Travel Guide Europe Romania



Piaţa Sfatului

Piaţa Sfatului

© Aeolos

Some colourful characters have graced Romania's long history. Vlad Tepes, a national hero in the 15th century, had the habit of eating dinner while the impaled heads of his enemies looked on. More recently, Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania's draconian dictator between the mid-60s and late 80s, has charmed the country with his belief in starving the populous as the ruler eats his fill.

Ironically, Romanians are a warm, inviting people. Widespread poverty mixed with corruption makes progress hard, but Romanians work hard at putting positive momentum back into their country. Traditional dance and gypsy music are still widely practiced and performed. Romania's list of attractions is steadily growing, as the nation's tourism industry slowly takes off. The Carpathian Mountains offer up cheap skiing, hiking and animal watching potential; Romania's small stretch of coastline along the Black Sea has been marketed as a hub for summer fun.



Brief History

In ancient history the Romanian territory was inhabited by the Dacians, an Indo-European people with an original language, culture and religion. The prosperity and geographic setting of Dacia, not to mention rulers' intervention in external affairs made the Romans attack the state. After two tough wars, the first one between 101-102 and the second between 105 and 106, the region was conquered by the emperor Traian and became a Roman province.
Through a long, complex process, called romanization, the Romanian people was formed by mixing the two communities: the Latin-speaking colonists and the locals. Most of the Romanian language is inherited from Latin, including parts of the grammar.
Because of the waves of migrators, the Roman administration and army were retreated starting 271. Later, the first political forms of organisation started to be documented. The newly-formed people had to face numerous menaces; firstly, Transylvania was conquered by the Hungarians, while the other regions had to face the migrators. Two states were formed and managed to keep their independence: Moldavia and Wallachia, considered to be protectors of Cristianity as they fought heroicly against the Ottoman Empire (another smaller state, Dobrogea, was conquered by the Turkish). Some of the best-known rulers are: Alexandru cel Bun, Ṣtefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great), Vlad Tepeṣ, mihai Viteazul, Iancu de Hunedoara.
However, the balance of forces was far from helping the Romanian states, so they eventually entered the Ottoman sphere of influence and had to pay numerous taxes. Because of the Romanian struggle, for a while the two states were not allowed to choose a ruler, one being given to them.
The situation remained like that until the 19th century, even though the idea of unity and independence concerned everyone. In 1848, the revolutionary wave in Europe spread to the Romanian states, the need for change being clearly seen be the great powers of the continent. In 1859, these countries aggree to let Vallachia and Moldavia unite, but the proposed unification had hardly any unity in it. So, the Romanins took advantage of some specifications of the treaty and elected the same ruler in both countries: Alexandru Ioan Cuza on the 24th of January, who proved to be a great patriot and excellent statesman. However, the unity was threatened by other countries that had some interest in the area, so Cuza was replaced by a foreign king: Carol I of Hohenzollern. Part of a great dinasty, the new king had plans for his new country.
After the creation of one of the most modern constitutions of the time in 1866, he managed to obtain the independence of the state by taking part in the conflict between Russia and the decaying Ottoman Empire. The next step was to obtain the other regions back. The occasion came up during the First World War as Romania fought together with the Allies and in 1918, after a valuable contribution, managed to unify totally on the 1st of December, which is now the national holiday.
The years between the two world wars were some of the best in Romanian history as the country flourished politically, economically and culturally. The politicians did their best to keep what was established through the Versaiiles Treaty, but unfortunately, some countries had other plans. As the war commenced Romania was forced to let go of some of the territories and then chose to fight together with Germany in order to get some of them back. In 1918 Romania turned its weapons against Germany as the ruler Ion Antonescu was forced to give up power. At the end of the war, Romania only got a part of the territories back and became communist because of the settlement between Curchill and Stalin, wich sealed its fate.
However, starting with president Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej and continuing with Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania started to have a different position from the Soviet Union. Romania was the only communist country not to take part in the Prague Spring in 1968. However, the conditions in which the population lived were getting worse and worse, so in 1989 the inevitable happened: a revolution in which unfortunately, a lot of people got killed. Ion Iliescu was elected to be the first decmocratically-elected president.
Now Romania is a democratic country, part of many world organisations including NATO and The EU, starting 2007.




Romania shares international borders with Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. With a surface area of 238,391 square kilometres, Romania is the largest country in southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe. It lies between latitudes 43° and 49° N, and longitudes 20° and 30° E. Romania's terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the centre of Romania, with 14 mountain ranges reaching above 2,000 metres, and the highest point at Moldoveanu Peak (2,544 metres). These are surrounded by the Moldavian and Transylvanian plateaus and Pannonian and Wallachian plains. Romania's geographical diversity has led to an accompanying diversity of flora and fauna.

A large part of Romania's border with Serbia and Bulgaria is formed by the Danube. The Prut River, one of its major tributaries, forms the border with the Republic of Moldova. The Danube flows into the Black Sea within Romania's territory forming the Danube Delta, the second largest and best preserved delta in Europe, and also a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site. Other major rivers are the Siret (596 kilometres), the Olt (614 kilometres), the Prut (742 kilometres), the Someș (388 kilometres), and the Mureș (761 kilometres).

Lakes and lake complexes have a low share throughout Romania, occupying only 1.1% of total land area. The largest lake complex in size is Razelm-Sinoe (731 km²), located on the Black Sea seaside. Glacial lakes exist in the Făgăraș Mountains, a result of quaternary glaciation, of which the largest are: Lake Avrig (14,700 m²), Bâlea Lake (46,500 m²) and Capra Lake (18,000 m²). Other notable lakes are Lake Sfânta Ana, the only volcanic lake in Romania, and Red Lake, a natural dam lake, both situated in Harghita County.




For administrative purposes, Romania is currently divided into 41 counties. It is however more useful for travelers to divide the country into the following regions.

  • Banat - This western-most province is probably the most economically developed in Romania. It has beautiful baroque cities and traditional German villages in the western plains and huge mountain forests in the eastern parts.
  • Bucovina - This northeastern region is famous for its world heritage listed Painted Monasteries, tucked away between picturesque rolling hills.
  • Crişana - Located along the border with Hungary, this western region is the entry point for most travelers into Romania, who often neglect its Central-European style cities, numerous medieval sites, and resorts on the western side of the Apuseni mountains.
  • Dobrogea - A seaside province dotted by ruins of ancient Greek and Roman cities, with various summer resorts along the Black Sea coast and the unspoiled natural landscape of the Danube Delta in the region's north; the most ethnically diverse region with many small minority groups
  • Maramures - The northernmost region, it's best known for its timeless villages, traditional wooden churches, and beautiful mountain landscape.
  • Moldavia - Certainly one of the most extraordinary regions in Romania, it offers a pleasant blend of historical cities, medieval fortresses, churches, wine, and friendly locals.
  • Transylvania - It is the most famous region of Romania, with a very marked Hungarian (Szekely) and German (Saxon) heritage. A land of medieval castles and towns, dark forests, snowy peaks (especially those in the Transylvanian Alps), but also vibrant cities.
  • Wallachia Also known as Muntenia. The capital, Bucharest, is in this southern region, as well as the early residences of the Wallachian princes and the mountain resorts on the Prahova Valley. It is also the name of the old kingdom of leaders such as the notorious Vlad țepeș (The Impaler).
  • Oltenia - The southwestern region, with impressive monasteries, caves, and health resorts along the mountains in its northern part and a bizarre desert-like area in the south.




