An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983.
Small group tour of Romania. Visiting key places of cultural and historic interest to mature & senior travellers in Romania.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Most Romanian towns and cities have decent public transportation systems, with bus, train, and tram services providing transport options in urban areas. Taxis are cheap and commonplace in Romanian cities, though you might be advised to book one in advance rather than hail a cab off the street.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography, Environment, & Weather
Romania’s geography is primarily composed of mountains, plains and hills. Three mountain ranges cross the north, centre and west of the country – the Eastern Carparthians, the Southern Carparthians, and the Western Romanian Carparthians. Enclosed within the northwest corner of the country by the Carpathians is the Transylvanian Plateau, while beyond the Carparthians, the terrain flattens into plains in the south and east of the country.
Romania has a temperate-continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Depending on the time of year you intend to travel, check the weather reports and prepare accordingly.
World Heritage sites
Romania has 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can view the official list of the sites here (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/ro). The listed sites include:
Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains, the ancient military and religious complexes built by the former Dacian peoples
The Danube Delta, an area of immense biodiversity, hosting over 300 species of birds and 45 species of freshwater fish
Wooden Churches of Maramureş, which stand as striking examples of the region’s distinctive local religious architecture.
Festivals & Events
Much of Romania’s traditional culture is preserved through the country’s numerous festivals and events. The annual Sighisoara Festival of Medieval Arts and Crafts endeavours to recreate medieval Sigihisoara every year, with a three day celebration featuring costumed reenactments, parades, medieval music and traditional food and drink. In August, the Dance at Prislop is celebrated across many villages in Romania, with villagers donning tradtional costumes and parading to Prislop Pass in the Carparthian Mountains, upon which they participate in dances, singing and feasting. If you are looking for more contemporary fare however, Romania holds many art and music festivals across the year, including Art Safari, Romania’s biggest annual art exhibition, and the Sibiu Jazz Festival.
A Concise History of Romania, by Keith Hitchins
Exploring gypsiness, by Ada I. Engebrigtsen
Bucharest Diary: Romania’s Journey from Darkness to Light, by Alfred H. Moses
To Romania with Love, by Tessa Dunlop
Eating & Drinking
Soups and stews are mainstays in Romanian cuisine, with Romanian meals often beginning with a serving of soup. One such soup is ciorbă, a ‘sour’ soup which comes in several different varieties, including ciorbă radauteana (chicken soup), ciorbă de fasole (bean soup), and ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup). One of the most widely popular dishes is sarmale, slow cooked cabbage rolls filled with rice, minced meat and local herbs. Many dishes in Romania are served with a side of mămăligă, a corn-meal porridge made out of yellow maize flour. Sweeter dishes include papanasi (cottage cheese filled with sweet cream and served with jam) and clătite (crepes filled with chocolate or fresh fruit). Romania has had a long history of producing wines, and today the country is one of the world’s largest wine producers. If you’re a wine enthusiast, be sure to give a local variety a try.
Health & Safety
Generally speaking, Romania is safe to travel in, though always exercise common sense while travelling. Be aware that drink spiking occurs, particularly in Centrul Vechi (the old town in Bucharest), so never leave food or drink unattended.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Romania’s electricity supply runs at 230V and 50Hz. Romania uses both the Type C and Type F electric plugs, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.
The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina
Romanian palace of Parliament
Romania has a single time zone, Eastern European Time (UTC+2). Daylight savings begin on the last Sunday of March and conclude on the last Sunday of October.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is customary in Romania, with hotel staff, tour guides and restaurant servers all generally relying on tips. For restaurant servers, a tip of 10% is generally accepted, while hotel staff and tour guides should usually be tipped about 5-15 lei a day.
Wifi is widely available in Romania, and should be freely accessible in most hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Romania. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
Responsible travel tips for Romania
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although some locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Before departing on your trip, contact your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of lei in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.