Is it safe to visit Bucharest, the capital of Romania? Please, don’t mistake it for Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary. It has happened to many people, that’s for sure. Even to some famous celebrities. What an embarrassing moment might have been for Michael Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Iron Maiden, Metallica or Ozzy Osbourne to shout out loud “Hello, Budapest!”. Coming from Ozzy, it’s not so surprising after all, but boy, did Michael Jackson disappoint his fans. 😅
Crime in Bucharest
The common petty crime in Bucharest is pickpocketing. This happens rarely though, only in very crowded areas and in public transportation (especially buses and trams).
To avoid this just be mindful of your belongings and don’t leave around your phone or wallet (especially in the old town, while on a corner terrace). I mean, that’s just common sense safety measures, right?
Fact: Berlin, Paris and London have a much higher rate of pickpocketing anyway.
Walking around Bucharest at night
When night comes you might be wondering if you should walk home. Is it safe to walk by yourself at night in Bucharest?
Walking by yourself at night is safe, in most of Bucharest. Central areas are very well light and police cars do their usual drive around.
Most of the neighborhoods are safe too. It’s just that the city center has more people wandering around at night and more police surveillance than the other areas.
How about scams in Bucharest?
As I stated before, Bucharest is a pretty safe city. But again, use your common sense and you will be fine. What I mean is don’t start conversations with shady-looking people trying to sell you something, offering to help out of the blue or asking you for help. Romanians are friendly people if you ask them for something, but they mind their own business. So if you get approached think twice. 🧐
The yellow taxies 🚕 had been famous in the past for trying to overcharge tourists. They would tell you a fixed price upfront for your destination, without wanting to put the meter on. This happens less nowadays. But if there’s any time when the local taxies would try to pull this scam off is weekend nights, next to the city center. Clearly, where people had a lil too much to drink and all they want is to be back in their bed, that’s when clients are vulnerable.
I recommend you use UBER, Bolt or FreeNow apps.
When in a bar or restaurant, just check the bill before paying by card. Even though is safe to use the card in every place, it’s best to check if the amount you are paying is correctly entered. I have heard of mistakes being made when they added another 0, which can make a huge difference. 😱
⛔ Euronet ATM – an international “scam”?
You might have noticed the Euronet blue ATM’s all around Europe. Well, they are in Bucharest too. As a piece of travel advice for you, don’t use them! No, they won’t clone your card or any sketchy stuff like that, but they will overcharge you a lot. And that almost sounds like a scam in my book, alongside exchanging money in airports. LOL never do that!
⛔ Areas to avoid in Bucharest
Please avoid Ferentari neighborhood, as it’s really unsafe for a tourist. Now, when it comes to Ferentari and a part of Rahova neighborhoods, some people would argue that there’s no reason to put them in this bad light. Personally, I would rather have you avoid them than having to deal with unpleasant situations. Plus, there’s absolutely nothing to see but for people’s houses.
📣 Other types of Risks in Bucharest
🆘 Natural disaster risk: Romania has a history of minor earthquakes, you know, the ones you actually don’t feel when they happen. The most recent one which shook things pretty bad was over 40 years ago.
✴ Terrorism Risk: Romania is not known for terrorist attacks. When it comes to this you are as safe as you can be in a European country.
🧙 Homeless people: In some areas, even central, you will see homeless people sleeping on the ground or sitting and waiting for donations. In most cases, they are harmless people and you shouldn’t be afraid of them.
🚸 Crossing the road: as a pedestrian, you will see most crosswalks in Bucharest have traffic lights. The ones that don’t you just need to make your crossing intention seen by the cars. The drivers will stop and let you pass. You just need to pay attention and give them time to see you. If you are crossing a street with more traffic lanes, please check that the cars on all lines have stopped.
♿ Wheelchair accessibility: Bucharest is not too friendly when it comes to wheelchairs. The sidewalks are not too great, most don’t have the proper design and in many cases are blocked by parked cars. Plus not all subways stops have working elevators and for getting into a bus one needs help (though the driver can help as he knows the system).
🚴 If you plan on renting a bicycle to explore Bucharest, well maybe, just maybe it’s not the best idea. Bucharest doesn’t have many km of dedicated bike lanes which makes it difficult and sometimes unsafe to use them. If you still want to have the experience try going on Calea Victoriei street. It has a dedicated and safe to use 3km bike lane. It connects up north to Parc Herastrau by Aviatorilor Boulevard.
🐶 Are you traveling with your dog? It’s best to keep your buddy pet on a leash and be aware of other dogs from the parks. The main reason is that Romanians don’t have a culture of training their dogs. So don’t expect well-behaved dogs, but don’t fear them either. Just pay more attention. And have the poopy-bags with you, as you don’t find them in the parks. You can get fined if you don’t clean after your buddy.
🚦 The risk of driving in Bucharest 🚦
If you are going to drive in Bucharest you might be in for a surprise. That is depending on the traffic and unwritten driving rules you are used to in your own country.
Romania has one of the highest rates of car accidents in Europe and holds position number 1 for the most deaths per population from traffic accidents. But this statistic refers to the whole of Romania. Considering that a big part of the country is rural and there is only one lane per way, a lot of overpasses go wrong. Plus, Romania has a deficit of highways too, which results in the same rough traffic scenario.
Is Bucharest safe to drive in? Bucharest is overall not too dangerous, but it’s not for the light-hearted either. There are a few things to consider. And paying extra attention is necessary.
⚠ Romanian driving style: fast and “aggressive”
Ok, this is a subjective opinion (I admit, I’m a fast driver too, but not aggressive), but also of other foreigners I asked. The city speed limit is 50 km/h. But if the traffic permits, you will rarely see that limit respected.
What do I mean by aggressive driving? The cutting off, the chaotic change of lanes, plus some cars even forget to signal these changes. Just pay extra attention to these facts.
And my personal “favorite”? The honking 1 second after the traffic light turned green. 😣
⚠ Be aware of RUSH hours: roughly 7:30-9:00, and 16:30-18:30
According to a study done in 2021 (source: Tomtom), Bucharest is the 8th city with the most congested traffic out of 404 biggest cities of the world. And take 1st place in EU. 😲 Even New Delhi is 2 positions under us, and having been there it’s shocking for me. But I agree! Congestion means we have many cars on narrow roads. India has many scooters/ motorbikes and wide roads.
⚠ Romanians like using quite a lot the “Stop/Park anywhere Button 🔺”. They put on the safety lights and they stop wherever they have a “quick” business to drop something off, to take a coffee to go, or God-knows-what other urgent business they have.
Driving in Romania: you can apply the same information for most of the country.
If you decided not to drive while you are in Bucharest and you want to know how to use public transportation, check out my complete guide (with prices and photos):
😅 Absurde risks of falling (take them as a joke.. or not)
The North part of the city is for the fancy neighborhoods, like Floreasca, Dorobanti. Walking around there is risky because you might trip and fall. That’s if you like cars, as you will be distracted by so many beautiful and expensive ones. You can also see the fancy cars on Aviatorilor Boulevard.
Admiring intriguingly beautiful buildings from all around the city center while walking might put you at risk! The pavement on many streets is broken, so you should definitely watch your step. And this is no joke.
✅ Bucharest Safety
Bucharest, Romania, is a safe city. You shouldn’t worry at all. The capital of Romania is becoming very popular with tourists who want to experience East Europe through a safe, affordable and fun city.
✅ Romania safety
Considering many aspects, we can conclude that Romania is safe to visit. So book your tickets and pack your bags. You will discover a country full of breathtaking landscapes, welcoming people, a lively atmosphere and delicious dishes. Are you ready to explore Romania? 😁