  • Alba Iulia
  • Arad
  • Bucharest, the capital, in which megalomanic monuments, including "House of the People", built during Ceaușescu's reign, overlook medieval neighbourhoods
  • Botosani
  • Brasov - located in southeastern Transylvania, its main attractions are the well kept medieval downtown, the nearby luxury resort of Poiana Brașov and the proximity to the Râșnov fortress and the Bran Castle.
  • Constanta - Romania's main Black Sea port and one of the major commercial hubs in the region. The northernmost district, Mamaia, is one of the best Black Sea resorts.
  • Cluj-Napoca - the largest town in Transylvania, a major economic center and also a very youthful city, as it has one of the largest universities in Europe.
  • Galati
  • Oradea
  • Iasi - the second largest Romanian city, it was the capital of the Moldavian principality until 1861 and then briefly the capital of Romania. Today it remains one of the major economic and cultural centers in the country.
  • Bacau
  • Piatra Neamt
  • Ploiesti
  • Satu Mare
  • Sibiu - one of the most beautiful cities in the region, it has the best-preserved historical sites in the country, numerous museums, and exhibitions, proximity to the stunning Făgăraș mountains, for which reasons it became the 2007 European Capital of Culture.
  • Sighisoara - the city's downtown area, the Sighișoara Citadel, is the last inhabited medieval citadel in Europe and one of the best-preserved.
  • Suceava - the main city in Bukovina and the medieval capital of Moldavia; it can be used as starting point for visiting the Painted Monasteries of the region.
  • Targu Mures - is the main city in the Mures county featuring many tourist attractions such as churches, multicultural monuments, and even a fully restored citadel.
  • Targu Jiu
  • Targoviste
  • Timisoara - the largest town in the Banat region, one of the most prosperous and modernized cities in Romania; it was here that the 1989 Romanian anti-communist revolution began.



Sights and Activities

Church Saint Nicolas from Budesti

The Budesti village is an ancient settlement, founded before the year 1361, at the foot of Gutai Mountains, on the valley of Cosau River, at approximately 30 kilometres south from the locality of Sighet, in the north-east of Romania. The church dedicated to St. Nicolas, included on the list of the world patrimony of UNESCO in December 1999, was built in 1643 and was never modified or extended, being an example of typically architecture from the region of the historic Maramures. It is built on a small choline, dominating the central zone of the village. Here performed the assembly of the elders and were given alms to the poor families. The church has a high of 38 metres and impresses by the 14 fourteen pillars that support the roof. It is locked with a special lock made by the genial popular masters from Maramures. The popular mural paintings date since the year 1762.

Danube Delta

Although the Danube Delta is not on the list of many travellers, it is one of the natural highlights in the country and can be a welcome relief from visits to cities. The waters of the Danube flow into the Black Sea, forming the largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas. As a result, the Danube delta is home to over 300 species of birds and also to 45 freshwater fish species , which live in one of many lakes and marshes. Therefore it is on the Unesco World Heritage List. Tulcea is the main gateway to the Danube Delta. The Danube Delta is a unique ecosystem in the world. It is the biggest wetland in Europe and the largest compact surface of reed on the planet. It hosts 98% of aquatic fauna of Europe - over 3,400 species, many of which are unique in the world.

Moldavia Churches

The churches of Northern Moldavia (region called Bucovina – in German Buchenland meaning the Beech Country) are among the best-known tourist attractions in Romania and they definitely deserve their fame. Whether you are a believer or not, there are few other places where one can collect their thoughts, meditate and relax away from the maddening world without going to the middle of nowhere. All the churches have a long history, many of them being built by great rulers of Moldavia, which was an independent state at the time, struggling to keep its autonomy from the Ottoman Empire. Religion was highly important at the time, churches usually being built to celebrate a won fight or to serve as a burial place for the ruling family. Most churches are 500-years old or even more, and one of their most amazing features is their exterior paintings, which are just as amazing today. As a reward for these unique religious edifices the churches received the prize called Pomme d’Or ( the Golden Apple) from FIJET, later becoming part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The apple is now being kept at Moldovita. The landscape is also a reward itself, so if you want to enjoy it and also a big chunk of history and spirituality, the churches are a must on your list. However, remember to treat both the places and the people with respect, and not to speak loudly as you can bother the mass being held at the time. Moreover, choose to avoid revealing outfits as they will raise many eyebrows, which is quite understandable.

The most important churches are:

  • Putna - built in the 15th century, it is the resting place of Moldavia’s biggest ruler, Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare) and this year is celebrating its 540th year of existence. It is chosen as a prayer lace by thousands of people all over the world, but also by politicians and public figures.
  • Voronet - this monastery is famous for its exterior paintings, especially for “The Last Judgement”, due to which the setting is also known as “The Sistine Chapel of the East”. The shade of blue used for the paintings still remains a mystery for everyone trying to replicate it, being considered unique.
  • Arbore - built in 1503, this church keeps is famous for its green used in the paintings. Because their creator used solely natural elements for the paintings and took their secret to the grave, it is impossible today to recreate them.
  • Moldovita - besides the extraordinary paintings and architecture, this church also offers a collection of cultural and art objects not to be missed.

