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Bucharest, Romania is a sprawling metropolis with a long and tangled history. It is not a love-at-first-sight city. Figuring out the best things to do in Bucharest, Romania takes a little finesse.
At the core of Bucharest are a handful of ancient sights, ornate Orthodox churches, a raging restaurant scene and a dazzling nightlife district. Dotting the surrounding landscape are lush, expansive green spaces that somehow survive among the endless sea of concrete blocks. Bucharest can be starkly brutal, yet oddly inviting.
With our personal tips for the top things to do in Bucharest, you can plan your perfect trip to Romania!
Things To Do in Bucharest, Romania: Planning a Trip
When planning a trip to visit Bucharest, there are many factors to consider other than figuring out what to see and do. This Bucharest guide covers the top sightseeing attractions, best restaurants and other need-to-know details – like where to stay and what to pack.
Additionally, we organize Bucharest sightseeing into convenient sample itineraries for visits from 1 to 5 days.
Travelers who are planning for additional adventures in Romania can use our travel guides to other top destinations, as well.
Travelers visiting Bucharest from overseas should consult our general guide to European travel, How To Plan a Europe Vacation.
As you make your travel plans for Bucharest, staying organized is key! We recommend using a travel planner – like our Printable Travel Planner – to keep up with all the important details.
Bucharest, Romania FAQs
Before we dive into what to do in Bucharest, Romania, we want to cover a few of the most frequently asked questions.
Where is Bucharest, Romania?
Romania a big country and Bucharest is the capital and by far the largest city. Sitting in the southeastern part of the country, Bucharest is just 30 miles north of the Danube River, which marks the border between Romania and Bulgaria.
What is Bucharest Famous For?
Bucharest is an old city and has been known for many things through its long history. Today, however, Bucharest is famous for its grand buildings (like the Palace of Parliament Building) and an enthusiastic nightlife scene.
Is Bucharest Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Bucharest is one of the best places to visit in Romania.
Before visiting Bucharest, we spent time in Romania’s mountainous Transylvania region in Brasov and Sibiu. In our conversations with locals, we were constantly cautioned about the abrasiveness of Bucharest – and we took that advice to heart. In hindsight, however, likening the city to a major capital of Southeast Asia may have best prepared us for the realities of a visit to Bucharest.
While many travelers opt to bypass formidable Bucharest in favor of the Saxon cities in Transylvania, we think it’s well worth a visit! In our outlined list of the best Bucharest things to do, we share the must-see highlights, top activities and best places to eat.
When is the Best Time to Visit Bucharest?
Deciding when to travel to Bucharest is one of biggest factors in planning a trip to the city.
The summer is the most popular time for visiting Bucharest – as the days are long and the sun often shines. However, the summer also marks the time of year when hotels and flights are most expensive and it can be exceptionally hot.
We think the best time to go to Bucharest is in the autumn, when crowds disperse and the temperatures back off enough that you can enjoy the outdoors without the oppressive heat.
Winter can be gloomy and cold, but budget travelers can find great deals on plane tickets and accommodations.
Springtime in another good time to visit Bucharest. The weather, although occasionally rainy, can be quite pleasant and hotels offer great rates.
How Many Days in Bucharest?
It can be tough to determine how many days to spend in Bucharest. Is one day in Bucharest enough? With 36 hours in Bucharest can I see all the sights? Is a 5-Day Bucharest Itinerary too long?
While there are not heaps of Bucharest sights to see, per se, there are many fabulous things to do in Bucharest that can keep travelers entertained for days.
To help you decide how long to stay, use our Bucharest Itinerary suggestions at the end of the article.
Are there Free Things To Do in Bucharest?
Yes! There are many free and cheap things to do in Bucharest. In fact, Bucharest is budget friendly with an array of affordable activities and no-cost attractions. Throughout our list, we highlight some of the best things to do in Bucharest for free.
Are there Things To Do in Bucharest with Family and Kids?
Like almost all things to do in Romania, Bucharest has plenty of things to do for families. While our list is not dedicated to family travel, we do highlight some of the best things to do in Bucharest with kids.
THE 40 BEST THINGS TO DO IN BUCHAREST
Our list of Things To Do Bucharest features the best attractions and fun activities. Save, Pin or Bookmark this Bucharest blog post so that you can easily find it as you plan – and during – your trip to Romania!
#1 Get Lost in Lipscani Old Town Bucharest
The revitalized Bucharest Old Town is the best place to start your Bucharest sightseeing. Only a small section of the historic core remains, but it is a fascinating web of cobblestone streets. Within the ancient Lipscani District, visitors will find hidden churches, pretty palaces and a seemingly endless number of eateries (most of which employ aggressive hostesses).
Getting lost in the Old Town is one of the top things to do in Bucharest. That said, be sure to walk the length of the best streets in the district, including the main east-west thoroughfare, Strada Lipscani Street, as well as Strada Smardan and Strada Franceza.
#2 Stand in Awe of the Architecture in Bucharest
Long ago dubbed the Little Paris of the East, much of Bucharest’s charming architecture is crumbling. Standing stoically, however, are the bland Communist era buildings (many of which are covered in gigantic advertisements, which earn the residents extra money). The mishmash of tasteful and tacky architectural styles in Bucharest is both bewildering and beguiling.
Whether you admire it or are astonished by it, the incredible array of architecture in Bucharest – especially in and around the Old Town – is not to be missed. Be sure to look up at the buildings you pass by…what you see might surprise you!
A few of the top architectural gems that rank as Bucharest attractions are the Palace of Deposits and Consignments, the Coltea Hospital complex and the Central University Library.
#3 Parade through the Pasajul Macca Villacrosse Passageway
Pasajul Macca Villacrosse is an elegant, glass-covered passage dating to the late 1800s and it’s one of the top things to see in Bucharest. Natural daylight filters through the yellow glass roof, creating a feeling of warmth, even on the coldest Bucharest days.
