So, you you’re thinking of visiting Romania, eh? GOOD choice!
Here’s what you need to know about getting to Romania and transportation options so you can start planning your trip over here.
You can get here by train, plane or car. Your choice depends mainly on time, budget and what kind of travel experience you’re looking for: 'just get me here' or 'I want an adventure!'
Travelling and getting around Eastern Europe isn't as easy as in Western Europe because of weird names and travel info that's harder to find online (and sometimes unreliable). And transport infrastructure isn't as developed or modern.
So, we’ve rounded up the essential and up to date info on how to get to Romania if you're an independent traveller:
Flying to Romania - low costs for the win!
I’ll start with this because it’s by far the and way to get to Romania. Why?
There are no less than 6 low cost carriers flying on 7 Romanian airports spread all over the country from more than 70 locations in Europe! And that’s not including major airlines flying on Bucharest International or connecting flights from as far away as New York!
In decreasing order, WizzAir, BlueAir and RyanAir operate the most routes to main Romanian airports in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara. EuroWings, VueLing, EasyJet or FlyDubai also fly to Romania and other smaller airports like Sibiu, Iasi and Oradea also have an increasing number of flights from London and other parts in Western Europe. On average, flight time is about 2-3h.
Prices start from €40 and usually range between 80 - 120€ for a round trip. Beware around major holidays - lots of Romanians living abroad go home to see their families, so expect prices to be more expensive!
- cities with most connections: London, Brussels, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Frankfurt - Koln area, Milano; Dubai;
On Bucharest Henri Coanda International you have the usual selection of major airlines: Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, KLM, SAS Scandinavian, Austrian etc. Another option to consider is the Romanian national airline Tarom which operates 40+ routes in Europe! Last time we've been with them, ticket prices are similar with those of other major airlines and flight conditions are very decent – with good breakfast last time we tried! It's also less crowded because lots of Romanians fly low cost :)
- Insider Tip #1: most low cost carriers regularly run discounts on tickets to Romanian airports and when they introduce a new route to our country they offer REALLY cheap prices - €40 for a round trip! Even Tarom runs offers 2-3 times a year with tickets for €79 or €99!
- Insider Tip #2: If you want to find out when the next airline offer is, stay in touch with our newsletter and we’ll let you know - no spam!
Bottom line - flying to Romania is the best way to get here. If you're planning a short trip to Romania or even a city break, flying here will save you time that you can use to explore more of the country. Most major attractions and best sights are outside major cities – have look at the map of Romania to see more.
Driving to Romania - plan your Eastern European road trip!
If you’re a fan of the roads, like a driving challenge and experience some scenic routes along the way – drive your way to Romania! I've personally done various road trips from here to neighbouring Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, and as far away as Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia or Greece. The main roads in the region are generally good and linking with Romania is easy on the West-East corridor.
The cities of Satu Mare, Oradea, Arad and Timisoara, located in Western Romania are easily accessible by car (and we recommend making a stop in Oradea or Timisoara). After the 2015 refugee crisis border control checks were reintroduced; expect a routine check and have your travel papers ready. Similarly, there is Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Caracal, Giurgiu and Vama Veche if you’re coming from the South. We don’t know anything about what's North of the wall (Ukraine) and to the East there is the Black Sea and our estranged brothers, Moldova.
The roads leading to Romania are in very good condition and relatively easy to navigate. Expect some reckless drivers here and there and lots of trucks, but if you’re an experienced driver under regular conditions and pay attention, you’ll be fine. I personally use a smartphone app (maps.me) that downloads maps and gives indications even without cellular reception.
Police in the region - that's a tricky one: some know English, some don't. If you get pulled over, stay in your car until an officer comes to your window, and prepare your driver's license, vehicle identification document (registration) and your ID. Also have the car's insurance on hand.
Driving in the region is a great way to discover neighbouring countries and see Eastern European local life - guaranteed to surprise you! We recommend doing some research and advance planning to get your geography right: in Eastern Europe people are very proud of their origins and don’t like it when their countries get confused by visitors. It might be confusing at first with so many small countries, but it's a sign of respect for the locals.
So, if you’re considering an Eastern or Southern European road trip, I think it's a great travel experience to have that will open your eyes into this less part of the world!
Catch a train for free sightseeing!
Finally, if you don’t feel like driving, but still want to see some scenic landscapes and have an Eastern European experience – a train trip is for you.
There are direct trains from Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Sofia to Romanian cities, either located on the Western border (see above) or to Bucharest.
Interrail sells tickets to Romanian cities but but it's usually easier to buy them from the train station of departure. On travel conditions a.k.a. how is it inside an Eastern European train - don't worry, they're ok, clean and safe. And they offer plenty of sightseeing for free!
So that's it - we hope this post was useful to get you started on planning your trip to Romania. You should also check our list of 10 things you should know about visiting Romania and the 'must see' sights of Transylvania. P.S. If you need any extra help - just ask.
Your Romanian Friend