ROMANIA

ROMANIA

ROMANIA

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Name: Bran Castle
Location: Bran, Romania
Bran Castle, situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Brașov, is a national monument and landmark in Romania.

Commonly known outside Romania as Dracula's Castle, it is often erroneously referred to as the home of the title character in Bram Stoker's Dracula. There is, however, no evidence that Stoker knew anything about this castle, which has only tangential associations with Vlad the Impaler, voivode of Wallachia, the putative inspiration for Dracula. Dutch author Hans Corneel de Roos proposes as location for Castle Dracula an empty mountain top, Mount Izvorul Călimanului, 2,033 metres (6,670 ft) high, located in the Călimani Alps near the former border with Moldavia. Stoker's description of Dracula's crumbling fictional castle also bears no resemblance to Bran Castle.

The castle is now a museum dedicated to displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. Tourists can see the interior on their own or by a guided tour. At the bottom of the hill is a small open-air museum exhibiting traditional Romanian peasant structures (cottages, barns, water-driven machinery, etc.) from the Bran region.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bran_Castle
Name: Peleș Castle
Location: Sinaia, Romania
Peleș Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914. Its inauguration was held in 1883. It was constructed for King Carol I. Its architectural style is a romantically inspired blend Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival similar to Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria.

A personal property of the Royal Family from the beginning, Peleș Castle was nationalized after King Michael abdicated and left the country following an agreement with the government dominated by communists. In 1997 the castle was returned to the Royal Family after a long judicial case that has been finalised in 2007. However, the former king expressed his desire that the castle should continue to shelter the Peleș National Museum, as well as being occasionally used for public ceremonies organised by the Royal Family.

On 10 May 2016, on the occasion of Romania's Independence Day marking 150 years of existence of the Romanian Royal Dynasty, the personal standard of Princess Margareta was flown on Peleș Castle, for the first time since 1947.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peleș_Castle
Name: Corvin Castle
Location: Hunedoara, Romania
Corvin Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a list of the Seven Wonders of Romania.

As one of the most important properties of John Hunyadi, the castle was transformed during his reign. It became a sumptuous home, not only a strategically enforced point. With the passing of the years, the masters of the castle had modified its look, adding towers, halls and guest rooms. The gallery and the keep - the last defense tower, which remained unchanged from John Hunyadi's time, and the Capistrano Tower are some of the most significant parts of the construction.

Other significant parts of the building are the Knights' Hall (a great reception hall), the Club Tower, the White bastion, which served as a food storage room, and the Diet Hall, on whose walls medallions are painted (among them there are the portraits of Matei Basarab, ruler from Wallachia, and Vasile Lupu, ruler of Moldavia). In the wing of the castle called the Mantle, a painting can be seen which portrays the legend of the raven from which the name of the descendants of John Hunyadi, Corvinus came.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvin_Castle
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO ROMANIA.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Romanian
Currency: Romania Leu (RON)
Time zone: EET (UTC+2) / EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +40
Local / up-to-date weather in Bucharest (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Romania travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Romania, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO ROMANIA.

The national currency of Romania is the leu (plural lei), which means lion in Romanian. The leu is divided into 100 bani (singular ban). On 1 July 2005, the new leu (code RON) replaced the old leu (code ROL) at a rate of 10,000 old lei for one new leu. Old ROL banknotes and coins are no longer legal tender but can still be exchanged at the National Bank and their affiliated offices.

Coins are issued in 1 (gold), 5 (copper), 10 (silver), and 50 (gold) bani denominations, but 1 ban coins are rare, despite store prices ending a lot of times with 99 bani. Do not expect exact change from store clerks, unless your total spending divides by 5 bani. When grossly short on change, clerks may also provide small coffee bags, oranges or similar as substitutes, but they may not accept it back as tender. Banknotes come in denominations of 1 (green), 5 (purple), 10 (red), 50 (yellow), 100 (blue), 200 (brown), and 500 (blue and purple) lei denominations, are made of polymer plastic, and, except for the 200 lei, correspond to a euro banknote in size. However, 200 and 500 lei banknotes are not common.

