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Does exploring the dark ages of European history interest you? Do towering mountains, evergreen forests, and meandering meadows tickle your wanderlust? Do castles, walled cities, and fortified churches fill your mind with flights of fancy and fantasy? Do you want to see Europe’s second longest river empty into Europe’s lushest and youngest delta?

 Say Hello to Romania.

Does exploring the dark ages of European history interest you? Do towering mountains, evergreen forests, and meandering meadows tickle your wanderlust? Do castles, walled cities, and fortified churches fill your mind with flights of fancy and fantasy? Do you want to see Europe’s second longest river empty into Europe’s lushest and youngest delta? Do you want to witness how World War II and the subsequent Communist regime in Eastern Europe scarred one of the largest cities on the continent? If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions you really owe yourself a trip to Romania.

Why Go to Romania?

Discover the Past

Romania has long stood on the crossroads of human history. Its location has put it squarely in the middle of momentous and historic events in Europe from the age of the Roman empire. History buffs will find Romania a living museum; starting with the crumbling beauty of Bucharest and extending far out into the farmsteads and villages nestled in the foothills of legendary Transylvania.

 

Explore Untamed Beauty

Romania is almost too beautiful for words. The varied terrain of the country ranges from scraggly mountains to verdant deltas, from blue waters to hidden mountain streams. Old walled cities with cobblestone streets and formidable castles add to the stunning landscape, while misty hills stand silent vigil over vast swaths of farmland. Romania exudes an old world charm to be sure, and is all the more beautiful and mysterious for it.

Escape the Hordes

If you want to find a European destination that isn’t overrun with tourists Romania is a perfect candidate. While that is not to say there are no visitors in the country, Romania is still a bit of an “off the beaten path” destination.

Sibiu, Romania
Views from Sibiu’s Old Town in Romania.

Connect with the Culture

We found Romanians to be outgoing and gregarious, and Romanian culture to be rich in both color and personality. Dine or drink in one of the many hidden gardens in Bucharest, visit a farmers market, catch a Roma (Gypsy) music performance, or explore one of the many fortified churches in the countryside to get a glimpse into the varied and fascinating culture of Romania and its people.

It’s All About the Benjamins

Not only is Romania fascinating, historic, gorgeous, and vibrant it’s also an extremely affordable country for most travelers. In fact it is safe to say that out of every European country we have explored thus far Romania is the most backpacker and budget traveler friendly. You can easily get by on a basic budget of $20.00 per day if you opt for dorm rooms and self cooked meals. If you want to drink a bunch of beer and eat some local cuisine you can manage that for under $33.00 a day. For $50.00 a day you can start thinking about your own Airbnb apartment if you are on your own. For $80.00 day you will live like a king in Romania (or at least like an upper middle class local).

Time in Europe Outside of the Schengen Visa Zone

If you’re a non-EU Citizen the time you can spend in Europe is limited because of Schengen Visa Zone regulations.  If you’re not familiar with the Schengen Visa Zone and are planning to visit Europe get ready to be a little disappointed. The Schengen Visa Zone regulations determine that most non-EU citizens can only spend 90 out of 180 days total in most of Europe.
Lucky, Romania is one of a handful of countries (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, and the UK) in Europe that is not part of the Schengen Visa Zone.  Romania allows visitors to stay in their country for up to 90 days in any 180 day period, therefore you can spend an additional three months in Europe without having to worry about overstaying any Schengen Visa regulations. If you are backpacking Europe for loger than three months this can be a total Visa saver!

Holy Blazing Internet Speeds Batman!

Romania is a great destination for digital nomads, as it has some of the fastest internet in the world. Seriously. We heard reports of the legendary speeds of Romanian Wi-Fi yet we were still a bit shocked to experience it in action. During the three months we spent in the country in the summer of 2015 we had blazing fast internet almost everywhere we went, barring trains and such. Each cafe, each hostel, and each apartment we rented was dialed into the information superhighway at warp fucking speed.
Yeah, it sort of turned us on.
Thus, high speed internet coupled with the sort of affordable prices you can currently find for food, housing, and partying makes Romania a digital nomad’s wet dream come true.

Corvin Castle, Romania.
Corvin Castle, Romania.

