What do the inventor of the coffee machine, Francesco Illy, and Dracula have in common? Exactly! Both are from Romania! This stunning country is not just packed with history and UNESCO World Heritage sites (7 in total) but offers faster internet speed than the United States. In fact, Romania ranks 4th in the world providing the fastest broadband internet.
But there are some sinister but thrilling stories too. When thinking of Romania, many of us might remember the tales of Transilvania's castle and its famous novel man Count Dracula. Inspired by the life and stories of Vlad the Impaler, the Wallachian prince who reigned over Romania in the 15th century, an Irish novelist, Abraham Stoker, created the fictive figure of Dracula. Vlad the Impaler, known as a cruel and evil emperor, gave Stoker much input on his Dracula character, the bloodthirsty vampire of Transilvania. Until today, Dracula's castle attracts film tourists from all around the world.
🇷🇴 Entry requirements
- Visa: EU passport holders don’t need a visa for Romania and can stay up to 90 days. An additional amount of 60 countries are also exempt from visas. For non-EU passport holders who want to apply for a digital nomad visa, you find information here.
- E-Visa: Third-country passport holders can apply for an e-visa.
🌱 Travel health insurance for Romania
🏡 How to find a place
- Airbnb: There is a good market for digital nomad accommodations on Airbnb. Unless there’s a major event happening or it is the peak time for the tourism industry, you should be able to find a good studio or 1-bedroom private flat starting around 400 Euro per month. This applies to all major cities.
- Facebook groups: You can find several Facebook groups where expats exchange tips for housing and locals share listings. As always, it requires some time to monitor Facebook groups but this is a good tip, especially when on a budget.
- Flatio: Good option with a good mix of low-budget apartments, stylish flats, and fancy-designed lofts.
✈️ How to get to Romania
- Plane: The largest airport in Romania is the Henri Coanda International/Otopeni Airport (OTP), which is located 20 km north of Bucharest. Another important airport in Romania is Timisoara Airport (TSR).
There are 5 low-cost carriers serving 7 Romanian airports and connecting the country to more than 60 European cities. Wizz Air introduced new routes with direct flights from Crete in Greece, Vienna in Austria, and Palma de Mallorca in Spain to Bucharest. Blue Air offers direct connections from and to Portuguese destinations. You can also check the routes of RyanAir, EasyJet, and FlyDubai.
Transfer from Otopeni Airport to the city of Bucharest takes 25 minutes by train and costs 6.25 RON (1.30 Euro). Taking a taxi takes around 20 minutes to the city and costs 7 Euro.
From Timisoara Airport, take the express bus E4, which needs 2o minutes to reach the city center and costs 0,50 Euro. The price for a taxi from Timisoara Airport to Timisoara city center is approximately 40-50 RON (9-10 Euro) for a 20-minute ride.
- Train: You can find great connections from Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy. Romania is part of the Eurail network which connects hubs in Europe by train.
- Private car: Of course you can enter Romania by car, especially to connect Romania with Bulgaria, Serbia or Hungary. You can cross all those borders with your car and you will see some tourists with car plates from Austria, Germany, Croatia, Greece, or the Czech Republic. The roads in Romania are in good condition and relatively easy to navigate. In Romania, you drive on the right side of the road.
🚌 Public transport
- Metro: Taking the metro allows good transportation coverage of Bucharest. A 24-hour ticket is 2 Euro, and a monthly subscription is 15 Euro.
- Bus: Another good option for commuting is taking the local busses. One bus ride within Bucharest is 0.30 Euro.
- Maxi-taxi: The small, minibusses are called maxi taxis and they operate independently. Maxi taxis are good options to get outside of the city to an inter-city bus stop. A 30-minutes ride costs around 12 Euro.
- Uber: Uber is available in 10 Romanian cities including Bucharest and Timisoara.
🏘 Where to stay in Bucharest
- Oldtown: If you want to be at the city's pulse Bucharest's Oldtown might be your spot. Between bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops, you find cozy apartments for around 650 Euro a month.
- Cismigiu: Known as one of the creative and artsy places of Bucharest, this district offers small boutiques, hip bars, and modern eateries. Due to the location, right next to the beautiful Cismigiu Garden, rent is a bit higher than in other parts of the city. Expect to pay between 700 and 900 Euro a month for a 1-bedroom apartment.
