Plan Your Trip
Everything you need to know before you arrive.
For those driving independently, there is parking at the cable car but availability cannot be guaranteed. Please ensure that your car is equipped for all winter weather conditions with winter tyres, 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°C and +2°C, although the temperature outside can sink well below freezing. The Bâlea Lake Chalet is very warm and toasty, though, so you can always make your way over there to defrost between courses or before bed.
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
Bâlea 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°C. 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 sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the 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 carrying bulky suitcases around on the mountain. However, should you decide to bring all of your luggage, there is a secure room in the Bâlea Lake Chalet where you can store your belongings.
Private transfers can be organized through the Bâlea Lake Chalet. Should there be enough people needing a transfer from Sibiu, Brașov or Brukenthal, then we will organize 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 that you have the correct equipment for possible heavy snow, such as winter tyres 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 Transfăgărășan Road is closed during the winter, typically from late October to mid-June, so you cannot drive to Bâlea 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 Brașov or Sibiu. You cannot access Bâlea Lake from the south coming from Bucharest.
Bâlea Lake Cable Car is a highlight in itself, with spectacular scenery and the opportunity of a birdseye view of the windy turns of the Transfăgărășan, which you will still be able to make out, even if it’s likely to be largely covered by snow. The journey to the top takes about 15 minutes and, although the road is 15 km long, the cable car is about 3 km, 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 on public holidays. Guests staying in the Hotel of Ice or the Bâlea Lake Chalet get priority should they book their tickets in advance. The price of the cable car is €9 per person each way.
There is a good train network in Romania and although you can’t get to the Hotel of Ice by train, you can get close. The trains are comfortable and great value for your money, however, they can be a little unreliable and often experience delays, especially in the winter. That being said, the scenery is very beautiful so, if you have time and you’re not on 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 that is within 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 Bâlea Lake Cable Car. You can get direct trains to Avrig from Bucharest, Brașov and Cluj. We recommend you book your tickets in advance, something which can be done on the CFR website (www.cfrcalatori.ro/en/) .