museum of Saxon Folk Art and Ethnography, the Steam Locomotive Museum, the Council Tower, built in the 13th century, and the "Franz Binder" Museum of Universal Ethnography are on the list of places to see and feel.

The Evangelical Cathedral of Saint Mary in Sibiu is a jewel of medieval architecture
The Evangelical Cathedral of Saint Mary in Sibiu is a jewel of medieval architecture

The Evangelical Cathedral and the Orthodox Cathedral, the Synagogue and the Monastery and the Church of the Ursulines cannot be omitted, to mention only a few of the places of worship, also representative tourist attractions

The cabins and hotels of the Transfăgărășan Highway

Above Arefu, practically located in the forest, is the La Cetate cabin, just two kilometers from the Poienari Fortress, and five kilometers below Vidraru.

After the dam, immediately on the left is the Hotel Posada Vidraru. It is a unique construction, in Tudor style, overlooking Lake Vidraru. After a few more kilometers, perched on a hill, on the right side of the road, is the Valea cu Pești hotel, once the favorite place of the communist nomenclature, led by Nicolae Ceaușescu. Today, Valea cu Pești is on the list of hotels that Renault takes into account for accommodation when it does a test drive with new car models, on Transfăgărășan.

From the pool of the Valea cu Pești hotel you can admire the entire Vidraru lake while enjoying a fine drink
From the pool of the Valea cu Pești hotel you can admire the entire Vidraru lake while enjoying a fine drink

On the opposite side of the road, down a short flight of steps to the jetty, is Canoe T'URS. Here you can rent kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddles and high-performance Dragon Boats. The place is simply fabulous, affordable and most importantly, uncrowded!

Those who want a more daring perspective can cross Vidraru lake by kayak
Those who want a more daring perspective can cross Vidraru lake by kayak

The Cumpăna Complex, located on the other side of the lake, is also a place to stay, stop and eat. The Piscul Negru Hotel and a multitude of guesthouses await you in the Piscul Negru area, from where you can start an adventure to the great Lespezi peak.

For those who want to enjoy hunting specialties but also spend time in a green setting, surrounded by nature, we recommend Vila Bâlea or Conacul Ursului, both locations located less than 30 minutes from Bâlea Lac.

The rocky landscape, monumental throughout the year, the seasons being perfectly defined and spectacularly visible through the way the light and color of the grasses in the alpine pastures change, but also overwhelming in winter, is the perfect place for the two large cabins: Bâlea Lake and Paltinul.

The Bâlea Lake Cabin is one of the most beautiful locations where you can spend a night in the Făgăraş mountains
The Bâlea Lake Cabin is one of the most beautiful locations where you can spend a night in the Făgăraş mountains

The Bâlea Lake Cabin is the only semi-lacustrine cabin and a gem that has gone through a long history and which is now one with the rock of Făgăraș. The cabin is located at an altitude of 2034 meters, located on the peninsula that juts into Lake Bâlea from the northeast.

Probably the Argeș Valley, from Curtea de Argeș up to Vidraru and from here on Transfăgărășan, to the big tunnel and then on the other side of Făgăraș, towards Cârțișoara and from here to Sibiu, are the most beautiful places in the country. Probable. You have no way of knowing if it is or not if you don't see them, if you don't touch them, if you don't feel them.

Silvana Pătrășcanu, the author of this page