While it is true that I tend to speak positively about almost every destination I visit, there’s a simple explanation for that. My views about a particular city, or even country, have little to do with the tourist attractions that may or may not exist or about the number of chances to take stunning photos that I may have during my stay.
Instead, I formulate my opinions based upon my interactions with local people, my wanderings around random, everyday neighborhoods and my keen interest in trying to ‘feel’ a destination as opposed to simply seeing it.
And when travel is approached in this manner, it is, quite frankly, difficult not to enjoy every single destination that one visits. One no longer needs to be ‘wowed’ by a castle or impressed by a museum. One only needs to wake up and walk outside, treating every moment as a potential, and interesting, learning opportunity, in order to fully appreciate your surroundings and have a most rewarding travel experience.
So it goes for me these days as I live in Bucharest, Romania.
I’ve been living in Bucharest on and off now for about five months. I’ll tell you, the city is not an overly pretty one and it definitely lacks a ‘wow factor’ to impress foreign visitors. There’s a lot of gray, there’s no shortage of neglected buildings, communist-style apartment blocks and unattractive graffiti, and at first, it can appear as an overall gloomy place, which is why most travelers rarely stick around for more than two or three days.
But I feel quite lucky that I decided to stick around myself as the longer I live in Bucharest, the more I discover a city that deserves to be noticed by more people.
The problem is that most of Bucharest’s charm and appeal lies hidden, tucked far away into corners of the city that the overwhelming majority of travelers will undoubtedly never find. Most visitors seem to spend their time hanging around the pleasant, yet very small, Old City (Lipscani), but this area represents the tiniest fraction of what this city actually has to offer.
You need some time to discover the rest. You need to make connections with local Romanians who will guide you in the right direction and you need to explore every street and lane with the understanding that quite often, one must search behind the dark gray facade in order to find the cafes, jazz clubs, galleries and exhibition halls, parks, restaurants, independent cinemas and more that give this city an entirely different energy and identity.
For example, you can easily find an overpriced restaurant in the Old City, but just wait until you discover places such as Clubul Taranalui, a wonderful open-air eatery attached to the interesting Museum of the Romanian Peasant at Piata Victoriei, where the below feast of traditional Romanian food and local wine costs a mere $10 USD per person…
Cafes are plentiful (that’s a huge understatement) in the Old City as well given the strong cafe culture, but what about the unique and infinitely more atmospheric gathering establishments in the neighborhoods that you would never visit unless a local Romanian told you to. That’s how I found the splendid Reader’s Cafe in Dorobanti, the very cool Ceai La Metoc in Cartierul Armenesc and the very laid-back Serendipity Cafe in Gradina Icoanei, all of which are some of my favorite hangouts in Bucharest.
Throw in the theaters and concert halls, an excellent and varied local cuisine, diverse nightlife and a long list of warm weather events, and I was hooked.
Of course, I am perfectly aware that all of these things can be found in just about every city on the planet, but that’s not the point. The reason I love to live in Bucharest is not because it has parks, cafes and art galleries. It’s because I’ve discovered so many appealing places which have given me a more complete picture of this city, places that I would never have found and enjoyed had I stayed for just a few days and moved on, never to return again.
Besides, Bucharest is also an extremely affordable destination and it’s shockingly easy to meet people here and to have a social life, even if you don’t know anyone when you arrive. It’s quite conveniently located as well, with not only the rest of Romania to explore, but other countries such as Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria just one border crossing away. And a short flight to Istanbul (55 minutes) connects you with the rest of the world.
All I know is that Bucharest is quite an ideal place for me to spend some time, especially considering that, after ten years or so of bouncing around the planet non-stop, this other side of travel, the more in-depth connection with a destination, its culture and its people, is exactly what I now crave.
It would be foolish of me not to recognize the fact that many locals here might disagree with some of my thoughts. I’ve met many who have a long list of complaints about this city and who are quite interested in ‘getting out of here’ and moving elsewhere in Europe or to countries on other continents.
So I must emphasize that this post is from the point of view of a foreigner, from someone who loves to travel and learn about other cultures and who also happens to work online, something that gives me the freedom to spend my days exploring and enjoying as much as possible.
But with that said, that’s exactly the point of view I wanted to provide here because I think that travelers who are searching for a destination to live or spend an extended period of time in, would be wise to add Bucharest to their list of options. If you stick around instead of passing through quickly, this city is almost guaranteed to surprise you in ways that you could never imagine when you first arrive.
Any thoughts on Bucharest or even the experiences offered by such slow, less-exciting forms of travel?
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Derek, we’ve met at tbex as well as last year at TravelCon.
I’m just finishing up a four day visit of Bucharest and was having trouble finding its soul. All I can see are the graffiti, deteriorating/vacant buildings, blank stares, etc. so I had to come to your site to see what I was missing. I even tried walking in a few neighborhoods outside of the center. I’m Glad to see that if I had more time, I could come to appreciate what it has to offer.
I did thoroughly enjoy my time from maramures to suceava.
Hey Dotti – Yeah, I could see how that would be the case with only 4 days. It takes time to connect with the place and the people but once you do, it’s remarkably rewarding. I’m actually heading back there in a couple of weeks and I’m very much looking forward to it. Glad to hear you enjoyed the time up in the north of the country!
I’m very happy to read your views about the City, as I’m moving to Romania with my family in August, Eastern Europe has always fascinate me and after reading your blog I’m even more excited to go.
I couldn’t help thanking you for the way you described our country. I am romanian and I’m proud to see other people notice what a beautiful country we have and actually seeing the good not just the bad.
I have been visiting Bucharest and Romania since 2004, when my brother moved there. Fast-forward 14 years and a month, and I will be living there! I love Romania, a truly beautiful country with nice people. Bucharest itself is exactly how this author described it – lots of gray but with quite a few gems to enjoy. And I love the parks, like Herestrau. A robust nightlife, lovely cafes, affordable, and in many places, tasty food … and another favorite city – Istanbul, about 10 hours away by car. My native Greece is also down the road, about 10 hours away. Many people in Bucharest speak English but I will be speaking as much Romanian as possible, using my knowledge base of French and Spanish. Having lived in Prague, and now in Germany, I am used to people who don’t subscribe much to “chit-chat” but instead prefer to be authentic. You know where you stand – and it is not difficult to inspire people to be truly friendly – I’ve had plenty of experience with that, in Romania and elsewhere. I am so looking forward to living there!
I’m a native romanian(from bucharest as well) and I can say, now being far from Romania that I love this country from the depth of my heart!
It’s weird because most of the comments for me , is a reverse reflection of what is really happening, besides the carbage and the economy,that’s quite true,sadly.
Bucharest can be a very safe place or a quite dangerous many times and I, myself experienced some slightly dangerous situations and those were tied to gypsies. I don’t have a problem with gypsies ,I have a problem with those who act like s**t and steal things but this is more a problem because of the police, because many times they’re not doing their job. Now I live in UK (but I wish to return in Romania) and it’s ironical how it seemed like a very safe country for me and some time this was the only think I liked more compared with Romania, the safety. But I see now that I was wrong, anyway…
Another thing, romanians are not rude, indeed , we don’t like to be fake-friendly like most people are in UK but we are friendly:)) weird? We’re not going to say ‘hi’ and chit-chat with every person who enters in a shop, building, waiting room and so on. As cold as this can be for people used to fake-friendly people we are actually extremly friendly and we value friendship more than most countries do, we will trust you 100% if you’re gonna be a friend.
This is more of a ‘bucurestean'(a person from bucharest) trait but we’re mostly sarcastic, ironic and we use a lot of dark humor.
Here you don’t need any friends because you’ll make some for sure! Just go to a nice ,laid-back bar , a club or a concert and u’re gonna have as many friends as you please!
People are usually busy during the day so that’s why we look ‘cold’ but no worries, we love foreigners and as a romanian comediant said “we almost wish that you have a problem so you’re gonna ask us” because we love to talk with people from other countries.
Many romanians are complaining but that’s because of the economy. The young ones just want to leave the country for something better , some of them like it somewhere else but many of us, like me, we leave the country and regret it. I can’t wait to go back, money is nothing if you’re bot happy so for me, the economy can’t keep me away from home.
‘Bucharest has a lot of gray and broken buildings even for a communist country’ . It has a lot of gray ,yes but we love it, we love the ruins and we love the old buildings and so on but from what I’ve seen is that romanians are usually focused on the interior and less on how the exterior of a building looks like . The broken buildings ,that’s government’s problem to fix it.
We don’t have a major area of shops etc. We have Piata Unirii where is the Old City where a lot of people spend their time everyday but yes, we have shops,restaurants, malls, cinemas and all sort of attractions all over the city so there’s no need for a major place ,plus we love hidden places and that’s why you’ll love to make romanian friends so you’ll see all the great things which are not for everyone but they’re so great!
