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29 / 12 / 2013 provides everything you need to plan your holiday - unbiased travel information based on extensive, personal travel and an unparallelled network of local specialists.

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Transfers, Taxis and Trains: our guide to travelling about in Romania
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Bucharest North Station (Gara de Nord)

To book your perfect holiday
please contact:

01900 838570

A quaity, personal service by
travel experts in your local area

This page provides information on flights, rail services, transfer and meet & greet services in Romania, and also general advise for travelling in the country. Additional links at the bottom of the page direct you to information about transport in Austria, Bulgaria and Cumbria - the Lake District.


Please refer to our Flights ('Planes') page for information about international flights to Romania. Please note that prices are often lower if travelling midweek. Early booking is strongly recommended for busy periods including Easter, Christmas and weekends during the summer holidays.

British Airways and Tarom both operate a direct, daily return service between London Heathrow and Bucharest Otopeni airports. Times are subject to change but the Tarom schedule is less convenient for those wishing to travel onwards into Transylvania - the outward arrival misses the night sleeper train connections, and the return flight leaves early so a night in Bucharest may be required. However, Tarom offer excellent international connections to and from Timisoara, Cluj and Iasi, and less frequently to Târgu Mures and Sibiu. Other European airlines also provide daily connections to Bucharest, and Timisoara, from the United Kingdom but require a brief change of planes in Europe. Some, such as KLM and Czech Airlines offer excellent connections from many UK regional airports.
Carpatair fly between Timisoara and several cities in Germany and Italy, and between Cluj and Budapest. Wizz Air fly from Cluj to Bucharest in addition to numerous international destinations from several Romanian cities.

Please refer to Bucharest, Timisoara and Flight pages for further details.

Travelling in Romania


Bucharest Otopeni (Tarom) to/from:
Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi
Târgu Mures, Sibiu, Oradea
Arad, Satu Mare, Baia Mare

Timisoara (Carpatair) to/from:
Oradea, Cluj, Sibiu, Iasi,
Bacau and Chisinau (Moldova)


Târgu Mures-Deda-Brasov


Bucharest-Pitesti-Craiova-Târgu Jiu
Cluj-Baia Mare-Satu Mare
Vatra Dornei - Iasi
Look out for new services


Bucharest Nord to/from:

Cluj, Târgu Mures, Bistrita
Satu Mare, Sighet, Zalau
Oradea, Arad, Hunedoara
Timisoara, Resita Sud
Suceava, Vatra Dornei, Botosani


Bucharest Nord to/from:

Venice, Vienna, Budapest, Prague
Bratislava, Kosice, Krakow
Belgrade, Sofia,
Thessaloniki, Istanbul
Moscow, Kiev, Chisinau

Please note: all schedules
are subject to change.
Please check details on the
CFR Website
and double check at your station
prior to departure

To book your perfect holiday
we recommend:

0800 074 7800

A quaity, personal service by
travel experts in your local area

Car Hire

We recommend RCR-Rodna Rental for their wide range of vehicles, good value and excellent personal service. One way pick-ups or drop-offs are usually possible and they can often organise hire cars locally. All cars are new and well-maintained. They also offer special vehicles such as limousines, SUVs and people carriers, or a car with a driver. Driving in Romania is on the right-hand side, like the rest of continental Europe. Most major trunk roads are in good condition, following an intensive road reconstruction programme. However, traffic on arterial roads can be heavy with large trucks, vans and minibuses jockeying for position while many cities are congested during the day! Secondary roads are variable in condition but traffic is light so it becomes a pleasure to drive if you are not a hurry. It is important to slow down in villages and on country road where encounters with horse-drawn carts, flocks of geese and other livestock are common place. For the same reasons driving at night can be hazardous and is not recommended.

Please refer to our Advice and Car Hire pages for additional information about drivng conditions.

Check out this excellent
website for clear information
about schedules and
how to book your
international rail journey:

Meet & Greet Services and Transfers

Efficient, inexpensive transfer are available through reputable travel agents in the UK and Romania. You can be collected from any major airport, and some railways stations or hotels, and taken to your destination. Most of the vehicles used by suppliers we recommend in Bucharest are new, air-conditioned Mercedes Vito people carriers with room for several guests and luggage.

