What to see in Bucharest: the 17 best attractions and things to do

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Capital of Romania, undervalued for many years, Bucharest in recent times is it has fully become one of the most interesting European cities. Nicknamed the "Little Paris", thanks to its ancient buildings and suggestive views, it also has more modern neighborhoods that make it a fascinating place visited every year by tourists from all over the world and of all ages.

Here is a guide to find out what to see in Bucharest, with the best attractions and things to do!


  1. Old City
  2. Poporului House - Parliament
  3. Romanian Athenaeum
  4. "Dimitri Gusti" Village Museum
  5. Parcul Herastrau
  6. National History Museum
  7. National Museum of Romanian Art
  8. Stavropoleos Church and Monastery
  9. Patriarchal Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helen
  10. Arch of Triumph
  11. Revolution Square
  12. Cantacuzino Palace
  13. Grigore Antipa Natural Science Museum
  14. Carol Park
  15. Spring Palace
  16. Obor market
  17. Bucharest Thermal Baths
  18. Other attractions to visit
  19. 5 things to do in Bucharest
  20. User questions and comments

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1 - Old Town

The Old Town is the heart of the historic center, ideal point from which to start to discover the whole city! Here, in fact, there are several attractions and it is well connected to the whole city by public transport.

Walking through its streets, you will find yourself among cobbled streets and characteristic buildings that group together various architectural styles. Different from the Bucharest of the '900, the modern one, here you can breathe a lighter air, away from the rigor of the new part. It is also an area full of clubs, restaurants and hotels. Its beating heart is via Lipscani where the artisans' shops are located. In the evening it turns into the center of the nightlife!

Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in the city and includes several attractions. Served by Universitate (Ms line) and Izvor (M1 and M3) metro stations - Get directions

The Old Town is one of the best areas to stay in Bucharest. It is suitable for both families, as they will have all the services at hand, and for younger people, in search of nightlife. In addition, Bucharest is a city with a low cost of living, so it will not be difficult to find offers and accommodation at great prices

2 - Poporului House - Parliament

Among the most impressive structures with its over 350.000 square meters, the Parliament Building is one of the largest buildings in the world, second by extension and third in volume. The real estate valuation, not yet completed, is about 3 billion dollars. Built in the 80s by 700 architects, it has many rooms full of chandeliers, carpets and marble but only 30% of these are employed. Its original name was Casa del Popolo, but at the end of the communist period it was named Parliament Building.

Still today the seat of the Romanian parliament, houses the Chamber and Senate and its majesty dominates Bucharest. A curiosity: what you will see is only a part because there are another 8 underground floors plus anti-atomic bunkers and kilometer-long tunnels.

As this is a government structure, to visit it inside it is necessary to take part in a tour of the Palace of the Parliament, or to book the visit in advance by purchasing the priority ticket

  • in Izvor street, 24. In front of Piața Constituției. Reference metro station Izvor (lines M1 and M), area served by buses lines 136 and 385 - Get directions
  • from March to October every day 9: 00-17: 00, from November to February every day 10: 00-16: 00
  • full 40,00 RON (€ 8,00), reduced 20,00 RON (€ 4,00)

3 - Romanian Athenaeum

In the center of Bucharest is this concert hall, symbol of Romanian musical culture since the th century. Circular in shape and characterized by mosaics and frescoes typical of Romanian architecture, the building is anticipated by a peristyle under which there are 5 mosaic medallions that embody 5 of the most important Romanian princes.

All around is located a well-kept park while inside, on the ground floor, the Romanian Athenaeum has an immense hall with stalls that has 600 seats and 52 loggias. The most beautiful point is represented by the wonderful fresco around the dome drum. With an undisputed charm, it still is today the venue for important orchestral concerts.

If you do not have the chance, or the luck, to participate in one of the events that are organized here, we suggest you take 10-15 minutes and rest in the beautiful, but small, park right in front of the entrance, a calm and peaceful place. relaxing that will allow you to better admire the building and its splendor

  • in Strada Benjamin Franklin 1-3. Reachable on foot from the National Museum of Romanian Art (250 m, 3 min). Reference metro station Piaţa Romana (line M2) - Get directions
  • Tue-Fri 12: 00-19: 00, Sat and Sun 16: 00-19: 00, closed Mon / Concerts and events available on the official website
  • free / Concerts and events available on the official website

4 - "Dimitri Gusti" Village Museum

The Village Museum, founded by royal decree in 1936, is one of the largest open-air museums in the Balkans. Spread over more than 15 hectares near Lake Herastrau, it includes more than 60 houses built in the mid-th century featuring carved gates, farms, windmills, watermills and churches from all of Romania's historical regions.

