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Headed to the fabled Transfagarasan highway in Romania? Here are five tips for you to have a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience.

06 Aug 2019

If you are planning to visit Romania, the famous Transfagarasan highway will undoubtedly be on your itinerary, regardless of whether you are a petrolhead or not. Yes, car lovers will know it as one of the most spectacular driving roads in the world, a spectacular and magical place that any petrolhead must visit at least once in his or her life. But, even just as a touristy sightseeing destination, the Transfagarasan has lots to offer.

Here are five things you should note if you are headed there.

1. Give yourself plenty your time

Driving fast is all well and good, but be sure to slow down and take in the sights as well
Don't just focus on driving fast, rush, and forego the sheer epic beauty of the place. Take your time, enjoy the scenery, and be sure to stop along the ways to take plenty of photos.

However, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get there (and get back) as well. It's a popular tourist destination, so be prepared for lots of traffic. In spite of its 'highway' moniker, Romania doesn't actually have highways in the same way we understand them. A large portion of the roads there are single lane (with some two-lane carriageways closer to Bucharest), and that inevitably means heavy traffic, especially through towns.

2. Do it multiple times

Each run offers up something different, in terms of both traffic  as well as the things you notice around you
Go up and down many times. Each run is different, from the lighting to what you see and etc. It's impossible to take in everything on offer in just one run up and down the mountain. Stop along the way, breathe in the crystal fresh air, try out some local delicacies from the road side stalls (pig skin, anybody?), maybe even chit chat with the locals who are having a picnic. 

You are also going to be sharing the road with lots of other motorists, so each run is going to be different, traffic-wise. Caught behind a bus-full of tourists? No worries, just enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. Got an open stretch of tarmac? Time to give it the beans!

3. There's no 'right' car

Slithering down the serpentine roads is a joy in any car (though being in a BMW is certainly no hardship)
No, you don't need a fancy Ferrari or some other supercar. Unless you are filthy rich enough to close off the entire 114km stretch of road, you definitely won't be setting any time records here.

Four wheelers, two wheelers of both the petrol-powered and pedal-powered variety, hikers even, we saw them all. This isn't a racetrack or a hill climb time trial. It's just a brilliant bit of public road that is thoroughly rewarding to drive. Having a good car certainly helps (our fleet of BMWs were stellar performers), but we guarantee you will enjoy the drive regardless of whatever car you are in.

4. Pray for good weather

A bright and sunny day makes for fantastic photos! 
The road is only open during the summer months (around July to October), so there's no real risk of snow. However, a bright and sunny day is always ideal.

Yes, navigating countless hairpin turns on a cold and rainy day might sound like fun for some (crazy) people. For the rest of us sensible folks, a breezy sunny day is most welcome. Not just for ensuring your tyres have maximum traction on the road, but also to help your pictures come out the best they can (you will be taking a ton of photos, trust us).

5. Try not to get a puncture

Be on the lookout for potholes, stray rocks and perhaps the occassional four-legged friend
The roads in Romania aren't the greatest (the locals will be the first to tell you this), so you want to be attentive for potholes and imperfect roads. Also, look out for stray rocks on the road. The Transfagarasan is closed for more than half the year because the place is prone to avalanches, so debris is inevitable. Do note, help is a long way (and time) away.

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