Today we’ll take you to the northern Romanian county of Bistrita Nasaud, which boasts lots of opportunities for all types of tourist activities, from relaxation to active tourism. The area has well preserved its traditions and crafts, so tourists will be able to buy many local craftworks and to participate in various events organized in the county’s communes and villages all along the year.
Bistrita Nasaud county is located in the central-northern part of Romania and includes the contact area between the Eastern Carpathians and the Transylvanian Plateau. The county seat is the city of Bistrita, which was first attested in documents in 1264 as an old German borough and a valuable historical centre. It is the starting point towards the mountainous area which is very appreciated by tourists, as Claudia Andron, the president of the tourism promotion Association “A tourist in Bistrita Nasaud” told us:
Claudia Andron: “Bistrita Nasaud is a new tourist destination, given that before, the area did not benefit from tourist promotion. Several years ago, our association planned a strategy and we are now seeing the results. Tourists have started to be interested in or region and we have shown willingness to help, our slogan being ‘Discover Bistrita Nasaud’. If people usually choose Maramures for traditions and Bukovina for the monasteries, here in Bistrita Nasaud they have it all: ecological, rural, ecumenical, cultural and historical tourism. The area also boasts a large storage lake, Colibita, which has become very popular with tourists in the past 2 years. We are now trying to deal with the big flow of tourists and we still have to make investments in accommodation facilities. Those who want to spend a few days at the Colibita lake should book their trip in advance.”
Colibita is located at 40-km from Bistrita and 17 kms away from Tihuta Pass, which is famous due to the Dracula legend. It is a solitary place in the mountains, near a very big lake, where people are leading a quiet life, growing animals and farming, says Andreea Spinu, a travel agent in Bistrita Bargaului.
Andreea Spinu: “The area is actually a depression in the middle of which there is a storage lake. It is the main attraction of the region. The depression is situated in the east of Bistrita Nasaud county, on the very contact line between the Bargau and Calimani Mountains. Around 2% of the Calimani National Park is located in our commune and people come here mostly for relaxation. We have various offers for trekking, riding, drives in horse-drawn vehicles in summer and in horse-drawn sledges in winter. Also the area’s flora and fauna are special and the air quality is very good. A much-sought- after pastime is adventure tourism including kayak, rafting, paragliding, mountaineering, bouldering and hunting. We have a very rich offer.”
Bistrita is also the right place for those who want to spend a few days in a traditional house full of traditional objects. Here is Andreea Spinu with more details:
“There are several households open to tourists. Colibita boasts many traditional houses displaying traditional decorative or functional objects. In winter these houses turn into handicraft centers, with women spending their time weaving on the loom. “
Next, Claudia Andron, the president of the tourism promotion Association “A tourist in Bistrita Nasaud” will tell us more about traditional decorations and ornaments, about traditions passed from one generation to the next:
“If you happen to travel to the Nasaud area, you must stop by the workshop of the famous local artist Virginia Linul. You will find there a whole universe of the traditional dress. There are many women who still sew traditional costumes in the old fashion. They make embroideries by hand and use beads to make traditional motifs. You will even find here an old, natural washing-machine which our ancestors used in the past. Today, there are people in Bistrita Nasaud who still use such methods.”
Bistrita Nasaud also boasts many cultural events which tourists can attend all throughout the year. Claudia Andron is back at the microphone:
“There is a big cultural effervescence in Bistrita Nasaud, we have many festivals such as the Golden Apple satire and humor festival which is 20 years old, the Zamfira’s Wedding festival, which gathers traditional music ensembles from all over the world, we also have symphony concerts held in the Bistrita synagogue. Then there is the Garlic Festival in Count Dracula’s region which takes place in the last week of July. People are very hospitable and prices are reasonable as compared to other regions of Romania. Locals are very attentive with tourists and make them feel really comfortable. Not to mention the very delicious and healthy food of the area. At present we are developing a project called ‘Made in Bistrita Nasaud’ which encourages production of natural food.”