Peles Palace, Romania
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Peles Palace, Romania

© www.123rf.com / Ksenia Kozlovskaya

Romania Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

238,391 sq km (92,043 sq miles).

Population

19,372,734 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

90.9 per sq km.

Capital

Bucharest.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Klaus Iohannis since 2014.

Head of government

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu since June 2023.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.

Romania has a rich cultural and natural diversity. Its dramatic mountain scenery includes the densely forested Carpathian Mountains, picturesque valleys and miles of fine white sandy beaches on the Black Sea Coast.

The first post of call for most travellers is the bustling capital, Bucharest, which was once known as ‘Little Paris’ due to its sophisticated charm. Crammed with grand architecture, fascinating museums and traditional restaurants, it’s well worth a few days exploration. So too are the resorts along the Black Sea Coast, which surprise many with their stunning sandy beaches and ocean panoramas.

Ultimately, though, Romania remains defined by its small, rural communities, many of which still depend on ancient agricultural practices. From the isolated villages clinging to the Carpathian Mountains to the Saxon towns of Transylvania, a tour of Romania’s backcountry will uncover traditional ways of life and a treasure chest of cultural gems.

It is, of course, practically illegal to talk about Transylvania without mentioning the legend of Dracula. The Romanians are all too well aware of the interest in Bram Stoker’s fictional vampire and the castle at Bran (supposedly the spot that inspired Stoker’s story) has been transformed into one of the country’s top tourist attractions.

Elsewhere the forests covering the Carpathian Mountains shelter some of Europe's last remaining brown bears, wolves and lynxes, while racoon dogs and rare muskrats gather around the rivers.

While Romania offers travellers the chance to immerse themselves in a defiantly traditional way of life, that isn’t to say the locals don’t appreciate their creature comforts. The natural spas scattered across the country purport to cure everything from rheumatism to heart disease, and make a luxurious finale to any Romanian adventure.

Travel Advice

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Romania set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Romanian Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Romania.

Passport validity requirements

Romania follows Schengen area rules. Your passport must have: 

  • a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive – if you renewed your passport before 1 October 2018, it may have a date of issue that is more than 10 years ago
  • an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the date you plan to leave the Schengen area

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Carry your passport if you travel from Romania to other Schengen area countries. Border guards will check it if you cross land or river borders into Bulgaria or Hungary, both are in the Schengen area. 

There are no routine checks when travelling by air or sea within the Schengen area, but carry your passport in case you’re asked for it.  

Visa requirements  

You can travel without a visa to the Schengen area, which includes Romania, for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This applies if you travel: 

  • as a tourist
  • to visit family or friends
  • to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events
  • for short-term studies or training

The requirements for working in Romania are different.

If you’re travelling to other Schengen countries as well, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries in the 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days. 

Make sure you get your passport stamped on entry and exit.  

If you’re a visitor, border guards will look at your entry and exit stamps to check you have not overstayed the 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area. 

If your passport is missing a stamp, show evidence of when and where you entered or left the Schengen area (for example, boarding passes or tickets) and ask the border guards to add the date and location in your passport.

You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • prove that you have enough money for your stay

Staying longer than 90 days in a 180-day period 

To stay longer, check which type of visa or work permit you need with the Romanian Embassy in the UK

If you’re in Romania with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit. 

Read about passport stamping if you live in Romania

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Romania guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Romania (in Romanian). You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Taking food into Romania

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions such as powdered baby milk, baby food and special foods or pet feed required for medical reasons.

Taking money into Romania

Declare cash or travellers cheques if the value is 10,000 euros or more. You will get a certified declaration to show you brought it in with you. If you do not, your money could be seized when you leave. 

Leaving Romania with children aged 17 and under

To leave Romania with a child aged 17 and under who holds Romanian citizenship, you may need to show notarised parental consent if:

  • you are not the child’s parent
  • you are a parent but the other parent is not travelling with you

For more information, contact the Romanian Embassy in the UK.

