Although perhaps not your typical European holiday destination, Romania’s rich heritage and intriguing culture is enough to tempt any imaginative traveller to its rugged mountains and quaint villages. Legend and real life collide in the region of Transylvania, the setting of Dracula, while its medieval cities possess a trapped-in time quality. Here are some things to know before travelling to Romania...

Climate & Weather in Romania

Romania has a temperate continental climate, with warm to hot summers and cold winters, characterised by heavy storms. During summer, temperatures average around 21.5°C in the capital of Bucharest, while in winter, temperatures drop below 0°C. There is regional climatic variation between the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube Delta, with higher rainfall in the mountainous regions and drier eastern regions. The western parts of the country also tend to see milder winters.

Currency in Romania

The currency in Romania is the Romanian leu (RON) and the country is one of the few in the EU that has not adopted the euro as its unit of currency. Most businesses do accept credit cards, however credit card fraud can be a risk, so it’s worth carrying some cash. ATMs that accept international credit and debit cards are widely available, although you may incur a fee for withdrawing money. It is illegal to change money on the streets. You should change money only in recognised exchange shops, banks and hotels. Bringing an international card (with no transaction fee) is recommended for establishments which accept credit card payments. There is a large tipping culture in Romania and tipping between 10 and 15% is appropriate if you’re satisfied with your service.

Food & Drink in Romania

Elements of Turkish, Germanic and Hungarian culinary influences are apparent within Romanian cuisine and traditionally the nation’s food features meat as a staple, with soup and vegetables serving as accompaniments. Some prominent dishes include ciolan afumat (smoked pork knuckle with beans), sarmale (cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, meat and herbs) and mamaliga (polenta served with sour cream). Various types of stew (tocane) are also commonly found in Romania, as well as sour soups, such as ciorba de peri?oare (Romanian meatball soup). In terms of sweet treats, amandine is a traditional chocolate sponge cake filled with almonds, papana?i is a popular fried pastry filled with cream.

In terms of drinks, Romanians usually take their coffee black and sweet as they do in Turkey; ask for cafea cu lapte if you would like milk or fara zahar without sugar. The national drink is tuica, a powerful brandy made of plums, while most beer served in Romania is European-style lager. Romania also produces good wine, including the white Grasa from Cotnari and sweet dessert wines from Murfatlar.

Transport in Romania

Public transport in Romania is fairly well developed, especially in Bucharest, and most cities and towns can be reached via either bus or train. Both bus services and trains are inexpensive and widely available. Taxis in Romania are also affordable, although be sure to use registered companies and avoid unlicensed street taxis, and Uber is available in the larger cities. While renting a car is possible, driving can be hazardous due to the reckless driving culture, badly maintained roads and icy winter weather. Parking is also expensive in the cities.

Language in Romania

The official language of Romania is Romanian, a Romance language with similarities to Italian. A number of minority languages are also spoken there, including Hungarian and Romani. Around 30% of the population speak English, so it’s worth learning some useful Romanian phrases before travelling. Mul?umesc means ‘thank you’, buna ziua is ‘good day’ and va rog is ‘please’.

Etiquette in Romania

Romanians are generally rather formal and reserved, especially during initial meetings, and a handshake is considered a polite greeting. When dining at somebody’s home, wait until you hear the host say the phrase pofta buna, meaning ‘good appetite’ before you begin eating.

Health & Safety in Romania

Violent crime is rare, however petty theft is a risk in large towns, especially Bucharest, and pickpockets operate in busy areas, so take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Don’t leave valuables unattended, remain vigilant in crowded areas and be sure to have travel insurance for your possessions. Always keep your passport, air ticket and other valuable items in a safe place, report any incidents of crime to the local police and get a police report.

Road conditions are variable and driving standards can be poor, so be careful if renting a car and driving around the country. Ensure the car is equipped for extreme conditions if you’re driving during winter.

Things to Bring to Romania

Suncream and sunhats and are essentials when visiting during the summer months, while warm clothing and waterproofs are advised for the winter. Comfortable walking shoes are also a must for exploring the cities, as well as rural and mountainous regions. And don’t forget to pack European adapters.

Contact one of our Romania specialists