Bâlea Lake
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Bâlea Lake

In the central part of the Făgăraș Mountains, which are part of the Meridional Carpathians, in a glacier cauldron, Bâlea Lake attracts tourists who are thirsty for the beauty of nature and the purifying mountain air, but also with the unique ice hotel built here in the winter. Situated at an altitude of 2.034 meters, the lake has a surface of 4.6 ha and a maximum depth of 11.4 m. Balea Lake area is perfect for mountain hiking, and from there you can reach the highest peaks in Romania – Moldoveanu, Negoiu and Buteanu peaks. In the summer, it is possible to reach this are by car, taking the Transfăgărăşan road, and the rest of the journey by cable car near the Balea waterfall.

A legend has been created around the name of the lake, that says the name is drawn from a brave shepherd named Bâlea. This would have helped a king defeat his enemy, and was given the king’s daughter in marriage as a gift. One day, while they were on the mountain, a large storm pushed them into the lake, and since then it has been called Bâlea Lake.

Passing near the lake is a high altitude road, The Transfăgărăsan, closed in the winter for traffic because the snow covering it sometimes exceeds 2 m, but also because of the frequent avalanches. The road is one of Romania’s tourist jewels, BBC’s Top Gear presentors, called Transfăgărășan “one of the best roads in the world”. His fame has brought tourists from around the world, including great personalities like Jean Claude Van Damme, Jeremy Clarkson, Nicolas Cage and others.

Transfăgărăsan surprises both with the height at which it was built and also the dream landscapes it offers. It is open only between July and October. The impressive road is host to a number of events: the Sibiu Rally, a 2X2 vintage car race, the hardest mountain running contest – the Dracula Bike Fest, a cycling race, the Transfagarasan Speed World Record and many more.

Every winter from January to March, with the ice blocks extracted from Lake Bâlea, the only ice hotel in Romania and Eastern Europe is built. In winter, the surrounding landscape resembles the decor used in the famous animation movie – Frozen.

The experience spending a night in the ice hotel is unique and overwhelming, thanks to the bohemian theme called “Baroque in Ice” which is present in the 12 double rooms used for accommodation. The rooms are elegant, designed with taste and pragmatism. For more intimacy, you can choose to stay in one of the three ice igloos, where you can enjoy exclusivity. You can also relax at the hotel’s restaurant and bar, where both glasses and plates are made of ice. The temperature is somewhere between -2 and +2 degrees, so for a quiet sleep you will get warm sleeping bags, blankets and fluffy furs. What can be more sophisticated than that?

Next to the hotel, the ice church is open yearly for all people regardless of the religion they belong to, which makes it very popular. With a height of about 4 m and built according to the model of an old church in the city of Sibiu, it hosts Orthodox, Catholic or Evangelical ceremonies.

As landmarks near the Bâlea Lake, you can find Bâlea Waterfall, Bâlea River, Capra Lake, Bâlea Lake Cabin. Also, if you hike, prepare to take pictures, because with luck you can meet black goats, carpathian deer, marmots, foxes or bears with cubs.

At Bâlea Lake, in the summer, you can try your adventurous spirit with hiking, climbing, cycling, paragliding, fishing, hunting or bungee-jumping, and in winter you can ski or skate, snowboarding, climbing, skating, visit the snow park or you can spend wonderful moments admiring the scenery of the story created by the white robe that dresses the whole area, savoring a cup of boiled wine with cinnamon next to a fire.

Prepare yourself to be fascinated by the superb mountain scenery that surrounds you!