Bucharest, Romania Guide: Best Things to Do, See, and Eat

Bucharest may not be on the top of most people’s European travel lists, but with amazing architecture, a rich culture and history, and so many fun things to do, it’s well worth a visit. Plus, it’s known as the “Paris of the East,” so you know you’ll have a good time! Here’s a Bucharest, Romania guide for all of the best things to do, see, and eat while visiting!

Bucharest Romania Guide

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Bucharest Romania Guide: Top Things To Do

Explore Old Town Bucharest

With cobblestone streets, medieval ruins, and loads of charming shops and restaurants, Old Town is a must-visit when in Bucharest! Make sure to check out these sites while you’re there:

Bucharest Romania Guide: Old Town

Pasajul Victoriei:

AKA the umbrella street, Pasajul Victoriei is the perfect spot to snap an insta pic! Then, walk through the alleyway to admire the colorful umbrellas hung overhead, or grab a bench and enjoy people-watching.

Bucharest Romania Guide: Pasajul Victoriei

Pasajul Macca-Villacrosse

For a hidden gem, you have to check out Pasajul Macca-Villacrosse! It’s a covered, horseshoe-shaped alleyway that’s home to all kinds of cool shops, cafes, and restaurants!

Pasajul Macca-Villacrosse - Bucharest Romania Guide

National Bank of Romania

While a bank might not be your first thought for sightseeing, the National Bank of Romania should be. It’s breathtaking inside and out. Plus, they offer free, 1.5-hour tours in English every weekday at noon and 4 pm!

National Bank of Romania Bucharest

Carturesti Carusel

One of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Cartuesti Carusel is so fun to stroll around in, shop for your next train read, or just take in the architecture.

Carturesti Carusel - Bucharest

Check Out Bucharest's Most Famous Landmarks

Get to know the rich history and culture of Bucharest by visiting some of its most important landmarks. Here are some of the must-sees:

Calea Victoriei

Calea Victoriei is one of the most important, oldest, and prettiest streets in all of Bucharest. A wide avenue with lots of room for pedestrians and a dedicated bike/scooter lane, it’s a perfect place for a morning or afternoon stroll!

Calea Victoriei Bucharest

Palace of Parliament

Once known as the “people’s house” during communist rule, this gigantic building is an important symbol of Bucharest’s long history. You can admire it from the outside or book a tour in advance to see some of the maze-like hallways.

Bucharest Romania Guide - palace of parliament

Bucharest Arcul de Triumf

Like any good European city, Bucharest has its own version of the Arc de Triomphe, the Arcul de Triumf. If you’re there in December, make sure to watch the national holiday parade that takes place on the 1st of December each year!

Bucharest Romania Guide: arc de triumf

Romanian Athenaeum

If you’re an architecture buff (or just an admirer), you’ll love the Romanian Athenaeum. Built in 1888, the concert hall is a symbol of Romanian culture and art, where you can still see concerts put on by the amazing George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bucharest Romania Guide - Romanian Athenaeum

Curtea Veche

Enter Vlad the Impaler’s old ruling grounds at Curtea Veche! Now an archeological site, you can still feel his presence in the form of a slightly intimidating bust.

Curtea Veche Bucharest

Stavropoleos Church

Made in the beautiful Brancovenesc style, this early 18th-century church is a masterpiece in Old Town!

Bucharest Romania Guide - Stavropoleos Church

Romanian Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral

Also known as the Metropolitan Church, the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral is a beautiful, still-functioning church best known for its acapella choir.

Bucharest Romania Guide Russian Orthodox Church

Dealul Mitropoliei

Right next door to the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral is Dealul Mitropoliei, a very important location in Romanian history. Not only is it the seat of the Romanian Orthodox religion, it’s also the historic seat of Romanian politics.

Bucharest Romania Guide Dealul Mitropoliei

Revolution Square

On Calea Victoriei by the Athenaeum, Revolution Square is a historic landmark for all Romanians. It’s the site of the former Royal Palace, the University of Bucharest, and where the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which ended Communist rule, began.

Bucharest Romania Guide: Revolution Square

Bucharest Russian Church

Built in a traditional Russian style (think onion-shaped domes), the Bucharest Russian Church stands out in downtown Bucharest. Surrounded by a lush park, it’s a beautiful spot!

