Welcome to Bucharest!
The capital city of Bucharest, Romania, is truly unique. It is one of those off-the-radar destinations, making it appealing for travelers who wish to avoid large crowds of tourists and rising prices. From its 16th century Orthodox churches and Byzantine buildings to hipster bars obsessed with “third wave” coffee culture and craft beer joints, Bucharest definitely doesn’t lack diversity.
From the moment you land at Bucharest Airport, approaching the city as a worldwide local allows you to discover the city’s best sights and hidden gems. It also helps you to see this magnificent city from a different angle, away from the classic tourist traps. To help you get to know Bucharest as an experienced traveler, this guide reveals some of the city’s best-kept secrets.
Where to Begin
To cross off some of Bucharest’s main sights from your list of places to visit, head out to Victoriei Street. This central street houses attractions like the Odeon Theatre, Cantacuzino Palace, the National Museum of Art, and the fabulous George Enescu Museum. It also boasts a number of small boutiques, bars, and some fantastic Bucharest restaurants. The most Instagrammable spot in the city, Pasajul Victoria (Umbrella Passage) is located just off Victoriei Street. Look to the sky to see hundreds of colorful umbrellas.
Worldwide Local Tip: The easiest way to get around Bucharest is by walking. However, sometimes you’ll need to reach remote destinations and the easiest way to do this is by using buses, metro, or trams. Since public transportation in Bucharest is overcrowded with local commuting to and from work, maybe the best option is to use Uber, which offers exceptional service here. Talk to the manager at any of the Bucharest hotels for advice on getting around.
Off-the-beaten-path Sites and Shopping
Locals know the best places in the city, and they will tell you how Carturesti Verona is a must-visit spot in Bucharest. Situated inside an old house with many rooms, this bookshop boasts a cute interior and has a nice café where you can grab a drink or read a book.
A visit to the local Antiquities market at Bazar allows you to find many cool antiquities and mingle with the locals. The market is held inside an old abandoned building and its interior is worth a stop.
When there’s nice weather, Bucharest locals find that a visit to Herastrau Park is a must. The largest green space in the city, located around a lake, the park offers many walking trails, a picturesque Japanese garden, and a theatre that hosts performances during the summer season.
Worldwide Local Tip: Bucharest affordable compared to other capitals in Europe. Expect to find good deals on accommodation and budget-friendly prices for entrance fees. A two-course meal for two people in a nice restaurant will set you back around $25. Local wine is one of the most popular souvenirs in the city. If you are not a wine expert, go for a bottle of Odobesti or Contari. Both are produced according to secret local recipes in some of the oldest vineyards in the country.
Take a Day Trip to Therme
In Bucharest, time can seem to rush by. Take a break by venturing out of the city to spend an afternoon at Therme Bucharest. The pools at this wellness center are surrounded by palm trees, and there are even in-pool bars where you can unwind with a refreshing cocktail. The entrance to the Therme is cheap; it costs less than $20.
Worldwide Local Tip: Serving outstanding cocktails, Interbelic is a great bat to visit in the evening. For some seriously awesome views of the city, check out the Pura Vida Sky Bar. Located on Victoriei Street, Fabrica De Bere Bună is run by the owners of the most famous local microbrewery in Bucharest and offers a nice selection of Romanian craft beers.
Enjoy Your Stay!
It’s just a matter of time before Bucharest becomes just another overcrowded tourist destination, so it’s best to visit the city as soon as possible. To find the best sites and lesser-known attractions, travel as a worldwide local and make the most out of your stay.