|» Money & Budget Guide||» Safety & Emmergencies||» Customs & Etiquette|
|» Electricity||» LGBT Travel||» Restaurant Tips|
|» Communications||» Rules of the Road||» Tipping|
|» Disabled visitors||» Business Hours||» Measures|
|» Restrooms||» Sales Tax||» Language, Conversation Guide|
Romania is a year-round tourist destination. However, from the end of April to the beginning of July and from end of August to the end of October are the most popular sightseeing periods, with generally mild and pleasant temperatures. Summers can be hot especially in Southern Romania, including Bucharest, but along the Black Sea Coast, sea breezes offer moderate temperatures. The mountain resorts and higher elevation areas are warm and pleasant during summer. Winters can be very cold, especially in the mountains and snow is common throughout the country from December to mid March. Skiers can usually enjoy their favorite sport in the Carpathian Mountain resorts from December until mid-April.
Romania's currency is Leu (plural "Lei" - pronunciation: lay).
Common Abbreviation: RON
Banknote denominations: 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 lei
Coins: 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani pieces. (pronunciation: bahnee)
1 leu = 100 bani
Foreign currencies may be exchanged at banks or
authorized exchange offices (called: "casa de schimb" or "birou de schimb valutar").
International airports and larger hotels also offer currency exchange services.
ATM machines are available at main banks and at airports and shopping centres.
There are very, very few ATMs in remote areas or villages.
ATMs that have symbols for international networks such as STAR and PLUS will accept US/ Canadian banking cards.
Major credit cards including American Express, Mastercard and Visa are accepted in large hotels, car rental companies and stores in the main cities.
However, credit cards are unlikely to prove useful in small towns or away from tourist areas.
Contrary to practice in the United States, a PIN is usually required to make credit card purchases.
Many American banks allow cardholders to establish such a PIN prior to travel, in case one is needed.
If you do not have a pin just tell the cashier "this is a no pin credit card".
Regardless, it is a good idea to notify your bank of your international travel,
and the potential legitimate use of your card abroad, prior to leaving home.
Preferably in US dollars or Euros, Travelers' Checks can be cashed in large banks, some hotels and selected exchange offices.
Cashing Traveler's Checks can be a tedious process and most financial institutions charge considerable commissions for the service.
However, if lost or stolen, traveler's checks will be replaced by the issuer, free of charge.
Do not count on cashing such checks outside Bucharest and a few other major cities.
For visits to small towns and villages it is a good idea to carry cash.
Small stores, street handicraft vendors and restaurants might accept U.S. Dollars in small denominations
($1, 5, 10 and 20) but the exchange rate offered will not be the best.
Cash (US Dollars) can be easily exchanged at any bank or Currency Exchange Office
(Casa de Schimb or Casa de Schimb Valutar).
Currency exchange rates offered by the exchange offices at airports and other border crossing points
can be 10% to 20% less than the official rate.
Taxi drivers serving the airport will probably accept US Dollars but most stores in Romania will only accept lei.
US Dollars are as good and popular as the Euros;
U.S. and Canadian visitors do not need to buy Euros before leaving the USA / Canada
as the Euros need to be converted into Romanian Lei anyways.
Entrance fees to museums, historic buildings and attractions are rarely more than $5.00.
Hotels outside Bucharest range from $55 to $150 per night/double room, with full breakfast and taxes included.
A three-course dinner, for two, with wine and tip starts at $35.00
and can go up to $200.00 or more in very upscale restaurants.
