Launched by the Council of Europe in 1987, the Cultural Routes demonstrate, by means of a journey through space and time, how the heritage of the different countries and cultures of Europe contributes to a shared and living cultural heritage.
A Cultural Route of the Council of Europe is not necessarily a physical path to be walked through and can be made up of cultural stakeholders such as museums, municipalities or local governments clustered into one umbrella association.
Being awarded the title Cultural Route of the Council of Europe opens the way to a larger visibility, network of cultural stakeholders or even funding. The programme was launched by the Council of Europe and not the European Union, even though it contributes to it. As a result, the programme goes beyond the borders of the EU, and even Europe in general – as some Routes go as far as North Africa or the Middle East.
Over 30 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe provide a wealth of leisure and educational activities for all citizens across Europe and beyond and are key resources for responsible tourism and sustainable development. They cover a range of different themes, from architecture and landscape to religious influences, from gastronomy and intangible heritage to the major figures of European art, music and literature.
The certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” is a guarantee of excellence. The networks implement innovative activities and projects pertaining to five main priority fields of action: co-operation in research and development; enhancement of memory, history and European heritage; cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans; contemporary cultural and artistic practice; cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development.
Through its programme, the Council of Europe offers a model for transnational cultural and tourism management and allows synergies between national, regional and local authorities and a wide range of associations and socio-economic actors.