Exquisitely positioned at the confluence of the Dorna and Bistrita Rivers in the Dornelor depression, Vatra Dornei was a fashionable spa resort during Habsburg times. Though its best days may have passed, with forested hills all around, its center enjoying a cheery revival, and an ancillary slow, but encouraging restoration of prominent buildings, it’s an excellent place for a layover or daytrip. Furthermore, the drive between here and Campulung Moldovenesc is arguably the best in Moldavia.
Vatra Dornei is home to Romania’s largest sparkling mineral water bottling plants.
There’s still a strong spa/mud bath industry raging here, but the new(ish) draws are the hiking trails directly north of town and the downhill skiing scene on Dealul Negrii (1300m). The ‘Black Hill’ and ‘Parc’ slopes are accessed from the edge of town by the ski lift. Equipment rental shacks are nearby. Contact the Tourist Centre & Salvamont (Tel. +40 (0) 230 372 767; salvamontdorna at yahoo dot com) for up-to-the-minute details on skiing and accommodations.