Top Five Things to Do in Bucovina for First-Time Visitors

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

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If you’re planning to visit Bucovina for the first time, bookmark our guide to the top five things to do in this wonderful place. From nature walks to cultural visits, we cover the best things to do and experiences to try in ‘the land of beech’.

Before we start, don’t look for Bucovina on the map, but instead for Suceava County from northeast Romania. Its historical name, Bucovina, started being used after 1775 when the province became part of the Habsburg Empire. The new rulers wanted to create a distinct identity from Moldavia, the region it belonged to in the past.

things to do in Bucovina

Traditional sheepfold in Bucovina

Now that we got that covered, let’s start exploring the best things to do in Bucovina. If you’re planning to try everything from our list, save one week for your vacation.

1. Go for a hike in green Bucovina

While Bucovina is famous for its UNESCO Heritage Sites, we prefer to start with its scenic natural attractions.

If you’re a fan of walking, hiking, and spending as much time as possible in nature, then Bucovina is the ideal destination. You’ll find here two national parks, mountains, plus high altitude hills and dense forests. All you have to do is to choose the itinerary that best suits you.

If you only have one day or you’re traveling with kids, the best option will be the Rarau Mountains. You can drive on the winding mountain road, Transrarau, and do a 2-3 hours hike to the top. Reward yourself with delicious trout dishes in nearby Pojorata.

things to do in Bucovina

Calimani National Park

If you’re planning to spend at least 2-3 days hiking, we recommend Calimani National Park and Rodnei Mountains National Park. These protected areas have longer and more challenging hikes, glacial lakes, vast plateaus, peaks above 2,000 meters, and volcanic landscapes.

For easier trails at lower altitudes, you can always go for a walk between villages, from Putna, Moldovita, Sucevita, or Ciocanesti.

2. Visit the painted churches

The painted churches are the main reason most people visit Bucovina. Dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, these landmarks are testimony of the importance of the Orthodox Church in medieval times. Eight of them were included on the UNESCO Heritage List for the unique Byzantine-style frescoes that cover their walls. From Genesis and the Last Judgment to scenes from the battle of Constantinople, these state of art frescoes amaze even today.

You can find the UNESCO Sites in Suceava, Sucevita, Moldovita, Humor, Arbore, Probota, Voronet, and Patrauti.

Sucevita-Monastery

The scene of the Ladder of Virtues from Sucevita Monastery

If you’d like to see even more religious edifices from Bucovina, don’t miss the 400 years old Monastery of Dragomirna. Its particular look, with rock-carved walls, fortified towers, and a tall nave, makes it one-of-a-kind in the area.

3. Discover more historical and cultural attractions

If you’re keen on discovering more landmarks when you visit Bucovina, add the 14th-century fortress of Suceava to your list. This is one of the few medieval defensive sites that still exist in this part of Romania. The scene of Ottoman attacks and sieges hundreds of years ago, the fortress is today a great attraction for families

Visit also the open-air Bucovina Village Museum and discover the traditional rural architecture. Sadly, only a few of the villages from the region conserve today their ancestral features.

Suceava-fortress

Suceava Fortress

Photo source: Bucovina Museum

4. Meet the local artisans

It goes without saying that the skills and talent of local artisans are part of Bucovina’s rich cultural heritage. One of its most famous traditions, painting eggs, has become an art that goes beyond the Easter celebration. Don’t miss the Egg Painted Museum from Vama where you can see thousands of small exhibits from all the corners of the world.

If you’re passionate about pottery, plan a trip to Marginea, the village where you’ll find the last black ceramics center in Romania. You can buy many decorative pieces, plus you get to observe the artisans modeling the clay almost every day of the week.

Bucovina is also famous for its tapestries as sewing and weaving were once major occupations of local women. You’ll find many traditional blouses, carpets, and embroideries in the souvenir shops. But take a closer look to differentiate original handcrafts from fakes.

souvenirs-Bucovina

Souvenir market, Voronet

5. Try the traditional food

Trying local dishes is one of the best ways to discover any destination in this world, and Bucovina is by no means an exception. As a matter of fact, eating a home-cooked meal here is one of the best things to do in Bucovina. Our advice is to choose an excellent-rated small guest house where you can also serve dinner. It’s a sure choice for eating dishes with fresh, tasty ingredients, and plenty of sour cream, used in most local recipes.

soup-ciorba-radauteana

The soup ‘ciorba radauteana’

The specialties include trout, so popular there is even an annual festival in Ciocanesti, and a species of mountain mushrooms hribi. This is the best place in Romania to try recipes based on these two ingredients, often combined with polenta and sour cream. The list includes more tempting options like the soup ciorba radauteana, the pork stew tochitura bucovineana, and the traditional cheese pie alivenci

Bucovina, like most of Romania, is a very diverse travel destination. There’s something interesting to do for everyone, whether you’re up at 7 am ready to hike, or you’re looking to uncover all the symbols and stories painted on the walls of the churches.

Whatever your interests, we hope our guide to the best things to do in Bucovina will help you plan an unforgettable vacation.

Where to stay in Bucovina

Bucovina is a very popular destination for Romanians. Reserve your rooms in advance to enjoy a great experience in this beautiful land. We recommend the guest houses: La Moara from Fundu Moldovei; Hilde’s Residence and Bucovina Residence from Gura Humorului; Doina Bucovinei from Manastirea Humorului; Bucovina Lodge Pension and Casa Elvira from Vama.

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