Travel Guide for First Time Visitors in Romania
Romania is a fascinating and diverse country with plenty to offer travelers of all interests. Whether you’re interested in exploring the vibrant cities, learning about the rich history and culture, or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the countryside, Romania has something for you!
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with some useful information if you plan a trip to Romania, so that you can make the most out of your visit!
In this article you will find out more about:
- Electricity Socket
- Language – useful Romanian phrases
- Public Transportation
- Rent a car
- Buses and Minibusses
- Uber, Bolt and BlaBlaCar
- Horse-drawn carriage
- When to Go to Romania
Romanian currency is LEU (or LEI for plural) which literally translates to “lion”. You will also see prices listed as RON in exchanges. The bills are very colorful and are actually plastic, so you don’t need to worry if you accidentally leave money in your pocket and then do laundry!
As the exchange rates are ever-evolving,you can check the National Romanian Bank website to see the current rates.
Romania uses the standard two-prong European plug with a voltage of 230V, just like every other country in Europe. If you come from any other part of Europe, just bring your electronics!
Things are changing if you’re heading over from the UK, US, Canada, Australia, etc, because you’ll need to buy yourself a universal travel adapter for your laptop, phone, and anything else you’re bringing. That way you’re all set for Romania and anywhere else in the world you’re visiting!
Since Romania is in the European Union, visiting is easy and visa-free for people coming from the EU as well as other parts of the world like Canada, the US or Australia. EU and UK passport holders can stay in Romania up to 90 days without needing a visa, and the same thing applies for citizens of America, Canada, Australia or New Zealand! After 90 days, you will be denied entry until the next eligibility period. If you wish to stay longer than 90 days, you must obtain an extension from the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Citizens from other parts of the world like Africa, Middle East or Asia do need a visa when coming to Romania.
Romania visas are divided into four main categories:
- The Romania Airport Transit Visa (A Type), which allows you to enter the international area of a Romanian airport to wait for a connecting flight to another destination.
- The Romania Transit Visa (B Type), which allows you to transit through Romania’s territory for a maximum of 5 days, on your way to another country.
- The Romania Short Stay Visa (C Type), which allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month period.
- The Romania Short Stay Visa is issued for reasons such as tourism, private visit, business, partaking in cultural, scientific or academic events etc.
- The Romania Long Stay Visa (D Type), which allows you to enter Romania and request the right to stay in the country for longer than 90 days (a Romanian residence permit). As such, the visa itself is valid for no longer than 90 days, but if you receive a residence permit, you can stay in the country long-term for employment, study, or family reunification purposes, among other reasons.
Romania remains generally safe to travel, and it’s unlikely that you’ll have any problems; The major thing to watch out for if you’re traveling alone or in a group is for pickpockets, especially in crowded places.
Traveling to Romania doesn’t require any immunization due to the lack of infections and poisonous insects, but you should consider getting health or travel insurance before visiting any country. You know, it’s better safe than sorry!
Hiking in the mountains? It can be a bit challenging but that’s not something to worry about. It is an experience that cannot be expressed into words and it would be better to see for yourself. Thanks to the unique mountainside and lush forests, there is a breathtaking view everywhere you look, so better pack your camera and some storage drives. When traveling through the forests in particular, you might wonder if there might be anything to look out for and there is really only one thing. Yes, we have the biggest population of brown bears in Europe and they are just about everywhere in the mountains but as long as you make noise while passing through the dense forests, the bears will hear you and keep a safe distance. It’s more than recommended to have a Bear Spray with you, just in case. If you want to see them, a bear watching tour is more than recommended. Together with a guide, you will be taken into the wild to a safe bear hide and observe these animals in their natural habitat. How exciting!
Language – useful Romanian phrases
Our official language is Romanian, and since it is a Romance language that evolved from several Latin dialects, rather than the Slavic ones which cover most of the Balkans, you’ll see a lot of similarities between Romanian and Italian, Spanish, and French. That’s why it is usually rather easy to understand. However, when you’re traveling to small villages, expect few people to speak English. What you can do is use hand gestures and basic communication skills and you’ll be just fine! If you are hungry, just point to your mouth and rub your tummy, and the locals will be more than happy to help you (or to feed you)!
Here are some common phrases that could come in handy when doing tourism in Romania:
Hello – Salut
Good morning – Buna dimineata
Goodbye – La revedere
Yes – Da
No – Nu
Please – Te rog
Thank you – Mulțumesc
I don’t understand – Nu înțeleg
Do you speak English? – Vorbiți engleza?
Can you help me, please? – Puteți să mă ajutați, vă rog?
I have a reservation – Am o rezervare
Where is the train station / the airport? – Unde este stația de tren / unde este aeroportul?
How much is this? – Cât costă aceasta?
Can you tell me how do I get to the…? – Puteți să-mi spuneți cum ajung la…?
All towns have local bus services, and in the main cities you’ll also find trams and trolley-buses. Tickets are normally sold in pairs from street kiosks or machines. In Bucharest, the metro is 3 RON, though a day-pass is only 8 RON making it a much better deal. Weekly metro passes are 30 RON, which is worthwhile if you’re going to be using public transportation often (week passes are also available for the buses and trams but prices vary depending on your route).
In Brașov and Cluj, for comparison, a single-ticket ride on the public bus is 2.50-3 RON while a day pass is 12-20 RON. You can pay the tickets right in the bus at the POS machine or buy them from kiosks and ticket machines. Make sure you validate them yourself aboard the vehicle, because if you don’t, stiff fines apply, and that’s no fun at all!
Useful tip: In Cluj-Napoca every Friday is “Green Friday”, which means that any trip taken by bus or tram is free of charge! It’s a good deal if you’re planning to visit the city for the Weekend!
Rent a car
All the major international companies like SIXT, Hertz or Avis are present in Romania, but there is also Autonom, a very reliable and successful local car rental company with very good client service, network and usually cheaper. Most of the major companies have branches in Bucharest (and Henri Coandă airport) and all the other major cities, and airports. You’ll find the process of renting a car very simple and similar to what you’re used to in other parts of the world and in Europe. You need to provide your ID, driver’s license, deposit, etc. You can find the prices online on the company’s website.
Buses and Minibusses
For traveling within Romania, between cities, you’re more likely to ride in smaller shuttles or micro-buses. These are much less comfortable than the large buses and probably you’ll feel like sardines in a can. The good news is that the routes are usually only two or three hours at most. Regardless of the bus you take, they’re almost always perfectly on time.
For more info about the times and prices of the bus tickets, head to the Autogari Website.
Trains in Romania are a slow (but reliable) way of getting around. There are 3 different kinds of trains: InterCity (IC), InterRegional (IR), and Regional (R). The InterRegional trains are the fastest and nicest and likely the ones you’ll be using to travel from city to city.
Though cheaper than a bus, it’s not the quickest way to get around. Train travel is a great way to see the countryside of Romania.
If you want to check the ticket times and rates of the trains, head to CFR Calatori Website.
Romania’s national airline Tarom as well as all major European Airlines are offering non-stop flights from cities in Western and Central Europe to Bucharest. There are also non-stop flights from other major cities in Romania such as Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Targu Mures or Timisoara to destinations in Europe, operated by Austrian Airlines, LOT, Lufthansa, RyanAir, Tarom, Turkish Airlines and Wizz Air.
In general, taxis in Romania have affordable prices and they are available in every city and larger towns in Romania. They can be summoned by telephone or hailed on the street. If you’re at the airport and need a ride to the city center, there you’ll find plenty of them. You can also use a taxi inside the city but we suggest you make sure that the driver has the taximeter running and a valid identification card, so they won’t rip you off on the price for the fare.
Uber, Bolt and BlaBlaCar
Uber and Bolt are available in every major city in Romania. It’s the cheapest option if you need to get somewhere and don’t want to take public transit as the taxis in Romania charge an arm and a leg when traveling between cities. For longer distances, use BlaBlaCar. It’s a great (and safe) ridesharing service for intercity travels. Just download the app, make a profile, and search for rides.
BlaBla Car is like an Uber service but is done with regular people who are going from one destination to another and don’t mind picking people up on the way. It’s like organized hitchhiking. The best part of BlaBlaCar is that it helps you meet locals. They will often pick you up right from where you are staying, drop you off where you are at your next accommodation. The cost is roughly the same, or even cheaper than a bus, and is much faster.
Some villages in Romania have clung strongly to what proudly molded out history. As soon as you step into this authentic wonderland, you’ll be amazed by the traditional homes, seeing people dressed in traditional Romanian clothes, and yes, even horse-drawn carriages casually making their way down the streets. On a horse-drawn carriage ride you will have a unique experience discovering the traditional folk villages and the authentic life of the locals!
This traditional mode of transportation is still used in some rural areas of Romania, and it’s a great way to experience what life was like in the past, and the way people used to move to certain places. So you can expect to wander quietly through slumbering Saxon villages or lively little Transylvanian towns and immerse yourself in an age that has all but disappeared from the rest of Europe.
Clip clopping along in a horse-drawn carriage can be a real adventure!
When to Go to Romania
There are many reasons which make Romania a destination worth visiting. From its diverse natural wonders to its historic cities and charming traditions, the country has a lot to offer. There’s something beautiful about every season here. You can go sightseeing in May, soak up the sun and enjoy the beaches at the Black Sea in August or attend the largest Festivals in Romania, like UNTOLD, Electric Castle, Neversea! You can also explore the great outdoors in September or go skiing in December, because Romania has some precious hidden gems when it comes to Ski Resorts such as Straja or Transalpina Ski Resort!
If you want to discover the beautiful surroundings of Romania, we recommend hiking in April and May, as well as in September or October when there are not so many precipitations and when nature is painted in vibrant colors! In general, the hiking season is quite long and lasts from March to November. Of course, the ideal time for hiking also depends on the altitude at which you are moving. On some mountains there is still snow in May, which has its charm and therefore having the right equipment for this kind of activity is a must!