- Floreasca: Named after lake Floreasca in the north of the district, this area is popular among well-situated and upper-middle-class citizens, and rents are around 900 to 1,000 Euro.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Bucharest
- Nod Makers Space: The venue offers 24 private studios for focused working spread over an area of 1,250 square meters. The workspaces are divided into quiet, casual, and active sections. A monthly membership is available for 150 Euro. You can find the coworking space in Unirii, within walking distance of the metro stations Timpuri Noi and Mihai Bravu.
- V7 Startup studio: This coworking focuses on entrepreneurs, and startups but offers memberships to other interested people too. You get 24/7 access, high-speed internet, comfortable workplaces, and a community for 220 Euro a month. The space is located in Piata Romana.
- Commons Unirii: Located on one of the city’s most prominent squares in the middle of vibrant downtown Bucharest, Commons Unirii provides a coworking space spread out on 3 floors. The historic building is just a stone's throw away from major transportation lines. You get 24/7 access to the space, fast internet, and membership for 265 Euro a month.
- Mindspace: There are 2 Mindspace locations in Bucharest. One location is in the wealthy Pipera area and offers a luxurious coworking experience for 300 Euro a month. The other location is in Victoriei, inside the city’s business district. A month's membership costs 320 Euro.
- The Atelier: In the heart of Oldtown you find this cozy venue, offering great coffee on the ground floor and fast internet and work spots on the upper floor.
- Saint Roastery Speciality Coffee: A great location for caffeine junkies and workaholics. Saint Roastery is a local micro-roastery with a passion for coffee. The café is modern and bright, and the menu is delightful.
- Beans&Dots: Just a stone’s throw away from Cismigiu Garden, Beans&Dots is a good place for a few hours to work while sipping a hot brew. Partner of the German coffee roastery, The Barn, Beans&Dots serves happiness in a cup. The Internet connection is stable and the interior is inviting for a productive day ahead.
- Ted’s Coffee Co.: This local coffee chain has 7 locations in Bucharest, and offers coffee, frappes, fresh juices, and some decent work tables.
🏘 Where to stay in Timisoara
- Circumvalatiunii: This quiet neighborhood is very close to the Botanical Garden and the huge shopping mall Iulius Town. Circumvalatiunii is a green district, with lots of supermarkets, and convenient public transport to other parts of the town. It is possible to find decent apartments for about 500 Euro monthly rent.
- Fabric: Another quiet and peaceful district is Fabric, located in the northeastern part of Timisoara. Fabric is one of the older and historical districts and is known for its beautiful architecture and cultural heritage. Apartments here start at around 700 Euro a month rent.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Timisoara
- The Garden: A day pass includes coffee, tea, and water, as well as access to a shared meeting room. The daily membership is 12 Euro. A 1-month membership which includes 24/7 access, a fixed desk is available for 150 Euro.
- DevPlant: DevPlant Cowork spreads out on 1,000 square meters of a historical building in downtown Timisoara. There is a shower in case you come straight from the gym. Memberships are available for 140 Euro per month.
- Garage Café: Working here at a small table with stable wifi is a great change if you just want to watch people passing by. The menu is delicious, and you can choose between indoor and outdoor seating. As the name suggests, the owners planted quite some green which is proven to have a positive impact on mood and mental health.
🚊 How to travel around Romania
- Train: Most Romanians don’t have a car, that’s why the rail system in Romania is well developed and connects most parts of the country. Romanian train journeys are generally cheap and scenic, especially in the stunning Transylvania region in case we didn't scare you away with Dracula's tales.
- Bus & Maxi Taxis: Buses come in all shapes and sizes. It might be tricky to understand the system, how to get from town to town via the busses or maxi taxis but once you found out, it is a cheap and fast way of transport. You can find the timetable at the Autogari site.
- Plane: Romania is a large country, at least for Europeans as we have tiny countries like Andorra or Liechtenstein. But Romania is huge and it makes sense to hop on a flight when taking a trip from Bucharest to Timisoara. It already takes 3 hours by plane.
🎖 Must see
- Food Hood Bucharest: A spot for all foodies out there, the Food Hood Bucharest is a casual food truck concept combined with bars, live music, and beer breweries.
