Romania is a mysterious and even a bit mystical country -everyone has probably heard a lot about Count Dracula, who once lived here. If you decide to visit Romania, you will definitely not regret the time spent. But modern tourists are increasingly focused on freedom and independence while traveling, so a road trip is one of the best options to see all the country’s attractions.
The total length of roads in Romania is about 200,000 km. The majority of the routes have high-quality coverage and comprehensive information content.
However, it is better to learn road rules if you are planning a trip to Romania in your own or rented car. It will help reach the most remote corners of the country and minimize interaction with local police.
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How to rent a car in Romania?
The rules of renting a car in Romania are the same as in many other European countries:
- You will need an international driving permit, a passport and a credit card for a deposit;
- You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car. The age may be higher depending on the vehicle. Some agencies take an additional fee from divers under 25;
- Your driving experience should not be less than 12 months;
To save money, it is worth booking a car ahead of time – several weeks or even months before the trip. Note that many cars available for rent are with a manual transmission, so pay attention to this detail when booking a vehicle.
In most cases, all car rental offers include one of the basic insurance policies: damage insurance with a deductible, insurance against theft with a deductible, third-party liability insurance.
Always check what deductible you will have to pay from your pocket. Insurance policy should not necessarily be obtained via a rental service. You can purchase car hire excess insurance using 3rd party insurers such as CarInsuRent.
You must pay a toll to use roads outside the cities. In Romania, it is called a vignette (rovinieta). Vignettes can be purchased at gas stations, large shopping malls, as well as at any post office. When paying the fee, the operator enters card details in the electronic database and issues a receipt with the above data.
The information in the database is stored throughout the vignette. The amount of the fee depends on the category of the vehicle and the validity period. The cost of a car vignette in Romania is very affordable – you can get it for 7 days at € 3.00, for 30 days at €7.00, 90 days – €13.00, 1 year – €28.00.
Vignettes are monitored either automatically at fixed points where the system’s cameras are installed or on the road by police crews. A fine for driving without a vignette is €55.00 – 110.00. Bridges and ferries are available at an additional cost.
Main road rules
Driving in Romania is not much different from driving in most western countries. Here are the main ones:
- Standard speed limits for the cars are 50 km/h within settlements, 100km/h outside settlements, 130km/h on motorways.
- Seat belts must be worn by the driver and all passengers in the car.
- The maximum allowed blood alcohol level is 0.0%.
- Dipped beam headlamps are obligatory 25 hours a day.
- A mobile phone can be used with a hands-free system while driving.
- Must-have accessories include a warning triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and a reflective vest.
In case you have been fined for the violation of the above rules, you will need to settle it within 15 days. You can pay it in a bank, post office or any Romanian tax office.
In tourist cities, almost all parking is paid, even those that are far from the center. You will have to pay from €0.5 to 1.5 per hour. There are also many underground parking lots, which are even slightly cheaper than street parking.
The underground car parks are fully automatic. You can also find free parking lots – these are usually marked with a white sign.
Therefore, when choosing a hotel, pay attention to the fact that you are provided with parking or that there is a place to park nearby.
Romania is open for tourists at any time of the year. But the best season for traveling by car is the period from the beginning of May to the end of September.
It is the period of the most favorable weather, and travelers have access to the most beautiful mountain route of the country – the Transfagarasi highway.