Bucharest Airport City: getting to/from the city to Henri Coandă like a local

Bucharest Airport City, how to get to or from the city to Henri Coandă airport? I know, I know it is very tricky and for many a real challenge to find a taxi with normal fees, but as a citizen of Bucharest I tried them all and in this article will share with you the best ways for avoiding the usual scams in Otopeni Airport, Henri Coandă. And to make the best choice of transportation, in accordance with you’re preferences and budget.

Bucharest Airport City: to and from#tips

There are just a few option at the moment to connect the Bucharest capital city of Romania to the Airport, Henri Coanda. And these options will be: Express Bus, Taxi and train. Or private pick-up.

Almost all hotels offer pick up/drop off services, using good new cars like Mercedes, for a price that is a few times more than a normal taxi will take. If your company is paying for the trip it should not be a problem, of course many use this as it is a luxury experience and hassle-free. You can take the rented car from the respective offices inside the airport, you can have a friend to pick you up and so on. But what if you want to take the solution in your own hands? Actually it is a lot easier than expected.

Express Buss Bucharest Airport City

There are two routes:

780 Express Line, from Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport to Gara de Nord – The Main Railway Station, from 5 AM to 23 PM, the schedule can be consulted and downloaded in PDF format here.  there are 2 PDF-s, one for each way.

783 Express line from Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport to Unirii, the City Center. This is a non stop line, but at night circulate from 40 to 40 minutes. See the timeline here. 

A journey costs 3,5 Ron, which is about 0,8 euro, you have to purchase and use a rechargeable card that can be used for public transportation in Bucharest, so you can put more money on it. I suggest to put at least 7 ron  if you want to use it to return to the airport with this bus as well. Anyway, a good idea will be to ask at the desk where you purchase, as to be sure the prices didn’t fluctuated.

Airport station
In front of the Arrivals Terminal and Departures Terminal. From here you will purchase the ticket as well, which you have to validate it INSIDE the bus. There are are random controls, so make sure that is validated. If you are two persons, better take two tickets, otherwise is more complicated: you have to press the right side 2 button and then to validate your card. The thing is that you should check to be done properly, ask someone in the bus for the first time, as you may hear the click but to miss the validation and on the screen the message appears is Romanian Only. The good message will be: Călătorie Plăcută, which means Pleasant Journey. I always click the second time and the message will be: Card deja validate/ Already validated card, it won’t charge twice.

Express Trains Henri Chanda

From the Airport to Gara de Nord, the Main Railway Station. It is not a direct train, though, you have to take a shuttle bus from the Airport (Arrivals Terminal) till Otopeni and from there the train.

A ticket costs 6,8 lei (1,5 euro) and can be purchased from the CFR and travel agencies. More information, Romanian language only here. 

I do not recommend this solution, it is complicated and you’ll lose a lot of time. It is better to take the bus.

Taxi Bucharest Airport city

I saved the most challenging for the end: TAXI. It was a time, not log time ago, when all visitors had easily access to a normal price taxi (to the city maximum 40 RON – 9 euro, depending on the area where you need to go). How this worked: you take a ticket from an automatic machine, with the number of the taxi and the Company and the timing you’ll have to wait. You can choose a company, the prices/km are also shown.

In theory the things sounds good. The practice though….. 

Now, you can have the ticket from the automatic machines, but as many taxis are restricted to enter here, you can stay for a veeeery long time queuing for a cheap taxi ticket.

You also have a ”fast taxi” right in front of the airport, ”without taking the ticket” bla… bla….. don’t do it. You’ll probably and up in a dodgy taxi, that will charge you anything from 50 to 100 euro. If you don’t agree to pay, they can become violent and this is a fact. The official information are here, about the prices and so on, on the Otopeni Airport website.

The reality is that the bad taxis, the scammers have access at the platform in front of the airport and the others don’t. You’l find them more frequently than the others. Do not take any of this, not for money issue alone, but for your own security as well, that is more important. I mean, you can arrange a decent pick-up, will be cheaper and much more comfortable and pleasant if money are not an issue.

As from the automatic machine…. it worked, but now, after some changes, the situation is some how chaotic. You can read this article, which is wrote by an expat living in Bucharest about this issue and the countless comments, to see what I mean. Today they say it is a little bit better, but if you want to avoid spending too much time to find a decent taxi, you have two possibilities:

  • Go to the Departures Terminal and catch a normal taxi from there, the ones that left passengers to the airports (and that the majority are not allowed now at the Arrivals Terminal)
  • And the best: Download the Taxi App, you’ll see your taxi, choose the company, get it within minutes. Star Taxi is one of the best Apps, you have access to up to 12 000 taxis, different companies and you can download it for free, for Android, IOS or windows, here. But there are more: Here you can download all the Apps, for Android or IOS, for the majority of the Bucharest companies.

Private Pick up, drop off

There are many companies, will cost around 18 euro/segment, and they offer very good conditions, please see here more information. 

You can also use UBER, I think there is no need for introduction, it is more expensive than the regular taxis but you have better services. Or not, but generally it is better, the only downside is that I’ve heard many complaints regarding the punctuality.

There are also other companies that make transfers to different parts of Romania, I uses a few of them and will talk about them in a different article.

Bucharest App – It is free, it is useful, it is for Android and IOS and I wrote more about it here. 

About how to avoid bad taxis in Bucharest, read this very interesting article, wrote by an expat living in Bucharest.

Wrap up

Bucharest is a very nice city, people are very kind with visitors and foreigners, they have the time of their life here, but there are some you may want to avoid. I mean we avoid them as well, they do not try to take advantage of foreigners only, but of us, locals as well. There are many complaints and generally the taxi drivers drive people crazy. I mean, in the night, in front of the clubs, they all impose their price, so the best is the app, yet again.

Bucharest Airport City: to and from, I hope that soon to make a update to this article, an upgrade of the services, as we really hope the situation will improve in time and that we’ll have a better image as well, starting with the moment one steps in, without this taxi and scammers hassle.

And don’t forget: Be calm and #VisitBucharest

PS: Me flying to Trivandrum, Kerala, from the Otopeni Airport. I love to use the express bus and many times it is my first option for Bucharest Airport City Center transfers. There are many foreigners at any time and they do seem quite comfortable using it too.

Bucharest Airport City transfer1

Author Profile

Mirela Șurghie
Mirela is a communication specialist and the author of Trolleypacker and Extravita.ro travel and lifestyle blogs. Trolleypacker features destinations, solo travels, travel tips, food, adventures, fashion and luxury experiences from around the world.

2 Comment

  1. Yes, the mafia taxis are back. For a while, it was wonderful to catch honest taxis from Arrivals… your advice is good. But for those heading away from Bucharest, to (say) Brasov, there are other options. Instead of flogging into the city centre to take a train out again from Gara de Nord, I have been using (and my visitors too) a private maxi taxi called M&M Transfers, which runs from Otopeni to Brasov, dropping you off right at your door for no extra money. I think it’s now 100 lei per person, which is more expensive than honest taxi + train fare, but it’s hassle free and quick. There are also minibuses (autocar) which run to Brasov, too, but to a single place outside the Aro Palace Hotel, for 70 lei (I think).

    1. Sadly, yes. Hope to update this article soon, but hope I am not too optimistic 🙁