Romania Travel

Bucharest to Timisoara: How to Get there (by Plane, Train, Bus, or Car)

Few people know that Romania is a pretty large country. If you want to get from Bucharest to Timisoara, you should know that you are about to travel anything between 400 – 550 kilometers (depending on route and/or means of transportation). Today, we’re going to talk about how to get from Bucharest to Timisoara by plane, trains, buses or car (and the same goes for Timisoara to Bucharest).

Since Timisoara is pretty far away from Bucharest, the fastest way to get from one point to another is taking the plane: you’ll get there in about an hour. However, the long train ride could also be really enjoyable as you’ll get some pretty spectacular views, especially on the Danube shores. But this takes a lot longer, around 9 hours.

The best part here is that there are multiple options for you, both dirt cheap and more expensive, fast and slow. We’re going to cover them all here because some people might prefer taking a bus, for example, others might enjoy riding the train while other would like to get into a plane a fly there ASAP.

And since we’re talking about these two important cities in Romania, don’t forget to check out my overview of Timisoara or that of Bucharest if you want to find out more.

With these out of the way, let’s find out the answers to the burning question: how to get from Bucharest to Timisoara and vice versa?

Bucharest to Timisoara by plane

bucharest to timisoara by plane

If you want to get from one place to the other extremely fast, you’ll be happy to hear that you have a few options when it comes to taking a plane. The flight only takes about 1 hour and it’s usually pretty cheap, even compared with the other transportation methods: you can find flights for as low as 20 Euros!

(I am updating this article in late 2020, when the entire travel system is messed up, so costs now might be higher than they used to be. Make sure to always double check your details and prices!)

The cheapest company providing flights between Bucharest and Timisoara is Ryanair, but we also have the national air company Tarom providing a similar service, but for more than double the price (usually). Check both to see what your best option is.

Bucharest to Timisoara by train

Getting from bucharest to timisoara by train

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I love traveling by train. However, if you prefer to go this route, prepare for a long trip: around 9 hours on paper, but the trains usually end up being late, so if you’re unlucky, you’ll actually spend 30 minutes to 2 hours more in the train. There’s always this risk when riding trains in Romania!

There are multiple options available and fortunately, you don’t only have to rely on the CFR (national company) trains anymore, as private companies have offers on this route also.

If you choose to go with a CFR train (check the timetables here), expect to pay around 100 RON (21 Euros) for a second class ticket. But you also have better options in terms of quality, like the Astra Trans Carpatic train that offers really good sleeping coaches, with WiFi, included food and other goodies.

This is a night train only, but it’s really good – and you can check it out here. Prices are similar for train rides, no matter which company you choose and they both offer sleeping cars for the overnight trains.

The good thing about traveling by train on this route is that you will get some breathtaking views of the Danube when you’ll be passing by it, views that make this journey even more enjoyable. Of course, this only goes if you’re traveling during the day!

Bucharest to Timisoara by bus

Getting from bucharest to timisoara by bus

When it comes to getting a bus from Bucharest to Timisoara, there are, surprisingly, not a lot of companies running this route. The main reason why I believe this is happening is the sheer distance between the two cities. This makes it not profitable for charter buses, and extremely long rides otherwise.

The price for a bus trip from Bucharest to Timisoara or Timisoara to Bucharest is similar to taking a plane – between 70 to 90 lei (around 20 Euros), but you’ll spend a lot more time in the bus – around 11 hours.

This is my least favorite way of getting from one city to another, because you don’t get a lot of leg room for this long ride. Plus, since you will almost never find a direct bus, there will be many stops for picking up or dropping passangers along the way, which can result in delays. Also, you have no control over toilet breaks, which is not ideal.

However, if you prefer taking a bus (which is probably the cheapest method of getting from Bucharest to Timisoara), you can find the offers available online here.

I am sure that there are even more options available from other companies, but in order to find out about them, you’d have to visit the various bus stations in Bucharest or in Timisoara, depending where your starting point is.