Escort services are available if you have a long wait before your train departs, comprising a brief city tour and stop at a bar or restaurant. If you prefer to explore the city on your the escorts will look after your baggage. However, please note that for transfers from Bucharest Otopeni Airport to central Bucharest or the North station can take 90 minutes due to severa traffic congestion, especially around Baneasa. This means that you should allow a minimum of 3 hours between flight arrival and the departure of trains from Bucharest Nord station. An alternative option if you are taking a train north into Transylvania, is to book a transfer from the airport to Ploiesti, a journey of about 60 minutes. Trains stop at Ploiesti about 50-60 minutes after departing Bucharest. If your destination is Brasov, Poiana Brasov or Sinaia it is much quicker to take a car from Otopeni airport direct. This avoids Bucharest, and if there are two or more travelling the cost would be little more, of not cheaper, than the city transfer and train.

Transfers from Timisoara airport and even some railway stations are also possible (see 'Additional Services' below), in addition to a horse and carriage transfer from Lunca Ilvei station up to Hotel Castle Dracula on the Bârgau Pass (Jonathan Harker Trail). With the advent of inexpensive flight services to Cluj, it is now easier to travel into Transylvania. Transfers may be booked from Cluj airport into Cluj, or further afield to Bistrita, Targu Mures or Sibiu. Inexpensive transfers by scheduled air-conditioned minibuses can also be arranged from Budapest Airport to Timisoara, Arad, Oradea and Cluj. Transfers are often normally built into holiday packages or tailormade itineraries.

Transfers are normally only available in conjunction with flight, rail or accommodation bookings. It is wise to prebook transfers to and from Bucharest Otopeni airport to avoid exhorbitant taxi fares. If you are taking a taxi in Bucharest always choose a marked, registered vehicle and acertain the fare to the airport prior to accepting. There have been numerous cases of travellers being presented with a bill of Euro 100-150!

Rail Travel

The rail network in Romania, operated in the main by the state railway company "Compania Nationala de Cai Ferate" (CFR), is convenient with most lines radiating out of Bucharest. However, there are a few useful cross-country schedules, for example the four daily accelerat services which ply from Timisoara via Oradea and Cluj (or Alba Iulia) to Salva (connections to Maramures), the Bucovina (Painted Monasteries - Vatra Dornei, Vama and Suceava) and Iasi. Another convenient train works its way through the eastern Carpathians from Suceava via Miercurea Ciuc and Sfântu Gheorghe to Brasov. Local branch lines fan out from several cities into the surrounding regions. The network is still dense and far reaching though local branch line trains may operate to schedules which are more convenient to local people travelling to work or market rather than to the traveller. Some services are increasingly being operated by a regional comapny, REGIO-TRANS. These include services around Brasov, in the Eastern Carpathians and some branclines around Sibiu. Services are operated operated by refurbished, second-hand European rolling stock and are generally very reliable.

Click here for CFR Railway Network Map.

There has been much investment over the last few years in new trains, stock and infrastructure including the complete upgrading of the line from Bucharest to Brasov and ongoing work to the main international corridor routes. However, some services and frequencies have been cut back and a number of inter-city servcies have been operating over the last two years with just 2 or 3 carriages. It is therefore important to econfirm schedules from time to time. On account of its mountainous nature, Romania is ideal for anybody looking for a rail holiday with several scenic routes cossing the Carpathians. Of special note are the route over Predeal Pass into Transylvania, the line along the Danube from Craiova to Caransebes, the line from Salva to Sighet and that from Suceava to Ilva Mica. You are likely to be pleasantly surprised by the reliability and frequency of most Romanian trains, though journey times can be long on account of the terrain and distances covered, and the condition of some of the stock used on Accelerat or local stopping services is poor (see below).

