ABOUT Romania is one of the least known countries in Europe. Closed for more than 40 years behind the “Iron Curtain” and almost isolated from the rest of the world by a tough communist regime until 1989, Romania is a land of many genuine treasures that are waiting to be discovered. Romania is one of the large countries of Europe (the size of the United Kingdom or roughly half of France), with a population of approx. 22 million inhabitants. Along with the Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, Serbs, Turks and other minorities also live in the country. Most of them are of Greek-Orthodox religion, but there are also many Catholics, Protestants, Evangelical, Muslims and others.
CLIMATE Owing to its distance from the open sea, Romania has a continental climate. Summers are generally very warm to hot, with average maxima in Bucharest being around 29 °C (84.2 °F), with temperatures over 35 °C (95 °F) not unknown in the lower-lying areas of the country. Minima in Bucharest and other lower-lying areas are around 18 °C (64.4 °F), but at higher altitudes both maxima and minima decline considerably. Winters are quite cold, with average highs even in lower-lying areas being no more than 3 °C (37.4 °F) and below −15 °C (5 °F) in the highest mountains, where some areas of permafrost occur on the highest peaks.
BEWARE There is a risk of petty theft in large towns, especially Bucharest. Pickpockets and bag snatchers operate in crowded areas, particularly near exchange shops and hotels, on public transport (especially to the airport), in the main railway stations and inside airport terminals. There have been reports of a scam involving thieves who present themselves as plain-clothes policemen. They flash a badge and ask to see passports and wallets. They count the money and give the documents back, but when they return the wallet, some of the money is missing.