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-Apr
Romania's currency is Leu (plural "Lei") (pronunciation: lay).
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.
Exchange rates** for foreign currencies, valid on June 18, 2010:
one US dollar = 3.42 Lei (3 lei and 42 bani)
one Canadian dollar = 3.34 Lei (3 lei and 34 bani)
one British Pound = 5.06 Lei (5 lei and 06 bani)
one Australian dollar = 2.96 Lei (2 lei and 96 bani)
one Euro = 4.23 Lei (4 lei and 23 bani)
** Official exchange rates announced by the National Bank of Romania
» ATM (Bancomat)
ATM machines are available at main banks and at airports and shopping centres. Do not expect to find ATMs in remote areas or villages.
» Credit 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.
» Travelers' Checks
Preferably in US dollars or Euros, Travelers' Checks can be cashed in large banks, some hotels and selected exchange offices but most of them charge considerable commissions. Do not count on cashing such checks outside Bucharest and a few other major cities. For travel around the country it is a good idea to carry cash. Small stores 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. Street handicraft vendors prefer Romanian currency.
» Budget Guide
Entrance fees to historic buildings and attractions are rarely more than $5.00.
Hotels outside Bucharest range from $65 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 some of the more upscale restaurants in Bucharest. However, less expensive does not mean not as good as a very expensive one. Dinner in restaurants is often accompanied by live music.
Below are some price samples:
Product/service Price - lei
(U.S. $ equivalent)*
Foods & Drinks
Loaf of white bread
(one lb.) $ 0.30
Quart of milk $ 1.4
One lb of beef tenderloin $ 3.50
One lb of tomatoes $ 2
McDonald's Big Mac $ 3.5
Bottle of mineral water
(18 fl.oz.) $ 0.8
Bottle of domestic beer
(18 fl.oz.) $ 1.4
Bottle of Romanian wine
(liquor store) $ 4.00 to $ 8.50
Bus ticket - Bucharest
(one trip) $ 0.6
Subway ticket - Bucharest
(round trip) $ 1
Train ticket Bucharest to Brasov
(express train, 1st class) $ 16.50
Train ticket Bucharest to Constanta
(express train, 1st class) $ 18.50
Train ticket Bucharest to Cluj
(express train, 1st class) $ 24.00
One gallon of gasoline
(3.8 liters) $ 6.3
Entertainment & Communication
Best opera/ theatre seat $ 25.00 or less
Use of computer at Internet Cafe $ 1.8 / hour
Note: 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 ).
Note: Prices in luxury hotels and upscale restaurants in Bucharest can be as high as those in Western Europe.
Romania's electrical current is 230 V; 50 cycles and sockets take the standard continental European dual round-pronged plugs.
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 #
Romania has several Internet access providers offering advanced services such as Internet messaging via mobile telephone, Internet paging, international roaming and more. A number of Internet retail outlets and cyber-cafes in almost every town offer convenient Internet access. An increasing number of hotels offer data ports with high-speed modem connections for guests to access the Internet and retrieve e-mail in the comfort of their rooms.
Access for people with disabilities to Romania's tourist attractions has improved in recent years, and it remains a priority. However, it is advisable to check with all service providers prior to your visit, ensuring that they are able to meet your particular needs. Advance notice and reservations will also help ensure that you receive the best possible assistance.
There are no too many public restrooms so 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" (for women) or "Barbati" (for men).
It sometimes looks like almost every adult in Romania smokes. Unfortunately, some of those who do smoke have little consciousness of non-smokers' rights.
However, the Romanian Government recently approved legislation that bans smoking in every public place but as in many countries in Eastern Europe some smokers have might ignore smoking laws.
Currently smoking is not allowed on planes, on buses and on most trains. Luxury hotels have designated no-smoking floors and most restaurants must have no-smoking sections. Smoking is also prohibited in public places such as hospitals, concert halls, and theatres.
Safety and Emmergencies
Although violent crime against tourists is almost non-existent visitors should take customary steps to safeguard their valuables. Leave your valuables and passport in the hotel's safety deposit box or use a money belt kept out of sight. 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; they may pretend to check your papers or accuse you of exchanging currency on the black market. In fact they might try to steal your cash. Real plainclothes police officers might only ask to check personal documents but never your credit cards or your cash. Not having your passport with you will not be a problem. The officer will come with you to your hotel to see your passport if he really has to check it.
General emergency phone number: 112
Emergency Contacts in Bucharest
US Embassy (021) 210 40 42
Embassy of Canada (021) 222 98 45
Embassy of the United Kingdom (021) 312 03 03
Embassy of Australia (021) 320 98 02
Embassy of New Zeeland in Vienna (0043 1) 318 8505
For a listing of diplomatic offices in Romania please visit:
www.mae.ro or www.embassyworld.com
While in Romania: hotels bus, train, car rental. Tips for Travelers.
Banks: are usually open 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
Shopping: Special purchases include embroideries, ceramics, pottery, porcelain, crystal, glassware, silverware, carpets, rugs, fabrics, wool jumpers, woodcarvings, glass paintings and more. Antiques ("Antichitati") and Consigned Goods stores ("Consignatia") deserve shoppers' attention. Normal shopping hours are 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Sales tax for goods and services:
VAT / Value Added Tax (or in Romanian: T V A - Taxa pe Valoare Adaugata )
A sales tax (TVA) of 19 % is added to all retail sales, hotel stays and meals served in restaurants. It is usually included in the prices posted in stores, hotels and restaurants.
Like in many countries hotels charge an additional tax (0.5% to 5% depending on the class of hotel).
VAT Refund - VAT refund offices (Birou de Restituire TVA) can be found at any Romanian border crossing point.
To claim you Sales Tax Refund please make sure that:
1. Your purchases were made at a store which can issue a legal invoice/ receipt (factura fiscala) as well as a tax refund form (formular de restituire TVA),
2. The total value of your purchases is higher than 250 Lei (approx. $100 US),
3. Your purchases were made 90 days or less before your date of departure from Romania,
4. You have the original receipts and store identified VAT Refund forms validated by the Customs Office (Birou Vamal).
All refunds will be made in Romanian currency "Lei".
Customs & Etiquette
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 ("sprit") 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 ("tuica fiarta") — 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.
Official Travel and Tourist Information
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).
Official Travel and Tourist Information
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)
°C -18 -12 -7 0 4 10 16 21 27 32 38
°F 0 10 20 32 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Kilometres divided by 1.6 = miles
KmPH 10 30 50 60 80 90 110
MPH 6 21 31 39 50 56 70