Getting around Romania was said to be a pain in the ass. At least that’s what we had heard from several travellers we’d met before actually visiting ourselves. The truth is, Romania transportation is very well-connected, and the costs are quite reasonable. There was almost nowhere we couldn’t get to either by train, bus or shared vehicle. Even during those times when we wanted a little extra freedom, car rental prices in Romania were remarkably affordable.
One thing to note before moving forward to booking with the different options of Romanian transport companies is this;. Most of the websites listed in this post, while fantastic and helpful, are often not in English, or have a very flawed translation. Your best bet would be to install a translator extension in your browser to save you the headaches.
Romania Bus Travel
The first bus we used was Flixbus. These are large, modern long-distance buses similar to what you’ll find elsewhere in Europe. They have toilets and occasionally functional WiFi and are generally quite comfortable. Unfortunately, these larger buses are typically only found when entering or leaving Romania. We didn’t come across any connecting cities within the country.
For travelling within Romania, between cities, you’re more likely to ride in smaller shuttles or micro-buses. These are much less comfortable than the large buses and are often packed like sardine cans. Thankfully, the routes are usually only two or three hours at most.
Regardless of the bus you take, they’re almost always perfectly on time. Even the smaller shuttles, who regularly stop to pick up new passengers, make their deadlines. This is accomplished by high speed and some rather quick maneuvering at times. That said, bus rides are not for the weak stomached, so if you are prone to car sickness make sure to take motion sickness pills before getting on.
To check the times and prices of the bus tickets head to the Autogari Website.
How to book Romania bus tickets via the AutoGari Website
Input your starting city, destination and date, and click search. This will give you a list of all the bus companies that run your route. Some of the tickets will be available online, and some will not.
The Romanian bus companies that do not sell online will sell at the station, or directly on the bus. Just make sure to arrive at least 30 mins before departure to make sure you have a seat.
In the chart you will see on the left, the type of bus that takes this route and time (shuttle/microbus, motor coach regular and motor coach with star rating). If you hover over the picture it will tell you which type does the route.
In the next section you’ll find the time the bus leaves the duration of the bus ride, (they are all a little different, which will tell you if they stop in a bunch of different places, or if they are a direct bus) and the time the bus arrives at your destination. It also explains where to catch the bus, as some cities have different stations.
Next is the operator, which in our mind never really mattered, since we were more concerned about the times and prices.
Finally, you’ll see the days of the week these operate on, the ticket price, and whether or not you can book online.
**Sometimes it won’t let you book in English. Use a translator extension for your browser to help with this.
Go ahead to book, enter your information and make sure to take a screen shot of the booking.
Most people, especially on routes not frequented by tourists, buy their tickets on board. We had a booking saved on our phone and one driver, who didn’t speak English, didn’t understand that we had already paid. Thankfully someone was on board to translate, or we probably would have been made to pay again.
Train Travel in Romania
The CFR trains were our second favourite mode of Romania transportation, the second class, budget mode of transport. The carriages are full of character – they’re old -but have many friendly staff members available to help you if necessary.
Even though tickets display a seat number, it seems there is no assigned
seating. Everyone sits where they please. As this is the cheapest train option, it’s far from an express. The train stops at what seems like every
little town along the way, even dusty little stations in the middle of a field.
Though cheaper than a bus, it’s not the quickest way to get around. If you’re tight on time, a bus would be the better of the two options. That said, train travel is a great way to see the countryside of Romania. Two of the best routes to take the train are between Bucharest and Sibiu, and the route from Brasov to Bucharest. If heading from Bucharest to Brasov, (or vice versa) don’t forget to stop in Sanaia for a visit to Peles Castle!
To check Romania Transportation Train Ticket times and rates, head to CFR Calatori Website
Booking Romania Train Tickets
Once you are ready to buy go to this website.
