Sibiu

Lake Balea

more than a year ago
The Capra Tunnel - 890 metres long and at an altitude of 2040 metres - marks the top of the Transfagarasan Highway. The scene on the northern side of the tunnel is little short of spectacular: a wide open valley with the road serpentining its way down visible as far as the eye can see. This is the classic picture postcard view of the Transfagarasan, and one which moved Jeremy Clarkson to call it ‘every great corner from every great race track lined up one after the other.’

There are car parks on either side of the road as you exit the tunnel, and the road is lined with a rather tacky market selling loads of touristy rubbish as well as a well as a few decent treats (such as kürtős kalács). A short walk away is the Balea Lac itself. Often shoruded in mist (even on otherwise sunny summer days) the lake is an amazing natural wonder.

On either side of the lake there are two comfortable pensions (Cabana Paltinu and Cabana Balea Lac) and - in winter - an ice hotel if you want to stay up here the night. The cabins also have good - if not cheap - restaurants. See balealac.ro for more information. In winter there is a cable car which provides access to the cabins and ice hotel from Balea Cascada, as the road is closed.

While there are no pistes per se up here, good skiers will find plenty of good snow - even as late as June - and there is a route all the way down to Balea Cascada when conditions allow.

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