Backpacking Romania | Safety, Expenses and more

Romania is a hidden gem in central Europe. A gateway to the Balkans and to Eastern Europe Romania has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty, history and culture. Having spent a month in Romania I have discovered numerous reasons people should be backpacking Romania.

Romania is a beautiful mix of east and west and I discovered so much more about the country during my trip. Romania is rich in culture, history, amazing scenery and you should visit Romania as soon as possible.

Practical information for backpacking Romania:

  • Romania’s currency is the lei (Pronounced lay). €1 = 4.8 lei.
  • The national language is Romanian, although English is widely spoken in major towns and cities.
  • Travelling to Romania is Visa-free for European citizens. Check with your government website for visa requirements outside of Europe.
  • Romania’s timezone is the Eastern Europen standard time (GMT +2).
  • 112 is Romanians emergency contact number.

Romania is easy to explore:

Bucharest Romania
Bucharest sites

With its amazing location, exploring Romania and its neighbouring countries is quite easy. From Bucharest, you can catch trains or buses to Sofia in Bulgaria, Belgrade in Serbia, Budapest in Hungary and Chisinau in Moldova.

You can visit the stunning town of Brasov in Transylvania and the shores of Constanta on the Black Sea. All these places in Romania, have natural beauty, stunning history and facets of Romanian culture that are unique to each area.

Cities buses will cost you in the region of 2 lei (.50c) and regional towns will cost 11 lei (€2.50). Bargain prices compared to other European countries such as Ireland or Germany.

Romanian culture:

Romania has a rich culture, inspired by its religions, history and location with European, you will find rich cultural experiences throughout Romania. Ranging from Orthodox church ceremonies, Traditional Romanian dress and customs and Romani food and drink.

Be sure to visit regional areas of Romania and larger cities such as Bucharest, to experience the best of Romanian culture.

Is Romania expensive?

Romania budget
This is not reality, trust me

No not at all, Romania is one of the most affordable countries I travelled to In Europe throughout the summer of 2019. I attended festivals and concert in Bucharest and Constant and both accommodation and service in Romania were very affordable.

For example, I attended Elrow, for €20. In Spain or the Netherlands, it would cost €50+. The local currency Ron can be easily exchanged in its neighbouring countries, but always try to change to Eur or USD for the best rates.

Backpacking Romania is cheap so you can enjoy yourself more. Buses and trains in Romania are affordable. Hostels in the capital Bucharest will cost you between 48 lei(€10) and 70 lei(€15) in the summer.

Tickets for places such as Vlad castle cost 33 lei (€7). So Romania is suitable for any backpacking and holiday budget.

Is Romania safe?

Like every new country, you should always take precautions. However, Romania is safe. Unlike countries such as Brazil and Guatemala, there was no time I felt unsafe in Romania.

Romanian people are super friendly, openminded and extremely helpful. I found the people to be far more open than some of their neighbours and they enjoyed partying which is great for people backpacking Romania.

As a solo traveller, it was one of the best places to explore. The towns of Brasov and beaches of Vama Veche are great places to meet fellow travellers and locals.

The best places to visit in Romania:

Backpacking Romania
Bran castle

Transylvania:

Transylvania is home to some of the country’s most stunning landscapes including Bran castle, the Carpathian mountains and the city of Brasov. Brasov is easily reached by a two-hour train from Bucharest Tickets cost in the region of 20 lei (€4).

Brasov town is the ideal location to base yourself when exploring this part of the country. Learn about the culture and the history of the region by joining tours or exploring by yourself.

Bucharest:

Bucharest is the capital of Romania and it is here you will learn the most about the most recent history of the country and what life was like under the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. Not the most attractive of capital cities, there is still plenty to see and do in Bucharest.

Romanian coast:

Finally, it’s time to visit the coast, home to Constanta, Vamp Veche and Sunny beach. The Romanian coast is an idyllic location to unwind during learnt trips and enjoy the black sea and the beauty of the coastline.

Romania beach
Romania beach strolls

Romania Itinerary:

This Romania itinerary is based on my experiences there, however, you can add or take away a few days based on your travel needs. I would spend at least one week in Romania to see even a glimpse of the country.

3 days in Brasov: You will need one day to explore Bran castle and the town nearby. One day in Brasov to see the city, take the Telefonica to the Brasov sign and another day to hike/explore the nearby towns and mountains.

3 to 7 days in Bucharest: This Bucharest itinerary depends on your travel style.  I enjoyed the nightlife and went to several festivals and events in the city, so I stayed for one week in Bucharest. Be sure to check out Control nightclub, the Romanian parliament building, Bucharest old town and take one of the few walking tours in Bucharest.

3 days in Constanta: We went during the low period so there was not much activity on the beaches. However, it was nice to walk and swim in the water without interference from thousands of holidaymakers.

Romania internet and digital nomads

With the huge increase in the number of people turning to digital nomadism, you will be happy to discover that Romania has some of the fastest and most up to date broadband networks in the world. Most public spaces, waiting rooms and especially accommodation will be hooked up to some seriously fast internet connections. Test it here.

This is ideal for those hoping to move to Romania or use Romania as a base for a couple of months. You can also purchase super-cheap mobile data at just €9 for 9GB and 2000 minutes.

Why You should visit Romania?

Backpacking Romania
Colourful Bucharest

The main reason for me and I believe for a lot of others backpacking Romania is because it is off the beaten path. Like the Ukraine, Moldova and parts of the Balkans, Romania is an untouched gem, especially in Europe.

Sure, there were crowds at Bran castle, but Bucharest, the old town, Constanta and many more places felt untouched. I felt I was discovering parts of Romania and Europe that haven’t been overtaken by tourism.

You can interact with locals who never spoke to an Irish person and relax without being hounded to eat a meal or take a tour. The people are super friendly because they don’t have to deal with tourists all the time (cough, cough Croatia).

You will learn about Dracula, Communism, WWII, Sinti and Roma people and eat amazing Mici, (similar to Cevapi), it’s a kind of sausage.

Lastly 10 facts about Romania:

  1. The population of Romania is: 19,300,000
  2. The Romania parliament building is the second largest by sq. foot in the world, it’s also the heaviest. Yeah, Communism.
  3. The last dictator of Romania was ousted following an infamous speech which you can see here.
  4. Romania has four seasons so dress accordingly.
  5. The Flag of Romania has three vertical strips, Blue, Yellow and Red.
  6. The first-ever perfect 10 in the Olympics was performed by a Romanian Gymnast.
  7. Romania is the 9th largest Wine producer in the world.
  8. Bram Stoker never visited Romania.
  9. The Romanian currency is made from Plastic, not paper.
  10. The Name Romania originates from the Phrase the people of the Roam Empire

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