Balea glacier cirque in the central side of Fagaras Mountains shelters a lake bearing the same name, Balea. Each winter, starting January and lasting until March, the only hotel of ice in Romania and Eastern Europe is made of the ice blocks from Balea Lake.
Since 2005, we have the opportunity to sleep at Balea Lac – Fagaras Mountains in a hotel build from and decorated with rather unusual types of materials: ice and snow. Depending on the theme, the decorations vary from year to year. In 2014, the decoration theme chosen was “Baroque in Ice”.
Location: Fagaras Mountains witch is an impressive 70km long ridge oriented from east to west.
It is actually an alpine chain made of numerous peaks and crests. Has a general altitude exceeding 2000m, except for the extremities, in Oltului Gorge and in Dambovita de Sus Depression.
Balea Lake is located at 2034m altitude. Has a surface of 46 hectares and a maximum depth of 11.35m. It is the source of raw material for the Balea Ice Hotel.
Close to this lake passes the high-altitude road, the Transfagarasanul. In wintertime is covered by a thick layer of snow, sometimes reaching as much as 2 m.
Access to the Ice Hotel – the most comfortable way to get to the Hotel of Ice in winter is the cable car.
The boarding takes place near Hotel Balea Cascada. Here you can get by car from Sibiu even in winter, as the road is constantly cleared of snow.
Because of the rough weather conditions and the amount of snow falling in winter in Fagaras Mountains the road is closed. For hiking is still open. If you wish you can go on foot from Balea Cascada area (altitude 1234m) to Balea Lake (altitude 2034m). However, you need to take into consideration the long distance and the big height difference. We suggest this option only for experienced mountaineers and climbers.
The cable car ticket from Balea Cascada to Balea Lake is 25 lei/ride (for adults) and 15 lei (for children). The minimum number of persons for cable car ride is 10, so you might have to wait until a group is gathered.
Cable car open hours: Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
Once you`ve reached Balea Lake area, you should know you can find accommodation at the Hotel of Ice, at Balea-Lac Cabin or at Paltinul Cabin.
Visiting the Ice Hotel: The ice construction complex includes the main hotel building, the igloos equipped with accommodation rooms and the ice church. The hotel has a main room, with access to the 12 accommodation rooms. In the same room you can find the bar and the restaurant of the hotel.
The accommodation rooms: the entire furnishings are made of sculpted ice blocks. You don`t have to worry if you decide to spend the night here. The administrators ensure optimal accommodation conditions.
Although the bed is made of ice, the mattresses and sleeping bags guarantee an optimal temperature. Each room has a matrimonial bed, table and chairs.
The bar and restaurant: if your only wish is to have a drink at the hotel`s bar, you need to know that even the glasses are made of ice. The meals at the restaurant are served on ice plates.
The ice church near the hotel completes the ice complex. It was designed after the pattern of the old Church in Malancrav. The altar is decorated with ice sculptures in high-relief.
The Ice Hotel can be visited from 9am to 5pm for the price of 10 lei. After 5 o`clock the hotel personnel dedicates to serving its clients spending the night.
The price per double room per night at Ice Hotel is 400 lei. A night in an igloo room is 600 lei. Children benefit from a 50% discount. You can book online.
If you use to practice touring ski or you`re an experienced climber in good weather conditions, the mountain trails alternatives are countless. Do not hesitate to bring your touring skis and technical winter equipment.