As the crisp breeze of autumn sweeps across the picturesque landscapes of Romania and Bulgaria, it carries a rich mosaic of cultural traditions and festivities that beckons travelers to embark on a captivating journey.

This enchanting season is the perfect time to explore heartwarming traditions, tantalize your taste buds with local delicacies, and relish the stunning natural beauty that graces these lands.

In this article, we will delve into the vibrant autumn celebrations in both countries, from harvest festivals to charming rural traditions, and highlight the plethora of activities awaiting adventurous travelers. Join us as we uncover the magic of autumn in Romania and Bulgaria, where the season’s wonder awaits with open arms.

Celebrating Harvest Season in Romania and Bulgaria

Harvest season in the Balkans, as in many other agricultural regions worldwide, typically occurs in the autumn. A combination of climatic and agricultural factors influences this timing:

  • Climate
  • Crop Ripening
  • Reduced Pest Pressure
  • Traditional Practices
  • Preparation for Winter

In the Balkans, the harvest season is a time of celebration, community gatherings, and cultural festivities. It represents the culmination of months of hard work and reflects the close connection between people and the land. 

What to expect if you travel to Romania during the Harvest Season?

In Romania, the harvest season is a cherished tradition. It symbolizes the shift from summer to winter, a time when communities unite to gather and savor the fruits of their hard work.

Various villages and cities put forth their unique celebrations during the harvest season, particularly if they hold distinction in their region for specific agricultural specialties. 

Let’s talk WINE

A fascinating tradition prevails where the final grapes are purposefully left untouched in vineyards, serving as an offering to God and the birds. This deeply rooted practice signifies the reverence for winemaking, evident when you partake in a Romanian wine-tasting experience.

While modern techniques have introduced industrial conveniences to vineyard work, winemakers uphold the age-old custom of stomping the first grapes with their own feet, ensuring every winemaking process is infused with care and attention to detail.

Regional Events

One of the most notable harvest celebrations in Maramureș is “Ziua Recoltei,” which translates to “Harvest Day.” This festive event typically takes place in the village of Remeți, and the timing falls between late September and early October, aligning perfectly with the autumn harvest season. During these celebrations, the village comes alive with the vibrant sounds of folk bands and the graceful movements of traditional dances.

The Cabbage Festival, a cherished annual tradition, unfolds every October in the quaint Mosna commune of Sibiu County. In ancient times, Mosna was renowned throughout Transylvania and beyond for its exceptional cabbage harvests. Today, this festival is a delightful platform for local growers to showcase their bountiful cabbage harvests. At the same time, visitors have the chance to savor a delightful array of cabbage-infused traditional dishes. 

Baia Mare, a prominent city in the Maramureș region, is also recognized for its unique “Chestnut Celebration.” This event is a delightful mixture of music concerts, performances, and art exhibits. It is a perfect opportunity for locals and travelers to immerse themselves in the region’s artistic and cultural heritage while savoring the distinct flavors of autumn.

“Răvășitul Oilor” Festival, dedicated to cheese and lamb pastrami, is set to take place in Bran. Here, visitors can indulge in an array of traditional Romanian products seasoned with local wine and “pălinca” while serenading by folk music and spirited dances. “Răvășitul Oilor” holds a symbolic place, marking the conclusion of the pastoral year. Rooted in ancient traditions, it commemorates the descent of sheep from the mountains with joyous dancing and celebration. This tradition allows producers to showcase their wares proudly.

These are just a few happenings that can take your trip to the Balkans to the next level in Autumn. These celebrations provide a captivating window into the customs and heritage of the region, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic and enriching cultural experience during this season.


It’s quite astonishing to discover how the Halloween spirit has captivated the hearts of many Romanians, inspiring them to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere by decorating, carving pumpkins, and putting on their favorite costumes.

Given Romania’s popularity as the home of the legendary Dracula, it’s no surprise that vampires are favorites for adding a spooky touch to the celebrations. 

For an unforgettable experience during this autumn season, a visit to the Bran Castle area is an absolute must, where the eerie charm of Halloween comes to life in all its enchanting and spine-tingling glory.

What stands out if you travel to Bulgaria during the Fall?

Bulgaria is a nation deeply committed to nurturing the gifts that nature provides. If you travel to Bulgaria between August and October, you will see Bulgarians diligently embark on the yearly ritual of harvesting with an eye toward the approaching winter.

This cherished tradition involves meticulously preparing fruits and vegetables in a time-honored manner, a practice rooted in preserving the delicious flavors and the vital vitamins within. 

Regional Festivals

The charming town of Sevlievo comes alive every October with the much-anticipated “Pumpkin Festival.” This beloved event, which first debuted in 2006, has since become a cherished tradition, drawing enthusiastic crowds year after year.

