Within Romania, the easiest way to travel is by train. There are old, local trains (Personal, Accelerat and Rapid – with Personal being the slowest and Rapid the fastest as it stops at less stations. The local trains are slow, usually crowded, with no air conditioning and the whole trip can be quite an experience. The passengers are usually students and village people, very inquisitive and talkative, and will tell you their whole life if their English is good enough.
Often when the trains are crowded, you’ll get a stand-up ticket, meaning you have to stand for the whole journey on the hallway of the carriage, crammed with many other unlucky passengers and their many, many bags. The Intercity and Blue Arrow trains (first one for longer distances, latter for shorter trips) offer air conditioning and even a café-bar. However you’d miss out on the whole cultural experience as you’d be stuck with the business types.
You can also rent a car, and you will have more mobility, and flexibility, and not have to depend on the trains’ sometimes inconvenient schedule. Gas is expensive, sold by later, 1 liter of gas = 3.51 lei (1.29$, or 1 â‚¬).
The network of buses is not very developed in Romania yet. There are a few bus companies like Dacos or Atlassib, however, that transport passengers between the major destinations at fairly cheap prices.
In cities public transport is getting better, except for during rush hour when the busses are so crowded that you might be forced to travel hanging out the open door. Not the safest thing to do but Romanians are skilled at bus acrobatics.
A bus ticket varies between 20 and 30 cents, depending on the city. Bucharest is the only city that has a subway and it’s pretty reliable and convenient. Taxis are also fairly cheap.
Romania is one of the only countries in the world with a strong hitchhiking culture where cars will automatically pull over to pick you up. The problem is that there will be so many other hitchhikers that on the major routes you’ll even have old grannies running ahead of you to get lifts, elbowing you in the ribs as they pass.
Hitchhiking is a Romanian institution as in the old days drivers could get extra gas coupons from the government if they gave rides to people. Nowadays they just expect a small payment.