6 camping spots near the Transfăgărășan road

Do you want to camp close to Transfăgărășan, called “the best road in the world” by Top Gear? Do you want to wake up to the scenery provided by the road crossing the heart of the Făgăraș mountains, the biggest mountain region of Transylvania? Do you want to put your tent in a place from where the three highest peaks of Romania are accessible in a day? Read on to find out about your options.

If you prefer, you can read this article in Romanian or Hungarian using the language selector on the right or you can watch a short summary in video format below.

Necessary reading time: 6 minutes

1. In Bâlea valley, right above the treeline

We tested out this spot recently in the middle of September. There were no sheep anymore in the nearby sheepfold. It was very convenient as we could put down the tents very close to our cars, but this is also the disadvantage of this spot because all kinds of people can reach it, leaving a lot of trash. Personally, I find this unacceptable, especially as there is a big trash can just a few meters away! Get an education, people!

Also, at just around 1570 m (5150 feet) of altitude and the forest being so close, we got visitors at night: foxes, who were not afraid of humans and were very insistent. I had to use the mightiness of all my 90 kg (200 lbs) to scare them away, but they kept returning. In the end, we went to sleep and had no unpleasant surprises during the night, but it wasn’t my calmest rest. I have a suspicion, that some “specimens” find it a good idea to feed the foxes.

Camping in Balea valley
Camping in the Bálea valley
Just a small amount of all the trash near the camping spot
Just a small amount of all the trash near the camping spot
GPS coordinates
GPS coordinates

How to get there?

If you come by car from the north, the trailhead to Bâlea waterfall is in a big left turn, which you cannot miss, as there are dozens of merchants there. After that follows another huge U-turn to the right, and before the road starts to climb abruptly there is a sheepfold. About 20 m (65 feet) before the dirt road that goes to the sheepfold to the right, there is a parking place for your car (but be careful, if you have low ground clearance and sporty suspensions as I do).

Pros

  • Easily accessible, parking spots in abundance
  • Lower altitude, so not as exposed as other options
  • River nearby

Cons

  • A lot of trash
  • Foxes
  • Close to the road, lots of cars passing by
  • People stop here frequently to take photos and go to the river, some of them making noise

2. On the shore of Bâlea lake

Your first option next to Bâlea lake is on its north-eastern part, right next to the trail leading towards Capra lake. I’ve personally never camped there, and I imagine it gets crowded during the day from the visitors of the Bâlea Lac hut and restaurant.

On the shore of Balea lake, there are a few tents in the middle of the image, right above the parking cars
On the shore of Bâlea lake, there are a few tents in the middle of the image, right above the parking cars

Pros

  • Close to the trailhead, the main ridge of Făgăraș mountains 1 hour away
  • Lake, hut and restaurant nearby
  • Well protected by the mountainside from the east

Cons

  • Probably crowded during the day

3. On the western side of Bâlea lake, near the parking with the barrier

Your other option if you want to camp close to Bâlea lake is on the western shore, right next to the parking with the barrier (as of September 2018, 40 RON per day, 5 RON if you only stay an hour) and the hut of the mountain rescue personnel (Salvamont). I camped in this area only once, before the 2×2 skyrace, so don’t be afraid, it’s usually not as crowded as in the picture where you can see the tents and cars of all the participants. A big bonus, that just a few steps to the north and you can see one of the best possible views of the Transfăgărășan road in my opinion.

Camping on the western side of Bâlea lake

Pros

  • Parking nearby
  • Good starting point if you leave in the direction of Negoiu peak, the second highest in Romania
  • Mountain rescue nearby
  • Best view of Transfăgărășan just a few steps away

Cons

  • Noise and music during the day coming from the merchants next to the road

4. In the Păltinului saddle (șaua Păltinului)

I never camped here, but it’s an option. There is plenty of space, but kinda exposed and above 2300m, so you better have a good tent and sleeping bag.

Păltinului saddle
Păltinului saddle
GPS coordinates Paltinului saddle
GPS coordinates Paltinului saddle

How to get there?

From spot number 3 take red cross marking, then the blue line to the south. You will have to climb around 300m (1000 feet) of positive altitude difference. Where the blue line meets the main ridge marking, the red line, you will find the spot.

Pros

  • Lot of space to put down your tent
  • Good starting point if you leave in the direction of Negoiu peak, the second highest in Romania
  • Amazing view in good weather conditions

Cons

  • Water about 15-20 minutes away (see spot 5)
  • Exposed, can be foggy and very windy, at least a middle tier tent with aluminium poles recommended
  • You have to carry your tent from the car, about 1-2 hours

5. At Păltinu spring

We also tested this one out recently, on the same mid-September trip as spot number one. And to be honest, I loved it! Who doesn’t want to wake up to a view like this? Well, I guess not everybody is as crazy as I am, camping on the ridge in a thunderstorm… For me, it was like a lullaby 🙂

Camping at Păltinu spring
Păltinu spring as seen from the north
Păltinu spring as seen from the north

How to get there?

From spot number 4 just follow the red line marking to the south. The spring is not easily noticeable, water usually flows from the rocks on your right.

Pros

  • Water spring and small river nearby
  • Excellent starting point to climb Negoiu peak, the second highest in Romania
  • Amazing views

Cons

  • Very exposed
  • You have to carry your tent from the car, about 2 hours

6. Capra lake

My last suggestion is the one I have used the most, on the shore of Capra lake. From spot number 2 you can be there in an hour following the blue triangle marking (and some others). You can camp either on the northern side of the lake or next to the monument in the south. If you are well trained and prepared (and only then!), you can attempt to climb Moldoveanu (the highest peak of Romania) and get back in a single day. If you plan on doing this, start early in the day, bring headlamps, and be prepared to do some running alternating with rock scrambling portions. If you have done this already, leave a comment with how much time did you need to do the whole trip.

Capra lake and saddle
Capra lake and saddle
The monument on the south of Capra lake
The monument on the south of Capra lake
Camping on the northern side of Capra lake

Pros

  • Lake nearby
  • Protected from the crowds at Bâlea lake
  • Great starting point if you want to climb Vânătoarea lui Buteanu peak, the most easily accessible 2500m (8200 feet) peak in Romania
  • Moldoveanu peak doable in one day (only for well-trained, well-prepared hikers in good weather conditions!)

Cons

  • You have to carry your tent from the car, about 1 hour

I hope you found this piece useful or at least interesting. If you have any questions or just want to say hello, feel free to leave a comment. Have a nice hike!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu