EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Romania

4 Interesting Wine Festivals in the Balkans

The Balkans are not the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine. It’s not even among the top regions where wine is produced. But did you…

The Balkans are not the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine. It’s not even among the top regions where wine is produced. But did you know that three Balkan countries are among top 20 wine-producing countries? That’s right. They are Romania, Greece and Serbia.

Wine was never the most popular alcoholic drink in the Balkans. Rakija and beer have always been a favourite choice of the locals and what makes the situation even worse is that low purchasing power of the market dictates higher consumption of cheaper products.

Yet, three Balkan countries – Romania, Greece and Serbia – are among the top 20 wine-producing countries. Through international fairs, mapping of wine routes and festivals, this region is slowly piquing an interest of wine lovers around the world.

Here are some of the most popular wine festivals in the Balkans;

The Balkans International Wine Competition – Sofia, Bulgaria

This festival which is already in its sixth year was the first of its kind. It showcases regional wines while drawing attention to this interesting region. It hosts world famous wine connoisseurs, who judge wines of different Balkan producers and welcomes wine merchants, journalists and bloggers from some of the strongest markets – USA, UK, Japan, Russia, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

The Grand Trophy for 2017 was taken by Bulgaria’s Rumelia Wine Cellar and their Mavrud Reserva 2013 red wine. Its indigenous region is Thrace in Bulgaria and its multilevel aroma with nuances of dry leaves, seasoning and resin won the hearts of the jury. The White Wine Trophy also went to Bulgarian winery Edoardo Miroglio and their Elenovo Chardonnay 2015. 

The festival mostly showcases Bulgarian wines with appearances of few wineries from other countries, but it is still among top wine festivals in the Balkans.

Also, don’t forget to check out my Sofia travel guide with all the tips and suggestions. If you need accommodation check out Booking.

Tikveski Grozdober, Macedonia

Kavadarci, a small town 100 km away from Skopje, has been a heart of the Macedonian wines for a long time. This region is better known as Tikves and the largest winery in the Southeastern Europe is located here.

The wine tradition that goes all the way back to the ancient times continued with an annual festival that lasts for several days. Beside the wine events, the festival hosts art exhibitions, sport events, music programs and more. The winery has its restaurant, souvenir shops and offers guided tours to visitors.

The wines of Tikves Winery have won numerous awards at international festivals including the Concours Mondial in Brussels, Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge, Chardonnay du Monde and others. Some of them are: Vranec Special Selection 2015, Cabernet Franc Special Selection 2016, Alexandria Red 2015, Chardonnay Special Selection 2015.

The less known wineries from the city are Popov and Chokorovi. 

> Accommodation in Kavadarci 

Smederevo Autumn, Serbia

Smederevo Autumn has been one of the most important tourism events in the city of Smederevo and one of the oldest in Serbia. It originates from the 1888 and the tradition has been preserved till modern days. Smederevka is one of the leading autochthonous types of grapes from Smederevo’s vineyard. It’s famous for its soft aromas of lime and lemon with mild herbal characteristics.

As one of the biggest wine regions in the country, it is home to five wineries. Smederevka from Janko Cellar Winery is a good representative.

> Accommodation in Smederevo

RO-Wine, Romania

According to legend, Dionysus – the Thracian god of wine – was born in what is now Romania, and Plato declared its vineyards to be the best in the world. Romanians have been making and drinking wine for over 6000 years.

The Wine Festival of Romania, brings together crème de la crème of Romanian wines accompanied by international varieties. In the span of two days, more than 2.500 wine connoisseurs gather along with wine specialists, wine cellar owners, to enjoy the rich selection of wines specially made for them.

You’ll get the opportunity to taste the best of Murfatlar, Jidvei, Cotnari, Vincon, Tohani and best of small production wineries.

If you think you’ll be bored with the surplus amount of Romanian wines – you’d be wrong. The RO-Wine presents over 300 wines from France, Italy, Republic of Moldova, Argentina, Spain or Chile. This easily makes it one of the best wine festivals in the Balkans.

 Cheers!

No Comments on 4 Interesting Wine Festivals in the Balkans

A guide to Timisoara, Romania

So you are thinking of visiting Romania’s third most populous city? This guide to Timisoara should help you out. Timisoara can be easily reached from many locations like Budapest or…

So you are thinking of visiting Romania’s third most populous city? This guide to Timisoara should help you out. Timisoara can be easily reached from many locations like Budapest or Belgrade (click to read “Belgrade to Timisoara by train“). The name of the city comes from the river Timis that flows to the south of the city and this is the main center of the historical Banat region. It’s a small city and one day is more than enough for exploring it.

SIGHTSEEING

The best way to start sightseeing is by grabbing a map of the tourist attractions at some of the tourist information centers in the city.

Timisoara tourist map

As you can see the map suggests some routes that you can opt for. I suggest you opt for route 3 simply because you will see more attractions. Timisoara is known as the “City of parks” in Romania, so it has a special park route as well. You will most probably start your sightseeing from the Victory Square. From here you can easily visit the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral which is one of the symbol buildings of the city. It’s also one of the biggest churches in Romania.

the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral

Interior of the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral

Victory Square has many buildings in the “1900s style” with great architectural elegance. One of the most notable buildings in the square is the Culture palace which houses the Romanian Opera House. It was devastated by two fires and rebuilt again. The auditorium has 600 seats. Timisoara is actually the only European city that has state theatre in three languages as it also hosts the German State Theatre and the Hungarian State Theatre “Csiky Gergely”.

Culture palace Timisoara

Culture palace

By exploring the city you will notice that street art is an important part of a city’s culture. Timisoara also hosts annual “Graffiti and Street Art International Festival” in September with the aim to represent street art works on great and visible sufraces. For more photos click here.

Timisoara street art

Besides Victory square another important square is Unirii. You can see the Holy Trinity Monument here, in baroque style. The three sides show bas-relief with scenes from the plague epidemics which occurred from 1738-1739.

Unirii square Timisoara

Unirii square

One of the most beautiful buildings is the Baroque palace which dates back to the 18th century. Franz Liszt held a concert in the baroque room of the palace in 1846. The building had various names and functions: it used to be the President’s Palace (18th century), headquarters of the Timis Banat and Serbian Vojvodina Governor and since 1984 it has hosted the Art museum.

Serbian Orthodox Vicarage and Serbian Orthodox Church are another important landmarks of the city. The building of the Serbian Vicarage is under the administration of the Serbian community since 1865 and it hosts an old religious art collection.

Serbian church Timisoara

Interior of a Serbian church

Theresia Bastion which used to be a fortress during the 18th-19th centuries is another interesting landmark.

Theresia Bastion Timisoara

Theresia Bastion

Eat/Drink

The local cuisine is influenced by Hungarian, Serbian, German and Arabic specialties.

There is a great Lebanese restaurant in the Victory square called “Beirut”. Shawarma here is really tasty and cheap! You can spot Hungarian kürtőskalács everywhere and Serbian pljeskavica is also quite popular.

Also, you will find many street stalls selling sandwiches, kebab, french fries etc. with great prices.

I recommend a visit to Bierhaus to enjoy a nice beer. There are more than 50 types of beer available here, so you won’t have a problem picking the right one. If you want to try Romanian beer choose Silva or Timișoreana.

Accommodation

There are not many hostels in Timisoara. I’ve stayed in Downtown Hostel which is located in the Victory Square. The hostel is small but cozy as it has three dorms: one of eight beds with shared bathroom, one double-bed room with private bathroom and one twin room with shared bathroom.

It also has a social room and a chill out balcony. But the best part of this hostel are the staff. Great place to enjoy your stay and I absolutely recommend it.

downtown hostel timisoara

Downtown hostel

Downtown Hostel in Timisoara

The walls of the balcony

If you have visited Timisoara, feel free to leave your suggestions below.

10 Comments on A guide to Timisoara, Romania

Timisoara Street Art In Photos

Timisoara street art- Timişoara is the third most populous city in Romania, located in Banat in the western part of the country. The city has many attributes and is known as…

Timisoara street art- Timişoara is the third most populous city in Romania, located in Banat in the western part of the country. The city has many attributes and is known as the “City of lights” and the “City of flowers and parks” which is totally justified.

But Timişoara also hosts annual “Graffiti and Street Art International Festival” in September with the aim to represent street art works on great and visible surfaces.

It’s a nice idea to refresh the urban landscape, even more considering that this is a small city. Take a look at some of the works;

Timisoara street art
Timisoara graffiti
Timisoara graffiti
Timisoara graffiti
Timisoara street art
Timisoara street art
Timisoara graffiti

4 Comments on Timisoara Street Art In Photos

Belgrade to Timisoara by train with “Banat Special”

So you want to go from Belgrade to Timisoara or the opposite direction and are thinking of the best way to do it. At the moment there are no direct…

So you want to go from Belgrade to Timisoara or the opposite direction and are thinking of the best way to do it. At the moment there are no direct lines between two cities, which means that you will have to make a stop in a small town called Vršac.

The best way to do it is by train, which leaves two times a day from Belgrade and from Timisoara. The distance between two cities is about 160 km and the journey will last four hours.

Serbian Railways has a special offer called “Banat Special”, with round trip tickets costing 14 euros. This is great, considering that a round trip ticket by bus between Belgrade and Vršac costs 1365 RSD (11 euros).

*UPDATE* The international train line between Vršac to Timisoara and vice versa, is suspended from August 1st, 2017. 

 If you are going from Belgrade to Timisoara…

 Trains to Vršac depart from BEOGRAD DUNAV station (Belgrade Danube station), NOT from the Central Railway station. As already mentioned, there are two daily departures so you have two options;

1) To catch the morning train which leaves at 07:19 and arrives to Vršac at 09:10. Then from Vršac you can catch a train to Timisoara which leaves at 10:18.

2) Or to catch the afternoon one which leaves at 16:20 and arrives to Vršac at 18:09. From 18:40 you can catch a train to Timisoara.

Belgrade Vrsac train

Serbian train operating between Belgrade and Vršac

Belgrade Vrsac train

Interior of a Serbian train

This is a modern train, the only downside is that it stops in almost every village, which makes the journey slower.

 When you arrive to Vršac, the train for Timisoara will be waiting for the passengers. This is a very small train stop and it’s not possible to buy any food or drinks at the station, although there is a kiosk right in front of the main entrance to the station.

Vrsac Timisoara train

Train to Timişoara

This train has less stops so it travels faster through Romanian teritory and its final stop is Timisoara NORD train station.



 If you are going from Timisoara to Belgrade;

 You also have two options;

 1) Catch the morning train which leaves Timisoara at 06:50 and arrives to Vršac at 08:52. Then catch the train for Belgrade which leaves Vršac at 09:44.

2) And afternoon option: Leaves Timisoara at 15:38 – arrives to Vršac at 17:45. Leaves Vršac at 18:45 – arrives to Belgrade at 20:37.

Vrsac Timisoara train

Romanian train to Timişoara

Romanian train is also quite modern and travels faster as there are no frequent stops, although the heating system didn’t work.

Vrsac Timisoara train

Interior of a Romanian train

Things to remember about Timisoara NORD station:

 1) Toilets are locked (at least they were in early morning). Hopefully situation is different during the day.

2)  Don’t buy food at train station. It’s of bad quality and questionable health. So definitely grab something in the city before you arrive to the station.

And of course, always check the actual timetable and ask if there are any works on the railway. However, when buying a ticket you’ll surely be informed about that. You can check the timetable here. Just type (Beograd Dunav – Vršac; Vršac – Timisoara NORD).

 Safe travels!

Subscribe to EuroTribe’s mailing list and get blog updates directly to your email

* indicates required



67 Comments on Belgrade to Timisoara by train with “Banat Special”

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search