The Romanian seaside started to be a popular holiday destination, and most Romanians spend their weekends there, during summer. But there is a small village, with a big audience. A place for everybody. Vama Veche.

Vama Veche used to be a place for a certain type of people.

Yes, Romania has a seaside and there is a place for anyone. No matter how snobbish you are (hopefully you are not), you will find something to enjoy. But once you get used to a place, it’s hard to change your perception and habits and not go there anymore. Yes, I’m stuck in my memories.

EDIT: Finally, I wrote a list of the Best Beaches in Romania, which includes some alternatives to Vama Veche.

vama veche romania

I visited Vama Veche for the first time when I was 17 (that was over ten years ago), and I crashed into a friend’s tent. Lots of Vama Veche stories and years later, here I am today, writing about my most recent experience there.

Vama Veche, the village

Firstly, I have to mention we are talking about a village on the seaside. A small one! It’s a walking distance to the Bulgarian border. The name “Vama Veche” means “the old customs”. Because it’s near the border, I guess.

Because of its location, people started decades ago to go there and enjoy a chill and quiet time spent by the sea. More and more people started coming, and half a century later (I have no idea when this trend started) it’s a filthy, crowded and expensive village in the middle of nowhere. By the seaside.

Hearing about this place for the first time, it was this nonconventional place, with lots of people, rock music, where everything was cheap. A mixture of hippies, punkers and rockers or white laces skinheads.

And probably a bit more drunk people than you are used to seeing on the street.

My first time there I was kinda scared of these people who were obviously from a group because they all had a resembling appearance. It’s not like you see everyday skinheads groups on the street.

Notice I used past tense. Today the place is the same, but different people visit it.

Vama Veche today (and why I can’t stand it anymore)

So the economy says something like if the demand is high then the price goes up. Whatever, I have no idea about the economy. But today I find a disgusting, commercial village, overcrowded and crazy expensive.

vama veche romania

The funny part is that no matter your budget, chances are you will not find accommodation for the next weekend if you don’t book it in advance. I rather go travel abroad than spend an insane amount of money for staying in a place where people used to get drunk and sleep on the beach.

As a Romanian, living in Romania, once more, I expect prices accordingly to the living standards. Not west European countries. I refuse to pay 1.5 -2 Euros for a beer in a supermarket. All over the country that’s a price for a restaurant, where a waiter serves you, and probably it’s not more than 2 Euros with a tip. I’m talking about good restaurants.

vama veche romania

Yes, it’s full of supermarkets which have restaurant-level prices. No, I don’t want to be part of this.

Accommodation in Vama Veche

Accommodation? Yes, it’s full of villas, houses, campings, hotels and hostels. It’s crazy expensive. Probably you will end up paying at least 40 Euros for a night during the weekend. Yes, for Europe it’s cheap, but for a village in the middle of nowhere, it’s ripping you off. And don’t set your expectations too high. It’s only a place to sleep.

People used to sleep in tents. Nowadays, not so much. It’s not a “thing” anymore. Although there is a famous camping site there, quite big and very hipsterish. Even that place is expensive. I bet it’s because of the colours.

But that “thing” that was making this place special, was exactly this: not being so pretentious. Cheap was a trademark of this place. And that’s part of what made it famous.

The famous Romanian seaside village, Vama Veche

As years passed by, the parties there became bigger, lasted longer, more bars were built, some withstand the many transformations of the village, where some did not.

It’s one place of which most tourists and travellers have heard by, and this makes it even more commercial and destroys its authenticity.

As one famous travel blogger wrote, Wandering Earl, “Only when the dark sky began to lighten did we start to feel a little tired” as “Bolero” was playing at Stuff (a beach bar).  That’s how crazy the party is, and it goes on and on.

It is famous. Maybe a bit too famous.

The feeling of freedom associated with Vama Veche is gone

Freedom. That’s why people were coming here in the first place. No judgments were made because the judgemental people were not there to see it. I think that’s why they chose this place, a bit further away, in the first place. To escape, get away from the crowd.

I remember my first time there. I made some random friends just by walking on those few streets.

Now there are more streets, more houses, more people. The oldest street, the one leading from the national road to the beach is called the main street and maybe there were another two or three paved streets.

vama veche romania

Being part of a small, far away community, even for a day, was feeding this need we all have: uncertainty.

The experience was more thrilling as you were able to get to know new people, over the fireplace which was set ad hoc on the beach, singing some well-known songs.

I used the word freedom because nobody was bothered by the others. It was free to enjoy it, and nobody had a smartphone to broadcast live what was meant to stay there. Or a Facebook account.

Enjoy it or leave it. That’s what it always meant to me. And now it’s time to leave. As any travel: it’s about the experience and not the place. But the place has changed, the people have changed, the experience is different.

Conclusion: Why I don’t recommend Vama Veche

It’s an expensive village. Not exactly clean, filled with overcrowded shops and places to eat. I see no reason why I should enjoy this.

The beach is not the best one from the Black Sea, the sand resembles more like shells and stones, and the water is not the best if you are not a good swimmer.

Yes, it’s quite famous, but its fame came at a price. A price every one of us pays, once we set our foot there.

This used to be a bohemian place. Today is another overpriced tourist trap. It’s sad to see this, but I will always have my memories. Maybe it’s time to make new ones. Now I’m searching for a new place to enjoy the Romanian Seaside.

