Mar 25, 2024
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Transfagarasan, the Most Beautiful Road in Romania

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The Transfagarasan road, winding through Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, boasts stunning scenery and a reputation for offering one of the world’s most incredible driving experiences. However, I’m not sure if I should take Top Gear television presenter Jeremy Clarkson at his word when he called it “the best road in the world” – especially since he gave the same honor to the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps just weeks before.

The Transfagarasan Road (DN7C) is a high mountain road in Romania that crosses the Făgăraș Mountains, connecting the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia. It is one of the highest paved roads in Romania, with an elevation of 2,042 meters (6,700 feet). The Transfagarasan was built in the early 1970s as a strategic military route, but it quickly became a popular tourist destination due to its stunning scenery. The road is 90 kilometers (56 miles) long and features over 60 hairpin turns. The road has also been featured in several movies and television shows, including The World’s Most Dangerous Roads and Top Gear.

  • Location: Romania
  • Construction Year: 1974
  • Length: 90 kilometers (56 miles)
  • Elevation: 2,042 meters (6,700 feet)
  • Open: from June to September
Breathtaking aerial view of Transfagarasan by Bogdan Pop

Breathtaking aerial view of Transfagarasan by Bogdan Pop

Interesting facts about the Transfagarasan Road

  • It is the second-highest paved road in Romania, after the Transalpina.
  • It was built in just four years, between 1970 and 1974.
  • The road is named after the Făgăraș Mountains, which it crosses.
  • The highest point on the road is the Balea Lake Dam, which is located at an elevation of 2,042 meters (6,700 feet).
  • The road is a popular destination for hiking, camping, and fishing.
  • It is also a popular spot for car enthusiasts, who come to drive the challenging curves and enjoy the stunning scenery.


Built between 1970 and 1974 under the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu, the communist dictator’s motives were twofold:

  • Military Strategy: Following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Ceaușescu feared a similar fate for Romania. Existing mountain passes were vulnerable, so the Transfagarasan was envisioned as a strategic route for swift military movement across the mountains in case of a Soviet attack.
  • National Prestige: Beyond military concerns, Ceaușescu craved a monumental project that showcased Romania’s engineering prowess and bolstered national pride. The Transfagarasan’s challenging construction and dramatic mountain setting fulfilled this desire.

How many people died building Transfagarasan?

Construction of the Transfagarasan was a brutal endeavor. Estimates of the number of workers who died during construction vary greatly, with the official number being a mere 40. However, many believe the true number is likely in the hundreds.

Transfagarasan today

Today, the Transfagarasan stands as a popular tourist destination, praised by drivers for its breathtaking scenery and challenging twists. Car and motorcycle enthusiasts are particularly drawn to its winding curves and stunning mountain views. However, its dark history serves as a reminder of the human cost of such ambitious projects.

When is it open?

The Transfagarasan is open from June to September, but it can be closed due to snow in the winter. The best time to visit is during the summer, when the weather is clear and the road is open.

Transfagarasan Road in 1976

Transfagarasan Road in 1976

Top Gear TV Show 

Transfagarasan in Google Maps

Featured pic by Cristian Bortes

Europe · Romania

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