There and Away
Bus from the airport takes about 20mins to Victorei piata.
I dont know how much is costs as the machine at the airport to buy a ticket wasnt working and the driver just shrugged his shoulders and said we couldnt travel without and ticket and cant buy from him. Useless!! luckily we met a nice local who paid for us.
Train to Chisinau leaves at 1940 and costs 200Lei (£36) for 1st class (2 beds in a lockable cabin). It arrives in Chisinau at 0900.
for the metro, it costs 4 Lei (80p) for a 2 journey card.
Walking is possible but be prepared for some tired feet.
Left luggage at the train station is 4Lei for small bag for 24 hours (7Lei for a big bag)
Aurel Vlaicu - Baneasa Airport
Surprisingly, Baneasa Airport ( Northern Bucharest) is better situated than the main international one, Henry Coanda, meaning that it's closer a.k.a. taxi price to downtown is lower ;)
The planes of low cost companies land here:
-Blue Air - flights to/from: Atena , Barcelona, Bologna, Brussels-South Charleroi, Cluj-Napoca, Cologne/Bonn, Cuneo, Istanbul-Ataturk, Lisbon , Lyon, Madrid, Malaga, Milan-Bergamo, Paris-Beauvais, Rome-Ciampino, Thessaloniki , Valencia, Verona
- My Air - Barcelona, Bari, Catania, Paris, Milan-Bergamo, Milan-Malpensa, Napole, Roma-Ciampino, Veneþia
- Wizz - Barcelona, Budapesta, Dortmund, Londra-Luton, Roma-Ciampino
Easy to be reached from any part of the city:
- the line 783 (From Piata Unirii/Unirii Square - Piata Romana/ Roman Square- Piata Victorie/ Victopry Square - Casa Presei Libere/ The House of Free Press - Baneasa Airport);
- across the street from the airport you can take: 301,131 to Piata Romana/ Roman Square and 205 to Gara de Nord (North Railway Station).
Train from hell
If you go to Bucharest from Belgrade, or the same way back, in winter be prepared for terrible train with no heating (until you reach Timisoara and they put stronger Romanian locomotive, after which you finally get some heat, but can't reduce it so you will find yourself sitting in a t-shirt), you sit on the left side of the seat and the right side goes up, dirty windows SEALED WITH BROWN DUCK TAPE!!!! so the wind doesn't blow through them. You can't open the windows, of course. The toilets are disgusting, water is all around, sometimes frozen on the floor so can be very slippery, some doors of the wagons can't be closed so they are TIED WITH A CHAIN to the hand-hold.
Also, when you finally get some heat, you can't sleep because policemen come in and tell you not to sleep because of thieves. Great.
And for this route you need a reservation. Or you don't. When I asked the conductor if I need the reservation, he told me: "Yes, and no. If you didn't have one, I could have written you one now. Or not. Depends how I feel at the moment."
I can't imagine how does it feel to go with this train in summer. Eeew.
I could write about this train from hell forever, but don't want to ruin your joy before you experience this.
Photos tell 1000 words.
buses out of bucharest
there are two types of buses, what we call a coach, and the smaller minibus.
coaches ('autobus') are much cheaper, and used by locals country wide. but be prepared for ancient vehicles which leak and are aboslutely freezing in winter. you will be riding with the locals, and their chickens etc. a cultural experience everyone should try, but probably not a regular feature!!
minibuses ('microbus') on the other hand are really reasonably priced and run at intervals depending on the popularity of the destination. the stations for these are hidden all over the city- there is one near gara du nord, but others have different destinations. hunt around!
by the way - these buses aren't full when the seats are full. i once rode seven hours sitting on a milk crate in the aisle!
Cycling through Bucharest
If you come to Bucharest by bike, you might have got some practical advice on the way, in form of direct life experience. However - as someone cycling through this city, either to the office or just for fun every now and then - I am listing here some of my experience.
