Money

Currency

Though part of the European Union, Romania has not yet adopted the sole currency of the Union. Getting familiar with the national currency of Romania before actually traveling to Bucharest is advisable, in order not to become a victim of possible deceits.

The national currency of Romania is the leu (plural, lei), with subunits called ban (plural, bani) (1 leu consisting of 100 bani). Notes refer to banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lei, whereas coins refer to 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani.

Money exchange

Certain large-scale commercial transactions can me made in euros, but mainstream tourists are highly unlikely to face such situations. This is why, for the usual payments tourists generally make (restaurants, transportation, nightlife venues, admission to sundry tourist sights, shopping) they need to have lei.

In order to exchange money, visitors should turn to the exchange desks and offices which can be spotted throughout the city, and which generally offer convenient exchange rates. As a rule, the exchange desks do not hold commissions for such transactions, but in order to make sure, one should always look for the 0% sign commonly displayed on the window of the venue. Furthermore, damaged notes will hardly be accepted, and this is yet another issue one must make sure will not stand in the way of their currency exchange transaction.

A valid identification document (identification card or passport) will be required in order to finalize the transaction.

Banks and ATMs

In Bucharest there are tens of banks (main offices and branch offices alike) which provide the best exchange rates. Numerous ATMs can also be spotted throughout the city, and tourists in need of cash can rely on these devices 24 hours a day.

Communications

Post offices

In Bucharest, given both the size of the city and its status of capital of Romania, there are tens of post offices. They provide a wide range of postal services, but for updated information on each of these offices, visit Poşta Română (the Romanian Post).

These are the contact information of the main post office in Bucharest:

Bucharest 1 Post Office

Name:
Bucharest 1 Post Office (Oficiul Poştal Bucureşti 1)
Address:
12, Strada Matei Millo, district 1, Bucharest, Romania
Telephone:
0040 021 9393 / 0040 021 9393111
Website:
www.posta-romana.ro

Telephones

There are plenty of public phones in Bucharest, and in order to use them, tourists must buy phone cards available at the post offices.

In order to make a landline call from abroad to Romania, one must first dial the country code (0040), the area code for Bucharest (which is 021 or 031, depending on the telephone network) and then enter the phone number proper, which consists of 7 digits.

Internet connection

In Bucharest, getting access to the Internet should not become an issue. Most hotels include this offer in their package of services. On top of that, there are plenty of Internet cafes able to cater for the needs of those in search of a quick connection to the Internet. Furthermore, the major shopping centers and the malls in Bucharest offer free wireless connection to the Internet. So, as far as this issue is concerned, the possibilities are virtually unlimited.

Useful numbers and addresses

Ambulance service

Name:
Ambulance service
Telephone:
0040 021 961 / 0040 021 973

Fire department

Name:
Fire department
Telephone:
0040 021 981

Road Police

Name:
Road Police
Telephone:
0040 021 9544

Civil Guard

Name:
Civil Guard
Telephone:
0040 021 1982

Bucharest City Hall

Name:
Bucharest City Hall
Address:
291-293, Splaiul Independenţei, district 6, Bucharest, Romania
Telephone:
0040 021 9844 / 0040 021 3055550
Fax:
0040 021 3120030
Website:
www.pmb.ro

Others

Customs regulations

Romania is not exempt from the customs regulations enforced in the European Union. Thus, tourists are not allowed to bring, for instance, more than 200 cigarettes and 2 litters of liquor. As a particular feature, the border checkpoints (for tourists who travel by bus or by car) can get quite crowded during the summer season or during the traditional religious holidays (such as the winter holidays). By comparison, this is yet another feature which should determine tourists to choose flights over any other means of getting to Bucharest.

Documents

In order to enter Romania, European Union citizens must present a valid identity card. Travelers who come to Romania from outside the European Union must hold a valid passport.

Time zone

2 hours ahead of GMT (summer time)

Tap water

Though drinkable, tap water should be ruled out in favor of bottled water. Usually, most locals do not complain about the quality of tap water, but bottled water is universally safer to drink.

Pickpockets and stray dogs

Bucharest is not a violent city, but it did gain the sad reputation of a hub of petty thieves. Most pickpockets choose crowded public places to operate, with a preference, so to say, for the public means of transport. This is why wallets and sundry valuables should not be kept carelessly, but out of sigh, in pockets out of the reach of these professionals.

Stray dogs, on the other hand, are a perpetual issue of the capital of Romania. There have been cases of reported tragic incidents of people bitten to death by the stray dogs of Bucharest. These cases are not, however, symbolic of what one might discover in Bucharest, but they do bring a touch of grayness to the already grayish set of the city.

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