Transalpina is the highest road in Romania. It’s also quite possibly its most picturesque; it certainly offers the most beautiful sights I’ve seen in Romania so far. It connects Transilvania to Oltenia, and the official length of the entire road is 148 km from Novaci to Sebes, although only a stretch of 30-40 km travels atop the Parang Mountains (part of the Carpathians), reaching an altitude of 2145 meters at its highest point.
The road was built by the Romans, as they traveled north toward Sarmisegetusa and then used by them as they carted off thousands of tons of gold and silver from Dacia’s rich mines. (You might want to read through this post for the background info.)
According to this website, the road was paved with rocks by King Carol I in the 1930s, maintained by the Nazis during WWII, then forgotten. Work to repave its entire length began in 2009 and it still goes on, though large portions of the road, including its most beautiful sections, are now ready to be used.
We visited Transalpina twice this year, most recently during this past weekend, and we were awestruck by the beauty of the vistas you can see as you travel along its length. We had the good fortune to drive through right after first snow had fallen on the peaks, draping them in a light blanket of pure white snow. Moreover, we were blessed with a gorgeous sunset that colored everything in sight in a golden orange hue. It was heavenly.
We’d have loved to spend more time atop the mountains but night was falling quickly, the temperature was dropping, and we had hundreds of “miles to go” before we could sleep, to paraphrase Robert Frost.
We drove on, descending into the valley below and into thick fog, then wound our way through the mountains toward Sibiu, passing through such interesting places as Jina and Poiana Sibiului.
I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the trip.