Romania travel guide
There aren’t many countries in Europe where farmers still drive horse-drawn wagons and covered markets dominate over shopping malls, but then Romania isn’t quite like other places.
While other Eastern European countries have become fertile ground for boutique hotels and international restaurants, this traditional country still clings to its dog-eared charm – and good on it.
The first post of call for most travellers is the bustling capital, Bucharest, which was once known as ‘Little Paris’ due to its sophisticated charm. Crammed with grand architecture, fascinating museums and traditional restaurants, it’s well worth a few days exploration. So too are the resorts along the Black Sea Coast, which surprise many with their stunning sandy beaches and ocean panoramas.
Ultimately, though, Romania remains defined by its small, rural communities, many of which still depend on ancient agricultural practices. From the isolated villages clinging to the Carpathian Mountains to the Saxon towns of Transylvania, a tour of Romania’s backcountry will uncover traditional ways of life and a treasure chest of cultural gems.
It is, of course, practically illegal to talk about Transylvania without mentioning the legend of Dracula. The Romanians are all too well aware of the interest in Bram Stoker’s fictional vampire and the castle at Bran (supposedly the spot that inspired Stoker’s story) has been transformed into one of the country’s top tourist attractions.
Elsewhere the forests covering the Carpathian Mountains shelter some of Europe’s last remaining brown bears, wolves and lynxes, while racoon dogs and rare muskrats gather around the rivers.
While Romania offers travellers the chance to immerse themselves in a defiantly traditional way of life, that isn’t to say the locals don’t appreciate their creature comforts. The natural spas scattered across the country purport to cure everything from rheumatism to heart disease, and make a luxurious finale to any Romanian adventure.
238,391 sq km (92,043 sq miles).
19,372,734 (UN estimate 2016).
90.9 per sq km.
President Klaus Iohannis since 2014.
Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu (since January 2017) was removed from his office on June 21 by parliament in a no-confidence vote.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
Last updated: 10 October 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.
Terrorist attacks in Romania can’t be ruled out.
Most visits to Romania are trouble-free.
If you need to contact the emergency services in Romania call 112.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Safety and security
Maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as in the UK. There is a risk of petty theft in large towns, especially Bucharest. Pickpockets and bag snatchers operate in crowded areas, particularly near exchange shops and hotels, on public transport (especially to the airport), in the main railway stations and inside airport terminals.
Organised attacks by groups can occur. The most common method by distracting victims while several people, often children, attempt to snatch watches and jewellery from pockets or from around the neck and wrist.
Valuables including passports have been stolen from hotel rooms. Use the hotel safe and carry a photocopy of the information pages of your passport as ID.
There have been reports of credit or debit cards being ‘copied’ when used for payment in some bars and restaurants.
You will need to pay a road toll ‘Rovinieta’ to use the national roads. You can buy the vignette (sticker) at border points and at most petrol stations. Failure to display the sticker may lead to a heavy fine.
Observe the speed limit at all times. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and you have with you all documentation, including evidence of insurance.
It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. Don’t drink any alcohol if you are driving.
In winter, equip your car for extreme conditions. Road conditions are variable and secondary roads can be in a bad state of repair. Driving standards can be poor. Look out for double parked cars, people suddenly braking to avoid a pothole, horse-drawn carts, livestock and stray dogs, particularly in rural areas, running in front of the vehicle.
Carry the following equipment: first aid kit, fire extinguisher, red warning triangles and a fluorescent jacket.
If your vehicle is damaged before you arrive in Romania, ask a Romanian Customs or Police Officer to write a report on the damage so that you have no problems when leaving. If any damage occurs inside the country, a report must be obtained at the scene of the accident.
In 2015 there were 1,893 road deaths in Romania (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 9.5 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2015.
Yellow taxis in Bucharest should list prices on the side of the vehicle and display a company name. There are frequent reports of foreign visitors being overcharged by taxi drivers.
Thieves operate on trains, so make sure all valuables are safe.
Terrorist attacks in Romania can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
It is illegal to change money on the streets. You should change money only in recognised exchange shops, banks and hotels.
The Romanian authorities treat all drug-related and sex offences very seriously. The age of consent is 18. If you are convicted, you can expect a prison sentence.
Homosexuality is no longer illegal, but attitudes are conservative and the gay community keeps a low profile.
Most airports and military bases will have signs prohibiting photography. Ask permission before photographing anything potentially sensitive (eg official buildings, police cars).
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
You don’t need a visa to enter Romania. British citizens who enter Romania have the right to stay for a period of 3 months from the date of entry. If you intend to stay for a longer period than 3 months, you can apply for a registration certificate issued by the Romanian Office for Immigration as either self-employed, an employee, self-supported, or as a student.
Parental consent when travelling with minors
Some British nationals travelling with minors who hold Romanian citizenship (irrespective of whether they hold citizenship of other countries) are being prevented from leaving the country without notarised parental consent from the minor’s non-travelling parent/s. While enforcement of this may vary at borders, British nationals travelling with minors who hold Romanian citizenship should obtain notarised parental consent before departure from Romania.
A list of the public notaries can be found on the website of the National Union of Public Notaries from Romania.
Working in Romania
If you intend to work in Romania, you should register with the Romanian Office for Immigrants. No separate work permit is required. You can also register as self-employed. For further information on working in Romania, contact the General Inspectorate for Immigration at 15A, Lt. col. Marinescu C-tin Street, Sector 5, Bucharest; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on customs regulations is available on the website of the National Customs Authority of Romania.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, transfer and exit from Romania.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
If you’re visiting Romania you should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC isn’t a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but it entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Romanian nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate. The EHIC won’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment, so you should make sure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
Earthquakes are not uncommon in southern and south-western Romania and small tremors are recorded throughout the year without consequences. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
Romania is largely a cash economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, it may be safer to use cash due to the risk of credit card fraud. There is now a large network of ATMs that accept standard international credit and debit cards. Check with your card provider whether you will be able to use these machines.
US dollars and sterling are not always easy to exchange for local currency, especially outside Bucharest. Euros are widely accepted. You may have difficulties using travellers’ cheques. Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes may not be accepted in banks and bureaux de change.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.