Welcome to one of the most underrated countries in Europe. Welcome to a land with stunning castles, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious food. We're here to share the best places to visit in Romania, and why it needs to be added to your bucket list.
Back in May we decided to do an Eastern European summer, with Bucharest as the first stop. We spent 3 months in the area, starting and finishing in Romania. In total we spent about 2 weeks in this amazing country, and seriously fell in love with it.
In this guide we're going to share everything you need to know for visiting, how to get around, and al of the best places to visit in Romania. Let's jump right in!
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Where is Romania?
How to Get to Romania
Romania is pretty well connected, as most big countries are in Europe. The easiest place to fly to is Bucharest, but there are also plenty of budget flights to other cities such as Cluj Napoca, Sibiu, or Timisoara.
Want to prebook a bus to Bucharest? Here are a few options:
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Entry Requirements for Romania
When it comes to traveling somewhere new, it's important to make sure you know what requirements there are to enter. Here's everything you need to know for visiting Romania.
Do You Need a Visa for Romania?
For traveling in Europe, it can get a bit tricky with the Schengen Zone, European Union, Etc. Luckily though, Romania falls outside of the Schengen Zone, so it's the perfect place to visit if you've already expired your time in the other European countries.
Many citizenships can enter Romania visa free for up to 90 days, the majority of them being from the Americas and Europe. There are some countries that need to obtain a visa to enter Romania if they don't have a Schengen Visa though. Most of these countries are in Africa and Asia, which you can find on the full list of countries that need a visa for Romania.
Covid Entry Requirements for Romania
Luckily Covid is now a thing of the past in many European countries, and you no longer need a Covid test or vaccination card to enter Romania. Masks are also no longer mandatory, and life is pretty much back to normal.
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Local Adjustments for Visiting Romania
Whenever traveling there are things which you may forget about, that could be different from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the "local adjustments" to have in mind while traveling to Romania.
What Language is Mostly Spoken in Romania?
The official language in Romania is Romanian. Unlike the nearby countries, this is the only country in Eastern Europe which has a Latin-based language.
Romanian has a lot of similarities with languages such as Spanish and Italian. so if you speak one of these then you'll probably be able to pick up a bit of Romanian, as well as understand the basics of signs and menus.
Do They Speak English in Romania?
There are plenty of people in bigger cities that do speak English, but if you are in smaller towns you may want to learn the basics or have Google Translate ready.
What Currency is Used in Romania?
The currency used in Romania is the Romanian Lei. Currently (October 2023) 1 USD or 1 Euro is equal to about 4.67 Lei.
Throughout Romania you can use credit card for most restaurants, and many hotels. However, we do suggest taking out some cash at an ATM for smaller shops, tipping, street vendors, if you're staying at a budget hostel, or for visiting smaller towns.
Can I Use the Euro in Romania?
Euros cannot be used in Romania, so make sure to deposit them in your bank account to withdraw local currency, or save them for other countries that you plan to visit in Europe.
What Adapter Do I Need for Romania?
Romania uses the same outlets as the rest of Europe, which are for plug types C & F. The standard voltage in Romania is 230 V with a standard frequency of 50 Hz.
Is the Water Safe to Drink in Romania?
The tap water throughout Romania is safe to drink in most areas. While many restaurants will give you bottled water if you order water, this is simply typical throughout most of Europe. You can ask for tap water though, and there will definitely be some places willing to serve it. We also suggest bringing a refillable water bottle to take with you while exploring cities or out in nature.
Tipping in Romania
The tipping culture in Romania varies depending on the service. We suggest tipping 10% on meals for standard service, and a bit more for very good service. This is because servers in Romania don't make high salaries, and tipping is pretty typical in restaurants. For services such as salons, we suggest 10-15%, and for taxis and hotel staff you can leave an additional 5-10 lei.
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The Best Places to Visit in Romania
Now that you know the basics for traveling to Romania, let's get into the fun stuff! Here are the best places to visit in Romania during your trip.
No trip to a country is complete without a visit to the capital city. which is why we think this needs to be added to the best places to visit in Romania. While Romanians will talk about Bucharest in disgust, we truly had such a great time there! It's true- the most beauty that the country holds is certainly in its nature. However, this city has character, and definitely deserves a visit- especially for its insanely cool spa that it has!
Suggested Read: What to Do in Bucharest For the Perfect Trip
Hands down the top of the list for the best places to visit in Romania goes to Transylvania. The land of Dracula is actually the largest region in the country, and has so much to see and do inside of it. Transylvania is full of stunning castles, charming colorful towns, and the countries most stunning nature.
There is actually so much to know about this area of the country, which is why we wrote a complete guide for everything you need to know. Simply go to the link below for more info.
Suggested Read: A Complete Guide to Visiting Transylvania in Romania
Brasov is located just a couple hours north of Bucharest. This city is lined with colorful buildings, and is home to the iconic black church, as well as a funicular that brings you high above the city. This place is a great place to base yourself for exploring some of Transylvania, and can also be perfect for a day trip from the capital.