Other churches:

Sarmizegetusa Regia

Capital of Dacia, Grădiştea de Munte village, commune of Orăştioara de Sus, Hunedoara County. The citadel from Gradiste Hill is the biggest Dacian fortification. Situated on a plateau, at 1,200 metres altitude, the fortress was the strategic center of the Dacian defensive system from Orastie Mountains, including another five citadels: Blidaru, Luncani, Cetăţuia, Băniţa and Căpâlna. The plateau from the Gradiste Hill, surrounded by thick forests beeches and bordered by the abrupt slope of the White Valley, is the foundation on which the capital of the Dacian state was built. King Burebista (82 - 44 BC), the founder of Dacian centralized state, initiated the defensive system of fortifications from Orasie Mountains. King Decebal (87 - 106 AD) amplifies and completes this system, moving, at the same time, the capital of the state to Sarmizegetusa Regia. The citadel, with a surface of about 3 ha, was surrounded by strong walls of chalk blocks made after Dacian system (murus dacicus), with thicknesses of 1.5-4 metres and highs of 4-5 metres, monumental buildings with columns and roof, sanctuaries and urban works, also attested by the reliefs of Trajan's Column in Rome. The citadel also had a calendar.

Bran Castle

Bran Castle is also known as Dracula’s Castle. Everyone knows something about Dracula, the famous character from Bram Stocker’s book that had such a great resonance. What not everyone knows is that Bran Castle is the place that inspired the writer. In Bram Stocker’s description there are clues that indicate Bran Castle as the source of influence “...on the very edge of a terrific precipice...with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.” The truth is that Bram Stocker had never been to Romania, and he built the entire story by inspiring from books and pictures that described Vlad Dracul (Tepes) and the Bran Castles’ stories. His character is built following the stories about Vlad Tepes and his cruelty. He used to kill people who did not respect the laws by using brutal methods. When you arrive in the village of Bran you discover a mixture between reality and myth. You find the Bran Castle, you see all the historical books and documentation, but you also find a lot of souvenirs with vampires and bloody scenes.

Peles Castle

Peles Castle was built at the initiative of King Charles I, to serve as a summer residence, empowered with political, cultural and symbolic duties. The construction of the castle began in 1873 under the direct order of the Viennese architect Wilhem Doderer and was continued in 1876 by his assistant, Johann Schultz of Lemberg. The castle was inaugurated only on October 7, 1883. The location for the castle was chosen by the German prince Charles I of Hohenzollern, who was to become a king and it draws its name from the neighboring brooks which passes through the courtyard. Peles is surrounded by seven terraces decorated with statues stone-made-wells, ornamental vases and Carara marble. The architects used an abundance of wooden decoration, both for the exterior and for the interior of the castle, which confers a very special quality to the building. Other exquisite attractions such as the statues, the ceramics, the gold and silver plates, the Meissen and Sevres porcelain, the Murano crystal chandeliers, German stained-glass windows, walls covered with Cordoba leather, ebony and ivory sculptures, as well as the extensive weapon collections are worth mentioning. It is also important to know that Peles Castle shelters one of the most important and most valuable painting collections in Europe, almost 2.000 pieces.




© mikebv

Along with Brasov, Sighisoara is one of the most popular and beautiful cities in Romania. The Historic Centre of Sighisoara is on the Unesco World Heritage list and the town which was founded by German craftsmen and merchants is a fine example of a small, fortified medieval town which played an important strategic and commercial role at the edge of central Europe for several centuries. Highlights include the Sighisoara Citadel, the Clock Tower, the Weapon Museum, the Covered Staircase and the Church on the hill.


Transylvania might be known amongst travellers as the place where Dracula comes from, in reality it is a very large part of central and northern Romania. It includes medieval castles and towns, forests and even snowy peaks in the Transylvanian Alps in the north. The Transylvanian villages with their fortified churches in southern Transylvania are on the Unesco World Heritage list, while cities like Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara and Timisoara form the biggest cities, some of which have excellent preserved historical centres (see Sighisoara above). One way to get around this huge piece of land is to do the Transylvania Triangle Train Tour, a fantastic journey along many of the natural and cultural highlights in this region.

