Earth > Europe > Eastern Europe > 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.
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In Romania payment for the ride is often expected, although foreigners often aren't asked for anything. Make sure you're expecting to go for free before you get into the car, otherwise you might find yourself in a ugly situation. People expect to be paid for giving a ride, but if you tell them in advance that you are unable to pay, some 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.
Many cities, such as Timișoara, have specific places where one can hitchhike from. They are interspersed around the city, so just ask someone where the nearest one is. They look like bus stops but you will notice they have no bus numbers or maps. Some are intended for short distances, e.g. towns and villages within 50 kilometers of the city, and others for longer distances, such as to the next major town or city. At these stops, there are unofficial taxis (called sharks) waiting there at most times of day that charge a fixed rate of about 6 lei (less than 2 USD) per person for a short distance, but they will only go if the car is full. If you are willing to pay for the other seats they will take you straight away. Regular cars often pick people up as well, and the advantage to this is that they will take you without demanding the car be full and you can give them a 5 lei note for about a 20k ride. However, that rate is not fixed, so some may argue a different price is appropriate.
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 motorway. You can stand directly on the national roads and thumb, though junctions are always best because cars go more slowly there.
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.
> 1.000.000: Bucureşti
100.000–300.000: Arad • Bacău • Baia Mare • Botoşani • Brăila • Braşov • Buzău • Craiova • Drobeta-Turnu Severin • Galaţi • Oradea • Piatra-Neamţ • Piteşti • Ploieşti • Râmnicu Vâlcea • Satu Mare • Sibiu • Suceava • Târgu 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.
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
|Alba||AB||Alba Iulia||Buzău||BZ||Buzău||Gorj||GJ||Târgu Jiu||Prahova||PH||Ploieşti|
|Bistriţa-Năsăud||BN||Bistriţa||Covasna||CV||Sfântu Gheorghe||Maramureş||MM||Baia Mare||Timiş||TM||Timişoara|
|Braşov||BV||Braşov||Dolj||DJ||Craiova||Mureş||MS||Târgu Mureş||Vâlcea||VL||Râmnicu Vâlcea|
- 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.
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