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Geographical location : Romania lies in south-eastern Europe, between 4337'07'' and 4815'06'' northern latitude and 2015'44'' and 2941'24'' eastern longitude. Its neighbouring countries are Bulgaria (south), Serbia (south-west), Hungary (north-west), Ukraine (north and east) and Moldova (east). Romania also has access to the Black Sea (south-east).

Area : 238, 391 km (91,699 sq m). Romania is slightly smaller than the state of Oregon when compared on the American scale and also slightly smaller than the United Kingdom, on a European scale.

Administrative data: Romania is a Republic. It has 41 counties. The capital city is Bucharest.

Relief: dominated by the Carpathian Mountains, which encompass the Transylvanian plateau, Romania’s geography also comprises lower plains towards the eastern, western and southern borders, the last of which is partly made up of the Danube. The Black Sea is also vital to the country's economy and provides access to the rest of the world.

Historic provinces: Transylvania: central part of the country; Moldavia (which includes Bukovina): eastern part of the country; Maramures: northern part of the country; Wallachia (which includes Oltenia and Muntenia): southern part of the country; Dobrudja: south-eastern part of the country; Crisana: north-eastern part of the country; Banat: south-western part of the country.

Temperatures: average yearly temperatures vary from 8°C (45 F) in the north to 11°C (52 F) in the south, with temperatures of 2.6°C in the mountains and 11.7° C in the plain.

Climate: temperate continental, with slight ocean and Mediterranean influences in the west and south-west and continental in the north-east.

Population: Romania has a population of 21,698,181 inhabitants (2004 census).
The Capital, Bucharest, has 2,200,000 inhabitants. Other large cities with about 300,000 inhabitants each: Iasi, Brasov, Constanta, Timisoara, Cluj, Galati and Craiova.

Ethnic structure: Romanians (89.5%), Hungarians (6.6%), Gypsies (2.5%), Germans (0.4%), other minorities (1%)

Religion: Romanian Orthodox (86.7%), Protestant (6.8%), Roman Catholic (4.7%), other (0.4%), unaffiliated (0.2%).

Monetary unit: Leu (ROL) (click for currency exchange at Site BNR - Info Financiar). In June, 2005, it is planned to knock several zeros off the face of Romanian banknotes. For example, a 10,000 Lei banknote will read as 1 Romanian Leu. This will simplify everything for visitors to Romania. The symbol of the new Leu is RON (Romanian New Leu).

Language: Romanian is the official language, but Hungarian and German are also commonly spoken in various parts of Transylvania.

Local time: GMT + 2 hours.

When to travel: the best time to visit Romania is in the Spring (late March to the beginning of June) and Autumn (late September to early November), but one can also come during the summer months (June to September), provided they get away fast from the hot areas of the south and the capital, especially. The late Spring months and the Summer months (May to September) are actually the best times to see bird colonies in the Danube Delta.

Visa requirements: EU, Swiss, Japanese, USA and Canadian citizens can enter Romania without a visa and may stay in the country for 90 days. Holders of all other passports must obtain a visa from a Romanian embassy outside the country before travelling. On arrival they will also need to show that they have a return ticket and at least 100 Euro for each day that they intend to stay in the country. No visa fee is required for organized tourist groups providing evidence of prior payment for the services (voucher). Official visa fees and short-term visas are 25 USD for one entry and 60 USD for multiple entries. Individuals can enter the country carrying effective currency amounts equivalent to a maximum of 10,000 USD/person/journey. For more details see the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry web site: click here for details.

How to get to Romania
By plane from North America (connecting flights) and Western Europe with all major airlines and Tarom, the national air carrier.
By direct train from some Central European countries. Daily departures from Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Warsaw, as well as Sofia and Kiev.
By car from most European countries if you have more time available. To get to Romania, you have to follow the highways and major European roads that cross the country (E60, E70, E85).
By ship on the Danube River cruises from Vienna and Budapest and on the Black Sea cruises in the Summer season.

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