A colourful place to visit: Bucharest, the Capital of Romania

Let’s take a look beyond the stereotypes…

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Romania – The Land of Dracula. But it’s more to this country than some legends with vampires written by English authors.

The capital of Romania, Bucharest, has been named one of the coolest cities in Europe by a French website.  It might sound surprising to you, as Romania has escaped communism only 22 years ago, but “Little Paris” can be one of the best places to party till dawn, take long walks across the river Dambovita, meet beautiful women or wander the streets in the Old Centre.

Rainbow over Basarab Bridge / Photo Diana Murgan via Bucuresti Optimist

Rainbow over Basarab Bridge / Photo Diana Murgan via Bucuresti Optimist

To find great holiday packages, travel deals and local information on Bucharest, visit http://yabbedoo.com/visit-bucharest

The French website Slate stated that Bucharest is the second coolest city in Europe, after Vienna. They reached this conclusion based on the night life, beer prices and the number of students located there.

Dambovita River / Photo: Ramona August. via Bucuresti Optimist

Dambovita River / Photo: Ramona August. via Bucuresti Optimist

The legends say that the city has been named after a shepherd called Dambovita Bucur, which literarily means joy. And let’s face it – that’s a good explanation for the Romanians’ good spirit and love for life.

Fountains on the Unirii Boulevard

Fountains on the Unirii Boulevard/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

What to visit

In 1900, Bucharest earned the nickname of “Little Paris” because of its glorious Belle Époque buildings, tree-lined boulevards and the high life. At that time, Bucharest was a beautiful place to be in – the streets were packed with elegant people, artists, musicians, painters and writers.

House of the Free Press

House of the Free Press

Nowadays the city is a bustling metropolis, very urban and modern, although you can still see the scars left by the communist era and its leader – Nicolae Ceausescu.

But if you ever get the chance to visit this contradictory city bursting with history and diversity, don’t miss:

-    House of the Free Press – The building was completed in 1956, one year after the strikingly similar Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, Poland.

-    The Arch of Triumph – This objective was initially built of wood, in 1922, to honour the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I. Only in 1936 the granite Arch de Triumph was finished. An interior staircase allows visitors to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city.

The Arch of Triumph

The Arch of Triumph

-    Victory Avenue – The oldest and most charming street in Bucharest was built in 1692 to link the Old Princely Court to Mogosoaia Palace. After the Romanian War of Independence victory, it became known as Calea Victoriei.

At this time, it was one of the most fashionable streets in the city and if you strolled along, you could discover some of the most stunning buildings in the city – the Cantacuzino Palace, the historical Revolution Square, the Military Club, the CEC Headquarters and the National History Museum.

Revolution Square

Revolution Square

-    Revolution Square – This is the place were communism in Romania came to an end. The square became known around the globe when TV stations broadcasted Nicolae Ceausescu final moments, on December 21, 1989.

However, you should know that the square’s importance goes back long before the dramatic events of the 1989 Revolution.

Lascar Catargiu towards Piata Romana/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Lascar Catargiu towards Piata Romana/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

On the light side of the square stands the former Royal Palace, now home to the National Art Museum, the stunning Romanian Athenaeum and the historic Athenee Palace Hotel. At the south end of the square, you can visit the small, but beautiful, Kretzulescu Church.

Romanian Athenaeum

Romanian Athenaeum

Moreover, like you all imagined, Bucharest has an important communist legacy - Parliament House and Civic Center.

Parliament House

Parliament House

- Formerly known as the People’s Palace, the Parliament Palace is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon.

The building boasts 12 stories, 1100 rooms, a 328-ft-long lobby and four underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker.

A guided tour takes visitors through dazzling rooms, huge halls and they get to see the work of the country’s best Artisans.

Parliament House

Parliament House/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Today, the building serves as an International Conference Centre and it houses Romania’s Parliament.

Some interesting facts about this magnificent construction are that the Crystal Chandelier in the Human Rights Hall weights 2.5 tons and some of the other chandeliers have 7000 bulbs.