Romania is not a very pet-friendly country but honestly ,that’s still a thing from the communism. I love animals and back home I had many and I was lucky to live in a pet-friendly block
Romanians love to party and we will party no matter where we live, this may be a bad thing for foreigners coming from quiet houses and countries in general. We always party and there’s rarely a neightbour who will call the police and if that’s happening well, it will never gonna stop a person to have another part the next day plus the neightbour is gonna be hated for ever:)) it sounds bad for some people but for many romanians is the regular. We go with “I make a lot of noise and you can make it too so we’re living in peace”
But of course, there are quiet areas or blocks mostly lived by old people but I personally love the block I live in cuz’ I’m a ‘party animal’ as well so I would hate to live in a quiet place. By party animal I don’t mean like actually party but more like a lot of noise as I have a dog who’s barking a lot, a parrot who’s singing very loud even at 4am , I’m an artist and I either paint during the night listening to loud music or I sing myself, or play the guitar or clean the house, I’m a night owl and most of the things I ‘have’ to do are during the night
Bucharest is a place for people full of energy even tho most of them are workers ,still, Bucharest is always alive, at any hour, any day so this place is not for everyone but it’s the best for who decides to stay here
Everything you say is so true, BTW, I am am foreign black student in Bucharest and I cam say pyromania is ok actually, I am just bored because I have no friends at all
I know that you don’t know me! But I’m going to Bucharest in a few weeks as a foreign student so can you please help me and share information about some difficulties which I may come across in this city? If you have time please write to my email adress here I’ve left it: [email protected].
I hope you will reply me soon!
Well, we have been living here the past month. No complaints so far. It isn’t my number one destination, but it has been a friendly and affordable place to live for a month as a digital nomad. Sure would like to see what it’s like in the summer when we’re not buried under a foot of snow. (Although that can be beautiful, too)
Bucharest in the summer is quite hot, I would definitely advise getting mosquito nets on the windows if your apartment does not already have (you can find a simple net at DM for $3), two fans or even an air conditioner. Most Romanians like escaping to the seaside during the summer months, it is quite the interesting place depending on what beach you go to. Spring and fall are the only seasons I enjoy being in Bucharest for although you have to beware of the little kittens roaming around looking to be adopted :).
Hello Earl, thanks for this article. I found it extremely useful. My husband is exploring a job opportunity in Bucharest and Im kind of excited with the idea of moving there. I have one concern it was not addressed by anyone who commented on this article. I have two dogs and if we decide to move we would bring them with us. Do you know if its easy to have pets? Do apartments allow to have dogs inside? Any special regulations that I need to be aware of? I will appreciatte if you could provide some insight on this matter! Thanks again!
Hey Lina – Thanks for the comment and I think you’ll find it to be similar to anyone else. Some places allow pets, others don’t, you just need to search a bit. I do know people who have dogs inside their apartments so it’s definitely possible!
i’m romanian, living in bucharest, i have had a dog and saturday i’ll get another dog.
yes, we can have pets in our apartments but not all the landlords accept them (you just have to find one that does – if you are going to rent an appartment)
romania it’s not really a dog friendly environment, you can’t enter in stores with them (unless it’s a small pet that you can carry in your arms. but most of the stores have a sign that doesn’t allow you in. so we pretty much tie them outside the stores).
[…] Bucharest, the capital, at first glance, has nothing unique about it. Still, I enjoyed it, mainly because it’s different. It has good alternative vibes and enormous Ceaușescu buildings. The city is relatively cheap (it’s the 2nd cheapest capital in Europe) and has a great amount of places to visit and shop until you drop. It’s so good that one of my favorite travel bloggers, Derek from Wandering Earl who has been practically everywhere, picked it to be his main base. He shares his impressions about the city here. […]
Hi Earl, thanks for your article!
I have a job offer and I consider going to Bucuresti. I have never been in Bucharest (neither in Romania) and I try to convince myself to discover that city..and what convince me the most is the social life you mentioned – I’d like to learn Romanian language which will make it even easier..
I also try “to ‘feel’ a destination as opposed to simply seeing it” this is why I really enjoyed your article..
Have a great day!
There’s a good chance that I’ll be moving to Bucherest soon, but wondered if there are a reasonable choice of Chiropractors there. Do you know? Thanks!
Hey Mark – To be honest, I don’t know any personally but I don’t see why there wouldn’t be. You pretty much have everything here that can be found in any city in Western Europe or North America.
Hi Mark. In Romania, Chiropractors are called Kinetoterapeuti. I doubt you’ll find Chiropractors in Bucharest googling in English. I would search for “kinetoterapie bucuresti”
Thanks for the tip!
I am actually quite jealous of all of you going to Bucharest (or Bucuresti to the natives). I, in my heart of hearts, long to go there, and try to stay if at all possible. I watch the webcams on a regular basis and I actually feel homesick even though I have never been there (maybe in another life). I also have my “one and only” that lives there and she tells me that the average salary there is only 464 euro a month (not that much I am afraid). She has a masters degree in Communications and does not use it as she does not make much money on it. She tells me that numerous women become “Cam-Girls” as there is so much more money there that way. I am somewhat saddened by that as between that and the corruption that is there, it is shocking to see that this can go on. I wish for hope, peace and a better way for all Romanians as they deserve it. I am a Canadian, and I wish I could do more to bring a little Canadian sunshine and peace to that part of the world. I pray for all Romanians, starting with my Juliana, her family and to the rest of Bucuresti and Romania. With love from a simple Canadian boy who wishes to belong to Bucuresti…and already does in some
It is true that in Canada someone makes maybe 3-4000$/month. Do not forget that the living cost in Canada is much higher than in Romania.
In USA where I live a good bread costs 3-5$, in Romania , to my best knowledge the cost is about0.3$. The list can continue with many items.
Hi Earl, how can I find a good studio or school to learn dancesport in Bucharest
Hey Duc – I’m not too sure about that one. I would go on couchsurfing.org under the Bucharest forum and ask some of the locals who are active over there.
I’m an American and have lived in Bucharest for 8 years. What is my overall impression with this city? Its not a very impressive city aesthetically speaking. Even in Eastern European former Communist standards, its on the bottom of the list. The dominant color of this city is gray. Everything is gray!! Even recent attempts to add color so some of the buildings have failed to improve the architectural landscape. Some of the colors used look like a Caribbean wallpaper over a Stalinist jungle. Everything seems to be in a state of decay and neglect, and a lot of the delapitated buildings make no economic sense whatsoever. You soon realize that this city exists on a different set of economic standards than any other European capital. Old and ornate buildings from a century ago, situated in what would ordinarily be prime locations in any other city, lie in ruin and abandonment. I’m talking about right in the historic center of the city! This city can’t seem to shake its grayness. Even the gigantic “People’s Palace”, or Palace of Parliament which used to be a splendid white, is now slowly turning gray. The city does have a lot of green spaces and nice parks, and most residential streets with communist style apartment blocks do have a lot of green areas and trees which make for pleasant shady walks during the summer. Bucharest does have a river running through it (Dambovita) as most European capitals do but this one has an unnatural feel to it. It doesn’t act as the centerpiece of the city and is more like a man-made canal replete with concrete sides and stagnate dark water. In fact, the city has no real centerpiece, no main attraction or central square that give you a sense of history or culture. The Unirii Square might as well be Pyongyang, not Europe. The Patriarchate church, headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Church is the size of a village chapel. How cathedrals in provincial cities like Cluj-Napoca and Fagaras can be five times the size of the Bucharest Patriarchate church is a total mystery to me. Its as if churches in rural Tuscany were larger than the Vatican! There are many beautiful sites and interesting buildings to visit, but you have to search for them. Nothing seems to be situated on the main streets, but are all hidden in alley ways or behind apartment blocks. Overall, the city is a real enigma but an interesting one and quite unique. The food is awesome, the museums are surprising and the parks are vast and full of life. Its a lively city with plenty of events, outdoor cafes and classical culture. The opera and symphony are extremely cheap and world-class. The people of Bucharest add another facet to the overall enigma of the city. Don’t expect friendliness. There seems to be an overhanging gloom and hopelessness in the people of this city which can’t be attributed solely to poverty. I’ve seen great joy and happiness among the poorest of people in Latin America, so its not that. People seem afraid to acknowledge you. Nobody says hello and you get ignored when you walk into stores and offices. Seeing that you’re a foreigner doesn’t seem to spark any interest or curiosity in them and so they don’t have one face for visitors and one for their own people. Its a one-face-fits-all attitude. They’re not rude, just apathetic. Its a very safe city. I’ve never had any trouble from anyone. The Gypsies have never given me any reason to fear. I’ve never been robbed. I’ve never witnessed a crime and I’ve never met anyone who has. You can’t say that about Rome or London!! This is a major plus. Public transportation and taxis are excellent. One last observation about Bucharest. Its by far, the hottest city in Europe during the summer with practically no breeze. The concrete apartment blocks turn the city into a furnace in the summer and temperatures are usually at par with Cairo and Damascus. Its been a very interesting place to live and has a lot of positive aspects, but if you visit Bucharest, don’t expect to see a Budapest or a Prague.
