The Trans-alpine road (Transalpina) is shrouded more or less in mystery. The story has it that it was built in ancient times when the Romans wanted to have another access into Transylvania. Another story says that the road was built by the German army during the Great War. For sure, the road was inaugurated in 1938 by the Romanian king Carol II, hence its second name: the Road of the King. It was repaired by the Germans in the Second World War and then forgotten by the communists. In 2007 it started the works to transform this spectacular road into a modern highway (148 km), allowing a rapid transit between Oltenia and Transylvania. In 2009 it was completely paved. It was totally opened to traffic in 2012.
The Trans-alpine Road is not just the highest road from Romania, reaching 2145m (7037ft) in the highest point in Step Urdele Parang Mountains, but also the highest road in the whole Carpathian chain. From Novaci (Gorj County) to Sebes (Alba County) the road measures 135km.
This road is closed during the cold months of the year but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. It’s quite famous and it attracts an impressive number of tourists due to the experience it provides: driving through a mountainous region and being surrounded by nature on all sides. You can only imagine the landscapes you are bound to admire on your trip. But what you might not know is that Transalpina also offers a beautiful natural setting. In fact, if you take this path instead of the one leading to Transfagarasan, you will be taken aback by what nature has to offer you. Transalpina, known as “The Devil’s Path”, is Romania’s newest attraction twisting and turning from North to South across the Parang mountains.
The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. Keep in mind that the road is not open all year round. Depending on weather conditions, the highway is usually closed in November or December due to the heavy amount of snowfall and the treacherous driving situations that could develop. A person wanting to experience the Transalpina in all its splendor should plan for an mid-to-late fall trip. During this time, the deciduous trees will see their leaves change color, creating an unbelievable backdrop with tons of different shades of green, orange, yellow, red, and brown.
A person going to the Transalpina basically has two main choices in how they would like to see the road. If they are coming from the north, the best option is to stay in the city of Sibiu the night before and make it a full day drive, finishing in Ranca, Baile Olanesti, or Targu Jiu. The other option is to come up from the south and stay one night in the Ranca resort area before beginning the journey. Located already in the mountains, starting in Ranca and continuing north may be the best bet to get a visitor in the right natural mindset to enjoy the scenery of the Transalpina.