9 Places To Travel & Things To Do When You Visit Bucovina
Looking for a combo of urban and rural, local customs, delicious food, beautiful landscapes, tall forests, winter sports and mountains? Then you should plan your next trip to the region of Bucovina, northeast Romania. There’s a never ending selection of things to do in the region, so here are 9 places to see and things to do when you visit Bucovina.
1. Explore the Brilliantly Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
The painted churches are by far the most popular attractions of Bucovina, highly appreciated for the Middle Age artwork that survived to our times. What defines this region is that it’s known as „The Land of Monasteries”. It gets it’s name from a great number of churches and monsteries, 22 in total, eight of which were included in the UNESCO: Arbore, Humor, Moldovița, Pătrăuți , Probota, Suceava, Voroneț, Sucevița. They are all different in size, with religious frescoes painted on both interior and exterior walls. There are weather damages on the north side, which has the effect of enhancing the surviving frescoes.
2. Puff Along Scenic Rural Route With Historic Huțulca Steam Train
Crossing through the mountains of Bukovina, in a spectacular rural scenery between the village of Moldovița and Argel, the Huțulca narrow gauge railway, 10 km long, makes the perfect day-trip destination for travelers who want an authentic experience of rural life. For a simple train ticket, you get a journey back in time, in comfortable wagons pulled by historic steam train along Moldovița river. The train is fueled by burning coal and wood.
The railway, built back in 1888 by german sawmill owner Louis Ortieb was used for transportation of timber from forest to the mill. The beauty of the journey is found not only in the beautiful landscapes offering potential for stunning imagery of the thick steam puffing above tall firs in an opening at the edge of the forest, but also in observing the houses residing near the railway, offering a great rural experience. It is a 3 hour round trip to the village of Argel, the end of the line, where people in national costumes await you with traditional dishes and mulled wine.
3. Celebrate Romania Style at Traditional Festivals
Back to times of hardship, peasants were organizing festivals and proms, celebrating life with round dance, music and costumes. These traditions are still continued today. Added to the prominent social activities happening around major hollidays, there are many other different village events taking place over the year. At the community center you can find information about the upcoming events programme .
4. Understand More of the Romanian Traditional Village Life at the Village Museum
Counting over 30 attractions, this outdoor museum in the city of Suceava is all about the rural lifestyle in this part of Romania in times past. Old timber structures, including traditional wooden houses, mills, a blacksmith’s workshop, barns, a church etc recreate a traditional Bucovinian village.
The interiors can be visited and some of them show how peasants handled birth, marriage and death, considered the three fundamental moments of transition in life. Very interesting if you visit Bucovina for the first time.
5. Don’t Miss the Rare Black Ceramics Tradition Still Thriving in This Pottery Workshop from Marginea
Among many black ceramic pottery centers that ceased to exist in the 20th century, the tradition of making black ceramics is still continued in Marginea, a small, but well known community of North Romania. Check out this article about the black ceramic pottery and why Marginea ceramics are so scarce.
6. Go Down Into Historic Over 200-YO Cacica Salt Mine
Located in the Cacica commune, the Cacica Salt Mine is not only a historical monument but also it is still in use today, 227 years after it’s official opening in 1791. The mine, set in a salt massif at the eastern end of the Great Ridge (Obcina Mare), is one of the Europe’s oldest exploitations of salt recrystallized from brine. It contains about 8200 galleries dug by hand, but not all of them are open to the public.
The access is by stairs, 300 steps below the earth’s surface, so you need to be in good condition. There’s a smell of fuel coming from the machinery, but you will get used used to it. However, it is not recommended for sensitive people who can’t bear smells. Temperature inside is 50 °F, so don’t forget your sweater.
There is a little chapel, where miners prayed before descending into the abyss. 114 ft underground, there is an artificial salty lake, dug by miners, where couples used to hang out on a raft, now crystalized. The ball room located at a depth of 121 ft, was designated for proms, festive meetings and shows. Opening time Mon – Sun 9-17/ Fee Adults $3
7. Visit the Egg Art Eggs-hibition in Vama
As all Easter European countries, Romania is a land rich in cultural heritage, having a strong tradition of decorating eggs. The region of Bucovina is full of egg painters, who had turned this tradition into an art form long ago. No wonder the egg gained it’s well deserved place into museums like the one you can visit in Vama. It is a private collection started by egg artisan Letiția Orșvischi.
Albeit counting two rooms, there are over 3000 beautifully crafted eggs from over 100 countries displayed. There are goose, duck, hens, crocodile, turtle, ostrich, emu, and even an original Fabergé decorated using a number of different techniques: carved, waxed, dyed, painted, appliqued. It’s an eggs-traordinary eggs-hibition you don’t see every day! The smallest, a Gecko’s egg is the size of a fingernail. Visitors can learn more about the making process and see the tools used by the fantastic craftsmen.
8. All Lovers of Primitive Lifestyle: A 15th Century-Old Stone Carved Dwelling Awaits You Near Putna Monastery
Are you fascinated by primitive lifestyle, historic and prehistoric dwellings? Then you will love this: a 15th century-old stone carved dwelling by Daniil Sihastrul, a Romanian monk who decided to live alone. Sometime between 1457-1504, he carved a chapel into a rock and retreated into the wild. His cave lies at a distance of about 1 km from Putna Monastery.
Legend says that he used to advise the prince of Moldavia, Stephen the Great, in his fight against the turks. It also says that, following his advice, the prince had built the Putna Monastery. Other than the stone dwelling there isn’t much to see, but the forested area of the Vițău valley will make you enjoy your visit here.
9. Hiking, Biking, Skiing and Wildlife Watching
Natural reserve Pietrele Doamnei (Lady’s Stones) spans 253 hectares at an altitude of 1400 meters in the Rarău Massive. Home to a great number of rare plants and animals, the reservation has unique rocks, karst valleys, pine forests, mixed meadows, grasslands, alpine meadows. Hike or drive to some of the strangest limestone rock formations, the Lady’s Stones (Pietrele Doamnei). The easiest way to access the natural reserve is by driving 14 km from Câmpulung on the mountain road Transrarău, or by hiking trail.
Longer hiking trails are waiting to be explored in a 2-3 days trip into the Rodnei or Călimani National Parks.
Skiing can be practiced in ares like: Vatra Dornei, Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Gura Humorului, Mălini and Sucevița.