I’ll have to add that we have 2 main rivers in Bucharest, one is the well known Dambovita, the other one is Colentina, that turns into a row of lakes in the northern part of the city, the redesigning of Dambovita was done by communists as how useful would be, because flooding, not as much of how well it will look. People in Bucharest are rather gloomy/apathetic/stressed dew to the poor redesinging of the city by communists, because the builded in some places too many, too close, tall concrete buildings and the trend is still going, and until recent in some places you would not want to see a skyscraper due to poor building regulations, and too close to each other, and not enough parking lots either, and of course you wake up all you see is this giant concrete thing that is also unmaintained(a lot of unmaintained or crumbling buildings around the city) cars parked on almost every sidewalk, another factor is poor wages and a lot of work, plus some cases a nightmare boss (ex: for 350-400$ you work something like 200-250 hours per month in a store), pollution and garbage is another factor, in fact we are more concerned about the garbage on the streets than crime, and the list could go on. But than again on my walks on the streets of Bucharest, you can find corners of bliss and tranquility, and it’s a good place for urban exploring, oh we do have catacombs in fact in some places is the “home” of some water streams.
Hey Kevin, your take on Bucharest was very interesting, and I really have to agree with the point about Bucharest being very safe.
I’ve lived in Bucharest with my girlfrien for 6 months in 2016, and 2.5 months in 2015, and from the very first arrival in the city I’ve felt completely safe. I’m from the Norwegian countryside and feel very safe generally, but I lived in Trondheim for 4 years as well. And after those 4 years, I felt like there is much more danger (not for me, but for women) in Trondheim and Oslo, than a huge city like Bucharest. It’s so safe the feel in Bucharest than what Trondheim has become lately for me.
And I’d like to add that the pearls are really hidden away in alleys and behind shabby doors, where they serve GREAT beer! 😀 Haha. And not only beer, but great food as well.
And GOD it’s hot in the summer months. For a Norwegian that is just killing me, I’m not made for this heat.
I might of course not be correct about that, it’s just my uneducated impression.
As a foreigner you most of the time don’t see the not so pretty things going on in the background, but of course as a norwegian I see this in my home country.
Hi Earl! I am heading to Bucharest with my family tomorrow, February 10th. We sold all of our stuff in Canada and began a nomadic life in April 2014 and are very excited to get to know Bucharest. I did a lot of research on Eastern Europe for a travel article I wrote in October and was intrigued by Romania. We are interested in spending as much time as we can in Bucharest to get to know it well. Could you recommend an area to look to rent an apartment? We have a 6 year old son and are looking to enjoy local culture.
Tracy, I may be moving to Bucharest in January and am concerned about the schooling for my kids who are 5 and 7. Can you please share your families experiences in Romania to this point. Thanks.
Hi Richard, we spent three months in Bucharest and then moved on because of a house sitting job we had in Turkey. That was Febuarary to May in 2015. We homeschool our Son I can’t give any advice on schooling. But, I can say people are very friendly and helpful in Bucharest. Search expat groups Bucharest on Google and you’ll see Meetup groups. I found Internations helpful. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. We plan to visit Bucharest again this year because we all enjoyed it so much. My seven-year-old Son loved all the great kids parks and how nice Romanian grownups were to rambunctious little boys.
Have you settled in Romania? 🙂
Hey Andrei – I was there for almost 4 years but I’m no longer there. But I will be back in about a month for a visit and I still love the city and country very much!
I am Romanian born but lived abroad for the past 15 years, btw asia and western Eu. Many foreigners tend to strong criticise ignoring the struggle we had in most of the former URSS block (more than 30 years of dictatorships and just 25 years after this ended? hmmm, just one question: but how was Europe 25 years after WWII? just think of that and still, is not comparable). So, I would just like that the foreigners coming to Ro to respect my country, to stop spoiling it (we don’t care about having plenty of highways, investments capitals nonsense bldgs and destruction of the country side and of our rich heritage. Romanians on one side are very connected with their traditions, culture and nature and on the other side we are simply and lively people BUT the biggest enemy in our history was not the poverty, but the wealthy. best example that you can see with your eyes, go out in the so called ‘ luxury clubs’ e.g. fratelli, bamboo etc . Is not that kind of society I wish for my country and thank you for not contributing to the worst.
Hey Antonela – Thanks for commenting. I think that it’s not the everyday tourists that are spoiling Romania though. These tourists that do come have nothing to do with highways and nonsense buildings…those are decisions made by Romanians. And unfortunately, if you travel around Romania, it is actually the Romanians that go to other countries to work who come back and spoil the country with very unattractive homes and buildings…I’m not sure the regular tourists who come to Romania, considering there is a very small amount compared to other European countries, are doing much harm at the moment.
can u please tell me living in romania for work is good? i mean can i easily earn and live there? i’ve heard that romania is a poor country. so maybe i cannot earn that much and live easily?? what do u think plz tell me ?
Hey Hammad – I work online so I’m not too sure how it is to work there for foreigners unfortunately.
There are lots of multinational companies where you can earn good money. If you are good at something, don’t worry. You will be payed well.
I was planning to move to Bucharest from January 2015 and then I came across on this information https://www.world-earthquakes.com/index.php?option=ethq_prediction.
Now I’m not so sure about going there… Do the national seismologists give some detailed information on this topic? I don’t know what to do now
Hey Ivi – I haven’t heard anything about it. There was a 5.6 earthquake here a few weeks ago but apart from a little shaking, there wasn’t any damage or injuries. I’m not sure that’s something I would worry too much about.
Yep, the earthquakes are real!!! Every 35-45 years there is a major earthquake that demolish many many buildings especially if they are too old. And how Bucharest is full with so many old buildings… you get my point. If you want to move here, a house or buildings build between 1980 – 1987 are very safe. But don’t go for tall buildings, have mix feelings on those even if they are in the ‘goldilocks zone’. But my honest opinion is stay away from the capital if you want to move here. Everything between Bucharest and Chisinau ( Moldova capital city ) you can draw a line between those places, and you will see the earthquake line of action. Everything on that line will be very affected, you could try a city beyond the mountains like Brasov / Cluj or others…
Thanks for your answers! I have decided to move to Romania but I chose different city to live – Timisoara.
Need a bit of help with some info.
I’ll be landing in Bucharest a little after 1 in the morning, on my first trip to Romania. Does anyone know if you get any hassles with the customs and immigration?
Someone will pick me up so I won’t have to use taxis but is it safe to drive across the city at night?
Nothing to worry about at all. Why wouldn’t it be safe? Bucharest is an extremely safe city 🙂
Haha, i went in Istanbul last year. Thrilling experience – in the very maleficent sense of word – cause the city scared me. I have never felt such a feeling of insecurity like i did in Istanbul. When i came back in Bucharest i wanted to kneel and kiss my peaceful and calm and safe land. I reconsidered Bucharest and afterall, the whole Romania, in that moment they seemt to me somehow different, like a caring mother. :))
So, no thanks, Bucharest is a very safe place on earth. And quiet. And pleasant… in no other circumstances you will feel better this than after visiting Istanbul and next Bucharest.
Hi Raj, did you find the job? could you please share your experience?
How did you manage to get a temporary residency in Romania (if it was not “job permit” based)?
I’m extremely in need of the same document in order to stay here more than 3 months from 6 months…
Hey Polina – Here’s how I did it: https://www.wanderingearl.com/how-i-obtained-residency-in-a-european-country/
Hi. Wonna no how easy is it for a foriegner to work in romania. Also are there alot of photography studio jobs there ? Also is it easy 2 move from there to austria or any nearby country by road with no stress ?
Can I ask how you’ve managed to stay five months? That sounds ideal, but I think – as an Australian – I’m limited to a 3 month “visa-less” stay…
Hey Andy – I obtained temporary residency which allowed me to stay longer.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Tremendous responses; greatly appreciated. FANTASTIC!
I’ll be spending about a month in Bucharest for work. I’d like to do some of my own cooking. If I go to street markets will I get a fair price or will I be charged more because I’m a foreigner? Is it considered an insult to negotiate prices with the vendors?
