Timisoara - Walk - 9

Timisoara – Romania – Information


AUGUST 2019:



OVERVIEW:

PLEASE NOTE: The currency in Romania is the Lei (the RON). I will refer to them as R$s. At the time of writing, US$1 = R$4.26.

We have just spent 4 nights in Bajina Basta, Serbia …Bajina Basta - Drina River House

… followed by a long weekend in Belgrade, Serbia.Belgrade - Walk - 13

We, now, head east into Romania … our first ‘port of call’ is the city of Timisoara …


GETTING THERE:

You can get from Belgrade to Timisoara by public transport: Train-Taxi-Train (via Vrsac / Moravita), Bus-Taxi-Bus (via Vrsac / Moravita), and long distance bus.Belgrade to Timisoara Map

I chose to go by Shuttle Bus. The price was 1,800 Serbian Dinar (about US$17 / EURO16). The shuttle picks you up from your Belgrade accommodation and drops you off at your Timisoara accommodation. We left at 9am, we put our clocks forward 1 hour at the border, and we arrived in Timisoara Old Town at 1:30pm.


ABOUT:

Timișoara is the 3rd largest city in Romania and the main social, economic and cultural centre in western Romania. It is said to be growing as a ‘tourist destination’.Romania Full Map

Timișoara is nicknamed Little Vienna or the City of Flowers. In the 2011 Census, it had a population of 319,279.

Timișoara, like many other large cities in Romania, is a medical tourism service provider especially for dental care. It also offers excellent academic institutions, attracting thousands of international students annually – mainly at its medical school.

Nearby archaeological finds indicate settlements of Neolithic and Roman origins. The area was conquered by the Hungarians during the ‘Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin (895-896)’.Timisoara - Walk - 5

The town was destroyed by the Tatars in the 13th century but it was rebuilt as a military stronghold in the 14th century and held out against the invading Turks.

The city was, then, repeatedly besieged by the Ottomans and finally fell in the 16th century and remained under Ottoman rule for nearly 160 years. Subsequently, it came under Hapsburg rule and was part of the Austria-Hungary Empire until the 20th century.


PHOTO GALLERY:

Our walk starts on one of the main streets into the city at the Super Autogara (Bus Station) about 2kms west of the Old Town centre.Timisoara City Map

We walk east towards the Old Town.Timisoara - Walk - 1

We pass the main Train Station (Timisoara Nord).Timisoara - Walk - 2

And head towards the centre.Timisoara - Walk - 3

We enter the Anton Van Studier Central Park.Timisoara - Walk - 4

We pass the Metropolitana Cathedral that marks the southwestern edge of the Old Town.Timisoara - Walk - 6

And enter the Old Town streets.Timisoara - Walk - 7 Timisoara - Walk - 8 Timisoara - Walk - 9 Timisoara - Walk - 10 Timisoara - Walk - 11 Timisoara - Walk - 12 Timisoara - Walk - 13 Timisoara - Walk - 14 Timisoara - Walk - 15

The surrounding streets within 2 blocks of the Old Town are reasonably tidy.Timisoara - Walk - 16

And they remain reasonable as you get further away from the Old Town.Timisoara - Walk - 18 Timisoara - Walk - 19 Timisoara - Walk - 20

IN SUMMARY:

A city with several parks and many tree-lined streets.


ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS:

AUGUST:

This is what GRANDPAckers can expect to find within 1 km of the Old Town at short notice in early August:

BOOKING.COM:

Timisoara Booking

HOTELS.COM:

Timisoara Hotels

PLEASE NOTE: HOTELS usually display prices INCLUSIVE of TAXES. But many search sites (like HOTELS) don’t provide a ‘private bathroom’ filter, so be careful with some of the cheap hotels and make sure that you read the room details. HOTELS does not do well in the Romanian marketplace.

AIRBnB / HOLIDAY RENTALS:

A good alternative is an AirBnB or an Holiday Home:

Timisoara AirBnB

PLEASE NOTE: Other sites (such as Homeaway, FlipKey and VRBO are also worth a look).

IN SUMMARY:

GRANDPAckers will struggle to find accommodation within our price range. You will be lucky to find something for under US$30 / night. AirBnB may be your best bet.


MY ACCOMMODATION:

THE OLD TOWN HOSTEL:

I used BOOKING.COM to book a Double Room (single occupancy) with Shared Bathroom at the Old Town Hostel. I chose it because it was located in the heart of the Old Town. The price was R$125 / US$30.50 per night for 2 nights. They have private rooms mixed in with dorm rooms on the 1st and 2nd floors.Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Rooms

My room was a good size.Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Room Entry

It came with a Double Bed and a Bunk bed.Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Bed

There was no wardrobe, so I used the bunk bed for hanging my clothes.Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Bunk

You had to cross the shared kitchen to get to the shared bathroom.Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Shared Kitchen

The shared bathroom was good and there was plenty of hot water in the shower. The private rooms shared the best bathroom and the dorm room(s) shared another.Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Shared Bathroom Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Shared Shower

The shared kitchen was OK and reasonably clean but, as usual when shared with dorms, not a lot was ever put away. It did have a washing machine though … which you pay to use … but, for some reason, they let me use it for free.

My room had a nice view of one of the Old Town streets.Timisoara - Old Town Hostel - Room View

This proved to be a negative. My room had no fan, so I needed to leave the window open … and, the cafes outside hummed until 1-2am and inconsiderate drunks revelled loudly on their way home.

The wifi in the hostel was poor and rarely good enough to stream video.

NICE & COZY APARTMENT:

I decided to stay in Timisoara for 3 more nights … I needed to do more work before continuing my travels. I used HOTELS.COM to book a Studio Apartment 1.5 kms from the Old Town. I paid R$125 / US$30.5 per night for 3 nights. The accommodation was located on a busy main road.Timisoara - Nice and Cozy - Frontage

But it was set amongst 15 small apartments at the back of a courtyard away from the noise.Timisoara - Nice and Cozy - Courtyard

The apartment met GRANDPAcking Standard.Timisoara - Nice and Cozy - Room Entry

The Double Bed was actually 2 Single Beds pushed together. It came with a wardrobe and Cable TV (with several English speaking channels).Timisoara - Nice and Cozy - Room

The kitchenette was well equipped with a coffee machine, kettle, fridge / freezer, microwave, and 2 hot-plates.Timisoara - Nice and Cozy - Kitchen

The bathroom was an average size and the shower had lots of hot water.Timisoara - Nice and Cozy - Bathroom Timisoara - Nice and Cozy - Shower

The wifi was good enough to stream video.

IN SUMMARY:

The Old Town Hostel was nicely located but below GRANDPAcking Standard – I was sharing a bathroom.

The Nice & Cozy Studio Apartment was much nicer but a long way from the Old Town.


WHERE TO STAY:

Accommodation costs, even in a non-tourist town like Timisoara, will be a problem for GRANDPAckers in Romania.Timisoara - Cathedral Inside 2

Ideally, you want to be within easy walking distance of the Old Town … IF you can find something / afford it.


ACCOMMODATION SEARCH:

Have a look yourself:


Booking.com




EAT & DRINK:

There are several supermarkets around town. This makes a ‘Self Catering’ option viable. In fact, this may prove to be the only option for GRANDPAckers. Read on …

CHEAP EATS:

Here is a typical fast food menu from the back streets. You will pay more for the same thing in the Old Town.Timisoara - Fast Food Menu

The cheapest meals in the cheapest cafes in the Old Town start at R$20. Expect to pay R$30 as a ‘norm’.

DRINK:

A local 500ml beer in a supermarket will cost about R$2. A 2L about R$6. Expect to pay about R$10 for a local 500ml beer in ‘typical’ cafe and R$20 if you want something more ’boutique’.

IN SUMMARY:

In Romania, breakfast is unlikely to be included in your hotel rate. Expect to pay an average of R$15 for a cheap local Breakfast with tea / coffee.

Expect to pay an average of R$20 for a cheap Lunch with fruit drink.

Expect to pay an average of R$35 for a cheap Dinner with a Fruit Juice / 500ml Beer.

Obviously, if you had Self Catering accommodation, you could bring in groceries and eat more cheaply … but, for comparative purposes, this is not GRANDPAcking Standard.


TRANSPORT:

Timișoara’s public transport network consists of 9 tram lines, 9 trolleybus lines, and 21 bus lines. The system covers all of the important areas of the city. Timișoara also offers boat transport on the Bega canal.Timisoara - Walk - 17

Timișoara has a bicycle-sharing system with 25 stations and 300 bikes which can be used by locals and tourists for free.


MONEY:

Their are banks and ATMs in town.

In the Old Town, you will find several Bureau de Changes which charge 5% of the online exchange rate as a fee.


INTERNET / WIFI:

Don’t trust your hotel to provide good wifi in our GRANDPAcking price range.

Their are 3 main providers in Romania. The top 2 are Orange and Vodafone.

VODAFONE:

In Old Town Timisoara, the Mobile Store advised me to purchase a Vodafone Promotional Package.Timisoara - Vodafone Plans

Their 6 Euro plan was discounted to 5 Euro / US$5.50. This 28 Day Plan included 60GB of data, 2000 SMSs, and 300 minutes of Talk Time. At that price, I didn’t think twice.


HEALTH & SAFETY:

You will notice a large number of smokers here … not as many, perhaps, as in Turkey / Bulgaria / Serbia but still more than in Western Europe. No surprise when a pack of 20 costs only R$18. Smoking in bars and restaurants (even inside) is common.Timisoara - Cathedral Inside 1

There is no reason to feel unsafe. As always, exercise normal levels of caution … don’t make yourself an obvious target.


WHEN TO GO

The climate is close to a temperate oceanic climate with mild differences between highs and lows.Timisoara Climate Chart

The summer is May through to September.


GRANDPAcking COSTS:

Timisoara is not a long term holiday destination. You will probably only want to stay a few days whilst in transit. For that reason, I have not bothered to provide the usual breakdown of monthly costs.

However, with the high price of accommodation and the relatively high price for food & drink, GRANDPAckers can expect to be spending at least US$65 / day (i.e. you will be 25% OVER BUDGET).


CONCLUSION:

OK, but nothing to write home about.


RETIREMENT:

Could you afford to retire here on a GRANDPAcking budget? NO.

TTFN


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