Some Facts About Romania

  • Location: Romania is in Central Europe and shares its border with Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria.
  • Language: Romania’s official language is…Romanian.
  • Currency: Romanian leu, also referred to as RON. Click here for the current exchange rate.
  • Capital: Bucharest/Bucharesti
  • Visas: Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most European countries don’t need a visa to visit Romania and can remain in the country for 90 days in any 180 day period. A valid passport is required for all non-EU passport holders. For more information on visa requirements and for a list of countries whose residents require a visa to visit Romania, click here.
  • Getting There: Romania has over 15 public airports throughout the country, including two international airports in the capital city of Bucharest, “Henri Coandǎ”International Airport serving the majority of travelers entering the country.
  • Getting Around: Most popular destinations in Romania can be reached by train. Unfortunately the train system in Romania is a bit on the decrepit side, which is cool if you want to experience War Era trains, but honestly the system could use a major over-haul. This method of travel can be slower and it should be and somewhat unpredictable. Expect random delays.
    • For train schedules in Romania click here.
    • When visiting remote areas of the country not served by train, it’s advisable to organize a private driver or rental car.
    • Driving:  EU, U.S., Canadian, Australian driver’s license is valid for driving in Romania, for 90-days from the date of entry into Romania. Driving is on the right side of the road.

The mist rolls in over the hills in Transylvania. Photo by Tim Whitfield.

Cost of Travel in Romania

As we said above, Romania is a budget friendly European country, and it is especially great for backpackers and budget travelers who want to explore Europe on a budget.
Romania’s official currency is called the Romanian New Leu, which is referred to as either RON or Lei. It is possible to spend less than $20.00 USD a day while traveling in Romania if you are very frugal.
Below we break down some common prices you will find while traveling or backpacking Romania. All prices have been converted to USD unless otherwise noted.
Accommodations

  • Dorm Bed in a Hostel: $5.50 and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $28.00 and up

Eating Out

  • Meal at a restaurant: $3.50 to $10.00

Basic Groceries

  • Granulated Sugar, 1 kilo: $0.66
  • Frozen Pizza: $2.15
  • Eggs, 6 ct: $1.01
  • Medium Red Potatoes, 6 ct: $0.12
  • Box of Brown Sugar Cubes: $1.50
  • Bag of Tagliatelle Pasta, 200 grams: $0.44
  • Flour Tortillas, 8 ct: $2.04
  • Large Bag of Pretzel Chips: $1.00
  • Red Grapefruit, 1: $0.46
  • Small Bottle of Soy Sauce: $1.21
  • Medium Yellow Onion: $0.29
  • Package of Ham, 8 Slices: $1.27
  • Large Carrots, 3: $0.87
  • Small Green Chili Pepper: $0.18
  • Small Loaf of Grain Bread: $0.75
  • Red Bell Pepper: $1.16
  • Bag of Popcorn, 125 grams: $0.59
  • Package of Phyllo Dough: $1.10
  • Bottle of Coca Cola, .5 Liter: $0.61
  • Hummus, 250 grams: $1.49
  • Medium Carton of Olives: $1.01
  • Organic Tofu, 500 grams: $3.47

Drinks

  • Bottled Water, 5 liters: $0.82
  • Tuborg Beer, 750 ml: $1.12
  • Ursus Beer, 8 pack from the store: $4.25
  • Bottle of Grolsch Beer, 450 ml from the store: $1.07
  • Pint of local beer at a bar: $1.25 and up
  • Glass of wine at a bar: $3.75 and up
  • Bottle of Red Wine from the store: $3.77
  • Fresh Lemon-aid, 450 ml: $1.52
  • Cranberry Juice, 1 liter from the store: $1.37

Top Destinations In Romania

Bucharest Romania - Tourists wander the cobblestone streets of the historic center Lipscani the Bucharest's liveliest entertainment district.
Walking the cobblestone streets of Bucharest’s Old Town Center.

