Placed in the Northeast part of Romania, Bucovina is one of those regions that still have the charm of the countryside’s pure life. Surrounded by the magical landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains, this fascinating region is rich in history, geography, charming landscapes, and breathtaking landmarks.
Worldwide, Bucovina is very appreciated due to its vast number of monasteries built by important historical figures of Romania. So it’s the perfect place to find inner peace and learn about this country’s past.
This region has a lot to offer. Let’s find out together everything you need to know before you visit Bucovina.
Reasons To Visit Bucovina
There are several reasons why you should plan a trip to Bucovina. If you love history, culture, and delicious food or want to relax in the middle of nature, this is the place for you.
In Bucovina, Mother Nature has created stunning scenery, giving a spectacular relief. Mountains, forests, rivers, springs, and hills, along with the meaningful history and authentic food, make you want to stay here and create a lifetime of memories.
What makes this place really unique is the region’s spiritual side. Here, it gets easier to get close to divinity since you can find silence in the old monasteries or churches.
The place wouldn’t be so special without the people. Bucovina’s people are full of kindness, and they are very welcoming. No matter the age, people of this area care deeply about their customs and traditions, and they are proud to show the world what it means to be part of Bucovina. They are eager to offer you an authentic experience and even teach you different crafts if you like.
As you’re in a place where traditions are pretty much alive, get ready to discover different events and festivals that reveal the important customs of the community. Snow Celebrations, The Medieval Art Festival, Sanziene Fair, or The National Festival Of Painted Eggs are just a few events that can illustrate and present the old crafts.
This list of reasons can go on and on, but let’s see what else you should know about the region of Bucovina.
Best time to visit Bucovina
There is no such thing as the best time to travel to Bucovina since it’s incredible every season. Yet, most tourists choose the month of April since the whole community is getting ready for Easter.
If you’re in Bucovina, around this time of the year, get ready to try different crafts in the workshops, taste authentic food and drinks, and attend the church service. Now let’s see what else you can do here, in different seasons!
Read also: Best time to visit Romania
Enjoy a spring full of traditions
As we mentioned earlier, spring is the perfect time to be in Bucovina if you want to live the whole experience of living in the countryside and also admire the tree’s colorful bloom and the different shades of green of the forest.
Explore surroundings in the summer
As everywhere else, summer is the perfect time for exploration. Immerse yourself in the paths of the forest and feel the refreshing water of the creeks while admiring the green landscapes.
Get your camera ready for autumn
Nothing compares with a colorful picture taken at the right time. As autumn falls above Bucovina’s hills and forests, you’ll find yourself in colorful scenery depicted from a famous painting.
Snow fun in winter
Along with the remarkable beauty of the snowy land, you’ll find plenty of resorts for winter activities such as ski or ice skating. This is also the perfect time to experience the Christmas traditions of the area.
Read also: 7 Things to do in winter in Romania
Where to stay in Bucovina
Enriched with the Austrian architectural influences, Bucovina offers many accommodation opportunities. We’ve put together a list of the top destinations for this region so that you can definitely find something that’s to your liking.
As the largest city in the area with an impressive past, Suceava has a lot of potential to be your new favorite city. This city had been the residence of Moldova’s lords for almost 200 years. Nowadays, it has become a national historical monument.
Gura Humorului is a little town representing the starting point for every destination in Bucovina. It is well connected to the famous monasteries like Moldovita, Sucevita, and Voronet, or close to mountain trails from nature reserve Piatra Pinului or Piatra Soimului. So, you will find plenty things to do in Gura Humorului.
If you have ever wondered how it is to live in the countryside in Bucovina, then Campulung Moldovenesc is the place for you. The people of this village preserved the old traditions, and they are more than glad to show you what it’s like to be part of their community.
Vatra Dornei, or “The Pearl of Bucovina,” is the perfect spot for winter sports and relaxing holidays with a spa twist. This area also offers excellent trails in the National Park Calimani and other forest paths you’ll surely want to explore.
Read also: 10 Hidden gems in Romania
How to get to Bucovina
Getting to Bucovina might be a real challenge if you decide to plan the trip on your own. The area is primarily remote, and almost no one speaks English. So, it can be pretty difficult to move around. That’s why we recommend booking a holiday with a tour guide so you can enjoy your journey to the fullest.
There are only three ways to get to Bucovina:
- By plane: You can always book a flight to Suceava, the only issue is that they are very rare.
- By train: As the infrastructure of Romania is still a work in progress, you’ll find yourself stuck on the train for hours. So, this might not be the best option.
- By car: A car will give you the freedom to explore every corner of this region and get a full taste of the stunning views.
Now that you know your traveling options pack your bags and start exploring this enchanting land.
Main attractions in Bucovina
Given the fact that Bucovina is a relatively small area, there is a large number of tourist attractions famous throughout Romania and beyond.
This region has become, for many years, a top destination for everyone who loves nature, history, and spiritual journeys. Look at these main attractions, and imagine how your holiday will be.
1. UNESCO’s painted monasteries of Bucovina:
The biggest attractions of Bucovina are the painted monasteries. They are also unique in Europe due to their colorful exterior. Every monastery has its own frescos that depict different religious motifs. If you want to explore the monasteries in detail, you should book a complete tour. This allows you to spend as much time as you need. The monasteries that you should definitely visit are Moldovita, Sucevita, and Voronet.
Located in the village of Vatra Moldovitei, the Monastery of Moldovita was built in 1532 by the ruler of that time, Petru Rares. Yet, the exterior paintings were completed in 1537. Painted in shades of blue and gold, the frescos depict the Siege of Constantinople or the Tree of Jesse. The last one represents Christ’s genealogy, a very famous theme in Europe during the Middle Ages.
Surrounded by high walls and defensive towers, the monastery of Sucevita, looks more like a fortress rather than a monastic complex. It was founded by Gheorghe Movila back in 1581 and expanded by his brother, Ieremia. He was ruling Moldavia at that time.
The massive walls were painted between 1602 and 1604 by local artists. What makes this place unique is the stunning depiction of the Ladder to Paradise. The painting illustrates red-winged angels attending the righteous on a slanting ladder to the heavens, each rung inscribed with one of the monastic virtues. Another image of this painting shows the sinners that fall through the rungs and are led by devils to the chaos of hell.
Voronet Monastery was built by the famous Stephan The Great in 1487. This monastery is widely known throughout Europe as “the Sistine Chapel of the East” due to its exterior and interior wall paintings.
This monastery offers a lot of frescoes painted in an authentic shade of blue known as “Voronet blue.” The composition of the paint remains a mystery even today, and it’s been more than 500 years since the church was built.
Another element that made this monastery famous throughout Europe and beyond is the remarkable “Last Judgement” fresco. The painting illustrates Jesus at the top of the scene, from where he judges all humankind. You can observe on the left the righteous people who will go to heaven, while on the right, a bright red river of fire leads the sinners to hell.
2. Cacica salt mine
One place that’s sure you don’t want to miss when visiting Bucovina is the Cacica salt mine. Located in the little village of Cacica, this 220 years old salt mine was dug during the Habsburg Empire. To your surprise, it is still operational today.
The exciting part of this salt mine is that you can access a deep area that is 75 meters below the surface. As you move forward, you’ll notice the smell of gasoline at some point, but it is not dangerous. If that troubles you, wearing a mask is probably a good idea.
What makes the salt mine a real wonder is that the whole place was carved out by the people of the village using simple tools such as shovels. There was a lot of labor involved in this mine. Another thing you can see here is the brine pool, which contains the raft the miners used in the past.
3. Suceava fortress
The city of Suceava is the home of one of the most important fortresses of Romania. The fortress was built in the late 1300s by the Moldavian ruler Petru Musat. The fortress had only one purpose, to protect the people against the Turks. During its many years, the fortress was also the official residence of Moldovia’s powerful lords and rulers.
