Is Romania Safe to Visit?
Despite being one of the cheapest countries in Europe, Romania has an incredible infrastructure, super-fast internet, a lot of spoken English, and is a delightfully peaceful and friendly country. So, in short, yes, Romania is very safe to visit. It’s a country with a long and turbulent history of political corruption, but today it has mellowed into a clean and respectable democratic nation filled with approachable and gentle locals. Safety in Romania is of top priority and all but guaranteed.
Is Romania safe?
When you head out on your Romania travel, the first thing you’ll notice is the disparate nature of the country. The capital of Bucharest, as well as the other few bigger cities, are modernised places with fantastic train systems, all of the home comforts you’d expect and, again, some of the fastest internet in the world! But if you venture out into the countryside, you’ll find a dramatically different world.
The towns and villages of Romania, especially in Transylvania, still favour horse-and-carts over cars and buses. There’s a medieval atmosphere to this rural Romanian world, and it’s quite mystifying. Both of these worlds, however – the modern cities and the medieval towns – are incredibly safe, with little danger of being a victim of crime or abuse. However, no country is completely devoid of crime or violence, and there are some steps you should take and things you should be aware of to ensure your safety is guaranteed during your Romania travel.
First of all, consider travel insurance. Accidents happen to anyone at any time. You could sprain your ankle or fall down the stairs. You could be struck down by allergies you didn’t expect. To that end, travel insurance is absolutely paramount. Let this be the first of your big Romania safety tips: get yourself some travel insurance before you go.
Common Crimes in Romania
While Romania is very safe with regards to your physical safety (violent crime is incredibly low, and the likelihood of natural disasters and terror attacks is close to zero), crimes connected to theft do occur, and are something you should be aware of. You shouldn’t ever feel unsafe in Romania, but your valuables and belongings can be at risk.
This is the big one, and the crime travellers are most at risk from. This is simply because, by its very nature, pickpocketing is done silently. Thieves in Romania are expert, swift, and quiet. Often, visitors to Romania don’t realise they’ve been pickpocketed until long after the crime happened, so seamlessly do pickpockets make their moves. This is certainly the crime you need to be most wary of.
Once again, getting travel insurance is paramount here. If anything is stolen, it’s covered by your insurance. But, of course, there are things that you can do to prevent being pickpocketed at all. First of all, don’t attract pickpockets in the first place. They often slip expensive watches from travellers’ wrists, so make sure you don’t wear any expensive looking jewellery – nothing that will tempt thieves into action. Another thing you can do is avoid carrying too much with you when you’re on the subway or the street.
A lot of pickpockets move in gangs and you’ll find them at train and subway stations. Minimise your visibility by just having a few items in your pockets, and keep them specifically in your front pockets. If you don’t have pockets and you rely on having a purse, then keep it held close to you at all times. A common practice amongst pickpockets is to use a sharp knife to cut open purses and handbags, and silently sneak away with their contents without you even knowing.
One final note on pickpockets is that a lot of them are children, so don’t be fooled by vulnerable groups of children in the cities. It’s very likely they’ll take the chance to steal something of yours if you let your guard down. All of this can sound a little scary and stressful but, honestly, it’s not. Pickpocketing is a common crime in safe cities all over the world, including Paris, Rome, London, and most big cities in the US. And just another gentle reminder that violent crimes are extremely rare. Just be savvy around pickpockets.
Romania is quite a conservative country, and prejudice can be visible there. Fortunately for visitors to Romania, much of this prejudice is targeted at the local Roma people – Romanian gypsy travellers. So this is not going to affect you, though of course it still might bother you.
Something that can affect visitors, however, is prejudice towards homosexuals. Homosexuality is legal in Romania and there are laws in place to curtail hate crimes, but they do still happen. So, if you are a member of the LGBTQ community travelling Romania, just be aware that experiencing some prejudice is not wholly uncommon. While none of us should have to hide any aspect of ourselves, it is, of course, worth it to avoid violence and abuse, especially when we’re on vacation.
Road Safety in Romania
This is a bit of a double-edged sword. As mentioned, Romania is a country of two worlds: the urban and the rural. Urban Romania’s roads are not all that safe. People can drive quite recklessly and are known for talking on their phones while driving. Tailgating is also a big problem, and it can make you feel quite anxious and nervous. However, driving out in the countryside is peaceful and stress-free. This is mostly because of the added space and the far lower number of cars on the road.
If you’re looking to drive in Romania, the best approach is to rely on public transport when you’re in Bucharest. There’s a great subway network (the subway trains even have wifi) so you don’t need to rent a car. But renting a car in Romania is definitely worth it to see the beautiful landscape. Fortunately, that’s when driving is at its safest. So, head out to a smaller town on a train and then rent a car from there. Then, you’re free to use your rental car to see all the other small towns and villages without having to worry about other drivers.
Other articles you will love:
- 26 Unique Things to do in Romania
- 10 of the Best Cities in Romania to Visit
- How to Get from Bucharest to Transylvania + the best stops!
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