Hey Sheryl – In Bucharest, there aren’t too many street markets. It’s just like in the West, with supermarkets and stores like that. There are a couple of fruit and vegetable markets but unless you live right near one of them, you probably won’t trek across town to go there. But you will be charged the same, the prices are always listed and nobody cares if you’re a local or a foreigner. The only problem is taxis, that’s where you get ripped off as a foreigner, but if you only take Speed Taxi, that’s the most reliable company with fully honest drivers, no ripping off at all.
In fact, Speed Taxi is not that reliable. It has a lot of gypsies hired as drivers and they have their style to rob you. Last month one of them stole my phone. They are also terrible drivers.
My recommendation is to download the “Clever Taxi” app from Google Play or AppStore. You will find the best taxi drivers regardless of taxi company. We also have uber, but my experience with uber is not that satisfactory.
Hey Alin – Thanks for the input. That’s definitely the first negative I’ve heard about Speed Taxi in 4 years. I pretty much have taken then 95% of the time during the years I’ve been here and have not had a single problem with them and of course, I’m an easier target being a foreigner who doesn’t always know the way! And I know all of my Romanian friends use them pretty much exclusively as well.
I’m glad you enjoyed Bucharest. It may not be a very beautiful city, but it has some wonderful places that are worth exploring.
As for the taxi discussion, I can confirm: Speed Taxi doesn’t have the best reputation around here. It’s not dangerous, but the drivers aren’t the most civilized. I’ve also encountered more gypsy drivers at Speed Taxi than at other companies and while they are ok, they tend to have less social manners (they tend to speak loudly on the phone while they drive, curse more – including cursing other drivers or the person they’re speaking to on the phone, or put on “lower quality” music on the radio without asking you first – sometimes even sing, haha). I usually go with Taxi Meridian. The “Clever Taxi” app is a good alternative.
When you don’t have the time to call for a taxi and have to wave for one on the street, be very careful on the price displayed on the door of the car. There are many “freelancer” taxi drivers who use really small fonts and add an extra 0 at the end of the price. When you get in, you think the cost will be 1.6 lei/km, but on the door it may say 16 lei/km.
Also, make sure you always ask the driver to turn on the meter. Most of them do that, but there are also some who don’t (they pretend to forget).
Hey Dan – Thanks for your input. All I know is that I’ve spent 3.5 years using Bucharest as my base and basically every single Romanian that I’ve met in Bucharest recommends Speed Taxi and after using them about 200 times in 3.5 years, I’ve never had a single issue with them at all. Meridian is also good but Speed has been the most reliable.
Anyway, those freelancer taxis are not around as much any more in Bucharest after a somewhat recent purge by the authorities of these kind of taxis. It’s quite easy now using a taxi in Bucharest – the days of really having to watch out for tricks, scams and not using the meter seem to be be pretty much over.
Is it difficult for a college educated American to find a job with a company in Romania? Possibly as a call center manager or social media manager.
Hey James – It’s hard for me to say exactly but I do know Americans that have landed such kinds of jobs over there, so it’s definitely possible.
What type of work do you do in Bucharest?
Hey JC – My main work is my blog and other online projects. I’m not working in Bucharest, I’m living there and working online.
I know the question wasn’t directed at me, but I live in Bucharest so I can answer a few of your questions.
1.) SAFETY and Security; must be and feel safe (have heard about problems with Gypsies); how factual is this?
They aren’t generally hostile, they mostly just try to scam people.
You should however try to avoid the following areas if possible: Ferentari, Zetari and Rahova. These places CAN be dangerous, especially at night.
So you should only go there if you HAVE to.
From personal experience I can say “Drumul Taberei” and “Dristor” are extremely safe. I’m talking “going to buy food at 2 AM on foot while talking on my cellphone” safe.
Also, watch out for stray dogs, they can be aggressive while in a pack.
You can avoid them easily though so don’t be too alarmed (I’ve never been bitten)
2.) Super fast Internet.
Most places (bars, subway stations etc) have decent internet connections and the home connections are great.
As an example: the 1GB/s package from RDS-RCS is 55 RON/month (16.56 USD) and it runs incredibly well.
5.) GREAT night life. Diversified…open different gay/bi/strait places.
You will find a lot (and I mean a LOT) of clubs and bars around here, especially downtown with many themes.
6.) Quality food…no fast food or eating off the street.
Most restaurants here serve everything from fast food (like Pizza or Hamburgers) to full three course meals.
7.) Ease of travel by bus or train.
This won’t be a problem.
Wandering Earl, thanks for your Online article about Bucharest, Romania. You are 1000% correct; if one wishes to know about any city, try living in a place for a few months; totally.
Around September 17th, 2014, I’m planning on traveling to Istanbul for a few days and then move onto Bucharest; planned on residing in the Bucharest for two and a half months September through November 2014.
What are the FUNDAMENTAL imperatives for me in the precise order:
1.) SAFETY and Security; must be and feel safe (have heard about problems with Gypsies); how factual is this?
2.) Super fast Internet.
3.) Excellent accommodations; cannot exist in filth or sleep on beds/mattress where I fall in the middle.
4.) Excellent gyms for exercising.
5.) GREAT night life. Diversified…open different gay/bi/strait places.
6.) Quality food…no fast food or eating off the street.
7.) Ease of travel by bus or train.
Wandering Earl, if possible, can you address my seven (7) points as concretely and factually as possible. Thanks in advance. BEST regards.
Hey Haley – All I can say is you’ll be perfectly fine in Bucharest based on what you’re looking for.
”5.) GREAT night life. Diversified…open different gay/bi/strait places.”
Say WHAT?!? :))
Gay/bi bars??? The subject on sexual minorities in romania is still almost taboo/tabu…not as bad as it was in the 90’s or 10 years ago, but still a far cry from the Netherlands or Australia, even Hungary…
I know only of a gay disco/club (Queen?) that existed years ago in the Jewish district, not far from Piata Unirii (Union Sq), today is probably closed.
Overall very few gay bars/clubs across romania, and all in the major cities: Timisoara, Cluj.
thank you for your answer and help 🙂 We will just go with the flow than… Not sure if we will be staying very close to the old town, as we need to park our car somewhere cheaply, but we will just use the metro than to reach it.
Thanks also for the tip about the restaurant – we will check it out for sure!
I’ve been reading your blog for a while and found out also you lived in Bucharest – me and my hubby are traveling there in August and we will probably stay only 2 days in Bucharest, as there are many more things to do on our Romania travel… So, I need your help. What can someone do there in 2 days, where to eat, sleep… we are arriving by car – any idea how’s with parking? Thank you for your help 🙂
@Nina Travels – There’s not a huge amount of things to do in Bucharest in a couple of days. It’s the kind of city that takes a long time to truly enjoy as it’s not full of normal tourist sites to check off a list. There are interesting neighborhoods and sometimes you just need to wander around and see where it leads you. So, I would just stay somewhere near the city center (Lipscani = old city center) as that’s the best area to start your wanderings each day. As for eating, there are so many places in the center as well and you can start with La Mama, a well-known restaurant that serves traditional Romanian food, as well as the restaurant behind the Peasant’s Museum in Victory Square. This restaurant is excellent, dirt-cheap and a great spot to hang out.
I’m not too sure how parking works in the city center though. There are a couple of garages and depending on where you stay, they might have parking available as well.
Thanks Earl! Will do.We we’re recommended to a local guide from a friend that lives in Constanta. Best Regards.
Hello from Texas Earl!
I just came across your blog.Thanks for sharing your experience in Bucharest.My wife of 19 years will be celebrating our Anniversary in Romania! I’m sure Bucharest is a “must see” city to visit.I like your style in traveling.Cheers!
Hey Richard – It’s definitely an interesting city and be sure to head north as well to places such as Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu! And happy anniversary!!
Any idea what the English teaching market is like there in Bucharest? It’s near the top of my list of places I would like to live and work in. I’m an American so I’ll have to get over the visa hurdle, but I’m ok with that. I’m more concerned that there won’t be any work to be had. Any ideas? Thanks!
Hey Mike – There are some opportunities to teach English here, not as many as some of the surrounding countries though. Most people under the age of 35 speak quite fluent English and English is used much more than in the rest of Eastern Europe. But I have met foreigners who have taught English at a language schools in the city.
I actually like charming European “old cities” and get a little depressed by excessive concrete Soviet “commie blocks.” On the other hand, the local-recommended places you mentioned sound like things right up my alley.
Assuming money is not a factor, what would be the ideal and most convenient area for me to live in in your opinion?
Hey Mick – It really depends on what you’re looking for. The city is not so big so most areas are quite convenient to everything else. The city center (Lipscani) has most of the nightlife and is naturally the most central part of the city. There is also Floreasca which is quite nice, or some of the neighborhoods near Piata Romana. If you look at the metro map, I would say that anywhere within the main metro loop (yellow line) is ideal.
Feels great to discover that foreigners speak so nice about this city. Indeed, for many living here there are a lot of complains comparing to other cities from Europe. One thing is for sure: you have to live here or at least know somebody here to give you some details. The city has a lot to offer from stories, meaningful places to an outrageous nightlife. Bucharest is well known for its clubs and more on that about the alternatives you have during a citybreak or a short visit. We have friends from all over the world and we are happy to meet new ones and plan a city getway. In fact, the large number of them are coming to Bucharest every time they have the opportunity. This is why we say that it is “a place you will love to come back”.
Dear Earl, Thanks for sharing! I go over Easter break to Bucharest, there is not that much documentated about nice things to do. We backpacked in the 90ths but still like to go like backpackers only we stay in nice hotels (our days in dorms and rockbottom accommodations/hostels are over 😉 By the way I got your blog tip via Dutch blogger, @ExploristaNL
Hey Agnes – If you need any tips for Bucharest, just let me know!
Hey there, reading your article really made me nervous yet excited, I plan on transferring from Donetsk Ukraine to Bucharest for studies in a medical school. I am not sure if lt is a wise idea or not.i don’t much about Romania either .I am from South Africa. Would you prefer Ukraine than Romania? I am looking for a city where I can interact with the locals and just experience other culture during my studies. Yet affordable , safe and clean or peaceful .please advice. Thanks
That really depends on your preferences but I personally prefer Bucharest. I like the vibe, the people and lifestyle that one can have in that city.
Hi Earl! Really glad you like Bucharest! You made me feel better about my home city after reading a horrible article on it (mightyheaton.com/2007/07/19/bucharest/#comment-165735)
Bucharest is safe, and if you want really peaceful you can go to many beautiful places not very far from the city 🙂 The mountains is about 50 km from Bucharest, you can spend days in cabins and stuff up there. And then there is Brasov, Bran, Sibiu, and many other smaller more peaceful cities to visit and stay in.
The locals and Romanians generally have been so welcoming and inviting to me I can hardly believe it. I’ve spent a total of 8.5 months in Bucharest and traveling around. It is 90% on the vibe you give out yourself I think, I always just adjust to where I go, then make up an informed opinion, and then balance it with my norwegian mindsets, values, culture and behaviour. I spent the whole of 2016 trying to find the words for this lesson, to put words to it, so here you are, ha ha! GO THERE! 😀
It’s also very affordable.
What I forgot to mention is that there is a great student environment in Bucharest also, my girlfriend went to med school in Bucharest.
Hi ! I am so pleased to read this article on your blog ! I was born and raised in Bucharest and every tourist I meet here says something like “If only more people knew”. I believe from the tourist point of view Bucharest is an awesome destination, there are plenty of things to do, you can find anything you need. There are also lots of places hidden away in corners of the city, most tourists wouldn’t think to visit. And that’s one of the city’s problems. You have to travel quite a lot to find a nice place, and it’s usually surrounded by grey buildings, or whatever. However the center of the city is quite large, and there are many places to visit. Romanians want to get out of here because of the poverty. Whilst it is cheap to live here, the wages are so low many Romanians cannot afford to eat at a restaurant. So I would not recommend living here on our wages, unfortunately. Adding to what Earl said, we are very happy to meet foreigners and we can impress you with our culture. To add to our compliment list, even my grandma speaks English, and I’m not kidding !
Just got back home after spending a bit over two months in Bucharest. You are definitely right ! The city might not be as impressive as other European capitals, but man, after two week I just got to love it. Bucharest has succeeded to attract me in so many ways, that I even considered living there permanently. I found there a way of living beyond everything I have experienced in the US. Making friends in Bucharest is unbelievable easy, socializing there is really unique. The city has a vibrant cultural life, it beats most of places I have been to. Parts of the city are flooded with communist block of flats, but the center is packed with lots of nice, historical buildings. Americans might not believe, but the city is sophisticated in many ways. It’s got fabulous restaurants serving fresh fish, huge number of cafes, bars, night clubs…..Life is easy and nice for foreigners (I met many of the in the expat community), everything is much cheaper than anywhere else I have been to. Had I been offered a good job there, I wouldn’t have hesitated to move to Bucharest. As I said, I’ve seen many cities across Europe, but Bucharest impressed like no other. I went there for two weeks only, but I ended up staying over two months…..it felt so great, it almost felt like home, is really strange. I got home now, but I feel the urge to go back there….
Hey Mark – That’s pretty much how a lot of people feel once they spend some time in this city. Thank you for sharing your experience and how to see you back here at some point!
Wow. I really appreciate your experience. So, why don’t you go for it and move here? In my opinion, as a Romanian, it’s the best place to be if you just started adult life: cheap houses (10.000 euro near city to 50.000 euro 2 bedrooms flats in the city), within 2.5 hour from Paris, 1.5 hours from Wienna, 1 hour from Budapest by plane, VERY good food, huge professional and business opportunity, 220 km by freeway to the Black See beaches, 1.5 hours from the Carpathians Mountains, 1 hour away from Bulgaria Gold Sand Beaches, 150 euro per month rent for a one bedroom in any part of the city, amazing looking Romanian woman’s, practically ZERO crime rates, night life on a huge scale, fastest internet speed that you can find on this side of the planet, cheapest too, 35 degrees Celsius in the summer and -10 degrees Celsius and huge amounts of snow in the winter, yes – big ski resorts, wildlife and Delta Dunarii like in no other place in Europe for sure….Well I have to stop now because I dont want to loose my US visa. Yes, the grass is greener on the other side :))))
You’re so right man. Both you and Mark.
Is bucharest a nice place to study?
Hey Alexander – I haven’t studied here but living here is very nice!
how’s the crime rate? noticed any homeless, pickpockets, prostitutes or drunkards? how safe is it for a foreigner to take a walk in the evening or night? are there any religious and political violence?
Hey AK – Crime is very low, it’s a very safe place to be. You don’t have to worry about pickpockets or anything like that…you can walk around at any time of day or night, no problems at all. And no violence either…one of the main reasons Bucharest is rapidly growing as a destination for foreigners looking to live somewhere interesting is because of its safety.
Doesn’t it cost a lot of money to live in Bucharest, Romania & r their alot of Americans their. Since U would like to vacation their soon.
Hey Rick – Bucharest is quite inexpensive and you could live well here for around $750 USD per month or so. And there are a handful of Americans here and a big group of other foreigners as well who spend a lot of time in this city.
hey earl. nice blog. how easy is it to find somewhere super cheap to live in bucharest for a few weeks or months? we’re thinking of chucking it all in and starting our own nomadic adventure. bucharest seems a good place to start.
Hey Katherine – Bucharest is a great place to start but it is a bit tricky to find an apartment here as there is just very little information. The best option at the moment is to look on AirBnB.com and to contact apartment owners and try to negotiate a lower monthly rate. The good news is that there aren’t many foreigners coming here yet so many times the apartment owners on airbnb.com will be willing to reduce their rates quite a bit.
I guess that means negotiating after you arrive… just to be sure you’ll want to stay a month?
Hey Andy – Here’s the thing with Bucharest. The foreigners I know who have visited for 1-5 days don’t really like it because there doesn’t seem like there is much to do. But those foreigners who stay longer, don’t want to leave as there is so much hidden behind the surface that makes this one of the most livable cities in Europe.
Thanks Earl for the reply,
Keep up the good adventure
I found your adventure in Romania quiet interesting. My Grandfather was born in Bucharest. Grandmother from Hungary. I often thought of exploring my roots there.
I work in the financial industry(investment banker), how is the lifestyle(live in Chicago?).
Hey Michael – The lifestyle is very nice here for foreigners. Your money goes quite far. It’s not Chicago or NYC in terms of the amount of things to do and the activity level, it’s much more relaxed and quiet, but you still have everything you could possibly need in my opinion.
Do the locals know English? How was communication with the locals for you?
Hey Kaelos – English is very widely spoken in Romania and I’ve never had a problem anywhere.
[…] first place I used as a long-term base was Playa del Carmen, Mexico and now it’s been Bucharest, Romania for the past 18 months. I’m still traveling all the time but having a place to return to, a […]
Well, it’s my city, and I love it, against all odds. For its hundred years old houses with a front and not a backyard, for the garden restaurants and bars, for the beautiful parks, interesting museums (in the National Museum of Art you can see the evolution from the Oriental influence to the Western one, in paintings), lively bars, great theater and opera. For the amazing street food you can’t find in Western capitals: covrigi, placinte, merdenele (big fan of the latest:) So thank for taking your time there.
I wonder, how good a place is Bucharest for studying the university? /is obsessed with going to Romania and can only go to study
@Princess Kiara – Well, I didn’t study there but there are a lot of foreign students studying in Bucharest. From what I’ve read, the education system is very good and the city is definitely a fun place to be once you stick around.
My husband and our seven children are fixing to move to Romania. How much would you think a family of nine would need to live? What about the schools ? Anyone know anything about them? What about furniture? would it be better to buy new there or ship our stuff? Earl we will be there this fall. We would love to meet you if you are still around .
Hey Amy – I don’t know much about the schools there but as for furniture, they have places like IKea and other shops as well where you can buy whatever you need. You won’t have any problem finding that over there. As for costs of living, it all depends where you live in the country. The cost of living in Bucharest is higher than other parts of the country. But if it is Bucharest, I would say you could live on $2000 USD per month or so. A large 3 or 4 bedroom apartment would run about 700 Euros if you don’t mind living 20 minutes or so away from the city center by tram.
What!? $2,000 a month!? And how pe Pământ am I supposed to earn all of that!? (I’ll be 18 then, and still studying. My parents can’t support me beyond the borders of Mexico. I’m willing to work hard, but there’s not much I can do ATM beyond translation between English and Spanish. Is that profitable în România?)
…Oh, wait. Family of *nine*. Phew!
How much would it cost, then, for me, on average, to rent a little apartment or whatever, to live?
Mulțumesc mult pentru o răspuns, Dl. Earl!
Hi Princess Kiara. To rent a room in a flat would be around 200 euros, that s if you want to share it with someone. I am romanian and all my friends are studying in Bucharest so I can give you some advice if you want. I can also speak spanish so if you need help put down your email address and we can talk.
Thank you soooo much! I really need some help, I really want to study, but I have no idea how to live. Thank you!
My email is [email protected]
Salut Kiara – You could get a little apartment for around 300 Euros per month or even less if you just rent a room in an apartment. And then it depends on your lifestyle but it’s definitely possible to live in Bucharest for under $800 USD per month.
I am in bucharest now from the last 50 days and have been exploring bucharest. But i am planning to go out of bucharest and see the real romania. Your help will be greatly appreciated.
Hi Earl. There are of course a lot of nice places worth visiting, not only in Bucharest but also in the outskirts and you wouldn`t know about them unless you are local or have friends that go there.
Nightife is also very good , you might know that already especially because of the wide range of choices.
It would be nice if you also have the chance to leave Bucharest and go to Maramures ( North Romania ) , visit the monasteries in Moldova, see Transfagarasan or just do hiking in the mountains. The you can get a better feeling of the traditional Romania which I personally like the most.
And a message for everyone : you should never leave Romania without trying homemade `Palinca`. I will let you discover what that is by yourselves, but I can only tell you I have friends around the world that want to come visit me only for that reason !
In case anyone wants more details or tips for their trip to Romania, leave down your email address and I would be happy to help.
Multumesc Alexandra! And I agree with all you said…Bucharest is all about the neighborhoods that only locals know about. And I’ve been to a few of the places you mentioned already but will hopefully get to more of them soon 🙂
And I like to finish every meal over there with a nice big dose of tuica!
It is really impressive how you took time to write so many nice things about Bucharest. There are a few people that decide to travel there, and the ones that do, seem to like it. I am also from Bucharest but I live in Switzerland now. I haven’t really met a lot of people that consider Romania a potential destination, probably because of the prejudices about East European countries in general. Also, people tend to think Romanians don’t speak English but most of us do and the ones that don’t have funny ways to make you understand and feel confortable anyway. We are happy to meet foreigners all the time and plus most of us speak spanish/ italian which is a surprise for west Europe or other continents, because they don`t know that Romanian is a latin language.
I am happy to see that a lot of people are interested in visiting, and I could also give some advice about hidden nice places worth seeing !
Salut Alexandra! I think you summed it up perfectly because most travelers I know who go to Romania end up very surprised for the reasons you mentioned. Romanians speak incredible English (as well as so many other languages – lucky you!), it’s very friendly and easy to meet people, it’s easy to get around the country and there is so much to see and do.
As for advice about hidden places…do let us know! I’ll be back in Bucharest in about a month and would love to hear your suggestions.
[…] to stay away, but people who have traveled there say differently. Reading Earl’s post on living in Bucharest shows that like any place, there is always great things to be found if you […]
glad to see that there are still foreigners out there liking our city. i grew up here, it’s where i belong. fact: after reading your post, i can tell you that you still didn’t discovered bucharest and it’s greatness but at least you gave it a chance. good luck in your travelling.
Hey Radu – Don’t worry, I’ll be back in Bucharest again I’m sure!
Loved the blog about Bucharest and was hoping you could give me some advice on travelling to the city?
I am planning my bachelor party for around 12 guys from London to Bucharest this September. Could you give me any recommendations as to which areas/hotels to stay in and any other advice you feel might help. I would also be interested in hiring a guide for the weekend, if that’s something you might be interested in or could recommend someone?
Hey Robert – I’m not actually in Bucharest at the moment…I left a few months ago for some traveling and won’t be back until April I think. But the area you want to stay in is anywhere in or near the Old City (Lipscani). The whole city is quite accessible though so it’s hard to be too far away from the main area of all the bars/clubs. As for a guide, I don’t really know of anyone off the top of my head but if I think of someone, I’ll let you know!
How are you. I will be relocating to Bucharest in the next week for my new Job. I am in search of a flat or room, also just brief me a bit about the living conditions in Bucharest. Hows the weather now a days, what sort of clothes i need and etc etc.
I would appreciate if you can help me out in this regard.i would like to live near lake view building, 2nd District, Bucharest.
Still waiting for any replies… 🙁
hey earl, can you please give some suggestions…
thanks for coming back to me. I will be spending much time at office in bucharest. but would like to go for an outing at night. like have a sheesha or just hang out with some one.
otherwise watching TV at home or surf on the internet can also do for me. But i am a kind of open guy and want to try different things every now and then.
$3000 is more than enough. You can easily live with $1000/month and save the other 2….but it also depends on your lifestyle. If you like to go partying in expensive clubs 3 days/week, eat at nice restaurants and buy brand clothes, then 3000 might not be enough 🙂
hope you all are having a nice time. I am currently planning to relocate to Bucharest for a job, which seems to be a long term job.
Can anybody give me a rough idea about the living cost in Bucharest like flat rents, food, visa process for ex-pat workers.
i would be interested in living at the 2nd District area. i would be earning 3000 US$ or so. is it enough for living and saving something at Bucharest .
[…] time in the middle of nowhere. Cities and towns have their benefits, and Bucharest has certainly treated me well this year, but something happened last weekend that made me realize how much I prefer to be […]
[…] time in the middle of nowhere. Cities and towns have their benefits, and Bucharest has certainly treated me well this year, but something happened last weekend that made me realize how much I prefer to be […]
[…] left Bucharest understanding how one could grow to love it — or at least like it quite a bit. It’s not ALL […]
The 20 eur is a mistake, when I re-read it I said the same thing. Of course you can’t find places where you can eat with 20 eur and I found them occasionally but is not my common experience.
I never calculated the money I spend, but I succeed to spend a lot (without much shopping, with a cheap rent – was a friend’s of mine apartment but with vacations included – not many not expensive – but could count as 150-200 EUR per month – considering that the rent my was cheaper with 150 EUR …. we could ignore vacations).
Hey Monica – That makes more sense about the meals 🙂 Are you in Bucharest now?
Now I’m in Romania but Bacau-Targu Ocna. But I’m coming to Bucharest every month more or less…
In the beginning of October I leave for Indonesia for 6 months. Perhaps I’ll be able to spend less in Indonesia. :))
Anyway here (in Targu Ocna) I’m not spending at all :))
I’m a local in Bucharest and I need about $650 to live here. This includes rent, home expenditures, food, transportation and going out. But I’d say you’d need up to $1000/month in order to live here comfortably and not have to think about every penny you spend.
If you’re planning to come over here give me shout at radu.vrabie at gmail dot com and I’ll help you out as much as I can.
Out of interest (and apologies if a previous commenter has asked), what’s the approx costs of living for example rent/weekly food/wifi/transport ?
I appreciate these will vary depending on living the high life or on the cheap, just after a rough idea.
I’m posting the amounts in EUR because is easier for me, multiply with 1.23 for USD.
You need 300-400EUR for a studio or apartment. Perhaps 500 with nice furniture. Of course you can find a very nice villa for thousand(s) of euros but I suppose is not what you’re looking for. Also I suppose you’ll not find something cheaper, not that is not possible but would be ugly and far away.
I might be wrong I suppose some others will post more on this subject.
Household expenses + internet connection and so on ~100 EUR or a little more in winter. (Internet connection is very good and cheap in Romania)
A meal can be ~6-7 EUR if you take the offer of the day, 10-20 EUR otherwise. You can find a (local) beer with 1.5-2 EUR in most of the places.
Cab is rather cheap (cheaper then most countries – at least countries from Europe) and also you have metro (best option in a crowded town) and buses – very cheap.
I needed ~1000 EUR to live in Bucharest but I was eating out every day (lunch and sometimes dinner), going wherever I wanted in weekends and not only, in short, I wasn’t without trying to spend less but I wasn’t hating money either :). I’d say is easy to spend 200 EUR less and very easy to spend more.
It’s funny have everyone has different experiences! I don’t even know how I could spend 1000 Euros in Bucharest and I don’t even watch what I spend my money on. Where are you eating that costs 20 Euros?? I haven’t found a restaurant like that anywhere in the city 🙂
Hey Andrew – I would say that for $800 USD you could live quite well here. Transportation is very cheap…for 11 Euros per month you can get an unlimited pass for the trams and buses. Food is cheap as well…even a good meal in a normal sit-down restaurant with a drink or two will only run about 8 Euros. And wi-fi is inexpensive also…plus there are dozens and dozens of excellent cafes around the city that don’t mind if you spend the entire day there working on your laptop, using their fast wi-fi and ordering a coffee every now and then.
I am going to start living in Bacharest soon as a student for the next about 6 years. I am slightly worried and anxious about the whole thing as I cant even speak their language!
Any “must have/need to know” advice?
Hey Sky – There really isn’t any things you need to know except that there’s no reason to be worried. You’ll learn the language and in the meantime, English is spoken by everyone under 40 years of age here. Just come here ready to enjoy a unique experience and you’ll be all set!
Just wondering, what kind of mobile networks are there and what do you think is the most useful network to use?
Silly question I know, but a little worried since I have never even been to the country before and during my uni life, Im betting that I probably will need some form of method to contact and to be contacted (if there are no wifi zones).
Hey Sky – There are plenty of mobile network options here and the two main ones are Vodaphone and Orange, but of which are reliable. I use Vodaphone’s prepaid service myself, which takes about 3 minutes to set up if you go to any Vodaphone shop in the city 🙂
[…] ‘Peles Castle’ Posted on June 18, 2012 by Earl Living in Bucharest has been quite a positive experience so far. But I’m still a traveler and I can only sit still for so long. As a result, it should […]
I think you already got plenty of requests, but if you want to uncover more hidden gems of this city, let me know. I’ll gladly show you around or just meet up with you for a drink/talk.
Hey Radu – I always enjoy meeting new people so let’s meet up. Let me know when you’re free (I’m quite flexible) and then we can pick a day/time and go from there!
a post about our beloved Bucharest without mentioning the beauty and grace of the women here?!
Hey Hans – Well, that was for two reasons. First, it’s a given. Second, because that’s what many people think about already when they think of this country, I wanted to show that it is an appealing place to live for other reasons as well. When combined with the beautiful women, you really can’t go wrong here.
We are extremely happy that Bucharest “got under your skin”. One part of our travelling couple comes from Romania and we are always very sad to see / hear about the reputation of the country in the outside world as well as perception people often have about Romanians. I hope your experience will attract more travellers to come and see it with their own eyes!
Both of us live in Germany and we were planning our big Romanian road trip for this summer, but unfortunately got sidetracked by some other plans… Have to postpone it now, but definitely going as soon as we can. The country has sooooo much to offer: nature, culture, mountains, small traditional villages, beautiful towns, food and wine. I am a huge fan of hearty and meaty Romanian cuisine and think this is already a reason enough to spend some time there 🙂
P. S. Read in another post you were going to Slovakia. Would be very curious to know what you think about it, as I spend 1 year working and living there 🙂 Let me know if you need any tips for Bratislava!
Hey Masha – Hopefully that road trip will happen soon as it seems like you’re excited to spend some time in Romania! And I just got back from my 4 day visit to Bratislava. I had a great time and will be writing a couple of posts about it during then ext couple of weeks.
I was born in Bucharest, but grew up in the states!! I’ve only visited once, but it was for a short time (4-5 days). It’s very encouraging to hear you speak so highly of the city of my birth!! Hope you enjoy every minute in Romania!!!
Hey Chelsea – I guess it’s about time you pay another visit to Bucharest then!
I like the fact that you found a temporary home in one of the less popular cities. Romania in general seems to be off the radar, with most people preferring to visit the more popular countries like Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. We were thinking about Poland in that matter as well. I don’t know why, but we want to visit Poland! But now you’ve got us thinking about Romania as a well…
Hey Kevin & Ruth – Romania certainly doesn’t receive as many visitors as it deserves and still remains relatively quiet in terms of tourism. But that’s all the more reason for me to not only visit, but spend significant time in this place! Let me know if you do make it here in the end…
Earl, your views on travel line up exactly with mine. People and Food trump almost any pretty building anytime. Almost every city has it’s pretty little part but the soul takes some harder digging to really get to the bottom of and it is always worth the effort.
It’s nice to read about a travelers view on my home town. Recently I married someone from another city, Drobeta Turnu Severin, and his a fan and he sends me links from your site sometimes. We too are dreaming of traveling, his online job would be perfect for this.
I miss Bucharest, because I left my hole family there, but I love Severin because it is a very calm place to raise a family and it’s smaller and easier to get to know. When we go out for a stroll we can walk from a one end to another in just a hour.
Bucharest it’s a full city, even I didn’t get to those cafe/bars you mentioned, and you made ME curious and I will put those on my list to check out next time I visit my family, which will be on our way to a second honeymoon in Turkey.
I would love to know more about you travels in Romania, and maybe visit more than Bucharest, you should try the mountains, seaside, one day trips should be enough, and if yo decide to stop by Drobeta Turnu Severin, you would have a guide and a place to crash. My husband will love to get a chance to talk to you about traveling.
Have a great day!
Hey Alina – I’m definitely planning on traveling around Romania some more as well. I managed to get up to Transylvania last year a little but then it got too cold for me 🙂 But over the next few months I will try to explore as much as I possibly can in the country.
And thank you so much for the offer of a place to crash…I shall let you know whenever I’m in your area!
That will be great, and I can promise you that my husband is more fluent in English than me. And you will not have to worry about the weather, Severin has the highest temperatures in the country.
I hope to see you soon, or at least read about your other fun activities in Romania.
Are you still in Bucharest? I would love to grab a coffee with you and share some experience. How you feel about this?
Hey Stefi – I am still here and I’ll send you an email in a couple of minutes about meeting up 🙂
Did you by any chance meet a girl in Bucharest? 😉 Just kidding, you don’t have to answer that.
I really wanted to fall in love with Bucharest when I was there for 4 days but I just could not. I was appalled by how dirty it was in comparison to Chisinau and Kiev, both places I had spent a lot of time in and both capitals of non-EU countries. I also sent so many Couchsurfing requests even to just have a coffee/drink and no one responded which made me feel like maybe Romanians weren’t as open to meeting strangers. I’m not giving up on her just yet though so hopefully I will get another chance to visit again soon and see the side that’s made you extend your stay. I know places are more about the people so when you don’t have the chance to meet any, makes it a little less enjoyable IMO.
I do have to give a shout out though and say the hostel I stayed at (Green Frog Hostel) was the best part of my stay there. Clean rooms and sweet staff – actually ended up drinking a bottle of wine with the owners one night because I was so bored!
Hey Larissa – And this is a good example of how travel experiences in the same destination can differ so greatly between visitors! With the couchsurfing, I’ve actually found it to be quite the opposite as I generally meet up with couchsurfers almost every week for drinks/meals and have found everyone to be more than interested in meeting strangers. In fact, most of the travelers I’ve met here have stayed with couchsurfers as well as the community is quite active here.
I’ve told so many people that this is by far the easiest country to meet people that I have ever been to. It’s the only place in the world where I’m perfectly comfortable striking up a conversation with anyone, as it is usually met with a smile and a willingness to engage in more conversation.
But like I said, everyone interprets a destination differently, something that has always been fascinating to me 🙂 Next time though, you definitely need to spend more than 4 days here and I’m confident you’ll have a completely opposite experience.
And good to know about the hostel in case anyone I know is looking for a bed when they visit!
Hmm, interesting! Maybe it was just bad timing,a fluke thing. I would definitely love to give it another chance and hopefully while you are still there. Truth be told, a good karaoke session is probably all that is needed to change my mind 🙂
Hey Larissa – Karaoke in Bucharest is always a good experience!
Damn! I miss karaoke! 😀
Some of the places I love the most look pretty ugly at first. It’s how it makes me feel, and who I meet in various places that makes me fall in love, too!
Hey Ava – I’m the same…it’s all about the people I meet during my travels. And usually, we must stick around a place for a while in order to connect with locals and to build friendships as opposed to having a conversation with a couple of people and then moving on to the next destination.