Bucharest Romania Guide - Russian Church

Palatul Primăverii

Go on a guided tour through dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s old house, Palatul Primăverii. Its name means “spring palace”, which will make sense as you wander through its lush gardens and gaudy gold-plated interior.

Taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour is the best way to see everything in a short time! Plus, you won’t have to grab a bunch of different taxis or spend all day walking from spot to spot.

Enjoy the Beauty of Herăstrău Park

As the largest city park in Europe, Herăstrău Park is a must-visit for locals and visitors alike! There are almost 500 acres to discover with attractions like:

  • Boat or Hydro-Bicycle Rentals – Make it an active day by renting a boat or hydro-bike to explore the huge Herăstrău Lake! Don’t forget to pack a picnic! 

  • Herastrau Aquarium – See hundreds of species of colorful reef fish (plus sharks and rays) at the Herăstrău Aquarium, open from 9 am-9 pm every day!

  • Japanese Garden – Enjoy a moment of peace and quiet in the tranquil Japanese Gardens!

  • Elisabeta Palace – Admire the Elisabeta Palace, the official residence of the former Romanian royal family. They’re pretty lucky to have the park as a backyard!

Herastrau Park

Visit a Museum to Embrace Romania’s History and Culture

Because Bucharest has such a fascinating history and culture, no trip is complete without visiting at least a few of their museums! Here are some of the most popular:

Romanian Peasant Museum
While most museums hold artifacts of history’s elite, the Romanian Peasant Museum lets you glimpse into the life of peasants around the countryside throughout the centuries. 

National Museum of Romanian History
To learn all about Romania’s long history of revolution, monarchical and communist rule, and more, head over to the National Museum of Romanian History

National Museum of Art
To see the works of Romania’s most celebrated artists, as well as internationally renowned artists like Monet, visit the National Museum of Art, housed in the gorgeous former Royal Palace on Revolution Square. 

Museum of Art Collections
A separate branch of the National Museum of Art holds the Museum of Art Collections, which showcases 44 incredible collections that have been donated to Romania!

Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History
You can see all sorts of interesting natural history exhibits (like the only full skeleton of a giant elephant in the world) at the Grigore Antipa Museum of Natural History

George Enescu National Museum
The George Enescu National Museum celebrates the life and works of George Enescu, one of the most famous and important Romanian musicians ever. It’s worth a visit even if you don’t know his work because it’s located in the incredibly beautiful Cantacuzino Palace! 

Bucharest Romania Guide - Museums

Stroll Through Bucharest, Romania's Beautiful Gardens

If you’re traveling in the summer, make the most of the amazing weather with a visit to one of Bucharest’s lush gardens. 

Cismigiu Gardens
Cismigiu Gardens has everything you want in a garden and more–from beautiful fountains and a boating lake to an elegant restaurant located on an island and a 19th-century brewery serving up beer and food!

Bucharest Botanical Garden
With 45 acres and over 10,000 species of plants, the Bucharest Botanical Garden is a lush oasis located on the banks of the Dambovița River. They also have an entire acre of greenhouses (my favorite!), but don’t make the same mistake I did–the greenhouses are closed Mondays and Wednesdays even though the rest of the gardens are open daily!

Bucharest Romania Guide - Botanical Gardens
Bucharest Botanical Gardens

Take a Day Trip to Transylvania

If you’re interested in taking a day trip from Bucharest, I would recommend booking a tour. Tours are safe, they plan everything out for you, and you don’t have to worry about transportation!  I usually book with Viator whenever I travel — check out their Bucharest tours here.

Dracula’s Castle
Bran Castle, better known as Dracula’s Castle, is a breathtaking stone fortress, dramatically jutting out of the green hills of Transylvania. Based on Bram Stoker’s description of his character Dracula’s home and the local myth of evil “steregoi” spirits, you can tour this spooky spot to see for yourself if vampires are real. Just make sure to pack some garlic!

Bucharest Romania Guide - Day Trips

Pele’s Castle
Enjoy views and learn about history at Peleș Castle. Located in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains, you can explore the vast rooms, visit the art and artifact collections, or tour the gorgeous grounds!

Bucharest Romania Guide Day Trip

Here is the day tour I booked through Viator, would definitely recommend it: Transylvania and Dracula Castle Full Day Tour from Bucharest

Best Places to Eat + Drink in Bucharest, Romania

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