Daily budget Basic €25, occasional treat €40 Drink Beer €1.80; bottle of Romanian wine €5 Food Tochitura moldoveneasca €2 Hostel/Budget hotel €10–15/€30–40 Travel Bucharest–Braşov by train €10; by bus €10
Crime and personal safety
Watch out for pickpockets in crowded buses and trams and don’t leave bags unattended. There has been a proliferation of ATMs throughout the country in recent years, but it’s best to stick to those located within or outside banks whenever possible.
In all emergencies call 112.
EU residents carrying a European Health Insurance Card are entitled to free medical treatment in Romania, but are advised to have travel insurance nonetheless as state hospitals outside Bucharest and other large towns may not be up to Western standards. Bucharest’s central emergency hospital is up to Western standards, while Medicover Unirii, at 64–66 Marasesti Blvd (021 3353940, medicover.ro), also offers Western-standard care, with English-speaking doctors. Pharmacies (farmacie) are open Monday to Saturday from 9am until 6pm, though most towns and cities should have one that’s open 24 hours.
Outside the main cities, tourist offices remain few and far between. Otherwise, there are plenty of privately run tourist agencies, which should be able to furnish you with a basic map and information.
http://www.romaniatourism.com Official tourism site.
http://www.mountainguide.ro Hiking information and links.
http://www.eco-romania.ro Association of ecotourism operators.
http://www.inyourpocket.com Online guide to Bucharest.
http://www.sapteseri.ro Online listings guide for most large cities.
Wi-fi is available in hostels and hotels, and in many cafés, bars and restaurants. Internet cafés are now rare.
Post offices (poşta) in major cities are open Monday to Friday 7am to 8pm, Saturday 8am to noon; in smaller places they may close an hour or two earlier.
Money and banks
Romania’s currency is the new leu (plural lei, international code RON), comprising coins of 1, 5, 10 and 50, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lei. At the time of writing exchange rates were around €1=4.10 lei, £1=4.60 lei and US$=12.90 lei. Some hotels, rental agencies and other services quote prices in euros. There are plenty of ATMs everywhere. Changing money is best done at banks, which are generally open Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm; you will need your passport. Never change money on the streets. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
Opening hours and holidays
Shop opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm, with many food shops open until 10pm (or even 24hr), including weekends. Museums and castles also open roughly 9am to 6pm, though most are closed on Mondays; admission charges are minimal, so they are only quoted in this chapter unless they are above the norm. National holidays are: January 1 and 2, Easter Monday, May 1, December 1, December 25 and 26.
You can phone from the orange cardphones or post offices. Phonecards (10 or 15 lei – get the latter for international calls) are available from post offices and news kiosks. Cheap SIM cards are available from Romania’s three main mobile network providers (Cosmote, Orange, and Vodafone).