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Romania Guide & Travel Advice

Getting there

British Airways and TAROM fly direct from London Heathrow to Bucharest. Ryanair provide non-stop services from London Stansted, Dublin and Bristol to Bucharest whilst Wizz Air offer direct flights between Bucharest and London Gatwick, London Luton, Birmingham and Doncaster-Sheffield. Wizz Air also have direct service between London Luton and Cluj, Sibiu and Timisoara.

Flying times from UK

Direct flights from the UK take between 3 and 4 hours depending on the destination.

Time zone

Romania is +3 hours ahead of GMT.

Visa requirements

British Citizens do not need a visa to enter Romania and can stay for a period of three months from the date of entry. For those intending to stay longer than this a registered certificate issued by the Romanian Office for Immigration is required. Please also ensure that your passport is valid for six months from your return travel date.

Do’s and don’t

Remember to bring insect repellent when travelling during summer and early autumn

Don’t be alarmed as, unlike the UK, smoking is openly accepted in Romanian bars and restaurants

Try tuica, a traditional Romanian alcoholic spirit made from plums

Museums in Romania are often closed on Mondays so it is good to plan ahead

Remember to try Savarin – a rum and sugar soaked sponge cake served with fresh cream

Money

The currency of Romania is the Romanian Leu (RON) and comes in notes and coins. Exchanging money is easy and can be done in advance in the UK before you travel, at international airports, most hotels or banks. It is always a good idea to ask for some small denomination notes. Credit cards are widely accepted by large hotels and some restaurants and shops. ATMs accept MasterCard and Visa, but should not be relied on as a sole source of cash. Euro and Pound Sterling can also easily be exchanged.

Tipping

This is left to your discretion, however, tipping for good service in Romania is part of everyday life. In restaurants and for room service a 10% tip is appreciated. For drivers and guides, you may want to wait until the conclusion of your holiday to tip. The following amounts below should act as a guideline:

Tour driver                          RON/25 per person per day

Tour guide                          RON/25 per person per day

Hotel porter                        RON/5 per suitcase

Room service                     RON/10 per night

Food and drink

Romanian cuisine is a blend of Hungarian, Turkish and German influences. Typically Romanian food is hearty and most traditional meals include generous portions of meat and vegetables. Cabbage is a popular ingredient and ciorba, sour soups consisting of meat and vegetables, are often served with bread or polenta. Street food such as covrigi, a hot pretzel sprinkled with salt or poppy seeds, mici, grilled rolls of minced meat and placinte, sweet or savoury stuffed pastries, are perennially popular. A common alcoholic beverage, especially in rural areas, is tuica which is made from plums and, according to local tradition, is enjoyed at the start of every meal. Wine has been produced in Romania for centuries and produces many well-regarded wines. As most dishes are heavily meat based, vegetarians might find it a little more challenging to find something suitable on the menu, however, most restaurants will do their best to cater to dietary requirements.

Holidays, festivals and celebrations

Throughout the year Romanians enjoy a variety of events from music and traditional folk festivals to religious holidays. Secular celebrations throughout the year include Martisor, the beginning of spring, held annually on 1st March. In July, Sighisoara hosts an annual three-day medieval festival that celebrates the town’s historic customs and Hora de la Prisop – a traditional festival of Romanian music and dancing held during August in northern Romania. October tends to see many wine festivals as this is the start of the grape harvest and, at the end of the year, Sibiu holds a festive Christmas Market.

Shopping

From large city stores to small village markets popular gifts include traditional embroidery and pottery, jewellery, leather goods, woodcarvings, glass and ceramics. Payment by cash is usually preferred and haggling is commonplace and expected. Purchasing from local markets or independent shops is also great way to ensure your money is going directly back into the local economy.

Suggested reading

Rough Guides and Lonely Planet have excellent guide books on Romania. Bradt also produce a travel guide specifically for Transylvania and Marco Polo publish detailed and up to date maps. Further literature on Romania includes:

‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker

‘The Forbidden Forest’ by Mircea Eliade

‘Transylvania and Beyond’ by Dervla Murphy

‘Never Mind the Vampires, Here’s Transylvania’ by Mike Ormsby

‘Along the Enchanted Way: A Story of Love and Life in Romania’ by William Blacker

‘A Concise History of Romania’ by Keith Hitchins

‘Romania: Borderland of Europe’ by Lucian Boia

‘The Last Hundred Days’ by Patrick McGuinness

‘A Brief Illustrated History of Romanians’ by Neagu Djuvara

‘Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times’ by Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally

Health

Your doctor is the best person to advise you on staying healthy whilst abroad but current recommended vaccinations are Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Diphtheria. Yellow Fever is compulsory, but only if you have visited an affected Yellow Fever area within 5 days prior to your arrival. In some instances anti-malarial tablets may also be needed. For current information on health advice you may wish to visit the Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad (MASTA) Web Site on www.masta.org. The NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website (http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx) is also a useful resource.

Travel advice

For current information on Romania the best resource is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) which is a comprehensive resource and updated regularly. We would also recommend visiting the Safer Tourism Foundation website (https://safertourism.org.uk/) before you travel and will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Romania Holiday Ideas

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