- Getting to & around
- Food & Drinks
- Video Gallery
Constanta is one of the biggest Romanian cities, the biggest city in Dobrogea, capital of Constanta county and the largest Black Sea harbour.
The city lies right on the place where the Greek colony of Tomis used to be. It was renamed later to Constantiana to honour Constantia, the sister of Constantine the Great (274-337). The first documented usage of the name "Constantia" dates back to 950.
Constanta is Romania's main seaport and almost 60% of the country's exports and imports pass through the city.
The city is home to 310000 inhabitants. If we are to consider the metropolitan area currently in the planning phase, we reach a number of almost 410000 people.
Constanta is situated in southeastern Romania, in Constanta county, Dobrogea, on the western shores of the Black Sea.
It is 240 km east of Bucharest.
The easiest ways to reach Constanta is by road and by train. Being a major Romanian city, Constanta is part of the InterCity network of fast and comfortable trains linking the main Romanian cities. Not only that, but the number of incoming and outgoing trains is heavily supplemented during the summer.
By road, Constanta is reachable from Bucharest via "Autostrada Soarelui" ("The Sun's Highway" or "A2" in short). Unfortunately, right now the highway is only fully operational on the Bucharest - Drajna and Fetesti - Cernavoda section (~120 km), with the Drajna - Fetesti section opened on only one side and works on the Cernavoda - Constanta section having yet to begin. The highway, along with the new Constanta beltway, should be fully usable no later than 2010.
If you're coming from Bulgaria, then there are only 60 km from the Bulgarian border at Vama Veche and Constanta that you can easily and comfortably drive through using the existing European road which is in quite fine conditions. If it's summer though, you may encounter huge traffic problems between Mangalia and Constanta and the 60 km drive may take you a couple of hours.
You can also reach Constanta by plane, the frequency of flights to the nearby Mihail Kogalniceanu International Airport increasing during summer. The airport is located 30 km northwest of the city in the town of Mihail Kogalniceanu. Believe it or not, there aren't currently any flights between Constanta and Bucharest due to the main national flights operator TAROM having the quirky idea of providing a bus service in order to "cut costs". There are many charther flights though during summer as well as flights from the second biggest Romanian airline, Carpatair, linking Constanta with Timisoara and from there onwards with major European destinations such as Vienna, cities in southern Europe (Spain, Italy) or Germany and vice-versa. The Hungarian airline Malev is also offering flights between Constanta and Budapest. If you plan to reach the city fully by plane, you'd be better off taking a flight from where you are to Budapest and from there another one to Constanta rather than taking the Bucharest route.
By sea, Constanta can be reached either through the Constanta - Istanbul ferryboat (MV Arielle; travel time: 10 hours), available during summer, or through different cruises that have Constanta on their itinerary.
Constanta lies between the two branches of the Danube - Black Sea canal, branches that end up at Navodari (the northern one) and at Agigea in Constanta harbour (the southern one). You can also reach the city by taking the various cruise ships from Germany, Austria, Slovakia or Hungary that have Constanta as their final destination.
If you're a yacht owner you can also get to Constanta with it. The main harbour for such boats is the Tomis harbour which is situated quite close to the old city and the city center.
Constanta's public transportation system is being run by RATC (Regia Autonoma de Transport Constanta) which operates many bus lines and two tram lines (101 and 102).
The buses of RATC are quite new and comfortable although you couldn't say the same for the trams. Trams are usually less crowded than buses though.
There are several bus lines reaching Mamaia from Constanta's train station, namely line #40 (to the entrance of Mamaia on Mamaia boulevard), #41 (during summer; it gets all the way to the northern end of Mamaia) and #100 (formerly a tram line; gets to the entrance of Mamaia on Alexandru Lapusneanu boulevard).
The price of a RATC ticket is 2.4 RON and it includes two trips. There are also one-trip tickets but they are rarer.
