If you’re planning to visit Romania for the first time, and you’re reading great reviews about Bucovina, wondering if you should add it to your trip or not, our list of top five things to do in Bucovina will help you decide.
To begin with, don’t look for Bucovina on the map as this is its historical name. Translated through ‘the land of beech’, the name Bucovina started being used after 1775 when the region was incorporated into the Habsburg Empire and the Austrian authorities wanted to differentiate it culturally from the region it was part of until then, Moldavia. Today, the historical region of Bucovina corresponds to Suceava County from north-east Romania.
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 in the region.
Bucovina is most famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but we prefer starting by mentioning its natural areas a lot of tourists ignore.
If you’re a fan of walking and hiking and spending as much time as possible in nature, then Bucovina is the ideal destination. Two national parks and iconic mountains, plus high altitude hills and dense forests cover large parts of the destination. You just have 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 a spectacular mountain road, Transrarau, and do a 2-3 hours hike to the top, or you can spend an entire day hiking from the base to the top. Either way, stop to taste the delicious trout dishes in Pojorata.
If you’re planning to spend at least 2-3 days hiking, we recommend Calimani National Park and Rodnei Mountains National Park, two amazing wilderness areas from the Carpathians. They have longer and more challenging hikes, glacial lakes, vast plateaus, peaks above 2,000 meters, and volcanic landscapes.
Last, but of course, not least, you can always plan for a low-key walk between villages, from Putna, Moldovita, Sucevita, or Ciocanesti.
The painted churches are the symbol of Bucovina and its most visited attractions. Don’t hesitate to take a tour of these landmarks, it’s one of the most interesting and memorable things to do in Bucovina.
Dating from the 15th and 16th centuries and built by local princes, these UNESCO Sites are a precious testimony of the overreaching importance of Church and religion in medieval times.
Eight of them are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, listed for their astonishing beauty, particularized by the unique Byzantine-style frescoes that cover both their interior and exterior walls. From religious cycles and ladders of virtues to scenes from the battle of Constantinople, these state of art frescoes are more than esthetic, they had a clear educational and political role.
If you’d like to see even more religious monuments from Bucovina, don’t miss the Monastery of Dragomirna. Over 400 years old, the monastery has a particular look, different from all the rest in the region, with rock-carved walls, fortified towers, and a tall nave.
If you’re keen on discovering more monuments besides the religious ones, add the 14th-century fortress of Suceava to your list. It’s one of the few medieval landmarks of this kind that still exists in this part of Romania, and was the actual scene of Ottoman attacks and sieges hundreds of years ago. Modern video projections make it a great attraction for families.
Photo source: Bucovina Museum
Since you’re in Suceava, you can also visit the open-air Bucovina Village Museum since only a few of the villages from the region conserve their traditional features.
It goes without saying that the skills and talent of local artisans are a fundamental 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. You can visit several Painted Eggs Museums, and we recommend you don’t miss the one from Vama where you can discover painted eggs 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 see many traditional blouses, carpets, and embroideries in the souvenir shops, but take a closer look to differentiate original handcrafts from fakes.
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 trying dishes with fresh, tasty ingredients and plenty of sour cream, present in almost all recipes from Bucovina.
The specialties include trout, so popular there is even an annual festival in Ciocanesti, and local mountain mushrooms called hribi. This is the best place in Romania to try recipes based on these two ingredients, often combined with polenta and, obviously, some cream. The list goes on and 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 the active kind who’s up at 7 am ready to hike all day long, or you’re just looking to relax with a glass of wine and a delicious snack in the garden of the guest house.
Whatever your interests, we hope our local travel guide to the best things to do in Bucovina will help you plan an unforgettable vacation in this destination.
Bucovina is a very popular destination for Romanians, and it tends to books fast. Be sure to reserve your rooms in advance to enjoy a great experience in this beautiful land. We warmly recommend the guest houses: La Moara and Casa Cristina 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. Piatra Pinului Ski from Voronet is the best option if you prefer to stay in a hotel.