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  • Writer's pictureMaddie

Bucharest, Romania City Guide

Updated: Oct 13

Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, is a vibrant and diverse destination with a rich history and a unique blend of cultures. Whether you're interested in history, culture, food, or simply exploring a beautiful city, here's a Bucharest bucket list guide to help you make the most of your visit:

  1. Explore the Palace of the Parliament: This massive, opulent structure is one of the largest administrative buildings in the world. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and significance.

  2. Visit the Village Museum (Muzeul Satului): This open-air museum showcases traditional Romanian village life with over 200 buildings from all over the country. It's a great way to learn about Romania's cultural diversity.

  3. Stroll through Herastrau Park: This is Bucharest's largest park and features a beautiful lake, ideal for boat rides. You can also visit the Village Museum located within the park.

  4. Admire the Arcul de Triumf: This iconic arch was built to celebrate Romania's independence. It's a great spot for photos and has a fascinating history.

  5. Wander through the Old Town (Lipscani): This historic area is filled with charming cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and a plethora of restaurants, bars, and cafes. It's especially lively in the evenings.

  6. Visit the Stavropoleos Monastery: A small but incredibly beautiful Orthodox church with a lovely courtyard and stunning architecture.

  7. Discover the art at the National Museum of Art of Romania: Home to a vast collection of European and Romanian art, including works by famous artists like Bruegel and Rembrandt.

  8. Taste Romanian Cuisine: Don't miss trying traditional Romanian dishes like mămăligă (polenta), sarmale (cabbage rolls), mici (grilled sausages), and papanasi (a delicious dessert).

  9. Enjoy the nightlife: Bucharest has a lively nightlife scene, with plenty of bars and clubs. The Old Town is a great place to start your evening.

  10. Take a day trip to Dracula's Castle: Bran Castle, often associated with the fictional Dracula, is located a few hours from Bucharest. It's a fascinating place with a rich history.

  11. Visit the Cotroceni Palace and Museum: This beautiful palace is the official residence of the Romanian president and also houses a museum showcasing Romanian history and art.

  12. See the Revolution Square: This is where the 1989 Romanian Revolution began, and you can visit the Memorial of Rebirth to learn more about this significant event.

  13. Explore the Jewish History Museum: Romania has a rich Jewish history, and this museum provides insights into the Jewish community's life and struggles in Bucharest.

  14. Go shopping in Bucharest: There are many shopping areas, including Unirea Shopping Center, AFI Cotroceni, and the high-end shopping street Calea Victoriei.

  15. Take a stroll along Calea Victoriei: This is one of Bucharest's most famous streets, known for its beautiful architecture, luxury shops, and the Athenaeum, a renowned concert hall.

  16. Attend a performance at the Romanian Athenaeum: This iconic concert hall hosts classical music concerts and other cultural events. Check the schedule for performances during your visit.

  17. Relax at Therme Bucharest: This massive indoor spa complex offers a variety of pools, saunas, and relaxation areas. It's a perfect place to unwind.

Best time to visit and holidays:

April to October when the weather is pleasant for enjoying the Transylvanian countryside and the cities like Bucharest. Spring and autumn offer breathtaking views across the castle-studded region.

Popular restaurants:

  • Grand Van Gogh Cafe: Classic, art-filled venue with a terrace serving brunch staples & global dishes, plus coffee & wine. Address: Strada Smârdan 9, București 030167, Romania

  • Linea/Closer to the Moon: Hip rooftop venue with a global menu featuring pasta, burgers & meat dishes, plus creative drinks. Address: Strada Lipscani 17, București 030167, Romania

  • Caru' cu bere: Architecturally notable Romanian restaurant with wood paneling, stained-glass windows & a patio. Address: Strada Stavropoleos 5, București 030081, Romania

Hotel recommendations:

Old Town is a very popular location for hotels because the location could not be better. We personally stayed at the Matisse and found it to be a little difficult to find but the amenities were worth it! Beware of locals trying to get you to park and pay them which seemed a little sketchy. We found parking in a nearby underground overnight parking garage near the University for about 60lei which is about $12.

  • Matisse Bucharest Old Town: Set among the museums and lively bars of the Old Town neighborhood, this understated apartment hotel is a 4-minute walk from Stavropoleos Monastery Church and 5 minutes away by foot from University Square. Address: Strada Blănari 18, București 030167, Romania

  • Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest Old Town: Historic core with lively bars, Romanian cuisine & Curtea Veche museum at Vlad the Impaler’s court. Address: Strada Doamnei 12, București 030055, Romania

  • JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel: This upscale hotel is 1 km from the Palace of the Parliament, Cotroceni Palace, and art museums. Address: Calea 13 Septembrie 90, București 050726, Romania

Free things to do in Bucharest:

  • Enjoy the peace and quiet in the Stavropoleos Monastery is a true secret gem.

  • Stroll through the Old Town.

  • Explore the Cismigiu Gardens can be enjoyed throughout the seasons with lakes for rowing on in the summer and skating in the winter.

  • Selfie with the Arcul de Triumf (Arch of Triumph).

  • Relax and admire the greenery at Herăstrau Park.

Hope this inspired you to visit this incredible location! If you are looking for more options check out my Romania series!

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