Similar to the covered shopping streets found in Paris, the stylish walkway, which leads from Calea Victoriei into the Old Town, is lined with fashionable eateries and hookah cafes.
#4 See the Stavropoleos Monastery and Church
The Old Town Stavropoleos Monastery Church is a favorite attraction in Bucharest. The quaint and colorful Orthodox church dates to the year 1724. Although small, it is well worth going inside to see the murals that cover the walls.
While nuns still live and work in the adjoining monastery, visitors are welcome to step into the courtyard garden, where there are tombstones and other fragments of the past.
#5 Visit other Churches in Old Town Bucharest
While the Stavropoleos Church and Monastery rank as one of the best things to do in Old Town Bucharest, there are actually several churches in and near the Old Town that should be on your Bucharest sightseeing list.
The overwhelming majority of Romanians are Eastern Orthodox Christians – and their houses of worship are stunningly beautiful. Old and new, prominent and hidden, we highly recommend seeking out – and stepping inside – Bucharest churches. We are highlighting a few of our top picks in and around the Bucharest Old Town.
Biserica Sfantul Anton
Also known as the Biserica Curtea Veche – or the Old Court Church – Biserica Sfantul Anton stands as the oldest church in Bucharest. Built in the mid-1500s, the church features a patterned red-and-white brick exterior.
Still used regularly by locals – especially on Tuesdays, when women go to pray for health, wealth or for finding a husband – it is also one of the top Old Town Bucharest tourist attractions.
St. Nicholas Church
One of the unique churches in Bucharest, the St. Nicholas Russian Church – recognizable by its ornamental onion domes – was built in the early 1900s. The church sits near the University of Bucharest and is used by the student population (which is why it is also called the Student’s Church). Be sure to step inside to see the richly decorated interior.
Hidden Bucharest Churches
During Communism, many historic churches in Bucharest were either demolished, moved or hidden from sight by bigger, taller apartment blocks. Bucharest visitors can seek out some of the hidden churches in and around the Old Town today.
Doamnei Church is a hidden church in the Old Town city center and one of the Bucharest must-see sights. Wedged behind an apartment block, the Doamnei Church dates to the late 1600s, but suffered damage due to multiple earthquakes throughout the following centuries. The church stands as a Romanian Ministry of Culture Historic Monument.
Biserica Sfantul Nicolae Selari (inside the Old Town) and Biserica Sfantul Ioan Nou (just outside of the Old Town) are two other fabulous hidden churches to find.
#6 Browse the Carturesti Carusel Bookstore Bucharest
A bright and lovely bookstore in Bucharest, Carturesti Carusel is a sophisticated, multistory shop that is loved as much for its beautiful design as it is for the collection of books.
One of the fun things to do in Bucharest Old Town is to visit the Carturesti Carusel Bookshop Bucharest and enjoy a coffee on the top floor café.
#7 Learn at the National Museum of Romanian History
Featuring artifacts and treasures from around the country, the National Museum of Romanian History tells the story of it’s ancient past. Visiting is one of the top Bucharest things to do for history buffs and anyone interested in learning more about the story of Romania.
Top exhibits are a complete replica of Trajan’s Column and a collection of gold from the treasury.
The National Romanian History Museum is just one of many Bucharest museums. We feature more of the best museums in Bucharest throughout this list.
#8 Check the Progress on the Curtea Veche Palace
For many years, the Curtea Veche Palace (or the Old Princely Court) was one of the top things to see in Bucharest Old Town – and it will be again, once the stalled renovation is complete.
Built in the year 1459 under the direction of Vlad the Impaler (who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula character), the palace served as his residence. For many years, a bust of Vlad III sat in front of the palace and, perhaps, it will once more after the project is completed.
#9 Stand in the Center of University Square
A vast, concrete swath, University Square marks the center of the city and the northern boundary of Bucharest Old Town. Most of the top Bucharest attractions can be found just a short walk from the square.
Four statues stand on University Square, paying tribute to Romania’s most revered scholars and politicians – and you can stand in the square, too, and take it all in!
#10 Go To Gradina Cismigiu Park
A delightful public park in the city center, Gradina Cismigiu is a beautifully planned green space and a common meeting place for Bucharest locals. The park was created in the year 1847 and features a manmade lake, statues, monuments, a tree-lined promenade and colorful flowers.
At the north end of the park is the opulent Kretzulescu Palace (Palatul Cretulescu), which is a fine example of the unique architecture. For a time, the palace hosted a museum, but the interior is now off limits to visitors.
#11 Snap Photos on Umbrella Street Bucharest
Brightening up even the gloomiest of Bucharest days is the hip and colorful Umbrella Street. Tucked down an alleyway off Calle Victoriei, Umbrellas Street is a quick detour during your sightseeing. Spend a few minutes on the street snapping photos – it’s one of the fun things to do in Bucharest, Romania.
At the end of Umbrellas Street is a small church, with a fun legend. The St. Nicholas in a Day Church (Biserica Sfantul Nicolae Dintr-o Zi) is said to have been completely built in a single day (although evidence suggests it actually took one year).
Tourists can double back to Calle Victoriei via Umbrella Street – or take the Pasajul Englez (English Passage) that is just to the north. The once elegant passageway, which is home to a lone but enduring hat shop, is now run down and it sits in stark contrast to the revived Pasajul Macca Villacrosse in the Bucharest Old Town.
#12 Admire the Artwork at the Romanian National Museum of Art
Located in the former Royal Palace, the National Art Museum Bucharest hosts an impressive collection of artworks. The museum is divided into three separate ticketed sections: Romanian Art, European Art Work (including pieces by masters) and the Royal Palace of Bucharest.
Tickets for the Bucharest Art Museum can be purchased separately for each exhibit or as a money-saving combo ticket.
#13 Attend a Concert at the Romanian Athenaeum Bucharest
The Ateneul Roman is Bucharest’s premier performing arts theater and home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. Built in the 1880s, the prestigious concert hall is gorgeously decorated and features stunning acoustics.
