Transfagarasan road, the best drive in Romania

Transfagaran road
Transfagaran road

The Transfagarasan road is one of the most amazing and dangerous roads in the world. Its other name is the Transfagarasan Highway or Transfagarasan.

It runs through the Romanian Carpathian Mountains and the Fagaras massif. In fact, the highway connects the two regions of Romania: Wallachia and Transylvania, and goes up 2,000 meters (6,670 feet). That’s why it is one of the highest roads and the highest paved road in Romania.

Where is Transfagarasan road located?

The Transfagarasan road runs from north to south, traversing some of the highest areas in the Southern Carpathians. It starts in the town of Pitesti in Wallachia, winds its way through a picturesque valley along the Ardzhes River, passing through the town of Kurtia de Ardzhes. After reaching the peak elevation, the road then descends through the Olta Valley and ends in the municipality of Arpasu de Jos.

You can locate the road on the map bellow:

Enlarge the map

Facts about the spot:

The Transfăgărașan Road (which official name is DN7c – Drumul Național 7C) is located in Romania. It is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) long and crossing the Carpathian Mountains between Curtea de Argeș in the south and Transylvania (near Făgăraș) in the north.

The Transfagarasan road is often named as one of the most beautiful roads in the world. Many travelers come to Romania to discover it and take a ride on it. Also, it is not uncommon for clips or commercials for prestigious car brands to be filmed there.

The road is just as impressive whether you take it from the south to the north or the other way around, you will discover spectacular landscapes. You can see the top of Mount Lodoveanu, the highest peak in Romania at 2,034 meters above sea level.

The most amazing point of the road is the 890-meters tunnel that crosses the mountain. Indeed, the tunnel marks the separation between a deserted, snowy mountain landscape in the north and the green valleys in the south where the temperature rises significantly.

The road is made of impressive curves (maybe even more that the Maloja Pass!), as well as viaducts and tunnels.

History of the road:

Following the events in the Czech Republic in 1968, Nicolae Ceausescu feared an invasion of Romania by the USSR. He, therefore, planned to equip his country with a road that crossed the Fagaras Mountains. He wanted to be able to send his troops quickly in case of an attack.

Thus, the Transfagarasan Road went from idea to realization in 1970. This Transfagarasan road required considerable effort. Not only did the road have to be created, and the materials transported, but tunnels had to be dug, viaducts built, and even a dam constructed. It was a phenomenal project at the time!

The construction of a road through the Fagaras Mountains proved to be extremely dangerous. Indeed, more than 6000 tons of dynamite were needed to build the 88 kilometers of the Transfagarasan road.

It is essentially military personnel who have been requisitioned to build the Transfagarasan. The men paid a heavy price during the construction: the official report states 40 deaths, but many testimonies suggest that the toll is actually much higher. Several hundred workers would have died.

The road was opened in 1974, only 4 years to build this project. At that time, there will be a few years of work, especially to improve the pavement, but the objective of crossing the Carpathians from North to South is achieved.

How to get to Transfagarasan road ?

The road is located roughly in the middle between two big cities of the country. Indeed, it is located about 200 kilometers from Bucharest, the capital and 220 kilometers from Cluj-Napoca.

If you are coming from the south of Bucharest, take the E81 highway to Pitesti. From here the road begins by taking the 7C.

If you are coming from the north from Cluj-Napoca take the A1 and then the E81 to Vestem where you take the E68 to join the 7C.

You can also situate the itinerary on this map:

Things do to near the road:

Not to be missed on your way: the church of Saint Nicholas, the monastery of Curtea d’Arges and the castle of Fagara.

monastery of Curtea d'Arges on Transfagarasan road
Monastery of Curtea d’Arges

You can also stop at points of tourist interest:

  • Curtea de Argeș, the former capital of the principality of Wallachia.
  • Vidraru Dam and Vidraru Lake.
  • Lake Bâlea, a glacial lake located at an altitude of about 2000 meters above sea level (6560 feet).
  • Bâlea waterfall, with a total height of more than 60 meters (197 feet).
  • Poenari Citadel: a ruined citadel built by Vlad Țepeș in the municipality of Arefu.
  • At the top of the road, an unlit tunnel of 875 meters (2870 feet).
  • Various refuges: as the Cabana Capra or the Cabana Bâlea.

In order to fully enjoy your ride, you can find some accommodations or restaurants near Transfagarasan Road, for example on the top of the road or in surrounding towns and villages

A video of the journey:

You can have a preview of this 100 kilometers (62 miles) drive by watching this YouTube video:

Is the Transfagarasan road open?

The road is only open from June to October due to snow and difficult weather conditions. Tight curves, narrow junctions, the risk of the road being blocked even in summer, and the remoteness of the region make it a particularly difficult destination.

So choose your period carefully, don’t forget to bring warm clothes and some provisions.

The road is also very busy during weekends and vacations, so it is better to avoid these days or come early in the morning.

If you’re planning a trip to Romania, don’t forget to include a drive along the Transfagarasan Road in your itinerary. It’s a thrill-dream, seeker’s with winding, vertiginous roads and plenty of other sights to see along the way. It’s yet another compelling reason to visit Romania. The Transfagarasan Road, with its hairpin bends, tunnels, bridges, and viaducts, is one of the most beautiful roads in the world.

Picture credit: By Alexandru Baboş Albabos – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

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