Bucharest

  • Population: 1.9 million people
  • Location: South central Romania

While Bucharest gets a bad rap in some circles both foreign and domestic, we loved practically every moment of our time there. Sure, when seen from a certain light the city appears to be crumbling, straining under the weigh of its years. Yet that’s part of what makes the city so interesting.
We spent seven highly enjoyable weeks living in Bucharest. We had the opportunity to sink into the contours of the city, make friends, and experienced a Bucharest most tourists rarely get to see. We found a vibrant and historic city filled with little gems hidden right beneath the surface. We found a city of young artists, thinkers, dreamers, and philosophers sprouting from the grey communist concrete that had ruled the lives of their forefathers. We found a city standing with one foot in the past, trying to step boldly into the future.
All that is to say that yes, we found many awesome things to do in Bucharest. And we hope you do too!

Things to Do in Bucharest

  • “Hidden” Beer Gardens and Restaurants: Bucharest is filled with many awesome “hidden gardens”, each and every one a gem in their own right. Most of these hidden gardens belong to restaurants, bars, and cafes, and they are a great way to escape the hustle, noise, and dustiness of the city.  Take a look here for more on the Hidden Gardens of Bucharest.
  • Walking the City (alone or on a great tour): If you want to explore the city via guided tour we can happily recommend the Interesting Times Bureau in Bucharest. They offer a plethora of interesting and informative tours, and their Urban Decay tour is one of the very best we have ever taken, in any city. Alternatively, you can just tour the city on foot by yourself. Check out the map below for our recommended area to explore if you want to see a ton of architecture and character.

bucharest-mapcircle

  • The Old Town: Bucharest’s Old Town isn’t our favorite Old Town in Europe, and its designed to be a bit of a tourist trap. However it is still worth exploring, and contains several notable locations that should not be missed out on.
  • Farmers Markets: A great way to get fresh veggies and fruit in the late spring, summer, and fall. Romanian farmers markets offered some of the juiciest and freshest fruit and vegetables we have eaten in Europe, and they are dirt cheap. Great place to catch some local culture as well.
  • Bookstores: Romanians like to read, and there are many an interesting bookstore in Bucharest. Hunt them down and have fun exploring!

Cost of Travel in Bucharest

  • Dorm Beds: $5.50 and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $28.00 and up
  • Hotel Room: $35.00 and up
  • Meal at a Restaurant: $5.00 – $10.00
  • Beer at a Bar/Restaurant: $1.25 and up
  • Glass of Wine at a Bar: $3.75 and up
  • Taxi: $0.34 cents per Kilometer
  • Bus or Tram: $0.32 per ticket
  • Subway: $0.62 per ticket

Where to Stay in Bucharest

Transylvania – A Mini Travel Guide

Peles Castle
Majestic Peles Castle in Romania.

Legendary Transylvania certainly evokes feelings of mystery and fantasies of brave vampire slaying heroes and blood sucking villains.

Yes, the Legend of Dracula is alive and well in the small town of Bran, and is often invoked to entice tourists to visit Bran Castle, one of the inspirations for the castle in Bram Stroker’s classic tale. For the most part, however, this is where the relationship between Transylvania and the Dracula myth ends.

Nestled snugly in the rocky embrace of the Carpathian Mountain range, Transylvania seems like a land that has been preserved in a time capsule. The region is dotted with proud castles and regal churches, old villages and mysterious monasteries. It is an absolute joy to uncover the wonder and beauty of Transylvania, one city, town, village, and farmstead at a time.

There are a ton of places you could visit in the Transylvanian region to walk in the footsteps of history, and we can’t possibly name them all. The list below is composed of the locations you absolutely MUST visit when in Transylvania, however.

Views of Sibiu Romania.
Views of Sibiu from up above.

Sibiu

  • Location: 278 km NW of Bucharest
  • Population: ~426,000
  • Travel Time From Bucharest: By plane (45 minutes), By train (approximately 5 1/2 hours), Car (approximately 4 1/2 hours).

The city of Sibiu has long historic roots that stretch back almost a thousand years. As one of the famed “Seven Walled Cities” of Transylvania Sibiu has stood behind its walls watching centuries of human toil, war, tragedy, ingenuity, and creation. It is one of Romania’s most visited destinations, was named The European Capital of Culture in 2007, and was chosen by Forbes as one of Europe’s most idyllic places to live in 2008.