Average price for selected goods & services in Romania (Bucharest):
|Product/service||Price (U.S. Dollar equivalent)*|
Foods / Drinks
|Loaf of white bread (1/2 lb.)||$0.20 - $0.60
(0.79 Lei - 2.49 Lei)
|Pretzel (Covrig)||$0.25 - $0.50
(1 Leu - 2 Lei)
|Potato Chips (2.5 oz bag)||$0.50|
|One lb of (local) sheep's milk cheese
(telemea de oaie)
|One lb of ground beef||$2.25|
|One lb of beef tenderloin||$11.50|
|McDonald's Big Mac meal||$3.50|
|5 oz yogurt cup||$0.30|
|Quart of milk||$0.95|
|Bottle of mineral water (17 fl.oz. -- 0.5 litre)||$0.35 (supermarket)|
|Bottle of Pepsi Cola (17 fl.oz. -- 0.5 litre)||$0.55 (supermarket)|
|Bottle of domestic beer (12 fl.oz. -- 0.33 litre)||$0.6 (supermarket) /
from $1.50 (restaurant)
|Bottle of Romanian wine (liquor store)||from $3.50|
|Bus ticket - Bucharest (one trip)||$0.35 (1.30 Lei)|
|Subway ticket - Bucharest||$1.25 (two-trips card -- "doua calatorii") /
$2.00 (day-pass -- "Abonament o zi")
|Bucharest "combo ticket"
(valid for bus/ tram/ trolley & subway rides)
|$1.25 (one ticket valid for 60 minutes) /
$4.00 (day-pass -- "Abonament o zi")
$7.50 (10 tickets valid for 60 minutes) /
|Train ticket Bucharest to Brasov
(one way, express train)
|$17 (1st class) /
$11.50 (2nd class)
|Train ticket Bucharest to Constanta
(one way, express train)
|$21 (1st class) /
$14.50 (2nd class)
|Train ticket Bucharest to Suceava
(one way, express train)
|$33 (1st class) /
$22 (2nd class)
|Train ticket Bucharest to Cluj
(one way, express train)
|$33.50 (1st class) /
$22.50 (2nd class)
|One gallon of gasoline (3.8 liters)||$5.35 / gallon ($1.40 / litre)
(5.65 Lei / Litre)
|One gallon of Diesel (3.8 liters)||$5.15 / gallon ($1.35 / litre)
(5.55 Lei / Litre)
|Best opera/ theatre seat||$24|
* Local prices (in Lei) transformed into U.S. Dollars (exchange rate of 4.00 Lei / Dollar).
Current exchange rate for selected foreign currencies.
Although some stores, merchants or taxi drivers may accept payments in $ U.S. or other freely convertible currencies the National Bank of Romania regulations stipulate that payments for goods and services purchased in Romania should be made with Romanian money, LEI (the abbreviation RON is commonly used).
A plug adaptor is required for non-European appliances.
Please remember that simple adapters do not convert voltage or frequency.
A power converter is necessary for appliances requiring 110 V.
International direct dialing service is available throughout Romania.
Most public telephones require the use of a calling/ telephone card.
It is very easy to rent or buy a cellular telephone in Romania.
Dialing within Romania:
0 + three digit area code + six digit telephone #
when dialing anywhere in the countryside or
0 + 21 + seven digit telephone # or 0 + 31 + seven digit telephone #
when dialing a number Bucharest.
Three digit telephone numbers are local toll-free numbers for emergencies or businesses.
International dialing from Romania:
00 + country code + area code + telephone #
Dialing from a foreign country directly to Bucharest:
International Access Code +40 (country code) + 21 + seven digit telephone #
Dialing from a foreign country directly to any other city in Romania:
International Access Code + 40 (country code) + three digit area code + six digit phone #
Access for people with disabilities to Romania's tourist attractions has improved in recent years,
and it remains a priority. However, it is advisable that visitors with reduced mobility to check with all service providers,
prior to their visit, if they are able to meet their particular needs.
Advance notice and reservations will also help ensure that you receive the best possible assistance.
In most Romanian cities, there are no many public restrooms;
your best bet might be large hotels, department stores or fast-food restaurants.
Use of some public rest rooms may be subject to a small fee.
Some public facilities in crowded areas, including those in trains and train stations,
occasionally run out of toilet paper or might not be cleaned often enough.
Carrying a packet of tissues with you is always a good idea.
Restrooms signs will indicate:
"Femei" or "Doamne" (for women) respectively
"Bărbați" or "Domni" (for men).
Many adults in Romania are smokers and, unfortunately,
some of those who do smoke have little regard of non-smokers' comfort.
The Romanian Parliament recently approved legislation that bans smoking in every public/ closed space;
fines are imposed on offenders (individuals or businesses).
Smoking is not allowed on planes, on buses and on trains as well as in restaurants and bars.
Luxury hotels have designated no-smoking floors
but smaller hotels may be a little slow in designating non-smoking rooms/ floors.
Smoking is, of course, prohibited in public places such as hospitals, concert halls, and theatres.
Although violent crime against tourists is almost non-existent
visitors should take customary steps to safeguard their valuables.
Leave your passport in the hotel's safety deposit box and carry a copy of it with you.
Be aware of pickpockets and scam artists in major cities.
Do not attempt to exchange money on the street;
you will likely be short-changed or receive a pile of worthless bills.
Beware of con men masquerading as plainclothes police;
who may pretend to check your papers or accuse you of exchanging currency on the black market.
Emergency Contacts in Bucharest
General emergency phone number: 112
|US Embassy||021 210 40 42|
|Embassy of Canada||021 222 98 45|
|Embassy of the United Kingdom||021 312 03 03|
|Australian Consulate||021 206 22 00|
|Embassy of New Zeeland in Vienna||0043 1 318 8505|
For a listing of foreign diplomatic offices in Romania please visit: www.mae.ro .
"Although we did encounter some negative attitudes towards homosexuality, it was not much different from those that we've experienced in other countries.
