Bucharest has been on the rise for cheap European City breaks for a few years. What to see in Bucharest? Here's a list of the best 9 things to do in Bucharest.
The Palace of Parliament
The Romanian Palace of Parliament is famous for being the second-largest administrative building in the world. The first one is the Pentagon, in the US.
Locals refer to it as The People's House (Ro: Casa Poporului), and it was built by the former communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, as a building to foster all the entities of the state.
The legend says that Ceausescu got the idea of such a building after visiting his friends, the leader of North Korea.
The building has a total surface of 365,000 square meters, and it is also regarded as the heaviest building in the world.
As the name suggests, The People's House, Ceausescu specifically demanded that all materials used (including carpets and other ornaments) be sourced from Romania.
Today, the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest is a symbol of democracy. Its halls and rooms are home for the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate, the Legislative Council, the Constitutional Court of Romania.
The Palace of Parliament is open for visitors. Check their website for the tours schedule and make sure to bring your ID or passport with you for your visit. You'll pass through security, just like at the airport.
Old City Centre
The old town in Bucharest is one of the main attractions for foreigners. And it's one of the first places you'll see because it's literally in the centre of the city.
The streets paved with cobblestone, the shops and the restaurants have a charm nobody can deny, and there's something for everyone.
Here's a list of things to do in Bucharest in the Old Town:
- Manuc's Inn - the oldest operating hotel building in Bucharest, Romania
- Lipscani street
- Carturesti Carousel bookshop
- Stavropoleos Church
- CEC Palace - the headquarter of CEC Bank
- Caru' cu Bere restaurant - famous for its interior decoration, in art nouveau style.
- Curtea Veche (the Old Princely Court)
- National Museum of Romanian History
The Romanian Atheneum
The Romanian Atheneum is a symbol for Romanian culture. The building itself is a 120-year old masterpiece, recognized for its exceptional acoustic.
It's one of those places all locals love and occasionally go there for some pictures. If you want to see the stunning interior, check out their schedule and go check out one the shows.
The location of the Romanian Atheneum is also a spot you can't miss in Bucharest. As the name describes it so well, the Revolution square is the famous place, on Victoria Avenue, where the former communist leader held his last public speech.
The National Theatre
Talking about culture, the National Theater of Bucharest is another import landmark of the Romanian capital.
Named after a famous Romanian playwright, I.L. Caragiale, the theatre was founded in 1852, and it promotes the cultural values of Romania.
Check their website to check their latest performances: I.L. Caragiale National Theatre of Bucharest website.
Arcul de Triumf (Arch of Triumph)
While the entire world knows about the famous arch from Paris, not so many heard about a smaller version of it, which is right here in Bucharest.
The Arch of Triumph is a 27-meter high memorial for heroes of the Independence War and WWI.
For each 1st of December, the entire street gets crowded with people attending the parade for Romania's national day. The parade goes under the arch, and it's a great show no matter your age.
Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History
A fun museum to visit in Bucharest is the museum of natural history, which has over two million pieces (zoological, rocks and minerals).
The displays have an audio or written description in Romanian and English.
Inside the museum, you will discover the Romanian biodiversity, other ecosystems from the planet and the history of the human being.
Village Museum (Muzeul Satului)
The village museum in Bucharest is one of the most sought after museums of the Romanian capital. Density, one of those touristic places in Bucharest for locals and foreigners alike.
It's an open-air museum, opened all year long and each season has its charm—a must on your list of things to do in Bucharest.
You'll get immerse in the Romanian country life, and get the rare chance to explore traditional houses from all around the country.
The exhibition includes:
- Households and Annexe Buildings
- Religious artefacts
- Wooden objects
The largest and most beautiful park of Bucharest is Herastrau Park, which was recently renamed to King Michael Park.
During the summer, you can rent a boat or take the small ferry from one side to the other.
It's located on the northern side of Bucharest, around the lake with the same name, Lake Herăstrău.
The north part of the lake is now lined with highend restaurants and expensive flats, and it has been prefered by the high society since the 19th century.
Another park locals love is Cișmigiu Gardens, which is at a walking distance from the old town.
It isn't exactly one of the things to do in Bucharest as it is more of a chill out place, where you can feel the locals' vibe, and it's where you'll meet locals of all ages.
The park surrounds an artificial lake, where visitors can rent boats in summer or skate during the winter.
It was designed as a garden and it has over 30 000 plants from all Romania, and even some more exotics ones which were brought from the botanical garden in Vienna.
The park has a couple of cafes, refreshment kiosks and - in summer - terraces, as well as some large children's playgrounds. It can get very busy in good weather, but it is a lovely place to spend time.
A walk on Victoriei Avenue
One of the many things to do in Bucharest for free is to walk on Victoriei Avenue and admire all the remarkable architectures of the buildings and palaces.
As a major avenue of Bucharest, it stretches from Splaiul Independenței up to Piața Victoriei, where you'll find the Museum of Natural History.
It was one of the first streets paved in Bucharest, in 1825 and it still is the most famous address in the city.
What are the things to see on Victoriei Avenue?
- The Cantacuzino Palace, hosting The George Enescu Museum
- Museum of Art Collections
- Știrbey Palace Romanian Athenaeum
- National Museum of Art of Romania
- Kretzulescu Church
- Piața Revoluției (Revolution Square)
- Palatul Telefoanelor
- Odeon Theatre
- Casa Capșa
- Cercul Militar Naţional
- Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse
- Bucharest Financial Plaza
- National Museum of History of Romania, with the Statue of Trajan and the She-wolf on its steps
- Casa de Economii și Consemnațiuni (CEC Palace)
You'll need more than one week to get to see it all and admire it. Bucharest has much more to offer, but this list of things to do in Bucharest will get you started.