Interested parties can visit the Romanian Athenaeum for a small fee. However, one of the unique things to do in Bucharest is to attend a concert, which elevates the experience!
#14 Appreciate the Significance of Revolution Square
Although a rather ordinary looking plaza, the historical significance of Revolution Square makes it one of best places to go in Bucharest to understand the events of Romanian Revolution of 1989.
It was in the square in December of 1989 that dictator Nicolae Ceausescu gave his last speech to an unexpectedly (to him, at least) angry crowd. After the speech, he and his wife fled by helicopter, but were quickly captured, tried and then executed on Christmas Day. The events ended a 42-year reign of Communism in Romania.
Standing in the center of Revolution Square is the 82-foot-tall Memorial of Rebirth. Although the design is disliked by many locals in Bucharest (they humorously call it “The Potato on a Stick”), it honors the 1,500 lives lost in the Romanian Revolution and the rebirth of the nation after so many years of Communist rule.
#15 Stroll the Length of Calea Victoriei
A main thoroughfare through the heart of the city since the 1700s, strolling Calea Victoriei is a must do in Bucharest. One of the first paved roads (with wood) to keep the mud at bay – has long been the most fashionable street Bucharest.
Lined with boutique shops, upscale restaurants and historic palaces, it remains one of the top Bucharest, Romania tourist attractions.
In addition to Revolution Square and the Royal Palace, Calea Victoriei is also where visitors will find the Museum of Art Collections, the historic luxury Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel and brilliant architecture, like the 19th century Palatul Stirbei and the Central University Library Carol I.
#16 Visit the Biserica Kretzulescu Orthodox Church
Built in the 1720s in the Romanian Brancovenesc style, the small red-brick Kretzulescu Church is one of the top Bucharest places to visit.
Saved from demolition during the Communist era, the church features original mural paintings on the porch. The frescoes inside, however, were painted in the mid-1800s by painter Gheorghe Tattarescu.
#17 Watch the Bucharest Fountain Show
One of the fun and free things to do in Bucharest is to watch the light-and-music fountain show. Taking place on weekend evenings during the summer months, the Bucharest Fountain Show is a 45-minute production of spraying water set to music and lights.
Of course, the Piata Unirii Fountains are beautiful (and free) to look at any time of day. Therefore, if the evening schedule doesn’t jive with your plans, still make a point to seek out the grandiose fountain. From the fountain, visitors can gaze down Bulevardul Unirii to see the colossal People’s Palace.
#18 Ponder the People’s Palace
Whether you think the Palace of Parliament is a modern marvel or a monstrosity – or a whole lot of both – it is, without a doubt, one of the Bucharest highlights. Built at the behest of Communist Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, the Parliament Palace (which later came to be known as the People’s Palace) was designed to be the crowing jewel of his Socialist utopia.
The massive structure – which ranks as one of the heaviest buildings in the world, as well as the largest administrative building on the planet – took 13 years to complete. To make way for the gigantic building and the grand boulevard that leads to it, an entire historic Bucharest neighborhood was demolished. The lavish building was being constructed at the expense of the Romanian people – and many point to it and what it represents as the ultimate downfall of Ceausescu.
Visitors can view a few of the 1100 rooms in the People’s Palace, but tours must be booked in advance.
#19 Get a Peek at the People’s Salvation Cathedral
This isn’t quite yet a thing to do in Bucharest…because the National Cathedral is not completely finished. However, it is nearly impossible to miss the golden domes that peek out from behind the Palace of Parliament.
Construction on the record-breaking church is set to be completed in 2025. When it is finished, it will rank as the tallest and largest Eastern Orthodox Church (by volume and area) in the world.
#20 Marvel at the Antim Monastery Bucharest
A beautiful and serene monastery amongst the hustle and bustle, Antim Monastery is one of the peaceful and relaxing places to visit in Bucharest.
Built in 1715, the Antim Monastery is accessed by walking through a tunnel under a bell tower that stands in front of the church. The church itself features an ornately carved wooden door and interior paintings that date to the early 1800s. There is also a small museum on site.
#21 Make the Walk Up to the Patriarchal Palace and Cathedral
Sitting atop the small Dealul Mitropoliei Hill, the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral is a top Bucharest landmark. The church, officially named the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helena, is the center of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Step inside to see the ornate iconostasis, stained-glass windows and colorful frescoes. Surrounding the church are grand buildings, including a museum and the Patriarchal Palace. Visitors can also take in the sweeping views of Bucharest and the People’s Palace from a little-known viewpoint near the small shop on the north side of the cathedral.
#22 Find Quiet Respite at the Radu Voda Monastery
Radu Voda Monastery is a 16th century monastery tucked into a quiet neighborhood. While it feels a bit off the beaten track in Bucharest, it is busy with people who come to pray.
Inside the church, visitors will find a glittering iconostasis, ancient relics and the founder’s tomb. Additionally, the grounds provide a sheltered oasis where tourists with tired feet can take a rest.
#23 Visit the Monuments at Parcul Carol I
Designed as a French garden in 1900 and used for the 1906 Bucharest Exhibition, Park Carol I is one of the interesting places to see in Bucharest, Romania. The park features shaded paths, panoramic views, heaps of monuments and a couple museums.
The most striking (and contentious) monument is the Nation’s Heroes Memorial and Mausoleum. Built in the 1960s by the Communist regime to honor socialist militants and as a place of burial for leaders, the monument took on new meaning after the fall of Communism in Romania. Renamed the Nation’s Heroes Memorial, the mausoleum now hosts the remains of Romanian soldiers and a flame burns for the Unknown Soldier. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get close to the monument or visit the mausoleum; it’s guarded and entering any area of the memorial is strictly prohibited.
#24 Stroll through Parcul Tineretului
A favorite city park with intertwining paths, big trees and a large lake, visiting Tineretului Park is one of the fun activities in Bucharest. Popular with families, top attractions at the park are the kids’ play areas and wide-open green spaces.
