Spectacular Road Trips Romania | Top 5

Of all the spectacular road trips Romania has to offer, these are for those who travel by car and like to enjoy magnificent sceneries and zigzags across mountains, on lake shores, and along rivers. When it comes to road trips, there is a lot on display. It is worth making plans for road trips in Romania and Kiara has found five of them for you to choose and cruise through.


The most popular road of all is the one that connects two historic regions, Transylvania and Wallachia. Sibiu and Pitești cities are thus brought together by this road. There are a lot of attractions on Transfăgărășan: Bâlea, a glacial lake and its Ice Hotel, Bâlea Waterfall. Also, Vidraru Lake and Dam, Poenari Castle, Engineers Gate Monument, and Curtea de Argeș Monastery are other memorable diversions. It is the second highest road in Romania and, according to Top Gear Romania Road experience from 2009, the best in the world. 
Moreover, this spectacular road looks like a race track from above. It snakes across the highest mountain chain in the country, the Făgăraș Mountains. Not to mention, it is lovely to drive through its five tunnels during the open season, from July to November.

spectacular road trips Romania Transfagarasan
Transfăgărășan by Radu Bogza
spectacular road trips Romania Vidraru Lake
View of Vidraru Dam

2. Transalpina

Being above the clouds in a car is no ordinary thing to do. In Romania, on the highest road in the country, one can make this dream come true. Transalpina reaches an altitude of 2145m above the sea level. King’s Road or Transalpina was reconstructed by the year 1938. King Carol II and his family inaugurated it with a road trip. With a length of 148 km, the highway renders numerous captivating spots. Near Novaci city, where the road begins, a legend-preserving cave and a 500 years old monastery, both called Polovragi, are waiting for your arrival 15 km away. A unique site on this exciting road trip is the Rânca Adventure Park, another fantastic target for kids and adults.

spectacular road trips Romania Transalpina
Transalpina by Makidun @Shuttershock
spectacular road trips Romania Polovragi
View of the Eastern Tower of Polovragi Monastery
spectacular road trips Romania Ranca
Adventure Park in Rânca

3. Trans-Semenic

Almost four years ago, of all the spectacular road trips Romania had to offer, this one was a mountain road opened for enthusiastic drivers and locals. For those who needed a shortcut from Valiug and Gărâna to another road called Slatina-Timiș, the 36 km highway made a fantastic difference. Trans-Semenic goes through the Caraș-Severin forest. Sometime in July, every year, Gărâna Jazz Festival, a family-friendly festival, makes the road seem even more irresistible. Kiara recommends a stop by the Bigăr Waterfall for its beauty and magic.

spectacular road trips Romania Trans-Semenic
Trans-Semenic via Munții Carpați
spectacular road trips Romania Bigar
Bigăr Waterfall

4. Spectacular road trips Romania | The Danube Gorge

On the side of the Danube Gorge, there is a road that takes you on an unforgettable adventure. This way is also known as DN 75. You are probably wondering why the Danube Gorge is so spectacular. We will tell you that the Danube river narrows its stream to 230 m for about 9 km on its course. This narrowing also makes it faster, and it gives the impression that the water is boiling. Thus the Danube Gorge has two places called the Danube Boilers. Visiting the Veterani Cave and the Ponicova Cave are great ways to spend time on the road.

spectacular road trips Romania Danube
Source: www.cartitaplimbareata.ro
spectacular road trips Romania Decebal
Decebal Statue Danube Romania

5. The Bicaz Canyon

What better way to visit The Bicaz Canyon and the Red Lake located in the middle of a beautiful road than to follow that road? Many tourists visit these beautiful wonders of nature, especially during the warm seasons. Therefore this spectacular road trip may very well start on both sides of the Inner Eastern Carpathians: either from Brașov and Miercurea Ciuc via Gheorghieni, either from Piatra Neamț in Moldova.

spectacular road trips Romania The Bicaz Canyon
The Bicaz Canyon by Zoltan Nyaradi via Flickr
spectacular road trips Romania the red lake
The Red Lake via Flickr

For at least one of these spectacular road trips Romania is a must if you choose to travel through Europe with your car or just rent one. We hope you dare to visit magical places in the Carpathian Mountains.

