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Romania

If you’re travelling to Romania, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Summary

Romanians are friendly and welcoming people many of whom will happily converse in English especially in the capital, Bucharest. The majority of visits to Romania are trouble-free.  Serious crimes involving tourists are not particularly common and most of those that do arise are petty and do not involve violence. There is no known threat of terrorism. Nevertheless, visitors to Romania are advised to take normal personal and security precautions, particularly at night.

Irish nationals do not require visas for visits to Romania. However, those that intend to stay there for longer than 90 days must register with the Romanian Authority for Immigration.

The official currency in Romania is the RON, often called Lei. Obtaining RON prior to travel can be difficult. However, on arrival cash can be withdrawn from ATMs.

Irish visitors to Romania are encouraged to register with the Irish Embassy in Bucharest.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in Romania by dialling 112.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and security

Crime

There have been some reports of credit and debit cards being scanned or stolen and used illegally, as happens elsewhere.  Use of ATMs is generally safe but some precautions should be employed, such as only using those in department stores or hotel or airport lobbies.

As would be expected in large urban locations, there are occasional reports of pickpockets and bag snatchers operating in crowded areas. Confidence scams leading to theft of passports or wallets have also been known to arise where thieves claiming to be police approach visitors and ask for ID.  The Romanian police do not generally ask people for documentation without good cause and in the event of any reason for suspicion visitors should offer to go the nearest police station.

Ideally, where they are not expected to be needed, valuables and other items such as spare jewellery, passports, driving licences, credit/debit cards and excess cash should be secured in a hotel safe. 

Water

While the water supply in Romania is not known to be contaminated, use of bottled or filtered water is recommended as a safer option. 

Wild Animals

Although a decreasing problem, Romania has a significant population of stray dogs.  While these do not usually pose a danger it is strongly recommended to avoid contact with them as they can be agressive and some could be rabid. 

The Carpathian Mountains of Romania are famous for their wilderness and beauty but are also home to large populations of bears and wolves.  While they try to avoid humans, it is recommended when visiting remote areas to travel in groups and to take expert advice locally.

Local laws and customs

Visitors are required to carry photo ID in Romania; a photocopy of passport or driver’s licence should suffice for this purpose.

Inappropriate or insensitive behaviour or activity in public is likely to offend others and risks prosecution or even a violent reaction.

Transport

Metro

Bucharest has a good Metro system.  It and other towns and cities are serviced by buses, trams and taxis which are very good value by western European standards.  Romania also has a good network of inter-city trains.  Motorways are not extensive.   

Driving

Some Romanians drive erratically and at excessive speeds and vehicles are not always fully roadworthy.  Serious road traffic accidents regularly occur.  Visitors entering Romania by road or driving there should ensure that they have adequate insurance cover.  Insurance companies or brokers should be consulted in advance about this, if necessary.  Drivers in Romania must also be in possession of a driving license and car ownership documentation.

All vehicles must pay a general road toll (see http://www.roviniete.ro/en).  This “Roviniete” ticket can be purchased at border points and at most petrol stations throughout Romania, and should be prominently displayed on the vehicle windscreen. 

The traffic police are known to apply on-the-spot penalties for infringements of traffic regulations, including the retention of driving licences for up to three months in very serious cases.

In winter, drivers should ensure that vehicles are prepared for extreme weather conditions, including fitting mandatory winter tyres. 

Roads, including primary roads, can be of poor standard, badly lit, pot-holed and with barely visible markings.  Appropriate precautions should be taken, especially at night. 

There is zero tolerance for drink-driving and permitted blood/alcohol ratios are below those in Ireland.

In Romania, taxis are relatively inexpensive.  In general it is recommended that taxis are booked using one of the various methods available, rather than hailed on the street.  This is especially the case where vehicles do not have a meter or display fares.  Some visitors have reported incidents of overcharging, especially from airports and major train stations - some taxi drivers will offer a fixed price to the city centre which may appear reasonable but could be significantly in excess of the normal fares in Romania.  Visitors arriving at the airport are advised to decline any taxi offers in the arrivals area but instead to avail of one of the simple-to-use automated taxi ordering services in the arrivals hall.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Romania has four distinct seasons.  Summer temperatures can rise above 40 degrees whereas winters can be very cold, with temperatures often as low as minus 20, sometimes with heavy and prolonged snowfalls. 

Romania is in a seismically active zone.  The most recent serious earthquake occurred in 2011 with a magnitude of 5.5.  There were no casualties or significant damage.  The last earthquake that caused fatalities was in 1977 and while it is not an exact science it is estimated that another may be due in the current decade.

Health

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card 

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

Apply for your EHIC and find out more information.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.