You are currently viewing 9 things to do in Bucharest, Romania

Welcome to Bucharest, Romania’s vibrant capital. It’s an eclectic blend of architectural wonders, vibrant nightlife, a fantastic food scene, and a rich cultural tapestry. Often referred to as “Little Paris” for its architecture, or “New Berlin” for its club scene, I loved my short visit there and can’t wait to go back.

Bucharest is also one of the best European destinations for maximizing your amount of free nights in beautiful hotels with the current amazing limited-time hotel rewards deal, the increased welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card (until May 6, 2024).

Here’s a list of things to do in Bucharest, Romania.

 

Overview of visiting Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest is obviously so much more affordable than the popular touristy European cities everyone always goes to, but it’s also just as enjoyable. Now that Romania has (partially) joined the Schengen Area, it’s even easier to add it to a European trip!

Romania is located in Eastern Europe, and Bucharest is in the southern part of the country — it’s also sadly often confused with Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

Location of Bucharest  (image credit: Google Maps)

 

Bucharest is by far the most populous city in the country, with 2.5 million inhabitants — about the size of Vancouver. That’s huge, so of course there is so much to experience in the city! 

In 2019, I briefly visited this city for a few days with Kevin, Flytrippers’ other co-founder, on our way to Moldova and Transnistria.

P- I’ll give you this one TBD

I was pleasantly surprised, and frankly, I loved absolutely everything about Bucharest. I will definitely go back sooner rather than later.

Bucharest has witnessed centuries of transformations, from its establishment in the 15th century as a fortress to its growth as a cultural and economic hub. The city has known periods of Ottoman influence, the Belle Époque, as well as the hardship of communist rule, each leaving an indelible mark on its architecture, history, and character. 

Logistically, it’s easy to get to Bucharest with cheap flights from anywhere in Europe, like $33 one-way from Paris.

Price of a Paris-Bucharest flight (image credit: Kiwi)

 

You can easily go around the city using the metro system, as it’s one of the most extensive in Europe. It’s quite affordable. And the city center is very walkable.

The primary language spoken is Romanian, a Romance language, which means it evolved from Latin like French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. It is the only Romance language spoken in Eastern Europe.

Here are 9 great things to do in Bucharest, Romania.

 

1. Walking tour

I love to walk around on my own, but free walking tours and paid walking tours are available in Bucharest, like in almost every major city. These are great for those who want to meet other travelers or for those who don’t want to do any research about the city before the trip.

Bucharest, Romania (photo credit: Adrian Sulyok)

 

Walking in Bucharest is like walking through a history book. You’ll observe medieval churches standing alongside giant neoclassical buildings, remnants of the city’s communist past. 

Bucharest’s architecture is a blend of styles, including many Art Nouveau buildings as well as Haussmannian architecture.

The highlight is losing yourself in the labyrinthine lanes of the Old Town.

Old Town Bucharest, Romania (photo credit: Adrian Dascal)

 

Also called Lipscani or Centru Vechi, the historic center is a lively district filled with narrow cobblestone streets, trendy cafés, popular restaurants, and busy bars. 

Don’t miss the Stavropoleos Monastery, a tiny Orthodox monastery, known for its beautiful look and religious artifacts, as well as the gorgeous Romanian Athenaeum concert hall.

Stavropoleos Monastery, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Enjoy the views and the charming architecture during the day, and come back at night to party. 

Street art is also omnipresent in the city, contrasting with the style of the infrastructures, and creating a wonderful mix of old and new.

Street Art in Bucharest, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

2. Palace of the Parliament

The Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) is one of the world’s largest and heaviest buildings.

Palace of the Parliament, Romania (photo credit: George)

 

This symmetrical architectural marvel stands as a symbol of Romania’s communist history. You can go on a guided tour to visit its opulent interiors and the historical narrative of the building.

Even if you’re not as big a fan of architecture as I am, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the sheer size of this building.

Palace of the Parliament, Romania (photo credit: Florinel ZONE)

 

3. Markets

From the giant Obor Market to the upscale Dorobanti Market and the lively Amzei Market, you have many options to immerse yourself in Bucharest’s authentic flavors and traditions.

Obor Market, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Try Romanian delicacies and specialties like mămăligă (cornmeal porridge), sarmale (cabbage rolls), mici (grilled sausages), and ​​gogosi (delicious fried doughnuts that melt in your mouth).

Bucharest is also known for its high-quality craft beer and palinca brandy.

If you are a foodie, you can always do a food tour or even a cooking class while you are there. It’s a great way to learn about the country, get in touch with the locals, and enjoy some exquisite treats.

 

4. Nightlife

Bucharest is known for its incredible nightlife.

Bucharest, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

At night, the city awakes as rooftop bars, nightclubs, and live music venues open their doors to the festive night owls. 