Loving nature

If you are not into historical buildings, Bucharest has some wonderful parks and gardens where you can walk, relax and enjoy the nature.

For example, Cismigiu Garden, oldest park in Bucharest, was opened to the public in 1860, after it was designed in 1845 by the German landscape architect Carl Meyer.

Cismigiu Garden

Cismigiu Garden/ Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Here you will have the opportunity to see more than 30,000 trees and plants, which were brought from the Romanian mountains, while exotic plants were imported from the botanical gardens in Vienna.

Cismigiu Garden

Cismigiu Garden/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Another great attraction is the Botanical Garden, opened in 1891. This amazing place features over 5,000 varieties of plants from Romania and around the world.

Cismigiu Garden

Cismigiu Garden/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Also people from Bucharest can be proud of another wonderful place – Herastrau Park. Spread over 400 acres, the park hosts numerous attractions, including a boat rental complex, tennis courts and a variety of restaurants on the lake.

Where to have fun

As I said in the beginning, Bucharest was voted one of the coolest cities in Europe. And that’s because people here know how to have fun and they don’t need much money to do so.

La Motoare pub / Photo Mihai Ignat via Bucuresti Optimist

La Motoare pub and terrace/ Photo Mihai Ignat via Bucuresti Optimist

University Square

University Square/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Beer is very cheap, less than £1, and the food is amazing. Romanians are known worldwide for their great and tasty food and if you visit Bucharest you should definitely try some traditional courses.  We recommend you the Beer Cart Restaurant, opened since 1879.

Lipscani District at dusk / Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Lipscani District at dusk / Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

If you want to party you should definitely go to Lipscani District. In this area you will discover the city’s unique charm – pubs, restaurants, clubs and a diversity of young people. This part of the city is always alive, both nights and days.

Clubs: Fabrica & B52 / Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Clubs: Fabrica & B52 / Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Back in the day, Lipscani was a residential area and a place where you could find all kinds of artists and writers. Today, the old city center is very modern, but if you look carefully, you can still find Antiques shops and a mix of cultures in the architectural styles, from baroque and neoclassical to art nouveau.

Vilacrosse passage

Vilacrosse passage/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

In Bucharest you can experience amazing parties and clubs – from Drum&Bass to rock, disco or commercial. If you want to start your journey to party land, you should begin at University Square – one of the most popular meeting places in Bucharest.

This is also known as the Ground Zero, the place where you’ll find a monument built in the honour of those who lost their lives in December ‘89.

The tube and the buses should take you anywhere you want and if you ever find yourself lost, don’t be shy to ask for directions, people in Bucharest are pretty sociable and nice.

Boulevard 13 Septembrie / Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Boulevard 13 Septembrie / Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

If you want to learn more about Romania and Bucharest, there is a large variety of museums you can visit: Art Collections Museum, Bucharest History & Art Museum, Cotroceni Palace & Museum, George Enescu Museum, Gregory Antipa Natural History Museum, Museum of the Romanian Peasant, National Art Museum National, Geological Museum, National Museum of Contemporary or the Art Village Museum.

The downsides

Like any other city in the world, Bucharest is not only milk and honey. First of all, you should be careful with taxi drivers, who can easily fool you, especially if you don’t know the city.

Then, there are a lot of stray dogs on the streets – most of them are innocent, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look out for yourself. And keep your eyes wide open for one of the most insane car traffic in Europe.

You should be careful with taxi drivers

You should be careful with taxi drivers/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

Bucharest is indeed very cool and colourful, but it lacks the tidiness and the discipline of  the Western German cities, as people still choose to remain indifferent to the bins on the streets, the beggars on every corner or the antique buildings on the edge of collapse.

In this city you will find a mixture of good and bad, colour and noir, old and new, high class and poverty, that will amaze you, especially when you see all of these extremes combing so awkwardly well.

Garbage art :)

Garbage art :)/Photo: Bucuresti Optimist

View from above / Photo Andreea Capraru via Bucuresti Optimist

View from above / Photo Andreea Capraru via Bucuresti Optimist

There’s a say that Bucharest has grown into a city of contrasts, that is probably why you only have two choices when it comes to it – love it or not.

Photo courtesy of Bucuresti Optimist

Other Relates Posts

About these ads

84 thoughts on “A colourful place to visit: Bucharest, the Capital of Romania

  1. It’s really… picturesque, but interesting as an experience. It’s much better to see it while guided by a local, otherwise you can get lost like a mouse in a maze :)

  2. “Little Paris” can be one of the best places to party till dawn, take long walks across the river Dambovita, meet beautiful women or wander the streets in the Old Centre.”

    “meet beautiful women”
    So… only men are encouraged to visit Bucharest? That’s a bit sexist don’t you think? I’m sure Bucharest is a wonderful place for women too, is it not? Can’t women also meet the opposite sex?

    Nice article, the effort and objective is nice, but you could do without that little sentence there I think…

  3. Nice post and images. One small correction: people are not very sociable. As a romanian living in Bucharest, I often found that people don’t have 3 seconds to spare to help another. Some of the young people speak a decent English, but most of the older people don’t speak any kind of foreign language.

    • People in Romania are usually trying to help. Indeed most of the old people don’t speak foreign languages but if they can they will try to help. I’ve been to countries where if you ask for directions they ignore you or they just stare at you being surprised that you’ve talked to them.

    • Whaaat? M am saturat de oamenii care isi vb tara de rau, tu ai calatorit prin Europa? Suntem foarte sociabili si vb engleza extrem de bine, normal ca batranii, care de abia reusesc sa isi cumpere medicamente din farmacii, nu vb bine lba engleza!!!

      • Bravo Cristina dacă nu o făceai tu o făceam eu! Şi dragă Ciprian fă o comparaţie a salarilor de pe aici cu ale lor…normal că românii ar avea motive să fie mai răutăcioşi şi totuşi nu cred că am mai văzut oameni mai darnici ca noi – de asta sunt şi atâţia cerşetori de altfel, dar să lăsăm partea asta deoparte, câte cazuri de oameni bolnavi care au cerut ajutoare financiare am avut şi câţi au rupt din puţinul de la gură să ajute…Păcat! Dacă nu îţi convine pleacă şi vezi cum e în alte părţi…eu lucrez cu străini şi am avut destule surprize neplăcute. Din păcate noi ne pricepems ă ne dăm singuri în cap, pentru că suntem prea proşti să adorăm şi să respectăm ţara asta sublimă, misterioasă, plină de simboluri moştenite de la strămoşii noştri. Din păcate frumosul nu place prostimii decât sub forma unor pupeze despuiate. Bucureştiul, România…tot au mai mult de dat lumii decât o fac…trebuie mai multă atenţie din partea noastră, a tuturor şi musai respect.
        Dragă Ciprian, statele bogate din Europa s-au clădit pe furt – oamenii din colonii, ce crezi că i-au aşteptat cu braţele deschise pe colonişti…aşa că pentru mine faza că ce răi suntem noi nu ţine şi am destulă istorie ca să afirm că noi suntem poate răul cel mai mic. Noi ne-am născut cu bogăţii imense, eroii noştri au murit pentru eledacă ar vedea acum ce am ajuns i-ar cuprinde deprimarea. Iar când citesc comentarile unora ca tine mă curpinde deprimarea, disperarea….

  4. great information! I am glad to see such a good and accurate review of my home city. We are happy to greet new tourists.

  5. Worse traffic can be found in Belgrade, but apart from that everything you said is true. Great article!
    PS: I am Romanian, living in Bucharest for 9 years.

    • I feel ashamed with people like you, no one stops you from moving! Have you ever questioned yourself why is the town “shitty”…sorry in advance that I’ll say this..it’s because of shitty people like you, who do nothing beautiful or good for this town, you’re just good of bringing insults…instead of that why not bring some positivity and colour in your mind.

