Located in southeastern Romania, Bucharest is the capital as well as the largest city and commercial center in the country. The Dambovita River runs right through the city, offering plenty of water activities during the warmer months. In a city filled with attractions like the Palace of the Parliament, Old Town, and the Romanian Athenaeum though, it is important to know how to get around in Bucharest.
The public transport system in Bucharest, Romania is the largest in Romania and one of the largest in all of Europe. There are several modes of transport including the Bucharest Metro, STB buses, light rail, trolley buses, and trams as well as a private minibus system. In addition, there are 10,000 taxicabs to help you get around when needed.
The bus is the most commonly used public transport option because it has the most stops, stations, and individual buses. However, the Metro and other modes of public transport are more popular during rush hours since the bus will be stuck in traffic, slowing down your commute time.
In the Bucharest City Centre, and at the Henri Coanda International Airport 10 miles to the north, you will find good access to all of the public transport options as well as plenty of taxi drivers and private car service. There are several bus stations throughout the central metropolis as the local bus runs over 854 miles around the city and many of these stations also give you access to other public transport such as the light rail, trolley buses, and trams.
Private transportation around the Romanian capital of Bucharest includes many different car services, taxicabs, car rental companies, ride-sharing, and private bus options. Whether you want a chauffeured limousine, minibus, or your own vehicle to drive, you can find it all.
Traveler tip: Rather than navigate the busy transit system with bulky bags and personal belongings, drop them at a luggage storage service in Bucharest and see the sights unencumbered.
How to get around Bucharest by train
Trenuri: Bucharest Train System
For long distances, you will be better off taking the train. The Romania railway has trains that service every city and town in Romania. The fastest trains are the IC and ICE, which transport between major cities. These typically have restrooms as well as restaurants onboard.
The Rapid train is a regional train that takes you to many outlying areas. Lastly, Personal trains are slow and local with less comfort but a better price. However, they all offer Wi-Fi and relief from the sweltering heat.
The ticket prices start at just under $100 depending on your final destination. Each of the trains has wheelchair access and discounts for children under seven and those over 65 years of age.
Bucharest Metro System
Run by Metrorex, the Metro offers four lines with almost 50 miles of track and 63 different stations. The average distance between stops is less than a mile and it is one of the fastest ways to get around town for activities like shopping, as well as the city's outskirts.
You can find the Metro by looking for white signs with a blue M on them. Many of the cars have mobility assistance and wheelchair lifts, but riders who need assistance can also request it and get a special pass. Those who are mobility impaired, children under seven, and people over 65 all get discounts on tickets.
Also known as the subway, this is the oldest line and runs from Dristor to Pantelimon. The line is about 20 miles long and has 22 train stations. The main train station can be extremely crowded during rush hours.
With just over 11 miles of track, the Metro M2 line was built in the 1980s and runs from Berceni to Pipera. There are 14 stations with a unique station, the Piata Romana, which is located in Piata Romana Square.
The Metro M3 has 16 stations on 14 miles of track from Preciziei to Anghel Saligny. This line also has an extension that runs from Pacil to the A1 Motorway and more are expected in the coming years.
The newest and smallest of the Metro lines, the M4 only runs 4.6 miles from Gara de Nord to Straulesti. The line has only six train stations and has the least amount of traffic.
How to get around Bucharest by bus
The STB (Societatea de Transport Bucuresti) runs all four of the bus, light rail, trolleybus, and trams. The bus has the most options and is the most common way locals get around Bucharest and larger cities in the surrounding area. If you need any kind of local assistance, check out their website.
Are you looking for a place to enjoy brunch? No doubt the bus can get you there! The local bus offers 85 lines with more than 130 stops covering the entire city as well as many other city stops. They run from early morning to midnight with a dozen night bus lines that continue on overnight. Most of the buses have air conditioning.
The trams have 23 lines around the city with a vast array of routes and stops. They run 206 miles throughout the city and sites neighboring cities. There are 486 trams with eight tram depots and many tram stops all over the city. The trams also have several night routes if you need them after midnight.
