Are you planning on visiting Romania anytime soon? Probably your friends are asking you “Why?” and I’m here to tell you ‘You will love it!”. The thirst of the unknown and curiosity of what it is like here, make you feel excited and a bit afraid in the same time. Fear no more, because I will tell you which are the 5 things to expect upon when you decide to move or travel to Romania!
Some cultural and social background tips first…
Romanians like to brag, but tell me a nation that does not do that?! Yes, people around here get really excited to tell you stories about their country, especially if you are a foreigner. Romanians are very proud people, who like to cheer up even when there is no reason to do so.
They will tell you about the country’s most famous places, dishes, and how Romania has the second biggest building in the world (according to its surface). The most beautiful women, great traditional alcohol, impressive history, cheap internet. The list is long, so it all comes to the person you will come
The list is long, so it all comes to the person you will come into contact with. Some may act too friendly, so don’t get scared. (or try to)
Their friendliness can get a bit over the edge, asking you to hang out more than you might be used to. Or offering you their phone number, so you can get in touch when you need some advice. Just say yes and play along.
Romanians are also extremely curious people. They ask about everything, what do you do for a living, and especially what are you doing here. Romania is still developing its international tourism, so bear with them. You will get questions like “Why did you choose Romania?”, “Where do you work?” or even “How did you get that job?”. But they don’t necessarily expect to get an answer for every question, so don’t stress yourself too much.
You will get questions like “Why did you choose Romania?”, “Where do you work?” or even “How did you get that job?”. But they don’t necessarily expect to get an answer for every question, so don’t stress yourself too much.
Now, what is great about Romania …
1. Lots of good food
This is one thing you will read everywhere:
Romania has a rich traditional cuisine.
Most dishes are from animal products, a lot of meat involved, also milk and cheese. Most restaurants have traditional dishes like:
- sarmale (minced meat rolled in pickled cabbage leaves) served with polenta and sour cream,
- mici : grilled minced pork meat served usually with white bread and mustard.
- stakes: any kind of meat served with a side dish; they prefer pork, chicken, beef, fish.
- ciorbă – a soup with vegetables and/or meat in it; there are a lot of varieties of this one
- cooked foods made of cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes or rice.
- desserts: papanași (doughnuts with sour cream and gem), clătite (crepes), plăcintă (pie – all kinds, some even made as a main course), cozonac (specific cake, like sweet bread with cocoa and nuts inside, made for Christmas and Easter.
- pastries: cakes of all kinds, chocolate, and every street corner is a place called Covrigărie or Simigerie where you can get a plain bagel (covrig), salty pastries or sweet snacks. Romania eats lots of bread-based products.
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, there is hope!
Romania is an orthodox country and the religion implies fasting before big Christian holidays and in some specific days of the year. A great part of the population still holds on to this tradition.
When I say fasting, it means people don’t eat any animal products, no meat, no cheese, no eggs, nothing. Sound like VEGAN, right? They do this especially before Christmas and Easter and it’s called DE POST (for fasting). Some restaurants write
Some restaurants write de post next to those dishes, and even some things got labels in supermarkets. If not, just ask for it. People will know exactly what are you talking about. It’s funny because if you ask for something vegan, most won’t know what that is. But it’s the same thing.
Have I mentioned Romanians like to party?! Some party every day. But the big parties start Thursday night and last until Sunday morning.
In Bucharest, there are some big clubs, which are spread around the city, so you need to take a taxi to get there and another one to get home. Clubs are a bit more expensive, and people really like to show off there. I would say it’s rather kitsch, all glittery and sparkly. Expensive cars at the entrance and people checking you out at the entrance. Like you have to look cool and clubbish to get in.That’s one part.
And then we have the city centre. The remaining of the historical buildings that look like collapsing (not all, but there are some examples). It’s right in the centre of the city, you can get there by bus or metro or walking. And on every street, there are tons and tons of bars and pubs and restaurants, and cheap places to eat. Most pubs turn into clubs on the weekend nights. It can get crazy because there are always so full of people.
I have some friends who once decided to “do” a street in the city centre. What they meant was they went to have a drink in each bar on that street. And the streets are loooong. Don’t try that.
The prices are low, and if you don’t like a place, you can move and find another one at a walking distance. They close at 5 or 6 am on the weekends … depends on the last customer.
3. Amazing places to visit with great landscapes
Being one of Europe’s poor countries, the industrialisation level is not that high. The big cities look European, but as you get out of the city, the villages and fields look so rural and traditional. It’s one thing that makes it special, to me at least. There are millions of people in the countryside who do everything by hand, including the labour in the field.
Romania has been blessed with one diversified land. Mountains, lakes, fields, rivers, a delta and sea. It has a balanced geographic frame and it has so many places worth visiting. To mention just a few:
- Danube Delta
- Peles Castle
- Brasov city and surroundings, Rucar
- Sighisoara, the medieval fortress
- and probably most places near the mountain side. I will come back on this topic with a list.
I am not an addict, not anymore! But we are living online at the same time, and that’s a sign people got used to being connected. I am not here to discuss how that is a good or bad thing, I’m just stating the obvious: Everyone uses the INTERNET!
Yes, I know you have it in your country too. What I’m proud about is the speed of internet, the great quality of the network and the connectivity. It works like magic. And it’s cheap.
When I was travelling around Europe I was trying to find the best way to have roaming everywhere, using only 1 sim card. By chance, I found out that buying roaming from my Romanian prepaid sim card was the best option.
So you can imagine how is it in here. No wonder everything goes online. I recommend buying a prepaid sim card, and you will be more than fine.
And wi-fi everywhere. Almost. I love my country for this. I’ve travelled in more than 20 countries, but there was not one country more “connected” than my homeland. (When I’m abroad, each time the internet connection crashes, I say to myself “Romania, the country of internet, I miss you!!”)
Long white sand beaches, as far as you can see. All Romanian sand! There is a nonstop party, till the summer is over and they resume next summer. It all starts in May when it’s this huge tradition to go to the seaside and celebrate the beginning of SUMMER!! I told you Romanians like to celebrate! We just like life!
1st of May is huge. If you plan to go to the seaside, you need to book a place to stay in advance, because probably will be booked. And even though the water is cold and the weather is windy, some go for a swim, while most people just party on the beach.
There are bars everywhere. You’ll see what it feels like to hear 2 or 3 different music at the same time. It’s that crowded and crazy. It’s a must if you travel to Romania in summer, or even better, for 1st of May! There are touristic villages all along the seaside.
Some are more fancy, while other places are more casual and basic. But there are all full in summer, and every weekend, Bucharest moves to the seaside. Seaside and clubs! Romanians know how to party! And we are good at it.