- Flight time from London: 3 hour
- Henri Coandă International Airport: 19km from the city centre; transfer time about 30 min
- Nearest railway station: Bucharest North railway station
- Currency: Leu
Bucharest is situated in the south-east of Romania and has the beautiful River Dambovita flowing right through the heart of it. As Romania's capital, it is the largest city in the country and has seen an increase in tourism since it joined the EU in 2007 from people looking to explore more of Europe's best destinations.
On the surface, it may look a bit drab and grey but beneath this intentional exterior there is a vibrant city waiting to be discovered. Built this way to mask more colourful and extravagant architecture, there's a lot to explore if you are willing to dig deep enough on your Bucharest city break.
One thing that does delight the senses is the abundance of wide, tree-lined roads which earned the city the nickname of 'Paris of the Balkans', but there is plenty to do besides wander the streets. If the grey of monuments like the Arcul de Triumf does get too much, head inside the beautiful Romanian Athenaeum or one of the many art galleries. Failing that, simply head to the Bucharest botanical gardens or the Herăstrău Park for some picturesque greenery.
The House of the Free Press was designed by Horia Maicu and completed in 1956. Originally it housed the capital's printing presses and newsrooms, but nowadays it serves as the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
In the centre of Bucharest you can find the world's second largest building (after the US Pentagon), formerly named "Casa Poporului" (People's House). You can't leave Bucharest without seeing this stunning building. There are tours available every half an hour.
The architect, Petre Antonescu, built the Arc which is 85 feet high. It was originally built out of wood to honour Romanian soldiers in WWI.
Before the monarchy was abolished in Romania, the palace was home to King Carol II and to his son, King Mihai I. Today the Royal Palace has been turned into the Romanian National Art Museum.
In 1888, the French architect Albert Galleron built the Athenaeum Concert Hall. The lobby has a beautifully painted ceiling and outside you can see the curved balconies cascade in ringlets off a spiral staircase. This is also the home of the Romanian George Enescu's philharmonic.
Bucharest's most exclusive restaurant. Excellent international chefs, but very pricey.
A favourite amongst locals, focusing on traditional Romanian food. Reasonable prices and the standard by which most locals would grade other restaurants.
The Plaza Romania is the biggest shopping centre in Bucharest.
The newest shopping centre is the Sun Plaza and it is situated right next to a metro station (Piata Sudului). The big high street stores are waiting for you.
220 shops make Baneasa a mega shopping mall. All the other centres look small in comparison to this one.
Bucharest has everything from stylish bars, Irish pubs, lounge clubs and jazz bars. Everyone will find a suitable entertainment for the evening.
The Piranha is a large pub with a huge outdoor terrace in the middle of a wooded area, featuring a small collection of exotic animals. One of the few outdoor places where the summer heat is actually bearable. It's a favourite amongst students thanks to the amazingly low prices (a beer is 2.5 lei, about €0.75). However, it can get quite crowded and noisy.
Best alternative/indie club in Bucharest with a lot of live shows and good music.
The first and oldest club in Bucharest, with nearly 40 years tradition (this is very significant for a city where most clubs are less than 5 years old). From the beginning, it has remained a student pub and club, with an unpretentious but welcoming atmosphere, good music and low prices.
This tremendously popular gay club offers superb music and makes for an essential stop for hedonists of all persuasions. It can become quite crowded, though. Entry costs 20.00 leu, but that includes 10.00 leu worth of drinks at the bar.
Located near the National Theatre, this bar is filled with university students, artists, musicians and young professionals. Usually crowded, the bar (called Laptaria Lui Enache) is open all year long whilst its rooftop counterpart (called La Motor) is open only during the summer when movies are shown on the terrace. At Laptaria, you can catch live music most evenings.
© Fred. Olsen Travel 2024.
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