All objects and finds are labeled and have an explanation of their origin. The most famous building in the village is the church of Maramures, with a steep wooden roof and beautiful but very old icons. Throughout the year, the village museum is home to numerous festivals and craft fairs.

  • at 28-30 Kiseleff Blvd, inside the Herastau Park. Accessible on foot from the Arc de Triomphe (550 m, 7 min). Reference metro station Aviatorilor, in Charles de Gaull square (line M2) - Get directions
  • every day 9: 00-17: 00
  • full 20,00 RON (€ 4,00), reduced 10,00 RON (€ 2,00)

5 - Parcul Herastrau

This large park in the north of Bucharest surrounds Lake Herăstrău, on the course of the Colentina river. Also called Parcul Regele Mihai I, with an area of ​​about 1,1 sq km, of which 0,7 sq km are covered by the lake, it was originally a marshy area which then between 1930 and 1935 was drained and reclaimed.

Opened in 1936, the Hrrastrau park is divided into two areas: a natural part, which remains undisturbed, and a public and "active" area, with areas provided for recreational activities such as navigation with small boats. Inside there is the Village Museum and numerous sports facilities.

In Sectorul 1, north of the historic center. Accessible on foot from the Arc de Triomphe (500 m, 6 min) Reference metro station Aviatorilor, in Charles de Gaull square (line M2) - Get directions

During the summer, we suggest taking a boat trip in the pond or renting a bicycle to go around the park stopping to see the Japanese garden, the Lebedelor Negre fountain and the Village Museum

6 - National History Museum

Inside the old post office building, on Viale della Vittoria, almost to remind Romanians of the importance of knowing their past, is the National Museum of Romanian Art inaugurated in 1972. Characterized by an imposing facade flanked by columns and surmounted by domes, it has
a larger part, which is the one that strikes the most, with an exhibition dedicated to Trajan's Column, where you can admire a faithful reproduction with sculpted scenes.

In the underground part, however, it is located an exhibition of gold objects, including sumptuous crowns with a dazzling glow. It is a nice museum that we recommend to visit if you have at least 3 days available, because it still requires at least two hours to visit.

  • in Calea Victoriei. Accessible on foot from Piața Constituției (750 m, 11 min). Piata Unirii metro station (lines M1, M2 and M3). Area served by bus lines 123 and 104 - Get directions
  • Wed-Sun 10: 00-18: 00, Mon-Tue closed
  • full 10,00 RON (€ 2,00), reduced 5,00 RON (€ 1,00)

7 - National Museum of Romanian Art

Inside the Royal Palace of Bucharest, this museum it houses an excellent collection of medieval and modern art. During the 1989 revolution it suffered several damages and was closed for 10 years, during which it was restored. The museum is organized in two large galleries.

That of Romanian national art houses magnificent treasures recovered from monasteries which were destroyed by Ceausescu and, on the second floor, you can admire sculptures and paintings by the most famous artists of the country, such as Constantin Brâncuși, Milita Petrașcu, Dimitrie Paciurea, Theodor Aman.The second gallery, on the other hand, is that of European art, which houses works by El Greco, Tintoretto, Rubens, Jan van Eyck, Jan Bruegel el Viejo, Rembrandt and Monet. The museum is quite large so it takes at least 2-3 hours to visit it.

  • in Calei Victorei, 49-53, Easily reachable on foot from the Romanian Athenaeum (250 m, 3 min). Reference metro station Piaţa Romana (line M2) - Get directions
  • Wed-Sun 10: 00-18: 00, Mon-Tue closed
  • National Gallery RON 15,00 (€ 3,00), European Art Gallery RON 15,00 (€ 3,00) / Combined ticket RON 25,00 (€ 5,10)

8 - Stavropoleos Church and Monastery

In the center of Bucharest is located one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the capital, which stands out for its architectural style different from other buildings: the Stavropoleos Church, in Romanian Biserica Stavropoleos, built near the homonymous Orthodox monastery, now destroyed.

