If you're looking for more info to plan your trip in Romania and travelling while in the country, you’ll find it here. We want to make travel planning in Romania as convenient as possible during your visit, so that you can enjoy the magic of our country without worries and stress.
Before we get into details, you should be aware that our internal transport infrastructure is not as developed as in other Western European countries, trains are sometimes unreliable and driving on national roads can be a challenge and require extra care due to busy traffic and one-lane roads. Sometimes it’s easier to let someone (or something) else take you to your destination, especially when considering medium-long distances (300 km< ). And if you're not short on time then you can just admire the beautiful Romanian countryside landscapes!
So, we’ve researched what you need to know about travelling inside Romania and put together a list of useful tips, transport companies and apps for you to use while you’re here. The info is up to date and is based on what Romanians would use for their travel needs.
We hope it helps! Here’s the rundown of our local tips for travelling in Romania. The main criteria we used were time, costs, overall experience and convenience.
1 Internal flights
If you’re thinking of going from one part of the country to another, for example from Bucharest to Timisoara, Oradea, Cluj, Suceava or Iasi, you should consider catching an internal flight. Why? Because the 450 km distance between Bucharest and Cluj usually takes about 6h by car and 8-10h by train.
By plane the same distance takes around 35 minutes. There are 3 low cost companies (WizzAir, RyanAir and BlueAir) and the national airline Tarom operating various internal flights and connecting major cities in Romania. For prices ranging from €10-50, it’s worth saving your time and energy and spending it on actually visiting the country.
All Romanian cities have only one airport, usually named after the city, so there’s no risk of confusion. Check the websites of the above airlines for more info.
2 By train
First of all, we think that one of the best things about a train ride in Romania is the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful countryside landscapes, especially on routes around the Carpathians. Even if it is slower, your time will be spent admiring some great views, maybe with a camera or book in your hands.
The downside is that our railway infrastructure has not seen any major developments or improvements in 10+ years, being operated by the same state-owned company Romanian Railway Company (CFR) which basically runs a monopoly in the country.
However, using the train can get you from one city to almost anywhere in Romania safely, in decently clean conditions and for reasonably cheap prices (Bucharest – Brasov train or Bucharest – Constanta for €10 one way). The only problem is that in certain cases train schedules can become unreliable: on long distance trains (like Bucharest - Oradea), during very hot summers or snowy winters, 30 min – 1h delays are very common. Also, due to the pretty big internal migration going on in the country, around major holidays or days off trains usually get packed with students and commuters, on top of regular travelers. And observing Romanian locals on trains is a priceless experience that cannot be described in words - you'll see for yourself.
For more information on routes and planning, you can check the official website of CFR which offers pretty accurate and detailed info. You can also buy tickets online, but you need to print them as ticket inspectors come and personally check passengers’ tickets on the train. There’s also a smartphone app called ‘TrenulMeu’ which accurately shows you the train schedule.
And just so you can see more Romanian trains and landscapes, see some clips below:
3 Renting a car
If you want to hit the roads of Romania, you can rent a car from almost every airport or main city. Major international companies like Hertz or Avis operate in the country, but there also some local ones which have a larger network of pick-up and drop-off points, info and know-how to offer, like Autonom. Prices are similar to what you see in other European countries and the €100 displacement fee for pick-up in one point and drop-off in another still applies.
Again, we should tell you that the roads infrastructure in our country is not exactly great. Romanians notoriously complain about this all the time and with every occasion, for three reasons.
First, there are only 700 km of highway which are in fact disconnected sections spread in different parts of the country. That leaves us with a large number of European roads (marked E70) and national roads (DN30) to navigate the country where speed limits apply (100 km), besides most of them being one-lane roads which are usually busy. Most of these roads pass through many local villages, small towns or cities, where there’s a 50 km speed limit, so driving time is significantly increased (second problem). Finally, in some parts of the country, especially in mountainous areas or less circulated areas (including areas where most major attractions are located!) road conditions can become bad, bumpy, with lots of potholes or even lacking pavement altogether (third problem). This can either be a challenge or an adventure, depending on what type of traveler you are.
4 Travelling by coach
There’s always the option of going by coach and letting someone else worry about traffic and road condition. This website is a comprehensive portal for all coach routes inside Romania, departure times, prices, operating companies and other details you should know. It is also available in 6 languages so it’s pretty useful for planning your trip.
There you have it – our most local info and insights to help you plan your trip inside Romania. We plan on posting some more info on each transport option, along with the most beautiful routes or scenic drives to take. Stay in touch with our newsletter if you want to know more. Until then, we hope you’ll find this general info useful and wish you safe travels!
Your Romanian Friend
p.s. this also includes my personal experience of driving, using trains and planes in Romania over the last 10 years