Bucharest ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด

Romania is a hidden gem in Eastern Europe and these are my top 7 suggestions. Everything is in Bucharest. I did have plans to visit Bran Castle (home of Dracula) but unfortunately Covid 19 put a stop to that. Watch this space!

1. Palace of the Parliament

Located in Izvor Park, Palace of the Parliament is the pinnacle of communist architecture and is the world’s second largest administrative building (the Pentagon is the first). It is also the heaviest building in the world.

It was started in 1984, is still unfinished and has more than 3000 rooms! It rises to 9 storeys and also goes underground for 9 levels and includes nuclear bunkers in the basement.

To make room for such a large project, an entire neighbourhood and parts of three others were knocked down overnight. The residents received notice in the morning that the had to pack up and leave and by midday the bulldozers had arrived. This resulted in 40,000 people being displaced. A total of โ‚ฌ3 billion was poured into this project while the local people faced food shortages, blackouts and gas cuts.

It is possible to take a tour of the main rooms but book ahead and bring your passport.

Top Tip: Palace of the Parliament is open daily from 10:00 – 16:00

Palace of the Parliament

2. Umbrella Street

Located on Pasajul Victoria, this little hidden passage has a lovely view of brightly coloured umbrellas hanging from above. It can be quite hard to find so if you don’t have data, use maps.me which can be found on my handy travel apps page.

The passage is home to several small restaurants, where you could sit down with a snack or sit down with a cool drink as you enjoy looking up at the colourful umbrellas.

Umbrella Street

3. Carturesti Carusel

This gorgeous bookstore located in the Old Town is now one of the most instagrammed places in the city! One of my favourite places to go but this could be because I love to browse in bookstores.

Bookstore, Bucharest

4. Old Town

The Old Town itself deserved a mention as it is a fantastic place to sit, relax and observe. It is like a small city within a city with lots of twisting and turning cobbled streets and a lively atmosphere. You are spoilt for choice with cafes, bars and restaurants and each one boasts outside seating. During colder months, blankets are thoughtfully provided for customers.

Old Town

5. Herรฃstrรฃu Park

Situated in North Bucharest, this is the largest city park in Europe at an area of 1.1 kilometres. This is a lovely place to sit, relax and admire the beautiful flowers or to stroll through and take in all the different activities, such as a zip wire, listening to a brass band perform in their smart blue uniforms and horse rides. Further into the park is a little lake where you can hire boats and a food and craft fair.

In the warmer months when the sun is shining this is a beautiful place to come and there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Bucharest, Romania

6. Stavropoleos Monastery

This beautiful monastery, also known as Stavropoleos Church, is an Eastern Orthodox monastery for nuns, tucked away in downtown Bucharest, not far from the Old Town. The choir sing Byzantine music and it features a large collection of Byzantine music books.

This church was built in 1724 and now, all that remains or the original monastery is the church and a building from the 20th Century, which houses a library, a conference room and a collection of 18th Century paintings that were rescued during the communist regime.

Monastery, Bucharest
Bucharest Monastery

7. Arcul de Triumf

This is a copy of Paris’s Arc de Triumphe and was built in 1922 to commemorate those who died in Romania’s Great War.

It is twenty-five metres high, about half the size of the one in Paris and sits at the intersection of six streets, rather than twelve like its French counterpart.

Bucharest Romania

8. Lacul Herรฃstrรฃu

If you’re looking for a relaxing couple of hours after all the exploring, take a stroll around the beautiful Lake Herรฃstrรฃu. The lake is surrounded by restaurants and cafes (including a Hard Rock Cafe) if you’re in need of sustenance. All possible to fish here if you’re interested!

Bucharest
Bucharest

Where to Stay

This has to be Hotel Christina, the number one hotel in Bucharest! This lovey hotel is set in downtown Bucharest, close to a metro station making it easily accessible. The rooms are clean and modern and come complete with a remote control bed! On arrival you are presented with cheese and wine and there is a fantastic breakfast, which also includes champagne! Make sure to make use of the free massage chair in the lobby after a long day of sight seeing.

Hotel Christina, Bucharest

Where to Eat

  • Aubergine – This restaurant is located in the Old Town and serves a delicious mix of local and Middle Eastern food. The staff are lovely and I really enjoyed my meal here.
Aubergine, Bucharest
Aubergine
  • Pura Vida – Located in the Old Town is this fantastic Sky Bar and hostel. It is the only roof top bar in the Old Town and has amazing views. However, be prepared for a hike! There are no lifts and the sky bar is several floors up. There are encouraging signs on the steps which will give you a good laugh and keep you going to the top!
Pura Vida
  • The Drunken Lords – also located in the Old Town, this is a great place to come for sandwiches and wraps. It can get very busy and noisy at the weekend so, depending on your taste, it might be better to visit during the week.
Drunken Lords
  • Carcul cu Bere – Situated just across the street from Stavropoleos Monastery, it is the oldest and in the opinion of the locals, the most popular restaurant in Bucharest. Its is a famous meeting spot, has function rooms and has even been frequented by the Rolling Stones! I’d advise booking a table even if it is just for a drink.
Bucharest

Transport

I found that the best way to get about was the metro but taxis are cheap as well. One metro ticket costs 5 Lei (ยฃ0.89) and a day ticket is 8 Lei ( ยฃ1.40).

However, the metro has a creepy feel. It is big with a cold and anonymous feeling and smells damp in several places. Only a couple of stations have boards showing train times but there are lots of helpful maps on the walls. Buying a ticket from the machine can be complicated unless you run into a friendly local (who also speaks English!) but a lot of the stations now have ticket booths. It has a very Soviet feel and security guards stop you from taking pictures.

Overall, it is safe and I would always use it unless I’m by myself late at night.

Metro,

C.King

Brit girl on a bummel. A solo female traveller accompanied by her camera, aiming to see as much of the world as possible and sharing what she's learnt along the way!

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