Romania is an extraordinary gifted land with a culture and landscape rich enough to fill several weeks of motorcycle adventures. From crossing the Carpathian mountains on the breathtaking Transfagarasan road (named by many as the best road to ride in Europe) to loosing track of mesmerizing views of virgin forests and crystal clear mountain rivers or experiencing the untouched charm of centuries-old traditional villages, Romania has it all: adventure, adrenaline, cultural experience and rich cuisine (world class awarded wines). We have included the best highlights in our Best of Carpathians guided tour, to offer you a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
The preparation for riding in Romania is very important so please find below useful information you need to be aware before starting the adventure.
Currency and payment
Romania is a member of the European Union, nevertheless the national currency is RON. Payment can be made in cash (RON only) or by card. Cards are widely accepted for payment as most vendors have POS terminals (all branded gas stations accept cards). The ATM bank network (which is widely spread) accepts international cards for withdrawals in RON. In most of large towns you can find exchange offices which offer a slightly smaller rate than the official one. Please take into consideration that in small villages expect to pay only with cash since the rural part of the country is not yet very developed from the economical point of view.
Important notice: before travelling to Eastern Europe, please notify your bank of the duration and countries visited during your trip to avoid situations where your card payments are blocked (eg: motorcycle rental, hotel accomodation, shopping). This happens because some banks consider this region in a group of countries with a different risk for card usage.
To check latest exchange rates: 1 EUR=4.65 RON.
Some rough cost estimates:
Did you know that World Guinness Record for the smallest bill in the world belongs to a Romanian bill issued in 1917?
Electricity and Internet
The electricity network in Romania operates on 220 Volts and in terms of the electricity sockets are compatible with plugs type C and F; here you can find an easy guide to identify socket and plug types.
The country is in the top of worldwide internet speed (some tests rank it as 2nd), with free Wi-Fi (password required) being easily accessible in most bars, restaurants or hotels.
Communication: language and telephones
Romanians are very friendly and open and always offering to help. English is widely spread among people under 40 years especially in big cities. French is less spread but in large cities you have good chances to find help in French or German especially in Transylvania (central-western part of Romania) where there are good chances you will find German speakers.
Romanian words: Salut (Hello) / Multumesc or shorted Merci (Thank you) / La revedere (Good bye)
Vodafone and Orange are the largest mobile operators, with very good quality of services .
You can buy prepaid cards that start from ~5EUR and offer several Gb of Internet traffic and national calls.
Driving: speed, taxes, road condition, legal requirements
The roads in Romania are toll-free (including highways) with few exceptions (bridges over Danube).
The conditions of the roads may vary, in general all roads are asphalt only; however, you should be alert for pebbles/sand in narrow curves in the mountains and small holes. It is not uncommon to encounter domestic animals in small villages (sheeps, goats, cows) so proceed with care especially in late afternoon when animals return home. Roads have mostly only 1 lane per direction which requires the rider to be alert when overtaking.
Driving is on the right side. Keep low beam ON during daytime riding. Wear your protection equipment at all times when riding (police will surely fine you if otherwise).
Emergency number 112 (Police and Ambulance)
We can offer the following parts of equipment: helmet, jacket, pants, rain suit (please specify your equipment requirements well in advance of the trip) but for your comfort we suggest to bring your own helmet, boots and gloves since these parts of equipment adjust in time to your anatomical shape.
Romanian has 4 seasons weather. Google’s weather forecast is excellent and unless a short shower arises, May-September is dry season with little rain but the mountain areas have increased rain chance.
Food and drinks
Romania has a rich cuisine and due to its ever changing history, it has absorbed influences from all directions. The great dish variety should satisfy most of your tastes: mainly meat based (pork, chicken, cow- steaks, grills or cooked) with a large selection of soups (vegetables or meat based) , diverse salads (great variety of vegetables available) and side dishes (all sorts of pickles) and excellent sweets (pies, cakes, bakery). For drinking, great wines with numerous international awards (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) or home made spirits (plums, apricots, sour cherry…) Just let our guides know of your preferences and prepare for a memorable tasting experience.
A traditional meal would start with a thick soup with chicken and vegetables (called ‘ciorba’ in Romanian) and then continue with a stew (pork or chicken) with pickles or fresh salad (cabbage or tomato) and for dessert either an apple pie or home made cake (cherry, plums or apples) or even pancakes. Mostly, a glass of red home-made wine is served but is it possible also to serve a home-made spirit as appetizer.
Few traditional food examples: bean soup with smoked pork meat, ‘sarmale’ (cabbage rolls stuffed with minced pork meat) served with ‘mamaliga’ (polenta), ‘zacusca’ (eggplant paste), ‘papanasi’ (sweet cow cheese dumplings with cream and cherry jam).
In restaurants, depending on the profile, you can find both traditional and international ones (Italians are most spread, so pasta and very good pizza is available).
People, customs, religion
The young generation is very open minded and has embraced the western mindset. You can have delightful conversations on a great variety of topics (politics, fashion, digital, sports). The average generation, heavily influenced by the communist regime will embrace you with curiosity but do expect different approaches in big cities vs small villages. Almost always, motorcycle riders are met with enthusiasm and most often you will be asked about your bike and travels.
Romanians are very close to the family and no celebration occasion is wasted: we celebrate name days, birthdays as well as other serious events (especially when they involve sports like football). When meeting a close friend, it is common to cheek-kiss 2 times or even give him a big hug. Rather possessive and warm-blooded, it is not advised to make jokes about one’s girlfriend or wife.
More than 90% of Romanians are Christian Orthodox, and the relationship with the church is very strong in people above 40-50 as opposing to the young generation. Enter any church on Sunday morning and you will see it is full.
While far from being complete, this guide aims at offering you a basic flavor and level of information from where one can start to discover more about our fantastic country. “Multumesc” and check now our Tours sections. Hope to welcome you soon!