Romania, the largest of the Balkan states, sits at Europe’s crossroads and is an ancient land that has witnessed the rule of the Romans, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. Its unique historical legacy is one reason why Romanian citizens often refer to themselves as ‘an island of Latinos’ in a ‘sea of Slavs’. It’s impossible not to be charmed by Romania, with a culture so different from other European destinations.
Romania values its heritage, even as it makes rapid strides in modernisation – an ideal destination for the discerning traveller.
This Romania Country Guide gives some useful background information about this wonderful country. A great way to see the local highlights of Romania and experience the local culture is by taking a Romania tour.
Average Restaurant Prices:
Budget 4 – 5 euro
Mid-range 8 – 12 euro
Top End 25 – 30 eur
Average Accommodation Prices:
Budget 15 eur / pers / in hostel
Mid-range 40 – 50 eur / DBL room
Top End 150 – 200 eur / DBL room
Check out our Romania weather page for some handy information regarding the climate and weather in Romania. Our six-day Bucharest weather forecast will help in planning the upcoming weeks activities.
Romania’s country code is +40. Public telephones are present everywhere and have international dialling facility; most of them require a calling card. In hotels, all calls are charged. Long-distance calls often attract high service charges.
Several international mobile phone companies provide roaming facilities. Usually the coverage of the mobile phones networks is to be found countrywide. Some small isolated parts of Romania may have problems with the connection. Local mobile phones are available for hire.
Almost all 3*, 4* and 5* hotels in Romania have an internet connection on-site. Internet cafés are aplenty in Romania; some offer Wi-Fi.
It takes a week for airmail to reach Western Europe.
Post office hours: Monday to Friday 07:30 hrs to 20:00 hrs, Saturday 08:00 hrs to 14:00 hrs.
In both Romania and neighbouring Moldova, the official currency has the same name – leu – though they are separate currencies with differing exchange rates. Most prices in Romania are displayed in Lei; in Moldova, you’ll see US dollar prices.
The 1990’s saw the economy on a roller coaster ride because of the radical shift in policy from a Soviet-style controlled economy to a free market. Both Romanian and Moldavian currencies are now stabilizing. Romania is a member of the European Union. Even before it joined the EU, price levels in Romania had begun to rise, matching those of other East European members of the EU.
ATMs are aplenty in Romania and you can withdraw cash (in lei) 24 x 7 on internationally accepted credit cards like Cirrus Plus, MasterCard, Visa or Eurocard. You can also take cash advances on credit cards in your home currency from certain banks like the Banca Comercial? Român?.
If you’re visiting neighbouring Moldova, you can find ATMs easily enough in the capital, Chisinau, but not in other towns. Keep your passport handy if you wish to change dollars, euros or pounds. Watch out for money-changers who may have goons stationed outside their shops – they’re best avoided! Don’t get taken in by advertisements offering highly attractive rates – you could get tricked into mistaking a ‘9’ for a ‘0’, or other such dodgy practices. Always count your money carefully before leaving.
Black market operations are not very apparent. Never change money on the street, though.
Electricity in Romania is 220 (230) Volts, 50 Hz. Standard plugs are continental two-pin plugs.
For a list of Romanian embassies around the world and foreign embassies within Romania, check out EmbassyWorld.com.
Population: 21.6 million people
Total Area: 238,391 sq km (92,043 sq miles).
Capital: Bucharest (2 million people)
Time Zone: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
For current time in Bucharest, click on this link to TimeAndDate.com.
Romania’s location and geography give it a natural advantage as a great travel destination. Centred at the crossroads of eastern and western Europe, Romania has three important geographical features – the Carpathian range, the Danube and the Black Sea. The potential for tourism is good, with 422 nature reserves, two reserves of scientific interest, eight sightseeing regions and 31 monuments. All these varied attractions are accessible from Bucharest, the capital.
A little forethought is the best way to remain healthy on an overseas trip. For any existing health problems, carry sufficient medication to see you through your entire trip. Taking spare contact lenses and an extra pair of glasses – your optical prescription could spare you several problems too. Carry your medication in original, properly labelled containers. If necessary, ask your doctor to issue a letter describing your condition and listing the medications required (with generic names). Such a letter is even more of a necessity if you need to carry needles and syringes.