Travel by Train

The current surge in air travel is one of the biggest causes of climate change contributing up to 15% of greenhouse gases each year. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by UK air travel have doubled in the past 13 years from 20.1m tonnes in 1990 to 39.5m tons in 2004. In addition aircraft emissions which go directly into the stratosphere have 2.7 tmes the environmental impact of those on the ground.

Air travel produces 19 times the greenhouse gas emissions of trains, in other words a trip to Vienna, Prague, Budapest or Bucharest by train would emit 95% less carbon dioxide than the equivalent flight.

Train travel is no solution for a short trip to eastern Europe but it is certainly worth considering for a longer holiday where stopovers and spectacular scenery can be incorporated into the overall experience.

International Rail Tickets

Purchasing Tickets and Categories of Trains in Romania

Rail tickets can be purchased through certain travel agents or tour operators as part of a tailormade booking. They may be purchased up to 30 days in advance, including overnight sleeper trains. There are several grades of trains ranging from Inter-City (IC), through Rapid (R), to Accelerat (A) and local Persoane (P). IC trains are more expensive, but faster and with better stock. However, in some cases they have less space for luggage. We normally use IC or R trains in preference. Fares are still good value for travellers though have been several price increases oiver the last few years. Expect to pay £ 60.00-70.00 for a first calls sleeper berth from Bucharest to Baia Mare or Sighet. We recommend you travel 1st Class or on Inter-City services where possible as the additional cost is a relatively small supplement.

When booking tailor-made travel arrangements some rail tickets are issued in advance as E-tickerts which can be printed out. Others including local and international services are issued as physical tickets and are normally delivered to your hotel or a guide will present them to you at the appropriate station prior to departure.
All ticket prices include seat reservations (except local stopping trains), applicablle supplements for the type of train (Accelerat, Inter-city etc), supplements for 1st Class, Couchettes or Sleepers and local VAT charges.
Train tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE once purchased. Agents are not responsible for cancellation of trains, diversions or engineering work which might create delays. However, the better ones provide emergency contact numbers and will always endeavour to assist if there are any delays or associated problems. We strongly recommend against taking the last scheduled departure if connecting with a flight. Always double check train times locally in case of any changes to schedules.

The different types of trains may be summarised as follows:

INTERCITY (IC) - fast inter-city trains with limited stops; suppliment payable/ seat reservations compulsory. These trains have been considerably upgraded recently with fully-refurbished or new, comfortable, open plan carriages and dining or buffet cars. They include the best services on the system, such as the "Timisoara '89" which operates Timisoara - Bucharest - Timisoara. All of these services are indicated in the table above to the right. Please note that due to the layout of the carriages there is less luggage space than in the older, compartment carriage trains of other trains.

BLUE-ARROW ("Sageata Albastra"/ IC) - these are streamlined two-car units sometimes operating in pairs which were introduced as limited stop, quick express services; suppliment payable/ seat reservations compulsory. The trains were clean, air-conditioned and offer a very good service and are efficient (the pride of Romanian Railways) but the design is that of a fast commuter train so they offer relatively little luggage space. Someof them are not as comfortable as normal Intercity or Rapid trains over long distances, though this has been addressed on newer deliveries with more comfortable seating. They also have large panormaic windows which makes them ideal for sightseeing! Current Blue Arrow services are shown in the table at the top right of this page. However, some have been withdrawn and replaced with traditional stock already..

INTER-REGIO (IR) - formerly RAPID (R) - fast express trains operating between main towns and junctions (suppliment payable/ seat reservations compulsory). Many of the international services are Rapid trains. They are generally slightly slower than Inter-city services with a few extra stops. The stock usually comprises refurbished compartment carriages seating 6 (1st Class) or 8 (2nd Class) per compartment. They are generally clean, comfortable and in good condition and some of them have a buffet or restaurant service (e.g. the 'Dacia' Express to Vienna).

