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transalpina

New dates & discounts for the road cycling tours on the Transfagarasan & Transalpina

New dates & discounts for the road cycling tours on the Transfagarasan & Transalpina

I have some exciting news to share with you.

In the past couple weeks, I've been getting a lot of messages from you, the road cycling community, about the Transalpina and Transfagarasan cycling tour  that we're doing here in Transylvania. The interest to come here and test yourselves on these two epic roads has never been so high as this year.

This just gives me an amazing feeling of fulfillment. I feel that all my work to promote the beauty and uniqueness of this areas is starting to reach more and more of you. :)

I've decided to give you some more options for doing the road cycling tours during the high season so I've added another tour starting with the 20th of August. Check out our 2017 calendar for all the dates.

Also all July tours are 100 Euro cheaper now for the next 5 people who book with us before the end of this month. That's 845 Euro instead of 945 Euro. If you're thinking of booking with us now it's the perfect time to do it.

Thank you all and see you on the road!

Cycling competitions on the Transfagarasan and Transalpina

Cycling competitions on the Transfagarasan and Transalpina

The Transfagarasan Highway in Transylvania, Romania. Copyright Martin Adventures, Road Cycling Tour.

Year by year, the amazing Transfagarasan and Transalpina highways are becoming, rightfully so, more and more popular with people who are passionate about sports. In turn, this makes them perfect places to stage various types of competitions: cycling, triathlons, trail running and of, course, motor sports, just to name a few.

If you're thinking of coming over to Romania on a holiday this summer and perhaps you don't have enough time to join our road cycling tour on the Transfagarasan and Transalpina, then you could give these competitions a chance.

Transfier

Transfier King of Transfagarasan. Photo via www.transfier.ro

Transfier King of Transfagarasan. Photo via www.transfier.ro

The name literally means Trans (from the Transfagarasan name) + Iron ("fier" is iron in Romanian, from Ironman). So, as the name suggest, the competition started out as an half Ironman distance race a couple of years ago. As it grew in popularity, the organizers added shorter distances for triathlon but also a road cycling race. The latter takes place on the Southern part of the Transfagarasan and the route is 45 km long. It practically represents the best part of the Southern part climb to the top. It usually takes place in the second week of September and registration costs is 15 Euro.

Road Grand Tour Eroica

Road Grand Tour. Picture via www.roadgrandtour.ro

Road Grand Tour. Picture via www.roadgrandtour.ro

Road Grand Tour is a series of road cycling competitions started by Alex Ciocan, a Romanian profesional cyclist. The Eroica takes place on the Transalpina and is, in my opinion, the hardest and most beautiful race in the tour. The route is 90 km long and joins the official Transalpina highway for the final 20 km, the best part of the Northern Climb. If you're around in the second part of August, I'd recommend you give it a go. 

Here's the 2016 and probably 2017 route: https://www.strava.com/activities/683022862

Sibiu Cycling Tour

Sibiu Cycling Tour. Picture via www.ciclism.sibiu.ro

Sibiu Cycling Tour. Picture via www.ciclism.sibiu.ro

According to Wikipedia, the Sibiu Cycling Tour (Cycling Tour of Sibiu until 2015) is a 2.1 category professional bicycle road race held in Sibiu, Romania. Its first edition took place in July 2011, as part of the UCI Europe Tour. Held entirely around the city, the race normally runs over four days including a prologue on the cobbled streets of the city, and two climbing stages, one on the Transfăgărăşan Road to Balea Lac and a second to the mountain resort of Paltinis. 

In 2017 the race will be taking place between 5th - 9th July and, most likely, the Northern side of the Transfagarasan climb will be an individual time trial. 

Even though you can't actually join this race as an amateur, if you're around, perhaps even joining one of our road cycling tours on the Transfagarasan, it's worth watching the big boys going for it.

The PeDAL ED  Transcontinental Race #No5

The Transfagarasan Highway in Transylvania, Romania. Picture via Apidura https://www.facebook.com/Apidura/

The Transfagarasan Highway in Transylvania, Romania. Picture via Apidura https://www.facebook.com/Apidura/

The Transcontinental Race (TCR) is an annual, self-supported, ultra-distance cycling race across Europe. It is one of the world's toughest ultra-endurance races. The route varies for each edition and the distance has been between approximately 3,200 to 4,200 km, and the winners have taken between 7 and 10 days to reach the finish. Interest in the race has grown rapidly: 30 people started the first edition of the race in 2013; over 1,000 people applied for a place in the fourth edition in 2016, 350 of whom were successful. Source: Wikipedia

I'm double excited about the race. It's the first time the Transfagarasan Highway is on the official route as CP 4, the last one before the finish. More than 350 cyclist will get to see Romania and this magnificent mountain road.