Medical care may not always be easily available in far flung areas. Your embassy, consulate or five-star hotels are good sources of information about local doctors and clinics. Check with them about medical facilities in the smaller towns or countryside. Be wary of improperly sterilized equipment, which increases the risk of Hepatitis B and HIV transmission.
EU citizens carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are covered for most medical aid. The EHIC is valid for three to five years; it does not offer cover for non-emergencies or repatriation in case of emergency. Visitors from other countries should enquire beforehand if any reciprocal arrangements exist between their country and Romania for free medical aid. You may also avail of health insurance that insures you for worst case scenarios like an accident that may need you to be flown home immediately.
Arguably Romania’s most important archaeological find are the remains of Europe’s oldest specimens of Homo sapiens. Approximately 42000 years old, these remains, found in the “Cave With Bones”, are thought to be those of the first humans to enter the continent. The earliest written proof of people living in current day Romania is found in Book IV of Herodotus’ Histories (written around 440 BCE), where he mentions the Getae tribes.
The chief language spoken by 91% of the population is Romanian according to the 2002 census. This is the official language of the country according to the Constitution and law 1206 of 2006. However, there are 14 other languages in Romania which are still in use. The law protects the linguistic rights of minority groups who constitute over 20% of a region’s population. Besides Romanian, you’ll come across Hungarian being spoken in many towns and cities, followed by German and Russian to a lesser extent. English-speaking locals will be found in tourist centres.
Romania is located in Southeastern Europe. it is bordered to the north and east by Moldova and Ukraine, the southeast by the Black Sea, the south by Bulgaria, the southwest by Serbia and in the west by Hungary. To view a map of Romania, click on this link to WorldAtlas.com.
People and Culture
Romania’s rich culture goes back to the Dacians, an ancient Indo-European people who lived in the area. The Dacians were the followers of the Trac people. Nowadays you can still find traditions and local ethnic costumes in Maramures and Moldova (the northern part of the country) because this part of Romania was never under the Roman domination. The Romans also left their imprint on Romanian culture. Romanian festivals are celebrated with traditional dances and colourful ethnic costumes. Wood carving, carpet weaving and pottery are some of Romania’s traditional occupations. Painted glass and decorative Easter eggs are two of Romania’s specialized folk arts. You can see them in markets and shops near tourist attractions all over the country.
Follow the link to view a current list of public holidays in Romania.
Romania is a secular state and the majority of the population are followers of the Romanian Orthodox Church. As many as 86.7% of people follow the Eastern Orthodox Church, according to the 2002 census. Roman Catholics form 4.7 % and Protestants 3.7 % of the population. Another 1.5 % of the people belong to Pentecostal denominations and a tiny 0.9 % belong to the Romanian Greek-Catholic church. A small but important Muslim minority of 67500 people, mostly of Turkish descent, lives in Dobrogea. Around 6000 Jews also live in Romania according to the 2002 census.
Things to See
Romania is richly endowed with a variety of holiday options. For those interested in heritage and culture, there are the medieval-era towns of Transylvania, Constanta, Histria fortress, Sarmisegetuza fortress, archaeological sites in Dobrogea, Orastiei Mountains, Bucovina’s renowned Painted Monasteries, the quaint villages of Maramures and Bucharest’s superb architecture. The Danube Delta is steeped in romance. The many Black Sea resorts and spas offer a delightful opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate body and mind, while the Carpathians beckon those with a yen for adventure. For more exciting things to see and do in Romania visit our Romania Destination Guide.
All travellers visiting Romania are required to have a passport valid for a minimum of six months when entering the country. Citizens of USA and the EU can stay up to 90 days without obtaining a prior visa. Visitors from the CIS countries need no visa. Moldavians, however, must possess the following to enter the country: a letter of invitation from Romanian authorities, proof of adequate funds for their visit and a return or onward ticket from Romania. Most other nationals need a visa and should apply for one by showing an official invitation letter endorsed by Romanian authorities.