Train travel in Romania is the way to go when you want your trip to go through Romania’s best cities and towns! Understanding the train system is quite easy and many routes are pleasant for the eyes. You can experience Romania’s countryside from the comfort of your chair, while traveling from one amazing destination to the other.
I have traveled through Romania by train extensively and I know some of the routes like the back of my hand. One of the most beautiful train routes in Romania is probably between Bucharest and Brasov and I’ve taken it many times. Below I have gathered all the information I could think of in terms of train travel in Romania.
Tips on train travel in Romania
1. For up to date time tables and prices, check out the website the Romanian railway service, CFR Calatori.
2. There are a few different types of trains: IRN, R or RE and some others. The R-trains are slower than the other ones and cost less to travel with. I’ve taken the R-train to Brasov, which was still okay because it took me about 3,5 hours to get there but other than that I would always advice to spend a little more for a faster ride.
3. Train tickets are bought for a specific time only and you have to use them on that particular train. If you know ahead you want to change your travel date or time, go to the station to change your tickets for free. You can’t buy train tickets 5 minutes before departure.
4. A journey by train isn’t the cheapest travel option in Romania (but it’s defintely one of the best!). My one way ticket from Bucharest to Brasov cost me 50 lei (2014). When you’re traveling with two people or more, don’t forget to ask for a group discount.
5. Want to visit Sinaia or one of the other places on your way to Brasov? Make sure the ticket office at Sinaia station stamps your ticket. By doing so, you can take the same kind of train (IR, R or IC) later on the day without any additional costs. In Sinaia you can visit two castles at once, and you don’t want to miss those!
6. Trains in Romania have numbered seats, so make sure you sit in the correct one when the conductor checks your ticket.
7. On the way from Bucharest to Brasov I was fortunate to have a train where the windows are open. However, keeping the windows closed is a thing in Romanian trains. Romanians believe that draft is extremely bad for them and therefore lots of people prefer the windows to be closed. Even in summer, when temperatures inside the train rise to ‘tropical’, you might have trouble convincing them it’s okay to get a whiff of air. In any case, make sure you have plenty of water on you!
8. From Bucharest’s Gara de Nord train travel is a party; You’re correctly informed on delays and ticket staff sometimes speaks English. Everywhere else not so much. In Transylvania, a train is only a little late after 1 hour it was supposed to depart.
9. Trains may take much, much longer in summer, when the tracks are hot from the sun. My (IC) train from Sibiu to Brasov took 5 hours instead of 2,5.
Want to know more about train travel in Romania? Be sure to leave a comment below! Also, I would love it if you tag me in all your travel photos of this wonderful country, make me jealous!! 😉