2023 FULL Bucharest Travel Guide: what to do, places to visit, day trips, going out & more!
Why visit Bucharest? Because Romania’s capital will surprise you with its rich history and multiple personalities: a Balkan vibe with Oriental influences, French-inspired beautiful buildings, megalomanic communist architecture, huge green spaces and now a thriving Western-inspired city with Latin blood in its people.
Bucharest is an eclectic city - and that's the top reason why you should visit in 2023!
made by locals guide updated in 2023 will help you find out what to do in Bucharest, which places to visit, top tourist attractions, day trip ideas, where to go out and practical info about public transport.
You'll find 50+ ideas for the very best things to do in Bucharest and
unique tours and day trips we created so you have a great time on your holiday - so get ready!
Table of contents
- Intro: Bucharest at a glance
- 1. Bucharest tourist landmarks & places to see
- Bucharest Old Town: what to visit
- 2. What to visit in Bucharest: tourist attractions, museums and more
- 3. Things to do in Bucharest: sightseeing, history, culture & local life
- 4. Day trips & tours from Bucharest
- 5. Where to go out in Bucharest: restaurants, coffee shops and bars
- 6. Bucharest nightlife? The BEST in Europe!
- 7. Budget, transport & safety in Bucharest
- 8. Where to stay in Bucharest
Intro: Bucharest at a glance
Before we start, I want to be honest with you: Bucharest doesn't have a good reputation as a tourist destination, and here's why:
- like all of Romania, there's no official tourist identity or strategy so tourists don't have a good reason why they should visit in the first place!
- local authorities don't support, invest or promote local tourism, so it's up to locals with limited resources and fragmented impact to do this
- most tourists rely on foreign travel bloggers, guides and the typical TripAdvisor "best places to visit" when planning their visit, so they don't really discover the beautiful side of Bucharest
- before 2015 there were some reports about foreign tourists getting scammed by Bucharest taxis and at the airport (no longer an issue) which created a bad reputation for the city
And that's why some people avoid visiting Bucharest all together, or plan to spend one day at most before heading to Brasov and other parts of the country.
Which is a shame...
Though it may seem rough around the edges, the capital city of Romania has something to offer to all types of travellers, especially those looking for an off-the-beaten path non-touristy experience.
So besides the typical tourist attractions and places to visit such as the Palace of Parliament and Old Town area, in this guide we'll tell you about many lesser-known things to do in Bucharest and how to have a great time visiting Romania's capital.
Because Bucharest is full of glaring, sometimes absurd contrasts and not your typical Western capital where is neat and clean, by the book. I've seen something similar in Palermo (Sicily, Italy), Marrakech, Cairo, Beirut, Moscow and in Asia.
Some people don't enjoy these urban jungles. Others - like me - do! But you the saying beauty is in the eyes of the beholder :)
Local tip:Bucharest is not flooded with tourist hoards like other capitals in Eastern Europe. Prices are not too high either and there are no 'big bus' style tours (except for
Dracula Castleday trips - the only thing heavily touristified in our country). So you can have an amazing holiday with great value for money!
The Romanian capital has A LOT of cool places to go out with many hipster cafes, trendy bars, chic restaurants and fine-dining places (for very good prices!), urban gardens and skybars.
And - most importantly - Romanian people are welcoming and eager to show you a good time! If this is your first time, check our guide on how to visit Romania with more practical info.
So we'll tell you the best way to experience Bucharest and the very best places for that. We'll also suggest thematic walking tours in the city and day trips so you have a good time on your holiday!
So let's dive deeper into what Bucharest has to offer!
Yes, Bucharest has a Triumphal Arch just like the one in Paris!
1. Bucharest tourist landmarks & places to see
Just like any other capital, Bucharest has a list of top places to visit and famous landmarks:
- Palace of Parliament
- Romanian Athenaeum
- Calea Victoriei (Victory Boulevard)
- Revolution Square
- Old Town Lipscani area
- Unirii Square and fountains & Unirii Boulevard
- National History Museum
- National Art Museum (former Royal Palace)
- Cișmigiu Gardens or
- Stavropoleos Monastery
- University Square
- Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum
- Primaverii Palace (dictator Ceausescu's home)
- Arch of Triumph
- Vacaresti Delta
Thanks to its long and wide boulevards the best way to see Bucharest is to go on a long walk from the Northern Piata Victoriei (Victory Square) to the Southern Piata Unirii (Union Square) or Piata Parlamentului (Parliament Square) - or viceversa.
