Plan Your Trip
All you need to know before you arrive.
For those driving independently, there is a car park at the cable car but availability cannot be guaranteed. Please ensure your car is equipped for all winter weather conditions with winter tires, possibly chains if necessary and a spade to dig the car out if there is heavy snowfall.
Temperatures at the Hotel of Ice
The temperature inside the Hotel of Ice isn't actually as cold as you might think, it usually wavers between -2 and +2 degrees although the temperature outside can sink well below freezing. The Balea Lake Chalet is super warm and toasty though so you can always your way over there to defrost between courses or before bed.
In Unfortunately, in the event of poor weather conditions, we cannot guarantee that the cable car will be running. Activities at the Hotel of Ice may also have to be suspended if the weather is not appropriate.
What to Pack
Balea Lake Chalet and the Hotel of Ice are not generally as cold as you might imagine but we do believe that it’s safer to prepare for very cold temperatures, as it is not uncommon for the temperatures outside the Hotel of Ice to hit -20 degrees. We recommend bringing good waterproof shoes, a warm hat and some gloves to keep yourself warm. Some clients prefer to wear waterproof trousers or a ski suit to protect them from the snow and ice; however aside from technical wear, layering your clothes is just as effective. Given the high altitude, it is also advisable to bring sun cream and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from harsh sunlight.
We have listed some essentials below:
Thick pair of socks
Alongside standard luggage, we recommend you bring a smaller bag and transfer essential items into it for the overnight stay at the Hotel of Ice, as it can be awkward lugging bulky suitcases around on the mountain. However, should you decide to bring all of your luggage, there is a secure room in the Balea Lake Chalet where you can store your belongings.
Private transfers can be organised through the Balea Lake Chalet. Should there be enough people needing a transfer from Sibiu, Brasov or Brukenthal, then we will organise a bus transfer and the costs will be split. Just let us know if you're interested in a group transfer.
For those who choose to drive independently, please ensure you have the correct equipment for possible heavy snow such as winter types and chains as the weather in the mountains can change quickly and the
windy roads can be icy. We recommend only those who are confident drivers experienced with winter conditions drive to the Hotel of Ice. Also please note that the Transfagarasan Road is closed during the winter, typically from late October to mid-June so you cannot drive to Balea Lake Chalet and its Hotel of Ice. However, you can access the Lake via the cable car which is situated from the north, if you are coming from Brasov or Sibiu. You cannot access Balea Lake from the south coming from Bucharest.
Balea Lake Cable Car is a highlight in itself, with spectacular scenery and the opportunity of a Birdseye view of the windy turns of the Transfagarasan which you’ll still be able to make out, even if though it’s likely to be largely covered by snow. The journey to the top takes about 15 minutes and although the road is 15km long, the cable car is about 3km which gives you an idea of just how many turns the road has! The cable operates daily from 09:00 to 17:00 and can get very busy over the weekends and public holidays. Guests staying in the Hotel of Ice or the Balea Lake Chalet get priority should they book their tickets in advance. The price of the cable car is 9 euros per person each way.
There is a good train network in Romania and although you can’t to the Hotel of Ice by train you can get close. They are comfortable and great value for money, however, can be a little unreliable and often experience delays, especially in the winter. That said, the scenery is very pretty so if you have time and you’re not of a tight schedule it’s a very leisurely way to travel. The nearest train station is Avrig which is home to the elegant Brukenthal Palace Hotel which is walking distance from the station and a lovely place to spend a night or two to break up your journey. It also offers direct transfers to the Balea Lake Cable Car. You can get direct trains to Avrig from Bucharest, Brasov and Cluj. We recommend you book your tickets in advance which can be done on the CFR Train website (www.cfrcalatori.ro/en/).