Is Bucharest Safe?

Is Bucharest Safe?

Yes, Bucharest is a safe place to travel especially as a solo female traveller. But like with any unfamiliar destination you need to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t take unnecessary risks, would you walk down that dark alley way at home no, so don’t do it when travelling in Bucharest.

Like with any town or city there are going to be areas that are not suitable for tourists never mind a solo female. I know of areas in my home town and country that I just wouldn’t feel safe even if there was no threat. I first visited Bucharest in March for a couple of days and then again in May for a week and even though I felt vulnerable in some of the areas nothing ever happened.

safety in bucharest

Don’t take unnecessary risks at night

During my first visit, I must admit I didn’t do my research properly and I was staying at the Ibis near the Gara de Nord and it is not the best neighbourhood to stay in. Even the locals told me not to walk around alone at night and TBH I wouldn’t as I just didn’t feel that safe. I felt as though everyone was looking at me and I later discovered it was because they were still not used to seeing tourists and it wasn’t they were checking me out to rob me or anything they were just interested. My naivety presumed with it being a European city they would be familiar with visitors. I probably stood out more than most with my ginger hair and pale skin.

However, at no point during both of my visits did any untoward happen. The second time I was there with 100 other travel influences and didn’t hear of any stories of anything happening to anyone either and it would have got around quickly if something had.

I encountered a bit of a scary situation when I arrived the second time but I think my imagination ran away with me slightly and made it more than it was. I got a taxi from the airport to my hotel, I knew my hotel was near the train station and it was for one night as I was arriving at 10pm I only wanted somewhere to crash so I went for cheap. Since I had been before and stayed near the train station I was recognising my surroundings slightly and when the taxi pulled up outside a hotel that had a different name and I couldn’t see the train station I said that I didn’t think it was the right place. He replied that it was but it was very run down and not a nice place and he could take me to the Ibis if I wanted. Now I had heard of scams like this before where they say the hotel is full and take you to another one and get commission but I am not sure if this was his intentions or if he generally wanted to take me to a different hotel as the one he had stopped at looked a bit of a dive. Plus I had already paid for this hotel so I wasn’t going to go to somewhere different.

Anyway, he said “yes this is it look at the sign” and it was called Sirs and I was staying at a Sirs hotel so I got out. I went into the foyer and the man behind the desk was looking at me strangely and he said “we have no reservations”. I showed him my booking and he explained it was their sister hotel which was about an 8-minute walk but it wasn’t safe to walk around here so he called me a taxi.

The taxi driver arrived and said he knew where we were going but I was dubious as that’s what the other taxi driver said. So off we went and this driver was speeding round the corners and talking on his phone. Then we went through an area that looked like wasteland and he stopped I was thinking OK this is where someone comes and takes me away and does all the nasty things that happen in the films but he got out a tissue blew his nose and off we went again. He then stopped outside the hotel. I asked how much as I noticed there was no metre but as a lot are Uber drivers I presumed he was too. He said “pay how much you want to pay”. I said “tell me a price and I will pay it” he laughed and said it was free. Now nothing is free in the UK so I was a little bit worried in fact I watch so many horror films that I presumed that he was going to come back and get me in the middle of the night so I slept with the light on, not that a light being on would have helped me. But that is just my over active imagination as nothing happened to me.

is romania safe to travel

However, it did make me realise that I hadn’t told anyone where I was going or where I was staying so I put a quick message on Facebook to tell people which hotel I was in just in case. It got me thinking about my safety when travelling and how I need to at least tell my mum where I am staying because I never do and if anything did happen no one even know where I was supposed to be.

Anyway, I survived the night and now I think back he was probably just doing a nice thing as I got dropped off at the wrong hotel in the first place and at the end of the day they were the same chain but I didn’t think that at the time. Anyway, my point is even though this happened to me and yes, I was scared at the time nothing bad happened and it was probably all very innocent but it is important to careful.

Even though the Romanians definitely like to party as there are lots of drinking establishments I didn’t witness any drunken behaviour or aggression. In fact, that is a lie as I saw two separate stag dos that were acting very rowdy but they were English anyway. I saw quite a lot of policemen during the day and night.

One local even said to me “it’s perfectly safe in Bucharest as let’s face it after becoming part of the EU all our pickpockets moved to Europe for a better class of wallet” this was meant as a joke and not to cause any offense btw. I didnt even get any abuse, rude comments, or bad manners from anyone I encountered. I used Uber to get around and mostly all the drivers were friendly and talkative. I didn’t walk around the city alone at night but to be fair I wouldn’t do that in any city. I was told not to walk around with expensive cameras or phones on show and again that is the same anywhere. I didn’t feel as though I couldn’t use my camera to take pictures though and I have been to places where I have felt unsafe and not even got my camera out.

The UK Government website offers more advice on safety whilst travelling in Romania with some great tips.

Overall I think Bucharest is safe and I would visit there as a solo traveller, with friends and family or even with kiddiewinks. But I still recommend like with all travelling be aware, don’t take unnecessary risks and get the best out of your time in Bucharest.

