So, you have heard a few things about Romania? Maybe in connection with the famous novel “Dracula”, or maybe through legendary athletes like Nadia Comăneci or Gheorghe Hagi. Or maybe you’ve heard the stories of celebrities who simply fell in love with these wonderful places and the hospitality of the people here, like Prince Charles. In fact, the current King Charles the Third 😊 Well, everything you’ve heard is true! Romania is a beautiful country with absolutely fascinating places to visit. And what’s more, you’re sure to discover even more extraordinary things here than what you know now from only hearing about them.
If you’ve decided that your next holiday will be a visit to Romania, you’ll benefit from it. And while you’re at it, here’s some information we hope you’ll find useful.
What do you need to know about Romania
Romania is a member of NATO (since 2004), of the European Union (since 2007), but it is not included in the Schengen Area. In terms of surface area, Romania is the ninth largest country in Europe and the sixth largest in terms of population, with around 20 million inhabitants. The largest city – and the country’s capital – is Bucharest, with 2.2 million people.
How can I pay in Romania?
Romania’s national currency is RON (official name) or “Leu” with the plural “Lei” (in common speaking). In terms of the ratio to international currencies, 1 euro equals approximately 5 RON. What you need to remember is that although you will find prices displayed in euros or dollars (for different types of services rather than for specific products) you will only be able to buy in the national currency. This shouldn’t scare you, as you’ll find – especially in the bigger cities, but also in others – ATMs and currency exchange offices everywhere.
In terms of payment methods, you will generally be able to pay both in cash and by card. As for paying by card, however, it is best to ask beforehand (at the hotel or restaurant) if the POS works. This is to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Another thing about money… Romania is a cheap country, especially compared to Western European countries. For example, a 3-day break in Romania, under the same conditions, can be 20% cheaper than a visit to a Western country.
At what time of year is it good to visit Romania?
In terms of climate, Romania has what is called a temperate continental climate. In other words, Romania has all four seasons, well defined, although in recent years climate change has made the transition between seasons much shorter than it was some time ago.
As for the best time of year to visit Romania, it depends on your main point of interest. For sightseeing, walking and scenery, the best time is probably April-October. For food and wine tasting, you might want to come in October. For skiing and winter holidays, of course the best time is December.
Is Romania a safe country for tourists?
Definitely, yes. Of course, you may have heard stories about certain areas in the Balkans and the various dangers they present, but Romania is a very safe country for tourism. Of course you’ll meet some vagrants or people who have had just a little too much to drink 😊 But these are unavoidable situations in absolutely any place in this world. As long as you’re constantly aware of where you are and the people around you, everything will be fine.
Romanian society is a traditional one, as are most societies in Orthodox former communist countries. As long as you don’t break the rules of common sense and respect, you won’t have any problems.
Romania has 7 UNESCO heritage sites
A list of all the fascinating places worth visiting in Romania could be the subject of several articles on this blog. There are so many interesting areas, steeped in history and art, that it is difficult to impossible to mention them all.
However, we cannot overlook the fact that in Romania you can find no less than 7 places that UNESCO considers as treasures of universal heritage.
These are: the churches of Moldova, the Danube Delta, the Horezu Monastery, the wooden churches of Maramureș, the villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, the historic centre of Sighișoara and the Dacian fortress in the Orăștie Mountains.
The world’s first electrified castle
Besides the fact that the first city in the world to have electric street lighting is also in Romania – it’s the city of Timișoara, 1884 – you’ll also find here the first castle in the world to have electricity. It’s Peleș Castle, which you’ll find near the mountain resort of Sinaia. The first was made possible thanks to a powerful power station that had been built nearby, and which was able to provide the necessary power for the castle.
Top Gear in Romania 😊
To cut a long story short, in Romania you will find one of the most spectacular roads in Europe and even in the world for driving. It’s the Transfăgărășan, a fabulous route that offers breathtaking views for those who travel it. Because it’s a road through the mountains, it’s only open for driving from June to October, but the experience is unforgettable.
Even for members of the classic Top Gear team, this is one of the most beautiful roads you can ever drive on.
The Merry Cemetery
In Maramureș county, more precisely in Săpânța, there is this cemetery that has become famous precisely because it is different from any other in the world. It is a place of joy and happiness, replacing the sadness usually associated with cemeteries.
The brightly coloured crosses, the humorous messages written on them, the extraordinary imagination of the traditional artists who worked for everything you’ll find here, all make the Merry Cemetery a true open-air museum, not to be missed.
Palace of Parliament
As the second largest administrative building in the world (after the Pentagon) the Palace of Parliament makes a strong impression when you see it, especially for the first time. The brainchild of former dictator Ceausescu, the Palace of Parliament (formerly known as the People’s House) is a colossus whose production costs today amount to the equivalent of no less than €3 billion. To be precise, 100,000 people worked on the building for several years. A visit to Bucharest, the capital of Romania, should not miss this landmark.
Interesting facts about Romania
Our article is coming to an end and that’s because space does not allow us to mention all the interesting facts about Romania. There are many other things that can and deserve to be mentioned, from the largest wooden church in the world to the largest rock carving in Europe. All this and more can be found here in Romania. It is the country that gave the world the inventor of penicillin and the pen, and many other important people who changed the face of the world.
We stop here, but your path can go further. If you want to get even closer to Romania, if you want to speak Romanian, we welcome you to our online Romanian language courses. There we’ll discuss everything you need to learn Romanian, as well as all the interesting things worth knowing about this country.