  6. While the buses will take you anywhere in the city you should really be aware for thieves and you’re right the taxi drivers will screw you big time. There’s a direct buss line from the airport to the center, much safer. Otherwise, thanks for the amazing review. When I read this kind of articles I realize we are standing on a gold mine, we just need to take better care of it. (Also, don’t worry, we’re working on the dog problem, we’re killing them one by one, solution provided b our “amazing” government officials)

    • Laura să do you think in other countries the taxi drivers won’t screw you big time or that they don’t have thieves!? I think awareness should be everywhere you go my dear. I actually worked with a French living here and she told me: it’s much safer here than in my country!

  7. superb…pacat ca nu si adevrat. ca daca ar fi ar fi fost umplut si cunoscut de turisti la nivel de industrie turistica. mergi intr-o agentie turistica din Anglia si intreaba de Romania,,,,

    • how did you figure they are copies ? what style do you think it represents (from a design & historical point of view) ? which are the elements that resemble lookalikes ? what background do you have so you could have determined that ?

  8. I am from Bucharest! Thank you for promoting the city in such a beautiful way! All you said its so true, even the downsides! I would also visit the Antim and Radu-Voda Monasteries and the Patriarchal Cathedral. You can find there holy relics of Orthodox Saints. These are the true riches of my city! The beer too, as “za germanz” say! :)

    • Dear Teodor, please f*ck off with the monasteries and cacathedrals mate. Feel free to lick these ‘true riches’ and shove them in your middle back body-pocket, along with the dead bodies you call ‘saints’. Romania has enough religious bullshit and people spreading this bullshit around. Visit the Astronomical Observatory for a change.

      • Mircea…I am not a very religious person but put a lock to your mouth. What do you think that many people visit in other countries….why would some people go in countries as Spain, Greece etc and visit churches and cathedrals…is it because they are so religious when most of them have different religions anyway…no, it’s because these are points of attraction and for culture and because many traditions come from religion, whether you like it or not.

  9. Please oh please take the negative stuff off like it’s a dirty city “:)) and taxi drivers do that everywhere !! just leave the garbage art , Amsterdam is dirtier than Bucharest and it smells of pee and booze :)) U are from here be proud! In Prague taxi drivers take u to places to get mugged … please do some research beforE you write this stuff. THE REST IS AWESOME! LET’S WORK TOGETHER IN MAKING THIS A BETTER PLACE , foreigners will only see the negative article please let’s bring tourists and not be so open about what is wrong :) I appreciate you writing the article and you have done a fantastic job . BUT PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOT DATE OFF THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS :) WE ARE THE BEST , just like other countries do not say anything negative about their countries let’s just do the same :) Thanks

    • I’m afraid, Oana has a point – there is trouble everywhere you go but not much advertising it. Where tourists tend to go, there aren’t stray dogs, I guarantee as I was a tourist myself and I didn’t see any on the big boulevards or Herastrau Park.

    • I am happy to see others thinking like me, just lost time to explain all these to some of our co-nationals who spend time to offend their own country for free…I’d rather they spend their time doing something better, as in changing what they don’t like for the best.

    • Nope.. i am from Bucharest and the taxi stories are true.. they always try to ripp you off, even if you are foreign or from here. This has to stop. You just have to pay attention to the taxing machine witch is never more than 1.39 Ron\KM. That means the tax from the airport to the city center would be between 15-25 Ron MAX!!

  10. Pingback: TRAVEL: Bucharest, a colourful place to visit | Romanian Itineraries

  11. Beautifull article , I am very happy that somebody really takes time and pride to promote our beautiful city. As far as the negative comments, let’s not forget that every country and nation has its own dirt., let’s just forget for a second and remember the good things.if we keep criticize and downgrade ourselves we are not going to get passed the hurt and humiliation we’ve endured in the dark times of the communism .we need to start appreciating and accepting and be proud of who we are for Gods sake ! Enough with throwing dirt at our selfs .we are and can be great, we just have to trust our guts better!

