Your Guide to the Transfagarasan Highway

At Martin Adventures, we spend most of our time either cycling the Transfagarasan or dreaming of cycling the Transfagarasan. Since this road means so much to us, I think It's only fitting that we put as much info as we can out there so that it can help other fellow cyclist in making their dreams come true.

 
Aerial view of the Transfagarasan Highway.

Aerial view of the Transfagarasan Highway.

History of the transfagarasan highway

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 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.

Highway-in-the-mountains-000082348095_Small.jpg

Key facts about the transfagarasan

  • was built starting early ‘70's and was finalized in 1980
  • It has 833 bridges, 28 aqueducts and 5 tunnels
  • The longest tunnel is 880 meters
  • It reaches a height of more than 2.100 meters
  • More than 40 people died (officially) building the Transfagarasan
 

Cycling the Transfagarasan

The Transfagarasan Highway - North Side. www.martin-adventures.com/road-cycling

The Transfagarasan Highway - North Side. www.martin-adventures.com/road-cycling

North Side CLIMB

If you're arriving from Sibiu, the north side approach is the more straightforward approach to reach Balea Lake, the top of the Transfagarasan. From Cartisoara, which is the foot of the climb, you can reach the top in only a couple of hours.

  • Average grade: 5.2 % 
  • Length: 29.39 km
  • Height start: 493 m
  • Height top: 2040 m
  • Ascent: 1.600 m

Click here to view the Strava Segment

 

The Transfagarasan Highway - South Side. www.martin-adventures.com/road-cycling

The Transfagarasan Highway - South Side. www.martin-adventures.com/road-cycling

south side CLIMb

If you're arriving from Bucharest, then the north side approach to the Transfagarasan, is a good option. Curtea de Arges would be a good starting point. The best part of the whole 90 km long, are in front of you. So, to get to the actual climb, you have to either ride or drive circa 60 km

  • Average grade: 4.7 %
  • Length: 25 km
  • Height start: 857m
  • Height top: 2048 m
  • Ascent: 1191m

Click here to view the Strava Segment

 

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Road cycling on the Transfagarasan with Martin Adventures.

Road cycling on the Transfagarasan with Martin Adventures.

 

ACCOMMODATION ON THE TRANSFAGARASAN

Sibiu, the largest city next to the Transfagarasan and home to an international airport, is situated 45 minutes away by car to the west of the Transfagarasan. As you'll see in the HOW TO GET HERE section below, there are several international flights landing in Sibiu so you could use it as your arrival/departure city. There are a lot of nice hotels in Sibiu and you can check them out on Booking.com.

if you want to stay on the Transfagarasan Highway these are our favorite spots.

Casa Mosului - North Side

Casa Mosului guesthouse opened in 2008. It was built in a thousand year old village, full of stories about colorful characters. The house is made out of wood and rock, decorated with authentic, old items, from the Fagaras Valley.

Balea Chalet - Top of the climb

The cauldron ice age is sheltering the emblematic Balea Lake (4.6 ha, altitude 2034 m) with the most beautiful mountain chalet, is by far the most important sports center on altitude in Romanian Carpathians

VALEA CU PESTI - South Side

Hotel Valea cu Pesti – 4 stars hotel – has an exceptional location, in an area in which on an arc circle of 270 degrees offers a beautiful view over the Vidraru Lake and Fagaras Mountains.

how to get to the transfagarasan

There are a couple of ways you can get to the Transfagarasan and it depends on your arrival city. You could land in Bucharest, Sibiu or Cluj - Napoca.

Bucharest is the more obvious choice because of the numerous flight possibilities. From there on you could choose to do the Transfagarasan via the South side or via the North side. See above for more details about implications.

Sibiu and Cluj are also very good options, that is if you manage to find appropriate flights. Sibiu is just 45 minutes away from the North side of the Transfagarasan while Cluj is an extra one hour further.

Below you'll find a map view where we highlighted the most important cities. 

WHEN IS THE TRANSFAGARASAN HIGHWAY OPEN

The simple answer is that the The Transfagarasan Highway closes every year on October 31st. According to the sames rules, the Transfagarasan Highway opens again on July 1st.

For the complete answer read this blog post and check on the Transfagarasan forum to see the current situation.

KEY CITIES

Bucharest - capital city of Romania, international airport

Sibiu - 45 minutes away from the N side of Transfagarasan, international airport

Cartisoara - base camp for N side approach, start of the climb, N side

Curtea de Arges - base camp for S side, cycling start

Corbeni - possible cycling start, S side

 

WEATHER ON THE TRANSFAGARASAN

When planning a trip on the Transfagarasan, do keep in mind that the Transfagarasan in officially open only between 1st July and 31st October of each year. Romania has a temperate-continental climate with hot summers, long, cold winters and very distinct seasons.

Summer is quite warm, with extended sunny days. The hottest areas in summer are the lowlands where 100 F is often reached in July and August. Temperatures are always cooler in the mountains, around 60 F. In the mountains, showers and thunderstorms are quite common.

Check the updated weather forecast online here.

TRANSFAGARASAN webcam