What you can do while in Bucharest and some tips for having a good time
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Sometimes a person does not have enough time to organize a trip and just needs to think about a nearby destination, and if it is not in Bulgaria, why not visit a neighboring country.
How to travel to Bucharest?
From Bulgaria it is best by car. A short stay can be made in Rousse, which is always worth admiring its beautiful, but unfortunately in need of renovation, buildings in the center. You can read about proposition for staying and dining in Ruse in my publications Residence House – hotel in Rousse next to the Danube river and Terassa restaurant in Ruse with a view of the Danube river. We crossed the border and the Danube bridge on Sunday, there was no line at all.
There are also direct flights, moreover, the tickets are not very expensive.
The prices in Bucharest
Although you can get to Bucharest quickly and for just a little money, it turns out that staying there is not cheap at all.
The prices are double those in Bulgaria. A bottle of cheap wine in a restaurant in our country costs 15-20 EUR. The cheapest wines of Romanian origin in restaurants there are 160-200 lei, roughly divided by 4 to get the equivalent of 40-50 EUR. For French you have to spend at least EUR 100. Coffee is EUR 5, beer – EUR 7.5. Cocktails are over EUR 10 everywhere, while in Bulgaria they are BGN 15 in good cocktail bars.
In other words, the prices are like in Western Europe, but you don’t have the feeling of being there. I didn’t get the impression that Romanians don’t spend, on the contrary, they boldly order at the restaurants. Apparently, the standard is generally higher than that in Bulgaria.
So, get ready to spend.
Be careful with taxis in Bucharest
I was advised to use either Uber or Bold, not to rely much on local companies. Since I already have an account in the first one, I decided to use them. The problem is that if you are 4 people, you have to choose the biggest car class, but who to tell you that. When you call them, they immediately charge you, and if they don’t pick you up because they refuse if you are 4 and their car class is lower, they don’t give you your money back. So here, too, research things in advance.
What can you do in Bucharest?
Bucharest offers a wide variety of entertainment, cultural and historical attractions, but not only. It is also characterized by its countless fountains, parks, lots of greenery. The river Dambovita runs through it and provides a constant flow of water for all this natural abundance.
When walking around pay attention to the following emblematic buildings in Bucharest:
Bucharest has a very interesting architecture of buildings, whether from older times or from socialism. So, it is a pleasure to walk along the central boulevards and streets, to look up and stare at them.
I’ll mark them on Google Maps below to help you navigate.
- The CEC Bank building on Calea Victorei. They call it the Palace of the Deposits and Consignments or in Romanian Casa de Economii și Consemnațiunie. A very beautiful old building dating back to 1900.
- Opposite to it is the National Museum of Romanian History or Muzeul Național de Istorie a României.
- The Church of the Stavropol Monastery (Biserica Mănăstirii “Stavropoleos”), which is Eastern Orthodox and dates from 1724.
- If you walk in the opposite direction of the river along Calea Victorei, look to the right for a monumental building that currently houses the Ministry of the Interior of Romania (Ministerul Afacerilor Interne). In socialist times, it was the headquarters of the Communist Party, from which Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu escaped by helicopter during the events of 1989, when Romania rejected totalitarianism. They were later arrested and executed in public, with an impromptu trial, by a firing squad. It was broadcasedt on national television, in Romania, and in Bulgaria too. As they say in Latin Sic transit gloria mundi. This is how world fame passes.
- In front of it, to remind not to repeat the mistakes of totalitarism, is the Memorial of Rebirth (Memorialul Renașterii), which is dedicated to the victims in the struggle against it. Romania has been in socialism and a centralized model of the economy since 1947 until 1989. The black oval figure in the middle of the tall pyramid symbolizes the cage of communism that has held the people captive.
- Before that, on the left you can still see an old Eastern Orthodox Kretzulescu church, from 1720 – Biserica Kretzulescu
- Continue in the same direction along Calea Victorei and on your left you will see the National Art Museum (Muzeul Național de Artă). If you have time, you better check it out.
- Shortly after is the statue with the horseman, which is of one of the kings of Romania – Carol I. It was destroyed by the communists, but it was rebuilt in 2007.
- Then on the left is the Royal Palace (Palatul Regal din București) and on the right, opposite it is the Concert Hall– Roman Anthenaeum (Ateneul Român).
- The passage Macca Villacrosse (Pasajul Macca – Villacrosse) is interesting, which is a covered street full of small establishments, colorful and cozy. The other interesting passage, rather because of its colorful umbrellas, is Pasajul Englez, but something seemed off – the establishments seemed to be closed, there were construction materials.
- Of course, the most interesting building is the Palace of Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului). It is also called the House of the Republic, the People’s House. A Romanian told me some time ago that in socialist times they joked that this was not the People’s House, but the Ceausescu’s Victory over the People House. The building is huge, I can’t even imagine how much are its maintenance costs. It is said that there are still parts that have not been completed and are left to languish in mystery and ruin, such as the huge pools in the dungeon. You can certainly learn more if you go on a tour inside, but you should know something very important.