The wide, paved paths are ideal for jogging and biking (bikes can be rented on site) and the lake offers pedal boats for hire in the summertime.
#25 Spend Time in a Bucharest Cemetery
While not all travelers will put a cemetery on their list of things to visit in Bucharest, Romania, the cemeteries are peaceful and reverent places to spend some time.
Dating to the mid-1800s, the Cimitirul Bellu Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Bucharest’s most famous and distinguished citizens. Graves are marked with elaborate sculptures and decorative mausoleums.
Interested visitors can also stop by the nearby Cemetery of Heroes of the Revolution of December 1989 (Cimitirul Eroii Revolutiei). The small but poignant cemetery celebrates those who died fighting against Communist rule.
#26 Sit in the Garden at the Primaverii Palace House of Ceausescu
The Primaverii Palace – also called the Ceausescu Palace – was the luxurious residence where Dictator Ceausescu lived with his family in Bucharest. The interior of the 80-room palace is decorated with silk wallpaper and gold furnishings; there is a pool, a sauna, a greenhouse and a garden with peacocks.
Since the downfall of Ceausescu, the house has been preserved – and, today, it’s a museum. Visitors can see the home, including the palace study, the richly decorated living room and the underground bunker.
However, visitors not keen on going inside can skip the tour and simply enjoy the small palace garden (where peacocks still roam!). The entry to the garden takes visitors along a long hallway decorated with photographs of Ceausescu posing with (in)famous heads of government (like US President Nixon, Yugoslavia leader Tito and Saddam Hussein).
#27 Have Fun at Herastrau Park, Bucharest
One of the biggest and best parks in Bucharest, Romania, Herastrau Park – officially called King Mihai I Park – was established in 1936. Whether looking for family fun or romantic things to do in Bucharest, Herastrau Park is a top pick.
In fact, with the myriad of activities, visitors could easily spend an entire day at the park. Walking, bicycling and boating are top active adventures, but the park also boasts attractions, such as planned gardens, monuments, an outdoor museum, restaurants and bars.
Among the many eating and drinking establishments located within (or nearby) the Herastrau Park, Beraria H is our choice. The massive beer hall, which also has a lakeside beer garden and a regular line up of evening entertainment, is one of the fun places to go in Bucharest for socializing!
#28 Dive into the Past at Dimitrie Gusti Village Museum
A fascinating open air museum located within the Herastrau Park, Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum is a re-created historic Romanian village. Similar to the ASTRA Open Air Museum in Sibiu, Dimitrie Gusti displays traditional houses, windmills and churches from various regions around the country.
The museum is one of the top places to visit in Bucharest to learn about the history and daily life of Romanian people.
#29 Gaze up at the Grand Arch de Triumph Bucharest
Rising from the center of Bucharest’s busiest roundabout on the southwest corner of Herastrau Park is an arched memorial dedicated to Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I. The Neoclassical 85-foot-tall Arcul de Triumf was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
The arch marks the site of military parades and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider of WWI is at the base.
Going to the top of the arch is one of the cool things to do in Bucharest. However, it was closed during our visit, but is now open on weekends during the summer.
#30 Gawk at the House of the Free Press Building
Once reigning as the tallest building in the city (from 1956 until 2007), the House of the Free Press is a Bucharest landmark. The Stalinist style building was originally named, “Combinatul Poligrafic Casa Scînteii I.V.Stalin” and was constructed to house Romania’s printing presses and news staff. Many Romanian newspapers are still headquartered inside the building today.
A statue of Stalin once stood in front of the massive building. However, the winged Aripi Monument – another tribute to Romanians who lost their lives fighting Communism – now stands in its place.
For visitors, taking in the grand view of the Free Press Building from the monument is one of the interesting things to do in Bucharest – especially for fans of Socialist Modern architecture.
#31 Discover the Street Art of Bucharest
Like many cities around the world, Bucharest is decorated with colorful street art murals and graffiti tags. Some are whimsical drawings, while other artworks focus on social and political statements.
One of the fun things to do in Bucharest, Romania is to seek out the best street art – and Arthur Verona Street is the best place to do it. Start at the Cartesuri Verona Bookshop and walk east on Strada Pictor Arthur Verona.
#32 Smell the Roses at the Botanical Garden Bucharest
Hosting more than 10,000 plant species, the Dimitrie Brandza Botanic Garden Bucharest opened in 1891. With an inexpensive entry fee and ample paths, visiting the garden is one of the fun outdoor activities to do in Bucharest.
Highlights of the Botanical Gardens Bucharest are the Old Greenhouses (which feature tropical and exotic plants), the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden (and try to ignore the giant smoke stacks of the adjacent power plant).
#33 Get a Peek Inside Cotroceni Palace
One of the more unusual things to do in Bucharest is to go to the Romanian president’s house, Cotroceni Palace. Although tours are limited to the part of the house that is designated as the National Museum – the president’s quarters are strictly off limits – it’s still worth the effort to see the interior.
To tour the impressive palace, guests are required to make reservations by email. In fact, to even step foot on the beautiful grounds, a reservation and passport are required (so keep that in mind before trekking out to see it!).
#34 Step Back in Time at the Ferestroika Communist Apartment Museum
Visitors looking for things to do around Bucharest to better understand life in Romania during Communism should put the Ferestroika Museum on their to do list.
The small, 3-room apartment is a time capsule that captures everyday life in Bucharest in the 1980s. Museum guests are invited to interact with the exhibits…as if visiting a friend’s house.
#35 Attend a Ballet at the Bucharest National Opera House
Listed on the National Register of Historic Monuments, the fairly new Bucharest Opera House was built in 1953. While the exterior is elegant and demure, the interior is sumptuously decorated.
What makes it one of the top Bucharest, Romania places to visit, however, is the affordable and talented performances.
#36 Visit the Natural History Bucharest Museum at Victory Square
On the north side of Victory Square – just south of the Kiselff Park – is one of the most interesting museums in Bucharest: Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History.
