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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Romania > Bucharest

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Local time Bucharest

Currency

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Travel to Bucharest

Flying to Bucharest

Airlines offering direct flights from the UK to Bucharest include Blue Air, British Airways, Ryanair, TAROM and Wizz Air. Fares usually rise during peak summer months, so you're likely to find the best deals in the off-season, by flying midweek, or by booking well ahead.

Flight times

From London - 3 hours 10 minutes; New York - 11 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Los Angeles - 14 hours 15 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 11 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 25 hours (including stopovers).

Travel by road

Roads in Romania are generally poor with numerous potholes, horse carts and speed traps. Drum National (DN) roads are the main roads and European (E) routes, while Drum Judetean (DJ) are county routes. Speed limits are 130kph (81mph) on motorways (autostrada), 90-100kph (55-62mph) on other non-urban roads and 50kph (31mph) within built-up areas. The motorway along the Black Sea coast charges a toll. The minimum driving age is 18 years.

EU visitors only need a national photo driving licence, but you may need an International Driving Permit if visiting from outside the EU, particularly if your licence isn't in English; check with your car hire company. Green Card insurance documents are helpful, but not compulsory for EU visitors.

The Romanian Automobile Club - ACR (tel: +40 21 222 2222; www.acr.ro) has reciprocal agreements with a number of foreign automobile associations and members are automatically covered in the event of breakdown.

Emergency breakdown services

ACR (tel: 9271, in Romania only).

Routes

Bucharest is connected to the rest of the country by four motorways - the E70 from Pitesti, the E60 from Brasov via Ploiesti, the E85 from Giurgiu on the Bulgarian border and the E60 from Constanta on the Black Sea coast.

Coaches

Coaches travel to both Romanian and international cities but most are reached more quickly and comfortably by rail. Eurolines, Buzesti 44 (tel: +40 21 316 7782; www.eurolines.ro), connects Bucharest with cities across Europe. Coaches leave from a few locations, including this one. You can buy tickets from the driver but it's advisable to purchase your tickets in advance, particularly for international destinations.

Time to city

From Cluj-Napoca - 6 hours; Belgrade - 8 hours; Budapest - 10 hours; Sofia - 5 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Gara de Nord, Bulevardul Garii de Nord 2, is the city's main railway station. There are daily direct trains from/to Budapest, Sofia and Vienna.

Those entering the station without a train ticket are charged a small fee at the station entrance; this is to discourage pickpockets and other petty criminals. The ticket counter for domestic trains is on the station's right-hand side; international trains are to the left.

Bucharest also has two smaller railway stations (Gara Obor, Bulevardul Garii 3, and Gara Baneasa, Strada Dr Minovici 1) serving trains running east to the coast, during the summer.

Operators

The Romanian state railway, CFR (tel: +40 21 9521; www.cfrcalatori.ro), provides a reliable and often scenic means of transport to destinations outside Bucharest. You can buy advance tickets for all trains at the CFR offices on Strada Domnita Anastasia 10-14. Visitors departing within 24 hours, however, must buy their tickets at the relevant railway station, where queues can be long. Prices are reasonable and first-class tickets are recommended, as the extra comfort is worth the cost. Tickets are checked at the platform entrance.

There are four types of train. InterCity trains (indicated by IC on timetables) are fastest and only stop at major Romanian cities, such as Cluj-Napoca, Iasi and Timisoara. The next fastest are rapid trains (indicated in green), then accelerat (red). The slowest are the local trains (personal).

Journey times

From Budapest - 15 hours 40 minutes; Sofia - 9 hours 30 minutes; Vienna - 19 hours.

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Featured Hotels

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Rembrandt Hotel

This classy, intimate boutique hotel, tucked amongst some of the finest Paris-style buildings of the city centre, has 16 smart rooms with wood floors, high-speed internet, and wonderful views. Rates include breakfast in the mezzanine cafe.

Crazy Duck Hostel

A modern hostel suitable for travellers who want a clean but cheap place to rest the night. You can choose a private room that comes with cable TV and a private bathroom, or a dormitory unit that is clean and functional. It's about 12 minutes' walk from the Eroilor metro station but you can rent a bicycle at the reception.

Duke Hotel

A short walk from Piata Romana and the metro station of the same name, this 3-star hotel offers spacious and clean rooms, plus free Wi-Fi. The breakfast may not be well-received by some guests but Piata Romana is flanked by a wide range of cafes and restaurants.

Hotel Razvan

This 3-star hotel is convenient if you know how to navigate Bucharest by bus, as it is not near to a metro station. The rooms are modern and spacious, and have a private bathroom with shower. The hotel also offers transfer to Otopeni International Airport.

Formenerg

The Hostel Formenerg is located next to the Tineretului metro, bus and tram station and is a good value accommodation option also offering a restaurant, fitness area and free Wi-Fi. All 52 rooms are air-conditioned and feature a private bathroom including a hairdryer, a refrigerator and a TV. Typical Romanian food, plus international fare, are served in the à-la-carte restaurant.

Radisson Blu Hotel

A stones throw from the Atheneum in the heart of Bucharest the 5-Star Radisson Blu Hotel offers guests an all mod con experience. This 487-room business hotel complete with indoor and outdoor pools international restaurants jogging track meeting rooms and Wi-Fi throughout is a great base from which to explore the city.