Portray of the Destination
In southeast Europe, in the northern part of the Balkan peninsula, Romania is located and its
capital city, Bucharest, is in the centre of the Romanian plain on the Dâmbovita´s riverbanks.
Romania itself holds a landscape that amazes the eye and calms the soul. Bucharest which is
the capital of Romania has an immense amount of amazing architecture which is a result from the
French and French-trained architects. The city mixes European sites into one.
Even though the city itself is not seen as an old city by European standards, it still
upholds a sense of history with its tree-lined boulevards and glorious Belle Époque buildings. It
was remodelled in the later half of the 19th century in which the city features the Triumphal Arch
on the Soseaua Kiseleff which is a boulevard longer than the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Probably most famously known in Bucharest is the “House of the People” otherwise known as the
“Palace of Parliament” which is the second largest building in the world which was made from only
Romanian materials. Gambling is a popular hobby in Bucharest due to it being one of the few
central-east European cities to allow it.
Now Bucharest is gaining its popularity that was once lost, but the city shows how the old
Romanian aristocracy and the communist society were once here.
We would like to thank the Romanian National Tourist Office - UK & Ireland for the
information and pictures provided.
Bucharest is located between the Carpathian Mountains and the Black Sea, in southeastern
There are several lakes around the city of Bucharest where the most important ones are called
Lake Floreasca, Lake Tei and Lake Colentina. In the center of the city there is an artificial lake
called Lake Cişmigiu which is surrounded by Cişmigiu Gardens which have a rich history as it has
been frequently mentioned by writers and poets. The current city is situated on the south-eastern
corner of the Romanian Plain.
Traditionally the city has been considered to have seven hills like the seven hills of
Rome. Before 1989, the areas around Bucharest were rural and after this time there was a great
urban development, suburbs started to be formed and it has been said to be increased after the
development in 2006.
Due to its positioning on the Romanian Plain, Bucharest has a continental climate which can be
characterised by hot dry summers and cold winters. Winter temperatures rarely fall below -10ºC
(14ºF) but it is often below 0ºC (32ºF). In summer, the average temperature is around 23ºC (73.4ºF)
but it can reach up to 35-40°C (95 – 105ºF) during the middle of the summer in the city center.
Even though, there is a low humidity and precipitation rate and there are infrequent but heavy and
sometimes violent storms.
When to go
The best time to go to Romania is during the spring and autumn months such as April, May and
September as during the summer the heat can be unbearable and you will not be able to experience
everything that Bucharest has to offer.
According to a legend the city was founded by a shepherd called Bucur. It was in 1459 when it was
called the "Citadel of Bucureşti". Bucharest then became the summer residence of the court and this
caused conflicts as there was competition about the status of the capital.
The Ottoman empire burnt down the city and then was restored around the 17th century, when the
center became a street known as Lipscani in 1589. Before 1700, Bucharest turned into the most
important trade centre which then led to be the permanent location of the Wallachian court with the
beginning of the Constantin Brancoveanu reign. During several years, Bucharest was destroyed by
different factors and invaded by numerous countries.
By 1861, when Wallachia and Moldavia formed the Principality of Romania and were finally united,
Bucharest became the Nation’s new capital and then, in 1881 it was the political center of the
Kingdom of Romania.
Throughout the 19th century, the city’s population increased dramatically due to its changing
status and urban developments. This is when the city became highly influenced by architecture and
cosmopolitan high culture and also gained its nickname of “Little Paris” or “The Paris of the East”.
Between 1916 and 1918, Bucharest was occupied by the German forces and the capital was moved to
Iasi. However, it was after World War I when Bucharest became the capital of Greater Romania. Due
to the fact that it was the capital of an Axis country, it suffered terrible bombings. During 1965
to 1989 a large quantity of the historical buildings were destroyed and then replaced with
In 1977, there was a strong earthquake that reached 7.5 on the Richter-scale and caused a large
number of deaths and destroyed many historical buildings. In 1989, the Communist regime was
overthrown. After 2000, the city has become modernised and, now, it is currently being renewed
while the historical parts of the city are being restored.
Romanian art, architecture and folk traditions are outstanding due to their great originality and
duration through centuries. The numerous customs and traditions emphasize the regional
celebrations: mask games in Moldavia, handicrafts and folk dances in Oltenia, costumes worn on
celebration days in Transylvania, woodworking art and culture in Maramures, pastoral civilization
in the Apuseni Mountains.