Things to do in Sibiu

  • Explore the Old Town Center: Pretty self explanatory. Sibiu’s Old Town is almost completely surrounded by high walls, hearkening back to an age when the city had to defend itself from marauders. Walk the cobblestone streets and take in the architecture and ambiance. Make sure to veer off into little side streets for an even stronger feeling of walking in the past.
  • View of the Old Town from above at the Evangelic Church: Climb the rickety wooden stairs all the way up to the top of the church tower for some astounding views of Sibiu’s Old Town. If you suffer from vertigo…do it anyway. Price: $1.25
  • The Majesty of Corvin Castle: This is actually a day trip from Sibiu, as Corvin Castle is located some 50 kilometers from the city. If you love castles you owe it to yourself to go. Price: $5.00 – $7.50 entrance fee
  • Outdoor Exploration at the Astra Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization: Located a few kilometers outside of the city center, the Astra Museum is a fascinating recreation of old Romanian villages of yore. If you want to see what a village in Transylvania looked like 400 years ago, you HAVE to visit this amazing outdoors museum. Great places to take the kids while visiting Sibiu, as well. Price: $4.00
  • The Citadel of Alba Iulia: Another day trip from Sibiu.  The massive citadel of Alba Iulia is as historic as you can get. There are ancient Roman ruins on site, and the entire restored complex oozes with tales of Romania’s ancestors. Highly enjoyable trip and the best part is that entrance to the massive Citadel is FREE.
  • Explore the countryside with Transylvania Cycling: If you want to get a little sweaty and explore the back country around Sibiu, we HIGHLY recommend checking out Transylvania Cycling. They specialize in long trips, or short day trips, and are a great way to see a part of Transylvania you would otherwise probably miss out on. Get on a bike and out into the fresh country air with Transylvania Cycling.
    • Full day tours without car transfer (available for Sibiu and Cluj-Napoca): €55.00 per person for 2 persons and €40.00 per person, for groups ranging from 3 to 6 people.
    • Short day tours: €35.00 per person for 2 persons and €30.00 per person, for groups ranging from 3 to 6 people.

Cost of Travel in Sibiu Romania

  • Dorm Beds: $12.00 and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $33.00 – $40.00 and up
  • Hotel Room: $28.00 and up
  • Meal at a Restaurant: $5.00 – $13.00
  • Beer at a Bar/Restaurant: $1.40 and up
  • Cocktail at a Bar:  $3.90 and up
  • Taxi: varies depending on trip length, cost per Kilometer marked on the outside of the Taxi
  • Bus: $0.37 per ticket
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Bucharest: Starting at $16.00
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Brasov: $4.00 – $10.00

Where to Stay in Sibiu

Brasov Old Town Square
The Town Square in Brasov.

Brasov

  • Location: 278 km NW of Bucharest
  • Population: ~426,000
  • From Bucharest: By train (approximately 2 hours 40 minutes), Car (approximately 2 hours 40 minutes).

Brasov was founded in the 13th century, and was situated on the crossroads of trade routes between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe. Built up by German settlers, Brasov is another one of Transylvania’s famed “Seven Citadels”.

Brasov is nestled in a green valley in the lower foothills of the Carpathians, and is a lovely and relaxed little city. If we have to pick a small town to settle down in for 6 months to get work done, as digital nomads, we would choose Brasov.

Given its relatively small size the Old Town of Brasov feels a little crowded with tourists at time, especially along its main walking street. Don’t let the multitude of identical cafes, restaurants, and trinket shops deter you from enjoying this marvelous gem of a city, however. There are plenty of things to do in Brasov, as we found in the seventeen days we were lucky enough to live there.

Things to Do in Brasov

 

  • The White Tower: Perched above the city, this is great vantage point to photograph Brasov’s Old Town. Go inside the tower for a bit of a history lesson. Price: $1.72
  • Cable Car to Tampa Mountain: To get to the Hollywood like “Brasov” sign that looms in the green hills above the Old Town hop on this cable car. You can also enjoy the bar at the top or hike for miles along the trail that runs through the hills around the city. Price for cable car: $3.92
  • Peles Castle: A day trip from Brasov to Sinaia and Peles Castle is definitely in order. You can take a train and do the trip yourself, or join an organized tour. Entrance to the castle itself costs anywhere from $5.00 to $10.00 depending on the tour of the interior you choose. Conversely, you can simply admire Peles Castle from the outside, and check out some of the cool statues in its garden.