Secondly, if you're reader of my blog, you probably already know that, this year, I'm taking part in the race as a competitor. Woop! Woop! If you're not yet a reader, well this is your chance to become one. :)

Transfagarasan vs. Transalpina. What's the best road for cycling in Transylvania, Romania?

Transfagarasan vs. Transalpina. What's the best road for cycling in Transylvania, Romania?

By now, everybody knows that Romania has at least one famous road, namely the Transfagarasan Highway. Featured on Top Gear as "the best road in the world for driving", this road has had its share of the spotlight and it keeps attracting aspiring drivers as well as sporting enthusiasts from all over the world.

Perhaps not that well known is the fact that only 100 km away to the West, lies the Transalpina Highway or "The Kings Road", as the locals call it. It's said that its history goes back thousands of years to the time of the Roman Empire. 

I decided to put these two European landmark roads head to head and see which one takes away the prize for the most spectacular road for cycling.

TRANSFAGARASAN HIGHWAY

The final km of the Transfagarasan.

The Transfăgărășan (trans [over, across] + Făgăraș) also known as Ceaușescu's Folly, is a paved mountain road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains. It’s the second-highest paved road (2.042 m) in the country after the Transalpina. It stretches 90 kilometers (56 mi) between the highest peaks in the country, Moldoveanu and Negoiu. The road, built in the early 1970s as a strategic military route, connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia. It has 833 bridges, 28 aqueducts and 5 tunnels, the longest one being 880 meters long.

Transfagarasan is the more popular road of the two. The small distance from Sibiu and Brasos makes it easy for tourist to hop in their cars and arrive at the base of the Transfagarasan in less than one hour. The road is also included in national and international cycling races such as Sibiu Cycling Tour, Transfier Triathlon and (big news!)...Transcontinental Race in 2017.

The elevation profile of the road is pretty straightforward. When you're riding in from the N, you have 30 km of climbing to the top of the Transfagarasan, Balea Lake. It's mostly all downhill from there, around 60 km, with the exception of the occasionally rolling hills.

The road is open every year between 1st July - 30th Octomber.

cycling tours in romania

Transfagarasan Cycling Tour

 

TRANSALPINA ROAD

The Transalpina Highway

The Transalpina is a paved mountain road located in the Parâng Mountains group, in the Southern Carpathians of Romania. It's one of the highest roads of the Carpathian Mountains and the highest road in Romania. The road was built under the rule of King Carol II and rebuilt during World War II by German troops. It is called "The King's Road" by the locals because King Carol II and his family opened the road back in the 1930's. Also a story has it that Nicolae Ceauşescu had the Transfăgărăşan Road built during the communist regime just to surpass the Transalpina.

The road has its highest point at the Urdele Pass, where the elevation is 2,145 m above sea level. Given the high altitude, the road is closed during the cold months of the year. Works began in 2007 in order to transform this spectacular road into a modern highway (148 km), allowing a rapid transit between Oltenia and Transylvania.

The elevation profile of the Transalpina and it's length (+60 km when compared to the Tfg.) make this road a more demanding one for cycling. At the end of the day, you'll feel your legs a lot heavier than after cycling the Tfg. When you start riding from the S, you have 30 km to get to the top. After a couple of km of descending, you start a brutal climb that sucks the rest of the energy out of your legs. Wait, there's more. After a nice and peaceful descent, you still have 6 km of climbing and 10 km of flat roads, until you get to the final, long descent. Yeah, it's quite demanding!

HEAD TO HEAD

Before we drill into the results let me first tell you what are the criteria I selected to analyze these two epic roads. Landscapes - it's all about the glorious views that you'll remember; the higher the score, the better the views are. Car traffic - the higher the score, the less cars there are on a regular day. Road Quality - the quality of the tarmac, if it's new tarmac, if there are pot holes, etc.; the higher the score, the better the road quality. Accessibility - how easy is it to get to the base of the road, how close is it to large cities; the higher the score, the more accessible the road is. Extras - how easy it is to find decent food, drinks or accommodation while on the road; the higher the score, the more decent options there are. The maximum score for each category is 5.


Landscapes

TFG: 4

TA: 5

Car Traffic

TFG: 3

TA: 4

Road Quality

TFG: 3

TA: 4

Accessibility

TFG: 5

TA: 4

Extras

TFG: 4

TA: 3

OVERALL

TFG 19/25

TA 20/25


There you have it. The score is tight, favoring the Transalpina slightly. I know I'm a bit subjective and I have to admit that I kind of wanted Transalpina to win. The road quality is better, the road is longer by more than 60 km and the elevation profile makes this road a lot more demanding. All of this, make it my favorite cycling road in Romania.

You can read about the other epic road cycling roads in Romania and, if you can't decide what road to cycle on, you don't have to. Join our Transfagarasan Epic Cycling tour to ride them all.