Travelling in Romania

The transport infrastructure in Romania was significantly improved over the last few years, even though some of the roads are not completely rebuilt. There are several highways under construction, but most of them are still not fully functional, with two exceptions: the one linking Bucharest and the Black Sea coast and the one linking Bucharest and Pitesti.

As for the railway infrastructure, although most trains were refurbished, cruising speeds on some railway sections are unfortunately extremely low due to some upgrading works. Therefore, you can expect a trip of 450-500 km to take between 8 to 10 hours.

Travelling by train

Romania has a very dense railway network that reaches practically every city and a considerable number of villages. Due to the fact that it’s currently being upgraded, the railway network is not in the best state, with low speeds and limited trains on several routes. Even so, keep in mind that travelling by train remains an option for long distance routes.

Most of the trains are operated by the state carrier, Căile Ferate Române, (SNCFR). Many secondary routes are exclusively operated by private companies: Regiotrans, Regional, Transferoviar and Servtrans.

We have to mention the several narrow gauge railways which can be found in some picturesque areas, rehabilitated for tourism activities, like „Mocanita”, a former train forest with a steam locomotive that travels through fairytale like scenery. These are available for small group tours, but also for individual tourists. A notable example is the railway through the Vaser Valley in Maramures, running daily from early summer to late autumn.

Travelling by car

Travelling by car it is the easiest means of transportation, and most tourists choose to drive here on the picturesque roads. Many of Romania’s important roads are along the former medieval trade routes, so today they cross through the center of many beautiful villages. Sometimes the traffic on these roads can be very slow, hampered by trucks, horse-drawn carts, cows or sheep herds in transit.

You can rent cars directly from the airport or in the main cities. As general information, in Bucharest and the in the country, rentals begin from € 20 -€  30 per day (without fuel) for a small hatchback, € 65 – € 90 for a medium size car or a SUV and reaching € 170 –  € 200 for a luxury Sedan or SUV.

Speed limits are 130 km/h on the highways, 100 km/h on European routes, 90 km/h on other roads, and  50 km/h to 70 km/h in urban areas.

The Romanian police have zero tolerance for driving under the influence, routine checks are very common and virtually any amount of alcohol in the blood means driving under the influence.

Travelling by coach or minibus

Travelling by coach or minibus can be the least expensive mode of transport between cities. You can usually find one or more coach stations (autogara) in Romanian cities. From here coaches and minibuses head for nearby towns and villages, but also for other cities in the country.

The buses in the cities are quite crowded; this provides good opportunities for pickpockets. So be aware!

Travelling by taxi 

Taxis are relatively cheap in Romania. The rate per km is approximately of 50 eurocents (1.80-3.50 RON). The low rates make the taxis a very popular means of transportation among the locals and tourists as well, so they can be very hard to find during rush hours.

Arriving at Henri Coanda Airport in Bucharest, you can call on a taxi company by using the touch screen devices found in the public are of the Arrivals terminal. Taxis pick up travelers outside of the Arrivals terminal, on the upper deck,on the first floor, based on the ticket issued by the automatic touch screen . The rates charged by taxis range from 1, 80 lei/km – 3, 50 lei/km.

You can also choose to travel to Bucharest from the airport with bus no. 783 and 780 which you can take from the Arrivals terminal.

Travelling by plane 

Air travel as a means of internal transportation is increasing in its popularity, due to the fact that in the last few years competition has lowered its rates (sometimes a trip by plane costs less that the cheapest coach or train ticket). This, along with infrastructure improvement, increases the number of passengers compared with previous decades.

Three airlines offer domestic flights in Romania today: TAROM , Carpatair and Blue Air.

Some airports can be pretty far from the city centers, and while bigger cities have public transportation (București, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Oradea), in others (like Craiova or Iasi) transport to and from the airport is done by taxi. Nevertheless, a taxi fare from the city center to the airport shouldn’t cost more than 5-10 Euro.