Living in Mangalia, Romania

Why I lived in Mangalia, Romania

Teaching English online has allowed me to live in cheaper cities than my former city, Boston, including living in Mangalia, Romania.

I still remember a moment in 2014 when I was convincing my partner that we needed to visit Mangalia.

We toured the city via Google Maps Street View. There were some stray dogs, and a man sitting alone on a plastic beach chair in front of an empty, cement housing structure. I pointed out that there was a bike shop, though.

My partner wasn’t enthused. Roughly six months later, we visited Mangalia and I met the man still sitting in the same corner alone at the abandoned building. It was as if he hadn’t moved. Presumably, he is there to ask for money but he never really asks; just sits there. We ended up owning a property in Mangalia and remaining off and on for years and that man was there daily.

Internet speeds in Mangalia

We used a Telekom satellite dish and the connection was fast. During storms, we had some interruptions but you can hotspot from your phone during these lapses in WIFI coverage.

The tourism of Mangalia, Romania

During the summer, the town is full of tourists and it is so fun! Summer vacationers and families come from all across Romania. Also, many French, Italian and German vacationers come to enjoy the fun family vacation spot. They really enjoy visiting because of the great exchange rate for them. It is an affordable family holiday spot for foreigners.

The boardwalk is so fun! There are hot dogs and funnel cake and ice cream and bouncy castles and fun carousels and more.

Best Things to do with a Kid in Mangalia

Mangalia is like New Jersey’s Ocean City boardwalk but cheaper. That is to say, this is a family place. The beach is crowded and full of kids in the summer. The boardwalk has a fun public chicken coop for the kids, playgrounds, carousels, and tons of cheap toys. During the winter, the town empties out.

Popular Bars and Hangouts in Mangalia

The bars and cafes in Mangalia all have Facebook pages and often have cute fun events, especially during the summer. Go find all the locations you can and follow them on FB to stay in the loop.

Corsarul Negru is a popular bar in Mangalia that is right on the beach.

I loved the cafes in Mangalia. You can eat delicious, fancy cakes. Romanians really like their decorative cakes. Check out the ones below and look at the Facebook pages for events.

Cup a Day Cafe

Monel Tea & Coffee

Shopping in Mangalia

Mega Image is the big grocery store in Mangalia. It is open until 10PM and located in at Șoseaua Constanței 30, Mangalia 905500. The shuttles to go to Vama Veche, or up and down the coast, are in front of it.

Pepco is located in the local town “Saturn”. Pepco (a type of Romanian Target) is great for clothes, especially.

The local outdoor and indoor market, Piaţa de Legume, for fresh fruits and veggies and meat is located by the beach at E87, Mangalia 905500.

Dedeman is the biggest hardware store in Constanta.

Jysk is great for furniture. It is like Ikea but often even cheaper.

Remember, you can always order anything you need online.

The Stray Dogs of Mangalia, Romania

The stray dogs, by the way, aren’t as bad as they look from the satellite videos. Most are fed and cared for by locals and there are vet clinics that do free spay and neutering. A significant amount of the locals just seem to like to let their dogs run around the town during the day. Also, the town is overrun with stray cats but the locals like it this way. It keeps down the rat population. Again, clinics will care for stray cats and there are is a growing push in the community to keep pets indoors now.

If you have vet needs, we recommend:

Nearby Attractions to Mangalia, Romania

Vama Veche, Romania

If you drive or take the bus a bit south, you can visit Vama Veche, which has more of a youthful party culture now. Back in 2000 (wow, am I showing my age or what!?) this border town had a sizable nude beach and lots of people stayed in tents, played music, and pontificated about idealistic politics most nights. Now, Vama Veche has more of a club, drug, party vibe to it. Still fun, but different. I heard that the Romanians who used to enjoy the old Vama Veche pre-pop up hotels and bars like to go to the beaches in Bulgaria now because they haven’t been developed yet.

Taking the bus from Mangalia to Vama Veche

Taking the bus from Mangalia to Vama Veche is very easy. Go to the main road and wait at the bus station on the side facing south, in front of the supermarket. Bus shuttles leave every fifteen minutes during the summer and you can pay in cash as you get in.

Hiking in Mangalia, Romania and nearby

There are hiking trails around if you like to hike.

Visit a snake reserve! The is a protected forest for venomous vipers directly west of Mangalia. Surrounded by farmland, the area has pretty views. Takes about an hour to reach by foot, 3 hours to walk through, and an hour back if you are walking. You can always catch a ride. You cannot reach it by bus. Locals walk there so it’s a known hiking destination. You might want a friend on standby to drive and pick you up in case you get too tired.

