Travel in Romania is both rewarding and challenging. The mountain scenery and great diversity of wildlife, it’s cultures and people and a way of life that at times seems out of the last century impress every visitor to Romania. When in Romania, the natural inclination is to concentrate only on the big sights. But to really experience Romania, you need to spend time to learn its history and discover its secrets.


Romania is situated in Southeastern Europe (latitudes 43 37′ 07″ North and longitudes 20 15′ 44″ east) extending approximately 480 km North to South and 640 km East to West. The country has an area of 237,750 sq. km, being the twelfth largest country in Europe, and a population of over 22,000,000, composed of Romanians, Hungarians and smaller minorities, German, Roma, Ukrainian, Russian, Turkish and many others. Romania is bordered to the North and East by Moldavia and Ukraine, to the Southeast by the Black Sea, to the South by Bulgaria, to the Southwest by Serbia and Montenegro and to the West by Hungary.

Traditionally Romania is divided into several historic regions that no longer perform any administrative function: Dobruja is the easternmost region, extending from the northward course of the Danube to the shores of the Black Sea. Moldavia stretches from the Eastern Carpathians to the Prut River on the Moldavian and Ukrainian border. Wallachia reaches south from the Transylvanian Alps to the Bulgarian border and is divided by the Olt River into Oltenia on the west and Muntenia on the east. The Danube forms a natural border between Muntenia and Dobruja. The west-central region, known as Transylvania, is delimited by the arc of the Carpathians, which separates it from the Maramures region in the northwest; by the Crisana area, which borders Hungary in the west; and by the Banat region of the southwest, which adjoins both Hungary and Serbia. It is these areas west of the Carpathians that contain the highest concentrations of the nation’s largest ethnic minorities–Hungarians, Germans and Serbs.


Romania’s natural landscape is almost evenly divided among mountains (31 percent), hills (33 percent), and plains (36 percent). These varied relief forms spread rather symmetrically from the Carpathian Mountains, which reach elevations of more than 2,400 meters, to the Danube Delta, which is just a few meters above sea level.

The arc of the Carpathians extends over 1,000 kilometers through the center of the country, covering an area of 70,000 square kilometers. These mountains are of low to medium altitude and are no wider than 100 kilometers. They are deeply fragmented by longitudinal and transverse valleys and crossed by several major rivers. These features and the fact that there are many summit passes–some at altitudes up to 2,256 meters–have made the Carpathians less of a barrier to movement than have other European ranges.

Enclosed within the great arc of the Carpathians lie the undulating plains and low hills of the Transylvanian Plateau, an important agricultural region. To the south and east of the Carpathians, the Sub-Carpathians form a fringe of rolling terrain ranging from 396 to 1,006 meters in elevation. This terrain is matched in the west by the slightly lower Western Hills. The symmetry of Romania’s relief continues with the Getic Tableland to the south of the SubCarpathians , the Moldavian Tableland in the east between the SubCarpathians and the Prut River, and the Dobrujan Tableland in the southeast between the Danube and the Black Sea. The Sub-Carpathians and the tableland areas provide good conditions for human settlement. Beyond the Carpathian foothills and tablelands, the plains spread south and west.

Romania’s lowest land is found on the northern edge of the Dobruja region in the Danube Delta. The delta is a triangular swampy area of marshes, floating reed islands, and sandbanks, where the Danube ends its trek of almost 3,000 kilometers and divides into three frayed branches before emptying into the Black Sea. The Danube Delta provides a large part of the country’s fish production. The region also serves as a nature preserve for rare species of plant and animal life including migratory birds.

The Danube travels some 1,000 kilometers through or along Romanian territory, forming the southern frontier with Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Virtually all of the country’s rivers are tributaries of the Danube, either directly or indirectly, and by the time the Danube’s course ends in the Black Sea.


Romania has a climate that is transitional between temperate and continental. Climatic conditions are somewhat modified by the country’s varied relief. The Carpathians serve as a barrier to Atlantic air masses, restricting their oceanic influences to the west and center of the country, where they make for milder winters and heavier rainfall. The mountains also block the continental influences of the vast plain to the north in the Soviet Union, which bring frosty winters and less rain to the south and southeast. In the extreme southeast, Mediterranean influences offer a milder, maritime climate. The average annual temperature is 11°C in the south and 8°C in the north. A long and at times severe winter (December-March), a hot summer (April-July), and a prolonged autumn (August-November) are the principal seasons, with a rapid transition from spring to summer. In Bucharest, the daily minimum temperature in January averages -7 °C (20 °F), and the daily maximum temperature in July averages 29 °C (85 °F).


The official language is Romanian, a Latin language. Some Hungarian and German are spoken in Transylvania and along the border areas, while mainly English and some French and German are spoken by those involved in the tourist industry.


The National Bank of Romania’s legal tender is the leu (plural lei). On 1 July 2005, the leu was subjected to redenomination so that 10,000 old lei, in circulation on that date, was exchanged for 1 new leu. The process will prepare Romania for the adoption of the euro.

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