Much like neighbouring Bulgaria, Romania has some distinct advantages for digital nomads in Europe and it has the potential to become a real hub for remote workers from around the world. In this Romania digital nomad guide, we’ll look at the pros and cons to working remotely from the country and look at some of the best places to go.
Romania for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers
- Population – 19.3 million
- Capital – Bucharest
- Language – Romanian
- EU – Yes
- Schengen Area – No
- Currency – Romanian Leu
Pros & Cons to being a Digital Nomad in Romania
- Low costs
Value for money is always a key consideration for anyone considering their next digital nomad destination and Romania certainly ranks very well in that regard. Along with neighbouring Bulgaria, it’s one of the very cheapest countries in the EU, with only a handful of non-EU nations offering better value.
You can find pretty good accommodation in most Romanian cities at a fraction of the cost of the equivalent in Western Europe with overall living and travel costs around 50% down on some of the most expensive countries. Even if you compare it with our Croatia digital nomad guide, you can make significant savings.
- Fast internet with good coverage
Most digital nomads in Romania have only positive things to say about the internet. Average speeds across the country are reportedly 160 Mb/s on cable and 38 Mb/s on mobile with lightning fast internet available in the major cities.
Significantly though, the coverage is also pretty good meaning you should be able to easily get online and get your work done with minimal hassle even in the more rural areas which is handy in a country where there is plenty to tempt you out of the cities and into the Carpathian landscapes of Transylvania.
- Accessible digital nomad visas coming soon!
Countries are increasingly starting to offer digital nomad visas and that is leading to a degree of competition as they vie to attract people to live and work remotely in their lands. Typically though, there is a relatively high minimum earnings threshold you must meet to be eligible for a digital nomad visa in many countries. For example, to be able to apply for an Estonia digital nomad visa, you need to earn over €3500 each month which will be very tough for many people to meet unless they have long established online businesses.
Romania though will reportedly soon offer digital nomad visas for anyone earning over the gross average monthly wage in the country which is 5,429 lei, around €1,100. That’s far more accessible for most digital nomads. Even if you don’t currently make that much, Romania’s status outside of the Schengen zone makes it an attractive destination to spend a period of time if you’re a non-EU traveller who reaches the 90 day limit on the Schengen visa.
- Not a huge digital nomad community
Despite being a country with a relatively poor international image, finding disadvantages to being a digital nomad in Romania was harder than you might imagine. As well as the positives listed above, most reports tend to speak favourably about the friendliness of the people and most visitors have good experiences.
However, partly because of that perceived negative image, Romania is not the kind of place which attracts people from far and wide. You won’t find particularly large digital nomad or international communities here, although that may change should the Romania digital nomad visa scheme really prove a hit.
- Corruption & Crime
Truth be told, you’re no likelier to come to harm or be a victim of theft in the streets of Romania than in other countries in Europe. Bucharest in particular is arguably safer than popular tourist cities like Prague or Barcelona where loads of pickpockets operate and target visitors. That being said, train and bus stations can be problem areas where you need to be careful with your belongings and the same is true when travelling on trains.
What really sets Romania apart from most European countries though is that it still has big issues when it comes to matters such as corruption and organised crime. Identity theft rings are known to target ATM’s for example and you also need to be on your guard against confidence tricksters and scammers.
Remote Work Romania – Where to Go
For rapid internet & big city vibes – Bucharest
While it’s not one of the cheapest places to live in Romania, nor is it necessarily the prettiest or most historic city, Bucharest is by far the biggest. It’s about six times the size of the next largest so for those who enjoy the buzz of a big city, Bucharest is the place to be.
It’s very much one of Europe’s up and coming capitals with a large IT sector currently attracting major companies to the Romanian capital. It’s also known for its rapid internet speeds which means it’s well placed to develop into a major hub for remote workers if digital nomadism really does go mainstream once the pandemic comes to an end, as many are predicting it might.
