If you go: Romania
Putna Monastery is the burial place of Stefan the Great, a 15th-century Moldovan ruler who ordered that churches be built in southern Bucovina after victories over the Ottomans. (Allesando Gori for The Boston Globe)
What to do
Painted churches of Bucovina Located in monastery compounds only a few dozen miles from the border with Ukraine, they are one of Romania's most coveted artistic treasures. National and international tourism to the region has flourished since the fall of communist rule in 1989. Summer months are busiest.
Tour operators offer package itineraries to the region, often as part of a trip through Transylvania, to the southwest, and Maramures, to the west. The rural region also offers a relaxed landscape for travelers preferring local trains and buses.
Restaurants and well-stocked markets are found in even smaller villages, while meals are served at most family-run guest houses. With roads still traveled by horse cart, a rental car is best for those hoping to visit several churches over a few days.
Group tours can be arranged through brasovtravelguide.ro/en/romania/bucovina/bucovinas-monastery.php or goromaniatours.com/tour-list.asp?Region=Bucovina.
"The Rough Guide to Romania" (Rough Guides, 2004) provides extensive logistical details and recommendations of local guides .
Where to stay
Continental Hotel Suceava Str. Mihai Viteazul 4-6, Suceava
A two-star taste of the communist era in the county capital of Suceava, a city of 120,000, before heading west to the painted churches. Double $53, breakfast included. Monastery tours can be arranged through the hotel.
Pensiunea "Stefan Viorica" sat Moldovita, nr. 228, Moldovita
E-mail: email@example.com (English)
A warm family -run guest house on a side street in a village north of the painted church by the same name. Home cooking of traditional Bucovina dishes, served with homemade brandy. The owner's son speaks English. Book ahead in summer, as many guests stay for days. Double $47, breakfast and dinner included .
Sonet de munte RO Sucevita, no. 307, Sucevita
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A modern compound of guest apartments with country decor, set amid farmland a short drive from the Sucevita painted church. Double $85, breakfast and dinner included .