During former years, Bucharest has received several flattering nicknames from different worldwide famous publications: one of Europe’s most authentic capitals; the second coolest city of the continent; one of the cheapest cities to live in; the European city that can offer a full experience… Basically one of the most attractive cities in Europe! With a controversial past but a modern look, my hometown is always a great place if you go deep and leave negatives aside. Not a bad destination at all...
You will hear too many pessimists saying out loud that the city is full of corruption. That we were not capable to shake off the communist feeling. That is too crowded and there is no integrated strategy to develop the city.
To some extent they may be right, but forget one thing...
Every big city in this world is the same! As an international tourist, I don't often hear a Paris citizen talking about the dark side of the city of light. A New Yorker complaining about traffic. We Romanians seem to just take Bucharest for granted.
We should look more often at the opinion of the many foreigners visiting us. And if you ever join this group and experience Bucharest, I am pretty sure you will leave with a more positive image than you have ever believed!
In order to reach Bucharest, you have to search the Otopeni International Airport. It is the largest airport of the country and the best connected to the world.
It is located 15 km away from the city center, one of the shortest distance you will find in any European capital. OK, we don't have a metro station yet, but taxis are pretty cheap: 0.3 Euro/km and around 30 minutes to reach any central hotel.
By the way: the most luxurious hotels charge a little over 100 Euro per day for a double room. And it's not like you don't know them - almost any famous international chain is present in Bucharest. You don't actually need to look for them - you will find excellent deals in similar conditions for a maximum budget of 50 Euro per night.
OK, you have booked your plane tickets and accommodation. I recommend 4 days max, depending on what you usually prefer to do in a vacation. The city is for everyone: youngsters looking for fun and adventure; experienced looking to immerse in culture; business persons looking for deals and partnerships.
In general - international travellers eager to tick off beautiful, interesting places. For few money. So, prepare 300 Euro tops for everything you'll read further, and enjoy the cheapest most beautiful capital in Europe!
They don't call us little Paris for nothing, and strolling on the main boulevards will surely show you why. They reveal some fabulous architecture, a great mixture of old and new, both interbelic and modern buildings.
Here's my recommended route: Spain Square - Dacia Boulevard – Romana Square – Victoriei Square – Victoriei Avenue – Unirii Square – Balcescu Boulevard – University Square. You will of course have the chance to stop from time to time to visit a museum, take a picture in front of some marvelous interbelic houses, have a meal downtown, shopping and many more. Only the walk itself should take around 1.5 hours.
I personally know these boulevards by heart, and I totally recommend them. But when I look for relaxing walks with my loved one, we also like to detour on smaller streets around. We are always in awe with what's on these streets: hidden courtyards to have a drink or meal; fabulous particular homes, built in style; imposing churches; small parks... You cannot stay unimpressed with buidings like this...
Green oasis are also to be found all over the city, with the most interesting being the big Herastrau Park, the romantic Cismigiu Gardens or the Botanical Garden. Herastrau for instance cannot be missed in April, when the beautiful trees from the Japanese Garden are blooming and offering marvelous relaxation and photo opportunities.
... then Bucharest is the place to be! If we, Romanians, are good at something, then this when we throw parties! Especially in Bucharest - the so-called new Berlin, thanks to the wide variety of music, the cool vibe throughout the whole city, the fun one can have in any given club!
Bucharest is today one of the best places in Europe to have a party in, regardless of preferences! Whether you are in for loud or chill music, 80s, 90s, rock, pop, heavy metal or a mixture of all these types, Bucharest has an answer for you. The vibrant old city center between Balcescu Boulevard and Victoriei Avenue offers the best variety.
Basically every weekend is a great source of entertainment in Bucharest. Here's a list of the most interesting events announced for this year:
Bucharest is the perfect place to understand our country's cultural heritage! Here are some things to see:
Cotroceni National Museum located in the Cotroceni Palace, currently the official residence of the Romanian president. Visitors are mainly impressed with the collections of furniture, glassware, ceramics and tapestries, most of them envisioning our history and development during the German rule of the Hohenzollern Family (1866-1948); Entrance Fee: 9 Euro per adult
Romanian Athanaeum - the heart of Romanian culture, where any valuable Romanian artist has performed at least once in a lifetime. It hosts, among others, the most prestigious musical event in Romania - George Enescu Festival held since 1958 in the memory of the famous Romanian composer. The 23rd edition (September 2-24, 2017) brings together no less than 3000 international artists and 80 events.
Palace of Parliament - the communist symbol of Romania, showcasing the roots and megalomania of the Ceausescu regime; Entrance Fee: 8 Euro per adult
National Museum of Romanian History, for showcasing the development of our country throughout the entire history;
National Museum of Art, located in the Royal Palace, for the most complete collection of Romanian works of art;
George Enescu Museum - for discovering the life of the famous Romanian composer and violonist;
Grigore Antipa Museum - especially interesting for children, housing collections of reptiles, mammals, fish or birds;
National Geology Museum – one of the most beautiful earth science museum in Eastern Europe, encompassing samples of rocks originating from all over the country and from different eras;
Village Museum in Herastrau Park - an authentic Romanian village containing houses from different regions of the country, originating back in the 17th century.
One day should be more than enough to cover the main places close to the city:
Comana Adventure Park, for testing your skills in escalading, driving speed boats or kayaks, over-the-lake tyroliana etc; both appropriate for adults and children;
Mogosoaia Palace, for understanding the typical Brancovenesc style - the so-called Romanian Renaissance of the 17th century, as well as having a relaxing stroll in one of Romania's most beautiful park;
Therme, our fabulous water park, Europe’s biggest complex for relaxation, wellness and entertainment, open all year long up until 11 pm. The perfect ending for a full day and the Bucharest exploration! Entrance Fee: 12 Euro for 3 hours.
I walk on the streets of Bucharest every day, and I see it constantly flourishing. There is something about the city that attracts foreigners. More than it does Romanians - usually a little too critical when referring to Bucharest...
If you feel there's something missing or you have any questions regarding your future trip to Bucharest, do not hesitate to use the comment section below or the contact form!
Also, here you can check my recommendations for lodging, both in Bucharest or other big cities of Romania!
Looking forward to meeting you in Bucharest!
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