We Moved to Constanta, Romania: The Experience So Far

Life got really busy here, behind the scenes of the Romania Experience blog with ups and downs, like it happens to most.

Probably one of the most important things that happened – and I managed to keep it a secret so far – is the fact that we have decided to move from the smaller city we used to live in (Drobeta Turnu Severin) to a larger one.

Starting today (well, actually, starting June 5th, 2022) our new home is in Constanta, Romania! Yay!

Today, I am here to share with you my thoughts about our new city, the reasons why we decided to move and a bunch of random, more personal things that you might find helpful if you’re looking to make the move too.

Why choose Constanta?

With my wife being from Bucharest and with so many other options in Romania (or all over the world, actually), our decision to move to Constanta came as a big surprise for all our relatives and friends.

So… why did we choose Constanta over all the other cities?

good food in Constanta
We don’t have a good Asian food restaurant in Drobeta, so we really love the options we have here…

Most likely, our reason won’t resonate with many of the readers of this blog. But this article is more personal than most, so we’re going for the 100% personal experience today!

In our case, the main reason for choosing Constanta as our new home was our son. He’s soon going to turn 9 and our main focus is to try to get him the best education possible.

The schooling system in Romania is below par to say the least and unfortunately, the state school system is, in many cases, a big risk. It might work well, but it has the potential to turn into a life-long scar for the kids going there.

The smaller the city, the smaller the chances of finding a good school. And we know that from personal experience, after trying a couple of schools in the area and especially after talking with many people involved in the school system.

(Both my grandparents were teachers back in the days, and there are still a few connections left).

Long story short, we decided enroll our son in a private school. We researched options in all major cities in Romania and found out that there are very few options available, overall.

Out of most of those options, many had zero or close to zero academic results – and our goal was not to pay money for him to get no education. The others which seemed much better were very expensive for us (around 1,000 Euros / month) and most were in Bucharest.

We initially found a nice school in nearby Craiova, which made more sense, since it was closer to our home, including the village house we bought back in 2020. But unfortunately, their class was full.

When all options seemed to have ran out, I thought to myself: “Hey, why not try Constanta?” And, to my surprise, we found a school that we absolutely loved.

We visited the school back in March, our son took a mini-exam and was accepted… and then we realized that we have to move. Actually do it. Which proved to be both exciting and stressful.

Moving to Constanta, Romania: The Experience

It all happened pretty fast, which is good, because it proved to be a lot more stressful than I thought it would.

You see, it was the first time that we moved cities since our son was born and it required a lot more preparation than it did back when I was in university. It seems that the older you get, the more crap you need to feel comfortable.

So, with just a few months left to plan for everything (we had to be in Romania by June 20th, as we also decided to enroll our son in the Summer School to get to know his future class mates before the start of the new school year), we hit our first road block:

Finding a place to rent in Constanta

This proved to be the most difficult thing, because our timing was horrible. Of course, we couldn’t have anticipated this even if we tried to.

You see, because of the conflict near Romania’s borders, many people from Ukraine decided to flee to Constanta. They needed a place to live in, so demand for apartments grew like crazy.

Together with it, so did the rental prices.

But even with humongous prices, the problem was that everything that was listed was instantly rented. It took minutes, and the cheaper the property, the faster it went away.

And since we wanted to be within walking distance to our son’s new school, our options were even fewer.

But it all worked out, and we found a really nice place. You can see a tiny bit of it below, but I will soon have a full apartment tour on the Youtube channel.

our apartment in Constanta

The downside? We’re paying 800 Euros per month for it. I was hoping, during the early planning stages, to pay around 600. So it’s a lot over our budget and I always criticized those who set a budget just to pay a ton more.

However, in our case, the price was on the lower end. Rentals for similar apartments (we need 2 bedrooms, since both my wife and I work from home) that were close to school (we wanted a maximum walk of 20 minutes to school) were at around 1,000 Euros per month.

It’s true that we managed to find an old couple that wanted to “rent to Romanians only” (their words) and the price was lower, at 750 Euros per month. The place was nice, BUT it needed a lot of stuff that we already have here: fridge, oven, cooking top, washing machine, microwave oven, vacuum cleaner and so on.

In the end, it would’ve been more expensive to buy all those things. Plus the trouble of getting them installed. Plus the fact that it was a bit farther away and not as nice as the apartment we’re in right now.

This was the second apartment we visited and we were lucky to be fast enough to call the agent, almost immediately after they listed it.

cherry tree in front of the window
We also have a cherry tree right in front of the window, in case we forget to buy fruits some day πŸ™‚

We signed the contract right away. Our agent told us afterwards that he had a shortlist of 12 people waiting to see the place. The owner also had another visit scheduled the same day.

