Romania Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Romania in 2023
Welcome to Romania
If there were any synonyms for the word Romania, the most suitable ones would be authenticity, nature, and culture, as they perfectly capture the essence of this unique country. Romania is one of the biggest countries in Eastern/Central Europe, and one of the most visited in the region.
There are multiple tourist attractions such as its capital city Bucharest, the Danube River, the Black Sea, Dracula's Castle, the Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania, and many more. In this ultimate Romania travel guide we offer practical tips and recommendations to make your planning easier and more enjoyable.
Document checklist for Romania
Valid passport (three months validity beyond the date of departure)
Essential Romania travel information
Currency - Romanian Leu/Lei (RON). $1 is equivalent to approx. RON 4.60.
Daily budget for 1 person - Allow a daily budget of RON 306 ($66).
Languages - The official spoken language is Romanian, which has strong similarities to Italian. English is widely spoken, but take a list of practical Romanian words and expressions, just in case.
Socket type - Types C and F. Romania operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Time zone - Eastern European Standard Time (GMT+2).
Top 3 cities to visit - Bucharest, Brașov, and Sighișoara.
Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Danube Delta, Bran Castle (Dracula's Castle), and the Sphinx.
Visa information for Romania
Even though Romania is an EU member, it is not part of the Schengen Zone. Nevertheless, visiting Romania for tourism purposes is relatively easy as there are no visa requirements for many nationalities.
Citizens from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most European nations, don't need a visa to visit Romania for tourism purposes. However, from 2023 you will need to register for an ETIAS travel authorization to enter the country.
For some nationalities, visa requirements to visit Romania apply. Here you can check the nationalities that need a visa to visit Romania.
ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a visa waiver part of the new EU travel agreement. It's designed to help EU border authorities monitor travel within the region and improve security within the EU.
The Romanian ETIAS will be available, and mandatory, from the end of 2023 for all nationalities who are currently able to visit the area visa-free.
Typical costs and budget for Romania
The following is a basic guide to what you could spend daily on a mid-range budget.
Daily spending per person - Around 297 RON ($64) per day per person on a budget vacation, which includes:
Meals - RON 104 ($22) daily.
Transport - RON 79 ($17) daily.
Hotel - RON 114 ($25) per night for a double room.
A budget vacation for one week can cost up to RON 2,079 ($448) per person.
Transport and best ways to travel around Romania
There are several public transportation options to get around Romania, including trains, buses, car rentals, domestic flights, taxis, and similar public transport in cities.
Trains in Romania
The railway network in the country is very well-developed, affordable, and connects the whole national territory. This makes the train one of the most common means of transport to travel around Romania.
Services include Regional (R), which is the cheapest and slowest; InterRegional (IR), which is faster, more pricey, and requires seat booking in advance; and Inter-City (IC), which is the fastest and most expensive option. You can check train schedules on www.cfrcalatori.ro.
Buses in Romania
Regarding buses, there are different bus companies that offer cheap and fast connections between the major cities and popular towns in Romania. You can check the schedules of buses, coaches, and minibus maxitaxi on Autogari.
Driving in Romania
If you are interested in exploring remote areas of Romania, the best option is rental cars or hiring a taxi with a driver. Going on a road trip might be the best way to explore and discover Romania's remotest areas. Roads are well-marked and maintained.
Safety in Romania
Romania is overall a very safe country for tourists, but it does experience some petty crime, mainly in big cities such as Bucharest. Here we provide you with some general advice regarding safety:
Thieves disguised as police asking to see your ID and wallet is a common scam. Note that Romanian police won't stop you randomly and will not ask for your wallet.
Try to use ATMs only in banks, shops, or shopping malls, especially at night.
Crowded places may attract pickpockets, so take care of your belongings and leave essential documents in a safe deposit box at your accommodation, if possible.
Thefts at the hotel rooms can occur, so make sure you lock the door from the inside and lock up valuables in a safe when you are out and about.
When calling a taxi, always use reliable and well-known taxi companies or common ride-sharing apps. For taxis, try to negotiate a fixed price beforehand or make sure the meter is working correctly.
When clubbing or exploring the nightlife, pay attention to your drinks and avoid accepting food or drinks from strangers. Always check your receipt.
When traveling by train overnight, lock your cabin and don't leave your luggage unattended.
The current security situation regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine is volatile, so avoid traveling from Romania to Ukraine or border areas.
Purchase travel insurance in case of emergencies.
Weather in Romania
The weather in Romania is temperate, and there are four distinct seasons:
Spring - Offers pleasant weather with cool nights and mornings, but warmer during the day.
Summer - It can get very hot. Days are long and very sunny.
