European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN)
In 2006 the European Commission launched its initiative “European Destinations of Excellence” (EDEN) aiming to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared
characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where the economic growth objective is pursued in such a way as to ensure the social,
cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism.
The more specific aims of the EDEN initiative are to:
oenhance visibility of the emerging European tourist destinations of excellence, especially the lesser known,
ocreate awareness of Europe’s tourist diversity and quality,
opromote all European countries and regions,
ohelp decongestion, combat seasonality, rebalance the tourist flows towards the non-traditional destinations,
oaward sustainable forms of tourism,
ocreate a platform for the exchange of good practices at European level,
opromote networking between awarded destinations which could persuade other destinations to adopt sustainable tourism development models.
The selection of the EDEN destinations is based on national competitions organised by the tourism related authorities, which result in the award of one “destination of
excellence” and 4 runners-up for each participating country.
Romania participated to all EDEN editions, having awarded 6 winner destinations and 19 runner-up, as follows:
-2008, tourism and local intangible heritage:
1.Horezu, 2.Făgăraş Land, 3.Vrancea Land, 4.Neamţ Land, 5.Mărginimea Sibiului.
-2009, tourism and protected areas:
1.Apuseni Nature Park, 2.Danube Delta Biospeher Reservation, 3.Vânători Neamţ Nature Park, 4.Buila-Vânturariţa National Park, 5.Mureş Meadow Nature Park.
-2010, aquatic tourism:
1.Geoagiu – Băi, 2. Techirghiol, 3. Sărata Monteoru, 4. Covasna, 5. Mangalia,
-2012, rural tourism:
1.Buzău Land, 2. Drăguş, 3. Cârlibaba, 4. Polovragi, 5. Perişani
-2012, tourism and regeneration of physical sites:
-2013, accessible tourism:
1.Jurilovca, 2.Gheorgheni-Lacul Roşu, 3.The East Front Border, 4. Şaru Dornei.
Discover The Other Capital of Romania!
Lying in the heart of Transylvania, guarded to the East by the clear waters of the Mures river, and to the West by high hills, surrounded by the fast-flowing waters of the Ampoi river to the North and the fertile fields to the South, Alba Iulia is always ready to welcome its guests and share with them the millenniums and thousands of legends. The beauty of the place combined with the people’s kindness and hospitality along with the cultural heritage, transform this city into a legendary place.
In its heart lies the largest Vauban Citadel in Romania and the second largest well preserved in Europe, Alba Carolina Citadel, the place where on December 1st 1918 Transylvania announced its unification with Romania and where in 1922 Prince Ferdinand was crowned King of Romania, the place where the future has a history and the history has a future…
The citadel was recently rehabilitated with national and EU funds, becoming a modern tourist attraction, where visitors can breathe the air of history. With walls 12 kilometers long, it comprises a central fort and 7 bastions with Baroque gates. Inside the citadel the visitor can see different architectural styles (Roman, Renaissance, Baroque) or the remains of other former fortifications built on the same location. It was built during 1715-1738 in the context of the Habsburg domination in Transylvania, on the place where the Roman Castrum and the Medieval Citadel existed. The uniqueness and diversity of the rehabilitated sites are reflected by the multitude of classical and baroque ornamental patterns that enrich the facades of the historic buildings. The Citadel trenches are now for the first time opened to the public, revealing secret passages and new tourist routes can be followed by visitors inside the citadel, by foot or by bike, leading them through the heart of the Romanian History.
•Travel back in time along two millenniums on The Route of the Three Fortifications among the vestiges of three fortifications from three different periods, built successively on the same location, each new citadel including the old one: The Roman Castrum (106 A.D.), The Medieval Citadel (16th-17th Centuries) and Alba Carolina Citadel, a Vauban type fortification (18th Century)
•See The Changing of the Guard each day, but especially on Saturdays, when at 12 o’clock you can admire the canon salutes, a unique show bringing life inside the three-century old fortification walls
•Follow the Route of the 7 Gates of the Citadel
•See Horea’s Cell-the leader of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1784
•Explore the 1000 year old Roman-Catholic Cathedral, where many Transylvanian rulers were buried!
