Romanian currency and Foreign Exchange

Although Romania is an EU member, the Romanian official foreign currency is the Leu (lei), with the international abbreviation RON. The Romanian currency cannot be bought from abroad, so if you want to exchange foreign currency in lei it is best to find a local exchange office or a bank that displays 0% commission. In general, exchange offices located at the airport or near railway stations offer lower exchange rates, so it is better to exchange money at a bank.

This is how Romanian currency looks now when 10.000 old Lei are 100 Bani:

Romanian currency

Photo by World Paper Money Catalog and History

The face of the 1 leu bill features the portrait of Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga, and on the back there’s the Episcopal Cathedral of Curtea de Argeş Monastery and the ancient Wallachian coat of arms, featuring an eagle holding a cross in its beak.

The face of the 5 lei bill features the portrait of Romanian violinist and composer George Enescu and on the back there’s the Romanian Athenaeum, one of the symbol buildings of Bucharest, a piano, and a musical stave.

The face of the 10 lei bill features the portrait of Nicolae Grigorescu, one of the founders of Romania’s modern painting school and on the back there is a traditional house from Oltenia region ( named „culă”) and a fragment of Grigorescu’s painting.

The face of the 50 lei bill features the portrait of pioneer airplane builder Aurel Vlaicu and on the back there is a sketch of Vlaicu’s second airplane, a sketch of an airplane engine section and an eagle head.

The face of the 100 lei bill features the portrait of Romania’s most famous play writer Ion Luca Caragiale and on the back there is the old National Theatre of Bucharest.

The face of the 200 lei bill features the portrait of Romanian poet Lucian Blaga and on the back there is the Neolithic statue “The Thinker of Hamangia”, one of the oldest artifacts found in Romania, along with a rainbow and an old water mill.

The face of the 500 lei bill features the portrait of Romania’s national poet Mihai Eminescu and on the back there is the University Library in Iasi and a page from Timpul newspaper, which Eminescu once run.

Interesting facts about the Romanian currency:

1. The 5.000.000 lei bill from 1947, appeared in the context of severe inflation after World War II, has the highest nominal value in the Romanian Leu history. The second Romanian bill recognized by Guinness World Records was the 1.000.000 lei bill from 2003.

Romanian currency 1 million

Photo by InCont.ro

Romanian currency 5 millions
Photo by InCont.ro

2. In 1999 was made the 2000 lei bill to commemorate the total solar eclipse visible over Romania in that year. On the back is a map of Romania with the eclipse path.

Romanian currency
Photo by World Paper Money Catalog and History