Autumn - Like many other European countries, autumn offers wet weather and cooler temperatures.
Winter - Prepare for cold weather, especially in the mountains. From December to mid-March, snowfall is abundant. Not the best time to drive!
Popular cities and towns in Romania
There are plenty of activities on offer in Romanian cities, from sightseeing museums and historic monuments to hiking and skiing in the mountains, and exploring remote charming villages. Here are some of the must-visits:
Bucharest - Also known as "Little Paris" due to its Belle Époque buildings, Bucharest is today an active metropolis. A great spot to kick off your trip!
Brasov - Located in the heart of Romania and surrounded by the majestic Southern Carpathian Mountains, this is one of the most gorgeous and most visited cities in the country.
Sighișoara - Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is a true gem, dating back to the 16th century. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (the Impaler), who inspired Bram Stoker's fictional character, Count Dracula.
Sibiu - Located in the region of Transylvania by the Cibin river, Sibiu was named the European Capital of Culture in 2007, bringing thousands of tourists to the city. There are many hiking and ski resorts in the Fagaras mountains near the city.
Timişoara - Located in the west of Romania, this town is very popular for its historic neighborhoods, unique architecture, and literary, cinematic, musical, and artistic festivals.
Must do and see in Romania
Your trip to Romania is not complete without seeing these fantastic sights:
Transylvania - Home to Brasov, Sibiu, and Sighișoara, three of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe, as well as magnificent castles such as Corvin and Bran (Count Dracula's castle).
Banat & Crisana - located on the western side of Romania, on the border with Hungary and Serbia. Due to its mountain peaks and unique landscapes, this region has numerous tourist attractions for adventurous travelers, like trekking, hunting, horseback riding, fishing, and mountain climbing.
Moldova & Bucovina - Located in Northeast Romania in the middle of the Carpathian Mountains and the Prut River, you’ll find Lasi, the capital of Moldova. It is home to the neo-Gothic Palace of Culture, and a variety of important museums. The region of Bucovina, is home to the world's greatest Byzantine art piece and the painted monasteries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Typical Romanian food to try
Because of its history, Romanian food is very diverse and offers a mixture of different cultural dishes:
Appetizers - Telemea and Cascaval cheeses, smoked meats, cold cuts, and vegetables usually accompanied by a traditional drink called ţuică.
Main dishes - Romania offers some of the best comfort foods, such as soups: ciorbă de perişoare (meatball soup), ciorbă ţărănească (vegetable soup, with or without meat), and ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup). Seafood is also popular, like grilled carp in brine, grilled Black Sea sturgeon, or grilled mackerel.
Desserts - Papanaşi, cottage cheese donuts with sour cream and fruit preserve are firm favorites among locals. Or try clătite cu brânză, Romania’s take on crêpes, filled with raisins and farmer's cheese. Cozonac is a holiday staple, and consists of sweet bread with walnuts, cream cheese or poppy seeds.
Vaccine information for Romania
It is important to know what routine vaccines and COVID-19 measures are required to enter Romania and any other European Union country before traveling.
We recommend you check out the CDC website to find out about all entry rules regarding vaccine requirements and any recommended guidance or medicine lists. Always consult your local GP before traveling.
Visiting Dracula’s castle and Transylvania in Romania
As a result of the legend of Bram Stoker's Count Dracula and Vlad Tepes - also referred to as Vlad the Impaler - who is said to have lived at Bran Castle, this 200-foot (61-meter) cliff in Transylvania is surrounded by an aura of mystery.
Bran Castle, one of the world's most famous castles, is now a museum dedicated to Queen Marie of Romania. On a guided tour you’ll learn about Romanian royalty, Transylvanian legends, and the connections to the famous vampire Count Dracula. Tickets are available online in advance.
Today, people seem to think Transylvania is a spooky place, but zero vampires are found here. What you will find is gorgeous hiking experiences, incredible nature, and beautiful medieval towns. The best time to visit Transylvania is late spring, summer, and the start of autumn, as it doesn’t get super hot in these regions and mass tourism is not yet a thing here.
Fun facts about Romania
Here are some fun and useful facts about Romania. Did you know…?
The name Romania comes from the Latin word "Romanus" which means citizen of the Roman Empire.
The word Transylvania means land beyond the forest, adding to the mystery of the region.
Trajan's Column is one of the most representative monuments or sculptures that survived the fall of the Roman Empire. It represents the visual history of the wars between the Dacians and the Romans, in which Trajan was named the central hero.
Vlad Draculea was a prince and military leader who fought against the invasion of the Turkish army in the 1400s. Also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), he inspired the fictional character Count Dracula, created by the Irish writer Bram Stoker in 1987.
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