2023 is “The year of health tourism in Harghita County”. The thematic year will focus on tourism services that promote keeping and living healthy: treatment, nature, and active tourism.
Harghita County is blessed by a big density of wonders given by nature: gorgeus landscapes, mineral waters (including thermal), salt, so the human activities related were orienteered since old time towards sustainable use of these resources. There’re plenty of activities that could be performed in the region all year round.
Romania gathers the one highest concentration of the mineral water reserves from Europe, many of them being placed in the Eastern Transylvania, including in the Harghita County. They contain a variable content of salts, gases, mineral substances, radioactive elements, which give them therapeutic, curative properties.
In addition of that, it is also well known in folk medicine that salt air has a beneficial effect on the improvement of skin symptoms and respiratory diseases.
The combination of these two resources, mineral waters and the salt were used by the local people of Harghita region in ways like organizing traditional baths – the water rich in minerals and salt is heated and people do bathing in wooden barrels, outdoor. The system is known since the Middle Age for its beneficial properties on the body. Since ancient times, hot water hydrotherapy has been considered one of the best ways to find new invigorating forces for body and soul.
Another resource used in the area is represented by the “mofetes” - gas emanations that can appear through cracks in the earth's crust in the final stages of volcanic activity, through drilling, and through the degassing of mineral waters. They’re rich in CO2 (95-98%), as well as rare gases like Radon or Helium, completing thus the beneficial effect of this therapy. The mofetarium is a room arranged in steps, similar to a small amphitheater, created so that the respective gas accumulates in the lower part. By gradual descent, controlled gas "baths" can be made.
The term of apitherapy refers to the healing use of bees and their related products. The healing effects of the air from the hive were discovered by beekeepers since ancient times, because during their migrations they often slept near the hive. More, the bio-vibration produced by thousands of bees and the micro-vibrations generated by their wings represents also curative factors for the humans.
Therapeutic riding and horse-assisted activities. In addition to riding, people (especially children) will have the opportunity to participate in the preparation of the horse, in their grooming and feeding in order to be able to reach a lively communication with them; the movements of the horse, taken over by the rider, help to develop motor skills, improving balance, while also stimulating the whole body. On the other hand, the strong emotional bond between horse and rider helps people overcome certain fears or problems; children become more sociable, gain confidence in themselves, thus also contributing to mental health.
- Welness centers providing a wide range of services in some big resorts as Balvanyos, Tusnad, Harghita, Praid, Sovata or small hospitality facilities built around the underground reserves of the mineral waters, salt, or gas emanations.
- Winter sports as ski, including cross-country ski in resorts as Harghita, Ciumani, Ghimes, or sled rides with Husky dogs at Miercurea Ciuc;
- Praid salt mine; it is no secret that its unique microclimate helps in different ailments. The mine represents one of the largest salt reserves in Romania having estimated reserves of 50 billion tons of salt. The mine is placed at 120m deep underground; the amenities organized inside resembles a small community: lighting system, wireless and television, playgrounds for children, creative and leisure spaces, ecumenical chapel, cafe, 3D cinema and a pharmacy with natural products;
- Gyimes bob sleigh track. The trak has in a very short time become an attraction for tourists visiting the Ghimes area or for adrenaline lovers, who come here specifically to experience this sensation. In addition to the adrenaline rush, tourists can enjoy a special landscape, which many compare to those seen in Austria or Switzerland.
- Mini Transylvania Park, from Odorheiu Secuiesc. The objective of the Mini Transilvania Park is to present the architectural diversity of the multicultural Transylvania through models of the most important buildings of the nations in the region, in their golden age. Several of these buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
- Sfanta Ana Lake. It is the only lake in Central-Eastern Europe formed at the bottom of the crater of an extinct volcano, one of the two craters near Tusnad resort. The other crater shelters a peat bog, the Mohos Natural Reserve.
- “Heart of Jesus” statue, from Lupeni village. Built in iron and stainless steel, it is considered the largest statue of Jesus in Eastern Europe, with its about 22 meters high.
- Natural limestone wonders, deep canyons creating incredible impressions – Bicaz Gorge and Varghis Gorge, both declared Natural Park and Reserve. Vertical cliffs and dizzying heights (thus the name derived as Hell’s Gate or Hell’s Neck in Bicaz Gorge), mountain springs, waterfalls large and small and caves make up the gorges' curiosities. Meresti Cave from Varghis Gorge houses many animals and plants that have been researched for a long time – we mention here some 17 species of bats
- Wildlife tracking and observations – trips organized in the area in search of big mammals species as the bear, deer, boar or the wolf in the mountains and hills of Harghita region attracts many visitors all year round; bear observations could be made also in a safe mode, from enclosed observatories;
- Sanpaul ponds – a Natural reserve that stretches over an area of 210 hectares and includes the ponds from the valley of Homorodul Mare, as well as the surroundings. In the quietest area of the reserve are built two observatories for ornithological observations;
- Via Transilvanica – the trekking route organized in the Romanian Carpathians that runs over 1200km, influencing cultures, forming communities and contributing to the development of the areas traversed. In Harghita the route overlay trough Terra Siculorum - the 157 kilometers of the route here cross territories inhabited by the proud Szeklers who made an important contribution to everything that is Transylvania today.
- Admiring the medieval heritage of the Szeklers, the ethnic Hungarian speaking group that form an strong living majority in Harghita – wood carved gates, household organization, social activities, field work activities in direct relationship with the nature, the use natural resources for a daily live.