We both agree that it would not prevent us from visiting Romania again".
(opinion recently expressed by a U.S. lesbian couple).
Attitudes and tolerance toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons vary from country to country, just as they vary among U.S. cities and states. Most LGBT travelers encounter no problems while in Romania, but it helps to be prepared and research your destination before you go.
Social conservatism in Eastern Europe, especially with regard to LGBT rights and marriage equality, has definitely had its hold on Romania until relatively recently. Romania's institutional recognition of gay rights has been in place only since 2002 but now the country's anti-discrimination and anti hate crime legislation is progressive. When it joined the European Union in 2007, Romania was required to acknowledge gay marriages from other locations.
Gay-friendly cities include Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara and Iasi.
Here are some tips for LGBT travelers:
Top tier hotels should be discreet and respectful.
If in doubt, ask about the establishment's level of gay tolerance before making a reservation.
When you can select between a larger hotels and a small, family-type B&B go for the hotel.
If you are especially concerned about discrimination but want to find like-minded locals in gay Romania,
hire a guide who knows where to go and which places to avoid.
Sizeable university towns are the best places for gay people to party and explore.
ACCEPT is the official Romanian LGBT organization.
No incidents regarding Gay travelers have been reported.
However, in smaller towns social tolerance has been slow to follow and it would be wise for Gay couples to exercise caution about public displays of affection.
There is a plethora of gay and gay friendly clubs where you can let it all hang out.
Minimum driving age is 18.
A valid U.S., Canadian, Australian, EU driver's license is acceptable for driving in Romania
for 90-days from the date of entry into the country.
Driving is on the right side of the road.
Passengers in the front seat of a car must wear seatbelts at all times.
Children under 12 years of age must ride in the back seat.
Speed limits are 50 km/h (31 mph) in build-up areas,
90 km/h (56 mph) on main roads
and 130 km/h (80 mph) on highways
unless posted otherwise.
The use of cellular phones while driving is prohibited (only hands-free devices are allowed).
Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offense and penalties are severe.
The police have the authority to stop vehicles at random and to perform preliminary breath alcohol tests.
In case of a car accident do not leave the site, call the police and
make sure that you get a copy of the Police Report.
General emergency number is: 112
Independent travelers entering Romania by car (own or rental) need to obtain a road toll sticker, called RoVinieta.
RoVigneta is available on-line www.RoViniete.ro
as well as at most border-crossing points, postal offices and gas stations.
Cost of RoVinieta for passenger cars: Romanian currency equivalent of
$3.50 (valid 7 days) or $9.00 (valid 30 days).
Banks are usually open 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
Some banks are also open on Saturday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
Specialty stores (handicraft / gift / souvenir) in downtown area are usually open from 9 am to 6 pm.
Malls and superstores are open until 9 pm or even later.
Authentic handicrafts available in specliaty stores include: embroideries, ceramics, pottery, porcelain, crystal, glassware, silverware, carpets, rugs, fabrics, wool jumpers, woodcarvings, glass paintings and more.
Antiques ("Antichitati") and Consigned Goods ("Consignatia") shops
often have rare items that deserve shoppers' attention.
VAT / Value Added Tax (or in Romanian: T V A - Taxa pe Valoare Adăugată )
A sales tax (TVA) of 19% is added to most retail sales
(9% for hotel stays and meals served in restaurants).
The TVA is usually included in the prices posted in stores, hotels and restaurants.
Like in many countries hotels charge an additional "local" tax (0.5% to 5% depending on the class of hotel).
VAT Refund - VAT refund offices (Birou de Restituire TVA) can be found at a limited number of
border crossing points and shops.
To claim you Sales Tax Refund please make sure that:
All refunds will be made in Romanian currency "Lei".
Romanians are friendly and open and foreigners are usually made very welcome. Chatting with visitors is very common for Romanians and they will find a way to communicate with you even if they cannot speak your language.
Older people particularly appreciate old-fashioned politeness. It is respectful to use Mrs. or Mr. when using the name of a person that you just meet.
Handshaking is the most common form of greeting. When a Romanian man is introduced to a woman, he will probably kiss her hand, strictly avoiding her eyes.
If one refuses what a host offers to eat or drink, this will often be taken as a polite refusal by guest who really means to say "yes". If you want to refuse the offer find a polite excuse and say it firmly or ask for a replacement.
It is common to linger once the meal (luch or dinner) is over.
When visiting someone at home bring a small gift. Most common gifts include flowers or chocolate (for women only), a bottle of wine or liquor.
The number of flowers that one offers must always be odd.
Other well-appreciate gifts include Western cosmetics (i.e. eau de toilette or after-shave) and clothing.
