Before going to Romania there are several random, but important, things that you should know about to guarantee an awesome stay.
There’s a lot of dogs everywhere in Romania. Literally everywhere. They don’t shut up even at night.
If you are driving around then be careful not to hit one of the aforementioned dogs, no matter what time it woke you up. We did have a situation where some dogs were chasing our car and we had to keep stopping until they moved away before we drove off. In fact, there are quite a few animals out and about by the road side.
Air conditioning is pretty rare. We had it in one place but the cable wasn’t long enough to reach the plug socket… What you normally do is just sleep with the open window, which is difficult because of the barking dogs, but not impossible. Some places have quite nice mosquito nets so you’re safe during sleep – if not then you’ll have to choose between a nice temperature or no bites.
Vignettes apply in Romania like in Hungary and the Czech republic, but there are no signs on the border, or we just missed it. You can buy it at some petrol stations.
There’s no Vegan menu around the countryside. Since 80% of Romania is countryside it’s a bit of the problem. In terms of vegetarian dishes you have the option of fish (I know…) or some sort of dumplings with sauerkraut or sour cream.
Quite a few places in Romania can give you quite cold or just not warm food. It’s normal if you’re eating in shopping centers, but we also got vegetables straight from the fridge in one of the places recommended to us in Bucharest (La Placinte – via TripAdvisor). It wouldn’t be weird normally, but the vegetables were previously fried and after that stored in the fridge.
Waiters are quite demanding in terms of tips even if they are treating you very badly and don’t even make an effort to try to speak English to you (bitter after a bad experience much!)
Even in tourist places they don’t speak English or German (with the exception of Bucharest). Finding someone speaking any foreign language in Romania is a challenge – and between us we know 4 and can guess our way around 7.
One last thing before we go, and it’s this. The countryside is truly spectacular – like out of a fairy-tale, or perhaps a horror if you go to Hoia Baciu (which you should), but we weren’t particularly enamored with Bucharest.
Some people are saying that Bucharest is the new Berlin, which we think is mostly true, but sadly we don’t particularly like Berlin either so it wasn’t really for us. We felt that it was ugly and expensive and this was reinforced to us when we crossed the border. We drove from Bucharest to the border with Hungary in a day and when we got there the border guard asked us where we had driven from, when we told him he asked us what we thought about it. “We love the countryside, but didn’t like Bucharest to be honest”, I said. “I know, I’m sorry about that”, he replied.
If you have been to Romania and have something to add or that you think that we should change then we would love to hear from you in the comments below! All interaction is appreciated and will be replied to.