When you think of Romania, you tend to think of gypsies and Dracula, but there is so much more the country than that. Visiting this amazing country is certainly wonderful than I ever imagined! The
When you think of Romania, you tend to think of gypsies and Dracula, but there is so much more the country than that. Visiting this amazing country is certainly wonderful than I ever imagined! The delicious and hearty food, the ancient and historic cities with their cobblestone streets and medieval houses, the warmth of the people and the picturesque countryside makes Romania exceed all expectations. Even though, the tourism industry have been increasing, Romania is still kind of an undiscovered place, waiting for tourists to come discover it. While there is much to say about this varied and wonderful country, here are 7 things you should know before visiting Romania to make your stay easier and more enjoyable.
1. Buy bottled water
In Romania, tap water is not the safest to drink. Follow what the locals are doing and stick to bottled water. After all, they’re not expensive; a large 1.5-litre bottle in a local supermarket will cost you a few cents.
2. Use affordable public transportation or Uber to get around.
Romanians are highly dependent on the country’s subway, streetcar and bus network. The public transportation system works fairly well, especially in the capital Bucharest, and costs almost nothing, at least for most travelers. However, if you are in a hurry or want a more convenient solution, you can order a Uber without feeling guilty.
3. Please note that the opening hours may not be exact.
Romanians are very relaxed people. That’s why the opening hours of the stores are not always exact, as you can see on the Internet. Even famous “tourist” places like the famous Carusel Carturesti (a large bookshop and a café) may close earlier than expected. When I visited this bookstore, it first closed for another hour because it did not have many customers on that rainy night.
4. Google Maps works pretty well.
I relied a lot on Google Maps to get around the cities in Romania. The subway system is well synchronized with Google Maps in Bucharest, so you can plan your trips without any problems.
Although I had no problems finding landmarks, cafes and hostels, I encountered travelers who got lost because Google Maps didn’t provide them with the right place when they were looking for the name of a place. I therefore advise you to enter the exact address, rather than the name of the place, to make sure you are going to the right place.
5. Hostels are a great option; otherwise, try Airbnb.
Hostel culture is in vogue in Bucharest, and there are excellent and affordable hostels. Some of my favorite hostels are in this city, as they offer excellent value for money.
6. Bring Euros/USD
Exchange rates in most Eastern European countries are fantastic, which means that there is virtually no loss if you exchange your cash into euros or dollars. Even exchange offices located in the city center can offer very decent exchange rates without commission. You can’t get that in Western Europe!
Make your transactions in RON (Romanian LEI) rather than Euros.
Of course, cab drivers and some restaurants and stores accept euros, but their rates are derisory. You can quickly pay up to four times as much for a cab ride if you make your transactions in euros rather than the local Romanian currency.
To get your money’s worth, prepare euros or US dollars, exchange them for RON and spend in the local currency. If you wish to pay in euros, you can also use your credit card instead of cash to get a more favorable rate.
7. You can feel safe to travel in Romania.
Last but not least, I would like to repeat that Romania is very safe for travelers, contrary to what many may think.
Romania has a low crime rate and some of the strictest firearms laws in the world. In addition, since Romania is not yet widespread among tourists, there are very few elaborate tourist scams. Just beware of pickpockets, but even these are not that common. Some also say that perhaps the most important security problem for tourists is related to driving, due to the lack of respect of the traffic rules by the inhabitants. So, basically, if you don’t operate in Romania, there is practically nothing to fear!