There are several private companies operating minibus lines all over the city called "maxitaxies". They are numbered from 301 to 31x. You can take the 301 maxitaxi from the train station in order to reach Mamaia. During the summer, 301 extends its route to the northern end of Mamaia while in the off season it goes only as far as the Ovidius University campus, near the southern end of Mamaia. Make sure you ask the driver as to his destination when you're entering the 301 maxitaxi, otherwise you may end up at the southern exit of Constanta since the train station is merely a stop for the 301 maxi taxi and not a line end. Tickets are 2 RON and only include a trip. The maxitaxis are usually very crowded during summer since the drivers are paid on a per number of clients basis and they'd rather trade the comfort of their clients for an extra buck.
Taxis are all yellow with black & white chess stripes. The major taxi companies are Romaris, General Taxi, Mondial and Sageata. Prices for taxi fares run at 1.2-1.3 RON per km with an extra 1.0 RON for the start. Do make sure the taxi driver starts the meter in order not to get ripped off (it's been on the decline lately but it still happens at times).
We've got a special page on Mamaia, so do visit it if that's what you're interested in.
As for Constanta, the main attraction is the old city of Tomis situated in the peninsula region (also known as Ovid Square). There are many other landmarks in the peninsula, such as:
- The History Museum - located in a very fine building in Ovid Square;
- The Popular Art Museum;
- The Statue of Ovid in Ovid Square;
- The Constanta Casino - and the adjacent promenade; the Casino now serves as a conference hall;
- The House With Lions (Casa cu Lei);
- The City Hall Park - a park near the headquarters of the city hall sprinkled with remnants of the old city;
- The Mahmud II Mosque - with an outstanding panorama of the peninsula from its tower;
- The Aquarium - right next to the Casino;
- The Genovese Lighthouse.
And many other attractions. The peninsula is also home to some fine ethnic restaurants that serve "street food".
"Stefan cel Mare" Street ("Stephen the Great") in the center of the city is the main commercial street in Constanta and serves as a host for many important fashion stores as well as Tomis Mall.
The main beach in Constanta is called "Modern" and it's located close to the city center and near the peninsula. Unfortunately, the quality of the beach isn't too good and you'd be better off taking a trip to nearby Mamaia and enjoy the beaches there.
The largest park in the city is the "Tabacariei" park, situated in the northern side of Constanta, just south of Mamaia. The park hosts an artifical lake by the same name, a dolphinarium as well as a very small zoo.
Please visit our page of Constanta hotels to get further information on Constanta accommodation or to comment or rate a specific hotel.
The main sports team in Constanta is FC Farul Constanta, nicknamed "The Sharks" (gaining in popularity) or "The Seamen" by the fans and the media, a male football team and a regular presence in Romania's top flight. The team managed to end in respectable positions (5th and 7th) during the past two seasons (2004-2005 and 2005-2006), reached the final of the Romanian Cup and the semifinals one year later and played a final of the Intertoto Cup, lost to French side Auxerre, in the summer of 2006. The "Farul" stadium, with a capacity of 20000 seats, located in the northern side of the city, at Primaverii 2, serves as home for the team. The Romanian football league usually kicks off in late July and if you're around during summer you may be able to catch a couple of matches.
The other important team in the city is HCM (Handbal Club Municipal) Constanta, the best male handball club team in the country, winners of 2 Romanian Cups and 2 Romanian leagues. They haven't done too bad in Europe either, having reached the semifinals of European competitions several time, and defeating 29-28 on home soil one of the powerhouses of world club handball, FC Barcelona. The team plays its matches in "Sala Sporturilor" situated in a park close to the city center.
You may also get lucky and catch a game of the Romanian national football team who lately uses the Farul stadium as playing ground for the home matches. They've played several matches there during the past few years, including an important match against the Czech Republic in early September 2005 and they plan to play more matches there in the future, due to the lack of quality stadiums in the rest of the country and the lack of interest in Bucharest.