|Hitchability:||<rating country='ro' />|
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|<map lat='46' lng='25' zoom='6' view='0' float='right' height='320' country='Romania' />|
Romania a country in southeastern Europe, a member of the European Union but not yet a member of the Schengen zone. It shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the northeast, and Bulgaria to the south.
Hitchhiking in Romania is usually very easy. Payment for the ride is often expected, however. Make sure to tell the driver that you are travelling without money (fără bani ‘without money’ or nu am bani ‘I have no money’) before you get in the car. Most drivers will agree to take you anyway, but if you don't tell them beforehand, they can aggressively demand payment when you get out later. If you wish to pay drivers like local hitchhikers do, it is still cheaper than trains and buses though, about 5 lei (€1.25) for every 100 km.
Sometimes it's possible to find some drivers that will ask you for a lot of money, maybe even €100 for a short trip. Some people are trying to work as illegal drivers taking people from one place to another, due to the high unemployment. When they see foreigners they will try to convince them to go with them and ask for lots of money, even if local travellers just pay 5 lei. Recently, the Romanian government has forbidden asking for money when taking hitchhikers, but not hitchhiking itself.
At the exits of most cities, there are established places to hitchhike and you may find yourself competing with local people who will pay drivers. In some cases, it is better to walk a little bit down the road and hitchhike where you can stand alone. The common practice is to hold a sign with the name of the place you want to go; Romanian usually write the two-letter code of the county seat they are going to (e.g. "CJ" for Cluj).
Romania has just a couple of hundred kilometers of real motorway, in the south of the country. Elsewhere, long-distance traffic is going on national roads with E numbers. You can stand directly on the national roads and thumb, though junctions are always best because cars go more slowly there.
Romanian is one of the few non-Slavic languages of Eastern Europe. It uses the Latin alphabet and is related to French, Italian, Spanish etc. Speakers of one of these languages will find it easier to understand Romanian though speakers of Slavic languages will find it easier to pronounce as its sounds have been influenced by its neighbours.
The roads are very outdated. There are only 3 motorways in all of Romania:
A 1 parts 2016 situation : Sibiu to Deva 140km ready /Traian Vuia, Lugoj, Timisoara, Arad, Nadlac to Szeged (Hungary) +/-170km ready.
- The A2 or Sun's motorway, going 204 km from Bucureşti to Constanţa completed.
- The A3 or Transylvania motorway, going 588 km from Bucureşti to the border with Hungary – under construction, due 2013.
A3 parts 2016 situation Bucuresti to Ploiesti 60km in use, Turda to Gilau in use. Most of the other roads are in poor condition, the European routes being the best. Even so, hitching a ride is quite easy, especially on the major European roads that get a lot of traffic.
- Sighetu Marmației-Solotvyno border crossing
- There is no border crossing between Ukraine and the Danube Delta region of Romania. Travelers going between eastern Romania and southern Ukraine must pass through Moldova. There are privately owned boats that may takes travelers, but they ask up to hundreds of euro for the service.
In total I spent around three months in Romania. I hitchhiked from Bucharest to Timisoara, Brasov and Iasi and also spent a few weeks camping in Transylvania. I hitchhiked to many landmarks such as Dracula's Castle, Rasnov Castle and the National Park in Zarnesti. Romanian people are incredibly friendly and happy to see travelers. I never found safety to be a problem and camped out at night in the national park in special spherical huts built for shepherds (I think they are for protection from bears). There are maps of the park which indicate the location of these huts and the best trails. Romania was the first country where I traveled for more than two days with the one truck driver. You should be OK to get around speaking English although if you have Italian that's a huge bonus and maybe learn a few basic Romanian words to be polite with any elderly farmers who pick you up in the country (Hungarian instead in many parts of Transylvania). Some drivers are quite lethal here too, so be prepared to take bends while overtaking gypsy carts at worrying speeds! Twice I was asked to contribute to the gas expenditure (out of maybe 30 lifts). I found hitchhiking at the side of the road with thumb out to be more time effective than petrol stations, many towns have hitchhiking spots where locals can be seen with their thumbs out. This country can't be skipped on a Europe trip if you like sheep's cheese, nature and castles -HoboSpirit
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