In this work, the Raman spectra of furan, furfuryl alcohol (FA), furfural, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and levulinic acid were obtained in the 500 to 4000 cm−1 spectral region at room temperature. Vibrational wavenumbers were calculated for these compounds with the B3LYP method using the 6-31 + G(2df,p) basis set. The experimentally determined CC and CC wavenumbers for furan and furan derivatives were in good agreement with the calculated wavenumbers without scaling factor, while the calculated CO and CH wavenumbers at ∼1660 and 3000 cm−1, respectively, showed larger deviations from the measured ones. The Raman spectra for furan and furan derivatives showed intense CC bands, whereas the levulinic acid spectrum showed intense CH vibrations with broad doublet CO bands. We also found that an empirical method based on the chemical structure similarities is able to predict the HMF Raman spectrum from the combined furfural and FA spectra. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.