Transalpina – driving your car at over 2000 meters

Maybe it’s not the first time you hear about Transalpina highway. Along with Transfăgărășan  highway, it’s the most famous road in Romania!

We first came here in 2013 and we can definitely say it lived up to its reputation. It’s truly spectacular and you must come here to drive your car and also go on some trails nearby 🙂

Transalpina highway (DN 67C) is the highest road in Romania, it’s maximum altitude being 2145 meters in Urdele Pass. It links the town of Novaci in Gorj county with the town of Sebeș in Alba county. It crosses the Parâng Mountains from north to south.

We reached Transalpina from Petroșani on DN 7A road, which is an awful road. It’s full with potholes and we don’t recommend this route. If you come on it though, you intersect Transalpina in the village of Obârșia Lotrului. We booked a room in Rânca, which is to the south, but we decided to go a bit to the north to see Oașa Lake.

Oașa Lake

Oașa Lake is a large accumulation lake created by capturing the flow of the Sebeș river. It’s situated at an altitude of 1255 meters and has a surface of 411 hectares. From Obârșia Lotrului until here it’s not such a long distance and we recommend coming here especially because the road and surroundings are very picturesque.

After visiting the lake we turned back to Obârșia Lotrului and then continued towards Rânca. This portion of Transalpina is the most spectacular. We climb pretty steep on tight corners first through the forest and then we reach an altitude where few trees can be seen.

Transalpina – hairpin corner
a lot of donkeys on Transalpina
a lot of sheep on Transalpina
fluffy donkeys

You can find a lot of donkeys along Transalpina. They are used by shepherds to carry all their “equipment” 🙂 Unfortunately a lot of drivers considered it was OK to stop in the middle of the road to pet the donkeys… Nothing against taking pictures and petting them but you should leave your car on the side of the road not in the middle of it! 🙂

Speaking of other cars, I must warn you that during the summer a lot of tourists come here to drive on this road and it can get a little crowded. Also, since it was recently modernised (and not exactly finished) the asphalt layer is very thick and you can’t park your car outside the road, there are no parking places fitted.

Transalpina scenery
Transalpina scenery
Transalpina scenery

It’s frustrating being a driver since you can’t really enjoy and admire the scenery on this road. You always have to be careful for the next tight corner. There is a spot however between Obârșia Lotrului and Rânca where the road is wider and you can safely park and get out of the car. There are several stalls where you can eat traditional Romanian food, drink a hot tea and admire the view at over 2000 meters. The views are astonishing from here: Transalpina presents itself as a coast road crossing the mountain very close to the following peaks: Degheru (2084m), Păpușa (2136m), Urdele (2228m) and Muntinu (2062m).

Here you don’t see sharp increase like in the Făgăraș or Piatra Craiului Mountains. The land forms are more gentle but extremely beautiful. When we stopped here we immediately realised that we were at a respectable altitude since it was very, very cold 🙂 So don’t forget to bring warm clothes!

Transalpina – resting place
Transalpina scenery

After we drank a tea and ate some Romanian goodies at the resting place we continued towards Rânca. This portion here is the highest road in Romania. You climb on some very tight corners as you can see in the picture below.
 
With night closing by and hundreds of pictures later we finally reached Rânca, which is a ski resort. Sure, no snow yet but you can also find accommodation here in the other seasons. We didn’t really like Rânca because the general aspect of this resort is quite chaotic. Concrete buildings and a lot of wrought iron is not really our thing and we must make the case that Romanian guest house and hotel owners should learn a thing or two from how these places look like in Austria.

Transalpina
Transalpina
Transalpina
Transalpina
Transalpina

Rânca

After we reached Rânca we got the chance too see a gorgeous sunset, as you can see in the pictures below. We also had the chance to finish our plan to go a on a spectacular trail to the biggest lake in the Parâng Mountains. You can read the post here 🙂

gorgeous sunset in Rânca
gorgeous sunset in Rânca
gorgeous sunset in Rânca

Map:

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