For a list of the public notaries, see the National Union of Public Notaries from Romania website.

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times. 

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Romania

Terrorist attacks in Romania cannot be ruled out.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreign nationals.

Political situation

There is widespread military activity in neighbouring Ukraine. See Ukraine travel advice.      

Crime

Protecting your belongings

Be alert to petty theft in large towns, especially Bucharest. Thieves use distraction techniques and can carry out organised attacks in groups. Take care of your passport, money and personal belongings, particularly:

  • near money exchanges and hotels
  • on public transport, especially to the airport
  • in main railway stations
  • inside airport terminals

Criminals have copied credit or debit cards in some bars and restaurants.

Use a hotel safe for valuables where possible and carry a copy of your passport.

Laws and cultural differences

Illegal drugs penalties

There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences. Romanian authorities treat all drug offences very seriously. If convicted, you should expect a prison sentence. Increasing numbers of people, including foreign visitors, have been arrested and received lengthy sentences for drug offences at music festivals in Romania.

Using cameras in secure areas

Most airports and military bases have signs banning photography. If you’re not sure if photography is allowed, ask permission.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex relationships are legal in Romania. There are active LGBT+ communities and events in Romania, though the majority of LGBT+ people are not open. Find information on LGBT+ issues in Romania and read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Romania, see information on driving abroad and check the rules of the road in the RAC’s Romania guide. The guide lists driving regulations and other legal requirements you need to be aware of, such as:

  • carrying a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, red warning triangle and a fluorescent jacket
  • using winter tyres from 1 November to 1 March

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Romania. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience, minimum age and holding an IDP.

Check if you need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK.

Drink-driving is a serious offence in Romania. If you are tested and found to have any alcohol in your system, you may get a fine and possible imprisonment.

There is also guidance on driving if you’re living in Romania.

Driving conditions

Road conditions are variable and  roads can be in a bad state of repair. Driving standards can be poor. Look out for:

  • double-parked cars
  • people suddenly braking or swerving to avoid potholes
  • horse-drawn carts, livestock and stray dogs in rural areas

Accidents and vehicle damage

You must get a report at the scene of an accident in Romania. If your vehicle is damaged before you arrive in the country, ask a Romanian customs officer or police officer to write a report on the damage. Doing this will help you avoid problems when you leave Romania.

Toll roads

You must pay a road toll ‘rovinieta’ to use the national roads. Buy a vignette (sticker) at border points and at most petrol stations. If you do not display the sticker, you may get a heavy fine.

Taxis    

Most taxis in Bucharest should list prices on the side of the vehicle and display a company name. Taxi drivers sometimes overcharge foreign visitors. Taxi apps such as Uber and Bolt are generally reliable.

Extreme weather and natural disasters   

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards

You may receive alerts on your mobile phone from the Romanian government in the event of extreme weather, a natural disaster or other emergency. These are in Romanian and English, and you should follow the authorities’ instructions.

Earthquakes

Romania is in a seismically active area and tremors happen regularly. The last major earthquake was in 1977. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about  what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 112 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Romania.

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Romania. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro.

Medication

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in Romania

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Romania where some staff will speak English. 

Health insurance cards

To get medically necessary state healthcare in Romania, you need a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).   

The NHS’s getting healthcare abroad webpage has details about:  

  • how to apply for a GHIC
  • how to get temporary cover if you lose your card or it does not arrive in time
  • who qualifies for a new EHIC instead of a GHIC
  • what treatment counts as medically necessary

A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. You may have costs your GHIC or EHIC does not cover, including:  

  • changes to travel and accommodation bookings
  • additional standard costs for treatment
  • medical repatriation to the UK
  • treatment that is ruled non-urgent
  • private healthcare
  • private clinics

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Romania.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Romania

Telephone: 112 (ambulance, fire, police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Romania and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Bucharest.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Romania on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.