So you want to travel to Romania by car. From my personal experience I can say that traveling by car to any place in Europe is the most fulfilling mode to experience any country’s true flavor. Romania has breathtaking landscapes, especially if you choose to travel in the Carpathian Mountains.
Traveling on the roads of Romania
The unique experience of traveling by car is enhanced in Romania by the fact that there are very few highways. Ok, some will say that this is an inconvenience and not an advantage. But let’s face it, if you want to cross the mountains, a highway is more boring than the coils of the road through the mountain rocks and the noble forests.
Drivers of Romania
Also, most of the roads have two lanes on one way so that makes overtaking rather easy. One can encounter some difficulties when trying to overtake when there is only one lane by direction. But if you are an experienced driver that shouldn’t be a problem.
Most of the drivers in Romania have an aggressive way of driving. So, if a car is flashing the headlights behind you it means that they want you to get on the lane from your right so they can pass. There is no problem if you choose to keep your lane, they won’t get more aggressive than that but they won’t ever stop giving you flashes.
Especially in big cities, the traffic is rather disorganized. So don’t be surprised if you won’t find the same traffic as in Wien, for example. Also, don’t worry, the risk of an accident is rather low. Drivers are aggressive but also very very cautious not to damage their cars.
Parking in Romania
Comparing to other cities from Europe, you will find Romania to by a heaven for parking. As I travelled through Europe I always had a problem in finding a parking spot that isn’t as expensive as hell. Well, in Romania, parking is free in most places. As long as there isn’t a sign that says no parking here (photo below), you can put your car almost anywhere. The only problem is in finding a spot.
However, in some areas you will discover that there is a fee for parking. Few cities, like Braşov, have parking meters. To use them you must have coins. You insert them and the meter will show you the time that you have parked for. When you have finished inserting the coins, you will push the big button and the meter will give you a ticket. You take that ticket and you put it in the car facing the windscreen. Even though car towing is not very frequent, you must know that the fine is rather high.
Also, there are some parking lots where, after you park, a boy or a man would come to you and asks you for money. If they have a badge, they will probably ask you how much you want to stay and then they will charge you. The sum should not be over 20 lei (4-5 euros). After you pay you will also get a receipt.
IMPORTANT! There are some parking lots that are free but some street beggars or simply opportunists come to charge you. They won’t show you any badge. You have two options. You can turn your back on them and just leave. This attitude is rather a bit risky because there is a possibility that you find your car scratched when you come back. Or you can give them a small fee (seeing you are a foreigner they will want to charge you even more) of 2 lei (0,5 euros) and if they ask for more just say “NO”.
Use your GPS when traveling
Romania is a beautiful country but if you choose to travel by car I recommend you to take your GPS. There are few road posts and you can easily get lost. That is why you should never leave without the GPS.