When exchanging money, use exchange bureaus or to use cash machines (which will provide ready access to most foreign bank accounts). Absolutely avoid black market transactions with strangers: in the best case scenario, you might come out ahead by a few percentage points, but that rarely happens. Most black marketers are con men of one sort or another, who will either leave you with a bankroll that turns out to be full of worthless Polish złotys, or will engage you in conversation for a few minutes, awaiting the arrival of their partners who will pretend to be the police and try to con you into handing over your wallet and papers. (This con game is known as a maradonist.) Exchanging money in the street is also illegal and in the worst case scenario, you might spend a night in jail. It is not recommended to exchange money in the airport either – they tend to overcharge on transactions and have very disadvantageous rates – you should use a card and the ATM for immediate needs (taxi/bus) and exchange more money later while in the city.

You should shop around a bit for good exchange rates. Some exchange offices in obvious places (such as the airport) may try to take advantage of the average tourist’s lack of information when setting the exchange rate, and it is not advisable to use them, as the exchange rates may well be quite unrealistic. Prior to leaving for Romania consult the website of the National Bank of Romania for a rough estimate of what exchange rates you should expect. Typical exchange offices should not list differences larger than 2-3% from the official exchange rate. Also, when picking an exchange office, make sure it has a visible sign saying “Comision 0%”; Romanian exchange offices typically don’t charge an extra commission apart from the difference between the buy and sell rates, and they are also required by law to display a large visible sign stating their commission, so if you don’t see such a sign or if they charge something extra, keep going. Choosing a reasonable exchange office, which is not hard to do with the data in this paragraph, can save you as much as 10%, so this is worth observing. Changing money at a bank’s exchange office is also a good idea.

BY TRAIN:

Romania has a very dense rail network that reaches practically every town and a sizable number of villages. Although some modernization is taking place, this network isn’t in a very good condition, with low speeds and limited train frequency on many routes. Nonetheless trains remain the best option for long distance travel.

Most trains are run by the state carrier, Căile Ferate Române, abbreviated as (SN)CFR. Many secondary lines are operated exclusively by private companies: Regiotrans, Regional , Transferoviar, and Servtrans.

Trains generally run without major delays, except on lines where there are repair works or during anomalous weather (heavy snow storms in winter, heat waves or floods in summer).

Train types:

Three major types of trains are available: Regio, InterRegio, and Intercity. The last two types provide reasonable conditions but Regio trains are best avoided.

  • Regio (R)

These are very slow trains, stopping in almost every station (including some in the middle of nowhere). Prices are dirt cheap, but they provide an extremely basic service and are sometimes uncomfortable (no seat reservation, no ventilation to speak of, sometimes crowded, no working toilets in some trains, poor lighting).

They usually have 1970s single-suburban or double-decker cars, with 4 seats per row. Most will not offer 1st class (but if they do it’s highly recommended to get a 1st class ticket, it will be less crowded and less miserable than 2nd class).

Western Desiro and French Z-type DMUs have been introduced on some routes, including Suceava-Cacica, Craiova-Sibiu, Sibiu-Brașov, Cluj-Teiuș-Brașov, Cluj-Bistrița, Brașov-Sfântu Gheorghe. Z-type cars provide a more comfortable seating arrangement but a bouncier ride, which is diametrically opposed to Desiro’s improvement. As these newer trains are designed for short-distance travel, expect to be uncomfortable if traveling for a long period of time.

Most of the trains operated by private companies are also ranked as Regio. They are usually cleaner than CFR Regio trains, but rarely run on the same routes.

Example: Bucharest-Brașov (166km) by Regio train costs ~23 lei in 2nd class, takes about 4 hours, and has up to 31 stops

  • InterRegio (IR)

Semi-slow trains traveling on medium and long distance routes, stopping just in towns. They are cheap (though nearly twice as expensive as Regio) and offer variable conditions.

Newly-renovated cars have been introduced on several routes including Bucharest-Târgu Jiu and Bucharest-Brasov. However, many consider these cars just as uncomfortable, if not more so, than older cars, with merely an improved visual element. There is little baggage room and little leg-room compared to 1980s carriages.

Some InterRegio trains have connection cars to destinations located on secondary lines; after they separate from the InterRegio train they run as RegioExpress (RE).