Bran - Dracula's Castle

Bran - Dracula's Castle

© mikebv

Other sights and activities

  • Carphatian Mountains
  • Palace of Parliament - Entered for three times into the Record Book (for the world's largest civilian building, most expensive administrative building, and heaviest building), the building of the Palace of Parliament from Bucharest is an edifice of which Romania could be proud. The construction of the Palace of Parliament started in 1983 to which participated 700 architects under the coordination of the chief-architect Anca Petrescu.



Events and Festivals

Romania International Shakespeare Festival

This June celebration of the great English playwright takes place biennially in Cralova, and presents chosen plays by well-known theater companies as well as acting, directing, and design workshops headed by some of the most famous international names in the world of theater.

Sighişoara Medieval Festival

Set in the picturesque medieval town of Sighişoara, this annual July festival is a must for visitors fascinated by Romania’s history. The three-day event is a celebration of the town’s historic lifestyle, beliefs and customs, and includes open-air concerts, costumed parades, street carnivals, jousting contests and craft displays.

Bucharest of Old

This traditional recreation of the city as it was several centuries ago takes place in July and has as its highlight a colorful parade of people in traditional costume driving horse-drawn carriages. In the streets, traditional food and drink is offered and music, dancing, street markets and theatrical performances take place.

Hora de la Prislop

This festival is held in August to celebrate the traditional ties between Romania’s three main regions, Maramures, Moldova and Transylvania. The Carpathian Mountain villagers of Prislop parade in traditional costumes up to Prislop Pass and spend the festival day dancing, feasting, singing and generally having a great time.

Bachata Romanian Dance Festival

The Romanian peoples are proud of their folk heritage in these modern times, but they’re also very keen on Latin American dance forms. The annual Bachata Dance Festival held on the cusp of August and September is a demonstration of three major dance styles, with a national championship contest held as well as exhibitions, and everyone is welcome to join in the fun and festivities.

Sâmbra Oilor

This May festival is held in the heart of Țara Oașului, an unique place in Transylvania. While there are plenty of festivals that you can go to across Europe, traditional festivals are quite rare, compared to music and film festivals. One of the oldest celebrations in Romania takes place in the beautiful county of Satu Mare. It celebrates the return of the sheep herds from the mountains. People, dressed in traditional clothes, gather at the Huta Certeze hill. There, they sing traditional songs from the Country of Oaș region. Their clothes, skirts and hats are always cheerful and colourful.
In this part of the world people have preserved much of their traditions and they proudly encourage their young ones to preserve them.


The originally pagan October festival of Halloween, held on the Christian All Hallows Day, has been celebrated in towns and villages all over Romania for untold centuries with bonfires, ancient rituals to drive away evil spirits, children’s games and general merriment. Perhaps due to Bram Stoker and the recent popularity of vampire movies, celebrations nowadays include shows and entertainment featuring Dracula.

Wine Festivals

During October, wine festivals are held in all Romania’s winemaking areas, celebrating the start of the grape harvest. Unsurprisingly, the highlight of the festivities is a large quantity of the previous year’s vintage, accompanied by feasting, music and song.




There are four distinct seasons with hot summers averaging 30 °C (temperatures up to 40 °C in Bucharest and at the coast) and cold winters, around zero during the day (temperatures of down to minus 35 °C around Brasov). Weather is more unpredictable in the mountainous regions - they can be colder at any time of year. Winters are more temperate near the coast, where there is generally less rainfall throughout the year. Occasionally though, temperatures can also drop below -20 °C along the coast when the wind blows from the northeast. Most of the precipitation in the country falls in the summermonths though rain or snow is possible year round. For most of the country, May and September are very good months for a visit, avoiding heath, cold and crowds.



Getting There

By Plane

The Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP/LROP) is located a short distance north of the city and is Romania's busiest airport. Most low-cost airlines fly into nearby Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (BBU), in Băneasa.
Numerous airlines serve these airports, from many European destinations and some cities further away, including New York. Tarom is the national airline with an extensive network. They also fly to several domestic destinations, including Timisoara and Constanta.