The massive, family-friendly Grigore Antipa Museum displays a wide variety of animal species from around the world. Expect everything from insects to dinosaur skeletons!
Looking for more things to do in Bucharest with kids? Head next door to the quirky Bucharest Dino Park.
#37 Learn about Romanian Musician George Enescu
Located inside the extravagant Cantacuzino Palace, the George Enescu National Museum is one of the best places to visit in Bucharest to learn about the famous composer. Exhibits feature artifacts and memorabilia dedicated to George Enescu and his music.
The museum was closed during our visit but is anticipated to reopen soon after a lengthy renovation aimed at reviving the Art Nouveau building to its original splendor.
#38 Glimpse into the Past at the Filipescu Cesianu House Museum
One of the beautiful places in Bucharest to visit, the Filipescu Cesianu House Museum is situated inside a restored mansion on Calea Victoriei. Inside the museum, visitors get a glimpse into the history of Bucharest and the generations of people who have lived there.
Admission is inexpensive and there are English translations for the exhibits. Don’t miss the garden, which hosts numerous (creepy) statues.
Want more Romanian history? Take time to visit the nearby George Severeanu Museum, which is situated in a lovely mansion and features an array of old coins and ancient objects.
#39 Peruse the Produce at the Bucharest Obor Market
The massive Obor Market is, without doubt, the city’s biggest market and one of the best things to see in Bucharest. Spread over two buildings – one for household goods and the other for fresh produce, meats and cheeses – visitors could spend hours perusing the aisles.
That said, we think the best reason to go the Obor Market is for a meal of mici – little grilled sausages – at Terasa Obor. The cheap, fast-food meal is a favorite among locals and there will most certainly be a line, but don’t worry because it moves quickly.
Rather than going to the market on your own, you can join a local who will lead the way to the best food stalls and local eats. Find out more! (Looking for more tips for what to eat in Bucharest? We share our top picks in the next section.)
#40 Explore the Best Neighborhoods in Bucharest
Without a doubt, one of the absolute highlights of Bucharest is the historic neighborhoods. We recommend exploring on foot with a heaping dose of curiosity. The best neighborhoods in Bucharest are lined with grand mansions and dotted with cute cafes.
The Dorobanti Neighborhood, located in the posh Sector 1, is fun to navigate with its tree lined streets and pretty houses. That said, one of our favorite areas to wander is the Old Bucharest neighborhood surrounding Gradina Icoanei, which features lovely villas and charming lanes.
More Bucharest Things To Do
We have highlighted the best attractions in Bucharest, however, there are a few more activities in Bucharest that we want to mention.
The Best Shopping in Bucharest
Travelers who want to spend a little time shopping in Bucharest, Romania will find plenty of places to do it. The Old Town is a good place to find souvenirs, however, the chic boutiques along Calea Victoriei offer tourists something unique.
Visitors looking for fashion in Bucharest can visit one of the city center malls – Unirea Shopping Center or Cocor. The biggest mall in Bucharest, however, is the Mega Mall just a short drive from the Old Town.
Theme Parks in Bucharest, Romania
We already mentioned the Dino Theme Park, but there are actually several Bucharest theme parks that can provide hours of entertainment for both kids and adults.
The Children’s Town Bucharest Amusement Park, located in Parcul Tineretului, offers classic carnival style rides and splash pools. Parcul Tei, which is northeast of the city, also has a Ferris wheel and rollercoaster.
To the west of the city center is the Divertiland Aqua Park in Bucharest, which provides hours of fun in the summertime sun. Top features are a lazy river, water slides and a wave pool.
Therme Bucharest Spa
A modern wellness spa north of the city, Therme offers a luxury spa experience – complete with mineral pools, saunas, slides, a swim up bar and a botanical garden. Hands down, Therme is the best spa in Bucharest, Romania.
That said, the spa is quite a distance from the city center. Therefore, we recommend booking a complete package with skip-the-line entrance and round-trip transport.
Throughout the year, the city hosts numerous events – from festivals to concerts to art exhibits.
Some of the city’s best events are the prestigious Bucharest International Film Fest, the Europafest music festival and the George Enescu Classical Music Fest.
Additionally, autumn visitors can partake in the Romanian Wine Festival. And those who are looking for things to do in Bucharest at Christmas can attend the city’s holiday market – along with the fairs in Brasov and Sibiu, Romania is one of the best places in Europe for Christmas.
We typically enjoy getting acquainted with cities on our own, but Bucharest is complex. It’s much easier to get to know the city with a helpful guide leading the way on a Bucharest sightseeing tour.
Best Free Walking Tour Bucharest
On our trip to Bucharest, Romania, we joined the mid-morning Story of Bucharest Tour by Walkabout Free Tour. Featuring Bucharest top attractions coupled with personal stories and insight, our guide gave an honest introduction to Bucharest.
The same company offers an afternoon tour that covers topics related to how the country was first ruled by a Monarchy, then by a Communist regime.
As with all free walking tours, keep in mind that the guides work for tips, so be sure to have cash (in local currency) so that you can tip your guide at the end of the tour.
Bike Tour Bucharest
Bucharest is a large city (one of the biggest cities in Europe) and some of the sights are spread far apart. With a bike, however, you can cover a lot more ground. Join a guide on a small group tour that goes beyond the Old Town Bucharest sights to see more of the beautiful city on a half day tour! Get the details!
Alternative Tour Bucharest
Visitors who want to delve deeper into a different side of Bucharest should join the city’s Alternative Tour. With a keen focus on Bucharest’s culture, tour participants are introduced to the best street art, galleries, fashion and urban issues. Book it here!
Best Day Trips from Bucharest, Romania
Our above list highlights things to do inside the city center, but there are many places to visit around Bucharest, as well. We are sharing a few of the best tours and top things to do near Bucharest, Romania that you might want to add to your trip plan.
Transylvania and Brasov Day Trip from Bucharest (Peles and Bran Castle)
If your overall Romania Itinerary doesn’t include Brasov and Transylvania, then you can still get the highlights on a Peles Castle and Bran Castle Day Trip from Bucharest.
