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.
|Capital City, Parliament Palace, Folk Museums
|Cathedrals, Palace of Culture, City Parks
|Unofficial Capital of Transilvania with Hungarian and Saxon Landmarks
|Houses with Eyes, Council Tower, Saxon City in Transilvania
|Baroque Architecture, Transilvanian City, Brasov Day Trips to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)
|Birthplace of Dracula, Middle Ages, Clock Towers
|Black Sea City, Abandoned Casino, Roman Mosaics Complex
|Mountain Town, Monastery, Peleș Castle
|Monasteries, Churches, Mountains
|Cathedral, Memorial Museum of 1989 Revolution
|Apuseni Nature Park, Bishop’s Palace, King Ferdinand Square
|Fortresses, Cathedrals, Monasteries
|Castles, Middle Ages, Palaces
|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 traveling long-term, VRBO 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’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.
FAQs) – Traveling to Romania
Do I need a visa to visit Romania?
- Most travelers from the United States and many other countries do not require a visa for short stays (up to 90 days) for tourism or business purposes in Romania. Visa requirements can vary based on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. Check with the nearest Romanian embassy or consulate for the latest visa information.
What’s the best time to visit Romania?
- Romania is a year-round destination with four distinct seasons. Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) offer mild weather and beautiful landscapes. Summer (June to August) is perfect for outdoor activities, while winter (December to February) is ideal for winter sports enthusiasts.
What’s the currency in Romania, and can I use credit cards?
- The official currency is the Romanian Leu (RON), and credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas. However, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially when visiting rural regions.
What languages are spoken in Romania?
- The official language is Romanian. While English is not as commonly spoken as in some other European countries, you’ll find English speakers in major cities and tourist areas.
Is tap water safe to drink in Romania?
- Tap water is generally safe to drink in Romania, especially in major cities. In rural areas, it’s recommended to drink bottled water.
How do I get around Romania?
- Romania has a network of trains, buses, and trams in cities like Bucharest. Rental cars are available for exploring rural areas and historic sites. For short distances within cities, you can also use taxis.
What are some must-visit places in Romania?
- Romania offers attractions such as Bucharest (the capital), Transylvania with its castles, the Painted Monasteries of Northern Moldova, and the Carpathian Mountains. Explore medieval towns, fortresses, and pristine natural landscapes.
What is Romanian cuisine like, and are there vegetarian/vegan options?
- Romanian cuisine includes dishes like mămăligă (polenta), sarmale (cabbage rolls), and mici (sausages). Vegetarian and vegan options are available, but it’s a good idea to check with the restaurant in advance.
Is it customary to tip in Romania?
- Tipping is customary in Romania. A 10-15% tip for good service in restaurants is common. In cafes, rounding up the bill is appreciated.
Is it safe to travel in Romania?
- Romania is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. Use common-sense precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings and being aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas.
What should I pack for my trip to Romania?
- Pack clothing appropriate for the season and activities you have planned. Comfortable walking shoes, warm layers for mountain regions, and rain gear can be essential.
What is the legal drinking age in Romania?
- The legal drinking age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages in Romania is 18 years old. Please adhere to these age restrictions when ordering alcoholic drinks in bars and restaurants.