The trolleybus system was designed to be supplemental to the bus and tram services. The trolley has 15 lines and three depots on 102 miles of routes using 265 trolleys.
The nine light rail lines run alongside the tram lines on different tracks to offer faster travel times. These two networks comprise the east to west lines and a spur in the northern section of Bucharest.
The ticketing system for Bucharest's public transportation is easy since you can buy tickets online or at any station. Ticket prices can vary a great deal depending on whether you are taking the Metro or one of the STB options. You can also get a ticket at vending machines around the city and at bus stations. Each ticket is good for buses, trams, trolleys, and light rail so you can alternate as needed.
Riding the Metro, the price for one trip (90 minutes) is under one dollar although the minimum credit you can buy is just over a dollar, which is good for two trips. If you need more rides, purchase the 10-trip ticket for less than five dollars. They also offer unlimited weekly tickets or a monthly pass. Metro tickets can be bought at any station or online.
Tickets for the bus can be made by purchasing an Activ Card or Multiplu Card that you then use to load time or trips onto. You can get these at any kiosk or station. However, it is easier to purchase tickets online and is relatively cheap. A pass for one day of unlimited travel ticket is less than two dollars and is valid on all STB transport options.
Paying for your ticket can be tricky while you are in Bucharest. Although Romania is part of the European Union, they have not yet chosen to use the Euro for currency. The best option is to buy your ticket online since the currency is listed for all types of pay.
How to get around Bucharest by car
Major companies for rental cars are the same as in the US. These include Hertz, Budget, and Avis. With a rental car, you can go anywhere in the country of Romania that you want and will not need a ticket, any type of station or depot, and you will be on your own timetable to enjoy the town.
However, be aware that driving in Bucharest can be more dangerous than anywhere in the country. In fact, driving in this city is not typically recommended unless you are going to be doing some expat living for a while. In which case, you should note that the streets are confusing and rush hour traffic is horrible, especially on the main roads.
Can I get around Bucharest by foot?
When looking at a map, it may seem that the major attractions and other popular locations are extremely far apart. However, Bucharest is really a very walkable city. If you'd like to see the city at night, you can take a guided walking tour or explore on your own. Using Google Maps and your phone, you will have no trouble getting around and the best part is that it's free.
One good alternative to public transportation is the private minibus, also known as the Maxi-Taxi. These are like small buses that look like a taxi but are run by private companies.
These are a good option for small towns without trains and you can find them at the airport as well as major attractions around the city. In addition, they are air-conditioned and you do not need a ticket.
There are many different taxi companies including Yellow Taxis, Pelicanul, Cobalcescu, and Taxi 2000 as well as Cristaxi, Speed Taxi, and Meridian. Taxis in Bucharest are notorious for overcharging foreigners.
The typical rate is about three dollars per mile but it has been reported often that the rate for foreigners can be up to five dollars per mile. No ticket is needed and you can go anywhere you want.
Premium Taxi Service
For those who want a private service and are willing to pay more to get it, Elegance Taxi, Black Cab, and Taxi Bucarest are three of the main companies. You can book these cars in advance or use your phone app when you get to the airport. The cost is usually a flat rate that is typically about $16 for a trip from the airport.
In Bucharest, Romania, you will notice that there are only two services available, which are Taxify and Uber. These are faster than the bus and tram, cheaper than a taxi, and can take you anywhere in Bucharest or the surrounding cities. You will have to use the app on your phone to get one of these rides, which are paid for by phone as well.
Henri Coanda International Airport
Starting at the airport, just 10 miles from the city, you can expect to find a vast array of transport options just waiting for you. There is an airport rail link to the main train station at Gara de Nord and bus services as well as hundreds of taxis, private cars, and rental car companies to take advantage of. Many of the local hotels offer free shuttles from the airport so you should look for that first.
Public Transport in Bucharest
Now that you know how to get around Budapest, you can enjoy all of the attractions (including many things to do for free), museums, parks, and other spots you want to see. You can visit the heaviest building in the world, the Palace of the Parliament, which is over nine billion pounds. Another popular place to visit is the Old Princely Court, which was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula.