You have probably heard about or seen the idyllic Romanian villages in photos over the interent and fell in love with them. It is true, in most of these villages traditions remain untouched, the air is clearer and the grass is greener. Indeed, most Romanian villages are a joy to live in for those who love nature and would like a home away from the crowded, noisy and polluted urban areas.

But despite all these advantages, living in a Romanian village might not be the right thing for you! And I am here to tell you why you might not be able to live in one, no matter how much you think you could.

A different mentality
Even though, just like all Romanians, or maybe even more so, the people living in Romanian villages are extremely friendly and nice, especially when it comes to foreign visitors, they all have an old, outdated mentality that might shock a lot of people. I was surely shocked after talking to an old man living in a village here in Romania.

He is my new neighbor since we bought a house in a village near our city. When we got there one day, he invited me inside his house to offer me some fresh eggs (they love to give you gifts, that is true!) and I said that hopefully he doesn’t have a dog around, because I am afraid of them.

His answer shocked me: “Oh, no, I had one, but he started to attack the chicken so I killed it.”

He said that as if it was nothing. Unfortunately for him and many other people living in villages all around the country, it is nothing. In order to keep the dog population under control, they drown the newly born puppies and there are a ton of other barbaric things they normally do without even considering them wrong… and I don’t even want to think about them.

Yes, the Romanian mentality in villages is definitely one of those things that could shock you.

And everything revolving around their mentality is outdated and could really surprise a modern person, from the idea that women are inferior to men (this is something that women are taught as well), to certain ways of even greeting specific people to all sort of minor things that are, in the end, different from what you know, what you consider (and is) normal or live by. And being surrounded by such people is difficult, because changing the mentality is a process that takes not years, but generations.

Lack of education
Probably most of the problems with the people in Romanian villages come from their lack of education. Unfortunately, Romania has the highest number of illiterate people in the European Union, and almost all of them live in villages.

Just a few days ago I saw a shocking thing on TV: a reporter was asking people in a Romanian village what is the name of the country they were living in and, as shocking and unbelievable as it might sound, they did not know the answer. Of course, a special kind of people were chosen, but they were all adults with a right to vote, and I believe that every person should know at least the name of the country they live in…

The lack of education leads to the old ways of thinking and the mentality problems we’ve talked about earlier, also making them extremely unreceptive to anything new. Plus, you will probably not learn too much from them, unless it’s growing crops or animals – which in many cases is still extremely useful.

But the biggest problem coming from a lack of education and culture is the fact that it’s very difficult to communicate with these people, even in Romanian language. They usually find it very difficult to understand what you’re saying, to make logical connections and to explain things properly.

Nobody speaks a foreign language
You’ve probably heard it that most Romanians speak English – this is indeed mostly true, but it actually refers to people living in cities – larger or smaller. Since most of the people living in villages here in Romania don’t even know how to read, it’s pretty much common sense that learning another language was not high on their priorities list!

Lack of running water (and maybe even electricity)
Most of the villages in Romania don’t have running water, and people get theirs from either a well in their yard or from the village’s fountain.

No running water also means that the toilet is a bit different from what you might be used with – and it’s right there at the back of the yard, an outhouse that smells like everything you ate in the past few months… Going to the toilet during the cold winter days can be a real experience – not one that you’ll enjoy repeating, though!

Another problem with the lack of running water and people using the water from sometimes hand-dug fountains is that the water itself is not safe for drinking. Now, these people who have been drinking it ever since they were born, might not be as sensitive to all the living things inside it, but you will definitely get at least an upset stomach!

Together with the lack of running water, there are still places in Romania that don’t even have electricity. Fortunately, the number of villages without electricity is getting lower each day – but many of those who do have electrical power run on very old cables that can’t handle multiple units running at the same time.

Poor infrastructure and services
Most of the roads in our villages are dirt roads and you won’t be too happy about them after some heavy raining or when the snow begins to melt. Also, public transportation might mean just one bus per day going to the nearby city…

In terms of services, don’t expect to have too many shops around, or a pharmacy or hospitals or anything else you might normally find in a city. It’s usually one or two small shops with very few products and that’s all you get!

Alcohol and petty crime
Since there’s not too much to do in a Romanian village, people there consider drinking extremely entertaining. They make their own wine and moonshine, and they have a lot of it, which has to be consumed. It’s not uncommon for most of the people in the villages (mostly the males) to start drinking heavily each day starting in the afternoon, when their work on the field is done.

