And now for something completely different. Travelling independently from Scotland proved surprisingly simple, a combination of Easyjet and Wizz Air et voila you arrive at Transilania Airport without too much fuss. If you can, avoid Bucharest, we concentrated on Brasov and Sibiu some of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns. Not only is the spectacular Dracula's castle closeby but the IceHotel at over 2000m in the Carpathian mountains is a real must. Getting there is half the fun. The cable car jostles above the Transfăgărăşan highway (voted best road in the world to drive by Top Gear recently) - a magnificent feat of engineering (the road not the cable car which to be honest looks like an oversized Kinder egg).
Even in a white out with high winds and all the activities cancelled (missed out on ice skating on the frozen lake and snowmobiling, made do with local glühwein instead ;)) this was truly a memorable experience. There is a chalet hotel nearby to re-fuel, make a pit stop and have a hot shower because the IceHotel is rustic in every sense of the word. You will have to wear your snow gear to visit and even sleep here, plan your wardrobe carefully (bring your woolies!). Even getting from the Chalet to the Hotel was a bit of a military expedition by the time all the gear was put back on. Our themed room was Candy Land which had two large ice cream cones above the bed and bizzarely an owl to watch over us as we slept. The clues in the description but the hotel is freezing so make sure every extremity is covered. I will never forget waking up in the morning and seeing the first rays of light through the translucent blue ice, that and not being able to feel my nose.
Overall a great experience made all the better by the attentive and welcoming staff and one day hopefully I'll be back in the summer to drive that road.....
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Faragas Mountains provide a perfect backdrop for the Balea Lac Ice Hotel. Its remote location, at over 2000m is reached only by cable car making it an exclusive 10 room hotel. Set amidst breathtaking scenery, the Ice Hotel is rebuilt every year and the views and silent nights make a visit to the Ice Hotel a must. The stunning Ice Church is a short walk away. Activities: Sledging, snow mobile, skiing. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Ice Hotel Romania Fagaras