•Celebrate the National Day on the 1st of December.
For more information and video of the destination :
Apuseni Nature Park, a park for nature and people
ANP is situated in Western Romania, on a surface of 75 784 ha, spreading across 3 counties: Cluj, Bihor, Alba. It is a part of the Apuseni Mountains, which are the shortest of the Carpathians (maximum altitude 1848 m), but having a great geological complexity and an extraordinary variety of landscapes, a particular hidrography, varied soils and a great biodiversity.
Here one can find the largest forested karst area in Romania and one of the most important in Europe, with numerous caves, some of them of great scientific and/or tourist importance. The exokarst includes forms like the Padiş – Cetăţile Ponorului and Coiba Mare closed basin, one of the largest in Europe, chaotic dolines plateaus (Lumea pierdută/ the Lost World, Barsa Pit), large karst depressions (Bălileasa), blind valleys and gorges. The endokarst includes over 1500 caves and potholes with particular characteristics, some of which stand out: the V5 pothole (-645 m, record of depth in Romania), the Valea Rea cave (21 km long and one of the top 10 most important cavities in the world from the mineralogic point of view), the first 3 largest underground glaciers in Romania (Scărişoara Ice Cave, Borţig Pothole and Focul Viu/the Living Fire Ice Cave), the Hodobana Cave (the most labirynthycal cave in Romania), the Tăuz karst spring (the deepest submerged cave in the country) or the Zgurăşti Cave (containing the largest underground lake). Also, some of Romania’s most beautiful caves are located in the park area: Piatra Altarului, Humpleu, Micula, Pojarul Poliţei caves, or the Bears’ Cave (equipped for visitors at international standards). In the karst plateaus one can observe thermal and vegetation inversions, that also generate the famous “Padiş fog”.
From the tourist point of view, there are several distinct areas in ANP:
– Padiş – Cetăţile Ponorului – Vărăşoaia, comprising 10 of the 23 official mountain tourist trails in the park
– Boga – Chişcău, where the Bears’ Cave and an interesting folk art museum are located
– Vârtop with its 2 alpine ski slopes;
– Motzi County, important for the cultural heritage
– the area included in Cluj County, near the Fântânele reservoir and the Vlădeasa rocky crests.
Different activities can be practiced in the park area like: summer and winter hiking, biking, caving, canyoning, rock climbing, rafting and kayaking on rapids, horse riding, alpine and touring skiing.
The landscapes are completed with cultural values like wooden or fortified churches, traditional mountain houses in isolated hamlets etc.
ANPA has 4 visitor centres: the administrative centre in Sudrigiu and in Doda Pilii – Cluj County, Gârda-Arieşeni – Alba County and Padiş – Bihor County.
For more information and video of the destination :
Immerse yourself into the authentic rural life of Buzau Land, carefully kept for centuries, at the crossroads of the three Romanian regions: Moldovia, Transylvania and Wallachia.
Buzău Land lies in the South-East part of Romania, in Buzau County, at the crossroads of the three Romanian historical provinces, Moldavia, Transylvania and Wallachia. The local culture includes elements from each of these provinces, and in the same time has its own identity, which can be best experienced within the rural space. The diverse forms of relief are displayed in steps – mountains, hills, depressions – creating an outstanding landscape, enriched by its people, who are happy to welcome guests and to share with them the treasures of a genuine rural life, kept carefully along the centuries. Four communes of the area have been designated
among the “The most beautiful villages in Romania”: Berca, Chiojdu, Gura Teghii and Mânzăleşti.
To widen the range of the touristic services, the boarding houses in the area offer guidance in the surrounding area where tourists can angle, pick forest fruits, mushrooms (including truffles), herbs, aromatic plants or ingredients for preparation of different foods during the cooking workshops. At the end of the autumn, at harvest time, tourists can take part to grapes gathering and wine and plum brandy preparation following a traditional recipe.
