Normally I would shout out about my arrival in Romania immediately, but this time round I decided to keep quiet for a while. The main reason being the ten-day quarantine that was imposed on me upon arrival. This didn’t come as a surprise; I was well prepared and knew everything I needed to know about Romania’s Covid rules. In case you are thinking of travelling to Romania too this year, you might like to learn more about the current rules and regulations. So here is my experience with quarantine in Romania and other Covid-19 regulations. One thing is clear: there is no reason to let Covid deter you from entering Romania! I’ll brighten up this slightly dull read with some snaps taken on my first hikes in Romania this year, in the Padurea Craiului region.
Since the situation keeps evolving rapidly, I’ve added this paragraph. I will try to update it regularly.
* If a country is yellow on Romania’s list, you can enter Romania without quarantine, provided that you bring proof of either 1) full vaccination or 2) a negative PCR test.
* If a country is red on Romania’s list, you still have to submit to a 10-day quarantine after arrival in Romania, provided that you bring a negative PCR test. If you don’t bring one, your quarantine will last 14 days.
* As of the 4th of June, the Netherlands is yellow! Belgium was already yellow. If you’re from another country, please consult the list. (I’m mentioning these two countries because that’s where most of my readers are from, with me being Dutch and living in Belgium.)
* Consult the Știri Oficiale website for the latest numbers: scroll down and click on the latest Buletin de Presă (press release). In the fourth column you will see the new cases per day for each county (Număr de cazuri nou confirmate). These numbers are reassuringly low at the moment; except for Bucharest, numbers stay under 15 new cases per day per county.
* On the same website, you can consult the latest vaccination stats. Click on the latest Actualizare zilnică (daily update) for the numbers. As I write, close to 5 million Romanians have been vaccinated! With a clear preference for Pfizer (Romanians get to choose their own vaccin.)
* If you’re returning to a country marked yellow on the Re-Open Europe map, the same principle applies: no quarantine required! (Which, in my case, means I can stay in Romania for a bit longer. Yay!) Do check the national Covid guidelines of your country of residence to make sure though.
Last updated: 5/6/2021 15:27
Quarantine in Romania
I flew to Romania on the 23rd of April 2021. Because I haven’t been vaccinated yet, I had to sit out a 10-day quarantine, as explained here:
Persoanele care sosesc în România din țările/zonele de risc epidemiologic ridicat și prezintă rezultatul negativ al unui test COVID la intrarea în țară ies din carantină după 10 zile, dacă nu prezintă simptomatologie specifică.
People who arrive in Romania from countries / areas of high epidemiological risk and present the negative result of a COVID test upon entering the country are released from quarantine after 10 days, if they do not show specific symptoms.
Confusingly, ReopenEU and other websites state that you have to submit to a 14-day quarantine, and have a second PCR test on day eight. This is not true: as long as you hand over a negative PCR test, your quarantine only lasts 10 days!
It’s important to know that Romania keeps its own list of risk countries: if the incidence rate is higher than in Romania, a country becomes a red zone. The list is updated weekly and can be downloaded here. As I write, Belgium is a yellow zone and The Netherlands is still red. So if you haven’t been vaccinated yet and want to travel to Romania, please check the latest list to see which colour code your country of origin has been given and which measures apply as a consequence.
Quarantine in Romania is a very straightforward affair. Upon arrival at the airport, there are two queues: one for ‘exceptions’ – mostly people who stay for under 72 hours – and one for everyone else. In my case, only two people on the flight were in the non-exceptions queue! Apparently all the other people were there for a short stay or had other grounds for exception. You will get a form on which you fill in your quarantine address and contact details. The great thing here is that you can choose your own quarantine address! I rented a little cottage in the village of Suncuius where I had my own kitchen and bathroom, but you can also stay in a guesthouse or wherever you like, as long as you stay there for 10 days.
Once in quarantine, authorities may check up on you. I never once got a phone call, email or physical email, but people in the next village told me they got checked up on twice in one week! I was staying in a small village and felt it was safe to go for a walk every now and again, but you can get fined if you break your quarantine in Romania. Numbers are low and dropping steadily in Romania though, and many people have already been vaccinated: the Romanian authorities are organizing drive-through vaccination marathons in major cities, and many young urban dwellers have grasped the opportunity. You can even get vaccinated at Bran Castle! Who’s afraid of Vlad the Vaccinator? These vaccination marathons are also open to foreign visitors: as long as you bring your ID with you, you can get a jab. In fact, there is quite a lot of vaccination tourism going on in Romania at the moment, especially from Germany.
It is true that in the countryside, people may be more wary of vaccins. The church in particular has a knack for fearmongering. That said, the population density is so low that the risk of getting infected drops considerably. Honestly I have felt much safer here than back home. Of course feelings are subjective, but population density hardly is!
Other Covid-19 measures
Until the 15th of May, wearing a mask in public spaces was obligatory in Romania, even in parks or other wide open spaces. On the 15th of May, measures were eased: masks in public are no longer obligatory except in shops, stations and other indoor spaces and busy areas; restaurants have reopened (terraces were already open) and larger group gatherings are permitted. The atmosphere is laid-back and although people generally adhere to wearing masks in shops and on public transport, many Romanians tend to be a bit lax with other measures. Handshakes are really hard to avoid, and generally ‘social distancing’ is not easy to practice in Romania. So you’ll have to be really assertive (to the point of being offensive) if you don’t want people to touch you or come close. Or just surrender.
Entering Romania with the EU-Digital Covid Certificate
As of the 1st of July, you can enter Romania with an EU-Digital Covid Certificate: if you carry proof of having been fully vaccinated, you are exempted from quarantine and are free to go wherever you please. Please be aware that you must have received your last jab at least ten days before arrival in Romania. It looks like they will also let you in with a negative PCR test; this will also be recorded in your digital Covid certificate. On the 1st of June, Romania officially lifted its ban on foreign tourists from entering the country. It isn’t very clear to me what the practical implications of this are though, since testing and quarantine are still required, depending on circumstances as described above. However, it looks like this decision means Romania is letting in tourists from all over the world as long as they comply with the Covid-19 measures on the ground.
My recommendation? Go for it!
So, to travel or not to travel? My recommendation: by all means go for it! Being so spacious and with so many people in cities already vaccinated, Romania is a relatively safe destination to travel to. If you have the time, you can sit out a ten-day quarantine; if not, make sure you get both your jabs and then you are free to go from the 1st of July. Although I normally prefer travelling by train, I recommend you fly (and perhaps plant some trees to make up for it): travelling through Hungary is practically impossible at the moment. If you have any more questions about quarantine in Romania and travelling there during these challenging times, do let me know! I’d love to help you out. For me, travelling to Romania has changed everything: from depressed and stressed to free and easy. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out!
Want more? Buy the guidebook!
My guidebook, ‘The Mountains of Romania’, contains 27 multi-day treks, 10 day walks, free gpx files, detailed route descriptions, a useful glossary and a wealth of information. You can buy it straight from the publisher here, or ask at your local (travel) bookstore.
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