Transfagarasan road, Cistercians and the fairies

… or how to spend a wow weekend on  “the best road in the world” as Top Gear mentioned.  Read on if  you to find  out what to see on Transfagarasan highway.Transfagarasan road Romania

First stop on our way to the curvy road: Curtea de Arges, where you can admire the most beautiful monastery in Romania – Curtea de Arges Monastery as per Manole’s Legend…..Curtea de Arges Monastery Romania

I admit its architecture is wow, the pictures speak for themselves, but I felt more like in a museum than at church… didn’t touch my heart as Dragomirna Monastery did …At least this is how I felt.Curtea de Arges Monastery Monastery of Curtea de Arges

We went on to Arefu, the last village before the beginning of Transfagaran. However there are also other also  places where to stay in Transfagarasan that you could choose from.

We slept over in order to hit the road properly rested on Saturday morning. It didn’t work out as planned… at 9 am when we reached Vidraru Dam, lots of tourists were already there. My advice is to start driving on Transfagarasan road the latest at 8 am during weekends or cross it during week.  How long it takes to drive the Transfagarasan is really depending on this! I took some pictures of the lake and let’s move on!Vidraru Lake Dam Romania

A wow road was expecting us. Bicycles, motorcycles, cows and cars all found a place on the road.

Transfagarasan 2023

At some point we passed a long tunnel (which I later found out it’s the longest road tunnel in Romania about 887 m long), followed by  3 parking lots. We parked our car in the first one. I thought we were at Balea, but actually we were at Paltinu Chalet where we admired and photographed Balea Lake.Balea Lake Transfagarasan

I bought some traditional Romanian bowls, had a hot chocolate and moved on. We had planned to see many other things on Transfagarasan and it was already lunch time!

Shopping on Transfagarasan

9 km far from Cartisoara (the village where Transfagarasan road ends) or 10 minutes by car, there is a place called Carta where you find Cistercian Abbey of Carta. Cistercians, in the past called the “white” monks were known for their viticulture skills. I found out about them first at Picnic in Transylvania at Cisnadioara…. The abbey is actually a very beautiful domain with a renovated church, tower and lovely gardens where you can walk around.Transfagarasan what to see - Carta Cistercian Abbey Romania Carta Monastery Romania

Also a small restaurant with Saxon dishes and the lady who served there persuaded us to stay for lunch. Among the goodies we tried I recommend you cumin soup with croutons, trout in cornflakes, cakes with cheese and raisins, hencles (a traditional Saxon pie), all sprinkled with two carafes of socata (a traditional Romanian lemonade)… what a a treat! Not to mention the wow panorama overlooking the citadel! We highly recommend you to go! Carta Romania Restaurant

Happy after such a lunch we continued our trip to the….Clay Castle of the Valley of Fairies… a castle with a wow architecture. It felt like we were in Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs story. The Castle is not ready yet and it will be a guesthouse that will be open most probably in a year … Anyway, Alexia, my little one, already announced that she wants to come back here when it will be finished.Transfagarsan what to see - Clay Castle Porumbacu Romania

Take some  pictures with / inside the houses, enjoy an icecream along the creek that runs in front of the castle and just relax for a few minutes…We enjoyed chocolate ice creams and went on to Veseud to sleep over night and find other wow adventures in Transylvania.River Clay CastlePorumbacu Romania

In conclusion, when you are thinking about Transfagarasan don’t expect just a spectacular road – the drivers’ dream road  (which it clearly is!), but transform the trip into a wow experience sprinkled with some history, a good meal and fairytale places. And yes, you can find all these (and so much more) in Romania! Check out Transfagarasan opening times in 2022 and where to stay in Transfagarasan and come over!

Depending on how many days you plan to spend in Romania, also check out our suggested itineraries that include Transfagarasan, one of the top 10 best places to see in Romania.


Transfagarasan the best road in Romania
If you are planning a vacation in autumn, please don’t forget to also check Transfagarasan closing times, to make sure it’s still open.


  1. Pingback: Transfagarasan – “the Best Road… in the World” - Roads To Drive

  2. Love the article!

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