The Transfagarasan is one of the most famous roads in Romania, and even in Europe and rest of the world, due to the height at which it was built, beautiful landscapes and many switchbacks.
Built between 1970-1974 on the personal orders of communist politician Nicolae Ceausescu, the highway stretches some 150km, passing over the Fagaras mountains in Transylvania, Romania.
I’ll be honest here. At first, I did resist taking this road trip because it was just a road to me in the beginning as I had been on plenty of road trips all over in the United States. I just didn’t see any point in this, but John, my co-owner of this blog, insisted that I take the road trip regardless due to its reputation with Top Gear. On the plus side, there were plenty of reviews on the Internet that it would be one of must-see attraction in Romania, so I decided to go with it.
John actually rolled up his sleeves and reached out to several car rentals for sponsoring a day of car rental. Luckily, Autonom Rent-A-Car in Brasov, Romania came down to an agreement to sponsor my road trip. I had to admit that I was a little reluctant about this, but I couldn’t say no as everything had been confirmed and arranged.
I found it funny because John was actually a lot more excited for me than I was for myself, even though he wasn’t with me.
It was about 6am when I got up to take a walk to the car rental center as it was really close to the hostel I was staying at. They were entirely prepared for my arrival and they were kind to include a GPS in my rental. However, I had to use my credit card for them to take a deposit of $800 US Dollars. It’s procedural for them, so I followed through.
As soon the processing completed for me, I hopped into the car and got on the road.
Only the Beginning…
As soon as I got out of the touristy area in Brasov and started driving south for next two hours to Curtea de Argeș, a city in Romania on the right bank of the Argeş River, I realized that John was right. I felt like I was so lost in the nature as I drove.
I was taking my time as I contemplated the nature of the road trip and there were few rude motorcyclists and drivers who felt that I was too slow, so they sped past me.
I’d say about an hour into the road trip, I realized that it was very lucky that I started the road trip in the early morning because the fog was low and below the peaks of the Transsylvanian Alps. It was unbelievable beautiful! Especially with the sunrise because it actually reflected off the fog.
The Transfagarasan Road Trip Begins
When I arrived in Curtea de Argeș, I took a short break and grabbed some snacks and water—I ended up getting the sparkling water by accident, but it didn’t bother me.
Anyways, in this area, I felt like I finally see the behind-the-scenes of the authentic Romanian culture and community. That was when I knew that I’d enjoy the rest of the road trip on the Transfagarasan.
At last, I finally got on the road and headed north on the DN7C. The road climbed steadily from here, and by the time you reach Capatinenii Pamantului—the last village before the serious hairpins begin – the scenery is already stunning, with the road clinging in places to the cliffs as it passes through a wonderful natural gorge.
This would be where you will find the home to the ruins of the real Dracula Castle, Poienari, (real in the sense that Vlad Dracul actually lived here for a time. Bran Castle – often marketed as Dracula’s Lair, was never Vlad’s home). I took a short hike up to the castle to check it out, and then got back on the road.
If you follow the road further north, you’ll reach a fabulous view of the Vidraru Lake where you would find a dam there. It had been known as one of the largest hydroelectric plants in Europe the road that would pass across the top of the dam (completed in 1966).
My Mind Wandered Off the Road
After this lake, you will see that the road starts following the outline of the lake leading me upwards to the top of the Transfagarasan. This was when I felt like I was in Colorado all over again with their beautiful landscapes and mountains, but I got to admit that this is way better than Colorado—in my honest opinion.
That caused my mind to wander in different place to the point where I started reflecting on what I really wanted out of my life. It was absolutely serene for me. I even made frequent stops to take pictures and selfies with the landscapes. Even there were waterfalls.
I’ll let the photos become self-explanatory to you.
At the Top: Balea Lac
I had to drive through few more tunnels before reaching to the top. Besides, the road can get slippery and dangerous as there weren’t any rails or whatnot, so keep that in mind if you happen to come here in the future.
This is where you will find some mountain huts offering basic food and accommodation for tourist as this is the place where you get to see the view of the swirly roads of the Transfagarasan! For me, it wasn’t easy for me because I had to wait for the thick fog to move away from the view because I couldn’t see anything. The wait was so worth it and you’d see why with the pictures.
Keep in mind that you would probably feel different and lightheaded while you’re up there because of the high altitude, so don’t fret if you feel something off. Drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Besides all that, this is one spot that you must have your photo op. There’s no better place to capture the scenery of the road from the top. Truth to be told, one of most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen in my whole life. The combination of the road, the mountains and the landscape made it beyond my expectations regardless of gloomy and foggy weather.
On the Way Down…
I have to admit that it was kind of a bittersweet feeling to leave the top to go through the road, but—hey!—why wouldn’t I go down? I mean, going up is optional, but going down is mandatory, right?
Not only that, why would I miss out driving down on that road? You got that right, there’s no way I’m going to miss out on that.
As I continued down the road, I became very focused with the curves and whatnot, especially there weren’t any rails on the edge at all. I actually almost drifted off road on several curves, but I managed. Nonetheless, I found that funny because it’s famous and I would assume that they’d want to install rails for safety purposes, but I wouldn’t have any say in it because it seemed that they did not have any problems.
I’d like to remind you that there would be some bad drivers, or unsafe drivers. Few cars almost hit me, but nothing happened—whew! So, be on the alert when you drive on this road.
I better stop blabbing and let you see the rest of the pictures of my trip to Sighișoara for my visit at Casa Dracula!
My Final Thoughts
Like I said, I gotta thank John for making this happen for me as I do not regret taking this road trip because it gave me the time to myself. I get to be alone with the car and the mother nature. That’s what matters to me because I personally love nature myself.
Not only that, be sure to rent your car with Autonom Rent-A-Car when you plan your road trip on this highway. they’re great, but be sure to check in for automatic transmission because most of their rentals are manual, unless you know how to shift a manual transmission, then you’re all good. However, gas would be a little expensive, but it was totally worth the cost. Trust me on this one.