It was surreal, seeing them starting to make calls and cancelling appointments as soon as we signed the papers.

It’s crazy how various events in other countries can have such a massive impact all over the world. (And rental prices / availability in Constanta is probably one of the least effects this craziness has).

In conclusion, it was really difficult to find a place to rent. Prices are MUCH higher than they’ve ever been because of the increased demand and now with the summer season kicking in, it’s even more difficult to find a long term rental as most of those who haven’t rented yet prefer to get a higher income from short term rentals.

But despite all this, we are really happy with our new place. It does have an open kitchen (which is something I am not a fan of), but it is large, it is fully equipped, it is in one of the best neighborhoods I recommended in Constanta… and our son loves it! So things worked out well, in the end.

Tip: Although OLX (and their sister site Storia) remain the best places in terms of the sheer number of offers available, we actually managed to find our place through Imobiliare.ro (which is lesser known and has some exclusive deals, which gives you a slight advantage).

Thoughts about living on the Black Sea’s coast

The truth is that now, when I am writing this article, it’s only been over a week since we have arrived in Constanta.

Most of this time was spent house-hunting, so I can’t really say I had the chance to experience everything that Constanta has to offer.

But first impressions matter a lot and I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the city.

black sea in Constanta during the Winter
Checking out the Black Sea when we first came in March

I do have to agree that, since it’s a larger city than the one we moved from, you have a lot of options for shopping, entertainment, health care and basically everything you can think of. This is a great advantage for sure.

But Constanta, as I have mentioned in the Pros and Cons of living here, is really dirty and poorly maintained. The infrastructure is in a really bad shape, the traffic is crazy and parking spots are almost impossible to find.

But at least I’ve seen work under way in various areas – the old town area, for example (but it’s not expected to be finished until summer 2023), and also other areas in the city. So slowly but steadily, things will improve.

But so far, I was surprised to realize that the larger Constanta was in a much worse shape that the small city we came from.

Of course, the beach is just a stone’s throw away – you can even get apartments with a sea view (we didn’t) – and this solves a lot of problems. Sun and sea – great medicine for the mind!

Wrapping up

We still haven’t even ticked off the list the top things to do and see in Constanta – I will have to come back with an update after a while, once our son starts school (to see if it lives up to the expectations) and once we get to explore the city a bit more.

One thing that I decided to accept and I have to embrace is that no place is perfect.

No matter how expensive, exclusive, remote or cheap it is, no matter how much time you spend searching or build up your own… at least one thing – but usually more – won’t be as you’d like them to be.

Constanta is, so far, not perfect. The city we left from wasn’t perfect. Yes, I wanted it to be cleaner, nicer, better looking… but it is what it is. As long as our son’s school is good, we’re going to be happy. That is all that matters for us right now.

There are still tons of things to do, areas that are truly beautiful – we found a few already close to where we live, so definitely there’s a lot more… so Constanta is, so far, a good choice.

We’ll see how that changes 12 months from now and if I’m going to wish to be here or leave again. But unless the city proves to have a major Con that we’re not seeing right now, I don’t think we’ll have a reason to get back soon.

I still want to get back there, though. The thing I dream about is our village house in which we invested a bit of money last year for renovations. It’s a really nice place. I love it there.

But it’s a place where I have nothing against returning 10 years from now or even later if all things are good. We can’t take our son there as there are no real education options, so we’ll just have to wait.

We’ll see how that goes. So far, it’s a new life that we want to enjoy for a couple of months, see how we all settle in and then reassess the situation. We’re in no rush right now, but with the economy heading down the drain, anything is possible.

Hopefully, all will be good!

Share if you liked this!

11 thoughts on “We Moved to Constanta, Romania: The Experience So Far”

  1. Wow! First let me apologize for not having commented in a long time. Most of your recent posts have been of the “update of old post” variety to which I had already posted old comments.

    But back to the topic at hand. I wish the whole Romanianexperience family happiness and success in ConstanΘ›a. Yes, the whole world has been thrown into turmoil by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    Inflation in housing, energy and food prices has hit hard all over the world. I hope your son likes his new school and that it lives up to your expectations.

    On the subject of exceeding budgets, I can’t think I have ever kept a budget I have made. Overly optimistic budgets, unexpected expenses that pop up, taxes much higher than anticipated, and spending by uncooperative family members can all derail the best budget intentions. I had budgeted some money for a renovation of our moldy bathroom, but then my stepdaughter broke a front tooth while bicycling. She was going to borrow the money to pay the dentist at “loan shark” interest rates, so we decided to loan her the money ourselves.

