Welcome to Tara Dornelor this dream-like landscape, situated in the heart of Bucovina, still keeps its naturalness, traditions and customs. Dare to cross its threshold and you will enjoy the hospitability of the extraordinary hosts, eager to indulge you in the most delicious dishes prepared with ingredients from their households or picked up from the spontaneous flora, such as: chanterelle mushrooms and cream, the “balmos”/a shepherd’s dish cooked on a log, the exquisite “tocinei”/fried grated potatoes and cream, scented jams of wild berries, or the smoked trout on fir branches.
After such delicacies, tame your thirst with pure waters directly from the source, mineral and carbo-gaseous waters, an essential resource of Tara Dornelor, and at the same time one of the most essential brands specific to the area. These waters are exploited for their curative characteristics within treatment spa resorts in Vatra Dornei, and also for the economic reason through bottling it at Poiana Negri, Dorna Candrenilor and Panaci.
These shores welcome you with the fresh air of the mountains that guard Dornelor depression: Suhard, Giumalău, Călimani and Bistriței and accompany you with the unique symphony of the crystalline springs of the fast rivers of Bistrita and Dornei.
Bears, foxes, deer, lynxes, capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) live their wildlife here, in the Molidae forests which compile the natural landscape of Tara Dornelor. Another element which is characteristic of the area is represented by the turf moors. The moors are deficient in minerals, which keep the floristic elements specific to the interglacial periods, similar in characteristics to tundra.
Tinovul Mic Șaru Dornei and Tinovul Mare Poiana Stampei – the largest natural turf reservation in Romania is the proof that the show of the nature doesn’t have any boundaries, even in places where the climate is not that friendly.
*tinov = peat bog
The alpine meadows are adorned with Pinus mugo bushes with rhododendron, Gentiana myrtifolium or viola flowers, and also Pottentilla iernata and Campanula alpine flowers, and rhododendron. Descending to the village, you can peacefully admire the simplicity of the traditional households that tremble with daily activities during all seasons: measuring the meadows, milking the animals, making cream and cheese, mowing and drying the hay, painting the eggs. This is how the authentic is developed here, in the nine main villages that form the rural universe of Tara Dornelor: Poiana Stampei, Coșna, Dorna Candrenilor, Cîrlibaba, Ciocănești, Iacobeni, Șaru Dornei, Panaci, Dorna Arini.
According to the local legends about Dorina’s story, the beautiful shepherd’s daughter, who was mistakenly killed by Dragoş Vodă – Prince of Moldova while he was out hunting. Full of remorse he buried her right there in the valley of the river, which he named after the beautiful girl. So the shepherd’s girl, Dorina gave life to this land by her tragic destiny which is known today as Tara Dornelor. Other amazing stories are written on lava formations carved during the time. The stones have taken human-like figures, and now they can be admired by any traveller that walks along the path to reach 12 Apostoli / Apostles.
Ţara Dornelor is an area with an interesting history. Along the centuries it was an independent area, part of Ocolul Câmpulung, then, for over 100 years, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (except for the communities in the southern part of the depression). The history of the area, and particularly the period of Habsburg domination, brought about a vast ethnical and cultural diversity which one can sense even today in the local traditions, customs, traditional Romanian costumes, folklore and architecture. This mix of cultural influences and elements specific to the area contribute to the genuine beauty of it.
The traditional Romanian costumes differ in ornaments depending on the villages of the area, and they can also be admired nowadays on different festive occasions. The habits and customs are well-kept, and they are part of the beauty of the area and are of high interest for tourism development.
If you wish to experiment strolls and activities away from the main road, Tara Dornelor provides the perfect frame, with over 420 km of mountain trails and 150 km of cyclo tourism and mountain-bike trails that sum up a number of 7 dedicated trails. The thematic paths are ready to appeal you to exercise in nature while actively learning. We talk about: Poteca Tematică 12 Apostoli / The 12 Apostles Thematic Path, Cariera de Suld from Călimani / The Sulphur Quarry of Calimani , Tinovul Mare Poiana Stampei, Lumea Tinovului Sub Lupă/ The world of turf moor seen under the magnifying glass” – Șaru Dornei, The designed trail in the yard of Visitors’ Center of Calimani National Park.
Horseback riding with beginner lessons and comfortable rides, easy-rafting on Dorna and Bistrița rivers, kayak, zip-line, mountain climbing are activities that can be practised during the warm season, by anyone.
In winter, in Tara Dornelor, the stories are told nursing the fire while the fun is unfolding out in the snow. Here one can relax while spending time in nature, either on a sleigh ride or on cross-country skis. The adventure and the adrenaline are guaranteed if you choose to practise winter sports on any of the three homologated alpine ski-slopes from Vatra Dornei: Parc, Veverița and Telscaun/Chairlift, or Cîrlibaba and Mestecăniș from the area. The lovers of the white season may also try snowboarding, sleigh, bobsleigh and skeleton bob, ice climbing, snow tubing and skating.