The festival’s roots lie in Sevlievo’s reputation as a hub for pumpkin production, so much so that the locals affectionately refer to their town as Tikvenburg. The name is derived from the Bulgarian word for pumpkin, “Tikva.” Amidst the festivities, participants engage in a series of lively competitions showcasing their prized pumpkins.

Pumpkin Festival – Sharing Huge Pumpkin Banitsa

“Pavel Fest” is another jubilant celebration. This time, we see a festival of tomatoes, peppers, and traditional Bulgarian cuisine. While some affectionately refer to it as the “Feast of the Pepper,” the organizers have taken a broader view.

This delightful festival is the brainchild of former educators and community leaders who share a common goal: to rekindle the agricultural splendor of Pavel village. Supported by local landowners, the event aims to honor the rich culinary heritage of Bulgaria, bringing together both old and new traditions in a harmonious and flavorsome gathering.

How do families prepare for Autumn Festivals?

Aside from the grand festivals, a significant part of autumn traditions in both Romania and Bulgaria revolves around families coming together to prepare for the festivities. In rural areas, households busily get ready for the colder months by preserving the abundance of summer.

Lyutenitsa Preparation

When you roam the Bulgarian countryside during September and October, you’re bound to encounter a heartwarming scene: the preparation of lyutenitsa. This beloved Bulgarian spread, crafted from ripe tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplants, is a culinary staple that graces nearly every meal.

Whether served as a flavorful companion to grilled meats, generously slathered on a slice of fresh bread, or tucked into a satisfying sandwich, lyutenitsa is a cherished part of Bulgarian cuisine, offering a taste of comfort and tradition with every bite.

To make the most of the seasonal abundance, Romanians preserve vegetables by pickling or crafting zakuska, a delectable vegetable spread from eggplants, mushrooms, or beans. From the ripe fruits of the season, they skillfully prepare jams, compotes, and juices, all destined to play a role in baking delightful winter delicacies. 

Balkan people enthusiastically prepare a variety of pickles, including cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower, and peppers, as a traditional practice to preserve the vibrant flavors of the season and ensure a taste of Autumn during the long winter months. 

Other cool activities you can do if you travel to Romania and Bulgaria during the Fall

It’s the most colorful season in the Balkans. Embrace the stunning landscapes while hiking or horseback riding, savor rich wines on vineyard tours, and immerse in vibrant autumn festivals. Explore historic sites, taste local delicacies, and witness the breathtaking foliage as you traverse this captivating region. 

Here are some inspiration for your future Balkan itinerary:

  1. Wine-tasting trips – Visit Cricova Wine Cellars in the Republic of Moldova  – An intricate subterranean maze of interconnected tunnels housing wine barrels characterizes the cellars, which stand as some of Europe’s most expansive; however, they do not offer daily access. In Bulgaria, visit Prisoe Winery, which crafts traditional Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines with a modern touch, thanks to the area’s unique terroir.
  1. Horse-riding – You can enjoy this activity in both Romania and Bulgaria. Check out the amazing sites of New Sinca – a small picturesque village in Transylvanian hills, or join the beautiful horse trails near Plovdiv, Albena, or along the Rhodope Mountains.
  1. Hiking – When you travel to Romania, consider hiking in the stunning Carpathian Mountains, where the Transfagarasan and Transalpina roads offer breathtaking views. You’ll find many hiking trails around these areas suitable for every fitness level. In Bulgaria, the Rila Mountains beckon with their striking beauty, featuring the Seven Rila Lakes and the awe-inspiring Musala Peak, the country’s highest point. 
  1. Steam Train Rides – One of the most memorable things you could do in the Fall is admire the multitude of colors from a Steam Train riding through dense Carpathian Forests. There are quite a few of them, and we wrote a complete article about them all to ease your process. Find it here.
  1. Urban Scenery – In cities like Bucharest, Sibiu, Sofia, and Plovdiv, you can enjoy concerts, artisan market shows, or other artistic performances. Here are some:

In Romania and Bulgaria, autumn is not just a season; it’s a celebration of life, culture, and nature. As the leaves turn golden and the air turns crisper, these two countries come alive with traditions that have been cherished for generations.

From lively festivals to mouthwatering cuisine and outdoor adventures, the Balkans in autumn offer travelers a captivating and heartwarming experience. Embrace the magic of this season and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime in Romania and Bulgaria!

To make your journey even more seamless and discover additional insights, consider reaching out to a trusted trip operator like Balkan Trails, where a well-prepared team is ready to assist you in crafting an unforgettable experience.