Transportation around Mangalia

If you are living in living in Mangalia, Romania then download some Taxi Apps to travel around so you can visit the cities nearby, especially along the coast. Use the shuttles and small buses to travel around, too. You can also take teh train

How to Prepare for A Trip to Mangalia, Romania

When packing to visit Mangalia, Romania, here are my suggestions for what you might want to bring to visit Mangalia

Bathing suit (obviously)
Sunscreen. You can buy sunscreen in Mangalia everywhere, too. Expensive French/German import options exist in the pharmacies. Cheap brands exist at the “plastic store” full of China-made products.
a tent if you have space. We will be taking an optional camping trip for a night on a beach nearby that is famous for beach camping. If you have a tent, bring it. If you don’t, and you want to participate, we will procure one for you- don’t worry.
Hiking shoes if you enjoy hiking. There are hiking trails around if you like to hike.
Tennis racquet if you like to play tennis, because there is a tennis court next door.
Sun hat
Anti-mosquito anything and everything, though you can buy those supplies here
Shampoo, conditioner, and soap if you are picky about brands. There are supermarkets nearby but there is not a mall in the town. You need to go to Constanta for that.
Hot sauce or sriracha if you really hate bland food. It is near impossible to find hot sauce here, though you can possibly make it, and all Romanian food is quite bland. If you like garlic and salt, then you are in luck, though. –Art supplies if you are an artist (or have them shipped here ahead of time). There are no good quality art supply stores in this town, though you can have good supplies shipped from Bucharest.

Safety in Mangalia, Romania

Unfortunately, I was a victim of petty crime constantly while living in Mangalia, but this was mostly due to my extreme naivety as a foreigner. I was very worried about seeming distrustful or biased so I did not take basic precautions. Youth from the local Roma community did in fact break into my home and steal my laptop, and there were other similar incidents that I experienced with the same group of people. The parents of these youth then harassed me in an ongoing campaign.

I had similar issues in Bucharest, actually. Don’t be me. Don’t be stupid. If the locals tell you to be wary of certain people, don’t be holier than thou and think you know better because you read some books about oppression and prejudice. Just listen to them. They have been living in Mangalia, Romania for a long time and know their community.

The Police in Mangalia, Romania

Having said that, the police in Mangalia were extremely supportive of me and my family. I only had good experiences with the police. They were accessible and located my stolen goods (shamefully, multiple times). Don’t expect them to all speak English. Some do but many don’t. Do ask locals to help you if you need the police to step in for some reason.

Food in Mangalia, Romania

Gogosi are plentiful! Like a donut but without the hole. They are absolutely delicious. You can get plain, filled with salty cheese, chocolate, or jam, or covered in powdered sugar. Like a cousin of the donut and funnel cake, gogosi are delicious. This is a beachside town so many places are closed during the winter. During the summer, expect boardwalk American-style food plus traditional Romanian food. Gogosi, schnitzels, ice cream ( înghețată ), sour soup (corbia), pizza, and fish are staples. The fancier restaurants will have seafood like clams and oysters.

Food poisoning in Mangalia, Romania

We hosted a yearly artist residency in Mangalia. My family had been living in Mangalia, Romania for a few years on and off and never got sick from any local food. However, one year, everyone got food poisoning. So, prepare for this possibility.

Can you drink the water in Mangalia, Romania?

Yes. The tap water is safe to drink. But I don’t suggest it. Get yourself a Brita filter. You can buy them anywhere in that town. Most people in town use them.

The hospital in Mangalia, Romania

The hospital is not as bad as you may expect. I used the pediatric hospital for my daughter many times, both for specialty consults and emergency visits. I used the emergency hospital with my grandmother who needed surgery and also with our artists-in-residents when they all had food poisoning and needed IV drips. The hospital might be crowded and completely disorganized and have doctors and nurses smoking cigarettes right by the front door; however, my experiences, on the whole, were that the staff were knowledgeable and the care was appropriate. If you get sick, don’t hesitate to go to the hospital.

Spa Resorts in Mangalia

The town is known for its spa resorts and rehabilitation centers for older adults. My grandmother broke a hip and no rehab center would take her because they thought she could not recover. I felt this was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our family had to pay out of pocket for nurses and aids to come to the home to get her mobile again. She recovered her ability to walk with a walker, it was the beginning of her decline.

In contrast, I saw elderly relatives suffer the same kinds of falls in their 80s and 90s in the states and they were given rehab and lived longer lives than my grandmother. So, I found the attitude of these centers quite damning. I spoke to a few directors and all said that a woman in her 80s would not benefit from any kind of rehab after breaking a pelvic bone. This is just patently untrue as my stepfather’s grandmother broke her pelvic bone in her 90s and lived many years afterward and independently to boot!

The senior care centers near Mangalia, Romania

I have only positive things to say about the senior care center (nursing home) that helped my grandmother at the very end of her life when she began to be confused and agitated. They were fantastic. I strongly suggest:

Bottom Line:

The best part about living in Mangalia is how cheap and peaceful it is. The people are kind. There are tourists but it isn’t overrun with tourists. Locals appreciate visitors because their town depends on them. The community is family-centered. It is a calm, small city.

The worst part of living in Mangalia is that no matter how many times you will tell people back home that you live in Mangalia in Romania, they will continue to ask you if you still live in Mongolia. It is kind of like living in Bucharest and having people constantly ask you if you like Budapest.

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