Example: Bucharest-Brașov (166 km) by InterRegio train costs 47 lei in 2nd class, c. 2hr45min, up to 8 stops

If presented with a choice of Intercity trains (classic cars or “Săgeata Albastră” – Blue Arrow DMUs) it is advisable to choose classic cars, as these are faster, more comfortable trains. Săgeata Albastră are small 3-car diesel trains with slower service (120 km/h top speed compared to 160 km/h).

Example: Bucharest-Brașov (166 km) by Intercity train costs 58 lei in 2nd class, about 2½ hr, three stops

  • Night trains

Most InterRegio trains travelling by night also have couchette cars (with six or four beds) and sleeping cars (with three, two or one bed). Conditions are relatively good.

Example: Bucharest-Satu Mare (782 km), ~142 lei/bed (six beds couchette), 14 hours

Getting tickets:

Tickets for CFR operated trains are sold at train stations and CFR booking agencies (agentie de voiaj CFR), which exist in any sizable town (usually located in the central area). At these booking agencies and at a few major stations it’s possible to buy tickets up to six months in advance for any domestic route and for international trains passing through Romania.

It’s also possible to get tickets for domestic routes online through CFR’s relatively complicated booking site with up to one month in advance.

All trains types except Regio and RegioExpress require seat reservation (not to be confused with advanced ticket booking).

On lines operated by private operators tickets are usually issued on the train.

For up-to-date timetable information on CFR operated lines see CFR’s timetable site. For timetables on lines operated by other companies check.

A complete price list by distance and train type is available online.

Tourist railways:

Several scenic narrow gauge railways exist in mountainous areas, but trips on them are mainly available for small groups and not for individual tourists. One notable exception is the Valea Vaserului railway in Maramureș which has tourist runs daily in mid-summer and on weekends in early summer-autumn.

Groups can also rent the former Romanian king’s personal train or Ceaușescu’s private train but these trips are rather expensive.

BY CAR:

Travelling by car or coach is the easiest way and a vast majority, over 60% of foreign tourists, use this way of transportation. The steering wheel is on the left and European driver’s licenses are recognized by police. For Americans, a passport, a valid U.S. driver’s license and a valid International Driving Permit are required for car rental. If you drive your own car, you must purchase a road tax sticker (the “Rovinieta”) either from the border or from the nearest gas station. Driving without one will incur a severe fine.

Rentals can be expensive; avoid the major international rental companies, as well as the “friendly” locals who are willing to rent you their own car. In Bucharest and throughout the country rentals start at €20-30 per day (without fuel) for a small hatchback, go around €65-90 for an average car or lame SUV and may go up to €170-200 for a luxury sedan or a luxury SUV. You may be denied renting unless you are 25 or older.

While Romanians are generally friendly and polite, this doesn’t always apply to their driving style. Speeding is common, young (inexperienced) drivers driving performance vehicles are common in cities, angry drivers are the norm in the capital and the accident rates are amongst the highest in the European Union.

City roads tend to be heavily overcrowded, particularly in Bucharest. Beware of hazards, such as double-parked cars, pedestrians, sudden braking to avoid a pothole, or stray animals entering the road (in rural areas). Most intercity routes are 2-lane roads, used by everything from communist-era trucks to modern sports cars. So plan for longer driving times than in other areas of Europe.

Bucharest has a very dense and crowded city centre, with narrow, twisting roads, built mainly in the 19th century, with little traffic in mind. The roads are suffocated by over 1 million cars every day – it is possible to take 2 hours to drive a distance that could be walked in 20-25 minutes. GPS or local guide is a necessity. The best way to travel within Bucharest is either by public transport (as it is very cheap and fairly reliable) or taxi.

