7 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Romania

categories: europe travel

This week’s Amateur Traveler podcast was about traveling in Transylvania in Romania. What should you know if you go to Romania?

Transylvania in Romania – Amateur Traveler Episode 161

  1. Dracula – Dracula was a real person not a vampire. Vlad III Dracula was a ruler in Romania in the 1400s after whom Bram Stoker patterned his character Dracula. Although we should point out that you don’t get the nickname “Vlad the Impaler” by being Mr. Nice Guy.
  2. The People’s House – Before former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was ousted from power in 1989 he built the second largest building in the world (the largest being the pentagon outside Washington D.C.). Ceausescu had over 1/5th of Bucharest demolished to build the The People’s House which now houses the parliament. The building survived Ceausescu who was deposed, tried and executed.
  3. Romania language – The Romania language is a romance language with ties to Latin as this region was part of the ancient roman empire.Hello.”Salut.” (sah-LOOT)Excuse me. (Getting attention)”Pardon” (pahr-DOHN)
  4. Romania Population – Romania is shrinking. No not the country, the population. With a fertility rate of 1.38 children born for every woman, Romania like many other European nations is losing population.
  5. Romania History – Romania did not appear on the map until 1856. According to the CIA Factbook:
    The principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia – for centuries under the suzerainty of the Turkish Ottoman Empire – secured their autonomy in 1856; they united in 1859 and a few years later adopted the new name of Romania. The country gained recognition of its independence in 1878. It joined the Allied Powers in World War I and acquired new territories – most notably Transylvania – following the conflict.
  6. Old Romanian Superstition – According to Unbelievable Facts – Strange Facts – Barmy Beliefs:
    In parts of Romania , they used to think it was dangerous for someone to sleep with his or her mouth open. They believed that the person’s soul, in the shape of a mouse, would run out of the open mouth and escape. If the mouse didn’t return, the sleeper could never wake up.
  7. Social Conventions – According to the World Travel Guide:
    Handshaking is the most common form of greeting, but Romanian men may kiss a woman’s hand when being introduced. Mr or Mrs should be used when greeting someone for the first time. Visitors should follow normal European courtesies on social occasions. Dress tends to be rather conservative but casual wear is suitable. Beachwear should not be worn away from the beach or poolside. If visiting a home, a small wrapped gift should be given to the host, such as flowers or chocolates (to women only), wine or liquor. Flowers should be given as a gift in odd numbers only. Many Romanians are smokers and gifts of Western cigarettes are greatly appreciated. Other well-appreciated gifts include toiletries. 

7 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Romania

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

12 Responses to “7 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Romania”

Sam R.

Says:

Good lord, Romania’s population is shrinking because 10% of the population is working abroad. Fertility is fine, thanks 🙂

It’s better to say “buna ziua” to strangers, not “Salut” as that’s a little informal.

If you want to bring a gift, bring shortbread cookies/biscuits. Only bring flowers to women you are related to, are dating, or are family members of someone you’re dating. Bring wine for anyone but liquor for men only. Nobody wants toiletries 😉

If you’re a woman, never offer to shake hands first. Men should only shake hands with men unless you know these people. Goodness!

Constantine

Says:

There are more than 7 things when traveling in Romania.
Dracula must know that there lived in Bran Castle or Fortress Rasnov. Location where he lived is called Poienari Castle, which is near the dam Vidraru to 3-4 km.

History of the Romanian people, it is much older. It began over 2000 years ago.

And a bad thing: foreign tourists should be aware of wallets! In Romania there are many pickpockets, especially Gypsies.

Otherwise if you come to visit and know where to go for sure will come the second time.

Silvia Capitanu

Says:

Romania means gorgeous landscape and very warm and hospitable people.
It is a place where for sure you can still enjoy the simple things of life, the countryside villages still preserve that feeling of old, of nature, of goodness and true.
The Carpathians scenery will take your breath away and so will the Danube Delta or the Black Sea, Maramures or Moldavia.
Do not forget to try the traditional “mamaliga” (polenta) served with sheep cheese and baked eggs on a wooden small round table near by the fire, listening to the stories of old people and to the voice of the wind in the mountains.

Nina

Says:

Silvia Capitanu I recently went to Rominia and let me tell you people are very rude I was up in the North and well the country it self is beautiful. But the people are horrible almost everyone i meet was real impolite they where really rude to me and my children. I wish people wasn’t like that it was my first time visiting Romania and i was excited but once we got there the looks people was giving us and the things they will whisper without even playing it out cool. It was a real disappointment wish it could of gone better but what can i say even here in the state the romanian people are rude and have no good manners. Im from the South America living in United states my skin color is fair brown but in the summer I’m brown brown and proud love it and so does my kids they are very brown maybe that look they was giving us they thought we where gypsies or something but we were sure nice and groom clean nice kicks beautiful kids It wasn’t an experience i would share with people but it did suck!

chris2x

Says:

So sorry to hear that Nina 🙁

Robin Doyle

Says:

Constantine, Especially the Gypsies? Seriously? Wow, what a racist thing to say.

Petra

Says:

Well I’m romanian but that supperstition about the danger for sleeping with the mouth open I never heard it in my life. :)) And I know many romanian supperstitions, especially because my childhood vacations have happened at the country side. But let me tell you this one: a child born on Tuesday 13th will have to carry a rabbit leg from a rabbit killed at midnight by a squint-eye farmer. If the baby loses his rabbit leg, he will die.

chris2x

Says:

Petra, tell me you are making that up!

Petra

Says:

@chris2x: No I didn’t make that up. It’s true and there are more fun and weird romanian supperstitions. Here’s another one: if you’ll cry at yout oun wedding, you’ll be lucky. It doesn’t say what kind of luck you’ll have. :)) Anyway, come and visit Delta Dunarii. It’s worthing!

Dr Cecille Cayetano

Says:

I am a a Filipina and our family of 4 will soon be visiting Balkans, including Romania this May.

I am searching Google on what to pack etc, when I found this thread and read Nina’s horrible story about Racism.

Racism has always been here, and it will never end, whatever laws are implemented -period. It’s part of human nature.

We, as colored Asians – (black hair and light complexion, as I have Chinese ancestors)
although we are well educated (we are doctors) and speak good English, well groomed, well dressed- have always experienced racism (in varying degrees) whenever we travel to Europe or in US.

My solution? Ignore them! Just enjoy the countries you visit, smile to those who welcome you and enjoy the experience to the max!

chris2x

Says:

I know you are right, but it still saddens me that you have to run into people who can see the beauty in different hues.

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