Unfortunately, the original fortress was burned down back in the 17th century as part of the Ottoman’s attack. Nowadays, the fortress is rehabilitated and represents one of the important landmarks of Bucovina.
4. Vatra Dornei
Vatra Dornei is a municipality in Suceava County, known since the 19th century as a spa and also as a winter resort.
It is located at an altitude of 802m in the Dornelor Depression. It is surrounded by a series of low and medium mountains, and a very important aspect is given by the presence of mineral springs, which impose a specific note on the area of Tara Dornelor.
The abundance of mineral springs, the beauty of the landscape, the clean air, and the people’s hospitality make the resort famous both in the country and abroad.
5. Putna Monastery Bucovina
The painted churches and monasteries are the main reason Bucovina is recognized across borders. So if you’re planning to visit this region of Romania, make sure to add to your list another important place, which is Putna Monastery.
Placed near Radauti, this majestic monastery is perhaps the most important one. Why? Because this is one of the first monasteries built by the legendary Stephan the Great somewhere in the year 1466.
Like any other extraordinary landmark of Romania, this monastery has too, a legend linked to it. It is said that the ruler, Stephan, chose the construction site in a very unique way. He shot an arrow at a nearby hill, and the building was placed on the ground where that arrow landed.
Even though this monastery doesn’t have many impressive frescos like the others, it’s got something significant.
Here you can find Stephan the Great’s resting place and a part of his family’s graves. When visiting this monastery, make sure you do your research and try to connect the information with the place. It will also help you understand the historic circumstance during which the Putna monastery was built.
6. The Borgo pass
If you’re a Bram’s Stocker Dracula fan, now is the perfect time to explore the famous Borgo pass. Here, Bram Stoker placed the famous Dracula Castle. Unfortunately, there is no castle in the area, but you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes and discover on your own why Stocker chose this place as the scenery of his novel.
Known as one of the most challenging passes among Europe’s mountains, this natural wonder links two famous regions of Romania, Bucovina and Transylvania.
Located at an altitude of 1227 meters, Borgo Pass is also called Tihuta Pass and is truly a spectacular tourist destination. The road crossing this pass was built by the Austro-Hungarian Army between 1812 and 1817 and was used as a trade route.
Nowadays, the road leads you to a little piece of heaven with a spectacular view. Located 50 kilometers from Bistrița and 37 kilometers from Vatra Dornei, the Borgo Pass can be an oasis for those looking for an extraordinary vacation.
You don’t want to miss a significant place while visiting the Borgo Pass: Colibita lake.
Although it is an artificial lake set up in Bistrita-Nasaud for water supply, irrigation, and industry, the lake has a picturesque view that you must enjoy on this expedition.
7. Ciocanesti village
Ciocanesti is like a museum village because all the houses there are painted on the outside with Romanian folk motifs. The story of the beautifully decorated houses began in 1950 when a lady from the village decided that the new painting of her house should contain some motifs from the decorated eggs they were making in that area.
And just like that, slowly, all the locals borrowed the idea, and this is how Ciocanești became a village through which you walk like in a museum.
On top of that, you can also experience here the countryside lifestyle if you like. The village’s people are lovely and welcoming, so they are more than happy to host you in their homes.
Read also: 8 Things to do in Maramures
8. The Egg museum( Muzeul oului) from Vama
One of the most beloved Romanian traditions is painting eggs. In Bucovina, the custom of decorating eggs was brought to an artistic level.
There are three museums dedicated to the decorated eggs, so make sure that the one from the village of Vama Bucovina is on your must-visit list.
The museum is a local home that has 45 showcases that hold 7000 decorated eggs from 82 countries. At the entrance, you’ll receive an audio guide that will tell you the history of the decorated eggs, explain some techniques, and reveal the purpose of this custom.
If you’ve got to the end of this article, I bet you already want to visit Bucovina. Our guide has highlighted the most important things you need to know before visiting this region. You got information like the best time for a trip, the reasons why you should visit this place, and also told you a few things about the essential landmarks.