Bukovina: Rural and cultural tourism in Eastern Europe

Rural tourism is becoming more and more widespread in Eastern Europe, and Bukovina is ready to handle this.

Today, the lifestyle in the urban environment is becoming more and more burdensome.

Probably you too have had enough of noise, crowded places, traffic gem, nervousness and stress. Basically, you live on the run, you love on the run and you forget to enjoy life.

Do you feel that time goes by and you are becoming more and more immersed in your daily chores? Well, our prescription for you is a rural tourism treatment in Eastern Europe.

Bukovina, a top destination for European cultural tourism

This historical region in Romania, spread over 10,441 km², received a distinct identity from the rest of Moldova in 1775 when it was annexed to the Habsburg Empire. Its name comes from the Slavic word buk (beech). Thus, in translation, Bukovina means The Beech Land.

A place with a rich history, at the border between different peoples, Bukovina still represents today a cultural and multi-ethnic mix.

The monasteries in Bukovina are the most famous places of worship in Eastern Europe. Constructed centuries ago by Moldovan rulers and boyars, they are true architectural masterpieces, each with its own particularities.

Now that you’ve got an overall idea of ​​this magical realm, we will introduce to you:

  • the main sights and tourist attractions in Bukovina;
  • the most beautiful guesthouses in Bukovina, all in close connection with the history and traditions of the place;
  • Bukovinian culinary recipes;
  • local traditions and customs;

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Tourist attractions in Bukovina

Monasteries in Bukovina

As mentioned earlier, the monasteries in Bukovina represent the main tourist attraction in the area. Of these, the most spectacular are: Putna Monastery, Sucevita Monastery, Moldovita Monastery, Arbore Monastery, Humor Monastery, Voronet Monastery, Dragomirna Monastery, Agapia Monastery and Varatec Monastery.

If you want to organize a tour of these places of worship, here is the map of the monasteries in Bukovina. Based on this and with the help of an interactive map (Google Maps), you can create your own itinerary.

Below we are presenting other places to visit in Bukovina.

Hermit Daniil’s Monastic Cell

In Putna village, on the banks of the Viteul river, there is the cell of the monk Daniil. He carved in the rock a small room with a chapel, which served as shelter for over 20 years.

Believers from all over the country would come here to seek his advice, and there was evidence of his ability to relieve their suffering. After his death, the monk was beatified and buried in the pronaos of Voronet Monastery.

This place enriches you spiritually and brings you inner peace.

Cacica Salt Mine

17 km away from Gura Humorului there is the town of Cacica. Here you will find Cacica Salt Mine, one of the oldest recrystallized salt mines in Europe, dating from the early Neolithic (5th millennium BC).

During the Habsburg Empire’s domination over Bukovina, the Imperial Court in Vienna began prospecting for the salt springs in Bukovina, in order to ensure salt supply to the inhabitants of the new province.

The salt reserve in Cacica was discovered after the drilling in 1790. By 1791 the salt mine was built. Later, workers from different ethnic groups were brought in for exploitation, most of them being Polish.

Currently, Cacica Salt Mine is in use as a tourist destination. The entrance is made by means of no less than 192 steps made from old firtree wood, arranged in a spiral form. They are several centuries old and their surface has been covered over time with mineralized salt. If you want to visit the salt mine, keep in mind that inside temperature does not exceed 10 degrees Celsius.

Cacica Salt Mine include, among others, a museum of salt, a Roman Catholic chapel, an Orthodox chapel, a salt water lake, a dance hall and the cave of the dwarfs.

The Egg Museum in Vama

Bukovina is also famous for the egg laying art using traditional motifs. There is even a private museum, in the town of Vama, dedicated to the art of laying eggs and to eggs in general. The museum has a fantastic collection, gathering over 3,000 exhibits collected from all over the world, from the smallest egg to the largest.

The collection of eggs in Bukovina is over 50 years old. They bear the imprint of the local craftwork, being decorated with various symbolic signs.

The Seat Fortress of Suceava

The Seat Fortress of Suceava is a medieval fortress located on the outskirts of Suceava. It is part of the fortifications built in Moldova in the fourteenth century. The construction of the fortress started in the time of Peter I Musat, and the fortification was made in the time of Stephen the Great.

The location on the end point spur of a plateau situated 70 m above Suceva meadow, offers a magnificent panorama over the entire valley.

The House with spoons at the windows

The House with spoons at the windows is a private museum founded in 1945 by Professor Ion Tugui. It presents an impressive collection of wooden spoons, harmoniously placed on the walls, ceiling or windows.

The spoons were made from various wood essences, from the most common to more exotic essences, such as fig or lemon. There is also an exhibition of spoons donated by tourists from all corners of the world, who have crossed the threshold of this museum.

The Museum of the Bukovinian Village

Traditional houses in Bukovina area, centuries old, but carefully restored and relocated in a traditional village. In the courtyard of the museum, folk music and craft workshop festivals are held regularly to illustrate the occupations and the way of life of the people of Bukovina.

The Mocanita in Bukovina

The Mocanita in Bukovina is not as spectacular as the one in the Vaser Valley in Maramures, but it can offer a fantastic experience. The 7-decade-old steam locomotive will take you through the Moldovita Valley in 3 hours (round trip).