And you’re looking for awesome beaches, which aren’t as crowded and mainstream as Vama Veche has become, check out the list I wrote about the Best Beaches in Romania.

vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
vama veche romania
what no one tells you about vama veche romania tourist trap #vamaveche #romania #blacksea

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter and travel enthusiast. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth and that's the main topic of her blog,

You might also enjoy:


  1. O sa aveti o mare dezamagire. A ajuns o mare bosketarie cu fitze de kakat tip Mamaia amestecata cu Eforie, cu frustrati/e tolaniti in baldachine jegoase injghebate din scanduri rupte din garduri, cu bere la cel mai mare pret posibil, cu mancare facuta in locuri dubioase si preparata de “bucatari” scoliti ad-hoc, cu plaje private pline de chilotari manelisti,…………totul la superlativ vazut invers!!!!! O dezamagire…..EU nu mai marg acolo!- (Mentionez ca am fost in Vama Veche intre 1990 si 2010 in fiecare an minim 2 luni cu cort si rulota)

  2. Isi mai aduce cineva aminte cum era la Vama sau la 2 Mai acum 25-30 de ani? Plaja de nudiști…cu citeva bude si um dus cu apa rece afara și o alimentara vai mama ei unde puteai sa cumperi un suc….nu aveam prea multe dar eram liberi și fericiti….habar nu aveți cum era viața la Vamă…

    1. Nu isi mai aduc prea multi aminte de cum era si din pacate nu pare sa intereseze pe nimeni de cum era frumos. E doar despre bani, ca in multe alte locuri in Romania.

    2. Inainte de 90 nu multi stiau unde e Vama Veche (majoritatea celor care veneau acolo erau niste studenti din Cluj, de la Arte cred). In 2 Mai daca dadeai cas-ul prea tare erai admonestat. Se facea (si) nudism, veneau oameni din parti diferite ale tarii care se intalneau doar acolo, o data pe an. Data o stabileau din timp. Erau locuri de corturi, nimeni nu cersea bani de bautura, preturile erau f ok. Daca nu ma insel singura carciuma mai rasarita in 2 Mai era Dobrogeanu. Am plecat intr-o seara din 2Mai spre Vama Veche sa descoper locul insa s-a intunecat si nimeni nu imi spusese ca trebuie sa fac stanga din drumul national ca sa ajung acolo. M-am oprit direct in punctul de control al granicerilor, De abia dupa 1990 am descoperit Vama Veche. Declinul este datorat cred lui Mircea Toma si miscarii. A fost perioada in care la stuf au inceput piese gen Laura Stoica in gradina lui Ion si alte imbecilitati. , O „salvare” care nu fusese ceruta de nimeni. .Acum totul e trist, nu le poti cere/spune nimic alăora de acolo pentru ca niciodata nu au fost inainte de anii 2000. Gustul amar a venit si cand au inceput sa fie taiate de hoti corturile pe acolo. Mi-am spus ca nu mai calc si nu am mai calcat de 10 ani cred. Exista o gramada de alte si alte locuri pe litoral unde poti campa frumos pe malul marii.

  3. Hello, great blog you have! really enjoyed reading this post! i will be checking out more of your blogs for sure! keep on doing what your doing 🙂

  4. Hi Lulia,

    Very true.I have been a regular visitor to VV and it has changed a lot. It still seems to keep some of its coolness but the development around the area seems to fade away the hippie feel the place used to have.

    I am curious if you found any comparable area that still has the old charm. Looking forward to your recommendation.


    1. Hi Raj,
      Thanks for your kind words! I still haven’t find something similar, but I guess t he world is progressing, and we shouldn’t look for something like that anymore. We are here to explore and get creative, and most importantly, to enjoy our time. I have some ideas of places, but I don’t know if I should write about them, since that would only make those place turn into what Vama Veche is today. I will try to offer some alternatives, if I have the change to explore the Romanian seaside this summer!

  5. Hi Iulia, thanks for the post, I’m half Bulgarian and I know how they have ruined the whole Black Sea coast… Do you have a recommendation where to go, if we would like to visit a cheaper and not crowded place where mainly locals go? Thank you!

    1. Hey Vera, Thank you for reading it and sharing my thoughts. Of course, I am also looking for new places on the Black Sea. It’s hard to pick just one, otherwise, they would have tourists all over the place. But at the moment, I prefer small villages near bigger cities (e.g. Navadari, north of Mamaia village, the famous seaside place from Romania). But even the deserted beaches of Romania, have now some sort of touristic side. I was thinking to investigate Bulgaria actually, in search of new places.
      I will let you all know if I find some places worth exploring.

  6. Ok, first of all, you’ve mistaken and even exaggerated a few aspects. People still use tents. If not in a specific camping, then on the beach, free of cost. Of course, it isn’t safe at all, but I’m just saying that it’s happening. And have you heard of “Tanti Elena” camping? That’s pretty much common knowledge for the majority of people passing by Vama Veche. Although, you were talking earlier about “Sandalandala” camping, weren’t you? It is actually a lit cheaper to stay there if you want to stay more than 3 days. Beacause they tax “more than 3 days”, so basically you can stay a week or you can stay 4 days and you’re paying the same. On the other hand, other campings tax by the nights you spend there and usually it really is more expensive staying 3 days in another camping than staying 3 days at Sandalandala. And yeah, supermarkets there have almost restaurant prices, but that goes even higher than the owners of the supermarkets. The country’s currency will someday change to euro and eventually everything will get expensive (for us).

    1. Thank you Cezara!
      Indeed, I am not aware of all the camping sites in Vama Veche. And I am sure one can still enjoy it, if you plan to do so. The key word is PLAN.
      But for me, it’s just not the same. I cannot find myself anymore in that place, and I was sad to realise that.
      I am still hopeful that one summer, I will find a place like the one in my memories. Meanwhile, Vama Veche is a tourist trap, sadly.

Tell me what you think!

%d bloggers like this: