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The Transfăgărășean, or DN7C is a paved mountain road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. It is the second-highest paved road in the country after the Transalpina. It starts near the village of Bascov and stretches 90 kilometres (56 mi) to the crossroad between the DN1 and Sibiu, between the highest peaks in the country, Moldoveanu and Negoiu. The Transfăgărășean was constructed between 1970 and 1974 as a response to the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. Ceaușescu wanted to ensure quick military access across the mountains in case of a Soviet invasion. At the time, Romania already had several strategic mountain passes through the Southern Carpathians, whether inherited from the pre-communist era (the DN1 and the high-pass DN67C) or built during the initial years of the Communist regime (the DN66). These passes, however, were mainly through river valleys, and would be easy for the Soviets to block and attack. Ceaușescu therefore ordered the construction of a road across the Făgăraș Mountains, which divide northwestern and southern Romania. Built mainly by military forces, the road had a high financial and human cost.

We where there on the recommendation of Top Gear, which claimed it was “the best road in the world,” surpassing the Stelvio Pass. It’s fabulous and quite diverse.

If you do decide to do this drive, consider going back to Sibiu via the E81 for a shorter and potentially more scenic day.

Sites along the way:

**Valea Cu Pesti: Big hotel at a pretty spot along the lake. I wouldn’t necessarily stay here but it’s a reasonable spot for a meal.
  • *Cetatea Poenari: Vlad the Impaler’s castle (one of many). This can be skipped. It’s very much a ruin, not much to see, and can only be accessed with a guide (10 am and 3 pm daily).

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