Romania: traveler's information
Visas: EU, US, and Canadian citizens with valid passports may request a
30-day visitor's visa upon entry (at the border or in the airport); the
fee is around US$50. Others may need to obtain a visa from a Romanian
consulate prior to entry.
Health risks: no unusual health risks exist in cities. In rural areas,
especially in the Danube Delta, typhoid, encephalitis, cholera, and
malaria are occasionally present during hot summers.
Time: UTC + 2 hours in the winter, UTC + 3 hours in the summer (DST)
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz, standard EU outlets and plugs
Weights and measurements: metric
Currency: leu; exchange rate (as of February 2002) 1 USD = 31000 lei
Climate: temperate, similar to that of the US east coast (New York). Unpredictable springs, hot summers, rainy autumns and harsh winters.
Major cities of touristic interest: Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj, Brasov, Constanta, Iasi, Suceava
Accomodation and food: Accomodation will be your biggest expense while in Romania; even
the smallest and ugliest hotels in Bucharest charge at least $25 per night.
$10 a day should be enough for mid-range food at restaurants; large
hotels (Marriott, Hilton) have top-class restaurants that charge $20 or
more for a meal.
Transportation: Most major European airlines fly into the Bucharest
Otopeni airport. The national Romanian airline (TAROM), as well as a
few private airlines, have daily internal flights to major cities. The
cost of a one way ticket varies between $35 and $60; there are no
discounts for round trip travel. By far the easiest way to get to
almost any Romanian town is by train; the railroad network is extensive,
but the comfort of the trains is somewhat lacking (especially if you
move farther away from major routes). Driving is another option; the
quality of the roadways is better than a few years ago, but there is
still plenty of room for improvement. There is only one freeway,
between Bucharest and Pitesti; most other roads are two-lane undivided
highways that pass through cities, towns, and villages and are shared by
cars, tractors, pedestrians, bicyclists, horses, and horse-drawn carts
and carriages. Most towns and cities have an effective, cheap, but
fairly uncomfortable mass transit system of buses and light rail; Bucharest also has
underground metro service. There are two kinds of taxis in major
cities: private cab drivers, and taxis affiliated to a large, city-wide
company (and bearing their symbols). The latter are fairly cheap (less
than 30 US cents per mile), but the former have no rate control and can
rip you off.
When and where to go:
- The medieval painted monasteries in southern Bucovina, unique in
Europe and the world. Most of them were ordered erected by Stefan cel
Mare (Stefan the Great), ruler ("voievod") of Moldavia between 1457 and
1504, who erected a new monastery each time he won a battle against the
Ottomans. The winters in Bucovina are extremely harsh, and the summers
find the monasteries packed with tourists, so late spring and early
fall are the best times to visit.
- The Danube Delta is a birdwatcher's and nature lover's paradise. It
was designated a "reservation of the biosphere" by UNESCO.
- Hiking, climbing, and camping in the Carpathian mountains during the summer, and (in the winter) snow skiing in Poiana Brasov and the resorts in the valley of the
Prahova river (Predeal, Busteni, Sinaia, etc) The places and sights are
amazing, and Romania is one of the cheapest ski destinations in Europe
(less than $10 a day for lift tickets)
- The Black Sea resorts and mud baths are filled with tourists during
- The only festival of medieval music, arts and crafts takes place in
Sighisoara for two weeks each August.
Source: lonelyplanet.com and my personal experience- I lived there for 20 years, and still visit yearly