Bucharest Info


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Travelwise Information

 
Landing in Bucharest
 

Bucharest International Airport – Henri Coandă – Otopeni, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km away from the center of Bucharest, opened in 1970 and recently extended, is a modern international airport with direct connections with many European and international airports, with important commercial (Tarom – the Romanian national airline, Air France, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways etc.) and low cost (Blue Air – Romanian low cost carrier, Wizz Air, Ryan Air, Pegasus, Fly Dubai etc.) airlines landing at Otopeni.
 
Transfer to Bucharest
 
After you take your luggage, you can rent a car inside the airport, take a taxi, take the public transport to the center of Bucharest or wait for the hotel shuttle. Rent a car – there are international and local companies renting sedans or limousines or operating transfers from the airport to the hotel or elsewhere in Bucharest. There are more than 40 private taxi companies operating in Bucharest, and the average tariff is 1.39 lei/km, displayed on the car taxi doors. When you are inside the car and start to go to Bucharest, be aware that the counter is ON, otherwise when you arrive at the hotel, you can pay to the taxi driver more than double. We recommend you to avoid the “rapid taxis” waiting at the lower level and look for the fully automated (with multiple language options) touchscreens from the arrivals hall, where you can select your taxi and you will get a printed ticket from the touchscreen machines showing the taxi arrival time and the taxi ID number and company name. An average trip from airport to Bucharest cost around 35 lei (8 euro). There are also two public transport bus stations underneath the arrivals hall for: 783 line going to Piața Victoriei – Piața Romană – Piața Universițătii – Piata Unirii and 780 line going to Gara de Nord. Their timetable is between 05:00 to 23:00 and arrive every 30-40 minutes. You need to purchase before boarding an Activ Card from the little kiosk at the exit. The card costs 3.7 lei and the trip cost is 7 lei (one way).
 
Public Transport
 
The public transport in Bucharest is covering almost all Bucharest as well as much of its surroundings. Tickets are cheap (1.3 lei per trip with the buses, trams and trolley buses) but the service is often poor and usually in the morning and in the evening most of the buses, trams and trolley buses are overcrowded. RATB (buses, trams and trolley buses) program is starting at 4.30 A.M. and finish at 11.00 P.M. In the night time is the night public transport (less extensive than the daily transport) and all buses start from Piata Unirii. To travel with buses, trams and trolley buses you need to buy an active card before climbing inside. These cards costs 3.7 lei and can be bought and loaded with tickets from the little kiosks from the RATB stations. The card is debited for every trip in the moment when you validate it at the orange devices located on buses, trams and trolley buses. Children under the age of seven travel free, but after that age they need to pay a full price ticket. METRO was first opened in 1979 and was built to ship workers from the vast housing estates of the districts of Bucharest out to the huge factories located at the margins of Bucharest. Tickets for Metro trips can be purchased at the entrance in every Metro station (signalled with M). Tickets valid for 2 trips cost 5 lei, for 10 trips cost 20 lei and you can also buy a ticket for the whole day with 8 lei or for one week with 25 lei. The program for the Metro starts at 4.30. A.M. and the last train is usually at 11.00 P.M.
 
Trains
 
The main railway station from Bucharest is Gara de Nord where almost all trains (domestic and international) are stopping. Domestic trains in Romania are state owned (most of them belonging to SNCFR) but also there are private owned trains. In the last 20 years trains in Romania faced a tough competition from domestic busses who were more flexible, more faster and very often more cheap than trains. Tickets can be bought from the ticket offices from Gara de Nord and also online at least 24 hours in advance. If you buy tickets from Gara de Nord take care that sometimes the lines at the ticket offices can be long so do not leave buying a ticket to the last minute cause you can lose the train.
 
Money, exchange rate and credit cards
 
The Romanian currency is the leu divided into 100 bani. You can change a small amount of money at the exchange house in the airport, but the best exchange rate you can find at banks or exchange houses in Bucharest. MasterCard and VISA credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Romania, while American Express cards or other cards including Diner’s Club, are less widely accepted. The exchange rate is established daily by the National Bank of Romania.
 
Tourist Information Center
 
If you need information about what you can visit in Bucharest and Romania and also if you need free maps or to book free tours and day tours in Bucharest and Romania, you can visit us in the heart of the Old Town in Bucharest at our Volunteer Tourist and Information Center at Lipscani street nr. 47, Monday – Friday between 10.00 – 19.00 and Saturday between 10.00 – 16.00.
 
Safety and things to avoid
 
Bucharest is one of the safest cities in Europe. Also Romania is a very safe country and violent crime is rare. Police is less corrupt and keeps a visual presence on the city streets especially in crowded areas. Pickpockets are a problem in Bucharest especially in crowded places and public transport (crowded buses or metro). You shall not keep money in backpacks or coat pockets and do not leave bags alone in public places. Taxis with special fares shall be avoided since they can charge you exorbitant fares. The average tariff is 1.39 lei/ km clearly displayed on the car doors, and before starting the trip, the taxi driver must start the meter. Beggars and unlicensed street vendors can approach you on the streets asking for money or trying to sell you all kind of perfumes, jewels, watches or cigarettes at bargain prices. Avoid them since their intentions are often completely different. Street food especially in the summer time shall be avoided since cakes, pies, sandwiches or other food kept in unhygienic conditions can cause you some troubles. Water – tap water is drinkable but most Romanians prefer bottled water.
 
Foreign Languages
 
Many Romanians and especially in Bucharest knows English. In Restaurants, Hotels or Shops but often also on streets you can ask people for the information you need and they will be happy to help you.
 
Electricity
 
Like in all Europe (with the exception of UK) electric devices run on 220 V. Other devices usually needs an adapting device and a transformer to work properly.
 
Internet
 
Internet in Bucharest and Romania is in the worldwide top 10. Almost all hotels have free wireless internet (sometimes you might need a password) but also in many other places like restaurants, museums, shopping malls if you use mobile phones or tablets you can easily get on the Internet. But to feel more “worldwide connected” you can buy a SIM Card from the mobile operator’s shops located almost in every street corner.
 
Stray Dogs
 
If you read in your travel guide about Romania that in Bucharest there is a problem with the stray dogs, you need to update the travel guide. Since 2014 when the municipality of Bucharest decided to create the so called “dog towns” nearby Bucharest, to sterilize all the existing dogs and to convince people to adopt a dog, the number of the stray dogs decreased from 65.000 down to maximum 4.000 today and even less. So today the stray dogs is a problem of the past, but if, by accident, you are bitten during your stay in Bucharest, you shall present yourself at once to the casualty unit (Camera de Gardă) at the Institutul Matei Balș, str. Calistrat Grozovici, nr. 1, tel. 021 318 60 90, where the wound will be cleaned up, and you will be administrated both an anti-tetanus and the first of the three anti-rabies jabs (the other two must be done 7 and 21 days after the first one) and you will receive a prescription for a treatment with antibiotics.
 
Left Luggage
 
If you are just crossing bucharest and have only several hours to visit the city there are left luggage lockers in some points in Bucharest. Some of them also have plugs where you can charge your phones. They usually cost from 5 lei for 3 hours to 10 lei for 10 hours.

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