Road trip through Romania: the ultimate guide to Romania by car
A road trip through Romania is an unforgettable experience for those who love to drive and be free to organize according to their needs. Visiting Romania on the road is, in fact, the best experience ever since it allows you not only to plan the best thing to do, where to stop and the time to devote to each attraction but also to deviate if necessary from the established plan and path. Before I share with you my travel itinerary in Romania, here are a lot of tips and information on how to organize a trip to Romania by car, how to avoid problems and see as many things as possible.
When to go in Romania
Weather forecasts can greatly affect a trip to Romania which, due to its location, suffers from extreme weather conditions. In winter, from November to March, the climate can be stiff, many roads can be closed as well as hotels and facilities. In summer, temperatures can be very high in cities, but if you choose the northern areas, the temperatures are great and often quite cold.
How to dress up for a road trip through Romania
As with all DIY trips, clothing depends on what type of travel you are doing. In our case, we went on a trip to hike and taste good food; we only brought with us practical and technical clothing with mountain shoes and layers in order to avoid the cold in the mountains and the warmth in the sea or lake areas. Comfortable shoes are a must also for those who choose lighter itineraries.
Rent a car in Romania
Renting a car in Romania is simple and it doesn’t require any special documentation: just an international driving license if you’re not from Europe and that’s it. However, it should be said that if it is true that the cost of car hire is low, it is also true that it is good and right to add all possible and imaginable insurance: the second passenger, the second driver, all potential damages and more if you need.
Many roads in Romania are in bad conditions (especially if you decide to visit Romania on the road as we did, avoiding the tourist areas) and the risk of damage to the car is high. I also suggest you include a GPS to your car to be sure you always have access to the maps.
There are many companies that rent cars in Romania and many of them are amateur; I would recommend hiring an international company to be sure of having access to some standard services while obviously paying a bit more than what you pay by renting with a local company. We choose SIXT RENT A CAR and we had a new car with a few kilometers, air conditioning and GPS included.
Roads in Romania
Roads in Romania are, in many cases, in poor condition. The driving limit is 50 km/h in residential areas, 90 km/h out of the towns and 120 km/h on the highways. The limits are rarely respected and the fact that the roads are filled with holes and curves that are dangerous also makes the experience of driving in Romania considerably interesting; don’t be surprised to see animals, people walking and carts drawn by horses, donkeys or cows even on the main roads. Driving in Romania is definitely an unforgettable experience but you need to keep your eyes open and, if you choose to ride in the rough areas, make sure you have a well-equipped car.
The two must-see panoramic roads if you decide to visit Romania by car
Romania is famous for its panoramic roads, some even considered unmissable at least once in your life.
Transfagarasan (DN7C) is probably the best known: 152Km, it connects the South of Romania to Transylvania and was constructed by Nicolae Ceausescu as a military road. Today it is a fabulous but extremely touristy road, closed in winter and closed every evening from 9 pm to 7 am the following morning.
Transalpina (DN67C) is 148km long and crosses the Parang Mountains; it is the highest panoramic road in Romania, it is still not touristy and the views are amazing. Even in this case, the road may be closed due to bad weather.
How much does it take to organize a road trip through Romania?
It depends on the type of trip you want to make: if you want to follow the most common routes, just follow a single road and the game is done so organizing this type of trip is quick and easy. If, however, as we have done, your aim is to get out of touristic circuits and you want to visit authentic and genuine places, the organizational phase can be really time-consuming and energy-intensive because many roads are inaccessible, weather conditions can be adverse and so you have to figure out the details in everything, including the places where to sleep.
How much does it take to visit Romania by car?
Romania is a big country and the time you need to visit it depends on the type of trip you decide to do. In general, given the condition of the roads and the distances between one area and the other, it is good to have the time available to avoid staying too much in the car and not being able to see anything for good.
How much does a trip to Romania cost?
Today Romania is a super-accessible destination with very low costs but, at the same time, a very poorly developed tourist development except in some areas, of course; Transylvania is one of them due to the myth of Dracula, which attracts tourists from all over the world. The food is extremely cheap and the big amount of street food available is a great help but even eating at the restaurant is never expensive (you can enjoy a full meal, drinks included, for 2-3 euros). Hotels follow the same logic and tend to be more expensive in the most touristy areas but generally, you can sleep in great hotels even with 20 euros a day for two.
Remember: Euro is not used in Romania where the LEU is the official currency (plural: LEI). Use Google to convert your currency into LEI.
Keep in mind that it is often difficult to find ATMs and many facilities do not accept credit cards so it is always good to have some cash with you to avoid problems.
How is the food in Romania?
In Romania food is a big thing: it’s a gathering of people and for this reason food is good, abundant, tasty and most of all genuine. I’ll tell you everything better in a dedicated article.
To whom do you recommend a trip by car to Romania?
Certainly, Romania today is not for everyone and above all Romania by car is not for everyone. I recommend it to those who love adventure, genuine places, people who in many cases do not speak English and therefore need to express themselves in gestures, healthy and heavy food. And chaos everywhere which contrasts very well with the spectacular nature of Romania, the element that perhaps should be considered more and more if you are planning a trip to these areas.
I do not recommend Romania to those who do not usually travel, to those looking for comfort, to those who want to visit museums and art cities, and not even to anyone who is only looking for a trip that costs little because the price you pay by spending a small amount of money could be higher if you are not accustomed to traveling of this type.
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[All the pics are copyright of Giuseppe. Our trip to Romania has been organized in partnership with Sixt RENT A CAR Romania. The information contained in this post are based on our experience and are not affected by the partnership with Sixt]