For stunning surroundings & outdoor adventures – Brasov
Brasov is high on the list of priorities for anyone travelling to Romania. It boasts medieval charm in mysterious Transylvania and is the main gateway to Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula’s Castle – perhaps the most recognisable building in the whole country and one of the decidedly spooky symbols of the land of the vampire.
The level of English spoken in Romania is quite high in any case, but Brasov’s status as a popular destination for travellers makes it that little bit easier to get by. It’s a lovely city but the main appeal for many nomads will be the adventures that can be had in the surrounding area. Nearby you will find some of the best ski resorts in the Balkans, as well as loads of great places to go hiking and enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.
For cafe culture & a youthful atmosphere – Cluj-Napoca
With no fewer than ten universities, it’s safe to say Cluj-Napoca has a real student atmosphere and that energy does rub off on anyone in Romania’s second city. You’ll find plenty of cultural events and activities in town and more midweek nightlife than in most other Romanian towns.
It has developed something of a “hipster” reputation in recent years. There are loads of chic coffee shops cropping up which can provide good places to work from and you shouldn’t struggle for things to see and do with lots of museums and medieval castles in the area. Cluj’s northwesterly location also means it’s a bit more closely connected to the rest of Europe than somewhere like Bucharest, with links to cities such as Budapest and Belgrade possible should you want to get away and explore other countries.
Getting Around Romania
Romanians typically use the country’s large public transport network rather than their own cars to get around and while not always fast, connections are generally much safer and smoother than by road in a private vehicle. Most of the major cities have good urban rail or tram networks, or failing that plentiful bus routes, while Bucharest has a metro network. To get from city to city, these are your main options:
By Bus – Buses come in all shapes and sizes in Romania. Many locals get from town to town via minibuses or so-called maxi taxis, and they can be great value although are a little bit difficult for outsiders to understand how they work or where they go. The more organised routes and timetables can be found on the Autogari Website.
By Train – Getting around Romania by rail is highly recommended and the extensive network covers just about the whole country. While they are by no means the fastest trains in the world (it takes around 10 hours to travel the 450 km from Bucharest to Cluj), Romanian train journeys are generally cheap and scenic affairs, particularly in the stunning Transylvania region.
By Plane – If you don’t fancy the long journeys by road or rail, you can save time by flying. Budget airline Blue Air generally has the cheapest fares on internal flights within Romania. Headquartered in Bucharest, there are direct connections from the Romanian capital to the cities of Timișoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Oradea and Suceava with the flying time just under an hour in all cases.
If you’re just planning to travel around Romania, you can find perfectly fine hotel rooms or private rooms in hostels starting at around 20 Euros per night. If you’re traveling with a friend or partner, you can really find some outstanding value but for longer stays of a week or more, it’s probably best to use Airbnb or another short to mid term booking site.
There’s plenty of suitable digital nomad accommodation in Romania on Airbnb. Unless there’s a major event on or it’s a peak time for travel, you should be able to find good studio or one bedroom private flats from around 400 Euros per month in all major cities. Digital nomads looking to really save money and not fussed with any real frills, should be able to find even cheaper options and overall Romania is certainly one of the best places in Europe to save money as a digital nomad.
Coworking Romania & Other Places to Work
Romania is the second youngest nation in the European Union by average age (after Slovakia) and while some rural areas remain relatively conservative and traditional, many of its cities are really youthful places, not afraid of embracing change. There are many coworking spaces listed on coworker and some have options starting at the equivalent of just 3 Euros per day.
Here’s a small sample of some of the best reviewed coworking spaces in Romania:
|TechHub, Bucharest||This large space in Bucharest has good facilities and is a nice place to meet fellow nomads with social gatherings and events, as well as chillout areas for your use.|
|InnoHUB, Sfantu Gheorghe||Located in Sfantu Gheorghe, close to Brasov, this coworking space offers some of the best value for remote workers in all of Europe. You can get a hot desk for 15 RON per day or 150 RON per month – the equivalent of just 3 and 30 Euros!|
|Timișoara Startup Hub||Well reviewed by remote workers and startups in Timișoara, this coworking space is well located and particularly popular with those in the IT sector.|