Romania remains one of the seriously most underrated and under-visited countries in Europe. When most people (particularly Americans) think of Romania, either they don’t know what/where it is or they immediately think of evil, troll-looking peasants and Dracula imagery. Well, let me tell you, Romania is one of the most beautiful, wonderful countries I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting (and living in!).
Getting to Romania
If you’re visiting Romania from outside Europe, chances are you’ll fly into Bucharest, the capital city and major international airport.
If you’re arriving from within Europe, there are several smaller airports in Romania (Cluj, Sibiu, Timișoara, Iași, etc.). Or, train travel is also possible. When I arrived in Sibiu, I took a 10+ hour train ride from Budapest.
While Romania is a member of the European Union, it is not a Schengen State, so border control is implemented.
When to go
Romania has something to offer for every time of year. While tourism has increased in the country in recent years, it is still far from the likes of France or Italy in terms of volume.
So, summers, while busier than shoulder months, are busy, but not overly so. The large cities (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca) are very hot in the summers but the Black Sea coast offers a great reprieve from the oppressive heat. For an interesting party experience, check out the tiny seaside village of Vama Veche, one of the most underrated beach destinations in Europe!
Romania has a ton of mountain ranges within its borders, so skiing, snowboarding, and other snow sports are popular winter activities.
In the shoulder season, March-May and September-October, accommodations will be slightly cheaper and there are still plenty of things to do, both outdoors and indoors.
What to see
There are a ton of cities, towns, and villages in Romania worth visiting. Depending on your specific interests, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for.
|Bucharest||Capital City, Parliament Palace, Folk Museums|
|Iași||Cathedrals, Palace of Culture, City Parks|
|Cluj-Napoca||Unofficial Capital of Transilvania with Hungarian and Saxon Landmarks|
|Sibiu||Houses with Eyes, Council Tower, Saxon City in Transilvania|
|Brașov||Baroque Architecture, Transilvanian City, Brasov Day Trips to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)|
|Sighișoara||Birthplace of Dracula, Middle Ages, Clock Towers|
|Constanța||Black Sea City, Abandoned Casino, Roman Mosaics Complex|
|Sinaia||Mountain Town, Monastery, Peleș Castle|
|Maramureș County||Monasteries, Churches, Mountains|
|Timișoara||Cathedral, Memorial Museum of 1989 Revolution|
|Oradea||Apuseni Nature Park, Bishop’s Palace, King Ferdinand Square|
|Alba Iulia||Fortresses, Cathedrals, Monasteries|
|Hunedoara||Castles, Middle Ages, Palaces|
|Vama Veche||Beaches, Camping, Party Village on the Black Sea|
Aside from visiting the popular cities, other must-see things in Romania include the Danube Delta, ancient castles, painted monasteries, and Dacian ruins.
Traveling within Romania
Romania’s infrastructure (particularly the highway system) is very underdeveloped. It’s for this reason that Romanians have a reputation for being crazy drivers – it’s because they have no roads! Rent a car if you’re a confident driver – don’t forget to purchase an International Driving Permit.
In contrast to other European countries, the train system is lacking. In Romania, buses tend to be a bit faster (and a bit more expensive) than trains. Flixbus is available in the country, but if you’re traveling with a furry friend, they are not pet-friendly.
Blahblah car is popular to grab a ride with locals, and most people from big cities under 40 will speak English.
Detailed Romania Articles
Money-saving tip: Don’t input any dates to scan the best available times to go OR simply input ‘Romania’ instead of a specific airport – you may get a much cheaper flight!
When I travel, I personally prefer to use VRBO. I book an entire apartment, giving me my privacy and the comfort of home amenities, such as a kitchen and washing machine. Since my dog(s) travel with me, it also allows me to filter based on pet-friendliness without the stress of disturbing hotel guests.
If you’re travelling long-term, Airbnb usually offers discounts for stays of a month or more – the discounts are significant, sometimes 50-60%! It winds up being cheaper than what I would have paid for my apartment rent back in the USA. In Romania, this can mean having an entire apartment to yourself for around $400-500 USD! In larger cities the rentals are more expensive.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get a discount by using my link below.
If you’re a budget-conscious traveler and not traveling long-term, hostels are a great option and are abundant in Romania.
For standard hotel stays, hotels.com usually offers the best deals.
Romania is a very safe country, for families, couples, solo female travelers – everyone. Pick-pocketing is not near as prevalent as it is in other Western European countries, and Romanian people are genuinely helpful.
That being said, you should still be aware of the top scams in Romania and always trust your judgment.
Money saving tips
Given the fact that it’s such an inexpensive country, there isn’t too much for me to write here.
If you’re on a super-strict budget, order soup at restaurants – they are hearty and usually come with bread. It’s definitely enough for me for dinner. Or grab some traditional Romanian street food, covrigi, for a snack on-the-go.
Get on Pinterest and find ‘free things to do in….’ whichever city you find yourself in. There are a ton of free things to do in Romania.
Covid resources for Romania
Before booking your next flight or accommodations, be sure to stay up-to-date with travel restrictions in Romania due to COVID-19.