A guide to driving in Romania

Getting started

Romania: it’s more than just the crossroads of Europe. With medieval architecture, stunning views and warm summers, there’s plenty to explore, as we find out.

Hit the road

Romania has a lot to show for its Eastern European roots: of the 200,000km of roads in the country, little more than 30% are paved and there’s less than 500km of motorway – all the more reason to make sure you’ve got adequate car insurance if using your own wheels.

As a result, there are fewer than four million cars in a country slightly smaller than the UK. Just keep an eye out for the horsepower – horse-drawn carts are commonplace.

Star drive

Think of Romania and Transylvania and Dracula are likely to come to mind. But one of the most popular and enjoyable areas to visit is the ‘Romania Riviera’. Over 250km of coastline along the Black Sea offers fine beaches, spectacular drives and soaring temperatures in the summer.

Follow the E87 from Mangalia in the south to Tulcea in the north and you’ll have a serious suntan to show for it.

Best of the rest

Romania shares the largest mountain range in Europe with some of its neighbours – Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine. The Carpathians stretch in an arc of almost 1,000 miles, with peaks of over 8,000 feet in the Romanian areas. The city of Braşov is at the heart of them.

Swap one car for another and take the cable car to the top of Tâmpa Mountain for a beautiful view over Braşov. From there, head to Bran Castle to check out Dracula’s home. For a bit of exercise, Prahova Valley – just 100km from the capital city of Bucharest – offers excellent skiing.

Laws of the land

• The minimum age for drivers is 18
• Dipped headlights are required outside built-up areas in daytime, whilst motorbikes must use them at all times
• All occupants must wear seatbelts if fitted
• Children under 12 may not travel in the front of a car unless the car is a two seater.

Local knowledge

If you’re heading to Romania for a road trip, be wary of the zero drink drive limit. You can have your licence taken away for 90 days, or even end up in prison – not exactly an ideal holiday!

You’ll need a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and red warning triangle when driving around, as well as your ‘green card’ insurance. You’ll also need a ‘Rovinieta’ – a road tax disc – compulsory for both residents and visitors. They can be picked up at the border and most petrol stations. If you can’t show evidence you bought one when you leave, you could land a fine of up to €4,000.

Standard speed limits

Residential Areas 50km/h
Built-up Areas 50km/h
Outside Built-up Areas 90km/h
Dual carriageways 100km/h
Motorways 130km/h

Limits are reduced by 10km/h if towing and by 20km/h if you’ve held your licence for less than a year.

Did you know?

It’s against the law to drive a dirty car in Romania! So, if you’ve decided to drive rather than fly, give it a quick once-over before crossing the border.

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