To/from Henri Coandă Airport

  • Car: Route DN1 connects the airport with downtown Bucharest. The A3 motorway will connect the airport and the city, when finished. Car rental agencies and taxis are both widely available.
  • Rial: A direct train service to the main railway station, Gara de Nord, runs from the Airport train station, about 900 metres from the airport. Shuttle buses connect this train station with the departures and arrivals halls and the tickets are valid both for the train and for the transfer bus. The next phase of the airport's expansion aims to locate the train station in the airport itself.
  • Bus: The airport is connected by public transport by the RATB system. The 780 route provides express bus service to Gara de Nord railway station in Bucharest and the 783 route provides express bus service to the city centre.

To/from Aurel Vlaicu Airport
The airport is situated 8 kilometres north of Bucharest city centre and is accessible by RATB buses 131, 335 and Airport Express 783, RATB tramway 5 and taxi.

There are several other international airports in Romania, in Timişoara, Sibiu, the George Enescu International Airport in Bacău, Cluj-Napoca and Constanta's Mihail Kogălniceanu. During summer months there are generally more (charter) flights to international destinations.

By Train

International sleeper trains arrive in Bucharest from to Venice, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Kosice, Krakow, Belgrade, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Moscow, Kiev, and Chisinau. Train travel is generally slower than bus travel. See infofer and this website for train timetables and fares.

By Car

You can cross Romania from all neighbouring countries without much hassle. Have your documentationa regarding the car and yourself in order (including green card and driver's licence) and you will generally be fine.

By Bus

Eurolines offers numerous connections throughout Europe. Destinations include Vienna, Paris and Budapest. Buses leave Bucharest but also other cities like Brasov and Sighisoara.
Direct buses travel between Bucharest and Chisinau in Moldova, but you can also get minibuses from Iasi in the north of Romania. Bucharest to Istanbul is possible as well.

By Boat

Between May and September twice-weekly ferries go between Varna (Bulgaria) and Odessa (Ukraine) and Constanta.



Getting Around

By Plane

Tarom and Carpat Air have a number of domestic flights, from Bucharest and Timisoara respectively.

By Train

Romania has a comprehensive train service (known as the CFR) and it is possible to reach most areas of the country by train. The network has recently received huge amounts of EU funding for upgrading so, currently, trains range from dated, USSR models to very modern ones. Staff are generally helpful and, in main tourist destination, speak some English. Tickets are available in advance from train stations (go to the CASA windows) or from 'Agenţia de voiaj CFR' offices situated in most cities and larger towns. The cost of the ticket is calculated according to distance travelled, class of seat and type of train (you will usually automatically receive a seat reservation printed on your ticket). Two classes of seats are available: 1st and 2nd. Four types of train are available: sleeper, 'Accelerat' (most expensive and nominally faster), 'Rapid/Expres' (the most convenient), and 'Personal' (slowest and usually oldest trains). Currently a second class Rapid ticket costs about US$20 for 200 kilometres.

Your train ticket will give a train number; departure and arrival times; wagon number and seat number. Platform number comes under the heading 'Linia'. Trains frequently experience delays - sometimes of over an hour - due to track rennovation and climatic conditions in summer and winter. Have a look at this website for inter-city train timetables and fares.

By Car

There are several local and international companies where you can rent a car and you will need an international driving permit or national driver's licence and a green card. The main roads are generally in a good condition but many secondary roads are in need of repair. Also, be careful when driving at night and look out for horse-drawn carts.
There are several highways where you need to pay toll.

By Bus

There are a number of bus companies offering infrequent services between most major cities and towns. They are cheap but relatively slow and on most routes there are only a few buses a day.

By Boat

There are no useful services within Romania regarding ferries, but if you want to visit the Danube Delta proparly you will need to get a boatride or join a tour.



Red Tape

If you are a European Union (EU) citizen, you may enter for up to 90 days without any restriction as per your EU citizenship rights. Although, since 2007, Romania has been a member of the EU, it is not yet in the Schengen zone. If you are not an EU citizen you will need to apply for a visa at the Romanian consulate in your home country. The visa they issue is usually valid for up to 30 days.




See also: Money Matters

Currency is the Romanian New Leu (RON), plural pronounced and written 'Lei'. In shops it is often written as 'L' or 'RON'. One Leu is divided into 100 bani.