Travelers could possibly devise a full day trip using public transit but aligning train and bus schedules to see both castles and the city of Brasov will not be easy. (And, unfortunately, there is no direct public transport route from Dracula’s Bran Castle to Bucharest.)
Instead, we recommend joining a highly rated Brasov, Peles Castle and Bran Castle Tour from Bucharest. Get the details here!
Palatul Mogosoaia and Monasteries
The 300-year-old Mogosoaia Palace is one of the most beautiful places near Bucharest. Visitors can see the palace – plus two other historic monasteries – on a 5-hour tour from Bucharest. Find out more!
Day Trip from Bucharest to Bulgaria
Many people don’t realize it, but Bulgaria is one of the best places to visit near Bucharest. From the city it’s just 30 miles to the Bulgaria border. On a guided tour, participants visit a Bulgarian village, an ancient fortress and historic monastery. Learn more about the trip!
Bucharest to the Black Sea Coast
A popular seaside destination on the Black Sea Coast, Constanta is home to a few of the best attractions near Bucharest: Sun, Sea and History. On a 1 day trip from Bucharest, visitors can learn about the past, see the city highlights and relax by the sea. Get the specifics here!
Best Restaurants in Bucharest, Romania
During our time in the city, we were on a mission to find the best places to eat in Bucharest. Not only were we searching for the best Romanian food in Bucharest, but we also wanted to try the best burgers, pizza and desserts.
We already mentioned eating mici – which is some of the best food in Bucharest – at the Obor Market, but we have a few more restaurant suggestions that you will want to put on your To-Do Bucharest List!
Caru cu Bere
Often hailed as one of the best restaurants in Bucharest Old Town, Caru cu Bere is loved by locals and tourists alike. Established in 1879 and known for their home brewed beer, the restaurant has the atmosphere of a sophisticated beer hall.
To enhance the old-fashioned ambiance, they play traditional music and Romanian dancers entertain the patrons in the evening. At Caru cu Bere, not only do they provide a warm and inviting space, but they excel at creating traditional Romanian meals that taste divine.
What To Eat at Caru cu Bere
As one of the best Romanian restaurants in Bucharest, it’s easy to find something delicious on the menu at Caru cu Bere. We recommend starting with a Romanian appetizer, Zacusca (a roasted eggplant and red pepper dip) with fresh bread.
For a main, the signature dish is the Slow Cooked Pork Knuckle and it’s fall-off-the-bone delicious. The humungous portion feeds at least two hungry people (we even ended up with enough leftovers for a second complete meal!).
Hanu Berarilor Casa Opera Soare
For a classy dining experience, we think Hanu Berarilor ranks as the Best Romanian Restaurant Bucharest. The elegant restaurant is situated in a historic manor house and each room features unique décor.
What To Eat at Hanu Berarilor
The menu, like the restaurant itself, is upscale Romanian. We recommend ordering the house specialty, Oven Browned Duck Legs, which is cooked to perfection and served with sauteed cabbage. That said, be sure to save room for the traditional Romanian dessert, Papanasi – as it is absolutely delectable at Hanu Berarilor!
Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc
Built as an inn in the early 1800s, Hanu lui Manuc survives today as one of the best restaurants Old Town Bucharest. The menu features the same types of Romanian dishes that were served at the restaurant when it opened more than 200 years ago.
What To Eat at Hanu lui Manuc
At a restaurant that is as steeped in history as Hanu lui Manuc is, we suggest ordering two of the most traditional Romanian meals: Sarmale and Bulz.
Sarmale, the National Dish of Romania, is a meal of cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat – and the ones we ate at Hanu lui Manuc were the best we had anywhere in the country.
Bulz is another menu item that we tried in various restaurants throughout Romania, but none were quite as delicious – or well presented – as the meal of Bulz we had at Manuc. The polenta-meat-egg dish is served stacked and the flavor combination is exceptional.
Paine si Vin
A modern concept on the western edge of the Old Town, Paine si Vin is a chic eatery that gets our vote for the best pizza in Bucharest. Utilizing traditional methods for the crust, the pizzas and flatbreads are topped with unique and flavorful local ingredients – and then baked in a wood fired oven.
What To Order at Paine si Vin
There are so many wonderful and intriguing topping combinations at Paine si Vin that it makes it difficult to choose which one to order! We ordered several dishes – and in the end we preferred the From the Forest that features black truffles, wild boar sausage and Apuseni cheese from Transylvania.
Serving comfort food classics – think meatballs covered in sauce, mashed potatoes and soup – Balls is a relatively new establishment that cranks out inexpensive meals that taste like something a Romanian grandma would serve! It’s the best place to eat in Bucharest on a small budget with a big appetite.
What To Eat at Balls
Meatballs, of course! While there are several options to choose from, we recommend the Ostropel (pork balls with a tomato and garlic sauce) and the Shroomy (chicken balls with mushroom and bacon sauce). Order the Lunch All Day meal deal and you will also get a choice of soup, mashed potatoes or rice and a salad.
Mario’s Osteria for the Best Burger Bucharest
While the name doesn’t allude to the fact of the matter, Mario’s Osteria makes the best burgers in Bucharest. What started as a food truck, Mario’s now has a permanent location inside the Ironic Taproom (we talk more about craft beer in Romania next!) – and the burgers are simply amazing. The smashed burgers are made with fresh beef from a local Romanian farm…and the fries are superb.
What To Eat at Mario’s
Honestly, every burger at Mario’s is fantastic. That said, the Truffle Burger ranks as the best burger in Bucharest – and the Romanian Burger is a close second. Either way, get an order of the parm fries with garlic sauce for a side!
One of the top places to eat Bucharest, Gyros Thessalonikis in Old Town is a popular spot for a late-night meal or quick lunch. Fast, simple and to the point, a gyro from Thessalonikis hits the spot!
What To Order at Gyros Thessalonikis
A small chicken gyro with all the toppings, including fries!
