The currency "Romanian leu" has a rich history. Until the moment when the territory of Romania became part of the Roman state, people used a variety of coins, from Greek to Celtic. From the 14th century, Hungarian, Venetian and other coins came into circulation.
Finally, in the 17th century, the Dutch levendalder coin with a lion painted on it was circulated in the Balkan Peninsula, which the Romanians quickly dubbed simply "lion" — lei.
General information about the Romanian cash lei (RON) in Romania
Although euros and dollars are often used and exchangeable in Bucharest (the country's central city), the leu undoubtedly prevails.
The new leu is the fourth leu, taking into account repeated revaluations. The new leu replaced the old one (ROL) in 2005 at an exchange rate of 10 thousand old lei = one renewed leu.
Throughout history, the leu has been pegged to the currencies of other nations - e.g. the German mark, the US dollar, the Russian ruble. Currently (2023) in Romania, the authorities will introduce the Euro as the key currency in 2024, but the Leu is not pegged to the Euro.
Features and external distinctive features of Romanian money (RON):
- The renewed leu is circulated as coins with denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 bani.
- Banknotes are issued from polymer paper with values of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lei. An interesting peculiarity is that the smaller the amount, the smaller the size of the banknote itself.
- The primary side of each banknote depicts a significant figure from the history of Romania and a plant. For example, on 500 lei, a portrait of the poet Mihai Eminescu and a lime blossom. The reverse side depicts various famous Romanian buildings.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks or authorized exchange offices. International airports and larger hotels also offer currency exchange services. Another option is to use an online exchanger to find the most favourable exchange rate. BestChange helps in finding such exchangers.
Getting and exchanging cash in Romania — what you should know
You can easily find ATMs in the country's central banks, airports and shopping centres. However, fewer are in villages or remote areas with low tourist activity. ATMs that accept foreign cards from international networks will be labelled accordingly.
Here are a few tips on currency exchange:
- Cash can be easily exchanged at any bank or currency exchange office, or you can find a suitable exchanger with an office in Bulgaria via the internet.
- Exchange rates at airports and other border areas are 10-20% lower than official rates.
- Taxis sometimes accept US dollars, but mostly only lei.
If you plan to exchange cash, ensure you have brand-new notes without any cuts or marks. Usually, exchange offices will not accept bank notes with bank marks or other markings. A banknote may be rejected if it has tears, even minimal ones.