Whether you’re drawn to medieval castles, charming villages, or the allure of traditional cuisine, this Romania travel guide is your gateway to uncovering the wonders of this Eastern European gem. From navigating the best times to visit and immersing yourself in local customs to discovering hidden attractions and budget-friendly tips, embark on a journey through Romania that promises to captivate your senses and ignite your sense of adventure.
Fast Facts About Romania
- Climate: Experience diverse climates, from temperate in the south to continental in the interior. Summers can reach 86°F (30°C), while winters drop to 23°F (-5°C) on average.
- Local Currency: The Romanian Leu (RON) is the official currency. Currency exchange is available at airports and banks, and credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas.
- Power Voltage: Romania uses a standard voltage of 230V. Make sure to bring the right plug adapters and voltage converters for your devices.
- Language: Romanian is the official language, but English is spoken in tourist areas and cities, making communication easier.
- Religion: The predominant religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, with influences from Catholicism and other faiths.
- Safety: Romania is generally safe for travelers. Exercise standard precautions and be mindful of your belongings in crowded places.
- Cultural Etiquette: Embrace local customs by dressing modestly, especially in churches and monasteries. A handshake is the usual form of greeting.
- Tipping: Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory. Leaving 5-10% of the bill is customary in restaurants.
Best Time to Visit Romania: Seasons and Festivals
- Spring (April to June): Witness the country coming to life with blooming flowers and pleasant temperatures, ideal for exploring cities and countryside.
- Summer (July to August): Enjoy warm weather and outdoor activities, with festivals and events filling the calendar.
- Autumn (September to October): Experience the stunning fall foliage and fewer crowds, perfect for wine tasting and hiking.
- Winter (December to February): Embrace the winter wonderland as you explore ski resorts and experience traditional Christmas markets.
- Sibiu International Theatre Festival (June): Immerse yourself in world-class theater performances in the charming city of Sibiu.
- Bucharest International Jazz Competition (May): Tap your feet to the rhythm of international jazz talents competing in Bucharest.
- Medieval Festival in Sighișoara (July): Step back in time at this medieval-themed festival in the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.
- Transylvania International Film Festival (May/June): Celebrate cinema in the heart of Transylvania, screening a diverse range of films.
- Mărțișor (March 1): Join locals in celebrating the arrival of spring with small tokens exchanged for good luck and friendship.
Top Attractions and Things to See and Do in Romania
- Bran Castle: Explore the legendary Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, perched dramatically atop a hill.
- Peles Castle: Marvel at the fairytale-like architecture of Peles Castle, surrounded by the picturesque Carpathian Mountains.
- Transfagarasan Highway: Drive along one of the world’s most scenic roads, winding through the breathtaking Fagaras Mountains.
- Danube Delta: Discover the UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, home to diverse wildlife and a paradise for birdwatchers.
- Sibiu: Roam the charming streets of Sibiu, with its medieval architecture and vibrant cultural scene.
- Bucharest: Immerse yourself in the capital’s mix of history and modernity, exploring museums, galleries, and lively markets.
- Turda Salt Mine: Descend into this underground wonder, featuring an amusement park, lake, and surreal salt formations.
- Maramures Wooden Churches: Admire the intricate craftsmanship of these UNESCO-listed wooden churches, each a masterpiece.
The Best Ways To Get Around Romania
- Train: Romania boasts an extensive train network connecting major cities, offering a scenic and affordable mode of travel.
- Public Buses: Reliable and cost-effective, buses are a convenient way to reach destinations not covered by trains.
- Metro: In Bucharest, the metro system provides efficient access to key attractions and neighborhoods.
- Rental Cars: Renting a car provides flexibility for exploring remote areas and picturesque landscapes.
- Trams and Trolleys: Many cities, like Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara, have tram and trolley networks for convenient urban travel.
Accommodation Tips: Romania
- Boutique Guesthouses: Immerse yourself in local charm by opting for cozy guesthouses, like those in Sibiu’s historic neighborhoods.
- Budget Hostels: Stretch your budget with affordable hostels in major cities like Bucharest, ideal for solo travelers and backpackers.
- Traditional Inns: Experience Romanian hospitality at traditional inns, offering comfortable stays and a glimpse into local life.
- Rural Retreats: Escape to the countryside with agritourism options, staying on working farms and enjoying authentic experiences.
- Luxury Hotels: Treat yourself to luxurious stays in hotels like Hotel Continental in Timisoara, blending modern amenities with historic elegance.
Romania Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
- Free Museums: Explore Romania’s heritage without spending a dime at attractions like the National Museum of Romanian Peasant.
- Picnic in Parks: Save on meals by enjoying a picnic in beautiful parks like Herastrau Park in Bucharest.
- City Cards: Invest in city cards like the Cluj-Napoca Card, offering discounts on attractions, transportation, and dining.
- Walking Tours: Discover cities like Brasov through free walking tours, gaining insights from knowledgeable local guides.
- Local Eateries: Savor affordable and delicious meals at local eateries like La Mama in Bucharest, known for its traditional Romanian cuisine.
Culinary Delights and Traditional Cuisine in Romania
- Mămăligă: Indulge in this hearty polenta dish, often served with cheese, sour cream, and various meats.
- Sarmale: Try these flavorful cabbage rolls stuffed with a mix of minced meat and rice, served with a dollop of sour cream.
- Mici: Sink your teeth into grilled mici, a type of skinless sausage popular as street food.
- Ciorbă: Savor a variety of sour soups, such as Ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup) and Ciorbă de fasole (bean soup).
- Papanasi: Delight in papanasi, a traditional dessert made of fried dough, often topped with sour cream and jam.
Souvenir Ideas: Bringing a Piece of Romania Home
- Traditional Textiles: Purchase handwoven rugs, blankets, and embroidered fabrics showcasing Romania’s artistic heritage.
- Handmade Ceramics: Invest in intricately crafted ceramics, ranging from pottery to decorative tiles.
- Local Wines: Bring back a bottle of Romanian wine, produced in regions like Transylvania and Moldova.
- Wooden Carvings: Choose from a variety of wooden carvings, from intricately detailed sculptures to functional utensils.
- Eggshell Painted Crafts: Admire and purchase delicate crafts adorned with intricate designs painted on eggshells.