Oltenia

Why?

From the alpine picturesque meadows of the Carpathians to the Danube’s valley down south, Oltenia fascinates with its numerous architectural jewels (Tismana, Cozia, and Hurezi monasteries), the Kule (fortified constructions similar to towers), and culminates with the works of Brâncuşi, the world renowned sculptor in Târgu Jiu.

Oltenia’s cultural dowry is filled with products culminating from ancient crafts such as hand woven carpets and colorful ceramics from Olari-Horezu.

The fairy tale natural landscape entices you to go hiking and on adventures in either national parks or reserves such as the Jiu and Olt Gorges or in caves such as Polvragi and Muierii caves, while its mineral waters with therapeutic effects allure you to relax in wellness spas such as Călimăneşti - Căciulata, Govora or Olăneşti.

With its natural and cultural beauty Oltenia can easily fill a week’s vacation.

We recommend

Visit the Trovanţi in Costeşti called the “moving” or “alive” rocks.

Take the train between Bumbeşti and Livezeni, one of the most spectacular train rides in Romania with 39 tunnels and 35 aqueducts. During this train ride you can admire the greatness of the Jiu valley.

Taste the wines of Segarcea wineyard.

Buy local ceramics from Olari village right from the craftsmen workshops where you can also see them at work.

Take part in the Lilac festival in Ponoare(in May).

Good to know

The recently modernized Transalpine road (DN 67C) is open after thaws (in May-June) and can be accessed until October-November.

The tourist information centre in Horezu is located at 63 A Tudor Vladimirescu.

In Călimăneşti resort you can find a tourist information centre at 708 Calea Lui Traian.

In Târgu Jiu a tourist information centre can be found at 63 Crişan street.

Oltenia under the mountain has a lot of bicycle tracks that connect tourist attractions with picturesque mountain villages.

How to get here

Oltenia is relatively easy to get to by plane, train or by car due to its proximity to Southern and Western Europe.

Air access

If you wish to travel by plane to Muntenia there is an international airport in Craiova that has flights to Italy, England, France, Spain, Germany and the Republic of Moldova.

Railway access

There are international trains connecting important cities in Europe (Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava)  with Bucharest or Timişoara from where you can easily take a connection to Oltenia.

Road Access

Most people who visit Oltenia rent a car at the Craiova airport.

You can also easily get around with your own means of transportation. The region is crossed by some of the most important European roads: E70, E79, and E577. For those of you who prefer transportation by coach you can access the www.autogari.ro website where you can find buses from almost all main cities in Romania and Europe.

Have a pleasant trip!

Discover

The historic and tourist province of Oltenia gets its name from the Olt river that separates Oltenia from the Muntenia region. Its counties are Mehedinţi, Olt, Gorj, Dolj and Vâlcea.

If in most of Romania’s regions you feel the influence of ethno-cultural diversity, here in Oltenia, (so as in Muntenia) you will find that the Romanian elements are the ones that prevail.

It’s from here that important historical figures of Wallachia  have arisen (Oltenia and Muntenia) such as Mircea the Great, Michael the Brave and Tudor Vladimirescu, each of them having an important role in the making of Romania as we know it today. This historical and cultural experience together with the landscape made an impact on the social and economic development of the region, thus we refer to Oltenia today as northern Oltenia and southern Oltenia, each with its different  features.

Northern Oltenia known among tourists as “Oltenia under the mountain” is a destination that has a lot to offer and can easily meet all your expectations.

This region is firstly a hearth of Romanian spirituality as many Orthodox monasteries have been erected here such as Hurezi, Cozia, Turnu, Arnota, Dintr-un Lemn, Tismana, Lainici, Polovragi, which are true architectural jewels.

Oltenia is the land of the Kule, fortified constructions similar to towers, popular in this region during the 18th and 19th centuries, such as those in Măldăreşti. At the same time, Oltenia is the birthplace of the Brâncovenesc architectural style found in many of its landmark buildings such as mansions.

While you’re visiting Northern Oltenia, make sure you don’t miss a stop in Târgu Jiu. Here lies the outdoor sculptural ensemble of the famous sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi. The three works found here are the Gate of the Kiss, the Table of Silence and the Endless Column.  

Many ancient traditions are still kept in Oltenia such as transhumance and various hand crafts. Here you will be amazed by the beautiful Oltenian hand woven carpets and the colorful ceramic from Olari-Horezu. You can also get treatments and relax in the wellness spas such as Călimăneşti, Căciulata, Govora, Voineasa, Olăneşti or Ocnele Mari.

The mountain area is a place of special natural beauty, where the more active among you can adventure in national parks and reserves such as Jiu Gorges National Park, Cozia National Park, Domogled-Cerna Valley National Park, Buila-Vânturariţa National Park, Ponoarele Nature Reserve and the Trovanţilor Costeşti Museum Nature Reserve.

You can go further and explore spectacular gorges, waterfalls such as the Lotriş Gorges and Waterfall, Sohodolul Gorges, Olteţului Gorges, the Corcoaia and Olt Gorge, or even caves: Polovragi, Muierii and Ponoare. Furthermore, from Novaci you can go on the Transalpina (2,145 m altitude) road and pass into Transylvania. This is one of the most ancient and spectacular roads in Europe dating back to the Dacian-Roman wars.

In comparison to Northern Oltenia with its spectacular mountain landscape, Southern Oltenia presents itself as a grand opening towards the Danube Valley where Craiova stands out as the capital of Oltenia, an old urban and commercial centre. Here you can take a stroll in Nicolae Romanescu Park, one of the largest green areas in Romania or visit Casa Băniei.

As you head south towards the Danube you can make a stop in Drobeta-Turnu Severin to admire the old Water castle (1905), Radu Negru Hall, a very well preserved monument of industrial architecture or the medieval citadel Severin.

The land of Oltenia is filled with traces of the Romans who crossed this land such as the Sucidava and Buridava Citadels, the Roman camp in Drobeta or the Trajan bridge built by Apolodor from Damasc.

But the element that makes this region truly attractive is its very welcoming people.

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Gastronomy

Similar to Muntenia, Oltenia’s cuisine has its distinctive features that are waiting to be unveiled. In the kitchen of Oltenia you’ll discover ancient traditions and methods of cooking and baking with a series of simple, spicy, fresh products, based on ecological principles, prepared according to traditional recipes in which vegetables predominate, but also pork and fish, and more seldom, poultry and beef.

To convince you of the exceptional taste of Oltenian cuisine, you should give the baked bread a try (a special old baking technique, where the bread is cooked on a clay stove, covered by a dome), or the chicken or vegetable soups (leeks, garlic or cabbage), soup of stuffed courgettes, stuffed leeks, pickled cucumber stew, chicken brine, stuffed courgettes, stuffed tomatoes stuffed, vegetable stew, rice cooked with various vegetables, chicken breast with quince, Oltenian sausages, leeks with olive stew, or green beans with garlic or cream.

In addition to the numerous dishes of Oltenia, the unique wines from renowned vineyards such as Segarcea, Corcova, Vânju Mare or Dragasani will delight you.

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Attractions

Itineraries

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