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Flag of Romania Romania
Language: Romanian
Capital: Bucureşti
Population: 22,276,056
Currency: Leu (RON)
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Map of Romania

Romania is one of the newest members of the European Union, located in South-East Central Europe. It shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the northeast, and Bulgaria to the south.

In Romania payment for the ride is often expected, although foreigners often aren't asked for anything. People expect to be paid for giving a ride, but if you tell them in advance that you are unable to pay, 1 out of 2 will take you anyway. It is still cheaper than trains and buses though. The local currency is the Leu (pl. Lei). When hitchhiking, it's best to hold a sign with the name of the place you want to go. The most common method is using the 2-letter county code for the place you want to go.

Getting a ride can sometimes be difficult, as some of the cars that pass seem tiny, ancient and packed with more people than there are seats. This is probably due to the low rate of car ownership in some areas, and the fact that hitching is still a common way for locals to travel, particularly in the country. Getting a lift in a truck is fairly rare in Romania compared to the surrounding countries.

Romania has a long established hitchhiking tradition from the communist era. Back then, few people had cars, and there was a constant fuel shortage, so sharing a ride was the best way to get from A to B.

Romania has very few kilometers of real highway. You can stand directly on the national roads and thumb, though junctions are always best because cars go more slowly there. Don't drink the tapwater!!


Romanian is one of the few non-Slavic languages of Eastern Europe. It uses the Latin alphabet and is related to French, Italian, Spanish etc. Speakers of one of these languages will find it easier to pronounce and understand Romanian.



Romanian cities with more than 100.000 inhabitants

> 1.000.000: Bucureşti

300.000–500.000: Cluj-NapocaConstanţaIaşiTimişoara

100.000–300.000: AradBacăuBaia MareBotoşaniBrăilaBraşovBuzăuCraiovaDrobeta-Turnu SeverinGalaţiOradeaPiatra-NeamţPiteştiPloieştiRâmnicu VâlceaSatu MareSibiuSuceavaTârgu Mureş


The roads are very outdated. There are only 3 motorways in all of Romania:

  • The A1 going 127 km from Bucureşti to Piteşti – the only fully operational motorway in Romania
  • The A2 or Sun's motorway, going 204 km from Bucureşti to Constanţa – only 75 % completed
  • The A3 or Transylvania motorway, going 588 km from Bucureşti to the border with Hungary – under construction, due 2013

Most of the other roads are in poor condition, the European routes being the best. Even so, hitching a ride is quite easy, especially on the major European roads that get a lot of traffic.

Number plates

Political map of Romania: historical regions and counties

The most used type of license plate uses a cc-99-xyz format, where cc is the 2-letter county code, 99 a random 2-digit number, and xyz 3 random letters.
It's quite possible to see Bucharest registered plates (B-99-xyz) all over the country, as all the leasing companies are based in Bucharest, and people are obliged to use Bucharest plates while their cars are in leasing.

County license plate codes

County Code Residence County Code Residence County Code Residence County Code Residence
Alba AB Alba Iulia Buzău BZ Buzău Gorj GJ Târgu Jiu Prahova PH Ploieşti
Arad AR Arad Caraş-Severin CS Resiţa Harghita HR Miercurea Ciuc Satu-Mare SM Satu-Mare
Argeş AG Piteşti Cluj CJ Cluj-Napoca Hunedoara HD Deva Sălaj SJ Zalău
Bacău BC Bacău Călăraşi CL Călăraşi Ialomiţa IL Slobozia Sibiu SB Sibiu
Bihor BH Oradea Constanţa CT Constanţa Ilfov IF Bucureşti Teleorman TR Alexandria
Bistriţa-Năsăud BN Bistriţa Covasna CV Sfântu Gheorghe Maramureş MM Baia Mare Timiş TM Timişoara
Botoşani BT Botoşani Dâmboviţa DB Târgovişte Mehedinţi MH Drobeta Turnu-Severin Tulcea TL Tulcea
Braşov BV Braşov Dolj DJ Craiova Mureş MS Târgu Mureş Vâlcea VL Râmnicu Vâlcea
Brăila BR Brăila Galaţi GL Galaţi Neamţ NT Piatra Neamţ Vaslui VS Vaslui
Bucureşti B Giurgiu GR Giurgiu Olt OT Slatina Vrancea VN Focşani

Border crossings


There is no border crossing between Ukraine and the Danube Delta region of Romania. Travelers going between eastern Romania and southern Ukraine must pass through Moldova. There are private boats that may ferry travelers, but they ask into the hundreds of euro for the service.