Transfagarasan Highway… Worth The Trip

Called by some driving enthusiasts “The best road in the world“, or the “Romanian Dragon” the Transfagarasan Highway is a sight to be seen. At its highest elevation of 2034 meters, the sights are breathtaking as you get a view of the Romanian countryside that you simply can’t get anywhere else. While this highway is well maintained, it is not for the faint of heart.  Built as an important military route between 1970 and 1974, these 90 km of challenging asphalt, run North to South across the tallest sections of the Carpathian Mountain range.

It is important to note that this road is typically closed from late October until late June because of snow, and because of the myriad of twists and turns, the average driving speed is 40 km/h. There is a sign at the town of Curtea de Arges that provides information on the passage. Travelers can find food and lodging at several hotels or chalets along the way. The Transfagarasan Highway has more tunnels (a total of 5) and viaducts than any other road in Romania. Near the highest point, at Bâlea Lake, the road passes through the longest road tunnel in Romania (884 m).

Among the attractions along the southern section of the road, the section that is advisable for tourists to start from, near the village of Arefu, is the Poienari fortress. This castle served as the residence of Vlad III the Impaler, the prince who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula character. There is a parking area and a hiking path to these ruins that are of the most popular of the tourist attractions along the highway. The highway itself may be relatively new, but the attractions along the way are as old as the hills the highway winds through.

When planning your trip over the Transfagarasan give yourself plenty of time for the crossing, as it is not just vehicles that use the highway, but many shepherds use this same route with their large flocks. Once the shepherd and sheep enter the road, they are there to stay until they reach a path or grazing land. You don’t want to lose your patience, for some drivers have been known to pass a group of a dozen or so sheep, only to find a couple hundred more right around the bend. If you’re in a hurry, this is not the road for you. While it was built under the most practical of circumstances, this road is used mainly for leisure and enjoying nature.

The Transfagarasan Highway is one of the most unique roads in the world, passing through some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery in the world, which frames some of the most historically rich buildings, chalets, monasteries, and castles in the world. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or driving enthusiast, the Transfagarasan is a European destination you don’t want to miss. This is a trip the whole family will enjoy and remember for a lifetime. And to think, it all centers around…………. a road.

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