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2024 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 2024!

This made by locals guide updated in January 2024 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

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:

  1. 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, even for a short time!
  2. 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
  3. 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 what makes Bucharest interesting and worth visiting
  4. 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; that's no longer the case, and we covered this in our safety section at the end of this guide

And that's why some people avoid visiting Bucharest altogether or plan to spend one day at most before going 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 travelers, 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 the 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 everything is neat and clean, by the book.

Some people don't enjoy these urban jungles. Others - like me - do! But, as they say, 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 Castle day trips - the only thing heavily touristified in our country). So you can have an amazing holiday with great value for money!

Also - the Romanian capital has A LOT of cool places to go out with many hipster cafes, trendy bars, chic restaurants, fine-dining spots (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!

Yes, Bucharest has a Triumphal Arch just like the one in Paris!

Landmarks in Bucharest

Just like any other capital, Bucharest has a list of top places to visit and famous landmarks, which we will discuss in detail in the following sections.

Thanks to its long and wide boulevards the best way to see Bucharest landmarks 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 in reverse.

1. Take a walk on Calea Victoriei

Calea Victoriei (Victory Boulevard) is the main pedestrian artery that connects the major two poles of our city. With a length of 2,7 km and lots of photo stops, high end shops as well as local, vintage ones, coffee shops and snacks boutiques - this will be a 1-2h walk.

Dating from 1692, this boulevard has always been the beating heart of the city and lots of historical events took place here. It's where major Romanian figures, politicians and 'who's who' in our history lived.

That's why you'll see many of Bucharest most famous landmarks, tourist attractions and impressive Romanian buildings here -without having to check Google Maps every 10 min :)

  • Local tip: during Summer weekends Calea Victoriei is closed for cars and turns into a huge pedestrian area. Locals love going on long walks, stopping for ice cream, coffee, or a drink. Lots of street events take place here too, so watch out!

2. Admire the George Enescu Museum

If you start your walking tour of Victory Boulevard from the North (from the metro station), one of the first landmarks you'll come across is the George Enescu Museum. This is where our country's most famous classical compose, George Enescu, lived.
His work blends classical music with traditional Romanian folk sounds, motifs and instruments. Check out one of his most famous works:

Every year in September the George Enescu International Music Festival takes places in his honour in Bucharest. Orchestras from all over the world concert in the city and classical music fans rejoice.

Romanian Athenaeum: more than a concert hall, a landmark of historical significance

3. Visit the Romanian Athenaeum, a cultural landmark

The Romanian Athenaeum 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.

4. Get royal at the National Museum of Art

While on Victory Avenue and just across the Romanian Athenaeum you'll see the former Royal Palace, which now hosts the National Museum of Art of Romania. Besides the art collections, the museum of the palace is worth visiting too.

5. A first step into Romanian history at the statue of King Carol I

Opposite the National Museum of Art, you'll notice the statue of King Carol I the first king of Romania and a significant figure in our history. The bronze statue weighs 13 tons and stands at a total height of 13 meters, with the actual statue measuring 7 meters and the plinth 6 meters.

Revolution Square known as Palace Square before the 1989 Romanian revolution

6. Take a look at Bucharest’s weirdest statue, the Rebirth Memorial

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.

7. Step into communist history at the former Communist Party headquarters

The massive building behind the Rebirth Memorial was 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 in Bucharest (it first started on 16 Dec in Timisioara).

8. Admire the art deco architecture at the Odeon Theater

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.

9. Visit one of the oldest buildings in Bucharest, Casa Capsa

On Calea Victoriei, you can also see one of the oldest historical buildings in Bucharest, Casa Capsa (Hotel Capsa), built in the mid-19th century. This is one of the most famous hotels in Bucharest and a walk through its lobby is worth it.

It's also said to have the best pastry shop in town - as you pass the building make a left on the side street and look for the sign.

10. Take a look at the National Military Circle

Where Calea Victoriei crosses Elisabeth Boulevard leading down to Cismigiu Gardens, you'll come across the impressive Palace of the National Military Circle.

Built in 1911 in the French neoclassical style, this building is now recognized as both a historical and architectural monument, and there's a small military museum you can visit on its left side.