The Hidden Legend of Manole

Romanian folk literature revolves around four major mythical themes: the foundation of the Romanian ethnic group, death and transhumance, love and desire for the unattainable, and last but not least sacrifice for creation. The following theme was materialized in a folk ballad called The Legend of Manole. Here it goes:

The Legend as told by Manole himself

I am Manole, and I love to build monasteries. Thus I am doing this as my father, my grandfather, my grand grandfather and so on did before me. I would never know what else to do. I have the most beautiful wife a man would want to have, and I love her. Her name is Ana♡.

Legend of Manole Curtea de Argeș Monastery

One day, ♛ The Great Ruler of our lands came to me and said: “Manole, gather all the craftsmen you need and build for me the greatest Monastery that you ever built and anyone has seen before! If this will not be ready until the winter comes, your head will lay near your feet, and the same will happen to your craftsmen!”

I stayed all the night awake, and my thoughts were coming over and over, never-ending…I created thousands of questions on how to build the Monastery, what stone to use, how it should look, how high near the sun to be …. and if I was able to do this in such a short period….

Ana, my dear, and beloved wife told me: “Don’t do this, my dear husband build small churches with a high spirit you know The Great Ruler is cruel and prides himself on his realizations…Don’t go into the trap…. “

“My dear Ana… but you know I love to build churches and monasteries; you know that I am the best mason from this land…If I am building this Great Monastery, there will be others, from other lands that will come to me…. I will build other monasteries again and again… We will have a bigger home, a lot of cows and horses…our kids will learn together with the Great Ruler’s children. It’s the best thing we could have it now I will do it. I don’t know how but I will do it…” I told her.

And so I did…

The curse and the sacrifice | The Legend of Manole

Legend of Manole brickNext morning, I gathered all the most excellent craftsmen I knew, we have chosen the place of the Monastery, and we started to build…Each day, ♛ The Great Ruler came to see our work but somehow, something was not working.

What we made yesterday, it was all destroyed the next day…and so it happened for a few months ⌛⌛⌛

Legend of Manole brick

I couldn’t believe this strange thing that happened to us. It was like a curse.

♛ The Great Ruler became angrier and angrier and, so I started to feel the fear … My fear was so huge that I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep… It was like a bad dream.

But then, one night there was a voice that started to tell me:

“Manole, you must sacrifice someone! That being will be built together with the Monastery, and so it will be finished. It was meant to be this way, the way you created and imagined this Monastery. So, it will be…

So, the next day, I went quickly and happy to tell the great news to the other masons…we will sacrifice the first being that will appear next morning, just before the sun will first shine…☀

We all agreed so.

Next morning, we all stayed and waited to see who will come.

But… it was my dear and beloved Ana that came …

“Why didn’t I listen to her… why is this happening to me…What have I done wrong?” I cried like this all the night… but the night did not change my reality…


So I went and did what the voice told me. And yes, the Monastery started to grow to become higher and higher until the sky, near the sun. ♛ The Great Ruler of our lands was happier and happier as the days were passing… he was very proud of his jewel, of his Great Monastery. My craftsmen had not finished yet, and there were already people coming from other lands to see it. It was so beautiful just like my beloved Ana was.

Fear started to grow for the Great Ruler: “What if Manole will build another Monastery, a more beautiful one….”Legend of Manole brick

The fear grew and grew until one day when he decided to leave us, the masons, on top of the Monastery so that we will never, ever build something like this again. And so he did to us…

The Icarus Myth and The Legend of Manole

The next day, he took us all on top of the Monastery and then he took away the stairs. He left us on top of the Monastery, with no other way to going back down. But then, we all said:

Legend of Manole the craftsman“If we built such a wonderful Monastery, then we can also build wings, and we will be like the birds… we will go down on earth again! “

We crafted some wings from the wood that we have found on top of the Monastery…Then we started to fly like the birds, but this happens only for a few seconds, as we were far too heavy, not like the birds. We all finally reached the earth., but not as we expected it.

And so I met Ana again…The place where I touched the earth…  it is spring now ♒… with refreshing water. Come and drink the water and read my story again!

The Monastery remains and will remain the most beautiful Monastery forever in my lands…

People from all the areas around will come to pray here and tell this story again…the story of me, Ana and ♛ the Great Ruler…

We call it Curtea de Argeș Monastery, and this is The Legend of Manole.

For more Romanian legends and folktales check out Romanian folklore.