Budget travelers on their way to Romania will certainly want to know if Romania is cheap or not. It probably comes as no surprise but Romania is actually one of the most affordable countries to visit.
Let’s see how much money you’ll need for accommodation, transportation, and dining in Romania.
The Cheapest Time to Visit Romania
The good news is that it’s never too expensive to visit Romania. This country is considered one of the least expensive European countries and traveling there won’t strain your budget too much.
Just like anywhere else, there is low-season and high-season so you can notice a slight difference in prices. Low season starts in the second half of September and doesn’t end until June. Almost all hotels offer lower rates and discounts and there is no need to make your booking well in advance (two to three weeks ahead would be just fine). On top of that, you will be likely to find cheaper flights, especially in winter.
If you’re traveling from the US, flight ticket will be your biggest expenditure. According to Expedia, roundtrip from JFK to Otopeni airport in Bucharest starts at $648 (December) but climbs to $965 in June because it’s the peak of high season.
In Romania, the high season lasts from June to August. Almost everything is booked to capacity so you will need to make reservations well in advance. The prices of hotels, entrance fees, and transportation will also be higher.
*Although Romania is in the EU, leu (RON) is the currency in this country. 1 Romanian Leu equals 0.23 United States dollars.
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The Cost of Accommodation in Romania
During the peak season, the most sought-after locations are Bucharest and the Romanian coast along the Black Sea and the Danube.
In Bucharest, you can find any type of accommodation – from luxury 5-star hotels and hostels to bed and breakfasts and homestays. A-star hotels start at $150 per night or higher. Strictly speaking, Bucharest can be divided into several districts that are home to distinct types of hotels. For example, if you choose to stay in the Cultural District, you can expect to find the priciest hotels around. It’s a slightly different story with the Old Town and the Parliament Area which offer an array of accommodation options at more reasonable rates. Here and elsewhere, rates linger between $60 – $100 per night. Generally, the more distant from the center you are, the less expensive accommodation will be.
In recent years, guest houses and apartments have become extremely popular in Romania and according to visitors’ reviews, they offer great value for money. If you really need to stretch the dollar further, you can opt for shared guesthouses for as low as $18. Of course, if you book in the peak season, you may expect the rates to go up.
Outside Bucharest, there are other equally captivating cities to stay at. Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Sibiu, and Iasi are great options if you don’t want to bust your budget. In Timisoara, 4-star hotels start at around $33 a night, guesthouses in Brasov linger around $40 a night, and so on.
Read more: Traveling to Europe on a Budget
The Cost of Transportation in Romania
Romania has a good public transportation system comprising buses, trams, trains, maxi taxis, and trolleybuses. Still, compared to other Europen countries in this part of the continent, it is not as developed.
Buses and trains are slow but reliable. If you don’t have much time to spare between traveling between two cities, it’s best to book an internal flight. For comparison’s sake, a train trip from Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca will last around 9 hours but you can make the journey in less than an hour by plane. A roundtrip flight ticket from Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca starts at $50. By train, you can expect to pay between $17 and $26 for the same route.
Believe it or not, renting a car is the best way to travel long distances in Romania and enjoy it at your own pace. Compared to other popular European destinations, the rates of car rentals are ridiculously cheap. The rates start around $11 a day but you have to keep one thing in mind. Non-EU drivers usually have to pay the insurance costs because they are not covered unless you own an EU license. In those instances, you will likely pay a few extra dollars but it’s still incredibly affordable. One liter of gasoline is $1.34.
There is no subway network outside Bucharest. You can purchase metro tickets from the sales booths or ticket machines at every station. Metro tickets in Bucharest are as follows:
- A two-journey ticket: 5 lei ($1.17)
- A ten-journey ticket: 20 lei ($4.66)
- A daily ticket: 8 lei ($1.87)
- A weekly ticket: 25 lei ($5.83)
Riding buses, trolleybuses and trams in Bucharest requires that you buy Activ or Multiplu card. You can load them with as many rides as you want. The credit is bought at kiosks in the streets of Bucharest.
Taxis are also a great option to get around because they are fairly cheap, that is, unless you don’t allow yourself to be tricked by taxi drivers preying on assuming tourists and charging them exorbitant tariffs. If you see that the standard tariff is anything higher than $0.46, you should try and find another cab. Uber and Bolt (former Taxify) operate throughout larger Romanian cities and they are your safest bet.
The Cost of Food and Drinks in Romania
Before you decide which Romanian specialty to feast on, make sure you get acquainted with the basics of national Romanian cuisine. It won’t disappoint!
As you’ll discover, Romania offers a wide range of dining options – from delicious street food and bakeries to high-end restaurants and cafes.
Fresh pastries are extremely affordable, varying between $0.90 – $3 while an average meal in an inexpensive restaurant can range between $5 and $8.
Here is what you can expect in Bucharest on average:
- Large dinner in an affordable eatery: $4
- A large burger: $3.5
- A Big Mac: $2.3
- Grilled meat per serving: $4.9
- A sandwich: $0.96
- A cappuccino: $2
- A bottle of beer: $1.80 – $ 2.50
- Cocktails: $4.5
Outside Bucharest, you can expect the prices to be lower and if you really have to stretch the dollar further, shop at supermarkets. The prices are crazily cheap.
Bottom Line – Is Romania Cheap?
It’s clear that Romania is one of the cheapest European countries to visit but at the same time, it’s one that has all it takes for a well-rounded vacation. And in case you decide to visit in the low season, it has quite a chance to be the cheapest vacation you’ve had in a while.