Romania travel guide
Romania has a rich cultural and natural diversity. Its dramatic mountain scenery includes the densely forested Carpathian Mountains, picturesque valleys and miles of fine white sandy beaches on the Black Sea Coast.
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 Viorica Dancila, since January 2018.
Last updated: 17 February 2019
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 have been an increased number of political protests, centred on the main government building in Bucharest, but also affecting other major cities in Romania. You should follow local media and avoid demonstrations or other large gatherings.
Terrorist attacks in Romania can’t be ruled out.
Most visits to Romania are trouble-free.
If you’re living in or moving to Romania, visit our Living in Romania guide in addition to this travel advice.
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.
If driving in Romania, make sure you have with you all documentation, including your full, valid driving licence, proof of insurance/green card (third party or above), proof of ID (passport) and proof of ownership (V5C Certificate).
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to be able to drive in Romania and other EU/EEA countries as a visitor after 29 March 2019.
There are 3 types of IDP. Check that you have the correct permits covering all countries where you will be driving - you may need more than one IDP. For full information, check this guidance page. You should also check guidance on driving in the EU after Brexit for information on other additional documents you may need to carry.
If you’re living in Romania, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
You’ll 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. The minimum cost is 3 euros for 7 days. Failure to display the sticker may lead to a heavy fine. You can find out more about prices by using the website Roviniete.ro.
Observe the speed limit at all times. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy.
It’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol. The drink drive limit is zero.
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. Equip your car for extreme conditions in winter.
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 officer 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 2016 there were 1,913 road deaths in Romania (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 9.7 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2016.
Yellow taxis in Bucharest should list prices on the side of the vehicle and display a company name. There are 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 has been legal in Romania since 1996. The country has made significant progress in LGBT rights legislation since 2000 including wide–ranging anti-discriminatory laws, equalising the age of consent and laws against homophobic hate crimes. Bucharest’s annual Pride, usually accompanied by a LGBT film and art festival, has grown in recent years and is gaining the support of more public figures. Since 2017, a Pride event has also been held in the city of Cluj. The country remains generally socially conservative resulting in the majority of LGBT people not being openly gay and there being very few gay bars or clubs in Bucharest or the other main cities. You can find local information on LGBT issues in Romania on the website of ACCEPT. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
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.
If the UK leaves with a deal, travel to the EU will remain the same as now until at least 31 December 2020. You will not need to apply for a visa to travel or work in the EU during this time.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the rules for travelling or working in Europe will change after 29 March 2019.
The European Commission has proposed that in a no deal situation, if you are a British Citizen, you would not need a visa for short stays in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU. You would be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Visits to the Schengen area within the previous 180 days before your date of travel will count against the 90-day limit.
If you are intending to stay in the Schengen area for longer than 90 days, or your stay would take you over the 90 days in the 180-day limit, you may need to get a visa before you travel.
Travel to EU countries currently outside the Schengen area (Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Cyprus) would not count towards the 90-day total.
On arrival in the Schengen Area, you may be asked to confirm that you have sufficient funds available for the duration of your stay. As non-EEA nationals, different border control checks will apply, and you may also be asked to show a return or onward ticket. UK nationals would not have an ongoing right to use the separate lanes provided for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals.
The 90-day visa-free period does not entitle you to work in the Schengen area. Most countries will require a visa and work permit.
You should check with the Romanian Embassy what type of visa, if any, you will need.
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 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.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, access to healthcare for British nationals travelling or living in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is likely to change. More information about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting Romania is available on the NHS website.
You should still get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. UK-issued EHICs will remain valid until 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
The EHIC 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 UK government has or is seeking agreements with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after 29 March 2019. The NHS website and this travel advice will be updated with further information on travelling to Romania as the circumstances change.
Whether you’re travelling before or after 29 March, it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for emergency medical treatment and associated costs. The existing EHIC arrangements are not an alternative to travel insurance, as some health-related costs, including for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment, are not covered. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you’re living in Romania, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Romania guide.
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.
Romania is in a seismically active area and is regularly prone to earth tremors. The last major earthquake was in March 1977 in Vrancea area, north-east of Bucharest.
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
Romania is increasingly a card economy. While a growing 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. 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.