- Create a username and password for the website. If you do not do this first you will have to repeat all of the steps after finding your ticket;
- Insert your route and date for departure. If leaving or going to Bucharest, make sure to input Bucuresti Nord as your station;
- Make sure to change the time, which will automatically set to 12 noon. We usually set the date to 6 am so it will give you all of the options of the day;
- The next page will automatically set to Romanian, so click the flag at the top right of the page to set your language of preference.;
- On this page, you can select to only have trains which you can buy online, but if you do not select this, you can buy tickets at the train station;
- Select a round trip or one way. You will get a discount if buying a round trip ticket. We went to visit Peles Castle in Sinaia from Brasov and returned back to Brasov in the same day. Buying the return ticket was much cheaper than two one-way trips. It did limit us to a certain time window, but it also let us know when the last train of the day was leaving;
- Input the Code that is shown in bold, and press the Search Routes button;
- From here you will be able to see Direct Routes or connecting routes. It is much easier, and usually cheaper to take direct routes when possible;
- Click on the price button on the selected route: this will open a new page and give you the price in Lei. We only chose 2nd class seats, and most of the time we didn’t even sit in our actual seats, because nobody really cares where you sit;
- If you are satisfied by the price, go back to the first window and click buy. If you are travelling with another person or more (2 or more people total) click the Mini-Group button, and you will receive a discount;
- Input the number of Adults and Children and press enter. Your price will be calculated in total at the bottom of the page;
- To proceed, enter the code in the box, and press continue;
**At this point, they will make you sign up for an account if you haven’t done so already. YOU NEED AN ACCOUNT TO BUY A TICKET
- At the bottom of the page, it will ask for the names of the passengers, fill this in;
- Click BUY.
It will bring you to a secure page to enter your credit card information. Fill this is and your tickets will be ready. Make sure to copy/screenshot this page. This is all you will need to show them once on the train.
Travel Romania with BlaBla Car
This was our favourite mode of transportation in Romania. BlaBla Car is like an Uber service but is done with regular people who are going from one destination to another and don’t mind picking people up on the way. It’s like organized hitchhiking.
The best part of BlaBla car is that it helps you meet locals. They will often pick you up right from where you are staying, drop you off where you are at your next accommodation. The cost is roughly the same, or even cheaper than a bus, and is much faster.
Remember that you will not have to pay extra to get from the bus/train station to your hotel/hostel/AirBNB, so paying a bit more for the seat in a car is very worth it!
Save $$ on your AirBnB Booking Here.
The only downside to BlaBla car in Romania is that it is a bit different than the regular BlaBla Car European website. Once again, you’ll need a translator to use.
Booking a Ride Share with BlaBla Car
To check destinations, rides and times, click on the Magnifying glass at the top where it says [ Găsește o cursă ] Input your route and date, as well as the earliest you would like to be picked up.
There will be a list of people driving your route, with a price on the top right of the box, which is per seat. There will also be alternate dates lower down in the list. Click on the ride that best suits you if there is one.
Understand that rides will come up and go right up until you are ready to leave. The day we were leaving Cluj, we found a ride ten minutes before leaving for the bus station! It saved us a ton of effort and money.
If you found a ride that works for you, click on it. It will then ask how many seats you will need. Click on the plus sign to add or click the Keep Going Button.
Now if you haven’t already, it will make you sign up/sign in. Remember that they need to verify you, which they have done with the drivers to try and keep this as safe as possible.
Sign up or sign in.
Now at this point, for some reason, the website gives an error message EVERY TIME. Just refresh the page and it will go through. You can book the seat, or message the driver to ask if they can pick you up from a specific spot/drop you off at a specific spot.
When you have reached an agreement, show up at the specific spot and introduce yourself to your new friend.
We took BlaBla Car many times in Romania and met some amazingly nice people. We paid cash at the end of the ride so make sure to have the money on you before agreeing to a ride.
Renting a Car in Romania
Renting a car in Romania is quite easy. We did it twice and found the local company Klasswagen to have the best prices.
A big question we always think of is the insurance on the car. Do you buy it or not? Thankfully, we have car insurance on our credit card, so we never pay extra for it. However, considering the prices they make you pay even for a simple rock chip, it’s probably a good idea if your card doesn’t cover.
For parts of Romania that Klasswagen doesn’t have an office, AutoEurope will be your best alternative.Featured Image by Eugen Visan from Pixabay