Bucharest is by far the most important city in Romania, culturally, economically and politically. It is also the largest city. It is located in the southeast of the country, sited on the Dambovița River, 43 miles north of the famous Danube River.
Bucharest has a large urban zone with a population of over 2 million, with unofficial estimates nearing 3 million. Bucharest is the 6th biggest city in the EU by population within city limits, behind London, Rome, Berlin, Paris and Madrid.
Around 96% of the population are Romanians, and ethnic groups include Roma Gypsies, Hungarians, Jews, Turks, Chinese and Germans. The official language is Romanian, and English and French are the foreign languages most commonly taught in schools. 96.1% of the population is Romanian Orthodox, 1.2% Roman Catholic and 0.5% Muslim.
Bucharest has a humid continental climate. Winters can be windy and temperatures regularly drop below freezing, sometimes well below. In summer, the average temperature is around 23°C (73°F) through July and August. Temperatures often get up to 35°C (95°F) or even 40°C (104°F). There are occasional heavy storms in summer although humidity levels are generally low.
Late spring and early autumn have a pleasant temperature and the hottest month is August. The coldest month is January and the wettest is June.
Freezing conditions during winter contribute to an already imperfect situation on the roads as accident rates and congestion increase.
Accommodation type in the city center tends to be apartments, often quite small. The rental price for a single bedroom apartment in the city averages around 500–600 USD per month, while larger apartments could be 750–1,000 USD. Larger houses are found further out.
Many expats who move to Bucharest have accommodation arranged by their employers, but those who have to arrange for themselves should be aware that landlords can be unscrupulous, so ask a Romanian speaker to check the contract. Contracts are usually renewed every 12 months and prices should not increase during the year unless a clause in the contract allows it.
For proximity to international schools in Bucharest, District 1 and 2 and the Northern Suburbs are popular with expats, as they are also well connected to downtown. Neighborhoods around the Herestrau, Kiseleff or Floreasca Parks in northern Bucharest are leafy and pleasant, while Dorobanti, also north, is one of the city’s older and more exclusive neighbourhoods. Less attractive communist blocks with a soviet-era appearance are generally in the city’s east and west sides.