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Travel guide for Romania

Romania! It is not the most popular tourist destination, but it has a lot to offer its visitors. It is a country full of legends and traditions. The land of mystery and Count Dracula! It is worth visiting its medieval towns, picturesque villages and admiring its well-preserved castles. Another element that attracts a lot of people is also the pretty low prices! Below you will find all the necessary information before your first trip to the country.

General Information

  • Information for the necessary travel documents, depending on your nationality and destination can be found here.
  • The voltage in Romania is 220V and the frequency is 50Hz. Socket types C/F.
  • The currency of Romania is the Leu with exchange rate: 1 € = 4,83 RON. To keep up to date on currency exchange rate changes see XE Currency Converter.
  • The most known mobile phone providers are Orange, Vodafone Romania and Telecom Romania. If you travel frequently buy a surfroam sim. You use it for global internet with very low charges and use in over 200 countries including Romania. For more information see here.
  • According to the latest estimate the population of Romania exceeds 19 million inhabitants.
  • The largest city is Bucharest which is also the capital of the country. Other large and popular cities are Timisoara, Sinaia and Brasov.
  • The official religion is Christianity at more than 99% followed by Muslims at less than 1% of the population.
  • A curious aspect of the capital is that Bucharest is quite well known for its “dental tourism” as it has very, very low prices compared to other countries.

Budget

The issue of staying in a destination is a subjective one as each of you may be travelling alone or with a group, have different selection criteria and obviously different budgets. However, the platforms that now exist and are listed in the rest of our article, with countless options for all types of travellers, offer a solution to all of the above. As an indication, we give a general overview regarding accommodation in Romania, which may however vary depending on the season, availability and the people you have chosen.

Low Budget: In Brasov for example, for two people in a hostel 200m from the centre, prices start from just 14€ per night.  Similarly in the capital for a room with a balcony and private bathroom prices start at just 16€ for a couple per night. Generally in Bucharest even with little money there are plenty of options.

See available rooms here.

Mid Budget: In Bucharest you can find a 3 star hotel within 150m from the centre for as little as 24€ per couple per night. Similarly in Timisoara one can find a central 70m² apartment for 3 people for just 25€.

High Budget: The third and last category includes breakfast, spa and gym.

See our travel guide to Serbia here.

Traditional Food in Romania

Romanian cuisine is quite tasty, with rich flavours quite economical for tourists, but a bit heavy for our standards. It is a mixture of different cuisines, mainly from the Balkans, but adapted to their own style. Some typical traditional dishes are listed below:

Sarmale: These are usually filled with pork and rice combined with dill. They are usually wrapped in pickled cabbage, which gives them a sour taste that is particularly favoured by Romanians. The food is eaten throughout the year, but is mostly preferred during holidays such as Christmas and New Year. In some regions of Romania you can find the exact same recipe, but with vine leaves instead of cabbage.

Mamaliga (Polenta): You will see it everywhere.  It often replaces bread and usually accompanies cabbage rolls and other stews and meats. Served with hot milk or sour cream and often with shredded feta or other cheese on top.

Cordon Bleu Şniţel: Schnitzel is a popular main dish either in a good restaurant or at street vendor stalls.   It is a typical Austro-German schnitzel, but can be made from any kind of meat. Equally popular is the stuffed Romanian schnitzel (şniţel mozaic-rulat) with two different layers of meat, cheese and mushrooms together with red peppers.

Ciorba: The Romanian word meaning soup. There is a wide variety of soups in Romania which are usually consumed in winter due to low temperatures. A first simple kind is with vinegar, pickled cabbage juice or some other sour ingredient because they generally prefer sour ones. A heartier version is the same soup with the addition of minced meat, similar to our yuvarlaki. We were impressed at a restaurant in Brasov ,where we were served the hot soup, similar to the well known Goulash, in a large round loaf of bread from which they had dug out the inside.

Mititei: kimash shaped like a tiny sausage the size of a finger. Usually used minced pork or beef combined with garlic and spicy spices. Something similar to our kebabs.

Savarina: After it is baked, it is filled with pastry cream or milk and garnished with fresh fruit.

Papanași: It consists of a sweet dough which is fried and has a hole in the middle; it is topped with a drained and slightly sweet cheese and topped with a cherry sweet.

Transportation

Metro: Only Bucharest has an underground transport system and it has been in operation since the end of 1979. It consists of 51 stops and plans for new extensions are underway. The following options are available in terms of fares per person. 2 journeys for €1, 10 journeys for €4, a 24-hour ticket for €1.7 and a monthly ticket for €14.4.

Train: In Romania there are several train companies such as Romanian Railways, Transferoviar Călători and Softrans. They serve both domestic routes within the country and internationally. For example, with Romanian Railways one can travel from Bucharest to Brasov with prices starting from as little as 7€ per trip. Prices vary depending on the date and time of the route. You can see more information on train schedules in Romania here.