  • Banknotes: 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500 Lei
  • Coins: 1, 5, 10, 50 bani

Approximate street exhange rate (August 2010): 3.3 RON = 1 USD; 4.25 RON = 1 EUR; 5.2 RON = 1GBP

Romania is scheduled to adopt the Euro currency in 2014 and prices for accommodation, tours etc. are often given in Euros - although must usually be paid for in teh equivalent RON amount.

ATMs are available in most towns. Exchange offices are found near most stations and tourist areas.




Note that shop opening hours are usually 9:00am-6:00pm or 9:00am-8:00pm Monday to Friday. Most shops and services close early on Saturdays and almost all shops etc. are closed all day on Sundays. Tourist sites are open all week; museums are usually closed on Mondays.




Romanian is close to classical Latin - closer than other languages. It is a Romance language - like French, Italian, and Spanish and speakers of these languages will find some words of written Romanian understandable, although the pronunciation less so. Romanian used to use the Cyrillic alphabet, but now has a phonetic, Latin-based alphabet with 28 letters.




The local dishes are the delicious sarmale, mamaliga (polenta), bulz (traditional roasted polenta, filled with at least two kinds of cheeses, bacon and sour cream), friptura (steak), salata boef (finely chopped cooked veggies and meat salad, usually topped with mayo and decorated with tomatoes and parsley), zacusca(a yummy, rich salsa-like dip produced in the fall) as well as tocana (a kind of stew), tochitura (an assortment of fried meats, and traditional sausages, in a special sauce, served with polenta and fried eggs), mici (a kind of spicy sausage, but only the meat, without the casings, always cooked on a barbecue). Other dishes include a burger bun with a slice of ham, a slice of cheese and a layer of French fries, ciorba de burta (white sour tripe soup), ciorba taraneasca (a red sour soup, akin to bors without the beet root and using instead fermented wheat bran, with lots of vegetables), Dobrogean or Bulgarian salads (a mix of onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, white sauce and ham), onion salad - diced onion served in a dish, tomato salad - diced tomato with cheese, sorici (pig skin - boiled and sometimes in stew), and drob (haggies) - a casserole made from lamb or pork liver and kidneys. Local eclectic dishes include cow tongue, sheep brain (Easter), caviar, chicken and pork liver, pickled green tomatoes and pickled watermelon.




Finding an accommodation in Romania is very easy, for any price. In all the touristic places, as soon as you get to the train station several people will come to you asking whether you need an accommodation, or you can book it in advance. Rural tourism is relatively well developed in Romania. There is a national association of rural guesthouses owners, ANTREC who offer accommodations in over 900 localities throughout the country.




Wine, beer and spirits are all abudant and the quality is very good in general.

Murfatlar, Fetească albă, Fetească regală, Cotnari, Lacrima lui Ovidiu, Negru de Drăgășani and Busuioacă de Bohotin are some of the major wine brands.

Ursus (Latin for "bear") is the main national beer brand, with both lager as well as dark beer as tasteful options. Other local beers are Timisoreana, Silva, Ciuc, Stejar and Bergenbier.

The strongest alcohol is pălinca (a homemade alcohol from plums) with roughly 50-60% alcohol (depends on age) and is traditional to Transylvania, distilled twice. Rachiu is another homemade alcohol from apples or pears, with around 40-50% alcohol, distilled twice.
Less strong than pălinca is ţuică (made from plums as well), with about 30-40% alcohol, distilled only once, and can be find all over the country.
Therre are also some types of Romanian brandy like Brâncoveanu, Alexandrion and Unirea.




See also Travel Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Romania. It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Romania. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended.

If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk (travelling by bike, handling of animals, visits to caves) you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against tuberculosis as well as hepatitis B are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months. It is also recommended to have a vaccination against tick borne encephalitis when you go hiking and/or camping for 4 weeks or more in the period of March to November.

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS. Tap water is safe to drink. 'Farmacias' (drugstores/chemist shops) are plentiful and well-stocked. What you can purchase can be limited if you do not have a local prescription but staff are generally helpful and may speak some English.