    • True. There are no gold coins to be found on any of the streets on other great cities and we must stop putting ourselves down because of some irregularities which don’t concern the tourists anyway.

  12. First Bucharest It’s a great city to party and then to live here. And yes, it is a dirty city but what crowded city isn’t? I visited some famous European capital and there is a place where night life be more lively as in Bucharest. Also if you want to know Romanian culture Bucharest is the right choise.

  13. I just want to point out that absolutely every city in the world has downsizes. Bucharest is actually (like the whole coutnry) one of the safest cities and definitely not one of the dirtiest. The tourist is advised to be careful with taxi drivers, with too much showing up (obvious expensive jewelleries, too much cash in the wallet, picking up locals, or being picked up by locals in the bars and so on) no matter the destination.
    So it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand, in order for the info to be as accurate as possible.
    Nevertheless, the idea is truly appreciated and I wish more bloogers (and the rest of us for that matter), take some pride of their inheritance, realize the gifts us Romanians have and better promote our country. More tourists coming in is a win-win situation. And that includes being honest about the negative stuff, which is quite common for all the big cities.
    Well done!

  14. Pingback: Blog Statistics if apost goes viral (Image) | Frederik Van Lierde

  15. “Multumesc” for this article, I am a romanian and I work in Bucharest in the old town, i’m glad to see some good reviews about my beautifull country…sadly most of europe thinks we are gipsies and thieves, i invite you to see otherwise, we are kind people, most of us speak english and…come over to find out more…by the way “Multumesc” means thank you, you’ve just learned you’re first word in romanian ;)

  16. Thank you for the nice article. My grandparents came to America from Romania, and I know nothing about where they lived. I don’t know if I have relatives living there still, but would love to find out.

  17. Probabil ca daca vezi citeva poze frumoase in photoshop si citeva comentarii o sa spui “vai cit e de frumos”. Probabil ca daca vizitezi Bucurestiul 2-3-5 zile o sa zici- vai ce frumos. Ca in vizita o sa fii plimbat pe unde e cit de cit mai frumos. Dar problema e sa traiesti in Bucuresti. Caini – oarecum mai putini – masini pe trotuar si pe strada, trafic infernal, claxoane, mizerie, autobuze supraaglomerate, galagie, in parcuri mizerie de asemenea si cite si mai cite. Apoi sa mai ai nevoie de spitale sau politie sa te fereasca domnul. Nu imi mai dau seama cum e aerul – sunt probabil anesteziat, dar din ce scrie citeodata prin diverse buletine nu e prea curat. Si va astept sa la plimbati prin oras acum, ca vin sarbatorile. Cu masina personala sau ratb-ul. Frumoase poze in Photoshop.

  18. Yeah….I must say that if you have money and you don`t have to mingle too much with the ‘poorer’ romanians in bucharest you will enjoy the city. But otherwise…not that nice of a city! Although there are great people, most of them are outside of the capital!

    • What do you mean most of them are outside of the capital? Are you some kind of redneck who hates on the city for no reason? Best people in Romania are in Bucharest… it’s a fact. Also not true that you need lots of money to have a great time. Most of the clubs don’t have entry fee, and the booze is cheap everywhere you go.

  19. Indeed Bucharest is one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe (And second most beautiful in the Balkans after Zagreb in my opinion – If Croatia can be considered a part of the Balkans, I consider it anyway). It isn’t so famous right now because 40 years of communism and the first ten years of “democracy”, were a very bad time period for the capital. So I believe that in ten years or so, the capital will be even more famous in Europe, and have even more tourists. I currently study in Thessaloniki-Greece and I’m constantly promoting my home-town to all my colleagues :) Every time I’m away I miss my dearest and beautiful capital. Being away so much I try to see Bucharest in an unbiased way and indeed it is a very beautiful city. Everything you said is true about the city (The good and the bad).

