Romania

Perhaps more than anywhere in the world, Romania is a country defined by its rurality. With the world population rapidly urbanising, between 1997 and 2006 Romania actually saw a net migration from towns to the countryside. Rural Romania can appear like the world that time forgot. Sheep wander aimlessly over expansive green hillsides, horse-drawn carts skitter across pot-holed tracks and enormous hand-made haystacks rise like green menhirs standing sentinel at the side of the road. The legend of Dracula attracts many to the Saxon towns and castles of Transylvania, while the wooden churches of Maramures and painted monasteries of the north are reminders that there’s more to do than hunt…

Perhaps more than anywhere in the world, Romania is a country defined by its rurality. With the world population rapidly urbanising, between 1997 and 2006 Romania actually saw a net migration from towns to the countryside.

Rural Romania can appear like the world that time forgot. Sheep wander aimlessly over expansive green hillsides, horse-drawn carts skitter across pot-holed tracks and enormous hand-made haystacks rise like green menhirs standing sentinel at the side of the road. The legend of Dracula attracts many to the Saxon towns and castles of Transylvania, while the wooden churches of Maramures and painted monasteries of the north are reminders that there’s more to do than hunt vampires.

Mismatched Bucharest is a vibrant contrast and one worthy of a double take. The one time ‘Paris of the East’ has seen communism come and go and now seems almost embarrassed of its heritage, tucking away the 60s concrete behind intricate French palaces and Baroque canopies. A lively open-air bar scene and high-end night-life that includes classical opera and foreign-language theatre has arisen from the ashes of reconstruction, making Bucharest once again a burgeoning cultural hub.

Despite modernisation, the people of Romania remain humble and rooted in tradition, abhorring arrogance or condescension. Etiquette is extremely important and a good cultural understanding will benefit business dealings immensely. There is a great deal of bureaucracy to be dealt with, often in overlapping local jurisdictions, and strong business relationships can help to considerably cut down on red tape.

Getting there

International flights go to Henri Coanda Aiport, 16km north of Bucharest. The European bus and train network provides connections across the continent.

Getting around

Trains are the best bet for travelling intercity, as they are reasonably fast and regular. Buses have a better coverage in rural areas. If you really want to explore, a car is probably your only option; though be careful as many rural roads are in poor condition.

Local information

Language: Romanian

Time: UTC+2

Climate: Continental. Hot summers, cold winters, moderate rainfall throughout year. Temperature: Max 31°C (July), Min -7°C (January). Rainfall: Max 80mm (June), Min 25mm (September)

Currency: Leu (RON)

Business etiquette: Dark-coloured suits are worn. Greet with a handshake and eye contact. Business proceedings begin formal but may become more relaxed; proper etiquette is important at all times. Romanians can be tough negotiators and will go to great lengths to ensure they are not taken advantage of by foreign investors.

Tipping: 10-15 percent

Duty free: 200 cigarettes or 40 cigars; 2l liquor; 4l wine or beer; gifts to Ä175; 20 rolls of camera film; reasonable quantities of perfume, medicines and travel souvenirs.

Safety: Incidence of crime is low.

Laws: Identification should be carried at all times. Permissible blood alcohol level for driving is zero.

Healthcare: Vaccinations required for diphtheria, hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid. Medical facilities are poor and there is a shortage of basic medical supplies. EU nationals are entitled to free healthcare with an EHIC card; other nationals are expected to pay cash. Health insurance is strongly advised.

Socket type: Type C

Tagged Locations, Romania

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