As the winter season is approaching, I wanted to give you a sneak preview of one of Romania’s most beautiful mountain landscapes. Bâlea Lake is situated at the altitude of 2034 meters in the highest mountain chain of the Carpathians - the Făgărași Mountains. The first thing you will see here, if you come from the north, is the Bâlea Waterfall, which is only 10 km away from the lake and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The waterfall and the lake on top of the mountains are must-see destinations for all nature enthusiasts.
Picture © Credit to: AlexeySulima
The glacier lake was formed when a glacier eroded the mountains and melted leaving behind one of Romania’s most beautiful lakes. The name Bâlea Lake comes from a local legend, a story of the shepherd Bâlea, who was in the mountains with his sheep when a bear attacked them. He fought the bear and managed to defeat it, chasing it into the woods. When the king heard of Bâlea’s bravery, he invited him to join his royal guard at the castle, where he fell in love with the king’s daughter. They decided to get married, but on their wedding day, a big storm occurred, that took their lives. The locals named the lake after the brave shepherd.
The easiest way to get to this beautiful spot is to take the Transfăgărășan Road from Sibiu. One portion of the road (about 25 km) is closed between the 31st of October and the 1st of July due to the risk of avalanches and the fact that the road is buried under the snow. In this period, the road ends at Bâlea Waterfall, from where one can take the cable car to reach Bâlea Lake.
During the winter, Bâlea Lake transforms into a ski resort with Romania’s longest ski slope (about 14 km). There are also a lot of back-country skiing spots with untouched powder for the more brave winter sports enthusiasts. Ice climbing is another fun activity one can do at Bâlea Waterfall in winter, as the water from the waterfall freezes and offers a unique opportunity to practice this sport.
During the summer, the favorite sports practiced here are hiking and mountain biking on several established routes taking you even higher to Romania’s highest peaks, like the Moldoveanu Peak (2544 m). No matter what sport you practice, you should definitely take the proper equipment to avoid accidents.
Picture © Credit to: frimufilms
Want to spend a night at Bâlea Lake? No problem. There are several rustic chalets that offer great accommodation and traditional Romanian food making one’s stay truly unforgettable. A unique experience is the Ice Hotel built in winter from the ice cubes extracted from the lake itself. It offers the rooms to spend a night, a restaurant and a bar, all beautifully sculpted from the ice. Every year, the Ice Hotel has a different theme.
Bâlea Lake is one of my favorite spots in the Carpathian Mountains and a must-see location for all nature lovers. If one finds itself in the area or one travels from Transylvania to Muntenia, I definitely recommend visiting a waterfall and a lake on top of the mountains.
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