As evidenced by the incredible number of French bakeries in the city, Bucharest fully embraces its moniker as the Little Paris of the East. French Revolution, a Romanian company focused on creating the most delicious eclairs in the city, undoubtedly makes one of the best desserts in Bucharest.
What To Eat at French Revolution
The eclairs at French Revolution are made fresh daily with quality ingredients…and we can’t imagine any not tasting delicious. Go for whatever piques your interest!
More of the Best Food Bucharest
Our above list of Bucharest restaurants includes the places that we recommend from our personal experience. However, there are a few more restaurants that were recommended to us by locals and fellow travelers that are on our list for our next trip to Bucharest.
A local chain of restaurants serving Romanian comfort classics in an atmospheric space. Try the Transylvanian goulash – or go big with the Tasting Platter of Romanian Specialties.
A simple restaurant concept dedicated to regional and Romanian soup, Ciobarie is a good place to try the nation’s beloved Tripe Soup. It’s a quick, easy and inexpensive lunch.
A contemporary urban concept, Kraft Market is a (mostly) outdoor venue featuring multiple food trucks serving international cuisine, as well as adult beverages from the bar.
Zexe is a traditional Romanian restaurant offering a dining experience from a bygone era. The posh restaurant features a 20th century style with an upscale menu.
Highly rated by fellow travelers as the best ice cream in Bucharest Old Town, Gioelia Cremeria doles out tasty cones and other desserts, too.
Craft Beer and Wine Bars Bucharest
There is no doubt that one of the best things to do in Bucharest at night is to go to the bars. While the party rages all night long, we were more than happy sampling local craft beer and Romanian wine well before the party peaked.
Therefore, our list of the best bars in Bucharest is dedicated to the places where you can find good, local brew and delicious regional wine.
Located in a spacious, industrial space, we believe Ironic Taproom offers the best craft beer in Bucharest. With their own line up of brews, plus a featured selection from other Romanian craft breweries, Ironic sells beer in 100ml increments – so you can create your own sample platter or go all in with a pint.
Hop Hooligans Taproom and Bucharest Craft Beer Bar
Hop Hooligans was the first Romanian craft beer that we tried, and it still ranks as one of our favorites. We were stoked to see that they had a taproom in Bucharest…and it doesn’t disappoint!
The Hop Hooligans Taproom is a hip space with a selection of 24 beers on tap and even more in cans. Casual and easy going, it’s the kind of place you could easily tuck into for a few incredible pints local Romanian beer.
Romanian Craft Beer
With a hip design and ample indoor seating on two floors, the Zaganu Romanian Craft Beer Bar is a great place that welcomes beer lovers with open arms. They feature their own brews on tap but offer Romanian beers from fellow brewers in the bottle.
Additionally, they have weekday specials – like 50% off their beers on Monday at happy hour – and a full menu of bar favorites, as well (making it one of the best pubs in Bucharest, Romania!).
Craft Beer Bars in Old Town Bucharest
Travelers looking for craft beer bars in Bucharest Old Town need to look no further than Strada Gabroveni. Three craft beer bars – Beer Station, Beer O’Clock and Bere si Bere Pub – cluster together on the street, making it easy to hop (pun intended) from one to the next!
Abel’s Wine Bar
Open since 2013, Abel’s is one of the Best Bars Bucharest for tasting local Romanian wine. Cozy and charming, visitors can order wines by the glass or by the bottle. The staff is super, providing helpful insight to the wines and offering suggestions, as well.
To compliment the wine, patrons can order meat and cheese platters along with other snacks.
Cafes in Bucharest
There are several cafes in Bucharest Old Town where tourists can stop for a morning coffee or afternoon pick-me-up. The Grand Café Van Gogh is often touted for its incredible décor, but we preferred the vibe at The Urbanist.
Enjoy the Best Nightlife in Bucharest
We couldn’t talk about the best things to do in Bucharest without mentioning the exuberant nightlife. The center of entertainment in Bucharest is in the heart of the Old Town…and the party lasts until dawn.
While we don’t have any specific Bucharest nightlife recommendations, visitors simply can’t go wrong with a night out in the Old Town. There are plenty of bars, discos, strip clubs and gyro shops to make it a complete night out!
Up for a night of bar hopping? The fun Bar Crawl Bucharest is a good opportunity to go to several bars with a new group of friends. Get the details here!
Use this link to Google Maps for an online version of our Map of Bucharest Things To Do.
Sample Bucharest Itineraries
We have outlined what to do in Bucharest, Romania – and now we are going to wrap it all into a Bucharest Itinerary. Each day of our itinerary builds off the previous day, creating a 5-Day Bucharest Itinerary.
1 Day in Bucharest
With only 24 hours in Bucharest, Romania, visitors have enough time to see the highlights of the Old Town and the city attractions to the north.
To create an ideal One Day Bucharest Itinerary, we recommend seeing sights #1 – 16 on our list.
2 Days in Bucharest Itinerary
Spending 48 hours in Bucharest allows ample time for seeing the most important Bucharest attractions. After seeing the Old Town sights and the attractions along Calea Victoriei on Day 1, spend your second day in Bucharest south of the city visiting the People’s Palace, important churches and city parks.
For Day 2 of your 2-Day Bucharest Itinerary, plan on seeing sights #17 – 25 on our list of things to do.
3 Days Bucharest Itinerary
Visitors who have 3 days in Bucharest, Romania can include a lot more sightseeing to their trip plan. After spending the first two days seeing the city sights in the Old Town and south of the city center, plan to go further north on the last day to the Herastrau Park.
Sights #26 – 30 are what to see on Day 3 of your 3-Day Bucharest Itinerary.
4 Days in Bucharest Itinerary
Travelers who are visiting Bucharest in 4 days have enough time to see the sights to the west of the city center. On Day 4, plan on visiting the Botanical Gardens and Cotroceni Palace.