This means that, influenced by alcohol, the villagers might become a bit more violent and it’s indeed the villages where most of Romania’s crimes happens.

Although it’s usually just fights between the drunk people (so technically, if you don’t drink, you should be safe), there are also a lot of petty crimes happening there, stealing probably being the top crime. There are sometimes more violent crimes – in the end, you can’t expect a lot of compassion or kindness from a person who sees nothing wrong in drowning puppies for population control…


I did show you above the worst parts about living in a Romanian village. Although unfortunately all the Cons above can happen in the same village (and usually do), this doesn’t mean that living in a village in Romania is a nightmare. In most cases, it’s not unsafe to live in a village in Romania, but it’s not easy either.

Also, there are villages and villages… usually, the ones that are very close to the cities are slowly turning into suburbs, with people simply moving there from the crowded city for more space, cleaner air or whatnot. This also means that these villages lose most of their traditional appeal, but also most of the cons presented above.

In other words, this means that you should do some serious research about the area you’re about to move in to and make sure you know everything about the people living there and the type of living you’d have to do before moving out. I am sure that you can still find some amazing villages to live in with none of the problems above!

Hint: start with those closest to the cities, as they are usually a step ahead of the others (but also the least village-y)


  1. Howdy Calin:
    Well, I am #1–yippee!
    The villages you describe sound like the rustic ones in Appalachia in the USA in the 20th Century. I wonder if the people remain in the villages because they are satisfied with their lot in life. Sometimes the modern world can be rather too much at times.
    I remember back in 1968 when I spent a summer in Denmark. My uncle tied up a newborn litter of kittens and threw them in the lake. I didn’t realize what he was doing at the time, though–I was too young. Still it sure should hit home to folks to spay or neuter their pets. (Sometimes here in the USA there are people who should be spayed and neutered, too!)
    I couldn’t live without running water and toilets and showers. That is too rough for me, for sure!
    I’ve seen a very lovely Romanian city on You Tube: Piata Neamt (sorry I don’t have your alphabet). Have you been there, or has Wife Romanian?
    Thanks for another view of your country!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Yay, Teil, you are first! πŸ™‚

      I don’t know if the people choose living in these villages because they are completely satisfied with it, but they don’t really have the means to get out of there. Most of them are happy to see their kids make the move to the city, so they clearly know that it’s not an ideal life there.

      Regarding Piatra Neamt (often referred to as “The Pearl of Moldavia”) – I have only been there when I was little, so I don’t remember much. I know that the entire Moldavia is a great place to visit because of its monasteries, which are indeed worth seeing. I just checked the city on Wikipedia and it seems that it’s just as large as the one I am currently living in, so it could definitely be considered a good choice.

    • I’m looking to move out the u.s. at least for 6 months a year or more. Rommania sounds nice…concerned about water for home…I’m in construction n thought maybe I could buy a home that needs work, or build my own. How much is property there…appreciate any information… Thank you…Michael Martuscelli…

      • If you don’t want to live the country life, then you will have no problems with the water – tap water is drinkable too. Properties are very cheap here compared to the US and rent is even cheaper.

  2. Hi Calin: Thanks for your reply. Who knows, maybe in time, as the older folks pass on, village life will change for the better. The younger folks may come back to improve their lot. It would be nice if all the arable land was used for agriculture. So many people in the world go hungry.
    I spend a lot of time looking at the different Romanian cities on You Tube, Wikipedia, et al, just to see what is what. As much as Bucharest has to offer, I am afraid of the earthquake risk. So many people are living in “red circled” buildings in the city because of the lower rent, I guess. Also, I understand a lot of the building owners are just waiting for some of their older and damaged buildings to collapse so they can build or sell the land. For new construction, do you know if the Romanian law requires reinforced construction to minimize damage in an earthquake?
    It’s the same way here in the USA. I live in an earthquake tsunami risk zone right now (coastal Washington State–Ring of Fire). Seattle, up north of me, is the fastest growing city right now, and it’s also in a very high earthquake risk area. There are laws for new construction to be reinforced, but the many older brick and masonry buildings aren’t reinforced, and hence will suffer the most damage in an earthquake. For that matter, the whole West Coast Of the USA is at risk of a really BIG ONE. (This definitely s*cks!)
    My ideal Romanian city would be out of the seismic zone, scenic, free of a lot of “undesirables,” have a good mass transit system (no Dacia for me;-), a variety of shopping options, a theater or opera house, a train station, a nearby airport, a good infrastructure, a variety of apartments (not a fan of the “blocks” as in Bucharest), etc.–basically what anyone would want, eh?
    Sorry to blather on;-) I hope all is well with you and your little family.
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Teil, I don’t know if the law requires reinforced construction, but I believe there’s nothing about it. I might be wrong, though.