Tram: A tram system serves the largest urban cities in Romania. In particular, 17 cities have a tram system. Among them are obviously the capital, Brasov, Timisoara and others.

Buses: Quite developed is the city-to-city transport network in Romania. For all available stops per city with their respective prices more information can be found here.

Car: Romania is famous for its natural landscapes and unique routes among the Carpathians. A good solution is to rent a car so that you can explore all these routes, exclusively shaping your own itinerary. Prices and availability for cars can be found here.

Uber: The first rides were back in 2016 in Bucharest and over time the network of the well-known app expanded to more cities. It is an economical solution for moving around within cities, but taxis are not particularly expensive.

Airplane: Apart from the well-known Henri Coandă Airport located in Otopeni, there are about 17 other airports with frequent traffic in the country that serve daily domestic and international routes. A fast way to travel to cities located at long distances and with low priced tickets especially during non-tourist seasons.

What to do in Romania

Bucharest

The capital of the country that used to be called “the little Paris of the East” due to some architectural similarities. It has several notable monuments to see such as the Arc de Triomphe(which is a replica of the French one), the “People’s Palace” is the current parliament in Bucharest and is located on a hill in the Romanian capital, near Uniri Square. It is the largest building in Europe and the second largest structure in the world after the U.S. Pentagon in Washington, D.C., USA. There is the Greek church of Stavropoleos on the street of the same name built by the Epirus Stratonikeian Ioannikio. The city’s thermal baths are also well known. The old town is bustling with nightlife and is nice for walking around and eating. The prices are very good!

Bucharest, capital of Romania
Brasov

One of the most important cities in Transylvania that boasts everything. A medieval yet vibrant and dynamic city with the Carpathian Mountains surrounding it. It is worth seeing the gothic style Black Church and the Greek church of the Holy Trinity built by local Greeks. Brașov is the 7th largest city in Romania and is surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains and has a beautiful natural landscape, It is located about 2 and a half hours away from Bucharest.

Brasov in Romania
The Merry Cemetery

Located in the village of Săpânţa, it is famous for its colorful graves with paintings, poems and scenes from their lives, for the respective persons buried in that place. It has been turned into an open museum and surprisingly it is a tourist attraction of the village. The man behind this idea is a Romanian craftsman, Ioan Stan Patras, who started the special formation of these crosses and graves in 1935. The inscriptions usually include some funny poems giving a different perspective to the concept of death.

cemetery
Bran

It belongs to the region of Brasov at a distance of only 30 km from it. Bran became famous thanks to the castle of the same name in the area. The castle is known as the castle of Dracula and every year thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to visit it. It was the inspiration for the Irish writer Stoker and his famous novel. However, there are many castles in Romania that are linked to the famous Dracula legend, such as Poenari Castle and Hunyad.

There is a lot of talk and confusion about the connection between Dracula and Vlad Cepes aka the Impaler, who certainly has no connection between them, apart from the brutal torture the latter inflicted on prisoners. The castle is not particularly imposing on the outside, but inside it is large with many rooms and hidden entrances and a wealth of material from old costumes to legends and images of Vlad, as well as a torture chair with nails.

bran castle
Sinaia

The pearl of the Carpathians as it is called thanks to its beautiful location. It is a medieval city with a rich history. The founder of the Sinaia monastery was Prince Michael Katakouzenos who, according to legend, started building it immediately after returning from a pilgrimage to Sinai, hence the name. Near Sinaia is the Peleș Castle, once a residence for various Romanian royal families. The castle has over 160 rooms and is built of wood, stone, brick and marble. The seven terraces surrounding it are decorated with statues, marble and stone fountains.Its luxurious interior is also richly decorated with paintings, statues, ceramics, gold and silver plates, crystals, stained glass windows and ivory sculptures. The remarkable thing is that this castle was the first building in Europe to be lit exclusively by electricity.

sinaia
Timisoara

The second largest city in Romania and the most important economic and cultural center in the western part of the country. It is called the jewel of western Romania as well as Little Vienna. The city center consists mainly of buildings from the era of the Austrian Empire, due to the fact that it was under the Habsburg Empire for a very long time. You will also see many churches, with the tallest building being the Orthodox Cathedral which stands at a height of 96 meters. The region’s mild climate has helped to have several public squares and plenty of green areas for strolling. Roses Park is the perfect place for a romantic stroll, as is the Botanical Garden. Many tourists still choose to walk along the Bega River. It has a lively nightlife and many events and festivals take place in the city throughout the year.

