True or False: 10 Stereotypes about Romania and Romanians

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

What are the most common stereotypes about Romania and the Romanian people?

As open-minded as we wish to be, we all have a few stereotypes when it comes to other countries and nationalities. It’s acceptable to consider the Germans as hard-workers, the Italians as passionate, or the French as refined wine connoisseurs. What’s true and what’s false when it comes to the image others have about this country?

You’ll find below 10 of the most common stereotypes about Romania and Romanian people.

1. Romania is a Balkan country. This stereotype about Romania again?

Partly False

Stereotypes about Romania

European map with the highlight of the Balkan Peninsula

Photo source: Wikipedia

The Balkan region starts south of the Danube, and Romania is located on the north side of the river. Yet, many information sources tend to include Romania in the Balkan Peninsula. Even if this is not accurate, in many cultural aspects Romania does feel like a Balkan country.

2. Everything is cheap

Partially true

Don’t fall into the Eurotrip or other similar movies trap. We know that many foreign tourists expect a low-budget vacation while enjoying all the comfort. It’s hardly possible. 

Food is a bit cheaper, especially fresh organic ingredients, but the utilities and gas price is like in Central and Western Europe. Sure, you’ll spend only 10-15 Euros on an excellent lunch at a good restaurant. Just don’t expect this to be the main indicator.

3. The land of Dracula

False

dracula myth

Romania is the land of Vlad the Impaler, a medieval prince who used to fight the Turks and impale the traitors. This was nothing unusual at the time. Romanians admire a lot this medieval prince. This is why they’re easy to annoy when tourists link him to Dracula, a fictional character placed in Transylvania.

You can discover the truth behind the myth with our history tour Vlad the Impaler versus Dracula.

4. Romania is dangerous. Another outdated stereotype about Romania.

False

Travel Risk Map 2019

Travel Risk Map 2019

If you’re thinking of a country where it’s not safe to travel alone, then you’re most likely wrong. Romania’s reputation still suffers because of the image it had in the ’90s. Back then, pickpocketing or cheating taxi drivers were omnipresent. Time has passed, and luckily things have changed. Uber and other taxi apps are a reliable alternative to taking a taxi. You shouldn’t worry about anything happening to you if you take the smallest precaution measures.

5. Romanians eat a lot of garlic and onions

True

Romanian Christmas dishes

Traditional dish ‘sarmale’

This is one of the accurate stereotypes about Romanians.

We’re not sure how this culinary preference became so well-known, but it did. Yes, Romanian people enjoy adding onions and garlic to almost all traditional dishes. Try these two ingredients if you want to eat like a Romanian.

6. The land of gypsies. Really, this again?

False

Stereotypes about Romania

Gipsy women wearing traditional clothes

Romanians are often irritated when foreign media insist on portraying them as gypsies.

This minority represents around 3% of the entire population. Still, after hundreds of years, Romanians have not managed to integrate this ethnic group.

Don’t expect all gypsies to be beggars, and don’t expect them to be aggressive. You’ll see a more complex image of this colorful minority, including gypsy palaces, well-defined rules, and traditions.

7. Romanians speak or understand Russian

False

Romania stopped using centuries ago the Cyrillic alphabet. Even more, Romanian is a Romance language like French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Some of its words are Slavic, but not enough for Romanian people to speak this language.

Still, Russian became mandatory in Romanian schools after the communists seized the power at the end of WW2. This means that our parents still remember some Russian words they learned back then. Not enough to back this stereotype about Romania.

8. Roads in Romania are bad

Partly true

Romania has very few highways compared to other countries in the region. The roads are way better than they used to be, and if you stick to the main roads, any car will do.

But, the scenic landscapes and villages are often far away from these routes. You came for an adventure, right? Add an extra half an hour on top of Google Maps’ estimate to be sure and relax. Enjoy scenic roads like the high-altitude Transfagarasan and Transalpina.

Transfagarasan

9. Stray dogs are dangerous

Partly false

This stereotype is usually linked to the image of Bucharest, the most visited city in Romania. Stray dogs were a reality for many years and a major downside for the capital’s reputation. This problem appeared after entire neighborhoods were destroyed during the communist regime. People had to abandon their households, often leaving their pets behind.

While you’ll see stray dogs here and there, they’re usually not dangerous. Don’t worry unless the dog appears to be aggressive.

10. Romanians are very religious

True

wooden churches Maramures

Desesti Church, Maramures

Almost all Romanians are Orthodox. Sure, not even half of them go to church, but those who do compensate for all the rest staying at home. The Orthodox Church is still a strong institution. You can be sure there’s always a pilgrimage somewhere in the country with thousands of people attending.

Look beyond this religious dedication. Romania has wonderful churches and monasteries, listed as historical monuments or UNESCO Heritage Sites.

These are a few of the many stereotypes about Romania and Romanians. Most of them are funny, only a few are offensive. Even so, Romanians’ exaggerated sense of humor and irony makes everything feel like a joke.

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