11. Take a walk through the beautiful Macca-Vilacrosse Passage

Further down on Calea Victoriei you'll come across the late 19th century Macca-Vilacrosse Passage which connects this thoroughfare with Bucharest Old Town.

Inside the passage you'll find lots of sisha cafes and restaurants - and don't forget to look up and see the glass ceiling.

12. Admire CEC Palace

CEC Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest, epitomizes the city's Little Paris identity with its impressive eclectic architecture.

Crowned by a glass and metal dome, the entrance showcases an arch supported by composite-style columns. Sadly, this one can't be visited, but you can still gaze at it from the street.

13. Learn about the Dacians at the National Museum of Romanian History

The impressive National Museum of Romanian History is 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 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 shop and a nice place to eat.

Landmarks in Bucharest Old Town

Bucharest Old Town is a pedestrian area in the city centre between Piata Universitatii, Piata Unirii and Calea Victoriei. It's filled with old buildings (obviously!) some restored, others not so much, and cobblestone streets.

  • Local tip: contrary to what most foreign travel bloggers and guides will tell you, this is not the place to discover the Little Paris side of Bucharest; keep reading to find out the best place for that!

Over 120 bars, coffee shops, and restaurants are here so this central location is known as the hotspot for Bucharest nightlife.

This is not a place for shopping and because of the constant noise and agitation it's not a great place to stay either. There are a few hotels in the area such as Hilton Garden Inn or Europa Royale - but they're very expensive and mostly filled with tourists who think they're staying in the city centre.

14. Visit the Old Princely Court ruins

Curtea Veche or the Old Princely Court was built as a palace or residence in 1459. This was the seat of power for the ruling princes of Wallachia, including Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracula, who built it and whose statue you'll find nearby.

15. Step into Romanian traditions at Hanu’ lui Manuc

The nearby Hanu’ lui Manuc (Manuc's Inn) is one of the oldest historic buildings in the city with its impressive courtyard and very good traditional Romanian restaurant.

It always functioned as an inn for locals, travelers and merchants passing the city and with business at the Old Court, and legends have it this is where most deals and political decisions were made.

Stavropoleus Church, the oldest church in the Old Town

16. Discover the unique Romanian architecture at Stavropoleos Church

Stavropoleos Church is built in the unique Romanian architectural style known as Brancovenesc or Wallachian Renaissance and is one of the historic sites of Bucharest.

It has special features like covered balconies with columns carved in flower designs, detailed door and window frames, and the use of columns inside. Go inside - just remember to be respectful!

17. Check out the impressive National Bank of Romania

The National Bank of Romania building is another architectural landmark worth spending a few minutes on. With its imposing Reinassance architecture dating from the end of the 19th century, the building is like a fortress.

Unfortunately, you can only admire it from the outside.

18. Feel the atmosphere on Lipscani Street

Lipscani Street is not an attraction per se - it's just the most popular street in the Old Town. It used to be filled with the finest merchant shops and artisan workshops from all over the country. During the communist regime they were all shut down as they were seen as luxury items, and then the buildings were abandoned and went derelict.

By 2010 this forgotten area was slowly renovated and bars and restaurants started opening here. Gradually it became the favoured going out spot for locals and at night it turns into a real party center.

19. Visit the beautiful Carturesti Carusel library

The Carturesti Carusel library is on Lipscani Street, and is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the country and possibly in Europe.

The building was the headquarters of a bank but it's now a great place for book lovers.

20. Visit one of the oldest restaurants in the country: Caru’ cu Bere

Caru cu Bere restaurant is one of the oldest and most authentic in the country. Here, you can savor the tastiest Romanian traditional dishes and enjoy a beer crafted from a unique, original recipe dating back to 1879.

What to visit in Bucharest: tourist attractions, museums, and more

Bucharest extends far beyond the Old Center and Calea Victoriei, which, though popular among tourists, represent only a fraction of the city's complexity. To truly grasp the diverse facets of Bucharest, exploring other landmarks is essential.

21. 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 as one of the grand buildings of the Romanian capital city.

It’s the heaviest building in the world and the second-largest administrative 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 Romanian 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, and 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 plan your visit in advance.