In the village of Varlaam, continuing the tradition, tourists can enjoy the body rejuvenation procedure using whey therapy natural herbs in the area of Penteleu Mountains. An innovative touristic product which combines local mountain tradition with contemporary needs is represented by the anti stress therapy in hay filled rooms.
The gastronomy of the place is rich, bearing the scents of the place. Visitors can taste traditional products like: cheese, green cheese and “bulz” from Varlaam (a special dish made of cheese and pollenta), milky soup with greens, home made butter, sour milk in earth jug, smoked trout in fir tree bark, Gura Teghii brandy, sweet and perfumed wine – “Tamâioasa” prepared at Pietroasele, Buzău onion, Pleşcoi sausages, Buzău autumn cabbage, Buzău pretzels.
For ethno and folklore admirers, local craftsmen can perform demonstrations of egg painting, old traditional shoes (opinci) making and traditional folk clothing sowing. In Colţi area (Piatra Corbului) tourists can see the place where amber stones used to be extracted and also can watch amber processing at a local manufacturer.
Besides the rural tourism attractions there are other exciting things to see in Buzău Land: the Amber Museum, muddy volcanoes, cave settlements, wooden churches, monasteries, mineral water resources, protected areas. Activities like mountain biking, bouldering, horse riding, hiking, bathing or rafting, also enrich the offer of the destination.
Geoagiu is an old locality of Romania, documentary attested since 1291, and it is located in Hunedoara County, in the historical region of Transylvania. The picturesque landscape, the mineral and thermal springs and the historic attractions are the features of this place which together with the hospitality of the people welcome you for an unforgettable holiday for the body and soul.
Since ancient times, the thermal waters of Germisara were used by Dacians, the local population, the place being known as Thermae Germisara, and then by Romans when it was called Thermae Dodonae, Geoagiu being thus one of the oldest spas in Romania.
Aquatic tourism attractions:
-thermal and mineral springs
-the thermal swimming pool complex Daco – Roman Complex.
-swimming pools with thermal water in many of the accommodation facilities
-extreme sport on Mures river
-Clocota Waterfall – 2 km
-Natau Lake – 1,4 km
-Cibului Gorges – 15 km
-Mazii Gorges – 15 km
-mineral waters at Bacaia – 10 km
-the therapeutic mud used since 1988, the width of 13 m.
Historical and cultural attractions
-22 churches of different Christian confessions (the oldest one called Rotonda because of its round shape, dates since 12th century),
-The Romans’ Hill, with the old springs used by Dacians and then by the Romans,
-The Roman castrum, at 8 km from Geoagiu, on the right side of Mures river, where the Roman army Numerus Singulariorum Britannicianorum and also the Legion Gemina XIII had their headquarters,
-The Aurel Vlaicu museum, opened in 1952 in the house where the famous aviation engineer, inventor and a pioneer of Romanian and world aviation, lived. The museum is opened in the village called now Aurel Vlaicu which is situated at 10 km from Geoagiu.
Traditions are still alive in Geoagiu. On holidays, the visitor can meet people dressed in traditional costumes, of home-made white textile and embroidered with black patterns, which give it an elegant and sober look. With this occasion the old dances inspired by the fast courses of the rivers are also brought to light.
The houses are decorated with lively coloured towels and with traditional ceramic bowls and jugs, with designs inspired from the colours of the summer fields. The fragrances of nature are also brought into the local cuisine which enchants the senses of the visitor with the old recipes.
For more information and video of the destination :
The area of Horezu cultural-historic depression includes five localities, Horezu, Costeşti, Vaideeni, Măldăresti and Slătioara and is located in the northern part of Oltenia historical region, in the area of Capă?ânii Mountains, a subdivision of the Meridional Carpathians.
Horezu enamelled pottery, unique in Romania through its chromatics and its floral motives, represents one of the characteristic emblems of the region. In 2012 it was included on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. Ceramic objects of ever-increased beauty, of a varied, harmonious and balanced artistic composition, whose certified age is greater than 400 years, preserving the local tradition, but also showing Byzantine influences, have turned this craft into a brand of the Horezu Depression. Traditional tools such as the potter’s wheel, the jay, the horn or the oven, and decorating elements such as the stylized flowers, the spirals, the garlands or the dots, and, most importantly, the well-known “Cocoş de Hurez” (the Hurez Cock) give the Horezu pottery an unique character among the most famous ceramics centres in Romania.