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Living on the streets in Bucharest

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19 thoughts on “Is Bucharest Safe?”

  1. Yes I would say Bucharest is safe as well. As you say a little vigilance goes a long way, as does applying the same common sense principles you would at home. The taxi story does indicate you were perhaps being a little overly cautious, but better that than too carefree!

  2. I think you make a couple of very important points here that go beyond your stay in Bucharest. The first thing is to use common sense when it comes to your own personal safety. Take the same precautions you would where you normally live and perhaps one or two more depending on where you are – but do not become paranoid and assume that everything is unsafe. The second thing I would say is to always make sure someone dependable knows where you are and where you are headed – whether this is near your normal home or whether you are on the other side of the globe. Especially if you are traveling solo, you should always have someone to actively instigate a search if you are not heard from as expected.

  3. I consider safety much more these days now that I travel with my daughter. I definitely agree that vigilance and caution are musts anytime you travel, anywhere. With that said, I would totally visit Bucharest with my daughter.

  4. Bucharest has recently popped up on my travel radar and I’ve heard great things. A bit annoying that you were dropped off at the wrong hotel, but perhaps best to tell your close family where you are staying just so they have the details on hand!

  5. This sounds so scary! I’ve never traveled alone and I would also let my imagination run wild. I’m so glad you were safe and that you had a great experience in Bucharest!

  6. I think that there are bad parts of any city and generally most are just as safe as any other. I have had people warn me about visiting places like Rio, La Paz or Mexico City but I have found them about the same as my home town, if not safer provided you are cautious. There are certain parts of my home town I wouldn’t walk through alone!

    I can tell by the taxi story that your mind was on safety and being a little over cautious but that’s better than being blase!

  7. I visited Bucharest and believe it is totally safe, the worst that will probably happen in a taxi is that they will overcharge you. It was good that you get the free taxi after being taken to the wrong one, I personally wouldn’t have worried about it after. One country where I did have problems in taxis was Senegal, those guys never take you where you agree to go.

  8. As a female solo traveler and my experience of 8 years of traveling solo, I can say that Bucharest is definitely safe.

  9. As a female solo traveler being dropped off to wrong hotel is little scary. Sometimes some incidents happens and we feel that city is not safe. My friends are from Bucharest and they tell me it is very safe and just we have to be just cautious.

  10. I think it is normal to be a little bit suspicious when in a foreign country. I’m glad the people you met seemed to be honest though, and your night at the hotel went ok. The worst is always the late arrivals when you can’t really see your surroundings and your imagination can go wild.

  11. It sounds like Bucharest is safe given reasonable travel precautions. I am glad that the taxi incident worked out and you were able to make it home without too much incident.

  12. I am glad your night endeavor ended up on a sound note. And I like the fact that you were very alert and and suspicious. Perhaps thats required when in a new place, whatever place it be. And also to follow your guts and intuitions.

  13. It is so hard to define a city as safe or not safe. When i traveled to London I always felt safe and never felt unsafe. However, does that mean London is a “safe” city? Well that’s hard to define because London has it’s bad parts. I agree with you on this article. Cities can be “safe” if you’re smart about. Such as don’t go walking alone at night and don’t go through back alleys. I feel like you can be safe (in most cities) as long as you’re smart. I don’t blame you for being extra cautious! I often freak myself out too. Hope you enjoyed your trip 🙂

  14. A couple of different times, locals in various countries that I’ve visited have expressed how terrified they would be to travel in the USA. They said that the only thing they ever saw on the news from here is about mass shootings and violence and racism. Of course, those things are real and scary. But as someone growing up in a small town where I always felt safe, the generalization that all travel in the USA is dangerous seemed ridiculous to me. But it’s made me wonder: how often do I let my ideas and opinions about people from other parts of the world be shaped solely by what I see on the news or social media? Travel has surprised me more times than I can count by proving just how wrong my assumptions are about people from foreign cultures. People are people, regardless of nationality, race, or culture. Of course, it’s important to be smart when traveling, especially while alone. But I think that often, we let fear of the unknown hinder us from opportunities to learn about different ways of life. I travel because I’m determined to fight that fear and learn about people from people themselves. Thanks for sharing your experiences in Bucharest <3

  15. I would panic a bit if I were dropped off at a different hotel. You were able to maintain your composure. It was good that you informed your mother about your whereabouts. I do that too or I tell a friend. Based on your story, Bucharest is a safe place. However, we just need to be always careful when we travel. It does not matter where we go. The recent events made me realize that even you go to a developed country, it does not guarantee that they have the best security in the world. You can never be sure of anything.

  16. That incident in the taxi was a bit scary alright. I would have been wondering what you did. But thank Heavens, all was ok. Glad you shared your experience. Would be useful for people who end up in situations like this.

  17. I’ve never been to Bucharest but I’ve heard some fantastic things about it from others. When I travel, I tend to be overly cautious (especially when I’m with my family), and that’s served me well in the past. Based on your experiences, I’d definitely keep Bucharest in mind for future travels!

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