Packing Tips & When to go

The equipment you need to bring with you obviously depends on the time of year you choose to visit the country. In winter the temperatures are quite low in Romania with frequent snowfalls, so you definitely need waterproofs, gloves, a beanie and boots that don’t slip. In addition,  it is advisable to have a safety wallet strapped to you, because it is often said that people steal, both in the capital and in other suburbs. Personally during our visit to the country there was no threat in Bucharest or in the provincial areas. An adapter for electricity is not needed as the sockets are the same as ours. The only necessary thing, because you will be walking quite a bit, especially if you live outside Bucharest, is a powerbank so you don’t run out of battery on your phone or camera.

As far as the right seasons to visit the country are concerned, spring and autumn are the best. In the spring all the natural parks and Carpathians, if you attempt some day trips outside the capital, are in bloom and lush green. Autumn also makes the landscapes magical and the temperatures are quite favourable before the heavy winter arrives. Winter is best avoided due to cold weather and frequent snowfalls, which can spoil your planned excursions and there are cancellations of itineraries. The only positive thing in case of a winter trip to the city is the lower prices due to the non-tourist season. Summers, respectively, are hot, but most of the festivals in the country take place then.

Useful words

Good MorningBună dimineațaYou’welcomeVa rog
Good nightNoapte bunăHiSalut
YesDaHow are you?Ce faci
No NuMy name isNumele meu este
Thank youMersi Good ByeLa revedere

Useful Sites & Apps

In the recent years of our travels to various destinations we have some websites and their respective apps that help us to choose and immediately distinguish what is best for us and our pocket. We have chosen them over others either because they are convenient and efficient for us, or for the respective levels with rewards they have. This does not mean that there aren’t a whole lot of other websites and apps with which you can do your job practically. We present our suggestions below:

Booking.com

With a plethora of choices, traveller grades, and a lot of offers for those who have booked many destinations, promo codes for you and your friends, discounts and many other advantages. Start booking to discover all the available options and offers. Find available rooms here.

Welcome Pickups

One of the best, most trustworthy, and most convenient 5-star airport taxi companies for your airport transfer based on user reviews across various platforms such as Google, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot. Welcome Pickups offers a great experience and safety to its travelers. Local English-speaking drivers, flat, pre-paid fee, flight monitoring for delays, 24/7 Customer support + free cancellation. Check your options here.

Air Bnb

With over one million properties all around the world, and always increasing, ideal for a low budget stay even in expensive areas. Furthermore, because you stay in people’s villas, houses or flats you are made to feel more at home by the host of each destination and the homely surroundings.

Hotels.com

Registering here is free and easy. Every hotel on this platform will grant a free tenth night, so if you stay for ten nights the tenth night is free. 

Trip Advisor

This is a very well known website for travellers with a lot of information. It is the largest travelling platform in the world where you can view thousands of reviews, opinions and recommendations as to where and how to travel, even for the most demanding traveller. Look, compare and then visit.

Omio.com

Whatever you need is a click away. Find the best offers from the best companies for trains, buses, planes and ships. Travel to Canada, the USA and Europe. We use it often when we are already abroad and want to visit a neighbouring country. Find available routes here.

Kiwi.com

The first website which every traveller always checks with. Direct, fast pricing and comparing of air tickets throughout the world. We love the filter “Towards any destination” which presents to us, in order of pricing, all the flights available to our chosen destination. The best solution for a last minute trip. Find your flights to Romania here.

GetYourGuide

A site which all adventurous travellers love, as well as those who wish to visit museums and concerts. All the available activities and tours around the world gathered in a concise list. Read the reviews from each traveller well before booking your activities in order to avoid any misunderstandings with the organisers of each activity as to the days and times. We have tried it many times in America, Asia and Africa without any problems. Book your activities here.

Discover Cars

For car rentals at the lowest prices. Car service in over 150 countries, with many offers and service in over 12 languages and with any special requirements.

Hotel Tonight

Here you will find last minute discounts on vacancies from hotels. This is an amazingly simple app and it doesn’t take long to book a room.You may search in each town for sights and maps. Furthermore, you can check the reviews and photos of other travellers in order to be sure about the reliability of each hotel. It also has a 24/7 customer service. If you’re stuck somewhere and you need a room desperately, this is the perfect app for you.

City Maps 2Go

Maps for travelling, hiking, mountain cycling and many other activities. A necessary app for every adventure, activity or touring abroad. You may only download one map per country, whereas it was possible to download two in the past. For an additional map you need to pay. Alternatively, as soon as you have looked at the information on a map you can delete it and then download a new one. 

You can mark all the places of interest on the map you have downloaded. Whether they are sights, shops, or restaurants you can use the directions guide to get there. The great advantage to this app is that you don’t need to have internet connection although it might get stuck a few times. Nevertheless, it is quite a reliable and useful app.

EXTRA TIP: When you mark most points of interest before your trip, you can see approximately in which area you will need to book a room. To be as close as possible to all points of interest.

iVisa.com

Information and applications for the travel documents you need, depending on your origin and destination, can be found here.

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