I arrived in Bucharest with no expectations and departed feeling blown away by this city.
Romania’s capital had never really been on my wander-list, but without good reason. I was indifferent about travelling to this country, perhaps because I knew so little about it. But
You guys know I’m into sustainable travel. Bucharest is a relatively lesser visited destination by Westerners and for that reason I recommend visiting here instead of somewhere like Barcelona or Prague (although those are nice cities too)
Here are six reasons you need to visit Bucharest! Scroll down to see my full Bucharest Travel Guide for details on where to stay, where to eat, how to get around and what to pack.
Six Reasons to Visit Bucharest
1. Bucharest’s history will amaze you
There is so much more to Bucharest than meets the eye and there are stories kept in the cracks of buildings, the city’s squares, the parks. This is a city that has seen huge geographical changes, wars, a monarchy, the rise and fall of communism, the influx of the gypsy community, even the legend of Dracula.
The many different styles of architecture in Bucharest show the different eras of history the city has seen. Each building is different to the next one, modelled on a particular style from around Europe. I cannot possibly give you a full account of the city’s history here, but I urge you to take a walking tour of the city to understand the historical, political, geographical and economical journey that Bucharest has taken to date.
2. Bucharest is photogenic
Something I hadn’t realised before visiting this city is just how photogenic it is.
First off, the architecture is gorgeous, and there are so many styles that it feels like you’re walking through a movie-set back in time.
The city is dotted with parks which means there’s greenery around you every few hundred metres, and these parks are adorned with exotic plants and birds.
There are many quirky things to see in Bucharest, such as the street which is covered with umbrellas, and cafes that are decorated with street art, and the views of the city from up high are stunning. Have a read of these 11 must-see photo spots in Bucharest for more inspiration!
3. Bucharest is cheap
Romania doesn’t use the Euro (unlike what I thought before I left, consequently bringing euros with me on my trip – doh!).
The currency in Romania is the lei; five lei is around 98p at the time of writing (£0.98 GBP). It’s either written as lei or as RON.
Here’s the cost of some necessities:
- a sit down meal: 25 RON + (about £5 GBP)
- one night in a dorm room in a hostel: 35 RON + (about £7 GBP)
- one night in a hotel: 200 RON + (about £40 GBP)
- a 15 minute uber journey: 10-20 RON (about £2-4)
- a beer: 5 RON (about £1!!!)
- entry to an attraction:
- nightclub entry: often free (particularly for girls!) or about 25 RON (£5 GBP) max!
- pedalo ride: 10 RON (about £2 GBP) for 30 mins on the lake
- ice cream: 5-10 RON (about £1-2 GBP)
- bottle of water: 2-3 RON (less than £1 GBP) – although you won’t be buying bottles of water because you’ll take your reusable water bottle with you! The tap water is drinkable.
Tipping isn’t mandatory in restaurants, taxis, etc. but is welcomed of course!
As you can see a trip to Bucharest won’t break the bank!
4. Bucharest is not too crowded with other tourists
Because Romania isn’t hugely popular with Western European tourists (yet), it’s fairly easy to go about your holiday without being disturbed by too many other tourists.
Bearing in mind I visited Bucharest in the height of summer with 49 other travel bloggers, the city was never full of tour groups. Even when I wasn’t with my group, there weren’t unreasonable queues for attractions etc.
This means your experiences in Bucharest won’t be overly skewed by tourism – you can have an essentially authentic experience of the city, and the rest of Romania if you choose to travel further.
However, tourism rates in Romania are on the rise, so be sure to visit Bucharest soon!
5. There’s so much to see and do in Bucharest
The Old Town is walkable and this part of the city can be enjoyed taking photos as you wander the streets, dipping into boutiques and bookstores, stopping for a coffee or a pint of beer.
Walking tours such as a private walking tour of Bucharest or a communism tour will educate you while you see the sights!
Museums are a good way to learn (or spend a rainy afternoon) – Ferestroika is a communist apartment you can wander around, the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum is a Village created in traditional Romanian style, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in the southwestern wing of the Palace of the Parliament.
There are a number of Escape Rooms in Bucharest Have some relaxation time in a spa such as the InterContinental’s Spa and Gym on the 42nd floor (there’s an amazing view of the city from up there too!)
Go on a pedalo or rowboat on the lake, or you can go kayaking, or even have a driving experience in a hot rod car!
6. The Nightlife in Bucharest is great
While I was in Bucharest, I was told by a local that the nightlife is on par with Ibiza. Whilst I haven’t been to Ibiza, I do highly doubt this, but it’s still a great night out – and at a fraction of the price (entry costing £5 GBP max!)
Bucharest has clubs and bars for every taste and every budget. It’s a hotspot for stag do’s as it’s cheap and every other bar or club has beautiful dancers on stage. But if Gentlemen’s clubs are not your thing, there are heaps of rooftop bars and cocktail bars where you can enjoy a drink or two…
Bucharest Travel Guide
Where to stay in Bucharest
During my time in Bucharest I stayed at the Ibis Hotel which was a comfortable and pleasant stay. This was a complimentary offer from #ExperienceBucharest. You can search other options with the widget below or consider an AirBnB. Sign up with this link to get £25 off your first booking.
How to get around in Bucharest
Unlike many popular European cities, Bucharest isn’t a compact, completely walkable city – attractions are spread out around the city and there’s some fair distance between them.
That said, it’s fairly easy to navigate with public transport, which isn’t expensive.
- Buses: Buses are a bit old but are clean and efficient, and they’re the cheapest form of public transport in Bucharest. The official website for the public bus service is a bit clunky to use but does the job.
- Metro: Metrorex is the service provider for metros. There are four lines so it’s not really confusing to navigate. They aren’t the speediest but are reliable. There’s a handy map here.
- Uber: Uber is really popular in Romania and it’s really cheap too. If you haven’t used it before, don’t fret – it’s very safe and easy to use. Sign up through this link to get a discount off your first journey!
- Taxi: Pricier than Uber, but still not overly expensive. They’re everywhere in Bucharest.
- Electric scooters, and bikes: Bucharest’s green initiative is hugely popular. You pay per minutes that you use your vehicle. There’s more info on the blinkee website.
Packing list for Bucharest
- Romania uses the 2 prong plug like the rest of Europe. I travel with a worldwide adapter so I’m always prepared – buy yours here.
- Don’t forget your camera. I use a Canon 80D with a 18-135mm lens, as well as my iPhone X.
- To minimise your plastic use while in Bucharest, take a reusable water bottle, metal straw and bamboo cutlery.
- Guide books are a must – I like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.
- Pack comfortable walking shoes for all the walking tours!
- Don’t forget your travel insurance! I use World Nomads.
Have you visited Bucharest?
Thanks for reading and happy travels!
Disclaimer: I was invited to visit Bucharest on a press trip with #ExperienceBucharest. My accommodation, experiences, and some meals and transport were complimentary.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase something from the linked site, I’ll earn a tiny (and I mean tiny!) commission at no extra cost to you, which contributes to running this blog.
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