Romanian police now have high-tech radars to catch speeding motorists. Speed limits are generally 100 km/h outside of a city and 50 km/h or 70 km/h within built up areas. Some police units are equipped with performance vehicles, while others are the standard Dacia Logan cars. Although rare, some highway patrols have BMW bikes. On major roads, motorists in the opposite direction will sometimes flash their headlights to warn that they have passed a radar trap which may be just ahead of you. Also many national roads and motorways are discreetly watched by Police Puma helicopters. Even small offences are subject to heavy fines by the traffic police (Poliția Rutieră), they may even take one’s driver’s license for an irregular passing. Both hidden and visible speed cameras are becoming common on major roads and highways. Policemen sometimes seem to be more lenient with locals, than with foreigners – however, stricter fining applies for locals than for foreigners (for locals, as few as two or three minor offences will get their license suspended for six months). Bribing is ill-advised as most patrol cars have recording equipment and as of 2008, bribing is less and less accepted, so for a foreigner it is not recommended to attempt this get-away technique – it can easily land you in jail.

The Romanian police have a zero tolerance policy on drunk driving – controls are very frequent – and basically any amount of alcohol in your blood counts as drunk driving.

If you are involved in a car accident while driving and someone is hurt you must stop and wait for the traffic police. Driving away from the scene is considered hit-and-run. Accidents with no injuries can be solved with yourself and all parties involved having to go to a police station and make a statement, but, if in doubt, better phone 112 (Emergency Services) and ask for directions. In most of the cases, after an accident it is mandatory to take a blood test to establish if the drivers had consumed alcohol. Refusal to undergo this test is almost certain to land you in jail – the punishment is usually more harsh than the one for drunk driving.

Many important roads were once medieval trade routes which go straight through the centre of many villages. Passing while driving is the norm rather than the exception as slow moving trucks, horse drawn carts, and non-moving herds of cows often frequent village main streets.

Types of roads:

A lot of road infrastructure has been constructed in the past few years, and changes appear rapidly. Therefore, check up te date online sources before you go, as information might get outdated quickly.

BY BUS:

Bus can be the least expensive method to travel between towns. In the Romanian towns and cities, you can usually find one or several bus terminals (autogara). From there, buses and minibuses depart for the towns and villages in the nearby area as well as to other cities in the country. You can find timetables on the autogari website.

Minibuses are usually very uncomfortable; some buses are old and slow. Schedules are not tightly followed, and delays of over an hour are not uncommon, especially for inter-city buses. Romanian roads are in a rather bad shape, with most of the trunk network being made of one lane per way roads (fairly similar with British rural roads), and only about 250 km of expressway. Most minibuses employed are small, crowded, 14-seat vans (some converted from freight vans), with some longer routes employing 20-seat mini-buses. For commuter and suburban routes, expect an overcrowded van (25 passengers riding a 14 seat van is quite common, with 40 passenger loads not being unheard of), with no air-conditioning, which stops several times in every village. Inter-city bus travel is only slightly better – most vehicles used are also converted vans, or, at best, purpose-build minibuses, with only some being air-conditioned. Seating is generally crowded, and in most cases there is no separate compartment for luggage. Most have no toilets on board, calling for 30 minutes stops every 2-3 hours. All in all, the experience of travelling by minibus is quite similar to that of traveling in a Russian or Ukrainian marshrutka.

However, buses are the best solution for a number of routes badly served by the railway network, namely Bucharest – Pitești – Râmnicu Vâlcea, Bucharest – Alexandria, Bucharest – Giurgiu, and Pitești – Slatina.

The comfort of vehicles is steadily improving, at least in Transylvania along the longer routes serving larger cities. You will find buses from respected companies (such as Normandia, FANY or Dacos and waltrans) which offer punctual and reasonable, though not always sparkling, conditions, and on which a luggage compartment will always be available. Toilet stops still need to be made, but they happen usually in places where you can also buy food or drinks. On Fridays, Sundays, and close to national holidays, these buses tend to be overcrowded, so a reservation by phone might be necessary.

Buses inside the cities are often crowded. This gives pickpockets good opportunities. The pickpocket problem seems to be not essentially worse than in any other European city. Please, pay attention.

BY TAXI:

Taxis are relatively inexpensive in Romania. It costs about 1.4-2 lei/kilometre or slightly more, with the same price for starting. The very low prices make taxis a popular way to travel with both locals and travellers (it can be cheaper than driving your own car) – so during rush hours it may be hard to find a cab (despite Bucharest having almost 10,000 cabs).

A notable exception is the Fly Taxi company that operates from the Henri Coanda (Otopeni) Airport. The price for a ride from the airport to the city centre can be about 70 lei. Either call a taxi by phone to pick you up near the airport or chose the 783 bus line to get into the city. Alternately, you can go to the departure terminal to avoid expensive airport taxis. To do this, after you exit baggage claim, immediately turn right. Literally dozens of taxi operators will approach you and ask if you need a taxi, having marked you as a foreigner (it’s their job to do so, after all). Be polite, shake your head no and keep walking. You will pass though about 200 m of shopping and service areas in a little mini-mall connecting the two terminals, and will then arrive at the 2nd level of the departures terminal. Walk out the door and you will see plenty of taxis dropping off passengers. Flag one down and make sure the fare posted on the side is less than 2 lei/km. They are not supposed to pick up there, but you aren’t doing anything wrong by trying, and not many drivers can say no to 30 lei for a trip back to the city centre that they were going to make anyway. Just make sure they use the meter. Some taxi drivers use remote controls in their pockets that raise the tariff price suddenly by small increments that are otherwise unnoticeable until the end of the fare. It might be easier to negotiate the tariff price upfront based on your destination and pay that amount at the end.

Kiosks for reasonably-priced cabs can be found inside the arrivals terminal, and the police are constantly watching for pirate taxi drivers. Kiosks are a safe and reliable to hitch a €10 trip by taxi to downtown Bucharest.

Be careful to look at the cost posted on the outside of the taxi, and then to look at the meter to see that you are being charged the same fare. Be especially careful in Bucharest, where some taxis post 7.4 lei instead of 1.4, but the 7 looks very much like a 1. Ask if you’re not certain – they are obliged to post and clearly state the tariff up-front. All taxis must have a license – a large, oval metal sign bolted on the sides of the car, featuring the city markings, and a serial number inscribed, usually using large numbers. Do not use any taxi without those markings. Also, do not use a taxi with a license from another city (for example, never use an Ilfov taxi in Bucharest or a Turda taxi in Cluj-Napoca).

The driver may try to cheat you if he sees you are a foreigner. Insist that he will use the meter, or have a Romanian guide with you. Don’t negotiate the ride fee in advance, as it may be 2-4 times higher (even more) than the real fee (even if it would seem cheap to you). Check whether it is going in the right direction, follow the way on a map (if you have any!) Do not take cabs from the cab stand in railway stations, unless they are from a reputable company and do not take any of the services of those offering you a cab ride in the train station. They may end up being amazingly expensive (up to €50 for a cab ride that would normally be around €3). If you need a taxi from the train station (or airport), order it by phone from a reputable company (see the city pages for the cities you want to visit) – most dispatchers speak some English as do many taxi drivers.

BY PLANE:

Air travel as a means for domestic transport is becoming more and more popular as increased competition resulted in lower prices (sometimes less than the cheapest train or bus ticket). This, coupled with an improved airport infrastructure leads to increases in the number of passengers compared to past decades.

Two airlines offer domestic flights in Romania – Tarom, with a hub in Bucharest and “no-frills” Blue Air with its domestic hub in Bucharest.

In 2010, Bucharest and Timisoara were linked by up to 12 daily flights (operated by Blue Air and Tarom – Tarom operated some of the flights on the routes with A310 wide-bodies), Bucharest and Cluj by up to 10 daily flights (operated by Tarom and Blue Air), Bucharest and Iasi by up to 4 daily flights (operated by Tarom), Bucharest and Oradea, Bucharest and Sibiu, and Bucuresti and Satu Mare by 2-3 daily flights (operated by Tarom), Bucharest and Suceava and Bucharest and Baia Mare by 1 daily flight (operated by Tarom). Bucharest and Arad are also connected through a daily flights by Blue Air. Constanta and Bacau, owing to the short distance from Bucharest, only see flights a couple of times per week. Frequencies on Saturdays may be reduced, especially to smaller cities.

Prices can begin from as low as 40 lei one way if booked in advance with Blue Air, or through a Tarom ‘Superspecial’ fare. Even 2-3 days before the flight, it is not uncommon to find tickets for under €35-€50 with a little shopping around. While Tarom style themselves as full-fare full-frill airlines, Blue Air considers itself a low fare carrier, and subsequently, has followed the model of not allowing price aggregation through reservation systems (a la Ryanair, Easyjet or Southwest), and as such, tickets for their flights will not be available through booking engines such as Orbitz or Kayak, but only directly through their website.