Calea Victoriei (Victory Boulevard) is the main pedestrian artery that connects the two poles. Bucharest landmarks and tourist attractions are here - so you don't have to check Google Maps every 10 min :) With lots of photo stops, this will be a 2-3h walk.
Local tip:during weekends Calea Victoriei is for cars and it turns a huge pedestrian area. During Summer months locals love going on walks, stopping for icecream, coffee or a drink. Lots of street events take place here too, so watch out!
There other artery that runs parallel to it on the map (Magheru and Lascar Catargiu Boulevards) is mostly for cars and you can ignore that.
- Explore Bucharest on bike
Because of the wide boulevards and long distances in Romania's largest city, renting a bike is the second best way to explore Bucharest. Calea Victoriei has a so traveling by bike makes everything easier and you get to see much more especially in the beautiful Northern part of the city (Kisselef and Aviatorilor Boulevard, Herestrau Park, Arch of Triumph).
You can rent a bike on your own from a public docking station (check here). Or go on a guided tour by bike with one of our guides who will take care of everything so you can focus on enjoying the experience AND learn about Bucharest.
Romanian Athenaeum: more than a concert hall, a landmark of historical significance
Back to your walking tour on Victory Boulevard, one of the oldest, most charming and posh streets in Bucharest, you'll see the city's most famous landmarks and historical buildings (the best way is to start from the North or Piata Victoriei, easily accessible by metro)
- the George Enescu Museum our country's most famous classical composer (check his folk-inspired composition); every 2 years George Enescu International Music Festival takes places in his honour with concerts from orchestras from all over the world
- ...in the Romanian Athenaeum which is Bucharest's most emblematic cultural landmark and concert hall; the building has a lot of significance for Romanian history and is spectacular on the inside, which is why you should visit
- just across you'll see the former Royal Palace, which now hosts the National Museum of Art of Romania; besides the museum of art collections, the museum of the palace is worth visiting too
- opposite it you'll notice the statue of King Carol I the first in the Romanian royal and a significant figure in our history
- behind it the Central University Library
By now you probably noticed the weird looking statue that looks like an impaled potato as locals call it. That's the Rebirth Memorial in Revolution Square where the 1989 anti-communist revolution took place.
Revolution Square known as Palace Square before the 1989 Romanian revolution
The massive building behind it was the the Romanian Communist Party headquarters. From its balcony dictator Nicolae Ceausescu made his last speech on 21 December when people started booing him - to his incredible disbelief captured on video. This is where the violent 1989 Romanian revolution started (it first started on 16 Dec in Timisioara).
Continuing down South on Calea Victoriei:
- you will see Odeon Theater on the left, a cosy contemporary art deco building fit for the modern, avant-garde plays it hosts
- then Casa Capsa (Hotel Capsa) one of the oldest historic buildings and most famous hotels in Bucharest said to have the best pastry shop
- pass the Cercul Militar (National Military Circle) imposing building
- almost miss the Maca Villacrosse Passage into Old Town, but then shortly arrive at Lipscani Street the main street in the Old Town area
- until you arrive at the elegant CEC Palace (like a national savings bank)
- and the impressive National Museum of Romanian History one of the best places to learn about our ancestors, the Dacians, who settled these lands before they were conquered by the Romans; you'll also see here 2,000 year old gold bracelets made by them
Calea Victoriei ends in Piata Natiunilor Unite Square from where you can go East along Dambovita River towards Unirii Square, or West along the river towards the Palace of Parliament. Or return to the Old Town area to find a coffee shops or a nice place to eat!
To see the other famous landmarks you'll need to go on a ride in the metro (the best way to navigate the city), grab a taxi (but avoid rush hours!) or go by bike, since they're in in the city center (the area between Piata Victoriei - Piata Unirii).
Bucharest Old Town: what to visit
Bucharest Old Town is a pedestrian area in the city center between Piata Universitatii, Piata Unirii and Calea Victoriei. It's filled with old buildings (obviously!) some restored others not so much.
Pro tip:contrary to what most travel bloggers and guides will tell you, this is not a great place to see the Little Paris side of Bucharest; keep reading to find out where to see that!