      The fact that you want a nearby airport and you want to be as far away from the potential seismic areas, actually narrows you down to Western Romania – the areas that I would recommend to anyone willing to make the move. Major airports are in Timisoara and Cluj so anything around them would fit this bill. But I am sure you already know that πŸ™‚

  3. This sounds just like back home! πŸ™‚ . I am not so sure about the kitten and dog killing though. Amazing how similar everything is though. Nice post C, people need to be aware. It’s easy to say ‘oh, l want to live somewhere rustic etc’ . Be careful what you,wish for

      • Yes..its normal in Romania that once in a while stray dogs get killed by police officers and/or para-militairy men (hunting is a sport in the country side..some i saw even with automatic kalasnikov guns!!). Back in 1996 in Sibiu (I lived there for several months) the police shot all street dogs. BUT I must admit…with a good reason..they attacked several people..injuring some of them badly. Please remind..that Romania does not have money to sterilize dogs. And after all…a street dog is just an animal..nothing less then fe a cow…a pig or indeed a chicken. my 2 cents. regards, Johan.

      • Johan, things have fortunately changed a bit since 1996. I don’t personally remember the dog shooting you mention (but I’m not saying it didn’t happen – anything’s possible here), but things have changed since then. And even though funds are still tight, Romania has started to sterilize dogs a few (maybe several) years ago and the situation is much, much better now than it was in 1996. Many things change in 23 years πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Calin,
    I’ve been enjoying reading your articles today, they are a great source of very useful information, well wriiten and fun to read πŸ™‚ I was wondering if you could please tell me how tattoos are viewed in Romanian cities and villages? I plan to move to (ideally) Brasov for a few months (maybe longer if it works out well) and was curious if there was any discrimination, in particular being a girl with a couple of tattoos?
    Thank you for your time,

    • Hello Sera,

      I am glad that you enjoyed reading the blog! I’ve never heard anything about any kind of discrimination for people with tattoos, be them boys or girls. Actually, tattoos are pretty widespread in Romania and you can always see those full sleeves on somebody. So don’t worry about that – boy or girl, tattoos are welcome! πŸ™‚

      • Thank you for the swift reply Calin,
        that’s great! I only visited Romania for 4 days in 2008 (Brasov and Zarnesti, with a quick visit to Sinaia) and fell in love with both the place and the people, I look forward to returning πŸ™‚

  5. I was a frequent visitor in a small town not far from Sighisoara. Houses could be bought for very cheap but they were in very bad shape. Actually as a foreigner one had to sign a “rent in perpetuity” contract because foreigners weren’t allowed to buy land just the buildings on it. The villagers were really nice but after a while got to be a little annoying with their constant “requests” which always got bigger and bigger (“Oh, if you can remember it, maybe a chainsaw would be nice… Oh, make sure it’s a Stihl!”). As one of the few foreigners in our party who could speak some Romanian, the villagers always made a beeline for me. The strangest request I got was from a Romanian mother who had a very nice daughter who was deaf and had recently divorced her violent husband. “Could you find a nice deaf man in Germany who will marry my daughter?” I told her, sorry, I wasn’t in the matchmaking business, and besides, I thought German sign language was different from Romanian sign language. Well, imagine the egg on my face when the next time I visited, the same mother told me her deaf daughter had met a nice deaf German through the Internet, and she had moved to him in Germany!

    • Ah, I didn’t even consider the requests, but I am sure the same happens everywhere. When we visit our village life, they also try to get things from us as well, usually by offering insanely overpriced services. Probably for foreigners, things are even worse.

  6. LOL..what a nonsense

    “Although these are few and rare, the electrical cables and power is usually really low in the Romanian villages, so don’t expect to run your laptop, the microwave oven and some air conditioning units at the same time!”


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