useful romanian phrases for travel

Typical haystack in Transylvania

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Traveling in Romania is doable without learning Romanian, but it will help you (and gain you points with the locals) if you learn a few basic Romanian phrases. It’s polite to try, even if you can’t pronounce everything just right. No matter where you are going in Transylvania (or all of Romania), you’ll find these basic Romanian phrases super-helpful with day-to-day interactions.

romanian pronunciation

The Romanian language is, at the same time, straightforward and complicated. There are a few additional letters to the English alphabet that have pronunciation that most English speakers would have to acclimate to.

The vowel combinations in words are pronounced as each letter put together quickly. For example, the ‘oa‘ in the word ‘noapte‘ (night) sounds like the ‘o’ sound plus ‘a‘ sound (‘a‘ as in ‘father‘). When you say these letters together quickly when speaking, it sounds like ‘wa‘, making the word ‘noapte‘ sound like ‘n’wap-tay‘.

ă a‘ as in ‘about‘ (uh)
â / îThere is no equivalent sound in English. It is similar to a forceful ‘uh‘ – listen to this clip of the word România to get a feel for the sound. Both â and î make the same sound – which letter is used depends on where it is in the word.
șsh‘ as in ‘shirt
țts‘ or ‘zz‘ as in ‘pizza

For more information on Romanian pronunciation, check out Romanian Hub videos on You Tube.


Small yellow wildflowers on the Fagaras Mountains in Transylvania

basic romanian travel phrases

general

Whether you’re greeting or meeting people, passing people in the street or at a shop, or simply trying to be polite, learning these basic Romanian phrases will ensure you are regarded as someone with manners by the locals.

Acknowledge shopkeepers and people you pass in the apartment or hotel, always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – basic manners will get you far in Transylvania!

Yes / NoDa / Nu (noo)
Hi (informal)Bună (boon-uh) / Salut (sa-loot)
Hello (formal)Bună ziua (boon-uh zee-wah) / Sănătate (suh-nuh-tah-tay)
Thank youMulțumesc (moolt-soo-mesk)
You’re welcomeCu plăcere
PleaseVă rog (vuh-rog) / Te rog
Nice to meet youÎncântat de cunoștință (un-cun-tat day coo-nosh-teen-tsuh)
What is your name?Cum te cheamă? (coom tay ch’yam-uh)
I am…Eu sunt (eu soont)
Good morningBună dimineața (dee-mee-n’yat-sah)
Good eveningBună seara
Good nightNoapte bună (n’wap-tay boon-uh)
GoodbyeLa revedere
Have a good dayO zi bună
I don’t understandNu înțeleg (noo un-tsay-leg)
Do you speak English?Vorbiți engleza? (vor-beets)
I don’t knowNu știu (noo shtee-oo)
Can you help me?Mă puteți ajuta?

transportation

When traveling between Transylvanian cities or towns, these are some useful and basic Romanian phrases and words to assist you on your journey.

While most people under 45 speak a good level of English in Transylvania, oftentimes the people working the ticket counters at train and bus stations are much older, with limited English. It’s useful to familiarize yourself with these common transportation phrases ahead of time.

A ticketUn bilet
The trainTrenul
What time is the last train?La ce oră e ultimul tren?
Where is the bus stop?Unde este stația de autobuz?
Where are the ticket machines?Unde sunt automatele de bilete?
Luggage pickupRidicarea bagajelor
FlightZbor
Boarding passBilet de îmbarcare
Wrong boarding gatePoartă de îmbarcare greşită
Delayed flightZbor întârziat
The flight is cancelledZborul este anulat

directions

Mountain road in Transylvania with tree-covered mountains in the background.

In the days of Google Maps and other GPS navigation systems, it’s less common to ask strangers on the street for directions. Still, knowing basic directional vocabulary words could help you in a potentially sticky situation! Here are your basic Romanian phrases for getting directions or when you find yourself lost.

LeftStânga
RightDreapta
ForwardÎnainte
BackÎnapoi
At the intersection, turn leftDupă intersecție, ia-o la stânga
StreetStradă
SquarePiață
Where is…Unde este / Unde e…
I’m lostSunt pierdut

shopping

One phrase I thought I’d need for sure was ‘Can I try this on?’ – turns out, you don’t usually ask to try clothes on in Romanian stores, you can just go into the dressing room. Still, I always ask just to be on the safe side.

If you find yourself in a small town shop, it’s best to check beforehand whether or not they accept credit cards. These basic Romanian shopping phrases are helpful if you find yourself with lost luggage and need to do some impromptu clothes shopping!

Can I pay with credit card?Pot să plătesc cu cardul de credit?
I don’t have the receipt.Nu mai am bonul fiscal.
How much does it cost?Cât costă?
OpenDeschis
ClosedÎnchis
Closed for lunchÎnchis pentru prânz
I’ll buy itÎl cumpăr
I’m just lookingDoar mă uit
Can I try it on?Pot să-l încerc?

restaurants

Mixed grill platter at a restaurant in Romania

And finally, the most useful, basic Romanian phrases – those needed to go out to eat at a restaurant! In more tourist-oriented areas, your server will likely speak English. Still, it’s good to have these as back-up.

Traditional Romanian food is some of the best in the world. Looking for great Transylvanian restaurants? Check out where to eat in Sibiu and where to eat in Cluj Napoca!

Could I see the menu please?Pot să văd meniul vă rog?
I would like…Vreau…
OrderComandă
CheckNotă de plată
A dry (red/white) wine Un vin (roşu/alb) sec
A sweet (red/white) wineUn vin (roşu/alb) dulce
A beerO bere
Do you accept credit cards?Acceptați plăți cu cardul de credit?
Do you have vegetarian meals?Aveți și meniu pentru vegetarieni?
I’m allergic to…Sunt alergic la
(Sparkling/still) waterO apă (minerală/plată)
A coffee/teaO cafea/ceai
BreakfastMic dejun
LunchPrânz
DinnerCină

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