The key ingredients that Romanian chefs use are vegetables, meat such as beef, lamb, pork and fish,
fruit and dairy products. An example of a traditional Romanian meal may start off with an appetizer
of all kinds of vegetables’ spreads, cold meats and different types of cheese, which would probably
be washed down with "tuica", a potent plum brandy. Then it might be followed up by a number of
types of soups such as "ciorba taraneasca" which is vegetable soup with or without meat or there is
"Ciorba de perisoare" which is a meatball soup. The main dish may traditionally be "Tocanita",
which is a meat stew with onions and/or spices with "ghiveci", which is over 20 vegetables cooked
in oil. Then, "sarmale", which is pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meats, spices and
rice. There is another dish of "mititei", small skinless grilled sausages which are called “ wee
ones” and are among one of the most popular traditional dishes.
Then, there are a wide range of desserts, such as cottage cheese, donuts topped with sour cream
and fruit preserve called "papanasi", or "clatite cu branza", that is crepes filled with cottage
cheese, spices and raisins. But during traditional holidays, sweet bread filled with walnuts, poppy
seeds or cream cheese called “cozonac” would be eaten.
HOW ARE YOU? - Ce mai faci?; GOOD-BYE - La revedere!; PLEASE - Vă rog; SORRY - Îmi pare rău; THANK
YOU - Mulţumesc; YES - Da; NO - Nu; I DON'T UNDERSTAND - Nu înţeleg; WHERE IS THE TOILET? - Unde e
toaleta?; DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH? - Vorbiţi engleza?. NUMBERS: 1 - unu; 2- doi; 3 - trei; 4 - patru;
5 - cinci. USEFUL WORDS: BIG - mare; SMALL - mic; WATER - apă; WARM - cald; COLD - rece, frig; NEW
- nou; OLD - vechi; GOOD - bun; BAD - rău, prost; NEAR - lângă; FAR - departe; RIGHT - drept; LEFT
The official currency is the Romanian New Lei (RON). There are banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 Leis and coins of 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani pieces.
At the moment there are two currencys which are in circulation, one which is the new Lei (RON)
which was introduced on the 1st of July 2005 and old Lei which is still in use. Till the 31st of
December 2006 the old currency can be used within the shops that are displaying prices in both
currencys. Money can be exchanged at banks, hotels, international airports and exchange offices.The
Lei is made up fo 100 banis.
1 Romanian New Lei (Lei1) = € 0.28; 1.19 GBP (Pound Sterling)
GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from the last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).Official Language
228 km² (88 sq. mi)Population
Parliamentary Republic Public holidays
Jan 1 2006: New Year
Jan 6: Epiphany
March -Apr: Easter Monday (Orthodox)
May 1: Labor Day
Dec 1: National Day
Dec 25-26: ChristmasReligion
86 per cent Romanian Orthodox, with Greek and Roman Catholic, Reformed/Lutheran, Unitarian, Muslim and Jewish minorities.Arrival / Departure Safety
Compared to the number of other european capital cities, Bucharests crime rate is low. There has
been a police enforcement in breaking up organised crime which has been reduced. On the other hand,
like in any city there is always petty crime but more commonly known in Romania are confidence
tricks such as the Maradona scam so make sure that you avoid busy araeas and that important
documents are placed somewhere safely.
Bucharest has had problems of street children, but this has changed now and the rate has
decreased but there is a number of children that are recruited by professionals to go to
underground networks for criminal reasons. There has also been an increase of illegal street
races which happen at night either at the outskirts of the city or in industrial sites. It is also
recommended that you get a vaccination for Rabies as stray dogs are still a problem, even though it
is gradually decreasing.Visa
American and Canadian citizens as well as citizens of most European countries do not need an entry
visa to visit Romania (for stays up to 90 - ninety - days). However, a valid passport is required
for all international visitors except for citizens of the countries of the European Union who can
enter Romania with their Identity Card.Clothing
Light clothing is worn in summer on the coast and in low inland areas. Warmer clothes are needed in
winter and throughout the year in the uplands. Rainwear is recommended throughout the year.Electricity
The electricity in Bucharest is 220 V; 50 Hertz. Two round pin plugs are standard.Radio and Television
There are five different channels, one international and the other four are regional, operated by
the national radio. The most popular radio stations are Radio Contact - 96,1 FM (www.radiocontact.ro
), Radio ProFM - 102,8 FM (www.profm.ro
) and Radio Uniplus. Europa FM (www.europafm.ro
Television seems to be important for the Bucharest people as there has been a survey stating
that 80% of the Bucharest families have cable TV.Telephone
The international dialing code for Bucharest is 0040. there are several different types of codes
for different areas for each Romania city, for Bucharest its is 021. There is an astonishing amount
of mobile networks.Police
112Newspapers and Magazines
Below, there are a number of different types of magazines and newspapers that are available in
Academia Catavencu (Satirical weekly), Adevarul (Independent), Bucharest Daily News (Daily
Newspaper), Business Travel Romania (Business monthly), Cotidianul(Independent, Conservative),
Curierul national (independent, conservative, business-oriented daily), Dimineata(
Pro-Presidential), Evenimentul Zilei (Independent, mass-circulation), http://www.expres.ro/Jurnalul
National (Centrist political party), Libertatea Online (Tabloid), Monitorul (Independent regional
newspaper), Nine O'Clock (English-language), Pro sport (Sport Newspaper), Saptamana Financiara
(Financial weekly), The Diplomat (Magazine), Ziarul Financiar(Business), Ziua(Liberal).Postal Service
Like many other countries there are several different types of postal services but there is a main
one which is Romanian Post, the other ones are DHL international Romania, DHL worldwide
express, Federal express, UPS United Parcel Service and TNT Express Worldwide. Airmail to Western
Europe takes one week. Post offices are open daily, including Saturday mornings.Health Care Services
It is highly recommended to contract a health insurance as medical facilities in Romania are scarce
and if your country of origin do not have a health agreement you should have to pay at once for the
health services received.Airport
Bucharest is not that far from most western cities, more or less around two hours. The Airport is
around 10 miles away from Bucharest and within the airport there are facilities such as
restaurants, bars, banks, bureau de change, duty-free shops, post office, left luggage and business
Bucharest public transportation is the biggest in Romania and is the third largest in Europe.