After the City Hall came with the great idea of forbidding cycling through the city, a cyclists' meeting, joined by protests and - a key factor - a notification coming from Brussels, things went back to "normal". "Normal" stands for the following in Bucharest (and generally in Romania for that matter), when one rides a bicycle:
- Drivers will never respect you, you do not exist for them, or, in the best scenario, you are bothering them
- They will next to never give you the way, unless they are afraid you will scratch their shiny car when they hit you
- Riding the bicycle aggressively (just like their driving) is not a solution, as this is very dangerous in a city where respect is the last thing anyone thinks of
- Yes, finally, they have assigned cycling lanes across the city; these ones generally go along the sidewalk, but do not expect anyone to step aside; pedestrians are not used to them
- If there is a cycling lane and there are no pedestrians, there can be various other obstacles: cars parked on the cycling lane, fences, trees and even the odd dog (see below for obstacles)
- Dogs can be a problem when cycling, as there are still many of them; better slow down when you see one and try not to scare him; generally speaking they are not aggressive unless scared or stirred
- Many guards at various office buildings and institutions won't like your parking / chaining the bike in front of "their" institution; avoid ruining your day and wasting time with Mr. No Brains by chaining the bike in a place where it does not bother their sight
- You've guessed it right, there are almost no institutions at all with a bike standRelated to:
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Airplanes to / from Bucharest
Bucharest has two airports. The oldest and closest to the city, Baneasa Airport (tel.: 9371), serves low cost companies (serving flights to Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the UK, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria - of which BlueAir is the biggest one, BBU based), charters going to Turkey and Greece, as well as CarpatAir (domestic flights with a connection to many European cities through TSR). Built in 1971, Otopeni Airport (tel.: (021)2041000), located 10 km. further on the road to Ploiesti, still serves most of the flights. Tarom is the Romanian national airline carrier. Both Baneasa and Otopeni airports are served by bus #783 (that runs every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends, it works with 2 rides cards bought from the aluminium RATB kiosks; it goes on the following route: Otopeni – Baneasa – the Arch of Triumph – Victory Square - Romana Square – University Square – Unirea Square), while Baneasa is also served by regular city buses (that work on regular tickets bought from the same kiosks), # 131 and 301 from Romana Square. The bus station in Otopeni Airport lies as you exit the domestic arrivals terminal to the right (from the international arrivals terminal, take the elevator or the mechanical stairs down to the ground level). In front of the international arrivals terminal there are only taxis belonging to TaxiFly which are allowed to wait there. They charge almost 3 times more than a regular taxi (ROL 20.000 / km. compared to ROL 7.000-8.000 / km.), buy regular taxis are only allowed to wait down on the ground level of teh parking lot. Look for reputable companies such as CrisTaxi, Cobalcescu, Meridian, Getax, Leone, Rodell, Dixie, Apolodor, they usually lie down the parking lot from the arrivals terminal in Otopeni and across the street from Baneasa Airport. A ride from Otopeni to the centre should never go over the equivalent of EUR 8-9.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
This old Bucharest airport is located closer to the city than Otopeni airport. It’s rather small and hasn’t got finger docks. You will be transported by bus to and from your plane. There are several low budget airlines flying here like Wizzair, Germanwings etc. The check in for Wizzair is where the Germanwings signs are.
In the whole airport I couldn’t buy a cup of tea, only coffee. There are 3 places but none had it ie the one bar in the middle of the room did have tea bags but no hot water apparently. I think he was just too lazy as he was chatting with a girl friend. You will have to give all your drinking bottle away before the x-ray but the good news is that you can buy new soft drinks in the duty free shop. And the soft drinks are one of the only things that you can pay in RON, all the alcohol and cigarettes etc. can only be paid in Euro. Although it’s cheaper to pay in Euro for the soft drinks than paying in RON.
When we left, the gents toilets were blocked, so all the men used the ladies which can be a bit tricky as you cannot lock some of the doors. There are more toilets once you are through the x-ray.
PS: You are not allowed to photograph the airport, but we only saw the sign near the big road when leaving the airport area.
By tram, bus and trolleybus
You buy your tickets for currently 1.10 RON (Oct. 07) from a little kiosk by the transport stops. You validate them in a little machine when you get on. I bought a map of Bucharest at such a kiosk which has all the public transport lines on it. That was we found out where we were able to catch the bus to the airport. Timetables are also on display on the kiosk windows.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Rip off taxi drivers
Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Kaunas, Kiev, Krakow, Minsk, Moscow, Prague, Riga, Rome, Sofia, Warsaw, Zagreb.
