Our travels in Romania
Whilst we were travelling in Romania, we utilised different modes of transport. Below is a summary of where we went, the mode of transport used, the length of time the journey took, and how far it was.
|Journey||Mode of transport||Distance (miles)||Time taken||Cost per person (Leu)|
|Budapest (Hungary) to Brasov||Sleeper train||435||13 hrs 45 mins||47 (Euro)|
|Brasov to Busteni||Train||23||1 hr||6.3|
|Bustini to Bucharest||Train||82||2 hrs 30 mins||39.5|
|Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)||Bus||122||3 hrs 45 mins||10 (Euro)|
Accommodation is available to suit all budgets in Romania. Our experience is that you get what you pay for. We stayed in a number of different places on our travels throughout the country. Using various booking portals to book the accommodation. From our experience, the guesthouse and apartments we stayed in were all of a good standard.
Don’t expect tea/coffee making facilities in guesthouses. Bathrooms are western style, with bath or shower.
WiFi may be advertised as being available. Generally, it is, but the signal strength and quality can be poor in the rooms that aren’t close to the router.
From our experiences of eating out in Romanian restaurants, both the service and food were good. Not all of the menus were in English and not all of the restaurant staff speak English. But with some pointing and smiling, we got there. Strangely the word “beer” is understood throughout the entire world.
Buses are a popular way to travel throughout Romania. However, most of our journeys were by train. Although we did use the bus for an international journey, they are definitely quicker than the train.
There are a plethora of bus companies, both large and small, operating modern comfortable buses across the entire country. The larger companies’ buses have air conditioning, entertainment systems, and free WiFi. Routes can change frequently, without notice.
Towns and cities have multiple bus stations (autogari). Autogari is the Romanian bus website that provides an up-to-date national timetable that is relatively easy to use. Also, it provides routes, times, fares, and departure points. But don’t take it as gospel, check with locals to ensure that it is still valid information.
For our international bus journey between Bucharest and Veliko Tarnovo, we used FlixBus. The international buses generally stop about every 2 hours for a toilet break. The toilets are western-style toilets at these stops and they don’t have toilet paper. Drinks, snacks, and meals are available where the buses stop.
Most bus stations throughout Romania have ticket counters for the major bus companies, together with the smaller local companies. Alternatively, pay the driver on the bus.
The luggage is stored under the bus. It’s a good idea to keep your valuables with you at all times. Always watch your bags being loaded onto the bus and keep an eye on what bags are taken off at stops.
Romania has a well-developed railway network that covers virtually the whole country.
Trains are probably the most popular means of getting around the country, being inexpensive, and generally running on time. However, the trains are slow, really slow.
Classes of trains
There are three classes of trains-
Regional (R), this is the cheapest and subsequently the slowest local train.
Inter-Regional trains (IR), this is faster and more expensive than the Regional train. A seat reservation is required when a ticket is purchased.
Inter-City trains (IC), this is the fastest and the most expensive class of train.
Inter-Regional and Inter-City and International trains will have dining cars and sleeper carriages (overnight or long distance trains only).
To book train tickets in Romania, there are 3 options-
Use the Căile Ferate Române (CFR) state railway carrier of Romania website CFR Calatori. To book online, an account must first be created. Booking in advance entitles you to a discount. The further in advance, you book the greater the discount.
This ticket can be shown on your phone to the staff on the train. A return ticket gets a 10% discount over buying 2 single tickets. This applies to tickets bought online or at the ticket machine. We used this option for our journey from Budapest to Brasov, booking the tickets before our departure from the UK.
The second option is to use the ticket machines at the train stations. These are really simple to use. There’s an English language option and payment can be done using an international credit card.
Finally, tickets can be purchased directly from the ticket office at the station. We used this option when purchasing our domestic tickets. However, we were unable to purchase tickets for the train we required as it was fully booked. This resulted in us having to wait for a couple of hours for the next train.
Train travel tips
Take toilet paper and soap, these are not provided on trains.
Catering is not always provided, so take food and water. Some stops will be long enough to allow a visit to a station food vendor.
All of our train journeys were safe and enjoyable. Should you be travelling late at night, we would advise sitting with other passengers rather than in an empty compartment.