Best known as the legendary home of count Dracula, Romania abounds with history, folklore and legends. Bordered by the Black Sea and the River Danube, Romania has long stretches of coastline, making it a popular European holiday resort. It is also known for its castles, medieval towns, forests and mountains. The capital city is Bucharest and the official language is Romanian with a mixture of other European languages spoken, including French and English in places. The currency is the Romanian Leu.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Romania has made huge progress after a series of political and economic reforms. The city of Sibiu was chosen as a European Capital of Culture. Romania joined the European Union in 2007, but income levels remain some of the lowest in the EU. Once known as the Paris of the Balkans, Bucharest has a civilized culture, with plenty of good restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the major hotels. Parisian-style cafés and bars serve cheap wine and plum brandy. The tree-lined avenues and neo-classical architecture make this an attractive place to live and work. The cost of living is very cheap.
Work visas are not required for EU residents, but other paperwork may be required. Tourists can stay up to 90 days without a visa being necessary. Unemployment is very low at 3.9% and main manufacturing includes clothing, industrial and electrical machinery, cars, military equipment and chemicals. Many people are also employed in agriculture. Commerce and tourism are growing sectors for jobs. The average wage in 2008 equated to just $592, or 470 Euros per month.
Although almost 90% of the ethnic groups are Romanian, there is a sizeable number of Hungarians and those of gypsy origin. There is a growing enclave of foreigners in the country including Germans, Turks, Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs and Croats. One of the big attractions of moving to Romania is the incredibly cheap real estate here. Quality accommodation is available at some of the lowest prices in Europe, making buying more appealing than renting if your stay is permanent. You can obtain quotes for moving your goods from an international removing company. Education is acceptable at lower age levels, but private tutoring is prevalent for older children. Universities are not ranked at a world level.
Healthcare is poor in quality in Romania. The best places to receive attention are at the County Capital Hospitals where staff may speak English. It is common practice to tip medics to be assured of good attention. Health risks are high, so make sure all vaccinations, including Hepatitis B are up to date before traveling to Romania.
Winters are well below freezing in the mountains, with high rain falling as snow, which makes it popular with skiers. Summers are warm and pleasant especially along the coasts.