Romanian Friend is a website with an online booking platform and lots of travel information about Romania, made by locals. We verify and choose our guide-partners, review and create responsible tours and help tourists make the best out of their trip to Romania.
We want to change how Romanian tourism works so that everyone benefits from this global, inclusive and rewarding activity! Read more about how our booking process works.
No, no and no. We are simply an intermediary running this website and using our local knowledge to choose, filter and create tours we think are best and most representative for Romanian culture and beauty.
Our guide-partners are independent individuals (not travel agencies) or small-business owners (guesthouses, workshops). We don’t have any control over them or their availability (they respond to your booking request), but we work closely with them and coordinate for every booking.
We make sure they are licensed and authorised for what they do so that you travel with them in safe and professional conditions. We also make sure that they share our values and vision of showing tourists the best of what Romania has to offer through local and responsible travel.
We’re locals passionate about our country on a mission to extend tourism's positive impact to local communities in Romania through responsible travel. Booking a tour on Romanian Friend will give you a unique local experience which will also help the people and places you’ll visit.
Why choose us? Many reasons. We currently have 80+ tours all over the country for different interests (city, day trips, hiking, cycling, etc) offered by 25+ guide-partners - that gives you flexibility by having everything in the same place to choose from. And because of what we do and our mission, we save you time with travel planning and research, and stress or uncertainty with making a choice, because we promote only what we think is best and would do ourselves.
Finally, we make sure you get the best deal and value-for-money on your tour because we know the real costs behind them and don’t think ‘quality’ means ‘lowest price’ or mass tourism. In exchange for all this, we charge you a fixed fee of only 10% on your booking (not included, for transparency reasons) as opposed to 10-20% which is the market standard.
Since we’re natives, we’re very well connected to the local scene and keep an eye on what’s going on (online, press, local initiatives, network of friends, other guides etc). That’s how we hear about people doing interesting things all over the Romania.
Then, we research them to get a better idea (website, social media, reviews, other references, etc) before we give them a call or sometimes even visit them, but without initially telling them who we are. We want to see how they treat people, what’s their vision and how passionate they are about what they’re doing. We ask them about their background, experience, licenses and other details.
Finally, we discuss and review their tours, adapt or create new ones, so that only the best, most interesting and representative are promoted on Romanian Friend. We also make sure local services, visits and people are included, so that we stay true to our responsible travel mission. We work with regional partners with in-depth knowledge of specific areas or travel interests. That means a guide from Bucharest will not take you hiking around Cluj-Napoca.
Most of our guide-partners don’t have an individual booking or online payment system and communicating with tourists is done via time-consuming and irregular email exchanges. So we wanted to make it easier for both ends and created this website, using safe and secure technology and trusted online payment partners. Your details are safely stored and not shared with anyone.
The booking process is simple and likely familiar: you choose your tour, preferred date and number of people; then proceed to the booking page, enter your personal details and make the online payment required (on a third, secured page). After your payment is successful, our partner receives your booking request and confirms or denies it, based on his availability.
Until you make a booking request we don’t know whether our partners are available to do a tour or not. If your request is you will be immediately refunded. Read more about this process here.
Yes. There’s a ‘send message’ button on each tour and partner-guides’ profile. You can ask for more tour details or customisations, but you exchange contact details. For safety reasons, we monitor all conversations and sometimes step in to answer when our partners are not available.
However, waiting for them to answer can take longer, because they are usually busy with tours and other administrative things, and not always online — like us. That’s why we can help with any questions you might have because we know all our tours and partners. Just contact us :)
Once your booking is confirmed, you will automatically receive the guide’s contact details via email from Romanian Friend. From there, you will communicate with him or her directly about any tour details.
Romanian Friend is no longer involved in this process, but we are available and ready to help in case anything happens. And after the trip we will kindly ask for your feedback, which will Romanian Friend and your guide!
Once your booking request has been confirmed and you are in contact with the guide, you can agree with him any changes to your tour. Romanian Friend does not have any power or involvement in this because we are not the actual service provider.
As a general rule, all tours on Romanian Friend are under an easy cancellation policy - that means you have to cancel 3 full days prior to your booking date. Our guide-partners can also choose a different policy, but that is always specified on the tour page (for complex trips). If nothing is mentioned, then the general rule applies. Read our full terms and conditions here.
Unfortunately no - there are no shared, group or bus tours in Romania for one simple reason: incredibly low tourist numbers in Romania. In 2016 only 2,8 million foreign tourists visited our country, compared to 8 million in Bulgaria or 17 million in Amsterdam.
So most tours on Romanian Friend are private, for you and your group only. While that means they are more expensive, because costs are not shared and guides spent their time only with you, it also gives you a more unique and personal experience.
A very small number of tours (particularly urban tours) might be attended by other people too.
Since all tours on Romanian Friend are paid and private, as a general rule tipping extra is not required or expected. But if you’re feeling generous and particularly happy about the services, the guides or locals you will meet on your tour will appreciate any extra consideration.