Over 120 bars, coffee shops and restaurants are here so this central location is known as the hotspot for Bucharest nightlife. It's a touristy place and locals don't really like it - but the variety and sense of aliveness is really nice and unlike anything else you'll see in Europe.
This is not a place for shopping and because of the constant noise, agitation and old buildings it's not a great place to stay here either - except in the few hotels in the area (which are obviously very expensive) such as Hilton Garden Inn or Europa Royale.
Stavropoleus Church, the oldest church in the Old Town
A quick list of the best places to visit in Bucharest Old Town include:
- Curtea Veche or the Old princely court ruins dating back to the 15th century; this was the seat of power for the ruling princes of Wallachia, including Vlad the Impaler who built it and whose statue you'll find nearby
- the nearby Hanul lui Manuc (Manuc's Inn) one of the oldest historic buildings in the city with its impressive courtyard and very good traditional Romanian restaurant
- Stavropoleos Church built in the unique Romanian architectural style known as Brancovenesc or Wallachian reinassance
- the National Bank of Romania building with its imposing Reinassance architecture
- Lipscani street not an attraction per se, just the most popular street in the Old Town because this is where merchants would have their shops (no longer the case)
- Carturesti Carusel library on the same street, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the country and possibly in Europe
- Caru cu Bere restaurant, one of the oldest and most authentic in the country
We'll come back to the Old Town area in our Bucharest nightlife section below.
2. What to visit in Bucharest: tourist attractions, museums and more
- Palace of the Parliament: Bucharest’s top tourist attraction
When thinking about Bucharest, the massive Palace of the Parliament (with its many aliases: Ceausescu Palace, House of People, House of Parliament, Parliament Palace) probably comes to mind.
It’s the heaviest building in the world and second largest building after the Pentagon in the US with a surface of 365.000 square meters! And probably the most famous landmark in Bucharest.
Why tour the Palace of Parliament building? Because you’ll get to see what communist megalomania and opulence can do - and the
price people paid to satisfy a dictator’s whims at a time of food and basic supply shortages. A painful reminder for most Romanians...
The massive exterior may look uninspiring but the interior was lavishly decorated with premium materials of 100% Romanian origin: 1 million square meters of marble, a 3t carpet or a 5t crystal chandelier among others.
As one of the top things to visit in Bucharest but also an administrative building - a parliamentary palace! - it’s important to
Local tip:visits in the Palace are led by an official tour guide who talks about the building without saying anything about Romania's communist past, Nicolae Ceausescu or the 1989 Romanian revolution; so if you're interested in learning more about that you'll need to go on a private, communist-themed tour with a specialist local guide
Complete Bucharest Communism Tour: Palace of Parliament & Ceausescu's Home
Start from: Bucharest
The same is true for Ceausescu's Villa (where he lived) which you can also visit. This is one of the best places to see the huge discrepancy between the dictator's luxurious lifestyle while the Romanian people were queuing for basic foods and necessities in the '80s...
- Bucharest museums: the classics & cool
As the capital of Romania, Bucharest has the standard collection of national museums - and they’re actually very good and a nice thing to do if you have a particular interest in their subject or the weather is not great for an outdoor walking tour.
Museum classics include:
- National Museum of Art of Romania
- National Museum of Contemporary Art
- National Museum of Romanian History
- Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum has reconstructed dinosaurs models that children will love, so that's a fun thing for families to do.
- The Museum of Art Collections also on Calea Victoriei just before the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall is among the best places for art connoisseurs to visit.
My favorite place to visit is the Bucharest Village Museum because of it’s unique character: an open-air museum where you can find over 60 real-size replicas of traditional Romanian village houses from 36 regions and parts of the country.
The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum regularly hosts exhibitions and events to promote Romanian rural culture. I always discover something new when I go there! It will give you a taste of what the famous Romanian countryside looks like especially if you're not spending a long time in our country on this occasion :)
Pro tip:the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) is located on the left wing, top floor of the Parliament building. Even if you’re not an artsy person, the museum has an outdoor terrace which is a great place to savour a glass of wine with a stunning view of the capital city of Romania - also a local' favorite thing to do in Bucharest!
