Since I have friends visiting me in my hometown, I thought of a short tour showing a bit of Romanian culture and atmosphere.
Bucharest is not expensive in terms of a city break. Being in the European Union, Romania has not yet adhered to the Euro zone, which makes prices a bit more friendlier. The culture is rich, the history of Romania was not mild, but it helped somehow to draw a mix of culture which you won’t find in any other part of Europe. Bucharest’s nightlife is booming, by the way. Here’s a list of things to do if you plan to spend a few days in town:
- Book here a tour in English at Ceausescu’s house, known as the Spring Palace. Price: 50 lei/person (~ 9Euro). The former dictator lived in this home.
- See Casa Poporului – People’s House (location) on the outside; visit it inside for 40 lei/person.
- Eat at Caru’ cu Bere (location), a place in Old town which holds history and local tasty food. It is advisable to book in advance a table, either inside or on the terrace. Try the local food: sarmale (minced meat in cabbage leaves), mici (minced meat with all kinds of spices), ciorba (sour soup).
- Take a stroll on Calea Victoriei: when you exit Caru’ cu bere, which you can also visit without eating there, take right.
Across the street from Caru’ cu bere one can see CEC Bank building, the oldest bank in Romania. Walking along, you’ll see on the left The National Military building, then Odeon Theatre on the right. A bit further and on the left hand side you can see Novotel hotel which has the facade of the former National Theater which collapsed. Taking a few steps further you will come to see the former Central Committee where the so-called Revolution started, and Ceausescu flew by helicopter from the rooftop of this building.
As you move on, you can admire the Royal Palace on the other side, which is now the National Museum of Art. Across the museum lies the National Library and further is the Romanian Ateneu. It is build in the neoclassic way and the legend has it people have donated money to help build it (“give a leu for the Ateneu”).
Moving on, on the left it is the Stirbei Palace which has a very nice garden in the back, have a drink during summer. After this break you can visit the Museum of Art Collections, my all time favourite (location). Monteoru Mansion is the house next to the museum and during summer you can enjoy a cool drink in the garden. After the intersection, one can see the Romanian Academy and visit the Cantacuzino Palace & George Enescu museum. Before arriving in Piata Victoriei, admire the neoclassic building of Filipescu Cesianu Palace which houses the Museum of ages.
- Enjoy the night life in Old town. Try local craft beer: Zaganu, Nenea Iancu, Ursus.
- Wonder around the parks: Cismigiu Park (location) is one of the oldest in city. Carol Park (location) has a couple of monuments. You can also see Herastrau/King Mihai I Park (location) which has the Village Museum (location) one can see the old Romanian homes and lifestyle).
- See an opera or a ballet at the National Opera House one evening. Online tickets are here.
I’d recommend getting accommodation downtown and using Uber instead of regular taxis because the taxi drivers can be really annoying (not giving change, driving you around extra to charge more, etc.). Let me know in a comment how was your experience, what did you like or disliked about Bucharest.