From the wagons of Mocanita you will be able to admire the beauty of the traditional villages and the wildness of the mountains that surround them.

Transrarau Road

Transrarau Road is one of the most spectacular transalpine roads in Europe. This mountain road has a length of 28 km and connects Bistrita Valley and Moldovan Valley. The maximum altitude reached is 1,400 m.

Being nicknamed the “Treasures’ Path”, the road offers dreamy landscapes over the mountain ridges, bordered by coniferous forests. Along the road you will be able to admire the Stones of the Lady or the Adam and Eve Rocks.

By clicking on the tourist attractions mentioned above, you will discover their exact location on Google, as well as related reviews and photographs. In this way you can pin all the attractions that you want to visit and also set the route from one attraction to another.

Are you looking for accommodation in Bukovina? Here are the most beautiful traditional guesthouses

Our platform brings the top exponents of rural tourism in Bukovina in one place. We present real-like museums of the Bukovinian villages where you can book a room. Traditional houses, over a century old, excellently restored for your comfort, open their doors to welcome guests from all over the world. Every tourist crossing their threshold leaves these places enriched both culturally and spiritually.

If you want more comfort, you can choose one of the traditional guesthouses in Bukovina, built without making any chages to the local architectural style.
Our hosts are very kind and welcoming. They will offer you their best dishes, prepared with ingredients grown in their own garden or in their neighbors’ garden. In Bukovina you will discover a world that stood still. The experiences we are suggesting will fill your heart with joy. You will rediscover the joy of life.

Explore Bukovina

Bukovinian culinary recipes

If you have already decided to spend your next vacation in Bukovina, here are some tips on the local culinary recipes.

Bukovina’s food is not only meant to satiate your hunger, but also to arouse your senses. They are mainly cooked from locally grown organic foods, following old recipes, passed on from generation to generation.

Vegetables and greens play a very important role in Bukovinian cuisine. You will often find them as side or main dishes, boiled, baked, stewed or pickled. Very rarely they are fried in animal fats.

Bukovina is a pastoral area and the mountains that surround it offer the cows and sheep all the necessary ingredients to give the best fresh milk. Therefore dairy products play an important role in Bukovina’s cuisine. They accompany all kinds of dishes, from appetizers to dessert (cabbage rolls with sour cream, the butcher’s pork and beef chops, cheese pies, etc.)

Given that over time in Bukovina people of many ethnic groups have lived, their influences are evident in the local gastronomy. Poles, Russians, Turks, Germans and Austrians left their mark on the culinary recipes.

Also known as The Land of sour cream, Bukovina adds this ingredient to every dish. Other two foods mainly used in Bukovinian cuisine are trout and ceps. The trout is smoked in fir-tree twigs and is eaten grilled or as zacusca. Ceps can be served as stew or as filling for cabbage rolls.

Bukovina’s gastronomy mainly uses poultry meat and fish, but there are also some culinary recipes for pork, game or beef. Soups are soured with borș and are thickened with a mixture of sour cream and eggs. Try the Radauteana soup.

Being the homeland of monasteries, Bukovina also offers some delicious fasting recipes: the mushroom pie at Dragomirna or the vegetable sausages at Putna.

The forest offers fresh and healthy food to the people in Bukovina. Everything that is edible is cooked here, from nettles, sorrel and garden sorrel, ramson and even beetroot. These dishes are delicious.

Desserts are not left out in the Bukovinian gastronomy either. These are usually made of doughs with different fillings. You can try the Moldavian Easter cake, the Poale’n brau cheese pies, the Moldavian sweet bread, the pumpkin, cheese, apple or cabbage pies.

Customs and traditions in Bukovina

Bukovina is a fairy tale land, excellently preserved. People here still live according to the old customs and traditions. Even if it is said that the most beautiful winters are in Bukovina, the main celebration here is Easter.

Easter traditions and customs in Bukovina

An occasion of great joy for the people of Bukovina, the Easter celebration starts on Palm Sunday. This is also known as the Sunday of Poles. It is considered that the signs on this day are predictive for the rest of the year. If the weather is good on Palm Sunday, it is said that it will be a good and fruitful season, and if the frogs make their appearance on this day, it means that the Bucovinians will have a pleasant summer.

On Palm Sunday the willow branches are sanctified. Then they are taken home and placed on icons, as a symbol of well-being in the household. At the same time, the holly willows are thought to bring love to the unmarried girls and to chase away the pain of the sick.


Winter in Bukovina. Traditions and customs

In Bukovina, the last month of the year is full of religious traditions. These centuries-old practices have been passed on from generation to generation until today. Bukovina is probably the place that has best preserved the winter holidays traditions.

The carols, the greetings and the wishes, with lyrics, vary from one village to another. Some of them are of Christian origin, others are pagan. Most of the latter are humorous and are aimed at the person who is being caroled.

The folk theatre scenes, performed at the gate or inside the households, are not unusual in the villages of Bukovina. The carolers are dressed in traditional dress, with local specificity, and are accompanied by musicians carried in plows pulled by oxen.

The traditions continue after the New Year, with Sorcova, Chiraleisa and the throwing of the cross in the water on Boboteaza Day.

The spirituality of the Christians is very suggestive here, and this allowed the perpetuation of the archaic village life. Young people and the elderly alike are looking forward to the holiday seasons in this special universe called Bukovina.

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