Bucharest also has some very good options for unconventional museums:
- Museum of Senses - a quirky and very cool experience with optical illusions, another great place to go with kids
- Museum of Records - world-record collections of peculiar items
- Museum or Romanian kitsch - a seriously funny experience currently closed but hopefully reopening soon
- Astronomic Observatory Vasile Urseanu which will thrill kids and passionate astronomers
- the Little Paris Museum which will help you understand why Bucharest was once called Little Paris, and get a glimpse of life in the capital in the 1920s
- the Romanian Science Experiment Museum - a wonderful destination for kids - and adults - where you need to press buttons, pull levers and make things work
- a communist apartment from the 1970s turned time-capsule museum; a typical Romanian worker family lived here and is preserved in its original state with objects, decorations and food from past times; this is probably the best place to understand what life was like during the Romanian communist regime
3. Things to do in Bucharest: sightseeing, history, culture & local life
We're done with classical tourist sightseeing - so let's see some of the lesser known, thematic things to do in Bucharest so you have a good time.
- Romanian history and Bucharest landmarks
The three historical provinces that make up Romania (Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania) each had their own capital (Bucharest, Iasi and Transylvania), political life, culture and powerful families. But the Romanian dream was always to unite in one state.
This happened in 1859 when the first two united and in 1918 Transylvania joined. But not all Romanians are happy about Bucharest being their capital or see it as representative for Romanian national identity and culture.
That's why knowing a bit of Romanian history will give you more context about the tourist landmarks and historic buildings in Bucharest.
- Bucharest Little Paris and Belle Époque architecture
In the early 1900s Bucharest earned its nickname of Little Paris thanks to French-inspired Belle Époque beautiful buildings, monuments and architecture.
The Romanian Athenaeum and Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf), a WW I memorial monument, though smaller than the French version, is proof of this cultural affinity. Another French-inspired construction is Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse connecting Calea Victoriei to the Old Town, which is now filled with cosy sisha bars.
That's because most of Romanian aristocracy, rich businessmen and major cultural figures from the 18th-20th centuries were educated in France and inspired by culture and life there.
This made Bucharest unique in Eastern Europe unlike other European capitals in the region such as Sofia, Budapest or Belgrade. The rich history of Bucharest and its architecture Belle Epoque architercture was significantly influenced by this.
So if you think Bucharest doesn't have nice places to visit you couldn't be more wrong! There are entire neighborhoods and streets where you'll find a unique blend of architectural styles made even more charming with the passage of time.
The "Little Paris" Bucharest: Architecture, Old Houses & Bourgeois Stories
Start from: University Square
Bucharest is actually very popular for its rich blend of historical (neo-classical), interbellum (Bauhaus and art deco), communist and modern architecture mix. Many of the city's best hotels, companies or best restaurants occupy some incredible buildings - monuments of architecture.
Cotroceni neighbourhood, one of the most beautiful in Bucharest
Just go for a walking tour aka get lost in the area between Soseaua Kisselef, Aviatorilor Boulevard and Calea Dorobanti. Also around Gradina Icoanei Park.
Unfortunately these are not tourist attractions per se so without a local tour guide to take you deep in the neighbourhoods and show you around, it will be hard for you to find these spots on your own.
Or get lost in Cotroceni neighbourhood known for its superb eclectic architecture, botanical gardens and beautiful buildings.
Ceausescu's last speech in Revolution Square when he was boo-ed live which you can see on a TV in the Museum of Communism just like ordinary people did
- Communist Bucharest: forced transformation
Bucharest bourgeois identity was literally demolished and transformed during the Romanian communist regime which ruled from 1944-1989 (Romania was not part of the USSR!).
But besides the ideological agenda, dictator Ceausescu who came to power in 1965 and ruled for 25 years (such a long time...) had bigger ambitions...
Driven by megalomanic dreams, a personality cult and absurd realities, Ceausescu brutally changed Romanian society and turned Bucharest into an experiment for his idealistic communist vision. So:
- an entire neighbourhood was demolished to make way for the Palace of Parliament
- wide boulevards such as Unirii, Magheru, Aviatorilor were built (and there's a specific reason for that!)
- churches were literally moved or 'hidden' by apartment buildings
- entire worker neighbourhoods were built from scratch to house factory workers relocated here from the rest of the country
And much more. Bucharest was painfully transformed with significant consequences not just for its architecture, but also for its culture and local life.
All over the city there are signs of this transformation. One of our specialist communist tour guides will show them to you on a walking tour, including pictures from old times, and tell you more about life back then.