Like in any major city, even if you are traveling solo, you can easily meet other people. You can book your spot for a pub crawl in the Old Town, and party with other visitors like yourself! 

 

5. Herăstrău Park 

Herăstrău Park (Parcul Herăstrău) is the largest park in the city, perfect for a peaceful escape from the bustling urban atmosphere.

Herăstrău Park, Romania (photo credit: Rula Sibai)

 

It’s great that Bucharest has this green space and natural serene lake for residents and visitors to enjoy. You can walk by the water, rent a boat, admire the sculptures, or do a picnic. 

You’ll also find the Dimitrie Gusti Village Museum there, showcasing traditional Romanian village life.

Other notable green spaces are the Botanical Garden, and Carol Park.

Carol Park, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

6. Arcul de Triumf

Arcul de Triumf is Bucharest’s own Arc de Triomphe, no wonder the city is often compared to Paris!

Arcul de Triumf, Romania (photo credit: June Andrei George)

 

Located at the entrance of Herăstrău Park, the current stone monument made of granite stands at a height of 27 meters, approximately 8 stories high.

 

7. Museums

Bucharest offers an abundance of options for art lovers and history enthusiasts, so it is surely a challenge to recommend only 1 museum.

The National Museum of Art of Romania (Muzeul Național de Artă al României) is housed in the former Royal Palace. 

There, you’ll find an extensive collection of Romanian and European art, including masterpieces from renowned artists like Rembrandt and El Greco.

If you prefer contemporary art, you can head to the National Museum of Contemporary Art (NMCA) instead.

Other interesting museums in the Romanian capital include the National History Museum of Romania, the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History, and the Cotroceni Palace Museum.

 

8. Therme Bucharest

Therme Bucharest is perfect for those looking for a relaxing experience. You can indulge in tranquility by exploring this expansive thermal oasis situated on the outskirts of Bucharest.

Therme Bucharest, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

You can enjoy the thermal pools, unwind in the variety of saunas and steam rooms, and treat yourself to a pampering spa session.

Once you feel completely relaxed, take a walk through the enchanting tropical garden to end your divine retreat on a high note.

 

9. Day trips to other Romanian destinations

Many of the most popular activities in Romania aren’t actually in Bucharest itself, but some are close. I recommend just going there as your next destination, but you can do some as a day trip from Bucharest if you prefer.

Rental cars are $49 in Bucharest, but public transportation is very good, like in most of Europe, and that makes it easier not to have to backtrack or pay the often-high extra charges for one-way rentals.

Transylvania is an iconic destination in central Romania. You can see the renowned Bran Castle, the inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula, up close.

Bran Castle, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

It’s a 2h27min train ride ($22) from Bucharest. If you like organized tours, tons of operators sell packages from Bucharest to Transylvania and back.

A bit further in the region, there are the pretty cities of Sighișoara, Braşov, and Sibiu. You can also visit beautiful Bâlea Lake, the massive Vidraru Dam, and one of the most epic drives in the world, the Transfăgărășan Road.

Transfăgărășan Road, Romania (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Constanța and the Black Sea coast beaches are other popular spots, especially during the summer. Plaja Vadu, Plaja Corbu, and Plaja din Mamaia are some of the most beautiful.

Constanta, Romania (photo credit: Gloria Cretu)

 

It’s a 2h27min train ride ($28) from Bucharest.

Finally, the Danube River Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a bit further away and harder to get to as it requires taking a ferry, but it’s a great attraction for nature lovers.

Danube Delta, Romania (photo credit: Zdeněk Macháček)

 

Bonus: Relaxation

If you want to relax and chill after busy days spent exploring the city, you can do it at a nice free hotel.

Moxy Bucharest Old Town Lobby, Romania (photo credit: Marriott)

 

The Moxy Bucharest Old Town is a beautiful and recent hotel directly within the old city and close to all the attractions.

It costs 11,900 Marriott points per night (59,500 for 5 nights). That’s just 5,950 points per person per night with a companion! It’s not as cheap as Marriott hotels in Southeast Asia of course, but that’s not bad at all for Europe. 

The current increased welcome bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card gives you 71,000 points (or 142,000 points if your companion takes advantage of it too). That amazing deal is only offered once a year and ends on May 6, 2024.

Price of the Moxy Bucharest Old Town (image credit: Marriott)

 

The cash price is C$570 ($114/night for 5 nights) so using points can give you good value!

Moxy is the most hip, young, and lively of Marriott’s 30+ different hotel brands. Hotels have fun lobbies that are actually a bar and a game room all at once, with a great social atmosphere.

 

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Summary 

The city of Bucharest, Romania, has everything to charm you. These 9 things to do will make you fall in love with this underrated and affordable Eastern European gem.

 

What would you like to know about things to do in Bucharest, Romania? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Featured image: Bucharest, Romania (photo credit: CALIN STAN)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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