Bucharest to Timisoara by car

Getting from bucharest to timisoara by car

Finally, you can rent a car if you prefer driving, or you can go for a ride-sharing website such as BlaBlaCar. This should normally be the fastest way of getting there on land and prices vary greatly here. Expect to travel for 8.5 hours or less, depending mainly on how fast you drive, but also on traffic – although this is, in regular weather circumstances, not a problem on this route.

When traveling to Timisoara by car, you have two possible routes: going through the mountains (Brasov, Sibiu) and into Timisoara – which is supposed to be faster. Alternately, you can go South through Craiova and Drobeta Turnu Severin, which should be normally a bit less crowded.

However, since I believe most people traveling here don’t want to go through the headaches of renting a car – or sharing a ride – I consider this method the least desirable one.

So these would be your options when traveling from Bucharest to Timisoara or from Timisoara to Bucharest. If you’re in a hurry, you can definitely go for the quick flight – even with all the waiting to board and getting to and from the airport to your location, you’ll still get from one point to another much faster.

If not, you can choose any of the other methods, my recommended being the train: even though it takes longer, you have the extra leg room and can even go for a sleeper car to rest a bit along the way.

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14 Comments

  1. I would do the train l think. I love being able to just relax and not worry about the driving part. I don’t mind driving myself but l am the worst backseat driver which is not fun for the person driving. I always said l wouldn’t do what my mum used to do, but here l am..doing just that! I would love to visit Timisoara next time!

    1. That’s the exact same reason why I prefer riding the train, even though it takes longer. But at least I know that if I want to get up and stretch my legs, I can do it whenever I want to πŸ™‚ If you were to visit Timisoara, I would be very curious to see what you think about it as it isn’t really my favorite city in Romania :))

  2. When I first got to know my wife, I asked her why she had never bothered to get a driver’s license. “I have bad eyesight, I can’t see very well, ” she said. SHE IS THE WORST BACKSEAT DRIVER IN THE WORLD! “You’re going to fast!” “You’re going to slow!” “You’re too close to that car in front of us!” “Watch out for that bicycle!” Then there are the times when she just lets out a scream with no explanation. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her eyesight…

    1. Hmmm, I checked out that BlaBlaCar website. There were two drivers headed from Bucharest to Timisoara on the date I selected. “Cristian D” was the cheapest at 71 Lei (about $19) but his appearance didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. “Mihaela I” looks pretty hot but she was evaluated with only 1/5 because she called up a passenger 30 minutes before she was supposed to pick her up to say she couldn’t. She wants 101 Lei ($27). I am reminded of a story in the Japanese news here about a young Japanese tourist who was approached at the Otopeni Airport by a “taxi driver” who offered her a ride to the city. She never made it. She was found murdered somewhere.

    2. Very funny story about your wife, Sturat! I can imagine that it’s not too fun to drive carefully and hear somebody scream every now and then, without a warning. My mother was a similar backseat driver, but in her case it all started after her and my father were in an accident. Since that moment on, she always has the impression that all cars are going to hit the one she’s in…

      Regarding BlaBlaCar, there are indeed risks there, as with any similar platform. I never used it personally, but I know many people who did and had no problems. Of course, there’s always a risk when it comes to getting in a car with a stranger…

      Regarding the murder… that is indeed one that you can’t forget. It happened in 2012 and never since – so it’s not something that you would expect to happen normally here. But once is enough to make you think twice…

    3. Hahahhaaaa!!! That is so me! We have arguments all the time. I am a terrible passenger. I hate giving up that control. Nothing wrong with her eyesight.. πŸ™‚ . I’ve used Blablacar several times, but only with my husband with me. It’s extremely popular around here.