The Communist Heritage: Megalomania & Weird Names
Start from: The Harp Pub & Bakery on Dimitrie Cantermir Blvd. no 2
- Bucharest street art, gentrification and local culture
After the Little Paris years, the communist transformation and the Western re-vitalisation - many parts of Bucharest started showing glaring contrasts. A vibrant and exotic street art showed up to cover the uglier parts of the city, especially in the local neighbourhoods where foreign tourists don't venture and locals rarely go.
Which is the reason why one of the best things to do in Bucharest is to go off-the-beaten path and explore local life beyond the top attractions and tourist hotspots.
the famous Bucharest 3D iMapp competition
There are also lots of events going on - check online or ask a local when you're here. Various exhibitions, sports competitions, street art fairs, outdoor parties or food events happen throughout the year, usually in front of the Romanian Athenaeum, in Piata Universitatii or on Calea Victoriei.
- Relax in Bucharest’s many green spaces
If you’re getting tired of so much urban exploring there are many parks in Bucharest that will help you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city. From huge parks such as Herestrau Park to delightful green spaces that are like miniature botanical gardens, you'll have plenty of choices!
The most beautiful one in the city center is Cismigiu Park on Regina Elisabeta Boulevard. It's sometimes called Cismigiu Gardens because it has many areas with different interests, sights and cultural significance - so this is a perfect place to take a break from your walking tour of the city!
Izvor Park is another great place to relax and admire the massive Parliament Building), Carol I Park has another WW I memorial on a hill with great views. King Michael I (formerly Herăstrău Park), the largest park in the city, and Tineretului Park both have pretty big lakes perfect places for a jog, bike ride or renting a boat.
The newest addition to this the list of green spaces in Romania's capital is Delta Vacaresti. In the South Eastern part of the city a large area was cleared by the communist regime for a major project - later abandoned!
Over time, Mother Nature reclaimed this area and turned it into a wonderful natural biosphere: a huge park more like a wetland where many species of plants, birds and small animals now live!
In 2016 Vacaresti Natural Park was granted protected status by law. this is a unique open-air museum of natural diversity in the heart of a European capital and a great place to visit (best time is from April - October) if you want to combine urban sightseeing with nature.
- Experience Bucharest nightlife - among the best in Europe
The nightlife in Bucharest is nothing short of incredible - it can even be classed as one of the best things to do in Bucharest! As someone who has travelled extensively and visited many European capitals, Bucharest easily ranks among the best.
When Romanians go out, they go out in style because they want to have the best time. You won’t be seeing people drinking (or passing out) in the street, cheap beer or lousy outdated music. Prepare for a modern going out and clubbing experience unlike anything you've seen!
Pro tip:most young people speak good English, are friendly and helpful, especially in the city hotspots, so you don't have to worry about getting lost in translation
4. Day trips & tours from Bucharest
Bucharest is a great place to tick off some of the best things to do in Romania. With our network of specialist tour guides we can organise any kind of trip for you - so contact us we're happy to help!
contrary to what most people think - going on a day trip to visit Peles Castle, Brasov and Bran Castle (the most popular day trip in Bucharest) does
NOT mean you visited Transylvania. The region is huge with a history and culture that can't be experienced in one day. Read our blog on how to visit Transylvania for more.
That's why we created a unique 3-day best of Transylvania tour that will give you an authentic experience of this popular tourist region of Romania.
The famous Transfagarasan Highway can also be seen from Bucharest and the best time for that is July - October when the road is open for driving.
The Black Sea and coastal city of Constanta is another popular day trip:
If you want to visit the UNESCO Danube Delta reserve, you need to get to Tulcea (4h away, possibly only by car). From there you'll enter the Delta through boat rides, so you need a minimum of 2-3 days to see its beauty, birds and fauna.
You can also go hiking in the wild Carpathian Mountains! The popular Bucegi Mountains with their Sphinx and Babele rocks are one of the best places for a quick hiking day trip out of Bucharest. But there are a lot more options for that - check out our guide about the best hikes in Romania.
1 or 2 Day Hiking Trip in Bucegi Mountains: Sphinx, Babele, Omu Peak
Start from: Bucharest OR Brasov
Finally, just 1,5h away in the Dealu Mare region are some of the country's best wineries. Other than in wine bars, this is one of the best places to discover the long history and high quality of Romanian wines (#7th producer in the world!) with superb views too!