All gifts should be wrapped, but many Romanians might not unwrap their gifts in your presence.
In Romania as in many Latin countries life is lived at a more relaxed pace. Normal European courtesies should be followed on social occasions. Although casual dress is fine in most occasions, wearing a suit and tie, or the women's equivalent, is important at business meetings.
Appointments are necessary and punctuality is expected.
It is not considered impolite to ask a person's age, politics, income or religion, so don't take such questions amiss.
Restaurants in small towns are usually social places where people go to have drinks and discuss politics or business.
Meat might be unavoidable in such restaurants and menus are usually based on pork, beef or chicken.
In small towns locals do not usually eat in restaurants because, traditionally, Romanian women cook almost every day.
Homemade dishes are a world apart, so if invited to have lunch or dinner with a Romanian family, do not miss the opportunity.
As in most countries, independent restaurants tend to be better than hotel restaurants so do not hesitate to visit smaller, privately owned restaurants.
In some regions of Romania, and especially in Transylvania, some dishes may be prepared with more fat than you might usually use.
Instead of having a heavy (meat) dish for lunch, try some delicious Romanian cheese and vegetables, especially during the warm summers.
Salads are usually a side order, which comes with most entrees, especially steaks.
Prices listed on restaurant menus are per serving and include all taxes and service charge. However, some restaurants might post prices per 50 g or 100 g (1.75oz. or 3.5 oz.) while the actual serving can be up to 300 grams (12 oz.). If not stated clearly on the menu, check with the waiter and make sure that you are specific when you order. A few waiters may try to charge unsuspecting customers extra, claiming that the serving quantity was twice the quantity listed on the menu.
Typically, each food item (except bread) is ordered (and charged for) individually, right down to the butter. If you don't want bread, say so or it will be brought to your table and added to your bill.
Most restaurants only serve wine by the bottle.
When serving the wine the waiter will usually ask you if you would like a little bit of sparkling mineral water to be added to your wine.
Wine mixed with mineral water ("șpriț") is very popular during summer.
Hot wine — with sugar and cinnamon ("vin fiert") is "the recommended drink" for cold winter days.
For something stronger try hot plum brandy ("tuică fiartă") or hot plum brandy with sugar and peppercorn.
Your glass of water or soft drink will not be served with ice unless specifically requested.
Restaurants do not usually have a non-smoking section.
Taxi drivers do not expect tips but courteous service can be rewarded.
Hotel maid - the equivalent of $1.50 / day (4 Lei) or $10.00 (25 Lei) for one week or longer stays.
Hotel Concierge - tipping for the answer to a simple question is not necessary but 10 Lei ($4.00) to 15 Lei ($6.00) is suitable for help making reservations or getting tickets to a show.
Restaurants - although service is included a 5% to 10% tip will be appreciated.
Appropriate gratuities for Hairdressers and/ or Massage Terrapist are 10% to 15%.
Bellhop or Skycap - 2 Lei ($0.75) a bag.
Parking valet - 3 Lei ($1.00).
Romania uses the metric system of weights and measures. Speed and distance are measured in kilometres; goods in kilograms and litres; temperatures in Celsius - Centigrade.
1 centimetre = 0.4 inches
1 inch = 2.54 cm
1 metre = 3.3 feet = 1.1 yards = 100 centimetres
1 foot = 0.3 metres
1 kilometre = 0.62 miles = 1,000 metres
1 mile = 1.61 km
Weight & Volume conversion
100 grams = 3.5 oz
1 oz = 28.35 grams
1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs = 1,000 grams
1 lb = 454 grams
100 millilitres = 3.4 fl.oz
1 fl. oz. = 28.4 millilitres
1 liter = 1/4 gallon = 1,000 millilitres
1 gallon = 3.78 litres
Temperature conversion °C to °F
(°C multiply by 9, divide by 5, and add 32 or double °C and add 30)
Kilometres divided by 1.6 = miles
Romanian (limba romana) is the official language of Romania. The name Romania, and its derivatives, come from the Latin word 'Romanus', a legacy of Roman rulers who took control of ancient Dacia in 106 A.D. Romanian retains a number of features of old Latin, such as noun cases, which other Romance languages dispensed with a long time ago. Romanian also contains many words taken from the surrounding Slavic languages, as well as from French, Old Church Slavonic, German, Greek and Turkish.
Romanian is actually easier for English speakers to understand than it is assumed. If you've studied other Romance language, such as Italian, Spanish, French or Portuguese, you may feel at home sooner than you think. Romanian is a phonetic language so words are pronounced as they are spelled.
A foreigner trying to learn or speak Romanian can expect positive reactions from native speakers. Most Romanian will certainly appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to speak their language.
For more about romanian language and a conversation guide please visit: