The main train station in Bucharest is Gara de Nord. It is about 3 km northwest of the city center, considering Piatta Universitate as the center. It is the place where almost all national and international trains arrive. To get there, the best option is the subway, since there is a station with the same name (see the article on HOW TO GET AROUND IN BUCHAREST).
- International. You could say that they are very slow and scarce; They make many stops and usually require some transfer. There are only trains to Chisinau (Moldova), Kiev (Ukraine), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Budapest (Hungary). Through Budapest, all other trains from European countries arrive, and the journey between both cities is approximately 14 hours, no less (they are about 850 km, around 530 miles). Even to go to neighboring Belgrade we will also have to stop in Budapest and it could take more than two days to arrive.
- Nationals are not too efficient either, but they are an acceptable way to travel in Romania. They take practically the same as if we go by car, but they are faster than buses, although somewhat more expensive. Some of the main destinations are:
|Destination||Price in 2nd class (lei)||Duration (hours)||Number of daily departures|
The official Romanian railways website is very poor, and is only written in Romanian. It does not allow you to buy tickets online, so we must buy them in person. A website that allows to purchase them and is in English, although you have to write the names of the stations in Romanian, is CFR Calatori, much more recommended.
There are lockers to leave luggage near the Information booth.
The station is a very undesirable place at night, where scams and robberies occur, especially in relation to taxi drivers. For more information, see the article DANGERS IN BUCHAREST.
In Romania there is no main bus station as such in each city, but each company has its own “station”, which is sometimes little more than a field or parking lot. Bucharest, although it is the capital, is no exception. The main bus companies are:
- Memento Bus is considered the best bus company in the country. Its station, which is one of the few proper bus stations, is about 700 meters west of Gara de Nord, the exact address is Șoseaua Orhideelor 49. It has 5 services a day to Brasov (42 lei, 3h30m), between other destinations. To buy the tickets, we recommend its official website or getbybus website, a reliable option for the countries in Central Europe. Tickets of the rest of the companies cannot be purchased on getbybus, but we can use autogari.ro website.
- Autogara Militari. 8 km west of the center, very close to Pacii metro station (line 3). It is important because in addition to local buses, especially to the west of Bucharest, it is where Flixbus, one of the largest (if not the largest) European bus companies, with international routes.
- Other options:
- Autogara Diego. Destinations to the northeast of the country, near Moldova: Iaşi, Piatra Neamţ or Suceava.
- Autogara Filaret. 3 km south of Piaţa Universităţii. Local and international destinations (most in the south of the country).
- CDI. Local Destinations.
Romania is an intermediate-sized country, smaller than it may appear on the map, with a total area comparable to that of the United Kingdom, and its shape is rounded. Both features are favorable when visiting a country, since it is normal for us to take no more than three hours to get from one city to another of tourist interest.
Taking into account the not very effective public transport, going with our own vehicle or renting one can be a good option; The international companies Avis, Sixt, Europcar, Hertz, Budget and Enterprise have offices in different parts of the country, and they are all at Bucharest airport. There are also some Romanian companies.
But we must always keep in mind that Romania is packed with scenic mountain roads. This is something excellent in landscape terms, but that also makes it a country where special care must be taken when driving, especially in winter, when snow or ice usually appear; also in rural areas, caution should be exercised with pedestrians or animals (especially feral dogs) that cross the roads. Night lighting could also be improved in these areas.
Although in general, driving patiently and out of the winter months, we should not have any problems, these circumstances make their road accident rates the highest in the European Union along with those in Bulgaria, even though there is no alcohol rate allowed, all drivers who pass a test must get 0.0 or it can be considered a crime; According to Romanian laws, getting over 0.8 alcohol rate is punishable by up to 5 years in jail.
If we do not want to drive, we may want to travel the country by bicycle, as my father did in 2013. Years later he continues to say that Romania has been one of his best cycling trips. Many of the secondary roads, especially those near highways, will have little vehicle traffic, and as we have mentioned, landscape possibilities are many. Most trains allow bicycles to get on, usually after paying 10 extra lei; on CFR Calatori website, the trains that allow it have a bicycle-shaped symbol; even in those that theoretically do not allow it, the conductor will authorize it if there is enough space.
Even so, it must be taken into account that not all the roads are in good condition, that some drivers drive like car thieves, that we could run into herds of stray dogs and that it is convenient to carry basic spare parts, since in many villages we could find a very limited range of them.
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