The history of Romania has seen its borders change significantly over the centuries. This means that of the 20 million or so people that live in the country, there are minority ethnic communities of Hungarians, Germans, Italian, Turks, and Roma.
On this website, you will find additional information about the country. The capital city of Bucharest is where most people fly in, though others enter overland via Hungary, Serbia or one of the other border countries. Bucharest is home to around 2.2 million people and offers much of what you would expect to see in a Western European country. The second-largest city is Cluj-Napoca, and there are other well-populated cities that welcome US citizens whether they are staying for a short visit or staying under a temporary resident’s permit, which may be your first introduction to post-communist bureaucracy.
What to see
Romania is growing as an international tourist destination and a gateway to business in Eastern Europe. Since joining the European Union in 2007, large sums have been investing in the country to improve national infrastructure, so the transport network is good.
Romania is famous for Dracula, the Parliament Palace, medieval castles, natural parks and attractions spread across the wild Carpathian Mountains, several UNESCO Heritage sites and the UNESCO Danube Delta reserve, wooden churches of Maramures or painted churches of Bukovina. From the modern capital city to the small Romanian villages where a simple, peaceful way of life is well-preserved from decades past. A tour in Transylvania will be a unique experience! Explore Romania's landmarks.
US nationals looking for work in Romania often move to its capital and generally find employment in construction, engineering, IT, communications, software development or teaching English. Although salaries in the country are some of the lowest in Europe, this is offset by the low cost of living in Romania.
A jump-on, jump-off bus tour of Bucharest is to be recommended. The Parliament Palace is the most spectacular Romanian project carried out under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, an important piece of history and nowadays, one of Bucharest's main tourist attractions. It is the second-largest administrative building in the world, after the US Pentagon, covering an area of over 330,000 square meters.
There are several tour groups across the rest of the country, from one-day city tours to multi-site trips covering several days.
Working in Romania
US citizens wanting to move to Romania will need to obtain a work permit. As with many ex-communist countries, the process involves a fair amount of bureaucracy, but the company should be able to offer help here or connect with a translator with experience of obtaining immigration papers.
The change in culture can be a shock to US immigrants. The official language in the country is Romanian, though a small proportion of the population speaks German, Hungarian and Vlax Romani. English is rarely spoken outside the big cities such as Bucharest, Constanta, and Brasov or tourist destinations, so learning the language should be a priority. Find more information about the work and life in Romania
Food and drink
In the cities, it is possible to sample international cuisine. Romanian cuisine is also an adventure, with its eclectic mix of different cultural influences from Hungary, Germany, and Turkey obvious to see. Traditionally, Romanian food tends to be hearty, wholesome dishes that are meat-based, revolving around dishes such as ciolan afumat (smoked pork knuckle with beans), Mämäligd (cornmeal polenta) and carnati de plescoi (mutton sausages). Breakfasts are almost always eggs based, with omelets frequently served filled with either cheese, ham or mushrooms. The highlight of a traditional Romanian restaurant meal is usually the appetizer dish, most likely a bowl of sour soup called ciorbä. Pork is the main meat used in Romanian cuisine while cabbage is a culinary favorite and is often used in soups and salads.
If you want to eat on the move, you will find street food carts selling pretzels and doughnuts, different to those sold in the US, but will similarly pile on the pounds if you have a sedentary lifestyle. Visit the food markets for homegrown foods, or roasted sweetcorn, that will reawaken your taste buds to the true taste of nature’s bounty.
Bucharest has an ever-increasing number of nightclubs offering everything from disco to jazz to techno or rock n roll. Entrance fees, when they apply are cheap. Some nightclubs have a dress code, particularly those marketed to businesspeople.
Parisian-style cafes are popular with tourists, but the locals tend to favor cocktail bars in summer and cozy underground pubs in winter. Casinos are also becoming increasingly popular, and several companies operate online. Whilst the country is better regulated than ever before, it is wise to check you are logged into a regulated platform.
The usual nightlife attractions of a European city can be found in Romania. Don't expect to dance the night away if you are based in a smaller town, although small pubs and teahouses can offer a much better opportunity to get to know the locals.