To visit the Palace of the Parliament, you need to buy tickets the day before. You can’t just go and walk in.
A limited number of people are admitted and when a group of visitors is filled up the rest are redirected for subsequent visits. Groups fill up quickly because the interest is high. You must carry a foreign passport, and maybe an identity card, but first check if this is the case. They may hold your document while you are inside the tour and then return it to you. I read different sources and each gave different details.
It is worth making an effort to enter to learn more about this monstrous human creation. Because of this mastodon, which is said to be the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, tens of thousands of families were displaced, their native houses, old factories, churches and monasteries were destroyed. Absolutely uncompromising, the socialist government of that time obliterated the pretty neighborhood that was located on Uranus Hill to the ground.
So, there are many buildings to see in Bucharest, but only if you also have time to walk around.
Take a walk in the Old Town of Bucharest
The old town is right in the center. It is full of small establishments, bars, restaurants. Numerous people will beckon and invite you in front of each one, but it’s better to have a plan of where you want to go than to succumb to their pushy attention.
I really liked 2 places there:
Beer O’Clock, which offers a wide variety of different types of beer, including draft beer. The music is hard rock, the waiters are friendly and happy to recommend different types of beer according to your taste and most importantly, they smile. This is important because in many places we went to in Bucharest, the people there did not smile at us.
Nomad Skybar. There, apart from nice cocktails, you can also eat. It is located on the top of the building and the view is pleasant from there. Its interior is very pleasant and offers comfort. There is also a terrace on the second level which is exactly the roof.
Movie watching time: 2:32 min.
Where to stay in Bucharest?
As always, I did quite a bit of research and after narrowing down the list to 3 options that met the criteria of having an interesting design, to be impressive somehow, we chose the one with the best location.
It was the Marmorosh Hotel, from Marriott Bonvoy’s Autograph Collection. It impressed me with its style, in Art Deco style, the slight provocation in it and the antiquity of the building. It housed a bank before it became a hotel. The history goes back to the 19th century, but you can read more in the publication about the hotel Marmorosch Autograph, Marriott Bonvoy Hotel in Bucharest.
Where to eat in Bucharest?
The old town is full of the most diverse restaurants.
If you are walking along Calea Victorei, you cannot help but be impressed by a colorful place – Ganesha Cafe. Bistro, bar, cocktails, hookah. You can also eat there.
For my birthday I chose a fine dining restaurant which turned out to be quite expensive, more expensive even than Mikla in Istanbul, which received a Michelin star the last time inspectors were visiting around.
The gourmet restaurant in Bucharest is called Kaiamo and is located in that part of town where the lakes are. The cuisine is at a very high level and aims to show traditional Romanian dishes in a new modern style, and if you choose a wine pairing, it’s all Romanian. You can read more about the restaurant in the publication about it.
If you have not pre-paid for breakfast at the hotel, the restaurants in the old town can present you with a variety of options.
We decided to have a sort of brunch at the Grand Café Van Gogh and we didn’t regret it even though it ended up being exactly what we would have paid for breakfast at the hotel i.e. EUR 25 per person per day.
We also had dinner in a Lebanese restaurant, as our idea was to be on the shore of the lake, but no one from the restaurant warned us that such a view does not exist in practice.
The restaurant’s name is Zaitoone. I do not recommend it so much, especially if you are for a short time in Bucharest. If you are such a big fan of Lebanese cuisine most probably you will like it.
Certainly, to try the traditional cuisine of Romania, the most emblematic place is Caru Cu Bere. An old building that was once a brewery, which has preserved its dignity to this day, welcomes many tourists every day to show the local delicacies and entertain the public in the evening with the national folklore of the Romanians.
To understand what is worth trying from the local cuisine read the review about it Traditional Romanian restaurant Caru Cu Bere in Bucharest, Romania
How to get to all these places in Bucharest?
Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pins of their locations and then select directions:
How to book your stay?
You can book your stay right here. For your convenience, I have added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you and I will get a modest commission. Just enter the dates of your trip, the place, then hit the Search button and voila.
Where to follow the latest posts of the review and rating blog placescases.com?
Are you looking for information about good restaurants, hotels and all kinds of nice places around the world and in Bulgaria? Then dig into the categories of the one-of-its-kind blog for reviews and evaluation of interesting places, refracted through the 5D Sensograph of the 5 human senses – placescases.com. You may find something just for you.
Do you ever wonder how some places differ so much from others in service, environment, as an overall experience? This means you are also interested like me in the topic of The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. I constantly add to my collection reviews about those of them, which practice its principles, regardless of intentionally or accidentally. If you are curious to understand which they are, explore category The Experience Economy.