  • Local tip: visits to 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.

22. Step into Ceausescu’s Villa

Ceausescu's Villa (where he lived) is another tourist attraction that you can 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 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 free walking tour.

23. Visit the National Museum of Contemporary Art

The National Museum of Contemporary Art is located in a new glass wing of the Palace of the Parliament. The museum presents four floors of exhibitions and events throughout the year. At the top, you'll find an observation point with panoramic views of Bucharest.

24. A museum for the whole family: Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum

Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum has reconstructed dinosaur models that children will love, so that's a fun thing for families to do.

25. Make a stop at the Museum of Art Collections

The Museum of Art Collections is on Calea Victoriei just before the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall and is among the best places for art connoisseurs to visit.

26. Explore traditional Romanian houses at Bucharest Village Museum

My favorite place to visit is the Bucharest Village Museum because of its 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.

27. Discover Romanian rural culture at Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum

The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum regularly hosts exhibitions and events to promote Romanian rural culture. 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 :)

Bucharest also has of the most unconventional and interesting museums in Romania.

28. Challenge your perception at the Museum of Senses

The Museum of Senses is a quirky and very cool experience with optical illusions. This is a great place for both kids and adults.

29. Visit the special Museum of Romanian Records

The Museum of Records hosts world-record collections of peculiar items. It lets you explore forgotten parts of human history and see how clever people were at different points in time.

30. Look at the stars at the Astronomic Observatory Vasile Urseanu

The Astronomic Observatory Vasile Urseanu will thrill kids and passionate astronomers. Here, you can visit a permanent exhibition but also look at the stars and planets through a telescope.

31. Discover the 1920s Bucharest at the Little Paris Museum

The Little Paris Museum will help you understand why Bucharest was once called Little Paris, and get a glimpse of life in the capital in the 1920s.

32. Be a scientist at the Romanian Science Experiment Museum

The Romanian Science Experiment Museum is a wonderful destination for both kids and adults, where you need to press buttons, pull levers and make things work.

33. Step into a communist apartment

In Romania’s capital you’ll also find a communist apartment from the 1970s turned into a time-capsule museum. A typical Romanian worker family lived here and the apartment 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.

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 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. However, not all Romanians are happy about Bucharest being their capital or see it as representative of 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 buildings, monuments, and beautiful architecture.

That's because most of the Romanian aristocracy, rich businessmen, and major cultural figures from the 18th-20th century were educated in France and inspired by the 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 architecture 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 time.

Bucharest is 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.

34. Check out the Romanian Arch of Triumph

The Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf) is a WW I memorial monument, though smaller than the French version, is proof of this cultural affinity. If you are in Romania on December 1st or November 24th, you can watch the military parade here.

Cotroceni neighbourhood, one of the most beautiful in Bucharest

35. Go for a walking tour around Soseaua Kisselef, Aviatorilor, and Calea Dorobanti

Just go for a walking tour aka get lost in the area between Soseaua Kisselef, Aviatorilor Boulevard, and Calea Dorobanti to understand the Bucharest’s beautiful blend of cultures. Also around Gradina Icoanei Park. Unfortunately these are not tourist attractions per se so without a local tour guide to take you deep into the neighbourhoods and show you around, it will be hard for you to find these spots on your own.

36. Get lost in the Cotroceni neighbourhood

The Cotroceni neighbourhood is known for its superb eclectic architecture, the botanical garden, and beautiful buildings.

Visit a typical communist apartment in Bucharest turned time-capsule museum

  • 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 Nicolae Ceausescu who came to power in 1965 and ruled for 25 years (making him one of the most famous Romanians) 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, and 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.

In front of the Palace of Parliament, Ceausescu's masterpiece
Communist Walking Tour: History, Megalomania & Hidden Sights

Start from: Revolution Square next to the Rebirth Memorial (The patatoe)

See details

37. Discover 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.

This 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 food or art fairs 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, many beautiful parks in Bucharest will help you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city.

38. Relax in Cismigiu Park

The most beautiful park in the center of Bucharest 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!