Built in 1724 as part of the monastery and in the Brâncoveanu style, a local and eclectic line that developed during the administration of Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, the church it has splendid internal and external frescoes that have religious and biblical themes. Inside, then, it is possible to admire some relics of the Holy Apostles Andrew and Peter.

Curiosity: the name stavropoleos is a Romanian interpretation of a Greek term, stauropolis, which means "the city of the Cross".

Do not forget to visit the area next to the church, an oasis of peace and tranquility with a graceful cloister with polylobed arches, scattered with several stone tombstones and inscriptions from the eighteenth century, recovered from churches demolished during the communist regime.

  • in Str. Stavropoleos nr.4. Walkable to the Romanian National History Museum (550 m, 7 min). Piata Unirii Metro Station (lines M1, M2 and M3) - Get directions
  • open during religious services, check the official website
  • free

9 - Patriarchal Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helen

Close to the historical center of Bucharest, this Orthodox church was built in 600 ed it has always represented one of the nerve centers of tourism. The architectural complex including the cathedral, the palace of the Patriarchate and the patriarchal residence which is located in the area of ​​the former monastery.

The church, dedicated to Saints Constantine and Elena, was consecrated in 1658 and has internal walls painted with frescoes and mosaics on the facades. The complex is a beautiful building of prayer and pilgrimage for believers, but also very attractive for tourists who come to Bucharest and wish to enrich themselves with culture, spirituality and emotions.

  • in Str Dealul Mitropoliei. It can be reached on foot from Piața Constituției (950 m, 13 min). Reference metro stations Universitae (line M2) and Piata Unirii (lines M1, M2 and M3) - Get directions
  • every day 7: 00-20: 00
  • free

10 - Arc de Triomphe

Built in 1922 for commemorate Romania's participation in World War I, the Arc de Triomphe is located in the northern part of Bucharest. Initially built in stucco and wood, due to the deterioration of the materials in 1935 it was completely restored and covered with stone.

With the shape of a parallelepiped, it is 27 meters high and inside the pillars there are stairs leading to a terrace from where you can enjoy a wonderful view. The decorations on the arch are the work of Romanian artists and represent some faces such as those of Rrgina Marina and King Ferdinand.

In Piața Arcul de Triumf, in front of an entrance to Parcul Herastrau. Reachable on foot from the "Dimitri Gusti" Village Museum (550 m, 7 min). Reference metro station Aviatorilor, in Charles de Gaull square (line M2) - Get directions

On December 1st of each year, Romania's National Day, the Arc de Triomphe is always at the center of the famous military parades. If you are in the capital during this time, be sure to arrive early in this area to secure a good seat and witness the festivities

11 - Revolution Square

As the story goes, Romania has sadly gone through some bloody moments, especially during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu, who reduced the country to misery by enacting laws that damaged human dignity. One of the historical places of the city, symbol of the revolution it is Piata Revolutiei which was built in the heart of the Communist Party headquarters.

To see the memorial to the Renaissance, a 25-meter high marble cone symbolizing the end of the country's darkest period that appears as a huge cylinder whose tip pierces a tangle of barbed wire from which drops of blood fall.

This place certainly does not excel for beauty, but it is of considerable historical importance, was the scene, among other events, of the flight of the dictator Ceausescu and his wife who, now hunted down, tried to abandon the building that housed the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party by helicopter, only to be captured a few hours later and subsequently shot .

It can be reached on foot from the National Museum of Romanian Art (150 m, 2 min). Reference metro station Piaţa Romana (line M2) - Get directions

12 - Cantacuzino Palace

Grigore Cantacuzino, nicknamed "Nabab" for his wealth, had this building built in 1901 involving world-famous artists, sculptors and interior decorators in the project. The result was a luxurious and elegant residence, combining Baroque, Rococo and elements of Art Nouveau.

Inside, Romanian and foreign artists performed and on the death of Enescu, lover of the widow Cantacuzin, the palace became the seat of the "George Enescu" Museum, which exhibits important testimonies of the interesting life of the violinist, composer, pianist and conductor who died in Paris after having toured the world.