Sibiu is one of the the most popular cities, and the heart of Transylvania. Being the center of the country, this is a popular home base for those traveling to Romania for the first time, and it even has budget airlines serving it.
With big open squares surrounded by colorful buildings, you'll feel as if you just walked into a fairytale here. One of the most notable features of Sibiu is the "houses with eyes" that you can find all over the city. Be sure to also climb to the top of the bell tower so you can get some beautiful views of the streets below!
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This is the capital of Transylvania, and it located in northwestern Romania. Cluj Napoca is the third biggest city in the country, and is also one of the most frequented airports. My first time in Romania I actually flew to Cluj Napoca on Wizz Air for just $9. As a big student city, this is a super fun place to experience a budget friendly trip, and one of the best places to visit in Romania.
Suggested Read: 12 Fun Things to Do in Cluj Napoca
Located all the way in the west of the country, Timisoara is the second biggest city in Romania. It has an adorable city center, with colorful buildings, big open squares, and a super long street of colorful umbrellas. Just over the border from Serbia, you can also reach here pretty easily coming from Belgrade.
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Moving Around Romania
We found that the best way to really appreciate all that Romania has to offer is to definitely rent a car. There are a ton of places that had on our itinerary that wouldn't have been possible without a car, and we also stopped so many times along our trip from unexpected hidden gems. Renting a car was super affordable for us, as we paid just 15 euros/day (we rented from a local company for three months).
Want the hookup? Reach out to us to plan your trip and we can take care of it for you!
What is Typical Romanian Food?
One of the best things to do when traveling is to indulge in the local food & drinks. We had no idea what to expect, but we really did like the food in this country. Romanian cuisine is quite hearty, and has a lot of sour cream, cheese, and meats (try the veal and ram!). Here are some of the must try dishes to have while in Romania.
Sarmale (Cabbage Rolls)
Sarmale is one of the most popular Romanian dishes. Boiled cabbage is filled with meat and then made into rolls. This popular item can be found as an appetizer, side, or main dish.
This is another super popular item that you'll find throughout Romania. Mici is minced meat that are formed into the shape of sausages. They are seasoned heavily, and are full of flavor.
This is hands down my favorite Romanian dish, and is perfect for chilly days. Ciorba is a hearty soup, and there are several different versions. My personal favorite is the veal, but there is also tripe, pork, and plenty of other meats to choose from. Ciorba is traditionally served with bread and a huge chili pepper, creating a bit of more unique culinary experience.
Mamaliga is essentially polenta. This is a very popular side dish in Romania, and is often served with different types of meat, and accompanied by sour cream.
Ready for one of the most typical desserts in Romania? Papanasi is a fried dough made of cottage cheese and semolina flour. It is topped off by sour cream and jam, and is definitely something you'll want to try while in Romania.
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Is Romania Safe?
We heard a lot of bad things when it comes to safety in Eastern Europe, and are so happy to say that the majority of those things were not true at all, especially in Romania!
Is Romania Friendly to Tourists?
We really found the country to be very safe, with extremely friendly and welcoming people. At no point did we have any issues walking around solo or at night. Of course in bigger cities you'll always want to pay attention to your belongings, as pickpocketing can be common anywhere with high populations.
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Other Things to Know About Visiting Romania
Now that you know where to visit in Romania, how to get around, and the different ways to get there, let's discuss a few final details! Here are a couple other things to know about visiting Romania.
The Best Time to Visit Romania
We personally think that the end of spring and beginning of fall is the best time to visit Romania for perfect weather. We went in early May and it was still pretty cold at night, but June is for sure a great month to visit, as well as September, when it isn't quite as hot. If you plan on visiting the beautiful nature of Transylanvia, you'll want to visit in the end of June to early August so that the snow is melted and all highways are open.
Weather & Packing for a Trip to Romania
Romania experiences all 4 seasons, so it gets very hot in the summer, and very cold in the winter. Depending on the time of year will of course depend on how you should pack for your trip, as well as the particular destination. We definitely suggest having layers as even in May it was pretty chilly at night.
No matter what time you plan on visiting though, if you visit Bucharest make sure to bring a bathing suit, as the thermal baths in Romania are definitely something you won't want to miss out on, and can be appreciated all year round.
Packing List for Romania
- Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
- Sneakers (for the hikes)
- Zippered Bag or Backpack (to secure your belongings) - take a look at these backpacks for travelers!
- Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
- Bathing Suit
- Layers for the night
- Drone (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and doesn't sacrifice quality)
- Action Camera (we use the Insta 360 X3 because it's small & waterproof
- Travel Adapter (we use Tessan travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)
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Romania is an incredible country, with so many reasons to visit, and things to see. We spent 2 weeks in total there, and it allowed us to experience many different things, and some of the best places to visit in Romania.
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