39. Admire the Parliament Building from Izvor Park

*Izvor Park*, a relatively small park, is another great place to relax and admire the massive Parliament Building. Here, you can enjoy a short walk in a relaxed setting.

40. Go to the WW I memorial at Carol Park

Carol Park has another WW I memorial on a hill with great views. Here, many locals gather to engage in sports activities on the stairs leading to the memorial.

41. Take a walk in Bucharest's biggest park, Herastrau Park

King Michael I park (formerly Herăstrău Park) is the largest park in the city and also the largest park located inside a city in Europe. Spanning 187 hectares, the park has various sections. One favorite spot is the Japanese Garden, known for its beautiful cherry blossoms and Japanese acacia trees with hanging branches.

42. Go to the vibrant Tineretului Park

Tineretului Park is another popular park in Bucharest with a pretty big lake, perfect for a jog, or bike ride, and the right place for renting a boat.

43. Natural diversity in the heart of Bucharest: Delta Vacaresti

The newest addition to this 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.

  • 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

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!

44. Go on a Transylvania tour from Bucharest

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.

45. Discover the impressive Transfagarasan Highway

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.

46. Visit the Romanian coast

Another popular day trip is to the Romanian Black Sea and the city of *Constanta*. So, if you love spending time on the beach, Constanta is a must while in Romania.

47. Discover a unique place: the Danube Delta

If you want to visit a unique place, the UNESCO Danube Delta reserve is what you are looking for. To visit the Danube Delta, you need to get to Tulcea (4h away from Bucharest, possibly only by car). From there you'll enter the Delta through a boat ride, so you need a minimum of 2-3 days to see its beauty, birds, and fauna.

48. Take on your hiking boots and discover the Romanian Mountains

You can also go hiking in the Romanian Mountains known for their wilderness and impressive heights of over 2,500m altitude. Bucegi Mountains are one of the most popular national parks in Romania. The Romanian Sphinx and Babele are major natural attractions tourists want to see when in Bucharest.

But there are a lot more options for hiking day trips from Bucharest - check our guide on the best hikes in Romania.

49. Taste the Romanian wine in the Dealu Mare region

Just 1,5h away from Bucharest, in the Dealu Mare region, you can find some of the country's best wineries. 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:

50. Connect with the locals at Obor Farmer's Market

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:

Explore Bucharest by bike, starting in Piata Victoriei

Because of the wide boulevards and long distances in Romania's largest city, renting a bike is a great way to explore Bucharest. Calea Victoriei has a dedicated bike lane 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.

Bike tour in Bucharest
Panoramic Bike Tour of Bucharest

Start from: Bucharest - Hard Rock Cafe

See details

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, Beca’s Kitchen, Maize (Romanian up-scale), La Copac, Lacrimi si Sfinti, City Grill, Vatra Neamului, Hanu’ lui Manuc, Caru cu Bere
  • Italian (the nation’s favorite): Trattoria Don Vito, Grano, Il Peccato, Trattoria Fresca, 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,, 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

  • 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 in Bucharest

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 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 on 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.

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 are 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).

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. Or maybe there's a Romanian music festival happening when you're visiting?

Suffice it 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.

I should tell you that in recent years the Old Town of Bucharest 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 (the last two are located in Herestrau Park). Nuba, Tuya, Kayo, and Hiro are fine-dining restaurants turning into clubs as the night starts.

Budget, transport & safety in Bucharest

Check our article on Bucharest public transport with all the info you need about Bucharest Otopeni Airport, public transport in the city, taxis and official tourism infrastructure.

We also prepared a guide on what you need to know about safety in Bucharest because there are a lot of misconceptions about this beautiful city. But with a little information and awareness, you'll have a great time here.

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. Attraction tickets to museums and other places to visit in Bucharest are usually between 3-5 euros. A reasonable budget per day for visiting the city should start at 30 Euro.

Take the metro or a taxi, buses are unreliable

The most efficient public transport is the subway which is quite affordable and convenient: a bit over 1 Euro for 2 rides, 5 Euro for 10. Taxis are also inexpensive with around 2,5 Lei/km (0,5 Euro) 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!

Where to stay in Bucharest

You've got lots of options on Airbnb or - 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 a 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.

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