  3. Calin:
    “BlaBlaCar”? Now that’s a funny name! The only ones I’ve ever heard of is Lyft and Uber.
    Me, I just stick to Yellow and Checker Cabs.;-)
    Train service in the USA sucks! https://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/amtrak.html We recently had a fatal crash not far from where I live. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/18/seattle-amtrak-train-crash It’s too bad, because the USA used to have such a great system (before the highways and airplanes).
    So, are the Romanian highways pretty well maintained? Are there some tolls for them, and for bridges and tunnels? Are there highways with no speed limits (like the autobahns in Germany)? What about the railroad trackage? I know it’s not like the UK or France or Germany with their “uber” maintained systems, but it certainly must be better than Amtrak!;-()
    Do you put a lot of kilometers on your Dacia, or do you walk or take the bus around your town of DTS?
    Are there any plans for self-driving cars? It seems in the USA it’s certainly a great concept, but the execution seems far less so.
    Hope all is well with Family Romanian!
    ~Teil (USA)

    1. The railroads in Romania are in a really bad shape and unfortunately they’re getting worse and worse. There are speed limitations for the safety of the roads on most routes. When I was young, for example, the train ride from my city to Bucharest took 1 hour less than it does today and my mother tells me that when she was younger, the train got there even faster. In this case, it’s the result of very bad management over the year, with CFR (the Romanian Railways) operating at a loss and never – or rarely – investing in the tracks.

      Regarding Drobeta, I started to get used to drive mostly since it’s easier, but until we got a car we would normally walk or take a taxi. Buses are very few in this city, few stations and you have to wait a lot for one to come so it’s not really a viable way of transportation in the city – they are mostly used by people who need to get to the nearby villages.

      Regarding the Romanian highways… they are in a decent shape, but there are very few kilometers of highways in the country. I think we have the least highway kilometers in the EU and things are not looking well in this area, although all governments of the past 15 years or more have promised more highways.

  4. Calin:
    I hope one day to fly on Tarom. I just hope it doesn’t end up going the way of Balkan (Bulgarian Airlines) or Malev (Hungarian Airlines)–out of business! Tarom has been operating at quite a loss for a while. Don’t know if government ownership (mainly) is the right way to go. I know Wizz and Blue Air seem to have a stranglehold (along with notorious Ryanair) on air travel in Central Europe.
    Also the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft have a less than sterling safety records–NOT Tarom, but the airframes.
    Hopefully, when it’s time to renew the fleet, they’ll choose all Airbus, or all Boeing to make
    training and maintenance more easier and effective.
    Somehow, Tarom will need to lead, follow, or get out of the way. They need to adapt. Icelandair, for instance has been pretty successful (even with the low(er) cost Icelandic carrier WOW Air). Funny, Icelandair (back in the day known as LoftleiΓ°ir Icelandic) was the original North Atlantic lowest-cost carrier. Now there’s WOW Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle, with Icelandair’s fares being higher.
    Oh, well, sorry for the rambling!;-)
    Still wouldn’t fly Ryanair on a dare. I would try Blue Air, though.
    Happy Easter!
    ~Teil
    p.s. Do you do give the kiddies nice Easter baskets with all manner of goodies, such as
    colorful Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, marshmallow Peeps, and toys?

    1. Tarom is indeed in a pretty bad shape right now and it’s difficult for them to turn things around when there are much cheaper options elsewhere. I would like it for them to manage to make a comeback and there are plans to help them, but one can never know…

      I never heard about problems with Ryanair, though. Most of my friends have used them since they entered the Romanian market and they had absolutely no problems – I didn’t even know that they had a bad reputation. πŸ™‚ We’re going to try Wizz Air for the first time in May when we visit Valencia – hopefully all goes well! πŸ™‚

      Regarding the Easter, there is indeed the tradition of the Easter bunny coming to deliver presents to kids and adults. It’s a bit like Santa Claus, actually: kids get toys, sweets and all sorts of goodies and we do have a ton of bunny or egg themed sweets invading the stores. There’s also the tradition to get something new to wear on Easter day and most people still swear by it.

  5. I always preferred to travel by train if possible because I think that the singular most fascinating aspect of train travel is watching the world pass you by. When I travel by train I can see the individual villages, the farmers working in their fields, and people going about their daily lives from ground level. In few seconds I can develop an understanding of where they come from. They all have their owns thoughts and concerns, their own joys and tribulations.😊

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