-the karst relief: Cheile Bistri?ie/ Bistri?a Gorges, Romania’s narrowest limestone gorges, Peştera Liliecilor / The Bats’ Cave, Cheile Costeşti /Costeşti Gorges
-the Trovanţi Museum, an outstanding natural reservation of national value located in the Costeşti main village, of great scientific and tourist interest due to the huge grit stone concretions of metric dimensions and zoomorphic aspect (the largest to be found in Romania);
-the forest patrimony with the vegetation and wildlife elements.
-Hurez Monastery, UNESCO monument, is one of the region’s symbols
-The fortified dwellings dating from the medieval period called Cule. They can only be found in some localities in the north-western part of Oltenia – Măldăreşti, Curtişoara, Cerneţi;
-Ethnographic centres: Vaideeni, Costeşti and Urşani villages, which preserve folk crafts and artistic creations like the making of sheepskin coats, weaving, embroidery, traditional folk costumes, artistic woodwork (pieces of furniture, musical instruments, household tools), wool processing (carding comb, loom, reel, distaff), traditional architecture (ancient porch houses specific of the ethnographic area “Mountainous Oltenia”, and fold houses specific of the Mărginimea Sibiului), folk technology items (carding comb, fulling mills, water mills and water-powered saw-mills);
-Folk manifestations, fairs and cultural events, of which the “The Hurez Cock” (Cocoşul de Hurez) the ceramics fair, is the most famous
-The traditional cuisine is based on mutton and milk products (“jintiţă” – boiled whey, “urdă” – soft cottage cheese also containing whey, “balmoş” – a mixture of maize flour and cream, several types of cheese, butter).
Come to Jurilovca, a destination for everybody, where the hospitality of people blends with the serenity of the blue waters of the Danube and the Black Sea
Jurilovca awaits its guests in Tulcea County/Dobrogea historical region, in the middle of a fairy tale landscape neighbouring the Black Sea and the Danube Delta, the youngest land of Europe, the creed of an unique biodiversity, declared a biosphere reserve and listed on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage and the Ramsar Convention sites regarding the wetlands of international importance.
The destination is easily accessible by land, air or water and offers a wide variety of tourist attractions for all types of tourists: the seaside beach at Gura Portiţei, the ancient fortress Argamum (Orgame), boat routes in Razelm-Sinoe lake complex, fishing, traditions of Romanian and Lipovan community, events.
Tulcea County Council and Jurilovca Town Hall together with other organizations involved in the promotion and development of Jurilovca, are very proud to have the destination joining the European Destination of Excellence Network, knowing that the local heritage potential will be fully appreciated and well known at European level through this innovative cooperation. The title of European Destination of Excellence, honours us and stimulates our commitment and determination to develop the local tourism in harmony with local natural and socio-cultural values.
Enjoy the sweet-salted blue water of Razim – Sinoe lake complex
Gura Portitei is recorded on maps since 1710 and represents the link between the fresh waters of Razim – Golovita complex and those of the Black Sea. It is accessible by ship being a special place for leisure, fishing, sun-bathing. The area of Razim – Sinoe is also attractive for canoeing and bird – watching.
Discover the well preserved traditions of Romanians and Lipovans
The traditional Lipovan houses are thatch roofed and the facades are painted in white and blue. The traditional bath, built separately from the house itself, looks like a Russian sauna and the bathing act is almost of ceremonial nature, especially before major holidays. The traditional costume is still worn on holidays.
Step into the ancient world in Orgame/Argamum fortress
It was founded in the 7-th century BC, by the Greeks of Miletus, being the first settlement on the present territory of Romania mentioned in an ancient source. The fortress was inhabited more than 12 centuries.
For more information and video of the destination :