Check our full list of
unique tours and hand-picked day trips in Bucharest so you have the best time in our country:
5. Where to go out in Bucharest: restaurants, coffee shops and bars
After all these Bucharest attractions and tourist places you’ve visited, you’re probably hungry, looking for the best restaurants in Bucharest, a good coffee shop or a nice place to go out in the evening.
Best places to eat in Bucharest
Romania’s capital is a great - and affordable - place for a food-tasting getaway: lots of variety and international-inspired cuisine, cool places to eat with an inspiring design and fancy menus with a modern twist, fresh locally-sourced ingredients and great customer service. And there are lots of choices for all budget types.
It's hard for me to describe in words just how much Romanian people love to go out (part of our Latin blood!) and why Bucharest has a very diverse and high-quality offering. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Romanian traditional food: Zexe, Jaristea, La Mahala, Becca’s Kitchen, Maize (Romanian up-scale), La Copac, Lacrimi si Sfinti, City Grill, Vatra Neamului, Hanu’ lui Manuc, Caru cu Bere (traditional)
- Italian (the nation’s favorite): Trattoria Don Vito, Grano, Quattro Stagioni, Il Peccato, Trattoria Fresca, Gustosi Momenti, SARA Restaurant
- British & Irish pub: The Harp, Trafalgar
- Lebanese (as there’s a minority living here): Piccolo Mondo, Zaitoone, Four Seasons, Al Mandaloun
- burger places (always cool): Burger van Bistro, Za Lokal, Switch.eat, Vivo fusion bar
- steak houses: Osho, Prime Steaks & Seafood, VacaMuuu
- cool & urban places to eat (modern European): Energiea, Biutiful, Uanderful, Simbio, Lente, Alt Shift
- international fine dining: Joseph, Casa Doina, Stejarii Pool Club, Casa di David, Le Bistrot Francais, L’Atelier
- street food (shaorma - a must!): Calif, Divan, Dristor
If you're interested in traditional Romanian food and want a true cultural shock, head over to Obor farmer's market the largest and oldest in Romania where small farmers and everyone else sell their stuff. Or go on our tour with a local guide who will show you the best way to experience this:
Bucharest Street Food Tour: Farmers' Markets & Hidden Streets
Start from: University Square
- Local tip: vegetarians or vegans should not despair – there are plenty of delicious dishes thanks to Orthodox lent (fasting) periods; read our article on traditional Romanian food to find out more
Romanian beers and wine
First, you should know that Romanians enjoy drinking - a lot! In Southern Romania most people prefer drinking beer (unlike in Transylvania). Local brands you should try Silva, Ciuc or Ursus.
Craft beers have been on the rise recently with young looking for new tastes: Nenea Iancu, Zaganu, Hophead, Ground Zero or Gambrinus. So beer bars have popped up and quickly became favorite best places to go out for locals:
As for having a surprisingly good glass of Romanian wine in a nice setting - it’s one of the best things you can do in Bucharest! Try Corcova Rose at Entourage, Liliac White Young Fresh at Energiea or Lacerta Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz at Corks Cozy Bar to get a sense of Romanian wines being damn fine! Domeniul Coroanei Segarcea or Prince Stirbey are also very good choices if you see them in the menu.
Do not skip dessert and coffee shops in Bucharest
Since 2010 the specialty coffee culture BOOM-ed in Bucharest. So now you have lots of hispter, cosy or inspiring coffee shops serving single or blended origin, on-the-spot roasted DELICIOUS coffee!
The most popular, old and famous coffee shop is Origo, but you should also try Coftale, Beans&Dots, Steam, Orygyns, Two Minutes, Garage Cafe, T-Zero, On-Off or The Coffee Factory. What’s a cortado or V60? Go and find out - and be sure to check our list with the best coffee shops in Bucharest to find out more.
Finally, fans of sweets and desserts should definitely consider papanasi (a traditional dish) at Stadio, éclairs at French Revolution or profiteroles at Chocolat Boutique Ateneu – all of them local businesses. Or just stop at any street pastry shop and ask for an apple pie (placinta cu mar) or cheese pie (placinta cu branza) for less than 1€!
6. Bucharest nightlife? The BEST in Europe!
There are several reasons why the Bucharest nightlife is so good and famous - our article will tell you more and also the best bars and places to go out.
