Famous enough to feature on the UK motor show Top Gear but remote enough that traffic jams won’t be a problem, Transfagarasan Highway might just be “the best road in the world” as Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson claimed. Despite hairpin bends, and sheer drops off rocky cliffs, this route rewards tourists with spectacular scenery.
Driving the Transfagarasan Highway is a real Romanian experience that pairs road course navigation with spectacular views, twisting and turning its way through the Carpathian mountain range in central Romania. Multi-day tours between Bucharest and Brasov (home of Dracula’s Castle) often include a spin on this legendary road. It’s also possible to visit on a day trip, stopping at sights such as Balea Lake, Poienari Castle, and Vidraru Dam along the way.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It takes about 2.5 hours to drive the road, but leave plenty of time to stop and take photos, or in case you get stuck behind flocks of sheep and local herders, who share the road with regular traffic.
- A restaurant and chalet accommodations are available at Balea Lake.
- It can be chilly in the mountains, even in summer, so bring warm clothing in case you want to get out and take photos.
How to Get There
The highway—known to locals as road 7C—runs for 56 miles (90 kilometers). It starts near Bascov, outside the city of Pitesti, to Sibiu in Transylvania. It ends near the intersection of D1 and Sibiu.
When to Get There
Because of its high altitude, heavy snowfall renders this road unsafe and it is usually closed from late October until late June. Closures are also possible during the summer months, depending on weather conditions, and it’s not possible to drive the road at night.
Transfagarasan: The Facts
Built as a military road in the 1970s, the Transfagarasan Highway is Romania’s second-highest mountain pass, reaching a height of 6,699 feet (2,042 meters). It has more tunnels and viaducts than any other Romanian road, and boasts the longest tunnel—the 2,900-foot (884-meter) Bâlea Tunnel. Because of the many s-curves, hairpin bends, and steep descents, the average speed along the road is around 25 mph (40 kph).