Curiosity: in Bucharest this palace was known for the sumptuous parties that Mihail Cantacuzino and his wife Maruca organized. George Enescu also took part in these evenings and in those moments Maruca would become George Enescu's "great love".

  • in Calea Victoriei 141. It can be reached on foot from the Romanian Aenero (1,2 km, 15 min). Reference metro station Piaţa Romana (line M2) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10:00 - 17:00, closed Mon
  • full 10,00 RON (€ 2,00), 26 of each month free

13 - Museum of Natural Sciences Grigore Antipa

One of the oldest museums in Bucharest, built in 1834, is the Natural Science Museum of Antipa, founded by the Great Count Mihalache Ghica, who donated important collections of Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins, rocks and minerals, molluscs, fossils, fish and birds.

This art gallery is also one of the oldest research centers in the field of biodiversity and inside it is possible to discover numerous finds from dinosaurs that lived on the Romanian territory to species of plants and animals, from the treasures of the Black Sea to butterflies and exotic animals of the past.

This museum organizes interactive exhibits and educational games, which allow to know the evolution of world biodiversity over the ages. The route allows you to get to know animal species of all kinds and even some archaeological finds including an imposing dinosaur skeleton. It is advisable to include it among the attractions to visit with children.

  • in Kiseleff no. 1. It can be reached on foot from Palazzo Cantacuziono (500 m, 7 min). Reference metro station Piatia Victoriei (M1 and M2), area served by bus lines 24, 45 and 46 - Get directions
  • from April to October Tue-Sun 10: 00-20: 00, from November to March Tue-Fri 10: 00-18: 00, Sat-Sun 10: 00-19: 00
  • full 20,00 RON (€ 4,00), reduced 10,00 RON (€ 2,00)

14 - Park Carol

This public park, which owes its name to King Charles I, is a public garden inaugurated in 1906 in French style. One part occupies the Filaret hill, not far from the wonderful Parliament Building, and it is considered a historical monument since 2004.

Characterized by beautiful vegetation and panoramic views, includes some monuments, such as a Mausoleum, the Cantacuzino Fountain, the statues of giants, the zodiacal fountain, the Technical Museum and a monument in the shape of a small mosque. There is also the Roman outdoor arena, used for some concerts and the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy. Note the flame that burns on an upper terrace near the mausoleum, which serves to remember the fighters belonging to the working class.

In the south-central area of ​​Bucharest, entrance on Bulevardul Mărășești. 1,5 km from the center, you can reach it with a walk of about 30 minutes or by bus 7 and 47 stop Parcul Carol - Get directions

Every Sunday at the main entrance of this park there is a flea market which mainly sells antiques; we advise you to spend some time between banquets that taste like "history"

15 - Spring Palace

Open to the public in 2016 to show the lifestyle of the dictator Ceausescu, the Spring Palace, also known as Casa Ceausescu, is a sumptuous building located in one of the most exclusive streets in Bucharest.

The guided tour allows you to know the private face of the dictator, whose lifestyle was very different from the socialist ideals he preached in words, and above all in stark contrast to the many hardships to which the Romanian people were subjected.
During the tour you will be able to admire luxuriously decorated salons, sumptuous bathrooms equipped with every comfort, an internal tropical garden, a cinema room and an immense swimming pool decorated with mosaics. It must be remembered that the visit takes place in English and it is necessary to book in advance.

  • in Bulevardul Primăverii 50. It can be reached on foot from the Arc de Triomphe (1,6 km, 20 min). Reference metro station Aviatorilor, in Charles de Gaull square (line M2) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10:00 - 17:00, closed Mon
  • full 50,00 RON (€ 10,00), reduced 40,00 RON (€ 8,00)

16 - Obor Market

The Obor Market, built and active since the nineteenth century, is full of typical culinary products, but also of stalls selling various items, such as books, vinyls and everything on which it is easy to be fascinated, just as it happens in all markets that are part of the tradition.

There is both an indoor and an outdoor area. It is far from the historic center and other attractions, but it is definitely worth visiting as it is one of the best markets in Bucharest.

