Transalpina is the highest highway in Romania, reaching an altitude of 2145m above sea level. Also known as the King's Road, this highway really is a driver's dream come true.
For the love of driving, there are few better places in the world to enjoy, than highways strategically positioned, crossing the top of the mountains. One excellent example is the Crown Range in New Zealand, an incredibly fine road which offers spectacular views over Queenstown and surrounding mountains. Named by the Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson "the best road in the world", there is no surprise the Romanian Transfagarasan road is a fantastic highway for road trip enthusiasts.
What is the Transalpina
Transalpina or is a road located in the Southern Carpathians of Romania and because of its high altitude, the driver will enjoy a relatively arid environment. I've experienced the Transalpina by car as well as by bike and I'm yet to figure out which one is more fun. I love both experiences equally, although I am usually more incline to accept a challenging drive than a challenging mountain biking session. The Transalpina Road was built during the King Carol II and rebuilt during the WWII by German troops.
Because Transalpina is located at such high altitude, it is usually closed during the snowy months. The road towards Transalpina is absolutely gorgeous, lined with thick pines and beautiful rivers. There are plenty of hiking opportunities around, but if it's the exhilaration of driving that you are after, than go straight for the Transalpina. Transalpina stretches for 148 km and offers several view points along the way, as well as hotels, intimate chalets and restaurants. Stopping at one of the restaurants is a must, as it's rare you can enjoy a cold beverage and a traditional meal at 2000 m altitude, whilst admiring some of the most impressive views over the Romanian mountains.
When to visit the Transalpina
The Transalpina is closed for the majority of the year due to its high altitude. Depending on the weather and the amount of snow, the opening dates can vary from year to year, however it is between the beginning of June until late October that the road can be accessed. I strongly recommend visiting sometimes after July to make the most out of your time on the road.
What to do on the Transalpina
There are a few things you can enjoy on the Transalpina, driving on this magnificent road being the obvious first choice. Some travellers also choose to cycle on the Transalpina but since this is essentially a highway, pedaling can be a little dangerous.
Another great thing to do on Transalpina is stopping at one of the restaurants along the way and enjoying a nice meal with a view. There are a few better places in the Romanian mountains where you can admire the tips of the pines and the crowns of the surrounding mountains. You can even sleep over in one of the chalets but expect prices to be a little higher due to the key location.
I spent a day exploring the Transalpina and loved it so very much. I've often been asked to compare the Transalpina with the Transfagarasan but in reality, although these roads are phenomenal for driving, I wouldn't be able to choose one over the other. Best thing is to allocate a few days exploring Romania and driving on both roads.
Over to you now. Leave a comment bellow and tell me if you would like to drive or cycle on this highway. Would you like to sleep on top of the mountains, or would you just carry on and find a chalet somewhere deep in the forest?