While Romania is perhaps better known for its mystique ridden towns and Carpathian rigged Transylvania forest, there is more to this southeastern European country than meets the eye. No doubt its medieval castles have piqued your interest, especially Bran Castle and it associations with Bram Stoker’s narratives of a vampire. If you are looking to explore these medieval terrains read on for our tips when planning your next visit to Romania.
Although Romania is a member of the European Union, it uses its own currency, the RON / Leu. The euro does not circulate so it is not necessary to buy or bring euros with you as you’ll only need to convert it. The official currency is referred to as the plural ‘lei’ although some banks and exchange offices list it as the RON. One leu divides into 100 bani with banknotes coming in various denominations. Normally 1 leu, 5 lei, 10 lei, 50 lei and 100 lei and less commonly, 200 and 500 lei notes. Coins come in 50 bani and 10 bani pieces, the former of which can be useful for small tips or donations.
Lei can be difficult to get hold of outside Romania but there are a few options for you.
1. Get it locally: The easiest option is to head to a cash machine once you’ve checked into your hotel in Bucharest to withdraw funds. There are plenty of ATMs around so it’s quick and convenient to get hold of your holiday cash.
2. Get it at home: If you’re getting your Romanian money organised before you travel, the Bureau de Change in M&S is, one of the only places that dispenses the local currency.
3. Get it online: You can also purchase currency online and collect it from your local post office or even have it delivered straight to your door. Ordering currency online with the Post Office is commission free and available for next day delivery. Obviously the more you buy the better rate you’ll receive.
However, you choose to get hold of your spending money, just make sure you either spend or convert your RON before you leave Romania as you’ll have difficulty changing it once you’ve left.
Credit/Debit Cards: Most major credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted throughout Romania’s main towns and cities. You’ll have no problem using your card to pay for drinks or dinner in Bucharest or Brasov using your PIN number. However you may like to carry some cash for smaller purchases and any activities taking place away the city. It is always advisable to inform your bank that you’re travelling abroad in order to avoid the frustration of having your card blocked.
Budgeting your costs
As a general rule, you’ll be able to have a good lunch for around £10 a head and will pay around £15 a head for a nice evening meal. Naturally, the type of establishment you choose to eat in and what you order will dictate the cost of your meals. Be aware that ordering imported wines can cause your bill to sky-rocket so drinking local wines is advisable. Plan to spend around £70 for lunch, dinner and drinks for two people is plenty per day.
To learn more about travelling to Romania follow Untravelled Paths on their Romania Experience