Cost of Travel in Brasov:

  • Dorm Beds: $10.00 a night and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $30.00 a night and up
  • Hotel Room: $25.00 a night and up
  • Meal at a Restaurant: $5.00 and up
  • Beer at a Bar/Restaurant: $1.25 and up
  • Cocktail at a Bar: $3.00 and up
  • Taxi: varies depending on trip length, cost per Kilometer marked on the outside of the Taxi
  • Bus: $1.11 per ticket
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from to Peles Castle: A train ticket from Brasov to Sinai will cost about $4.38
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Bucharest: $7.00 to $12.00
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Sibiu: $4.00 to $10.00

Where to Stay in Brasov

Sighisoara

Sighisoara looks like it could be a set for a fantasy show along the likes of HBO’s Game of Thrones. This extremely well persevered UNESCO World Heritage site has been around since the 12th century, and was the home of Vlad Tepes, otherwise known as the Vlad the Impaler. Vlad was a right sort of fellow. Best known for his cruelty, and love of sticking folks on sharp thick sticks, he was one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker’s titular character Dracula.

Walking around Sighisoara is a total joy for anyone who wishes they could travel back in time.

Things to Do in Sighisoara

  • Biertan Fortified Church: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Biertan Church dates back to as early as the late 15th century. Due to its design and location (perched atop a hill in the center of Biertan Village) the church was impossible to conquer in medieval times and remains in an extremely well preserved state.
  • Sighisoara’s Historic Center: The town center of Sighisoara was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and dates back to the 12th century and was built by the Transylvanian Saxons.
  • Town Square and Clock Tower: Sighisoara’s town square is small, but not to be missed. It’s the location of the historic Clock Tower, which is also called the Council Clock as it was at one time the meeting site for the city council.
  • The History Museum: Located in the Church Tower, the history museum has exhibits focusing on art, archaeology, medical instruments, ceramics, firearms, and more.
  • Notable Houses: Vlad Dracul’s House (birthplace of Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler), the Stag House, and the Venetian House
  • City Towers: The Citadel Towers (nine towers still standing from the original protective wall surrounding the town), The Ropemakers’ Tower (one of the oldest structures in Sighisoara), The Tailors’ Tower, The Cobblers’ Tower
  • Notable Churches: Orthodox Cathedral (Romanian Orthodox Church with a stunning white and black facade and ornate interior), Lepers’ Church (15th century church that once served as a leper asylum), St. Joseph Roman-Catholic Church, and Orthodox Church from Cornesti (the oldest Orthodox church in Sighisoara), The Church of the Dominican Monastery (only remaining building from a historic Dominican monastic settlement dating back to 1298), The Church on the Hill (Gothic church dating back to the 1400s).

Cost of Travel in Sighisoara

  • Dorm Beds: $12.00 and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $30.00 and up
  • Hotel Room: $28.00 and up
  • Meal at a Restaurant: $6.00 and up
  • Beer at a Bar/Restaurant: $1.70 and up
  • Cocktail at a Bar: $3.00 and up
  • Taxi: varies depending on trip length, cost per Kilometer marked on the outside of the Taxi
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Bucharest: $15.00 to $17.00

Where to Stay in Sighisoara

Cluj-Napoca

  • Location: 449 km NW of Bucharest
  • Population: ~303,000
  • From Bucharest: By train (approximately 11 hours 40 minutes), Car (approximately 6 hours).

The university city of Cluj stands at the forefront of modern culture in Transylvania. Filled with eager young minds and creative souls this small city is fairly different from all others we visited in Romania. Cluj is filled with cafes, bars, restaurants, and other places for folks to mingle, study, or be social. It is one of the more affluent areas of the country, and prices here are slightly higher than in other parts of Romania.