  • in Strada Ziduri Moși 4. 5,4 km from the Parliament Building. It can be reached by metro line M1 from Izvor stop to Obor stop (21 min) - Get directions
  • lun-ven 7:00-19:00, sab 7:00-18:00, dom 7:00-16:00
  • free

17 - Baths of Bucharest

In Bucharest you can find a beautiful spa complex that draws water from over 3.100 meters deep. Featuring 8 swimming pools, slides, garden with relaxation area, it has 3 areas.

Elysium with panoramic swimming pool, 6 saunas, steps with beds, massage areas and a restaurant where you can have lunch in absolute relaxation. Galaxy, on the other hand, is the area for the whole family, with wave pools, acrobatic slides and exotic plants. And finally The Palm, to completely relax in a 33 ° degree thermal pool surrounded by a beautiful garden.

  • Calea Bucureşti 1K, 20 km north of the city. They can be reached by free shuttle from the spa from the city center or by taxi (40 min, average cost € 15,00)
  • lun-gio 9:30-23:30, ven 9:30-0:00, sab-dom 8:00-00:00
  • from 33,00 RON (€ 6,70) / prices vary according to the route and treatments chosen, consult the official website

Other attractions to visit

We have suggested the 15 things to see absolutely in Bucharest, ma if you have time left, the Romanian capital has more to offer.

Switch by Cotroceni Palace to observe it at least from the outside, because the inside is not always open to the public: today it houses the presidency of the republic (to see the extraordinary openings check the official website). Always to see from the outside the CEC building, which houses the headquarters of the CEC Bank, and the National Theater of Bucharest, which consists of six floors (can be visited inside by attending one of the scheduled shows, consult the official website).

Another attraction is the Botanical Garden, inside the University of Bucharest which boasts the exhibition of various plants (7,00 RON / € 1,44). The Antim Monastery, to see if you have time, it should be looked for starting from the Parliament Building and following the direction of a very high tower; from there passing under a frescoed tunnel you will arrive at your destination (free).

During your travels, then, you will happen to pass by Union Square, commissioned by Ceausescu, one of the largest in Bucharest, with a fountain in the center, as well as the main hub for surface transport. Finally, it deserves to be mentioned Mare synagogue (great Synagogue) to visit inside (free), and the Crețulescu Church, Orthodox church that stands out for the red bricks used to build it (free).

5 things to do in Bucharest

  1. Mogoșoaia Palace: 15 km from Bucharest, this historic building from the early 700s in the city of Mogoșoaia, one of the most famous attractions in Bulgaria, is worth a visit!
  2. 1 day tour in Transylvania: you cannot miss a visit to the famous Dracula's Castle, 180 km from Bucharest, reachable by convenient daily tours with transport included
  3. Macca Villacrosse passage: go through this Parisian-looking gallery created in 1800 and made up of two streets ending in the hallway of a large building. The peculiarity is represented by a glass roof that makes everything bright and magical
  4. Bucharest by bicycle: discover the city on a half-day bike tour, with a guide who will take you to discover the main monuments in complete safety
  5. Communism tour: Bucharest was the scene of a communist regime headed by Ceausescu.
    By taking part in a guided tour in the footsteps of communism it is possible to learn more about the history and see the signs that this dictatorship has entailed, among hidden tales, palaces and neighborhoods of the city

Plan your stay: flights and hotels

Bucharest is an inexpensive city. The best months to visit are from May to Octoberwhen temperatures are mild; however also winter, especially in December, is a very suggestive moment.

To reach the Romanian capital from Italy there are many low cost flights landing at Otopeni Henri Coanda airport, 17 km north of the city (from € 50,00). We suggest staying in the city center (starting from € 25,00 per night), convenient to most attractions and served by public transport.

If you are traveling with children, the attractions not to be missed are the Herastau park, the Village Museum, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, the National Museum of Natural History and of course the spa complex, where there is a special area for families. If you are looking for some nightlife instead, the areas where most of the night clubs and pubs are concentrated are located between Piazza Unirii, Lipscani, Selari and Gabroveni streets.

Finally, although in general Bucharest is not an expensive city, there are also several attractions that you can visit for free, such as the various city parks, churches and the Romanian Athenaeum.

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