Five Things First Time Travellers To Romania Should Know
- The official currency in Romania is the New Leu. With a low cost of living, you'll have a hard time getting change for larger bills. If the ATM gives you anything higher than RON 50, the best places to break the notes is at restaurants.
- You can pay for most things with a card. But once you leave the major cities of Romania cash is king. Always have some money on you and plan ahead in case ATMs are few and far between.
- The official language of Romania is Romanian. Due to its similarities to other major Latin-based languages, most of the locals speak either French, Italian or Spanish. For English travellers, it's advised to learn a few words and phrases as only people in the tourism industry will be able to understand you.
- Tipping is customary in Romania. If you're at a restaurant, it's customary to add a 10% tip on top of the bill. If you thought the service was exceptional, it's common to leave a 15-20% gratuity. You'll also need to tip tour guides in Romania including the free walking tours.
- Romania has one of the fastest internet connections in the world. If you need to get online to check your emails or social media, you won't have a problem. Decent internet is free in most public areas as well as most cafes and hotels.
Best Time To Visit Romania
Romania is a great destination to visit any time of the year. Deciding when to go all depends on your interests and what you want to see while you're there.
If you want to spend your holiday hiking in the Carpathian Mountains, plan your trip between April and September. Temperatures are mild, and the landscape is in bloom with hundreds of wildflowers. Birdwatching in the Danube Delta is also at its best towards the end of May.
The best time to visit the Black Sea is from June to early September. The weather is warm, and the cold waters are a welcomed relief from the scorching temperatures. But June to August is also the high season in Romania. Book your accommodation well in advance as the locals flock here for their summer holidays.
April to May and September to October are Romania's shoulder seasons. You'll find better deals on hotel rates and fewer crowds at the country's top attractions. One thing to keep in mind is that some places will close or reduce their hours during these months.
The cheapest and quietest time to visit Romania is during its winter months. From December to March, the summer crowds have left, and you'll have the country all to yourself. The only downside is that some of the smaller towns shut down and museums reduce their opening hours. But if you don't mind having a flexible itinerary, you'll find cheap flights and hotel rates.
Bucharest is the capital city of Romania. It's a wonderful blend of ancient and modern architecture and has become a hot spot for digital nomads.
The city is also home to an array of fascinating museums. Make sure you check out the National Museum of Art of Romania and the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History.
Brasov is a historical city in Romania that's known around the world for Dracula's castle, but the king of vampires isn't the city's only famous folktale. Brasov is said to be the place where the Pied Piper of Hamelin reemerged with the children he led astray.
Today, Brasov streets haven't lost their medieval feel. Its historic city centre is full of gorgeous 17th-century architecture and fascinating museums. Its top attractions include Bran Castle, the Black Church and the Biserica Neagra.
Sibiu is one of Romania's most popular destinations. One of the seven fortified citadels built by the Transylvanian Saxons, it oozes medieval charm.
Its top attraction is the Brukenthal Museum. Located inside the Brukenthal Palace, it opened its doors to the public in 1817. Inside you'll find an extensive art collection with pieces from Flemish, Dutch and Italian painters.
Top Attractions in Romania
No visit to Romania would be complete without visiting the home of Dracula. While there is no proof that Bram Stoker knew of the castle's existence, it's still believed to be the inspiration for his novel.
The castle dates back to the 13th century and is located on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia. Inside you'll find a museum that pays homage to the Romanian royals and showcases the art and furniture collected by Queen Maria.
You can reach the castle as a day trip from Brasov and hiking trails from the Bucegi end up here too.
Located on the Carpathian hillside, Peles is one of the most impressive castles in Europe. Built by King Carol I, it features a 4,000-piece weapon collection and a movie room where the first film in Romania was aired.
The architecture of the castle is an excellent example of the Neo-Renaissance style. It's decorated with ornate stonework, wood carvings and beautiful stained-glass windows.
You'll need at least a day to explore the 160 rooms, each with their own theme to show off the castle's collection of artwork and weaponry. There are also terrace gardens to explore, and guided tours are available on request.
Nestled between the Orastie Mountains, Samizegetusa Regia is one of Romania's most mysterious attractions. The area is full of ruins that are reminiscent of Stonehenge in England.
It was the capital of the ancient Dacian Empire and is considered the most significant site discovered from that period. Today, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must-visit for anyone fascinated with the world's ancient cultures.
Due to its remote location, Sarmizegetusa Regia is only accessible by car. You'll also have to walk a 2km trail before you reach this ancient site.
If you're a nature lover, a trip to Romania' Danube Delta is a must. It's the largest preserved river delta in Europe and is teeming with wildlife. Over 300 bird species travel from Egypt and China each year to breed or spend the summer here.
Other creatures that call the delta home are wildcats, wolves and wild boars. Inside its waters, you'll find 45 different species of fish as well as semi-aquatic creatures like otters.
The best time to visit the Danube Delta is during the springtime. You'll avoid the hordes of mosquitoes found here during the summer months, and the sunsets are at their most dramatic.
The Painted Monasteries are one of Romania's most-visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Located in Bucovina, the eight monasteries are painted with colourful frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Visitors will find scenes depicting Jesus, angels, demons, and more all over the exterior walls. It was initially designed to help the illiterate villagers understand the stories of the Bible and help to spread the word of God.
The most popular monasteries to visit are Humor, Moldovita and Patrauti. Visitors who want to spend more time exploring the region can stay at guesthouses in Vama and Secevita.
Major International Airports in Romania
- Henri Coanda International Airport
- Cluj International Airport
- Timisoara Traian Vuia International Airport
- Iasi International Airport
- George Enescu International Airport