The Via Transilvanica is a hiking trail that spans more than 1,400 kilometres, 20 different ethnic and cultural regions of Romania, and around 400 communities, showcasing 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The remarkable project to establish this trail was led by Tășuleasa Social, an NGO which has been engaged in educational, social, environmental and cultural activities for over 23 years.
The Via Transilvanica is the first long-distance trail in Romania. It was inaugurated in 2022 after four years of dedicated work with the involvement of local communities and over 10,000 volunteers. The trail is marked by signposts and Andesite milestones, individually carved by national and international artists, which beautifully embellish the entire route.
The Via Transilvanica offers travellers a unique opportunity to meet local communities, encounter extraordinary places and the natural environment and engage with local heritage and a history that spans over 2,000 years.
The Via Transilvanica Guide was composed by a dedicated documentary team that walked each section of the trail, capturing essential information. The guide covers everything from trip planning, backpack essentials, encounters with wildlife, detailed maps, accommodation options and comprehensive route descriptions, including heritage landmarks. It is available in four languages (Romanian, English, German and Hungarian) on the viatransilvanica.com website.
In October 2022, the route was officially launched in Alba Iulia. The launch event took the form of a fair, with all seven regions along the route, tourist destinations and organisations represented. Engaging talks with hikers and various stakeholders shed light on different aspects of the Via Transilvanica. 12,000 participants joined the event, which generated significant national and international attention.
Tășuleasa Social‘s mission revolves around maintaining, promoting and identifying opportunities for the trail. The NGO has created a robust common platform that unites all the stakeholders involved, including hikers, local communities and authorities. By emphasising the environmental, social, and heritage values of the trail, it contributes to sustainable local development, while preserving and nurturing heritage along its path, and creates a source of enduring local and international pride.
“In one of the most stunning regions of Europe, the remarkable trail Via Transilvanica serves as a vital connection between the community and diverse facets of heritage, encompassing not only the built heritage and intangible traditions but also the region’s food heritage. The project has fostered a strong sense of place, deepening people’s connection to the trail and its surroundings. Working alongside public stakeholders, NGOs and other organisations, the project has reached out to over 7 million people. It has also highlighted accommodation that helps protect built heritage while attracting sustainable tourism, thus bringing economic benefits”, the Awards’ Jury said.
“Beyond its focus on heritage and culture, the project also emphasises the importance of environmental conservation, especially of forests. Another positive aspect is the commitment of the project’s initiators to artistic expression and its well-defined future goals to further develop trails related to architecture, gastronomy and other domains”, the Jury concluded.