Mountains, Sea, and Rivers Cradle Cultural Routes

Bordered by the Black Sea to the east, laced by rivers, rolling in the Carpathian Mountains, and brimming with some 3,500 lakes, Romania possess one of the Balkan Peninsula’s most diverse landscapes. That diversity is matched by a complex history filled with legends and lore. Inhabited since the Stone Age, the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires all set up camp here for centuries. Treaties and wars tugged at—adding to and subtracting from—regions within the country’s territories. And, government systems, alliances, kings, rulers, and dictators came and went. Today, Romania, admitted as a European Union member in 2007, remains a vibrant and evolving magnet for travellers looking for active, cultural, gastronomical, and seaside holidays.

Surrounded by Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, and Moldova, Romania is crisscrossed by thematic tourism trails because of the number of unique regions—which include household names like Transylvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia—within its boundaries. Visitors will find great wine, millennia-old archaeology, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Danube Delta, wine, beaches on the Black Sea, as well as biking, skiing, and hiking in the Carpathians, which run for more than 950 kilometres and cover a one-third of the country. In total, seven Cultural Routes connect the country from north to south and east to west.

How to get there?

Visitors can reach Romania by car, plane—mainly through Bucharest’s Henri Coanda International Airport, but also from several other airports including those in Arad and Oradea—bus, boat (along the Danube to the Black Sea), and train. Active travelers can also pedal through the country by bicycle, which crosses the border through the EuroVelo 6 and 13 routes.

  • Time Zone
    GMT +2
  • Population
    19.5 million
  • Capital
  • Official language
  • Currency
    Romanian Leu, or RON (1 EUR = 4.75 RON)

EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Romania. Though a member of the EU, Romania is not yet a member of the Schengen Area.

Cultural Routes in Romania

Part of one EU macro-regional strategy—the Danube region—there are seven Cultural Routes that pass through the country: the European Cemeteries Route, the Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route, the Réseau Art Nouveau Network, and the Transromanica,  ATRIUM, Iter Vitis, and the European Route of Jewish Heritage.

European Cemeteries Route

Among this route’s priorities is to focus on the traditions, heritage, artistry, and history associated with European funerals, gravesites, and cemeteries. In Romania, the site along this route is the Bellu Cemetery in the capital city of Bucharest.

Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route

This path encompasses five countries along the Middle and Lower Danube. Focusing on the movement of the Romans in the “northern frontier of the Empire,” the sites on the route include archeological sites and wine regions. Romania has several stops along the trail, including museums, the historical sites in Alba Iulia and in Tropaeum Traiani, and vineyards. These vineyards include the Vanju Mare Winery and Alcovin Winery.

Réseau Art Nouveau Network

This association aims to raise awareness about the Art Nouveau movement. Cities with significant Art Nouveau heritage have come together to pay homage to the era and its creation. According to the website: “Enterprise and commitment are the Network’s chief hallmarks.” The group’s goal is to inform professionals and educate the public about the heritage as well as the “cultural significance and European dimension” of Art Nouveau. In Romania, Oradea is the place of note along this route.

TRANSROMANICA – The Romanesque Routes of European Heritage

This network, which runs across nine countries, is dedicated to Romanesque art and architecture. The focus of the association is to study “the Romanesque heritage in the regions.” By doing this, the hope is to provide travellers with information while developing the sites for “cultural and tourism purposes.” In Romania, two cities are of chief importance: Sibiu and Alba Iulia.

ATRIUM – Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory

The purpose of Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory (ATRIUM) is to provide a mechanism for Europeans to investigate their past during particularly trying times. According the the route’s website: “The route aims to promote the appreciation of the architecture and urban design left by these [totalitarian] regimes for their quality.”

Iter Vitis Route

This association is predicated on the idea that the terroir and history of wine-growing is essential to a destination. According to the network’s website: “The culture of vine and wine and the wine-growing landscape are a material and immaterial heritage of the community, an essential component of the history of a territory…” In Romania, Bucharest is included on the route.

European Route of Jewish Heritage

Jewish heritage is an important part of the Europe’s history. Archaeological sites, historic synagogues and cemeteries, monuments and memorials are included on this route. The focus of the network of places along this tourism trail is to foster understanding and appreciation of religious and daily artefacts and recognise the essential role Jewish people played in European History.

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