Destination: Vatra Dornei, Romania
As I am not flying at the moment, I am feeding my obsession with exploring new locations: virtual flights into airfields off the beaten track. Would you like to join me?
This week, we’re exploring Vatra Dornei in the historical region of Moldavia, in the north of Romania. The Aerodrom Floreni website is currently only available in Romanian but an English translation is in progress.
Radu Sebastian of www.pilotmagazin.ro has been incredibly helpful with information and translations and is more than happy to help any pilots with planning for a visit to Vatra Dornei.
Romania is the meeting point of Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Balkans and yet remains distinct from all three. It is north of the Balkan Peninsula, bordering on the Black Sea. It’s the ninth largest country of the European Union, a combination of Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia. Romanian is a Romance language (related to French, Italian and Spanish) but you can generally get buy using English or French. The Wikitravel Romania Travel Guide recommends it for a visit as enchanting “with its scenic mountain landscapes and unspoilt rural areas, but also with its historic cities and its busy capital”.
As Romania is a member of Schengen, no visa is required for British visitors. In addition, US Americans and Australians can visit for three months without a visa.
There are a number of airfields but the larger airports apparently charge exorbitant amounts for landing fees and fuel. But that’s OK, because we have a personal invitation for Aerodrom FLORENI / Vatra Dornei.
Airfield: Aerodrom Floreni
Phone Number: +40 740 580 793 Dan Cobuz
Hours: Any time with 24-hour PPR
Radio Frequency: 123.45
Runways: 10/28 concrete 550m x 35m
Airfield Height: 883 metres (2,897 feet)
Fuel available: Yes
The tower includes a visiting area and kitchen, Radu assures me it has everything a pilot needs to organise a great vacation. There’s a hostel 35 km from the airfield. Wintersports look wonderful and there is also gliding, river rafting, horse riding and a perfect start point for a tour of the famous Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.
The city of Vatra Dornei is 12km to the west of the airfield and has numerous hotels. The entire region is well known as a spa and ski resort area. Bistrița another popular spa resort, is approx. 60km north east of Vatra Dornei. Bram Stoker fans will recognise Bistrița as the Transylvanian city where Jonathan Harker stayed at the Golden Krone Hotel in Dracula.
Only 85km from the airfield you can visit the medieval city of Suceava, a Romanian tourist destination with a beautiful old town from its two hundred years as the capital of the Principality of Moldavia from 1388 to 1565.
And if that doesn’t convince you that you should visit, try this YouTube video taken at the airfield:
This definitely sounds like an interesting flight and a great way to spend a week.
I love the snow photographs but I suspect I might be happier there in the summertime.
Radu Sebastian first brought this airfield to my attention and he has more photographs on Pilot Magazin. His website includes articles in English so be sure to pay him a visit as a thank you for his help and for all these lovely photographs.