“There’s a lot of gray, there’s no shortage of neglected buildings, communist-style apartment blocks and unattractive graffiti…”
I guess where most people would not find turned off by the that, I am intrigued. I really find this side of cities fascinating and worth exploring.
Hey Cal – That’s the attitude that works best, to be intrigued by every place instead of being turned off by some just because they don’t seem too attractive at first. There is always something to be discovered, something to be learned, in every single destination!
So Earl, when the heck are you going to get to Georgia? Not only do Georgians love to have their photos taken (unlike other former Soviet countries), they will tell you how lucky you are to be here, that you should marry a Georgian woman right away, settle here, and have children; and don’t you agree that Georgia is the best country in the world, the most beautiful, and that Georgians the best people, and why would you spend your time anywhere else?
Hey Mzuri – I’ll get there, I promise!! I will get there at some point over the summer for sure. Although, I’m not sure if I’m ready to get married yet 🙂
Couldn’t agree more with your philosophy of exploring one city for an extended period. Especially when traveling with children. What other cities would you recommend bedding down in for a while?
Hey Bethaney – There are so many great cities out there but some recommendations would be Istanbul; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Oaxaca, Mexico; Cape Town, South Africa; Singapore….those are a few ideas 🙂
Thanks for the suggestions. Will start looking into them. There are a few places we’ve got on our list – NYC, Paris, a little country town in Italy… but they’re all pretty obvious choices. Good to get an idea of some not so obvious choices.
Hey! Doesn’t relate to the post but I wanted to ask that have you ever made a post summarizing all the organizations that you have volunteered for during your travels? I’m a new reader of the blog but got the understanding that you have previously done volunteering work in a couple of different countries..? Do you have any experience with for example WWOOF, Help X or Workaway? I am planning on traveling around Europe next autumn if I don’t get into uni now and was thinking of doing at least a couple of months of volunteer work.
Hey Karo – I haven’t written such a post but it would actually be a tough one to write. Apart from the time that I volunteered for Mother Teresa’s Missions of Charity in Calcutta (which I did write about), my other volunteer stints have been much less formal and not necessarily through structured organizations. For example, while in the mountains of India, I volunteered teaching English and some computer skills to Tibetan refugees but it was just through a local man I met who was trying to teach these skills to newly arrived refugees in his own home.
I know a few people who have used HelpX and they have all had wonderful experiences so I would really recommend checking that out as well. I’ve actually yet to hear a negative thing about it and that’s from people who have used it all over the world!
I also like to travel in this manner 🙂 To be able to meet up with locals and see things beyond all the sightseeing is a blessing. And it is often not that difficult if you give it a try. There is a lot of nice people around the world 🙂
Hey Mikaela – Absolutely…nice people are everywhere! And these days, it’s so easy to make connections and arrange meetups before we even arrive in a destination!
Hopefully our paths can cross for at least an afternoon in Bucharest later this summer so you can show me some of these hidden gems!
Hey Amanda – I’m hoping that works out as well! Do let me know a couple of weeks before you arrive and we’ll go from there…
Oh Oh! If you are still in Bucharest, please visit the Buddha Cafe for me that also is a cigar house. It looked so divine, but I wasn’t there long enough to go inside.
Bucharest is considered the “Paris of the East” and I whole heartedly agreed during my short stay there! I liked the public gardens, the dark history of the Ceaucueacu (sp?) regime with the palace that now has modern art inside, and amazing food. I especially enjoyed the polenta with cheese.
Thanks for writing about Romania! It was one of my favorite countries. The only thing I thought was such a bummer was that so often when I met the very kind native inhabitants, they asked me: “Why would you come here to Romania?”
Aaaaaw. I’ll be here again, was my reply.
Hey Barbara – Thanks for the tip and I’ll certainly try and check out the Buddha Cafe soon. And I get that question a lot too. When I went to apply for a temporary residency visa, even the immigration staff couldn’t stop laughing at me as they asked why on earth I wanted to stay here for more than the 90 days that a tourist visa allows 🙂
We have such similar travel philosophies, love it! Enjoy your new home!!!
Gracias Andi…so far I’m enjoying it very much!
Great post again Earl.
Becoming a local is much better than visiting the local tourist traps. I agree that you get to really understand a place better when you get to see the nooks and crannies in the cities you visit.
The food looks great!
Hey Will – The food here is excellent! I was quite surprised by the variety and have eaten so many wonderful meals here so far.
Your post makes me wanna visit there even more. Thanks for sharing.
@Spinster – Let me know if you make it this way at any point!
Even though I am Romanian, Mark and I will be tourists in Bucharest in July, before starting our expedition through Europe, Africa, and the Americas . I am from a small town in Transylvania and I didn’t have a chance to explore Bucharest before I left for Japan 10 years ago … We’ll stay with relatives, but it would be great to do some exploring with you while we are there.
Our new website is a work in progress, but you can see some of our previous travels at http://www.marks-world.org
Hey Corina and Mark – That sounds like a great trip you have lined up! And it will be interesting to see your thoughts on Romania now that you’ll come back after such a long time away 🙂 And please do let me know when you get here as I’d love to meet up and explore some of the city with you both.
Great – we’ll let you know closer to the date. July 7th we have a wedding party to go to at “Carul cu bere”, so it’s going to be 3-4 days before or after.
On July 7th it’s Mark’s birthday and I was inspired by your post about the blind restaurant, so we’ll check it out 🙂
Looking forward to meeting you soon!
And food/wine is certainly one of my favorite parts of a city 🙂 Just looking at that feast picture….gah, I gotta get something to eat now!!!
I think the most important thing to take away from this is that immersion travel (what I myself practice/preach) is the only way to truly uncover a destination. Backpacking is like skim-reading a book; you’ll never uncover the truly hidden gems of local secrecy.
I haven’t been to Bucharest, but it sounds a lot like Sofia, Bulgaria; dirty, old and at face value not much more than yet another city with another layer of old-world European charm trying to vie for attention with the new-world chaos of modern living. But once you scratch the surface you discover the gleam of something golden lurking beneath the layers of grime; a thousands-of-years-old history and culture just waiting to be discovered, if only people take the time to invest more than 2-3 weeks of jetting through.
Hey T.W. – That describes Bucharest quite well 🙂 And luckily, it doesn’t take too long to uncover the hidden places here, it just takes a little effort. Once you meet some locals, which is quite easy to do, they’ll lead you in the right direction. So the key is to not run away as soon as you arrive just because the city isn’t full of beautiful buildings.
Another great post, Earl. I totally agree with you about the advantages of long-term travel. That’s one of the reasons I live in Turkey. Spending a few days looking at landmarks is a very different experience from living in and actually getting to know a place.
Hey Ellen – Seems like we’re on the same page 🙂 And living in a place for an extended period of time is even more rewarding as it’s a great feeling to have a strong connection with a city/culture instead of always feeling like an outsider. Going to the local store, getting to know your neighbors, navigating local transport with ease…those offer their own benefits that you can’t get from just visiting tourist sights and then moving on to the next place.
Ooh interesting. Romania is definitely on my list but lots of people have told me not to bother with Bucharest. Looks like it’s be worth checking out, at least for lunch 🙂
Hey Roy – That’s exactly what people told me too.. But after reading your posts, you seem like the kind of guy who is always up for a random wander and exploration, and if you do that here, you’ll be sure to find some interesting spots and enjoy yourself quite a bit!
I’ll be quick and blunt, you hit the nail right on the head! Your style of travel is exactly the way I like to travel. The more posts you make on this topic, the more people there will be who will finally become enlightened travelers.
Hey Steve – I figured we would share the same interest in this type of travel style 🙂 And while I have nothing against fast travel (which I did for many years myself), I really find the benefits of slow travel to far more rewarding.
We got no more than a glimpse of the city from our few days there, but I did find it a likeable place. A little seedy around the edges maybe but the people were friendly and there seemed to be a good social scene.
Hey Shane – This city definitely has its seediness but overall, people here are quite laid-back and very interesting in just enjoying life and having a good time. Once you get to know a few people, one can have a really good time here.
Hi, Earl. Thanks for this post about Bucharest. My partner and I are traveling there later this week, and I’m really looking forward to it. We’re fortunate — we are visiting with a local friend who plans to show us the town, to help us maximize our time there. We’re also heading to Brashov and our friend’s home town (and have the opportunity to spend the night in his parents’ home, which I’m very happy about).
Anyway, just wanted to say I’m glad to have stumbled on your blog about a month ago, and that I enjoy and appreciate your work.
Hey Mark – That’s excellent that you’re headed to Bucharest. I know you’ll be with your friend but if you have any questions, just let me know! And I’m sure you’ll love Brasov as well, very cool town. Do let me know how your trip goes in the end as I’ll be curious to hear your impressions…