The Ice Hotel from Balea is one of the most interesting and exciting tourist attractions from Romania during the winter season or especially for a winter holiday vacation in Romania. But what is there to know about this intriguing hotel built of ice and why should you care to visit it? Well, here’s everything to know about this tourist attraction.
When is the Balea Ice Hotel open?
The hotel is built each year during the winter season from ice blocks extracted from the nearby Balea Lake. The period of time during which the hotel is open for tourists depends very much on the weather conditions. For example, for the 2018-2019 season, the hotel is scheduled for opening on December 23rd, 2018. Most of the times, the hotel was open only in January for a couple of months until March.
How to get to the Balea Ice Hotel?
The hotel is located next to the Balea Lake, at the heart of the Fagaras Mountains in Sibiu County. The Fagaras Mountains are the tallest mountains in Romania and the hotel itself is found at an altitude of 2,034 meters. Make sure to take some warm clothes and shoes with you, because the average temperature in the area is around 2 Celsius degrees.
Near the Balea Lake passes the high altitude Transfagaras road. During winter the road is covered with a layer of snow that sometimes reaches up to 2 meters, so it can be very difficult to reach the Ice Hotel, or in some cases, it’s not advisable to climb all the way up there, depending on the weather. Make sure you always check the weather forecast before you start your trip to the Balea Ice Hotel
The most convenient and easy way to get to the ice hotel is to use the cable car. The departure is made from the Balea Cascada Hotel. Up to the said hotel, you use the car even during winter when the road is most of the time covered in snow. Starting from the Balea Cascada Hotel, the Transfagarasan road is closed for the winter months.
If you want, you can climb on foot from the Balea Waterfall (1,234 meters) to Balea Lake (2,034 meters). You have to take into account the big distance and the big difference in level. This option is not recommended unless you have experience with hiking.
Travel tip: If you book a trip with us and you travel to Romania by plain, we can pick you up from the airports in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Targu Mures or Sibiu and offer car transportation from the airport to the Balea Ice Hotel.
How is the Balea Ice Hotel made?
The ice hotel is built each year starting with 2005. After months of careful planning, the hotel is built by handy craftsmen from the Mures County. The hotel is built entirely out of snow and ice blocks extracted from the largest glacier lake in the Fagaras Mountains, Balea Lake. To make it stable and durable for the months to come, the craftsmen use blocks that weigh around 70 kilograms.
The working environment is harsh and hard to endure. Temperatures are often below zero degrees and the blizzard is the most worthy enemy of the constructors. In this freezing atmosphere, a new hotel is conceived every year, from materials offered only by nature.
Each year, the hotel is built around a certain theme. The themes are transposed and brought to life by the ideas and creativity of the ice sculptors, who manage to transform the Ice Hotel into a unique attraction. The theme of the 2018-2019 season is “Frozen Love“ and the hotel rooms will have the names of the main attractions from the Fagaras Mountains. Because 2018 is a special year in Romania, as we celebrate 100 years from the Great Union of 1918, the ice hotel will also mark this special event by giving its own restaurant the name of King Ferdinand I.
This year’s visitor will reach in just a few minutes locations such as the Suru Peak, the Avrig Lake, the Negoiu Peak, the Doamna Valley, the Podragu Chalet, the Castle from the Fairy’s Valley, or the Avrig Brukenthal Palace, guided by a few symbolic elements of each attraction, artistically immortalized in the ice for each room.
The “journey” through the area of the Fagaras Massif will continue in the igloo complex, the rooms here being named “Arpasel Reserve”, “Moldoveanu Peak” and “Poiana Neamtului”.
What can you do at the Balea Ice Hotel?
Obviously, tourists who want to spend the night at the ice hotel can do so, but make sure you book a room in advance because there are limited places available. The rooms at the Ice Hotel have all the furniture carved entirely from ice. You donțt have to worry about the low temperature if you are spending the night there. The hotel provides optimal accommodation conditions. Although the bed is made of ice, there are mattresses and sleeping bags placed over it that provide an optimal temperature.
If you don’t want to spend the night at the hotel, you can still visit it, just like any other tourist attractions. Tourists are still required to pay an entrance fee. You can visit the hotel, grab some lunch at the ice restaurant or have a drink at the bar. If you just want to stop for a drink at the Balea Ice Hotel bar, you should know that even the glasses are made of ice. Food served at the restaurant is also served on ice plates.
The ice church built next to the hotel completes the ice building complex and it also has a different design each year.
Other attractions and activities in the area
Most tourists usually just spend a night at the hotel or stop by for a day trip. The Balea Ice Hotel may be exciting and fun, but it’s still something just for those who are not afraid of extreme temperatures and who are willing to sacrifice some of their usual comforts to stay there.
Luckily, the Fagaras Mountains area is one of the most beautiful in Romania, especially during the winter season. If you want to visit the area and enjoy hiking, you can easily opt for one of the many hiking trails in the Fagaras Mountains.
Of course, you can also do other interesting activities and get to know the region better, for example on a cultural tour, which we would be more than happy to provide for you. So, if you plan a day trip to the Balea Ice Hotel, or you would like to book a tour that also includes this location during the winter season, don’t hesitate to contact us and don’t forget to book your tour in advance especially if you want to spend the night at the hotel.