Use sights #31 – 35 to plan what to see on the last day of your Bucharest 4-Day Itinerary
5 Days in Bucharest
Visitors staying in Bucharest for 5 days can spend their last day in several different ways. Explore neighborhoods on foot, go to a few of the city’s best museums or take a Bucharest day trip to one of the sights further afield.
Find specific ideas for things to see on our list, #36 – 40.
Travel Tips for Bucharest, Romania
Now that you know what to see in Bucharest and how to plan your time, we have a few final travel tips for your trip! We are covering a few important details, like how to get to there, how to get around, where to stay and what to pack.
Things To Know About Bucharest, Romania before Your Trip
Bucharest is the capital of Romania and the 9th largest European city by population.
Do not confuse Bucharest and Budapest; they are two different cities in two different countries. It’s an easy slip up, even superstars – like Michael Jackson – have made the mistake, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing.
The currency used in Romania is the Leu (or Lei plural); they are eventually converting to the Euro…but until then, plan on using the local RON currency. Credit cards are widely accepted, as well.
Unlike most European cities, tipping is part of the culture in Romania. A 10% tip is fairly standard for most services – like meals at restaurants, taxi rides and tours. Tipping is almost always done in cash – even when paying for a meal or tour with a credit card. Therefore, it is important to have the local currency in small bills.
How To Get to Bucharest
The best way to reach Bucharest is by plane (unless traveling from within Romania).
Airports in Bucharest, Romania
The main airport in Bucharest, Romania is the Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP). It is the busiest airport in the country and is primarily serviced by low-cost carriers Ryanair and Wizz Air along with the Romanian national airline, TAROM.
The Bucharest airport is located 11 miles north of the Old Town. To get from the airport to Bucharest City Center takes about 45 minutes (or longer) by car. We recommend using a service like Uber or booking an inexpensive airport transfer in advance.
Alternatively, visitors can use Express Bus Line #783, which takes about an hour and costs less than a dollar.
Trains to Bucharest
Train service in Romania is notoriously slow and unreliable, but there are a few good train lines that connect Bucharest to other parts of the country.
Brasov to Bucharest by Train
The Brasov to Bucharest train is a direct and efficient way to travel between the two cities. The Brasov – Bucharest distance is approximately 115 miles (185 km). The Brasov – Bucharest train takes about 2.5 hours. Travelers can find Brasov to Bucharest train times at the train station or online at CFR Calatori.
Other destinations in Romania can be reached by bus from Bucharest. Although we recommend the train instead of the Brasov to Bucharest Bus, it is possible to get between the two cities by coach.
As we already mentioned, there is no direct public transit route from Bran to Bucharest. Visitors will need to take a bus from Bran to Brasov, then the train from Brasov to Bucharest.
How To Get Around Bucharest
When it comes to getting around Bucharest, travelers have ample options: Walking, Biking, Bus, Trolleybus, Tram, Metro and Uber/Taxi.
Walking in Bucharest
We think one of the best ways to get around Bucharest is by walking. That said, there are many broken sidewalks and cobblestone streets, so walkers need to pay attention to ground (which can be so difficult when looking up at the stellar architecture!).
Bicycling can be a great way to get around the city! With two wheels, visitors will be able to cover a lot of ground, while still enjoying the surroundings. Reserve your bike rental in advance!
Bucharest Public Transit
Public transportation can be an extremely cheap and effective way to get around Bucharest. That said, it can also be painstakingly slow and confusing for non-Romanian speakers.
For the buses, trolleybuses and trams, single ride tickets can be purchased on the bus with a credit card. The fare machines, however, don’t translate and paying for multiple tickets with the same credit card can be difficult (hint: after tapping the card for the first fare, press the + sign and tap again).
The Bucharest Metro, however, is much easier to use – and it’s a faster way to get around, as the subway doesn’t have to contend with heavy traffic. Ticket machines are available once inside the station and the ticket buying instructions are presented in English.
Uber and Taxis in Bucharest
Visitors can also use taxis and Uber to get around Bucharest. Uber rides are incredibly inexpensive and rides are readily available.
Where To Stay in Bucharest, Romania
There are many choices for accommodation in Bucharest – from hotels to hostels to Airbnb apartments – in a range of price points. We think the best location to stay in Bucharest is right outside of the Old Town. Choosing a location just steps from the Old Town allows visitors easy access to the top sights, without the noise and congestion of staying right in the center of the party zone.
We are highlighting a few of the best hotels in Bucharest for your stay. That said, we share more tips on how to find the best place to stay in Bucharest in our blog post, How To Find the Best Accommodations.
Grand Hotel Continental
Rated by many as the best hotel in Bucharest, the elegant Grand Hotel Continental offers stylish and spacious rooms as well as a good breakfast. Check rates for your stay!
Featuring quiet, clean and comfortable rooms, Capitol Hotel gets rave reviews as the best hotel to stay in Bucharest city center. Check rates and availability!
Sleep Inn Hostel
With both private rooms and dorm bed options, Sleep in Hostel ranks as one of the best hostels in Bucharest. The price point is ideal for travelers on a budget backpacking Bucharest. Check availability for your stay!
Airbnb Bucharest, Romania
What to Pack for your Bucharest Trip
Bucharest visitors need to pack a good pair of comfortable travel shoes for their trip. As we already mentioned, sights are spread far and wide…and the pavement is often uneven.
Bucharest is a fascinating place to photograph. Whether snapping pictures of the fascinating architecture or street art, we recommend upgrading to a real camera for your Romania trip. We use a Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens for our trips. It’s one of the best beginner cameras for budget conscious travelers!
Good Day Pack
When sightseeing in Bucharest, you will want to carry a good travel day pack that can keep all of your personal items organized. We recommend using a day bag with multiple zippered pockets that is big enough to stow things like a raincoat and travel umbrella.
If you haven’t purchased travel insurance for your trip to Romania, check rates and coverage at with a reliable company.
Travel Planner and Documents
We Want To Know: What would you add to our list of the Best Things To Do in Bucharest, Romania? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments!
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