If you know me, you already know that I’ve been traveling the world with my pint-sized pooch, Luna, for over six years now. I recently tallied it up and Romania is her 20th country. Which means we have a pretty good cross-section of places to compare to.
So, how dog-friendly is Brasov, Romania?
Overall, expect it to be a little less dog-friendly than most of Western Europe (France, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Italy are all leaps and bounds beyond Romania) and a little more dog-friendly than the USA. It’s about on par with the UK.
And here’s what I mean by that…
As usual, we spent the majority of our two months in Romania staying in a furnished holiday rental (found through Airbnb). When browsing apartments, I had a really easy time finding places that would accept Luna.
The trick, I’ve found, is to ignore the pet-friendly filter, find the apartments you like, and reach out to each owner to ask if they’ll accept your dog. Luna is tiny (about 11 pounds/5 kg), non-shedding (Schnauzer-Yorkie mix), and therapy trained. I always mention all three of those things and point owners toward our Airbnb reviews, many of which mention how well-behaved Luna is.
Napping on backpacks is the new cool thing.
Now, the one caveat is this: hotels were a much different story. At the end of our time in Romania, I had a morning flight out of an airport at least 2.5 hours away by car. The smartest thing to do, I decided, was head down to the airport area a day early and grab a hotel for the night. Then there wouldn’t be any danger of traffic, accidents, no-show cars, or other travel mishaps causing me to miss my flight.
Unfortunately, the hotel search was needlessly agonizing. Every single hotel I contacted either had a no-dog policy or wanted to charge me double to bring her. That’s right: double. Not a small pet fee. The price of a room in a budget hotel went from about 25 euros to about 55. Another hotel said I could bring her, but only if I booked their most expensive suite.
And fine. Hotels are allowed to have whatever rules they want. But it made staying near the airport near-impossible. On principle, I wasn’t going to pay double for a crappy budget hotel. And, of course, all the No Pets hotels were non-options. Eventually, I found a hotel through Airbnb that took her with no extra fee and offered us an airport shuttle the next day.
So it all worked out in the end, but the process was painful. If you’re heading to Romania with a pet, I’d start your searches with Airbnb and skip the hotel scene.
Are Restaurants, Cafes, and Shops Dog-Friendly?
Here’s where Romania comes in a bit less pet-friendly than most of Europe: there are lots of no-dogs signs on the restaurants and cafes here and more than once a panicked employee shuffled us out the door when we stepped inside to check a place out (even when they didn’t have a sign).
Occasionally, we found an exception to the rule. The vegan, raw food restaurant in the city center were happy to see Luna when we stopped by a couple times a week. And nobody blinked twice if we settled in on a restaurant patio.
The patio at La Birou Bistro where we had our weekly brunch.
If you’re coming from the US or UK, this will probably feel normal to you. If you’re coming from Italy or France, it’l feel like a hassle. Because of course you want to take your pooch to brunch, right? Why wouldn’t you? (That’s how I feel, so this was a bit of a hassle for me and I’m really glad that the majority of our stay was warm enough for patio eating.)
Romanian railway rules say that you can bring your big dog as long as he or she is muzzled and leashed, you’re traveling second class, and nobody in your cabin objects. The cost for a big dog is half the fare of an adult human.
For small dogs/cats, you can carry them or transport them in a bag free of charge (again, as long as no one objects). There are some breed restrictions, so check them if you’re got a breed that’s often regulated (you can find the official rules here).
For local buses, we never found any official rules, but I took Luna several times and no one batted an eyelash (and, in fact, there were several dogs on board leashed and unmuzzled). For longer-distance buses, check with each bus company individually. Companies like FlixBus do not allow dogs (and will talk down to you if you dare ask about it).
Finally, uber is super cheap in Romania, so whenever we weren’t sure if we could take a bus (or if I just didn’t want to because I tend to get very bus-sick), we often chose to uber and never had a driver object to the dog. A 30-minute ride from Brasov to Bran Castle cost us about $27 and rides within Brasov itself came in between $2 and $5.
Brasov’s English-Speaking Vet
We got really lucky with a sweet, always-available, extremely affordable English-speaking vet who helped us handle Luna’s extreme allergies. You’ll find them at Strada Taomnei, Number 15 (it’s a tiny little side street off a big main street). Phone: 0752 298 138. Emergency line: 0743 330 533.
Their current office hours are:
M 13 – 20
T 10- 18
W 13 – 20
R 10 – 18
F 10 – 18
S 10 – 15
I’m not sure if there’s more than one doctor, but we worked with a soft-spoken young woman who spoke perfect English.
Do Romanians Like Dogs?
Yes! In general, whenever we’re walking around in a European city, it’s like Luna’s a celebrity. People stop to say hi to her or just smile at her or watch as she goes by. Kids come over and enthusiastically pet her/babble at her. And people tend to learn her name before they learn ours.
Culturally, being in Romania with a dog felt very normal and easy and we saw a lot of other small dogs exploring with their owners in places like Bran and Brasov’s center.
Hiking & Wilderness Safety With a Dog
We were warned before we came about aggressive shepherd dogs we might encounter along hiking trails, so keep that in mind. Personally, we only encountered one or two loose shepherd dogs and none were aggressive toward us or Luna, though I did pick her up and carry her past them just in case.
Luna hiking in Bran.
The bigger thing we encountered was wildlife. Normally I’d let Luna run loose on the trails, but here I did keep her on a leash because there are bears and wolves here, as well as smaller animals that might take a chomp out of an overly-friendly Luna. I saw a gorgeous fox one day when I was out on my own and that was really close to town, so I assume the farther you go into the mountains, the more those encounters are likely.
We never had a problem, but I definitely kept her leashed. And if I’d done any big solo hikes (I didn’t this time around), I’d probably have also looked into local options for bear sprays/other big animal deterrents.
Looking for more dog travel posts? Here they all are.