- Lipscani in Bucharest: In Lipscani you see a mix of what Bucharest looked like before WWII. You find a modern, pedestrian-friendly shopping area here with boutiques, second-hand shops, restaurants, and bars.
- Ceausescu Mansion: The Mansion was the residence of the Ceausescu Family who communistically ruled Romania until 1989. The luxurious interieur and kitch design elements, mosaics, and tapestries give a glimpse of what communism was not, especially not for most common people. The ticket price for adults is 55 RON (11.30 Euro).
- Wine tasting: You will be surprised, but Romania is the 5th largest wine-producing country in the world. Besides popular large-scale producers, there are many craft, artisan small winemakers who focus on 2 to 3 types that are exceptional and only sold in Romania. There are numerous wineries you can visit close to Bucharest scattered all over Transylvania. Prices start from 40 Euro per person.
- Timisoara: Timisoara has the largest pedestrian area in Romania and there are many cafés, shops, and boutiques. Take a stroll around Umbrella Street which is just pretty and photogenic.
- Bran Castle: Indulge the myths and the magic of this stunning castle, built in the 13th century. Dracula's home is worth a visit, especially when joining the Halloween party or the Jazz Nights. Coming from Bucharest, it takes 2.5 hours by train to reach the castle which makes it a wonderful weekend trip. The castle is too far away from Timisoara.
💡 Good to know
- Internet: Romania has a fixed broadband speed of 124,20 Mbps download and 94,06 Mbps upload. Did I mention Romania ranks 4th in the country with the fastest broadband internet?
- Sim Card: The 2 big operators in Romania are Orange and Vodafone with good coverage and mobile speed. Orange sim cards are available at many shops or airport stands. Currently, you get a 4 GB sim card for 5 Euro.
- Digital nomad community: The biggest community of digital nomads exists in Bucharest, with a great Facebook group. You find events and talks on meetup.com.
- Climate: Romania has a continental climate with hot summers (24°C) and long cold winters (-3°C). Abundant snowfalls may occur throughout the country from December to mid-March, especially if you are in the mountainous areas of the country.
- Cost of Living: Rent prices for an apartment can be anywhere between 500 and 1,500 Euro per month, depending on the city and the place you want. The average monthly cost of living is between 900 and 2,000 Euro.
- Currency: The currency in Romania is the Romanian Leu. 1 Romanian Leu (RON) equals 0,20 Euro and 1 Euro equals 4,88 RON.
- Safety: Generally speaking, Romania and especially large cities such as Bucharest and Timisoara, are safe places to stay.
🚧 What to avoid
- Refusing hospitality: Romanians are usually very generous and proud of their local cuisine. They generally appreciate it when others enjoy their traditional food and drinks, and locals are great hosts too. Say yes, and dive into the culture by just trying out different flavors.
- Mixing up Romania with other countries: Avoid confusing Romania with surrounding eastern European countries or presuming their cultures are the same. Romania was not part of former Yugoslavia, nor is it a Slavic country.
- Mixing up ethnic identities: Avoid mentioning the sensitive relationship between Romanians and the Roma. Furthermore, avoid confusing Romanians with Roma (or “Romi”). These are two separate identities living in the country.
🚴🏻♀️ How to stay healthy
- Hiking the Banesa Forest Loop: Inside Bucharest's only forest, you can start with this, a general easy loop of 7.4 km. The best way to get there is by private car or taxi, which will be a 25-minutes drive (15km for 13 Euro).
- City-Bike-Tour: A great way for me to get a feeling of a city is by strolling around. If you like riding a bike, you can rent a city bike for only 4 Euro per day and explore Bucharest by cycling through the city. That is a great way combined with sightseeing. Renting a bike for 1 month costs around 17 Euro.
- Yoga & Pilates: Yogis and yoginis will be delighted by the range of yoga studios in Bucharest and Timisoara. Drop-in classes start at around 10 Euro.
- Water quality: Yes, you can drink tapwater in Romania
- Air quality: The air quality in Romania is moderate.
⚓️ Long stay
In June 2022, Romania launched a digital nomad visa valid for 12 months. You need to prove a minimum income of 3,700 to 4,100 Euro per month. More information about the application process and needed documents you find here.