Bucharests public transportation system consists of trams, buses, trolley buses and the light rail.
Not forgetting the minibuses and the taxis which are privately owned. Before the year 2006 the
metro and the surface transportation were run by two different state-owned companies and so, in
2006, they have merged both of them.
In Romania there are two airports, Aurel Vlaicu International Airport which was once called
Baneasa and is used for charter flights and low-cost airlines while Henri Coanda International
Aiport, which was called Otopeni, is the hub airport and is connected with several international
Bucharest is the hub for Romania's railways network. Gara de Nord or otherwise known as the
North Station is the main railway station as it provides connections to all major cities within
Romania and outside such as Budapest, Sofia, Prague and Vienna. Bucharest has never been a port
city even though it is situated on the banks of the river. The Danube - Bucharest Canal is
currently under construction and is 73 km long and will hopefully be used to link Bucharest to the
Danube River and the Black Sea via the Danube-Black Sea Canal.Railway
This is one of the best ways to get around the city. There are surprisingly many of stops which
were originally built for the transport of workers and commuters from outlying quarters into the
city. The transportation itself is quite comfortable and very frequent, reliable and easy to use.
Bucharest is the only city that does not use a soviet-style network. For more information about the
Metrorex official website,
There is another type of rail network and is a completely new system called “light metro” and is
located in the western part of Bucharest. It provides the best of both worlds, the speed and
comfort of a metro network and the coverage and convenience of a bus network. You can use a
standard RATB ticket on a Light Rail service.Bus
The bus network seems to be very complex but it has to be this way due to the amount of
transportation that is available. Whether it is by bus, tram or trolleybus, you can go everywhere
in the city, but it can get very busy during rush hours, so make sure that you know when you have
to get off so that you do not miss your stop. It is recommended to ask someone else on the bus
about the stops.Car
Entrace roads to Bucharest: north, the E15 road; west, the A1 highway; east, the A3 highway;
south, the E20 road. Parking areas in the city are scarce and many secondary streets are
in bad condition.Car Rentals
In order to rent a car in Romania you have to be at least 21 years old and have a full driver
licence since one year before, just like most places in Europe. Car rental
agencies available in Bucharest are Francrocar which is based in the city, Cars4Rent and
AHL Autorent SR.Ship
Although it is located on the banks of a river, Bucharest has never functioned as a port city, and
other Romanian cities such as Constanţa and Brăila have been serving as the country's main
ports.Destination Tourism Office in Spain Spanish embassy in the destination Taking pictures
In some tourist attractions, visitors are required to pay a fee of approximately Lei2000 in order
to take photographs.See climatewww.worldweather.comCurrency converterwww.xe.comA dinner
Around 10 RON / 100,00.00 ROL.A coffee
1.20 RON / 12,00.00 ROL.The Bus
3.42 RON / 34,263.75 ROL which is about 0.66 GBP or 0.97 EUR.The taxi
Taxi can be cheap if you make sure that you go with a trusted taxi company. The taxis that you should not trust and are expensive and dangerous are the private ones. It is advised as well that you should not be charged over 10 new lei per kilometre, it should be around 1.50 new lei per kilometre.The Underground
0.68 RON (Romanian New Lei) or 6,852.75 ROL (Romanian Lei) which is about 0.13p GBP / 0.19 EUR.The train
For a train from Bucharest to Brasov.The express and first class it would be about 28.78 RON (Romanian New Lei) or 287,815.50 ROL (Romanian Lei) which is 5.55 GBP / 8.16 EUR.