Culture, Heritage and Diversity

Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes


The Cultural Routes programme was launched by the Council of Europe in 1987. Its objective was to 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 cultural heritage. The Cultural Routes put into practice the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe: human rights, cultural democracy, cultural diversity and identity, dialogue, mutual exchange and enrichment across boundaries and centuries.



In December 2010, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution CM/Res(2010)53 establishing an Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) to enable closer co-operation between states particularly interested in the development of Cultural Routes.


Key objectives of the programme


La Calahorra-Munzer The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes seeks to reinforce the potential of Cultural Routes for cultural co-operation, sustainable territorial development and social cohesion, with a particular focus on themes of symbolic importance for European unity, history, culture and values and the discovery of less well-known destinations. It helps to strengthen the democratic dimension of cultural exchange and tourism through the involvement of grassroots networks and associations, local and regional authorities, universities and professional organisations. It contributes to the preservation of a diverse heritage through theme-based and alternative tourist itineraries and cultural projects. 

Accessions or other Participations


Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe



Operational framework

The Governing Board of EPA awards the certification "Council of Europe Cultural Route" and carries out regular evaluation of certified routes in conformity with Committee of Ministers Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 which establishes the rules the rules for the award of the "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" certification. Routes requesting the certification should:  


focus on a theme representative of European values and common to several European countries;  

follow a historical route or (in the case of cultural tourism) a newly created route;

give rise to long-term multilateral co-operation projects in priority areas (scientific research; heritage conservation and enhancement; cultural and educational exchanges among young Europeans; contemporary cultural and artistic practices; cultural tourism and sustainable development);

be managed by one or more independent, organised networks (in the form of an association or a federation of associations).


A technical body, the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR), was set up in 1998 for operational purposes. Its role is to examine applications for new projects, to monitor activities in the field and co-ordinate the work of partner organisations and to disseminate and archive information documents.


Study on European Cultural Routes impact on SMEs innovation and competitiveness

The Study on European Cultural Routes impact on SMEs innovation, competitiveness, and clustering was jointly launched by the European Commission (EC) and the Council of Europe (CoE) in September 2010 aiming to provide insights on the effects produced by the CoE Cultural Routes Programme on SMEs performance, network and cluster development. The study sough also to examine the potential of the Cultural Routes for promoting sustainable and quality tourism in Europe, strengthening European identity, disseminating the richness of European cultures and fostering the intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding. In particular, the Study tends to analyse how much Cultural Routes networks can benefit SMEs, especially in less-known destinations, where the local culture and heritage are the main resource for development, and how SMEs’ clusters can create a solid basis for promoting Europe as "the world's No 1 tourist destination".




Social media





 Impact of European Cultural Routes on SMEs’ innovation and competitiveness



Letters from the EICR Director

Visibility charter

Logo to download

Cultural routes in figures




Reference texts

Resolution CM/Res(2013)66 confirming the establishment of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA)

Resolution CM/Res(2013)67 revising the rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification



  Stefano Dominioni 

+352 241 250

Kathleen Lapie

+352 24 12 50 31

Denise de Roux

+352 24 12 50 34  

European Institute of Cultural Routes