Going up and down one of Romania's highest mountains, this road built by Ceaucescu is a most amazing drive. With glacial Lake Balea and year-round snow at the top, the hairpin turns just above the tree line form a wild journey into and out of wild nature. A small cabana and cable car at the top with tourist stalls offer a charming lunch stop that would be impossible in mid-winter. Returning via a 887m tunnel under Paltinu ridge that drops you back into the trees, it is an appropriately otherworldly journey.
Historically built by Ceaucescu after the Soviet's invasion of Czechoslovakia, it was intended to help form part of a national security zone offering an alternative north-south route, though fit his megalomania well. It was built in 4 years (and really only the summers in those years), and up to 40 workers are said to have died during it's maniacal construction.
Source: Lonely Planet Romania & Moldova 3rd Edition