See also Travel Safety

Romanians are generally friendly, helpful people. Violent crime is uncommon. Pickpocketing is a growing problem in tourist areas (especially on crowded buses) and opportunistic theft also occurs from hostels and cheaper hotels. Beware of taxi drivers who may not turn on their meters/put a higher rate on their metres than is advertised on the car door/say they have no change for large denomination notes/take long routes to close destinations. If travelling around Brasov and in the Carpathian Mountains treat bears with respect and keep your distance: they will attack if provoked; every year one or two tourists are killed (due to their own stupidity) by bears in the Brasov area.



Keep Connected


Internet cafes exist in most cities and towns. The number of internet cafes seems to be declining in bigger cities recently because of cheap availability of computers and the rising living standard here. Wifi is widely available in University areas, airports, public squares, parks, cafes, hotels and restaurants. Pay-as-you-go Wifi is also available in many venues. If uncertain, look for plazas near the Town Hall, large parks or other important buildings. Most (if not all) McDonald's restaurants and Starbucks in Romania have Wifi access and so do most 3-star (and higher) hotels.


See also International Telephone Calls

Romania's country code is +40. To dial to other countries from Romania, dial 00 and then the international number usually without the first 0.
Public phones work well and are available in all areas. You must purchase a phonecard from a kiosk to use them. When dialing within Romania, dial 0 + three digit area code + six digit telephone.

There are five networks - four GSM/3G (Orange Romania, Vodafone, Cosmote and DigiMobil) and one CDMA (Zapp). Orange and Vodafone have almost full national coverage (98-99% of the surface of the country), while the newly-merged Cosmote+Zapp are expanding quickly. Tariffs are average for the European Union (€0.08-0.30/min, €0.04 per SMS). Both pre-paid cards and subscriptions are available, and special options for discounted international calls exist with some pricing plans. Roaming is available but is, like in most of the EU, rather expensive. Pre-paid cards or recharge codes can be bought in almost every shop, either rural or urban.

On prepaid SIMs you can activate extra options ("extraopţiune") starting from €5 (+ 24% VAT) in total = RON27-32, with a validity period of 30 days, containing thousands (200 -3,000) of minutes and SMSs within the same network and up to 100 minutes outside the network, including most European Union fixed land-line networks and two or three mobile networks.


Posta Romana is the national postal service of Romania. Postal services are generally very affordable, reliable and reasonably fast. Post boxes are red and can be found near the post offices, along the street or in main train stations. Post offices can be found in even the smallest towns and the opening hours are generally Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm and Saturday 8:00am to 12:00, closed on Sunday. You can buy stamps here or at kiosks. Prices for international mail start at around €0.55 and takes at least 3-5 days to countries within Europe. It's slightly cheaper and faster for domestic mail to be send. Intercontinental post is slightly more expensive but takes much longer. For slightly more expensive but faster and more reliable services you can also try international courier companies like TNT, DHL, FedEx or UPS.



  1. 1 July 2007 estimate, National Institute of Statistics, Romania

Quick Facts

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Map of Romania


21 538 000 [1]
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Romania Travel Helpers

  • andi28

    As a Romanian involved in the tourism into the country, I have a lot of information I am willing to share with people thinking of visiting the country. Yes, for free :)
    Romania's definitely worth a visit - and I recommend everyone interested, just ask. Advice is always free in Romania! (at least when it's about this humble advocate of the country :) )

    Ask andi28 a question about Romania
  • Cavermo

    I am married to a Romanian woman. I have been there three times now, once in Winter, twice in Summer. I have driven cross country over 2 days from Transylvania to Constanta stopping off at certain sights, travelled overnight by train and I have experienced arrival and departure through airports Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest Otopeni. I have a basic grasp of Romanian and if I can't help by wife who is a native speaker and all round expert can !

    Ask Cavermo a question about Romania
  • nini

    I spent 1 month in the northern town of Siret near the Ukraine border. I helped out in an orphanage. I learned the language enough to get by. Most of the locals don't know any English. The trains are great. Brasov is an easy city. The countryside is beautiful and the food good. Bucharest is worth visiting with wide boulevards (similar to Paris).

    Ask nini a question about Romania
  • GreatEsc_Blog

    I am from beautiful Brasov, Romania and I encourage you to discover this beautiful country, so don't hesitate to ask me a question. Happy travels!

    Ask GreatEsc_Blog a question about Romania
  • Gabriel1

    I am a native Romanian, I know my country and I can give some advices.

    Ask Gabriel1 a question about Romania

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