Ten thousands kilometres of railways, administrated by SN CFR (the National Society of Romanian Railways), cover the territory of Romania. There are three types of trains: InterCity, InterRegio and Regio. The InterCity trains connect the most important urban settlements and the journey is fast and comfortable, especially if you’ll have the chance to travel with a Săgeata Albastră (Blue Arrow) train. The InterRegio trains are slower than the InterCity, but this is also connected to the fact that they have more stops. While the InterCity and InterRegio trains have better facilities and services, the latter type of trains – Regio – usually offers limited comfort, as the passenger cars are often crowded, there is no air conditioning system and the toilets…well, you’d better avoid them! The Regio trains are very old and slow and stop in almost every village, but they are a huge win in what regards the costs. If, however, there is no alternative than to take a Regio train, make sure you buy tickets for a 1st class passenger car. For those travellers who plan to visit other European countries by train, it’s important to know that Bucharest’s North Railway Station – Gara de Nord – (and not only) is directly connected to Sofia, Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Budapest, Belgrade, Chişinău, Kiev and Moscow. For more information on prices and travel conditions, it is better to check www.cfrcalatori.ro or go to a CFR travel agency (Agenţia de voiaj CFR). In what regards the big cities, train stations are usually located far from the city centre, but are served by public transportation (buses, trams). Inside the stations there are panels announcing the arrivals (Sosiri) and departures (Plecări), as well as information desks (but we do not guarantee that they will be able to provide much information in a foreign language). Tickets, relatively cheap, can be bought in advance from the CFR travel agencies (usually located in the city centre), from the train station or online https://bilete.cfrcalatori.ro/vanzare/loginuser.aspx.
Coaches / Maxi-taxis
A numerous number of coaches link Romania to other European countries, especially from the West. Eurolines and Atlassib are the main companies that manage an important network of internal and international routes. Bucharest, Braşov, Craiova, Constanța, Cluj-Napoca, Iași, Sibiu, Sighişoara and Timişoara are just a small part of the Romanian cities that are connected through this network to cities from more than 30 countries. If you want to travel across Romania, coaches or maxi-taxis (minibus) are a better choice than trains, as they are faster, more flexible and comfortable, although not necessarily cheaper. Dacos, Eurolines and Atlassib cover most of the country’s territory, linking approximately 100 cities and towns. However, this kind of coaches usually takes you from one city to another. The villages are often served by slower, older and uncomfortable coaches (more similar to buses). The coach stations (autogară) where you can find maxi-taxis or coaches are usually located close to the train stations, but this depends from city to city. Tickets are usually bought on the spot, so there is no way to know beforehand the price, the route or the departure hours.
Cities are served by a wide network of public transportation managed by the corresponding autonomous transport company RAT (Regia Autonomă de Transport). The buses, trams and trolleys usually work between 5:00 and midnight, with very crowded rush hours. The level of comfort varies from city to city, and even within the same city, between different bus lines. Some means of transportation are very modern, displaying and announcing the following stations, while others still have the old wooden chairs from the communist period. Our advice is to ask the help of a passenger or of the driver in order to find out when you should get down. Tickets are generally purchased from tickets offices located close to the main bus stations and are usually valid no matter if you travel by bus, tram or trolley. However, on certain occasions, tickets can be bought directly from the driver, with the sole difference that you will probably have to pay more. Once you are inside the means of transportation, you should validate (stamp or compost) the ticket and keep it until you get down. Depending on the city, you can buy single- or multi-journey tickets, as well as tickets valid for one day, one week or one month, which entitle you to an unlimited number of journeys in that period. In some cities, private transportation companies have maxi-taxis (minibuses) following the same routes as the public means of transportation. They are faster, but a little bit more dangerous. There are no significant differences in what regards the price for single-journey tickets between the maxi-taxis and the other means of public transportation, but for maxi-taxis there is no possibility to buy other types of tickets which usually offer relevant discounts (daily, weekly, monthly passes).
Bucharest is the only city in Romania to have a metro (underground railway). The subway network has 4 metro lines with 51 stations, covering a total distance of around 70km. The metro starts working every day at 5:00 and the last train leaves the end station at 23:00. Magnetic-strip tickets can be purchased from the ticket offices found inside the metro stations. The price is similar with that of the bus tickets, but the metro will surely save you some time. While a two-journey ticket costs around 1 euro, the daily, weekly and monthly passes offer profitable discounts. Passengers’ access to the embarking platforms is allowed only after validating the metro tickets. For more details about Bucharest subway schedule, fees and map, click here.
In Romania, taxis are usually yellow, easy to find and theoretically cheap. Each taxi has to have a metre and to display the price in lei/km outside the car. When you enter the taxi, ask the driver to start the metre and check to see if it is the same with the one displayed on the car’s door, or you risk paying more than you should. Bring small money with you, as some taxi drivers pretend that they do not have change if you pay with a larger bill. Also, until you get accustomed to the important taxi companies, call or ask someone from the reception of your hotel to call you a taxi.