INTER-REGIO (IR) - formerly ACCELERAT (A) - these are the local expresses connecting towns and cities throughout the country (suppliment payable); they are slower than the above, often cross-country services covering enormous distances, e.g. the useful Timisoara-Iasi trains which wind right through the Banat, northern Transylvania and Moldavia. The journey time for these is 15-16 hours over a distance of 800-850km depending on the actual route followed. These trains are extremely useful as they offer some excellent connections. However, please note that they are generally made up of the older blue compartment carriages, often only superficially refurbished if at all. On long journeys they become dusty (especially in the summer when you can think of nothing other than a shower at the end of your journey) and the toilets are virtually unbearable. We recommend that you always pay the 1st class supplement on these trains for a relatively more comfortable journey. First class compartments have 6 seats as opposed to 8 in 2nd Class (very crowded and uncomfortable on a warm day). Carriages are divided between smoking and non-smoking though it is not unusal to find people smoking in the corridors of compart carraiges or at the ends of a carriage.

REGIO (R) - formerly PERSOANE (P) - slow, local stopping trains; these are the trains that carry the workers to and from the towns stopping at every wayside halt. Most are second class only though certain longer services carry 1st class carriages (the double-deck 1st class cars that were used on the Bistrita - Cluj service were actually quite sumptuous). They can also become very crowded. You may find there are times when you have to use them, for example if you are travelling south over the Setref pass from Maramures during the day, but generally if there is an alternative faster service we would always recommend taking that. However. some of these trains are veru useful for exploring rural backwaters or getting off the beaten track (the train from Oravita to Anina in the Semenic mountains offers provides one of the most scenic trips in the country). In some areas such as on the branches radiating out from Timisoara and Arad these trains are little more than railbuses or 'Motoare' (some of them dating from the 1940s) with wooden slatted or plastic seats which rattle and roar and shake you to pieces - however, exploring the country at this 'gentle' pace can also be rewarding.

"Sageata Albastra" (Blue Arrow)
Timisoara - Cluj Napoca

Branch line train at Liebling
- a vintage 1940s railbus

OVERNIGHT TRAINS: CFR also operate a good selection of overnight sleeper trains. The domestic and international destinations served are also shown in the table at the top of the page. Sleeping cars are relatively comfortable and secure - each carriage has an attendant. Compartments normally have running hot and cold water; soap and towels are provided at the beginning of the journey and bedding is always clean and neatly folded. Night trains are very convenient if you do not wish to stay in Bucharest - it can be very convenient to take the sleeper and wake up the following morning in Cluj Napoca, Timisoara, the Bucovina or even Sighet in the Maramures. The Baia Mare and Sighet services follow the main line through the Eastern Carpathians along old, jointed tracks. The constant click-click of the wheels might disturb your slumber if you are a light sleeper! 1st class compartments generally contain two berths while 2nd class compartments contain three. Most of the sleeping cars now in service are second hand from Denmark or Germany and have been fully refurbished to a decent standard. Please note that it is often a good idea to stock up with water, drinks and sandwiches or snacks before departure (our transfer guides can usually arrange a picnic hamper for you if required). Most overnight trains arrive back into Bucharest early in the morning. If your flight is in the afternoon we can arrange a transfer to a convenient place for breakfast, look after your baggage and collect you later for your transfer to the airport. This allows you an opportunity to go shopping or explore Bucharest at your leisure.

CFR Website - Automatic Timetable

Romanian railway timetables are like gold dust - they seem to be sold out within weeks of being published in the winter. However, they can also be confusing. Click above to connect to the CFR website and a very useful automatic train timetable for instant access to up-to-the-minute train times and schedules. You can press "English Version" on the first page for the website in English. The timetable is also available in French and German. Once in the site click onto the timetable "Mersul Trenurilor" and you will be prompted to enter a minimum of date of travel, departure point and destination. You can also choose the route, train number and narrow the search to certain times.

Take care with station names - for example "Cluj" may default to "Cluj Est" - use the scroll down menu to select the correct station, in this case the main station is "Cluj-Napoca". Clicking on the train number in the options shown will provide a full schedule and information about that particular train.

Please note: all schedules are subject to change. Please double check departure times at your station prior to departure

The site also includes and interactive system map (Flash Version) and detailed information including railway history and photo galleries.

