Country in Eastern Europe, bordering Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria, as well as the Black Sea. Called Romania because it was a province of the Roman Empire (which was then called Dacia) and the Latin language stuck, rather than reverting to the previous language after the Romans pulled out of the area (as did surrounding areas). The Romanians still speak a Latin-descended language (with a large Slavic vocabulary that has crept in from surrounding languages) . The country became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1881.

Romania: traveler's information

Visas: EU, US, and Canadian citizens with valid passports may request a 30-day visitor's visa upon entry (at the border or in the airport); the fee is around US$50. Others may need to obtain a visa from a Romanian consulate prior to entry.

Health risks: no unusual health risks exist in cities. In rural areas, especially in the Danube Delta, typhoid, encephalitis, cholera, and malaria are occasionally present during hot summers.

Time: UTC + 2 hours in the winter, UTC + 3 hours in the summer (DST)

Electricity: 220V, 50Hz, standard EU outlets and plugs

Weights and measurements: metric

Currency: leu; exchange rate (as of February 2002) 1 USD = 31000 lei

Climate: temperate, similar to that of the US east coast (New York). Unpredictable springs, hot summers, rainy autumns and harsh winters.

Major cities of touristic interest: Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj, Brasov, Constanta, Iasi, Suceava

Accomodation and food: Accomodation will be your biggest expense while in Romania; even the smallest and ugliest hotels in Bucharest charge at least $25 per night. $10 a day should be enough for mid-range food at restaurants; large hotels (Marriott, Hilton) have top-class restaurants that charge $20 or more for a meal.

Transportation: Most major European airlines fly into the Bucharest Otopeni airport. The national Romanian airline (TAROM), as well as a few private airlines, have daily internal flights to major cities. The cost of a one way ticket varies between $35 and $60; there are no discounts for round trip travel. By far the easiest way to get to almost any Romanian town is by train; the railroad network is extensive, but the comfort of the trains is somewhat lacking (especially if you move farther away from major routes). Driving is another option; the quality of the roadways is better than a few years ago, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. There is only one freeway, between Bucharest and Pitesti; most other roads are two-lane undivided highways that pass through cities, towns, and villages and are shared by cars, tractors, pedestrians, bicyclists, horses, and horse-drawn carts and carriages. Most towns and cities have an effective, cheap, but fairly uncomfortable mass transit system of buses and light rail; Bucharest also has underground metro service. There are two kinds of taxis in major cities: private cab drivers, and taxis affiliated to a large, city-wide company (and bearing their symbols). The latter are fairly cheap (less than 30 US cents per mile), but the former have no rate control and can rip you off.

When and where to go:

Source: lonelyplanet.com and my personal experience- I lived there for 20 years, and still visit yearly

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