Motorcycle Touring in Romania

Motorcycle touring in Romania will take you around one of the largest countries in Eastern Europe and offers a huge variety of scenery. Ride through the gentle hill villages of Maramures, down to the Black sea coast, and into legendary Transylvania, ringed by the beautiful Carpathians Mountains.

Romania may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a motorcycle trip, but this hidden gem is home to fantastic cities, beautiful landscapes, exciting mountain ranges, hospitable people and most importantly, some amazing roads. As part of the EU, access is easy and paperwork minimal.

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Transalpina Highway - Romania
Transalpina Highway – Romania | Photo: Saturnian – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The top routes and destinations for Motorcycle Touring in Romania

The Transalpina Highway (DN67C)
The highest road in Romania offers stunning views as it winds through the Parang mountains between Sebes and Novaci. Riding the Transalpina will take your to reaches heights of 2,145m and the fun lasts for almost 150km.

The Transfagarasan Highway (DN7C)
Snaking up Romania’s highest mountain range, the Transfagarasan is widely considered one of the best in the world. Offering spectacular views and corners you can get your knee (or elbow!) down on, this is a must ride road if you get the chance.

Bicaz Gorges and the Red Lake (DN12C)
Cutting across the country from Gheorgheni to Bicaz, this spectacular road will take you through pine forests and into the Bicaz gorges, passing the beautiful “Red Lake”. Take your time and enjoy as you wind through what feel like caves, known as “the neck of hell”.

Transfagarasan Highway - Romania
Transfagarasan Highway | By Horia Varlan from Bucharest, Romania – Wide view over the northern Transfagarasan, CC BY 2.0

Transrarau Pass (DJ175B)
Relatively short at 28km long, the ride over the Transrarau Pass meanders to a height of 1,400m, taking in hairpin after hairpin. The road is lined by sheer drops and fantastic photo opportunities. Recently resurfaced, the ride is smooth and exciting.

Danube Road (DN57)
The famous blue Danube acts as a natural border for Romania and this excellent road follows it as it snakes lazily towards the black sea, taking in gorges, and stunning views across the river.

Mestecanis Pass (DN17)
Taking in nice, big sweeping bends and rising to an elevation of almost 2000m, the Mestecanis Pass is a road you can have some fun on as you look over the Giumalau Mountains. Incredible views of the beautiful Bucovina region will have you pulling over and reaching for the camera.

Rucar-Bran Pass (DN73)
This ancient road passes through three mountain ranges and starts at the infamous Dracula’s castle in Bran. With excellent mountain views as it rises to a height of 1254m, it’s the “olde worlde” villages that make this road special, it’s almost as if you’re riding through time.

Cluj Napoca – Borod (DN1/E60)
This main road may not appeal straight away, but the E60 between Borod and Cluj Napoca is full of great twists and turns, in particular between the villages of Bucea and Cornitel, where you’ll wind up and over a large hill and down the other side. If entering the country at Oradea, riding this road is a must.

Prislop Pass (DN18)
This mountain pass takes you across the Rodna Mountains in the North Carpathians, as you pass from the Maramures region into Bucovina. Sitting between two stunning national parks, the ride can be a little bumpy at times, but at its peak of just over 1400m, there’s a nice cafe to rest at.

Cities worth a visit
There are many beautiful and lively cities and towns in Romania, from the busy hubbub of Bucharest, to the buzzing and energetic Transylvanian capital of Cluj Napoca. Brasov, set in the mountains is stunning, while Sibiu and Timisoara are smaller, with fascinating historic centres.

The Roads

Romania is a mountainous country and many of its most scenic roads are windy mountain passes, made for motorcycle touring. The roads on the whole are of good quality, and large scale resurfacing projects throughout the country have recently taken place, or are currently taking place. Obviously some of the smaller roads will turn to gravel eventually, especially in the mountains, but generally the tarmac is good and getting better. Some of the highest passes are closed during winter when the snow and ice set in, and as a result of this they can become potholed. There is little street lighting outside of the cities so take care when riding after dark.

Bigger roads can be fairly busy with trucks, in the absence of major highways in most areas of the country, however the smaller side roads are generally of equal quality and far more scenic. Often while riding across the country you will encounter few other vehicles outside of towns, unless you are on a major route, and in some places you’re more likely to see a horse and cart than a truck.

Traffic in the cities is not too heavy outside of rush hours, but the driving style can be aggressive and can take some getting used to. Remembering your shoulder ‘lifesaver’ checks is essential, even outside of cities as it is not uncommon for vehicles to overtake on single carriageways and even on blind corners! It won’t take long however before you adjust to the driving style and in comparison to other places in the world, it is not too bad.

The entire country is well signed and kilometre marker stones are rife, making it almost impossible to not know roughly where you are as long as you have a map or GPS. It really is a part of the world to take your time with, especially when riding through the countryside. Stop, look around, and admire the beautiful, tranquil world in which you find yourself.

Paperwork for Motorcycle Touring in Romania

Since Romania is an EU country, the paperwork required to get in and out is minimal. While visas are not required, Romania is not part of the Schengen zone and you will be required to hand your passport and vehicle registration documents over to border control. Every now and then they might conduct a quick search of luggage, but on the whole, the border guards are mostly friendly and welcoming.

Romania is covered by green card insurance and most EU insurance policies that include European cover, although it is always best to check the specifics in the policy wording. Citizens of the EU can pass in and out as frequently as desired and can stay as long as they want. Citizens of the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, among others are limited to 90 days over a period of six months. Finally, motorcycles from around the world can be ridden in the country as long as the registration documents are in order. Motorcycles are exempt from the RoVinieta scheme, leaving you free to travel any road in the country without paying additional tax.

Motorcycle Tours and Rentals in Romania

Whether you are looking for a guided tour, self-guided tour or motorcycle rentals in Romania, Yellow Yeti Travel can help organise your trip for you. We can also put together tailor made trips to suit your budget and travel preferences. Find out about our motorcycle tours in Romania at Yellow Yeti Travel.

Advice & Inspiration for Motorcycle Touring in Romania

Check out our blog for articles on our experiences in adventure riding in Europe or read our general Adventure Motorcycle Touring Guide.

Header Image Credit – Horia Varlan from Bucharest, Romania – Wide view over the northern Transfagarasan, CC BY 2.0, Link