Things to Do in and Near Cluj

  • Merry Cemetery: Yes, the Merry Cemetery is a bit of a drive (about 3 hr drive) but absolutely worth visiting. Rather than focusing on death, the cemetery is decorated with bright and cheerful tombstones which are meant to celebrate the lives of those who are laid to rest here. A fascinating amalgamation of life and death.
  • Union Square: One of the largest squares in all of Romania, and the most important in Cluj. The square houses the following noteworthy buildings and sites in Cluj: Old City Hall, Matthias Monument, and St. Michael Church among others..
  • Banffy Palace: Baroque palace dating back to the 18th century.
  • Churches & Synagogues: St. Michael’s Church(second largest church in Transylvania dating back to 1316), Calvinist Reformed Church (one of the most important Gothic style buildings in Transylvania built in 1486), St. Peter and Paul Church, The Franciscan Monastery and Church (one of the oldest buildings in Cluj), Cathedral of the Transfiguration, St. Mary Calvaria Church, and The New Synagogue (Cluj’s only Synagogue).
  • Tailors’ Bastion (also the Centre for Urban Culture)
  • Fortress Hill: Former site of an 18th century Austrian fortress
  • Museums: Cluj National Museum of Art, Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, History Museum of Transylvania, Emil Racovita Speleology Institute & Museum, and Pharmacy History Collection
    Alexandru Borza Botanical Garden
  • Parks: Central Park (large picturesque park located near the city center) and Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park (museum featuring old traditional buildings, folk architecture monuments and installations, craftsman workshops, and textiles.

Cost of Travel in Cluj

  • Dorm Beds: $15.00 and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $38.00 and up
  • Hotel Room: $40.00 and up
  • Meal at a Restaurant: $2.00 – $15.00
  • Beer at a Bar/Restaurant: $1.70 and up
  • Cocktail at a Bar: $3.00 and up
  • Taxi: varies depending on trip length, cost per Kilometer marked on the outside of the Taxi
  • Public Transportation: $0.50 per ticket
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Bucharest: $22.00 – $27.00

Where to Stay in Cluj

Constanța

  • Location: 225 km NW of Bucharest
  • Population: ~297,500
  • From Bucharest: By train (approximately 2 hours 30 minutes), Car (approximately 2 hours).

Constanta lies on the western coast of the Black Sea and is the go-to spot for Romanians looking to escape the inland heat during summer months. You will find all the coastal vacation cliches in Constanta, including casinos, resorts, lounges, clubs, and rows upon rows of beach chairs by the water.

That said, if you are in Romania during the summer and want to take a break to relax by the coast Constanta is a solid choice. It is also a good base of exploration of the Danube Delta, which we discuss below.

Things to Do in Constanta, Romania

  • Constanta Casino: Historic Art Nouveau style casino, and symbol of the city, that once served as the playground to the wealthy and members of royalty.
  • Ovidiu’s Square: Large square named for the impressive sculpture of Roman poet Ovid.
  • The Roman Mosaics: Monument constructed between the fourth to sixth centuries, dedicated to a building that served as a meeting place to conduct trade and the storage of goods.
  • The Genoese Lighthouse
  • Casa cu Lei (House with Lions)
  • The Archaeology Park: An outdoor museum of sorts, the park is home to historic artifacts like columns, pottery from the Roman-Byzantine era.
  • St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Cathedral (Greco-Roman style cathedral and seat of the Romanian Orthodox Archbishop of Tomis), The Great Mahmudiye Mosque ((houses the largest Persian rug in Romania, weighing 500 kg)), The Hunchiar Mosque, St. Mina Orthodox Church (largest wooden church in Romania), St. Anthony Roman-Catholic Church,
  • Museums: Art Museum (home of over 7,000 contemporary art pieces), Folk Art Museum (costumes, jewelry, and other items from traditional life in Romania), Ion Jalea Museum, National History & Archeology Museum, Romanian Navy Museum

Cost of Travel in Costanta

  • Dorm Beds: $12.00 and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $34.00 and up
  • Hotel Room: $37.00 and up
  • Meal at a Restaurant: $3.50 – $10.00
  • Beer at a Bar/Restaurant: $1.70 and up
  • Cocktail at a Bar: $3.00 and up
  • Taxi: varies depending on trip length, cost per Kilometer marked on the outside of the Taxi
  • Public Transportation: $0.37 per ticket
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Bucharest: $15.00 – $22.00

Where to Stay in Constanta

Timisoara

Timisoara is the largest city in Western Romania. Sometimes referred to as “Little Vienna” (due to the architectural style of its older buildings, not because it has canals) the city is rife with arts and culture, including theatrical performances, galleries, museums, and a vibrant nightlife. Timisoara is a relatively verdant city, and has many public parks and squares to give it a bit of a laid back feel.