    I have resigned myself to using budget “ranges” instead of targets. If an expense is high in my range for that item, I try to save in another category. I have already given up alcohol, bottled drinks of any kind and snacks, and I now try to use my bicycle instead of the car as much as possible!

    My garden(s) put a small dent in our food bill. As the saying goes, you can make the best plans but then life happens. It looks like you have a beautiful apartment. Mult noroc in orasul vostru nou!

    Reply
    • Happy to hear from you again, Stuart! Yes, it’s true that most of the “recent” posts are updates of the old – and really old ones. I hope to finish updating them as soon as possible and create new content too. But as you say in the end – life always happens.

      It’s indeed a great idea to create budget ranges and not set amounts, as it gives you a bit more freedom. We’re worried a bit about the extra expenses though due to the rising prices… but then again we almost always decided not to do things because of overthinking (and worries) and it proved to be the wrong choice. Hopefully all will go well.

      Thank you again for your kind words!

      Reply
    • Hello, Stuart!

      Thank you for your kind wishes!

      Although C. is not overall pleased with how the city looks like, as far as traffic, infrastructure and poorly maintained areas go, I on the other side don’t see a problem with any of these. Probably because I lived in Bucharest for most of my life and I’m pretty used to all these “problems” that are not bothering me anymore. But to me the opportunities this city give us overshadow any other quirks my husband doesn’t agree with.

      In the end, as he stated, our son’s education will make us as happy as we need to be to find our stay here more pleasant.

      P.S.: I haven’t commented in a very long while either, maybe I should change that. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. I’ve been looking forward to your new blogpost. I must confess that this one was surprising (in the good way) because of its personal nature.

    Congratulations and I wish you and your family good luck and enjoy the big city and especially the walking distance to the beach and the sea!

    Reply
  3. Hello “C. & A. Romanian”:
    I’m glad you’ve finally made the move! Is Biggie still part of the family, or did he find another place to live?
    I’m surprised the city has “cons.” I’d have expected being a resort area, it would be in tip-top shape.
    The picture of your new place looks colorful and comfortable. Do you miss the view of the cemetery? πŸ™‚
    Well, the most important thing is that your son loves his new home. I’m sure he’ll progress very well in his new school, too.
    I’m glad you’ll be the returning to the ‘tube. I’ve missed your thoughtful videos.
    Make sure you use sunscreen while lolling on the beach! πŸ™‚
    Regards,
    ~Teil

    Reply
    • Hello Teil! We unfortunately had to leave Biggie behind. We still consider him part of our extended family though – but he wasn’t suited for apartment life, especially not after spending a whole few months last summer at the village house, enjoying the yard. But he’s with an amazing family and has enough room now for all his energy πŸ™‚

      Constanta is not necessarily a resort area – the resorts are nearby like the famous Mamaia just a few minutes away. But there are various large and nice beaches and there’s a ton of potential. Maybe things will improve fast here though. πŸ™‚

      We got used with the cemetery view over the years and we actually loved it during the warmer months, when trees and flowers could be seen. From here, our view is blocked by trees in front of the window and we get minimal natural light – which I really dislike. But at least it’s not as warm here and so far we didn’t have to start the A/C unit yet. So – you win some, you lose some πŸ™‚

      But overall, I’m starting to see more and more of the good things and enjoy it here.

      Reply
  4. Well, it’s about your son at this point. So making the sacrifice now with inferior infrastructure will be worth it for him in the long run.

    As someone who has vacationed there back in 2011, my view of Constanta is that of a tourist. I know they have decided to restore the old casino, which I am very happy about. I was worried the government was going to let it rot. So as a tourist, I had a great time seeing the sights and dining at the beach restaurants. But back in 2005 when I first visited your country, my tour guide, who was British and moved to Brasov, didn’t care at all for the Black Sea Coast. So your comments remind me of his opinion about this region. So it apparently has not really improved in the 17 years.

    So hopefully in your follow up articles, you can give us more insight in your day to day living.

    Brian

    Reply
    • Well, the city had a really bad mayor for around 15 years, so it does look a bit stuck in time, yes. Hopefully things will start moving faster now πŸ™‚ But as I was saying above – I had some more time to walk around a bit and it’s that type of city that can grow on you.

      Reply
  5. I hope things work out..I myself relocated from Lviv Ukraine to Ploiesti in February. I left right before the war started after living in Ukraine for over a year (I am from USA). I have a brand new 95 square meter apartment here..with a dishwasher and underground parking spot…Fully furnished…and I pay 600 Euro a month…Not the most beautiful city either but a short train ride to Bucharest which is nice.

    Reply

Leave a Comment