Some airports may be fairly distant from city centers, and, while some larger ones have adequate public transport (Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara, Oradea), in some (such as Craiova or Iasi) you have to rely on taxis. Even so, a taxi fare from any airport downtown should not cost more than €5-10 outside of Bucharest.

EAT:

Romanian food is distinct yet familiar to most people, being a mixture of Balkan and Central European flavours, but it has some unique elements. The local dishes are the delicious sarmale, ardei umpluți (stuffed peppers), mămăligă (pr. muhmuhliguh, polenta), bulz (traditional roasted polenta, filled with at least two kinds of cheeses, bacon and sour cream), friptură (steak), salată de boeuf (finely chopped cooked veggies and meat salad, usually topped with mayo and decorated with tomatoes and parsley), zacuscă (a yummy, rich salsa-like dip produced in the fall) as well as tocană (a kind of stew), tochitură (pr. tokituruh, an assortment of fried meats, and traditional sausages, in a special sauce, served with polenta and fried eggs), mici (pr. michi, with a ch sound like in the word “chat”; a kind of spicy sausage, but only the meat, without the casings, almost always cooked on a barbecue, but may also be cooked with hot water vapours; often served with beer during picnics – mici și bere), roe salad, various mashed beans varieties like iahnie (the h is loud).

Other dishes include a burger bun with a slice of ham, a slice of cheese and a layer of French fries, ciorbă de burtă (white sour tripe soup), ciorbă rădăuțeană (very similar to ciorbă de burtă, but with chicken instead of tripe), ciorbă țărănească (a red sour soup, akin to borș but with the beet root being replaced by fermented wheat bran, with lots of vegetables), Dobrogean or Bulgarian salads (a mix of onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, white sauce and ham), onion salad – diced onion served in a dish, tomato salad – diced tomato with cheese, șorici (pig skin – boiled and sometimes in stew), and drob (haggies) – a casserole made from lamb or pork liver and kidneys. Local eclectic dishes include cow tongue, sheep brain (Easter), caviar, chicken and pork liver, pickled green tomatoes and pickled watermelon.

Traditional desserts include pască (a chocolate or cheese pie produced only after Easter), sărățele (salty sticks), pandișpan (literally means Spanish bread; a cake filled with sour cherries), and cozonac (a special cake bread baked for Christmas or Easter). Bread (without butter) comes with almost every meal and dill is quite common as a flavoring. Garlic is omnipresent, both raw, and in special sauces (mujdei is the traditional sauce, made of garlic, olive oil and spices), as are onions.

Generally, there is good street food, including covrigi (hot pretzels), langoși (hot dough filled with cheese and various other optional seasonings like garlic), gogoși (donut-like dough, coated with fine sugar), mici (spicy meat patties in the shape of sausages), and excellent pastries (many with names such as merdenele, dobrogene, poale-n brâu, ardelenești), thin pancakes filled with anything from chocolate and jam to bananas and ice cream. Very popular are kebab and shawarma (șaorma), served in many small shops.

Popular Romanian snacks that are readily available in shops are pufuleți (very cheap and delicious corn-made snacks) and sunflower seeds, but usual snacks like potato chips and various nuts are also common. Common sweets are halva, halviță, rahat (Turkish Lokum – “rahat” is also commonly used as an euphemism for feces, meaning that you might hear Romanians talk about rahat a lot when being angry, but they do not actually refer to anything commonly considered edible) and colivă, a boiled wheat dish commonly used in religious mourning rituals.

Most restaurants in Romania, especially in more regional areas, only serve Romanian food, even though it is similar to Western European food. Especially in Bucharest, there is a wide variety of international food, especially Mediterranean, Chinese or French. There are also fairly plentiful international fast food chains. The interesting truth about these is that they are just nominally cheaper than restaurants, with the quality of the food being of an international standard but quite much lower than that served in restaurants. Therefore, go for the restaurants when you can – they provide a much more authentic and quality experience at prices that aren’t much higher.

Vegetarian and vegan travellers can easily find a tasty dish suitable for them if they ask for mâncare de post (food suitable for religious fasting). Because Romanians are in their large majority Eastern Orthodox Christians, fasting involves removing of all the animal products from their meals (meat, dairy products or eggs). Even though Lent seasons only cover a small part of the year, you can find fasting food throughout the year. However, most Romanians are unaccustomed with vegetarianism or veganism; still, you can find such “mâncare de post” all year round; some Romanians fast also outside Lent, on most Wednesdays and Fridays, as part of their orthodox faith.

DRINK:

Wine:

Romania has a long tradition of making wine (more than 2000 years of wine-making are recorded), in fact Romania was in 2014 the 12th largest producer of wine in the world. The best wineries are Murfatlar, Cotnari, Dragasani, and Bohotin. Its quality is very good and the price is reasonable: expect to pay 10-30 lei for a bottle of Romanian wine. Several people in touristic areas make their own wine and sell it directly. Anywhere you want to buy it, it is usually sold in glass bottles of about 75 cl. Many of the monasteries produce and sell their own wine. Most of the individuals wine makers, including monasteries, will allow you to taste it first, but some may not.

Beer:

Like all the countries with a strong Latin background, Romania has a long and diffused tradition of brewing beer, but nowadays beer is very widespread (even more so than wine) and rather cheap compared to other countries. Avoid beers in plastic PET containers, and go for beers in glass bottles or cans. Most of the international brands are brewed in Romania under a license, so they taste quite different than in Western Europe. Some beers made under licence are still good – Heineken, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni. You can easily realize whether a beer has been brewed in Romania or abroad and then imported simply by looking at the price: imported beers are much more expensive than the Romanian ones (A Corona, for example, may be 12 lei while a Timisoreana, Ursus or Bergenbier of a full 1/2 litre size will be 2-4 lei. Some of the common lagers you may find around are quite tasteless, but there are some good brewers. Ursus produces two tasteful beers, its lager is quite good and its dark beer (bere neagră), Ursus Black, is a strong fruity sweet beer, similar to a dark Czech beer. Silva produces bitter beers, both its Silva original pils and its Silva dark leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth. Bergenbier and Timisoreana are quite good. All the other lager beers you may find, such as Gambrinus, Bucegi or Postavaru are tasteless (in some consumers’ opinion). Ciuc is a very decent and affordable pilsner, now owned by Heineken. Expect to pay around 2-3 lei for a bottle of beer in the supermarket and double in a pub.

Spirits:

The strongest alcohol is palinca, with roughly 60% pure alcohol and is traditional to Transylvania, the next is țuica (a type of brandy made from plums – for the better quality, traditional version – but alternatively from apricots, wine-making leftovers, or basically anything else – an urban legend even claims you can brew a certain kind of winter jacket (pufoaică) to țuică, but this is rather a proof of Romanian humor). Strength of țuica is approximately 40-50%. The best țuica, made from plums, is traditional to the Pitești area. Strong alcohol is quite cheap, with a bottle of vodka starting off between 10 lei and 50 lei. A Transylvanian speciality is the 75% blueberry and sour cherry palinca (palincă întoarsă de cireșe negre), better known as vișinată – but is usually kept by locals for celebrations, and may be hard to find.

Finding an accommodation in Romania is very easy, for any price. In all the touristic places, as soon as you get to the train station several people will come to you asking whether you need an accommodation, or you can book it in advance. Those people welcoming you at the station often speak English, French and Italian. Moreover, while walking on the street, you will often find cazare written on the houses, that means they will rent you a room in their own house. You’d better book an accommodation in the big cities (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov and Iasi), since it’ll be quite hard to wander around looking for a place to sleep, but anywhere else you won’t find any problem at all.

As with most countries it is often cheaper to obtain accommodation directly with the hotel (either in person or in advance via the internet) rather than through booking agencies. An increasing number of even small hotels will accept reservations via the Internet. Search for the local official tourist guide websites which will have a list of hotels and/or bed-and-breakfasts, then inquire at that site: most have information in English, many have formal reservation webpages. Prices for Four star hotels are much the same as in the rest of Europe, certainly in Bucharest, whilst three star hotels and below can be a little cheaper. A feature of Romanian accommodation prices is that many bed and breakfast establishments (without any hotel star rating) are in fact as or even more expensive than two or three star hotels. Most appear to be more modern than rated hotels.

Rural tourism is relatively well developed in Romania. There is a national association of rural guesthouses owners, ANTREC who offer accommodations in over 900 localities throughout the country.

A traditional countryside shopping is the weekly fair (târg, bâlci, or obor). Usually held on Sunday, everything that can be sold or bought is available – from live animals being traded amongst farmers (they were the original reason why fairs were opened centuries ago) to clothes, vegetables, and sometimes even second hand cars or tractors. Such fairs are hectic, with haggling going on, with music and dancing events, amusement rides and fast food stalls offering sausages, “mititei” and charcoal-grilled steaks amongst the many buyers and sellers. In certain regions, it is a tradition to attend them after some important religious event (for example after St. Mary’s Day in Oltenia), making them huge community events bringing together thousands of people from nearby villages. Such fairs are amazingly colorful – and for many a taste of how life was centuries ago. One such countryside fair (although definitely NOT in the countryside) is the Obor fair in Bucharest – in an empty space right in the middle of the city, this fair has been going on daily for more than three centuries.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Romania
TOP ATTRACTIONS
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Name: Bran Castle
Location: Bran, Romania
Bran Castle, situated near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Brașov, is a national monument and landmark in Romania.

Commonly known outside Romania as Dracula's Castle, it is often erroneously referred to as the home of the title character in Bram Stoker's Dracula. There is, however, no evidence that Stoker knew anything about this castle, which has only tangential associations with Vlad the Impaler, voivode of Wallachia, the putative inspiration for Dracula. Dutch author Hans Corneel de Roos proposes as location for Castle Dracula an empty mountain top, Mount Izvorul Călimanului, 2,033 metres (6,670 ft) high, located in the Călimani Alps near the former border with Moldavia. Stoker's description of Dracula's crumbling fictional castle also bears no resemblance to Bran Castle.

The castle is now a museum dedicated to displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. Tourists can see the interior on their own or by a guided tour. At the bottom of the hill is a small open-air museum exhibiting traditional Romanian peasant structures (cottages, barns, water-driven machinery, etc.) from the Bran region.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bran_Castle
Name: Peleș Castle
Location: Sinaia, Romania
Peleș Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914. Its inauguration was held in 1883. It was constructed for King Carol I. Its architectural style is a romantically inspired blend Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival similar to Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria.

A personal property of the Royal Family from the beginning, Peleș Castle was nationalized after King Michael abdicated and left the country following an agreement with the government dominated by communists. In 1997 the castle was returned to the Royal Family after a long judicial case that has been finalised in 2007. However, the former king expressed his desire that the castle should continue to shelter the Peleș National Museum, as well as being occasionally used for public ceremonies organised by the Royal Family.

On 10 May 2016, on the occasion of Romania's Independence Day marking 150 years of existence of the Romanian Royal Dynasty, the personal standard of Princess Margareta was flown on Peleș Castle, for the first time since 1947.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peleș_Castle
Name: Corvin Castle
Location: Hunedoara, Romania
Corvin Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a list of the Seven Wonders of Romania.

As one of the most important properties of John Hunyadi, the castle was transformed during his reign. It became a sumptuous home, not only a strategically enforced point. With the passing of the years, the masters of the castle had modified its look, adding towers, halls and guest rooms. The gallery and the keep - the last defense tower, which remained unchanged from John Hunyadi's time, and the Capistrano Tower are some of the most significant parts of the construction.

Other significant parts of the building are the Knights' Hall (a great reception hall), the Club Tower, the White bastion, which served as a food storage room, and the Diet Hall, on whose walls medallions are painted (among them there are the portraits of Matei Basarab, ruler from Wallachia, and Vasile Lupu, ruler of Moldavia). In the wing of the castle called the Mantle, a painting can be seen which portrays the legend of the raven from which the name of the descendants of John Hunyadi, Corvinus came.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvin_Castle
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