  20. Great article, I can’t say that Bucharest is one of the best places to visit in Europe but it definitely has a lot to offer, I just wish people will start seeing what an amazing country we have and stop bad mouthing this country and it’s people, in the end we are all the same…can’t wait for more articles like this.

  21. actually, the House of the Free Press is a relic of Russian communist architecture, because it’s made to match the Lomonosov University, the first of a long line of similar buildings… indeed, Poland’s architecture suffered the same disease in those days, being Mother Russia’s child comes with a price, but the Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw wasn’t the first “born” :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_State_University

  22. Pingback: ILEANA PARTENIE

  23. Pingback: Stiri din turism – saptamana 6-12 ianuarie | Turism24

  24. Bravo Ana, o initiativa foarte buna! Nu scriu in engleza (ai mici greseli pe-acolo, dar e mult mai bine decat ce vad chiar si in presa) pentru ca vreau sa si critic executia, poate poti sa imbunatatesti articolul tau.
    In primul rand as scoate partea cu “problemele”, citind ce scriu alti localnici despre orasele lor nu prea am gasit chestii negative (putin exagerate de tine, pentru ca si in alte capitale europene ai chestii similare, mai putin partea cu maidanezii – care insa se rezolva treptat si nu prea e o problema in zonele turistice) – vezi ce au comentat si Oana, Ella, Mihaela, OOO, Dora: vrei sa atragi potentialii turisti, nu invers. Si mie mi s-a parut putin sexista partea cu femeile frumoase insa e clar adevarata.
    As schimba jumatate din poze (12 din 22) pentru ca nu se coreleaza cu imaginea “micului Paris” ci mai degraba cu comunismul sau cu arhitectura banala sau kitsch, mai ales in partea introductiva unde ai un text cu subiect “istoric/prezentare”: poza 1 (podul Basarab – o banalitate fata de podurile din alte capitale – chiar daca pentru noi e motiv de satisfactie), poza 2 (cheiul Dambovitei nu e atractiv comparat cu ce au Parisul, Budapesta, Praga, Londra etc.), poza 3 (fantanile de la Piata Unirii cu blocurile mastodont si reclama de pe fundal), eventual si poza 4 (Casa Presei Libere – stil sovietic) – acestea pot fi inlocuite cu poze ale unor obiective de arhitectura mai vechi de cateva zeci de ani, frumoase – sau chiar poze interbelice.
    La obiective de vizitat: incepi tot cu Casa Presei Libere?!?; as scoate pozele 6 (Calea Victoriei are obiective mult mai frumoase – enumerate dealtfel de tine – decat “teapa”, macar se vede BCU pe fundal), 7 (Lascar Catargiu e frumos cu cladirile aferente, nu e nimic deosebit in niste felinare, copaci si mai ales ceasul ala luat la pret exagerat de primarie) si 10 (e suficienta o poza, 9, cu Casa Poporului si imprejurimile, nu crezi?). Ar trebui mentionate oricum si alte chestii gen Muzeul Hartilor, al Taranului Roman etc. ca obiective, nu stiu de ce te-ai concentrat atat de mult pe centru? cand exista multe chestii faine si pe nord (vezi strazile vechii protipendade, cu vile/palate superbe)…
    La partea cu natura: 2 poze din Cismigiu si niciuna din Herastraul pe care-l mentionezi? Celelalte poze sunt chiar frumoase, foarte bine.
    La partea de “fun”: as scoate poza 14 (terasa ‘la motoare” e penibila), 17 (fabrica si b52 – chestie de gust), si 19 (Blvd. 13 Sep.?!? – cu reclama pe mijloc, lumini, ziduri etc.?!?). Si ar mai fi poza 20 cu taxiurile, foarte “interesanta”…
    Altfel bravo, esti pe drumul bun, nu te supara pentru critica dorita constructiva.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s