Something all of these places have in common is no shortage of taxi drivers who see it as a divine right to rip off tourists. In Bucharest, Minsk and Moscow in particular it is utterly outrageous and if there is an honest taxi driver anywhere in these cities then I am yet to find them.
Some thing else each of these cities have in common is a well developed public transport system based on any of metro / tram / trolley bus. The public transport systems are simple, efficient, quick and inexpensive and provide a welcome alternative to the inevitable taxi driver rip off.
Transport in Bucharest:
is made up of the Bucharest Metro, as well as a surface transport system run by RATB (Regia Autonoma de Transport Bucuresti), which consists of buses, trams, trolleybuses and light rail. In addition, there is a private taxi and minibus system. The metro and the surface transport system — currently run by two separate state-owned corporations — will be merged in early 2006 to form the Bucharest Metropolitan Transport Board. The city is served by two airports: Henri Coandă International Airport (formerly Otopeni) and Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (formerly Băneasa). Henri Coandă is the largest airport in Romania and the main hub for the national operator TAROM. The main railway station is Gara de Nord, or North Station, which provides connections to all major cities in Romania as well as international destinations such as Budapest, Sofia, Vienna and Prague.
Although it is situated on the banks of a river, Bucharest has never functioned as a port city, with other Romanian cities such as Constanţa and Brăila acting as the country's main ports. However, the Danube-Bucharest Canal, which is 73 km long, is currently in construction and is around 60% completed. When finished, the canal will link Bucharest to the Danube River and, via the Danube-Black Sea Canal, to the Black Sea. This corridor is expected to be a significant component of the city's transport infrastructure and increase sea traffic by a large margin.
Bucharest has become a new destination for the low cost airlines. There are now 4 low cost carriers serving Bucharest (Aurel Vlaicu Airport, former Baneasa - 10km from downtown): Blue Air, Sky Europe, My Air and Alpi Eagles. The flights are to and from: Slovakia (Bratislava), Italy (Milan-Bergamo, Verona-Brescia, Turin-Cuneo, Venice, Rome), France (Lyon), Spain (Barcelona, Madrid), Turkey (Istanbul), Netherlands (Maastricht-Aachen). You can buy a ticket with as low as 20 euros.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Bucharest is not the best city to walk around, simply because it is so spread out (in contrast to some Spanish cities for example).
Illustrated is an aide(?) to crossing the road - an animated green man telling you how many seconds you have left!
RATB is the transportation company of Bucharest which handles buses, trams and trolleybuses.
The company works in a pretty effective way with many lines and quite good buses altogh they are crowded in many cases. The trams are not new but most of them are were renovated lately.
One trip cost about 8000 Lei (0.25 Dollars), if you will be found without a ticket you will be fined with 300000 Lei (almost 10 Dollars).
Tarom via Timisiara
We flew from JFK in New York to Bucharest on Tarom Airlines. The flight, food and service were u nremarkable. But arriving and departing we had to stopover in Timisiara and could not leave the plane. Flying over the layover was about 1 hour, but flying back we were on the ground for almost 3 hours. If we return to Bucharest I would probably avoid this routeRelated to:
Bucharest has an efficient...
Bucharest has an efficient underground network (Metro). Tickets may be bought at the stations, the simplest ticket is a "double", which can be used both by two people travelling together or by the same person within a few months. The cost is 8,000 Lei (0.35 Euro). Metro
maps are not easy to be found, and the signals are not at all clear once you're in, you will need a bit of patience in order to interpretate the maps, or just test your Romanian and ask: "Spre .... the name of the station....., va rog?"
A taxi service from the international airport (Otopeni, 15 km North of the city) is easily available at an average price around 15 Euro. Much cheaper is the public express bus service, it is managed by line 783; it leaves from the airport, both from arrival and departure buildings; it stops in Piata Romana, Universitatea and ends in Piata Unirii. A special ticket is requested, it is sold at the small kiosks beside the stops and you can buy a double ticket for 20,000 Lei (0.8 Euro).
It might be a really good hotel for somebody else, but it wasn't for me. The beds were very hard...more
I would wake up every morning to still warm fresh Romanian pastries now what is not to love about...more
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