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The experience of driving on the Transfăgărăşan road

These last few days, that I’m constantly getting lost with the motorbike up and down all the time in Goa, I’m remembering a lot of what I have left pending to be done in Romania: Take and drive the Transfăgărăşan road.

Voted the best road in the world by the famous TV show Top Gear, the Transfăgărăşan or DN7C is the second highest paved road in Romania, and even if I had it in the spotlight since the day I arrived to this country, for some reason or other, I was always postponing it to the point that after three years I left the country without having seen it.

 

    Historical context

Year 1968. The Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia and the dictator who ruled Romania by then, Nicolae Ceauşescu, decided to create this road to ensure fast military access through the Carpathian Mountains, in the event that the Soviets would repeat the movement, this time against them.

 

First vehicles circulating in the DN7C.

 

It took only 4 and a half years to construct it and was officially opened on September 30th 1974, having needed 6 million kilos of dynamite and lost 38 lifes during its construction.

 

    Living the experience

The road, which connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia, usually traversed from north to south starting shortly after the known city of Sibiu and ending in Pitesti, passing through the Moldoveanu and Negoiu, the two highest peaks of the Carpathians.

 

Views of a section of the Transfăgărăşan road next to Bâlea lake.

 

The experience is not limited to driving on this road that gets to pass 2,000 meters high, but also to the nature that surrounds it. Mountains, small waterfalls, glacier lakes and lush forests will give us amazing views all over the 90 kilometers road it lasts.

 

    How and when to do it

Because of the terrible snowfalls every winter over the Carpathians, the road normally remains closed from October to June.

There is no public transportation to do this tour so what normally people do is to rent a car or a motorbike and drive the road on your own. You can go up and down the same day or stay over the top, where there are some hostels or where you can also camp without any problem.

 

Overview of the tight turns of a part of the road.

 

    Transalpina

And since you are at the Carpathian Mountains, with a vehicle in your hands, you can also take to the Transalpina road, locally known as DN67C. This is an older road than Transfăgărăşan and in fact is even a little higher. Although it seems that the views are not so spectacular, being them both so close to each other, it’s always good to pass by this one also to complete the experience.

 

View from the Transalpina road with the first snow of the season.