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Country Reports

Romania Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Romania (population 21.6 million) is generally a low-risk destination, although many travel-related sectors (security, tourist infrastructure, medical services) remain underdeveloped.

CRIME

Although crime is generally not violent, crimes against tourists (e.g. robbery, pickpocketing) are common, and sometimes violent. Theft is common in the capital Bucharest and other urban areas. Organized bands of young kids and teenagers pickpocket mostly on public transportation (bus, subway, and trains), bus stations, train stations, and subway stations, as well as airports, and shopping centers. Stations and public transportation should be avoided after the nightfall.

Travelers using intercity trains should be particularly careful to always watch their personal belongings. It is advised to never travel alone and to avoid night trains.

Theft also occurs in restaurants. Never leave your bag unattended and or place your bag or coat over the back of your chair. Never accept cigarettes, food or drink from strangers.

Credit card fraud is also one of the most common crimes against foreigners. Always keep an eye on your credit card and use ATMs inside banks when possible to withdraw cash. Theft of passports and other personal belongings inside hotel rooms have also been reported. Use the hotel safe to protect valuables.

It is advised to avoid Bucharest's Ferentari neighborhood where crime rates linked to drugs are especially high.

Organized crime exists in the country through many different activities (e.g. drug trafficking, counterfeiting of cigarettes, alcohol, weapons, human trafficking, cars theft, cybercrime, gambling, fraud and extortion).

POLITICS

The country's next legislative elections are set to take place in 2020, while the next presidential election will be held in 2019.

SOCIAL UNREST

It should also be noted that social movements and protests are common. Ongoing large-scale protests erupted on January 18, 2017 an. These protests started as demonstrations against the government adopting measures to pardon and reduce the sentence of prisoners and the decriminalization of corruption by emergency decrees. In response, the government retracted the decrees on February 10. However, the protesters are now demanding the complete dissolution of the government. These are the largest countrywide protests since 1989.

It is advised to avoid any protest or gathering. 

NATURAL RISKS

Romania contains some of the most seismically-active zones found in Europe. Small earthquakes occur yearly and large earthquakes every 30 to 50 years. In 1977, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 killed 1500 people and caused significant material damage to downtown Bucharest.

Flooding is also a common occurrence. In September 2005, the country experienced its worst floods since 1970, in which 23 people were killed (Vrancea county; 14,000 people evacuated).

When traveling in the Romanian mountains, it is advised to take precautions for bear encounters. Do not approach bears by any means and give them enough space to run away. Do not make any sudden movement and do not scream. Tourists have often been hurt and killed by bears.

HEALTH

It is essential to take out a health insurance policy before departure that covers healthcare abroad, as well as medical evacuation and repatriation.

Romanian medical facilities and hospitals are far below Western standards. Due to poor sanitary regulations, diseases contracted from contaminated food are common, including diarrheal diseases (e.g. tourista), hepatitis A (20,000 cases annually), typhoid fever, and salmonella.

Outbreaks of meningitis, West Nile Virus, and conjunctivitis are also reported. Cases of Lyme disease (mainly between March and September) and tick-borne encephalitis (April-October) are reported each year, particularly in rural areas. It is strongly advised to take precautions while in wooded areas: cover your legs, arms, and feet and inspect your entire body after the outing.

The country has an elevated number of tuberculosis cases.

Finally, avoid all contact with stray animals due to the risk of contracting rabies. In Bucharest stray dogs have been known to bite walkers and joggers. The main line of defense against rabies is to avoid contact with both domestic and wild mammals. If you are scratched or bitten, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

TRANSPORTATION

Outside of large cities and main highways, roads are generally in poor condition, often narrow and unlit. However, the road network is being renovated. There are two highways linking Bucharest to Pitesti or to Constanta. The roads in the Oltenia and the Moldavia regions are in poor condition. Thus, in these regions and in remote areas, extreme vigilance is advised at night due to the lack of proper street lighting. Horse-drawn carts, agricultural vehicles, cyclists, and vehicles without taillights or reflectors are common. Moreover, drivers can be very aggressive.

It is necessary for drivers to display a sticker (rovignette). This sticker is available at border posts, post offices and at some gas stations. Vehicles are required to be fitted with snow tires during the winter.

The railway network is thorough and in good condition. However, the comfort of the trains varies. Buses are a good alternative mode of transportation from town to town. They are comfortable, fast, and frequent.

To travel by taxi, travelers should only use formal taxis with a meter and with displayed prices. Taxis are usually inexpensive. Do not ride a taxi alone to go to remote areas. Travelers wanting to go to Bucharest from the airport by taxi should ask at the kiosk at the terminal exit.

OTHER

The LGBTQ+ community is not well accepted by Romanians although homosexuality is no longer illegal.

Despite being a member of the European Union since 2007, Romania is not a part of the visa and border checkpoint-free Schengen Area. Due to high level of organized crime and insufficient judicial reforms, the EU has kept Romania out of the area. The country does not use the euro, but its national currency, the leu.

Climate

Romania has a continental climate with significant temperature changes from season to season. Summers are hot, sometimes scorching in certain regions (Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania in particular); temperatures are milder along the coast of the Black Sea and in the mountains. Summers and autumns are short with pleasant temperatures during the day and cool nights. Winters are long, harsh, and dry (with the exception of regions around the Black Sea).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 40 Police: 955 or 112 Fire Dept.: 955 or 112 Ambulance: 955 or 112

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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