8 Romania Travel Tips for Your First Visit

8 Romania Travel Tips for Your First Visit

Romania’s an underrated destination in Europe that deserves more travellers. Here’s what you need to know before you go.

I think it’s safe to say that majority of people from outside of Romania know almost nothing about this quiet gem of a country. It is also rather unfortunate to say that many have the misconception that Romania is a backward country, one that is not travel-friendly. However, the truth is far from that.

After travelling around Romania for over a month, I found it to be a beautiful and wondrous country that deserves to be on your Eurotrip itinerary. Romania is, from the perspective of a traveller, not so far off from its more developed neighbours in the west. Nonetheless, there are still certain things that the first-time traveller should take note of. With these tips, rest assured that you will truly enjoy what Romania has to offer, minus the worries!

Also read: 7 Reasons to Visit Romania Instead of The Usual European Destinations

romania travel tips

1. Buy bottled water

Tap water in Romania isn’t the safest for consumption. Follow what the locals do and stick to bottled water. After all, they don’t cost much; a big 1.5L bottle at a local supermarket will set you back a few cents.

2. Use the affordable public transportation or Uber to get around

Romanians rely heavily on the country’s network of metro, trams and buses. The public transportation system works pretty well, especially in the capital Bucharest, and cost next to nothing – for most travellers, that is. However, if you’re in a rush or would like a more convenient option, you can order an Uber and not feel guilty about it. They cost a little less than half of what you pay for Uber/Grab in Singapore where I live, making it a rather cost-effective and very safe way to get around.

3. Take note that opening hours may not be accurate

Romanians are very laid-back people. In line with this, the opening hours on stores may not always be accurate as reflected online. Even the popular “touristy” spots like the iconic Carturesti Carusel (a gigantic bookstore and cafe) may close earlier than advertised. When I visited this bookstore, it closed an hour earlier because they didn’t have many customers on that rainy night.

There were many other instances during my trip when shops would close early (or not open at all) for various reasons. It’s best to visit certain cafes or places way ahead of its closing time and later than its opening hours to ensure that you get the most out of your trip there.

4. Google Maps works pretty well

I relied heavily on Google Maps to get around the cities in Romania. The metro system is synced well with Google Maps in Bucharest so you can go about planning your metro routes with no trouble at all.

While I haven’t had issues with finding landmarks, cafes and hostels, I’ve met travellers who had gotten lost as Google Maps hadn’t provided them with the right location when they searched for the name of a place. Therefore, I would advise you to put in the exact address, rather than the name of the place, to make sure that you’ll get to the right location.

5. Hostels are an excellent option; otherwise, try Airbnb

romania travel tips

Image credit: Podstel Bucharest

The hostel culture is trending in Bucharest and there are excellent affordable hostels available. Some of my favourite hostels are in fact found in this city since they offer such great value for money. My personal picks for hostels in Romania include Podstel Bucharest and First Hostel Bucharest in Bucharest and Hostel PanGeea in Sibiu. On average, they cost US$6-15 for a night in a dorm room.

My Airbnb apartment in Brasov, Romania

If hostels are not your thing, or if certain cities in Romania do not offer hostels, Airbnb houses or private rooms would be a fantastic choice. On average, a private apartment for two will cost around US$35-45 a night.

6. Bring Euros/USD

Currency exchange rates in most of the Eastern European countries are fantastic, meaning there is almost no loss if you exchange your cash in Euros or USD. Even money changers located right smack in the town centre can offer very decent exchange rates with no commission. You can’t get this in Western Europe!

7. Transact in RON (Romanian LEI) rather than Euros

Sure, taxi drivers and some restaurants and shops accept Euros, but their rates are lousy. You can easily pay up to four times more for a taxi fare if you transact in Euros rather than the local Romanian currency.

To get your money’s worth, prepare Euros or USD, exchange them for RON and spend in the local currency. Alternatively, if you’d like to pay with Euros, you can use your credit card instead of cash for a more favourable rate.

8. You can feel safe to travel in Romania

romania travel tips

Last but not least, I want to reiterate that Romania is very safe for travellers, contrary to what many may think. 

Romania has a very low crime rate, plus some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Also, as Romania is still not popular amongst tourists, there are very few elaborate tourist scams. Just watch out for pickpockets, but even those are not so common at all. Some even argue that perhaps the biggest safety concern for tourists is driving-related due to the locals’ disregard for driving laws. So basically, if you’re not driving in Romania – there is practically nothing to worry about!

Also read: 5 Reasons to Visit Romania’s Fairytale City, Sibiu

So, put aside those fears or worries and enjoy everything that Romania has to offer!

About Author

Jody C.
Jody C.

Jody is passionate for travel, good design and iced coffee. She has been to 18 countries in her early 20s and is enjoying the process of becoming a true citizen of the world. Being a creative, she is a stickler for good aesthetic – which she channels into her instagram @Jodeschan. She also shares her love for travel and design through writing and minimalist photography through her creative space postbyjo.co.


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