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About city Gallery Where to stay

Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, is also one of the largest in southeast Europe. Situated on seven hills in the valley of the River Dâmbovița, it is home to around 2 million people and is known as an especially green city, surrounded by parks and lakes. Wide bowery boulevards, cosy Belle Epoque buildings, the famous Arch of Triumph, and the 19th-century French-built and reconstructed buildings are the reasons why Bucharest came to be nicknamed “the Little Paris”.

Arc de triumph Bucharest
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Arc de triumph Bucharest

The city was significantly damaged by the communist regime of N. Ceaușescu, which destroyed many historical buildings and replaced them with faceless architectural structures that are now finally being “Europeanised” thanks to funds from the EU. Many infrastructure projects are currently being carried out to change the look of the concrete buildings of the dictatorial era. An especially large amount of attention is directed to revitalising the historic part of the city.

While in Bucharest, you absolutely have to visit the old Lipscani District, which is very popular with locals and tourists alike. Here you’ll find many cafés, little pedestrian streets and cosy squares. Quiet in the morning and lively during lunch, Lipscani starts to rumble and racket in the evening. Since the narrow passageways between houses that are crowded with tables often have little roofs over them, you can sit outside come rain or shine. Locals like to come here after a hard day at work, drink some coffee or wine and have a nice chat.

Night street scene in Bucharest old city
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Night street scene in Bucharest old city

At weekends, the Old Town gets so packed with people that the city’s narrow passageways become virtually impenetrable. Foreigners love the local prices as they are two to four times lower than in Western Europe. The cosy café and restaurant complex of Hanul lui Manuc with its live music, the Vilacrosse arcade with its billowing hookah smoke, and the ancient Caru cu Bere (open since 1879), or Beer Wagon, with its high vaults are all diners with a unique atmosphere. While you’re there, be sure to try the famous Romanian Ciuc beer.

A tour guide is sure to point out to you the places where battles with the Ceaușescu regime took place, and the 1989 monument, built to commemorate the Romanian Revolution and its heroes. After toppling the communist regime, Michael I – the country’s last king – came back to Romania and took residence in the Elisabeth Palace, which can be explored from the outside.

Every tourist is eventually taken to the city’s most famous object – the Ateneul Roman, built at the turn of the 20th century, which is now Bucharest’s main concert hall with a spectacular interior, decorated with images of historical scenes. In term of acoustics, this Roman pride is rivalled only by Milan’s La Scala Theatre.

If you want a tour of the Parliament, you’ll have to register in advance. It’s the world’s second-largest building (the American Pentagon being the first), which takes up 330,000 sq. m and has over 1,000 rooms. Only Romanian materials were used in building it local marble, Greek walnut and cherry wood, local artisan-made crystal lamps, and excellent-quality woven carpets and tapestries.

Palace of the Parliament
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Palace of the Parliament

The city’s natural, village and history museums are especially interesting. The latter contains the Gold Room where you can see the golden artefacts and royal Roman gold reserves which were found during archaeological digs in the country’s territory.

While in Romania, you’ll often hear the name of Walachia’s duke Vlad Tepes (better known as Dracula). His documents contain the first written mention of Bucharest. This real historic figure was the inspiration for the main character of Bram Stoker’s legendary novel Dracula. Infamous he is for his cruelty and ruthless torture of prisoners, today he’s one of Romania’s best-known symbols.

Where to stay

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