Suffice to say that you should prepare for a long night out and dress well (shirts & skirts) if you want to blend in with the locals. Put on your friendly and relaxed face – don’t give yourself away after the long day you’ve visiting Bucharest!
Sip on a few cocktails
Go for an Aperol Spritz on the rooftop at Deschis Gastrobar or any cocktail you can literally think of at Newton Cocktail Bar or Fix Me a drink. For a warm summer evening I recommend a cider in the garden at Control – a hip cool place to be or a beer at Eden Garden – a let’s-chill-in-the-forest, unpretentious yet vibrant place.
But the trending place right now among Bucharest locals is Expirat, with beautiful green spaces and terraces, cool music and that great & young Bucharest vibe I was talking about – that’s my last insight for you!
The Old Town is a must-experience part of Bucharest nightlife
Some colorful shots at Shoteria are highly recommended before starting the mandatory restaurant - pub – terrace – club crawling in Lipscani Old City Center (Lipscani Centrul Vechi) – a historical area which hosts a great variety of bars, pubs and clubs that you will certainly be in a rush to try and unsure of which ones to choose!
I should tell you that in recent years Bucharest’s Old Town has become quite touristy, with too many places, people and tourists in a frenzy looking for alcohol-induced fun.
While I don’t personally like it and some locals avoid it, it’s a must see part of the vibrant Bucharest nightlife and you won't find anything similar in other European capitals.
Looking for a fancy night out in Bucharest?
If you want an even more fancy night out, girls should consider wearing high heels and guys should go for a dress shirt at minimum. The places to go out in Bucharest for proper, high-end clubbing are located in the northern part of the city, in Floreasca or Herestrau area, and are a great choice for a night out warm nights. Consider Biutiful, Fratelli or Funky Lounge (last two located in Herestrau Park). Nuba, Tuya, Kayo and Hiro are fine-dining restaurants turning into clubs as the night starts.
7. Budget, transport & safety in Bucharest
Check our full practical guide to Bucharest with all the info you need about Bucharest Otopeni Airport, public transport in the city, taxis, safety and official tourism infrastructure.
You don’t need to spend much to have a good time in Bucharest
Coming from London, Paris, Milano or Munich, you’ll be shocked to see how affordable your Bucharest travel budget needs to be! Imagine paying between 6-15 EUR for a main course, appetizer/dessert and a drink, 2-3 EUR for a coffee or 4-5 EUR for a fantastic cocktail or a glass of wine in most places. A reasonable budget per day for visiting the city should start at 30 Euro.
Take the metro or a taxi, buses are unreliable
Attraction tickets to museums and other places to visit in Bucharest are usually between 3-5 Euro. The most efficient public transport is the subway which is quite affordable and convenient: 1 Euro for 2 rides, 4,5 Euro for 10. Taxis are also inexpensive with around 1,99 Lei/km but ridesharing apps such as Uber and Bolt are the most popular choice for getting around in our capital.
I don’t recommend using buses or trains in Bucharest: besides them being unfriendly for a foreigner, their irregular schedule combined with hectic traffic make them unreliable even for locals!
8. Where to stay in Bucharest
You've got lots of options on airbnb or booking.com - check to see what fits your preferences and budget.
The general rule of where to stay in Bucharest is close to a metro station because it's the best, quickest and easiest way to navigate Bucharest.
For hotels, there will be plenty around Union Square, Cismigiu Gardens, Piata Romana, Piata Victoriei and Revolution Square. But even if you stay further away you can navigate the city using taxi and metro.
You'll find all the main international hotel chains (Mariott, Ramada, Hilton etc), including a selection of boutique, charming hotels in beautiful buildings from the Little Paris era.
As I said before, staying in Bucharest Old Town is NOT a great idea because of the noise, agitation, few choices (Hilton Garden Inn is the only one I would recommend) and high prices.
- Guides to Major Cities and Regions (6)
- Natural & Geographical Sights (6)
- UNESCO & Cultural Spots (10)
- Medieval & Historical Attractions (7)
Other tours nearby
Essential Walking Tour of Bucharest: Old Town & others
Start from: Bucharest
Craft Beer & Nightlife Tour of Bucharest
Start from: Bucharest
The Bucharest "Little Paris" Tour
Start from: University Square