Regio Trans

Since 2005, certain rail services in Romania have been operated by a private rail company, Regio Trans based in Brasov, using refurbished stock, mainly from the French Railways. These are mainly local stopping services, which have saved a number of branchlines. There are also some faster Accelerat express trains, despite resistance from CFR. These services are reliable and are published in the CFR Timetable. You can also find a full list of times on the Regio Trans website:

These are the main services currently operated by Regio Trans (subject to change, though the list is likely to expand):

Brasov - Constanta (Accelerat)
Brasov - Ploiesti - Iasi (Accelerat)
Brasov Sibiu / Brasov - Miercurea Ciuc - Siculeni / Brasov / Brasov - Zarnesti / Brasov - Intorsura Buzaului
Sighisoara - Sibiu / Sighisoara - Odorheiu Secuiesc
Bistrita - Ludus
Alba Iulia - Sibiu / Alba Iulia - Zlatna / Blaj - Alba Iulia - Cugir / Blaj - Praid
Arad - Nadlac / Arad - Valcani
Timisoara - Resita Nord / Timisoara - Lovrin / Timisoara - Cruceni / Buzias - Jammu Mare / Jebel - Giera / Berzovia - Oravita

Advise for travelling by train in Romania

Seat reservations are often compulsory for rail journeys and you may often find yourself in a crowded compartment in an otherwise empty carriage. This is because entire compartments are allocated to stations along the route of the train so be wary if you decide to move to another compartment - it might fill up at the next station! Tickets may be purchased at any stations on the day of departure, or at the CFR Agency in most towns and cities. Some tickets are preprinted (e.g. from Bucharest Nord) but very often you will receive several small cardboard tickets which will include your seat reservations and supplements for the type of train. Your seat reservation ticket will indicate train number ("Trenul ..."). Carriage number ("Vagoane ...") and Seat number ("Loc ...").

Departure boards in all stations indicate departure ("Plecare") and Arrivals ("Sosire"). Trains are listed by time of departure/ arrival and indicate schedule and the platform from which the train will depart. In the case of the terminus at Bucharest Nord each platform has an indicator - please take care as there can be late platform changes. Most platforms are low, often no more than a gap between the tracks so you may need to clamber up onto the trains itself. Platforms are numbered from the station building - simply count the number of tracks! Carriages clearly indicate 1 or 2 for first or second class at each end. First class carriages have a yellow stripe just below the roof. There will also be a white enamel board at one end of each carriage which will indicate th destination, train number and name (where applicable), and the carriage number (on trains where reservations are required). Carriages are usually numbered from the locomotive. Larger stations often have plans indicating the make-up of each train with zones indicated so that you can quickly find. Each compartment door carries a plaque which indicates seat numbers.

Inter-city and Rapide trains often have a buffet or restaurant car or in some cases the guard may sell coffee, drinks and snacks from his compartment (especially sleeper services). On cross country trains it is not unusual for people to walk along the train selling beer, newspapers or chocolate. All main stations have numerous refreshments stands selling crisps, soft and alcoholic drinks, biscuits etc so it is easy to stock up for a long journey. At Brasov souvenir vendors walk along the platform.

The condition and comfort of the carriages progressively improves from Persoane to Intercity. In general Intercity and Rapid trains are very good, and many are air-conditioned. The same applies to toilet facilities which are good on these trains but are usually terrible on Persoane and little better on long distance Accelerat services - bring plenty tissue! All trains are cleaned before they enter service but accelerat and persoane trains, with open windows, soon become dusty in hot weather and the floors can become littered with discarded sunflower seed shells. They can also seem gloomy at night. Smoking is permitted in some carriages - however, in non-smoking compartment carriages the corridor is often filled with smokers. You may also receive unwelcome guests (mainly on Accelerat and Persoane) services, in the form of beggars, often gypsies or cripples which tend to climb aboard at one station and get off at the next. They are not aggressive but can be persistent unless you igmore them. Trains are generally very safe and you will find Romanians very keen to talk and make friends. You should be vigilant with regards to luggage and pickpockets, particularly outside Bucharest Nord station.

