Temperatures can vary greatly in Romania and Moldova, depending not only on when but also where you go. Even in the summer, don’t count on the 30° to 35°C heat that has befallen the region in recent years; if you plan to include trips into the mountains, be prepared for cold winds at high altitudes and cool nights everywhere else. Winters are fairly temperate, especially near the coast but, again, in the unpredictable mountains be prepared for virtually any conditions.
When to go
Its winters are quite cold and summers quite hot, but Romania is a year-round destination. There is much variation in its climate: the average annual temperature in the south is 11°C, 7°C in the north and only 2°C in the mountains. In recent summer months, temperatures have risen to above 40°C in Bucharest and along the Black Sea coast, while winter chills of below -35°C are not unknown in the Braşov depression and around Miercurea Ciuc in Transylvania.
In general, Romania’s climate is transitional between temperate regions (the southeast can feel positively Mediterranean) and the more extreme weather characteristics of the continental interior. The average annual rainfall is 675mm; this figure is doubled in the mountains and in the Danube Delta it’s often half that.
Summer (June to August) is an obvious time to visit for beach fun on the coast and for hiking and mountain biking in the Carpathians; all tourist facilities are open then and the weather is usually great, but you will have to share the sites with more tourists. Best times for bird-watching in the Danube Delta are mid-April to mid-May, and in October. Spring in Romania is a pastiche of wildflowers, melting snow and melodious bird song.
At higher elevations, snow lingers as late as mid-May (the Transfăgărăşan road doesn’t open until June!) and the hiking season doesn’t begin in earnest until mid-June. The best months for skiing are December to March, though the season extends either way some winters.
Moldova is best to visit from spring to autumn, as skiing is almost non-existent and winter sports are not well-developed there. October’s Wine Festival is an especially tempting time to visit, though spring and summer are best for city strolling and hiking in remote areas.