The Ultimate Guide to Train Travel in Romania


Published on 14 June 2023

Travelling Romania by train turned out to be the best for us. Hiring a car was not in the budget, and buses seemed to be more expensive and often only a little quicker than the train.

Train stations tend to be located more centrally in cities than the bus stations, which means that you can just walk to your accommodation and not have to fork out for taxi. So, for us, train travel was a no-brainer, but it completely depends on many factors and your style of travel.

If you’re looking for budget friendly travel with decent leg room, train travel is your best bet.

Train travel in Romania turned out to be relatively straight forward, though it did have some quirks. We used a lot of trains during our Romanian trip so decided to pull together all the information that we thought would be useful to you too.

Buy your Tickets at the Machines

You get a discount for not bothering the people at the ticket desk (and if you’re at Gara de Nord in Bucharest, trust me, you don’t want to talk to them anyway!)

Book Tickets in Advance if Possible

Try to buy your tickets a few days in advance, especially if travelling at peak times. We didn’t manage to book on to a morning train to Bucharest, and so had to take a train leaving at 4am instead.

Double Check your Carriage and Seat Number

Tickets have assigned seat numbers. The carriages are not always marked on the trains correctly, and are also not necessarily in the right order, so it’s not always logical. I recommend double checking with a ticket controller as you get on to the train.

train travel in romania

Hold on to that Ticket

Your ticket could be checked multiple times throughout the journey, so hold onto it for the whole journey.

Luggage Storage is Overhead

Luggage storage is generally on metal racks above the seats. So if you have 20kg backpacks like us, get training to lift that bag above your head!

Trains are Owned by Different Companies

Trains are run by different companies, so double check your train number on your ticket matches that on the digital displays at the stations. Our train from Sinaia to Brasov was delayed and another train run by a different company taking the exact same route turned up just before our delayed train. We (and others, not just us!) got on this wrong train, and then got kicked off a few stops into the journey!

Don’t Worry about Tight Train Connections

If you have a connecting train that you miss because of a delay to your first train, you will be able to get your ticket switched to the next train. Make sure you get this new ticket at the ticket desk though. Don’t just jump on the next train with the ticket for the earlier train you missed. The ticket controllers are more than happy to kick you off a train.

We had a tight train connection of five minutes! Squeaky bum time. The first train ended up being ten minutes late, but the connecting train waited for the passengers from the late train. So, if you have the connection booked already and the train can wait, they likely will.

Trains are Generally Pretty Slow

A lot of train journeys go all around the houses, traipsing through monotonous fields for miles on end. Don’t expect to get there quickly.

train travel in romania

Tell Them that You Don’t Need a Seat

If the person at the ticket desk tells you that there are no seats available, tell them that you are ok to stand. They might huff and puff a bit, but will likely still sell you the ticket. Chances are that you will find an empty seat for at least part of your journey; just be ready to stand up if someone has that seat reserved.

train travel in romania

Ask about Last Minute or Late Release Tickets

For longer journeys, five hours for example, they will likely not sell a standing ticket. However, they do hold on to a small number of tickets to sell on the day. They are released at a certain time before the train departs. If your train is sold out, ask when the late release is and get in the queue for bang on that time!

Facilities on Trains and at the Stations

Most stations have toilet facilities, a small shop and a café. Smaller stations might not have the ticket machines, so you will need to buy your tickets from the desk (and unfortunately not get your discount).

Trains are pretty comfortable and have basic toilet facilities.

Do you have any more top tips? Have you travelled around Romania by train, or maybe you’re planning on it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

Thanks for reading!

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