Romania is a beautiful country that offers tourists stunning views of its landscapes. Much of the country’s nature can also be admired traveling by car.
However, sometimes with high reward comes high risk and some of the most scenic Romanian roads may prove to be more than just a Sunday drive for those who venture onto them. Here are 5 Romanian roads that delight drivers’ eyes but also get their adrenaline pumping.
Transalpina Road (DN67C)
The Transalpina Road is a Romanian national road that runs across the Parâng Mountains, in the Meridional Carpathians. It’s the highest road in Romania, reaching its peak at Pasul Urdele at 2145 m (7037 ft) above sea level. The road connects the city of Novaci from Gorj County with the city of Sebeș from Alba County.
Transalpina crosses four counties along its way (Gorj, Vâlcea, Sibiu and Alba), passing over the Parâng Mountains from South to North. The road has its highest altitude on a 20 km (12.4 miles) section in the county of Vâlcea, passing close by the following mountaintops: Dengheru, Păpușa, Urdele, Iezer and Muntinu.
Its total length is 146 km (90.7 miles). It was paved in the year 2009 and since then it has become an attraction for tourists due to its serpentine turns, twists and sheer drops that can be seen on one side of the road. It has multiple names such as “The King’s Road”, “The Royal Road” or “The Devil’s Path”.
Besides the usual dangers that drivers encounter on a high mountain road, you should also keep an eye out for donkeys, which are used by shepherds to transport various equipment up and down the mountain.
The donkeys often get on the road, especially on the road sections that are not protected with barriers and pose a potential hazard to drivers. Moreover, some tourists stop their vehicles in the middle of the lane to take photos of the animals which further elevates the danger level of this road.
The road is closed in winter and during the months when snow covers it, so don’t plan a trip without getting informed in advance about the road conditions.
Transfăgărășan Road (DN7C)
The Transfăgărăşan Road is considered to be the most beautiful and dramatic road of Romania and for good reason. Lots of tight hair pinned turns, non-barriered sections, dark tunnels and stunning views over the Romanian mountains will make a driver’s heart pump.
It links Arfeu, from Argeș county, to Cârțișoara, from Sibiu county. At its highest point (Pasul Bâlea) the road is at 2042 m (6699 ft) above sea level. Initially designed as a 90 km (56 miles) strategic military road, the Transfăgărăşan runs north to south through the Southern Carpathians’ highest parts. On this road, you can pass by sheer drops of over 300 m (1000 ft).
Transbucegi Road (DJ713)
The Transbucegi Road is a high elevation Romanian road. It was inaugurated in the year 2013 and after Transalpina and Transfăgărășan it occupies the 3rd place as the highest Romanian road. It reaches its highest point at 1925 m (6315 ft) and has its lowest point at 760 m (2495 ft) above sea level. Transbucegi has a length of 39 km (24 miles).
The road connects Sinaia with the Bucegi Mountains Plateau taking you through the Bucegi Natural Park, a place where you will enjoy spectacular scenery and fresh mountain air without even leaving your vehicle. The road is paved with asphalt so your car will not be subjected to much strain.
Another name that locals have for Transbucegi is “Drumul Babelor”, which means “The Road to the Old Dames”. It offers those who travel it miles of amazing landscapes and sharp hairpin turns with a high elevation. It is a very exciting drive, even more so when you go past unsecured sections of the road.
The Bicaz Gorge (DN12C)
The road passing the Bicaz Gorge can be found in the north-eastern part of Romania. This gorge winds its way steeply for a distance of 5 km (3,1 miles) and seems like it is piercing through sheer walls of rock made out of limestone that reach heights of 300 m (984 ft).
The Bicaz Gorge and the road through it connect the two historical regions Transylvania and Moldavia. While driving on this road through the ravines, you can almost feel the 200 m (656 ft) walls closing in on you; it is not a pleasant feeling if you are claustrophobic.
There is a certain point where the road passes underneath a huge overhanging rock. This point is called “Gâtul Iadului”, which means “The Neck of Hell”. Although the road is asphalted it is uncomfortably narrow at times.
On those sections, only one car can pass between a sheer wall of rock on one side and a drop into the Bicaz river on the other. This undoubtedly offers one of the most thrilling feelings you can have on a scenic Romanian road.
In the Southern Romanian Carpathians, there is a 10 km (6.2 miles) challenging mountain road. It can be found in the proximity of the Piatra Craiului Mountains. This mountain road, known only after its official name (DJ112G) links Zărnești from Brașov County with Peștera.
This road is only partially asphalted, most of it being covered with gravel. It is an uneven drive that rocks you up and down all the way between these two villages. There are holes and portions of the road that are literally washed away, especially after the cold months of winter pass and the snow starts to melt away.
As most of the high mountain roads, this one is tightly hair pinned with blind curves, but also bumped. Moreover, DJ112G is not protected, it’s narrow and the elevation is high. If you add in the unpredictable weather conditions, you got yourself a serious adventure on your hands.
This mountain road can be often closed due to the above mentioned weather conditions, so in order to drive on it, you should check in advance what the weather will be like. If it is covered by snow, there is no chance of being traveled.
Although you do not necessarily need an SUV to drive on this road, it is obvious that vehicles with low clearance have little to no chance of crossing the more difficult sections. If you do have the means of driving on this road, you will be amazed by the scenery. You will witness nature at its finest while enjoying an off-road-like experience.