Are Romanian Stereotypes True?

Romania Safety for Tourism Stereotypes
This content was created from a press trip to Romania, but all opinions are my own

Hey Owlets,

When I first told my family that I was planning to spend two weeks travelling across Romania they thought I’d gone mad - being totally honest I was wondering what on Earth had prompted me to say yes too. It wasn’t just my family being over-cautious though. Every single person I told about my trip replied with “why?”, “are you mad?!” or “it’s dangerous there!”. In fact, I’ve heard more about stray dogs, aggressive homeless people, orphans and pickpockets in the last two months than in the last two decades combined. 

If you’re not from the UK then maybe you’ve not heard any of these things, but if you’re English then I’m imagining you’ve probably heard every single one of these stereotypes at least once. By the time I’d heard them from everyone I spoke to I was so nervous I almost didn’t want to go. Since everyone in the UK seems to be terrified of the same things, I wanted to clear up a few stereotypes. 


Romania Safety for Tourism Stereotypes

Stray Dogs

This was one of my biggest fears I had. Throughout the years British media has told us that there’s thousands of stray dogs running in packs on the streets and God help you, should you be bitten by one because they’ll probably have rabies and by the time you get symptoms it’ll be fatal. Being totally honest I’m terrified of needles and by the time we’d realised we might need a vaccination it was too late. I stepped off the plane in Romania ready to run away from every dog I saw. In reality I was in Romania for two weeks and not once have I seen a stray dog - the only dogs I’ve seen are pets and they’re immaculately groomed.

Crime

This is another point that has been massively exaggerated in UK media - in all honesty a few days before leaving I read the entirety of the Foreign Office advice on visiting Romania because I was so nervous, but crime in Romania is just like crime anywhere else. Of course there’s going to be a few bad people and the tour guides will tell you to be careful with your bag and pockets, particularly in certain areas, but the same can be said for London or even my home town of Bristol. At no point during the trip did I feel unsafe walking down the street or getting in an Uber on my own.

Romania Safety for Tourism Stereotypes
I promise at no point was anyone this aggressive!
Aggressive People

This is probably one of the things I was most nervous about because I’m really bad at knowing how to deal with people, and this is the only preconception that has an element of truth. On the whole everywhere we went we were greeted by kind locals, happy to welcome us to their country. However, while they were accommodating, I found that it could very quickly get heated if you did something to upset them. During our trip we visited a flower market in the Bucharest suburbs; to start with we were greeted warmly, invited to take pictures and were even given flowers then out of nowhere several stall holders told us to leave, don’t take pictures and it was made clear that we had outstayed our welcome. This was probably the only time I felt a bit uneasy, but when there’s multiple people shouting at you in a language you don’t understand it’s bound to make you feel on edge. I don’t know if there was a cultural issue and something we did upset them but from our point of view we were respectful the whole time. There were a few occasions where this happened and I think a language barrier may be at least partly to blame, but if you do visit make sure you’re extra self-aware, don’t stay too long if you aren’t buying something and show them and their work respect.

Romania Safety for Tourism Stereotypes

Other things I’ve noticed

Outside of answering the typical things that people worry about, I also wanted to mention some added extras - I’m considering writing an entire post of things to be aware of when you visit Romania because there’s quite a few. If you come into Romania and it’s clear that English is your mother tongue everyone will assume you’re rich. To a certain extent you are - at the time I visited it was 5 Lei to £1 - a 20 minute taxi cost around £2, coffee was 70p, and even a nice meal would probably only set you back about £5. However, just because you can afford luxuries when you visit it doesn’t mean that you should be taken advantage of. If you visit I would avoid buying anything from carts in the street - on multiple occasions they heard us speaking English and the price increased, even when it had the price clearly marked on the item you wanted to buy. If you’re visiting make sure that you go into actual shops rather than buying from street vendors, because they’re usually part of a chain and will be less likely to try to charge you more.

Romania Safety for Tourism Stereotypes


On the whole having been conditioned by British news to be absolutely terrified to visit Romania I honestly don’t understand what the fuss was about. It’s a beautiful country with some of the most welcoming and accommodating people you will ever meet, there aren’t thousands of stray dogs wandering round, there aren’t pickpockets on every corner and you’re probably going to feel safer here than in many tourist hotspots around the world.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
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