“Historical Cafe Route” in Romania, the winter route in European premiere PHOTO

The Route of Historic Cafes, a route certified by the Council of Europe (2022), has launched its first cultural travel programme. Entered into the “Historic Cafes Route” (HCR) international circuit, Romania is one of the 15 countries in the European cultural network that includes over a hundred historic cafes.

Route of Historic Cafes in Romania Winter Experience Photo historiccaferoute com

Names such as Brukenthal Palace, Bran Castle, Hotel Transilvania or Cabana Bâlea Lac and Hotel de Gheăță, but also cafes in the center of Cluj, Brașov and Sibiu appear on the European list (SEE PHOTO GALLERY). In a first for Europe, an original winter route has been created that includes these objectives.

The UNHCR Honorary Ambassador in Romania, Arnold Klingeis, mentioned for “The Truth”

including about “Culinary Transylvania” – an event included in this route, in which 20 chefs presented their own visions of traditional recipes, as well as novel combinations.

The first tourist package for Europe

The Route of Historic Cafes promoted under the high patronage of the Council of Europe launched for the first time, for Romanian tourism, the first tourist package for Europe, the first winter tourist itinerary (Winter Experience) that has Cluj Airport and Brașov Airport as its landing gate in Romania. The launch took place a short time ago at the Brukenthal Palace in Avrig – Sibiu. It is an honor for us as Romanians to find a niche in Romanian tourism, to create a first. We show that Romanian tourism can offer surprises”said Arnold Klingeis, UNHCR Romania ambassador, referring to the first itinerary for the 48 Cultural Routes accredited by the Council of Europe with destination Romania.

The pilot offer and its attractions: Dracula and the Ice Hotel

HCR specialists are now working on the first offer, the pilot, developed with the help of the legend of Dracula and the unique Ice Hotel: “We have two big attractions in this offer. We reinterpret the huge Dracula story through Hotel Transilvania from Cluj. But also in Bran, on the Brașov version, the distinguished guests who visit the castle can also discover the story of the novel Dracula”.

It is about the hotel from the movie “Dracula”, where the lawyer Jonathan Harker was staying, invited by Count Dracula to Romania in Bran. He stayed in this hotel where he ate some special dishes – like the chicken paprikash, as it says in the book, in Bram Stoker's novel.

“They are two big attractions because cultural tourism is not sufficiently competitive if it does not also include mainstream aspects, which are emblematic and established. And we are working on the first pilot offer, developed within Romanian tourism, on the story of Dracula and of course on the unique Ice Hotel which is famous and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. And this is actually the connection with the Ice Hotel”, the UNHCR ambassador also said.

Bâlea Lac cabin, in the circuit of historic cafes

But the Bâlea Lac Cabana is actually included in the Route of Historic Cafes: “…The lodge, because the ice hotel is ephemeral. This has over a century of existence, it is a historical monument. In Bâlea, tea and coffee were drunk in the kettle 200-300 years ago when people climbed to the top of the mountain”.

In fact, the oldest attestation of an ascent in the Bâlea – Valea Doamnei region was recorded around 1700, and an important role in promoting tourism in the area was played by the Carpathian Society of Transylvania (SKV) – Siebenbürgischer Karpatenverein – established in Sibiu in year 1880. Three years later it will inaugurate, in the Cascada area, the first cottage. But the first cottage at Bâlea Lac is attested in 1904.

“Tourism also passes through the stomach”

The circuit does not lack traditional culinary tourism. “Tourism doesn't just mean photographing a monument, an attraction, it also goes through the stomach. The preparations designed according to traditional recipes from the Romanian provinces are also a calling card for Romania and must be highlighted within the cultural routes promoted by the Council of Europe. People are in the center of attention, and I am referring in particular to the chefs who brought to life the culinary history of our country at the moment when Romania excelled through Romanian tourism and presented the tourist offer – a first in Europe”the UNHCR ambassador also mentioned in reference to “Culinary Transylvania” and “Chefs' New Year”, the historic culinary experience hosted by the Brukenthal Palace in Avrig in mid-January 2024.

The tourist package includes, in addition to the Ice Hotel and Bran Castle, the Turda Salt Mine, a tour through the medieval towns, but also with Husky dogs, skiing in Poiana Brașov and stops at cafes included in the historical circuit.

Time travel through picturesque landscapes and places with amazing stories

“The future of Cultural Routes is the promotion of culture, through tourism. And this amazing new cultural tourism product is an excellent starting point to make the Cultural Routes, certified by the Council of Europe, visible worldwide”the UNHCR representative also mentioned.

The Route of Historic Cafes is a program of the Council of Europe, a journey as it aims to attract more tourists in search of not only historical sights, but also the atmosphere and stories of yesteryear, through some of the most charming cities and lush and picturesque landscapes of Transylvania, through charming cafes – each with its own unique atmosphere and rich cultural heritage.

In this way, important cultural and historical attractions of Romania are promoted and highlighted, in addition to the tangible and intangible heritage of the Historical Cafes. We remind you that to be admitted to this exclusive network, cafes must operate in buildings that are at least a century old and have menus related to the history of the region in which they are located.

The Route of Historic Cafes passes through countries such as: Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Denmark, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.