  • Location: 225 km NW of Bucharest
  • Population: ~306,000
  • From Bucharest: Flight: 55 minutes, By train (approximately 9 to 12 hours), Car (approximately 6 hours 30 minutes).

Things to Do in Timisoara

  • Victory Square (Piata Victoriei) and Union Square (Piata Unirii): these two squares make up the cultural center of Timisoara and is the site of a number of historic events including the declaration of Timisoara as the first free city in Romania in 1989 during the revolution.
  • Liberty Square (Piata Libertatii): The oldest square in Timisoara dating to 1734 and the site of Baroque monument to St John Nepomucene.
  • Notable Churches & Synagogues: Roman Catholic Cathedral, The New Synagogue in Fabric (Sinagoga din Fabric), Great Synagogue(Sinagoga Cetate), Orthodox Synagogue
  • Notable Museums: Banat Museum (Located in the Huniade Castle and founded in 1872. Houses a large collection of archaeological objects), Banat Museum Ethnographic Section (folk costumes, textiles, glass-painted icons and and other historic cultural items), Memorial Museum of the 1989 Revolution, Timisoara Art Museum, Banat Village Museum (An open-air museum consisting of over 30 traditional peasant houses from the 19th century)

Cost of travel in Timișoara

  • Dorm Beds: $12.50 and up
  • Private Room in a Hostel: $36.00 and up
  • Hotel Room: $28.00 and up
  • Meal at a Restaurant: $3.70 – $9.00
  • Beer at a Bar/Restaurant: $1.70 and up
  • Cocktail at a Bar: $3.00 and up
  • Taxi: varies depending on trip length, cost per Kilometer marked on the outside of the Taxi
  • Public Transportation: $0.49 per ticket
  • 2nd Class Train Ticket from Bucharest: $25.00 – $35.00

Where to Stay in Timisoara

Danube Delta (Delta Dunarii)

The Danube Delta formed around the mouth of the Danube River as it empties out into the Black Sea. It is the second largest delta in Europe, and probably the best preserved and “wild” delta you will find on the continent. Teeming with wildlife or all shapes and sizes (over 3,400 species of animals, and 1,400 species of plants) the Delta is a wildlife lovers paradise, and offers days upon days of exploration. Home to over 300 avian species the Danube Delta is also a wonderful location for the bird watching traveler.

Cost: Day Trip Starting at $140.00 per person

The Transfăgărășan Road

“This is the best road in the world!”

So said the famed Jeremy Clarkson of the uber popular television show Top Gear. And it’s easy to see why. Transfagarasan is one of the more unique roads we have every seen, and is probably a stunt drivers wildest fantasy. Extremely picturesque, the road attracts auto enthusiasts and photographers from around the world.

So, take the ultimate road trip when in Romania and have a drive down the most awesome road in the world!

Cost:

  • Private Day Car Rental: Starting at $62.00 a day
  • Private Day Tour with Driver: Starting at $80.00 per person

The Carpathian Mountain Range

What can be said of the Carpathian Mountains? These giant granite peaks are home to a majority of the brown bear population found in Europe, and many other wild mammals. The mountain range also houses on of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe. The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians have been named a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, and are older than all of human history, by a long shot.

The Carpathians are majestic, mysterious, and ancient. We’ll let the video below fill you in on the rest.

Just know, when you visit the Carpathians you are stepping foot into of the last virgin forests in Europe. You will be walking among the truly ancient, a place that far exceeds mankind’s brief existence on planet earth.

 

Cost:

  • Day Tour: Starting at $125.00 per person

In Conclusion – You Should Visit Romania

So there you have it folks. A beginner’s guide to Romania, from two people who loved their three months exploring the country. And we reckon you will love Romania as well. Unspoiled by mass tourism, extremely affordable for backpackers and budget travelers, and practically rammed to the gills with amazing places to see, experience, and explore. Do you really need any further encouragement?

Book your tickets, pack your backpack, and hit the road!

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Sunrise over the misty foothills of the Carpathians in Romania. Photo by Tim Whitfield.

 

About the Authors

Just a Pack
Randi and Michael are the co-creators and writers of Just a Pack, a website devoted to inspiring responsible and affordable travel. They are two friends from NYC who decided to embark on a multi-year journey. Currently they are location independent, live out of their backpacks, and travel on a budget full time.

About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.