'Rapid' train at Baile Herculane

Buses operate a wide range of services. We don't recommend using the long distance minibus services, particular between Bucharest and Brasov, as they are no more comfortable than the trains and the driving can be hair-raising. Although, we have not heard of any accidents we still feel uncomfortable about the level of safety. Local public buses operate useful services connecting rural communities and providing a vital link where trains cannot reach. The standard varies - longer distance country buses are usually comfortable whilst others may be fairly basic, dusty and crowded. City transport is usually very inexpensive, frequent and easy to use, in particular trams and trolleybuses. The Bucharest Airport bus operates to Piata Victoriei and Piata Unirii and is convenient if you don't have too much luggage. It is less useful if you are trying to reach the station.

Taxis are normally safe and licenced though there have certainly been cases of overcharging. particularly between Bucharest Otopeni Airport and the city. We have come across several incidents of people being asked for more than Euro 100.00 so we always recommend a prebooked transfer. If you are tking a taxi you should always check the taxi is officially registered with a meter and has company a name and phone number on the side. Fares within towns are inexpensive and taxies can be extremely good value.

Additional Services for Travellers to Romania

Local "Meet & Greet" - it is often possible to prebook meet and greet services from trains at local stations in Maramures, Bucovina, Bistrita, Cluj-Napoca and Sibiu. Transfers can be arranged to most hotels from the most suitable stations, eg.

Gura Humorului for Voronet
Vama for Moldovita and Sucevita
Viseu de Jos for Viseu de Sus and Botiza
Sighet for Botiza, Ieud and Vadu Izei
Lunca Ilvei. Târgu Mures or Bistrita for Hotel Castel Dracula
Ilva Mica for the Somes Valley
Sibiu for the Saxon Villages
Arad for Timisoara

Transfer costs sometimes may be charged locally and range from EUR 0.30 to EUR 0.50 per km in a private car.

Dracula Trail: at Lunca Ilvei you can be met from the train by horse and carriage and whisked through the wolf-infested forests of the Bârgau Pass up to remote Castle Dracula ... if you dare! Pause en route for a picnic or break the journey at Lunca Ilvei.

Car & Driver: a car and professional english-speaking driver / guide can be organised for a day trip (eg. a tour of Maramures, the Painted Monasteries or Saxon Transylvania for example) or to take you from one place to another, eg from Sibiu to Sighisoara, or from Hotel Castel Dracula to Bistrita, Vatra Dornei or Sighisoara. Services are usually charged as per KM. For one way journeys the cost would normally be double as the driver will need to return. Taxis can often work out just as convenient if hired for a half-day, e.g. from Brasov or Sighisoara.

Off-the-Beaten Track Tours & Transfers: we recommend for exploring off-the-beaten-track by Land Rover specially adapted to carry up to 6 people in comfort. They travel by country lane and forest or mountain track wherever possible, stopping frequently to talk tolocal people and photograph things of interest rarely seen by the foreign visitor. You will meet farmers who still plough by hand, villagers who dress every day in traditional costume and foresters who are more used to meeting bears than tourists! The Land Rover, with its permanent 4 wheel drive and coil suspension makes light work of Romanian roads and rough tracks, and enables you to get to places other tour operators haven ever heard of! Your British driver, guide and translator has travelled, worked and photographed extensively in Romania, and speaks fluent Romanian.
Refer to "Roving Romania" pages for full details

Other Countries: Useful Transport Links

BDZ Bulgarian Railways

ÖBB Austrian Railways
ÖBB Austrian Postbus Services

Northern Rail (Lake District Rail Services)
Virgin Rail (Intercity services conecting with the Lake District)
UK (CUMBRIA): Stagecoach Cumberland (bus services, timetables and travel passes, in the Lake District)
UK (CUMBRIA): Windermere Lake Cruises (scheduled boat services on Lake Windermere)

Cockermouth, Cumbria, United Kingdom CA13 0RA
- Tel. +44 (0)1900 838570; Email. [email protected] and are information websites provided and maintained in the United Kingdom by Romantique Couture

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