12 min read
After our Founder Greg spending 48 hours in Paris and bringing you some amazing travel recommendations, our Travel Expert Roxana takes you on a journey to Bucharest, the capital city of Romania.
Move over Prague, out of the way Krakow, Eastern Europe has a new star destination, and its name is Bucharest! Romania’s capital may not be a front runner on your holiday bucket list, but it seriously should be. In recent years more and more people have been catching on to how brilliant Bucharest is, so beat the crowds, be a trendsetter and visit now!
Bucharest became the capital of Romania in 1862 and in the early 20th century it was nicknamed ‘Paris of the East’ for its elegant architecture and avant-garde spirit. Unfortunately, earthquakes, World War Two and the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu all wrought havoc throughout the capital. However, since Ceaușescu’s regime was toppled in 1989, the city has bounced back and seen an economic and cultural boom. Bucharest’s fascinating and tumultuous history is felt in the assorted architectural styles with majestic Renaissance churches and Art Nouveau buildings intermixing with communist landscaping. This marvellous streetscape is just the icing on the cake when it comes to what Bucharest has to offer. The city boasts an electric nightlife, gorgeous green spaces, enlightening museums and an up-and-coming food scene. Need I go on?
A three-hour flight from London isn’t much to pay for a weekend in this charming and exciting city. If you want a taster of what a city break in Bucharest entails, then read on - but be warned it will leave you itching to go right away!
After a 3 hour flight from London Stansted, I land at Otopeni Airport (the main airport in Bucharest). I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the 5* Grand Hotel Continental to drop off my bag.
Grand Hotel Continental is a boutique 5 star hotel in Bucharest located in city center, on the most beautiful boulevard - Victoriei Avenue. The luxury hotel is not just a place of accommodation in Bucharest, but an unique experience in a 5 star hotel in Bucharest.
Grand Hotel Continental has a quiet and calm atmosphere in the heart of Bucharest. It is a building with character, where vintage furniture creates a special place for accommodation in Bucharest.
With an average rating of 4/5, I'm sure it's going to be a great stay!
Start your explorations by getting acquainted with Romanian history and culture at the Ceausescu Mansion. Nicolae Ceausescu was born into a peasant family in 1918 and he never completed his secondary education, but this didn’t stop him rising through the ranks and becoming a powerful communist dictator with his wife Elena. The mansion was their home from 1965 until their execution in 1989, and today it offers a fascinating insightto the inequality that existed under the Ceausescu regime. Book a tour in advance and snoop around the family’s private apartments, their famous golden bathroom, regal cinema room, winter garden with tropical plants and luxurious swimming pool.
Photo Credit: @adrianaparaschivescu
As you marvel at the lavish interiors and grandeur of this mansion, your guide will remind you of the brutal suffering the Romanian people faced to afford it.
A short stroll will bring you to the Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest’s version of Paris’ famous Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. It was built in 1878 to celebrate the troops who obtained Romania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. Slightly smaller than the original but no less magnificent, the Arcul de Triumf is well worth a visit and definitely worth a load of photos!
Photo Credit: @iamfoodietraveler
The Arcul de Triumf is right on the doorstep of one of Bucharest’s lushest gardens, King Mihai I Park, previously known as Herăstrău Park. If you’re feeling hungry, enjoy a delicious lakeside lunch at Pescarus. If you prefer lunch on the go, pick up some scrummy finger food at one of the stalls dotted throughout the park as you enjoy a relaxing walk.
Photo Credit: @kyrenian
Within this tranquil oasis you can find the unique Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum. This open-air museum showcases the traditional life of Romanian peasants by recreating village houses for you to explore. There are over 346 houses spanning three centuries and filled with over 60,000 artefacts that used to be a part of everyday life. The museum will transport you back in time and it is a really brilliant way to learn about the nation’s past.
Photo Credit: @tylerpaduraru
By now I think you are long overdue your first drink in Bucharest! Head south and find the Gradina Eden - and when I say ‘find’, I literally mean it. This garden bar is tucked away in Bucharest’s backstreets, but the hunt makes finding this secret magical haven even more special. Once here, you’ll discover affordable cocktails and pints, to be enjoyed with a game of ping pong or swinging in a hammock.
Photo Credit: @gradinaeden
After a drink (or two!), tear yourself away from this slice of paradise and head to the Food Hood for some dinner. You’ll be relieved to hear it is easy to find, located at the centre of Bucharest’s Old Town. The Food Hood is a trendy street food square with trucks serving burgers, pizza and other dishes with a gourmet flare. There is also usually live music and DJs at the weekends. Order some grub, grab a beer from the bar, kick back and soak up the joyous atmosphere.
Photo Credit: @roditorfoodmarket
Also, take this opportunity to try Vișinată, a drink made from sour cherries, sugar and alcohol. Served in a shot glass but usually sipped,you can’t visit Romania without having a taste!
Photo Credit: @silversonia
Bucharest is gaining a reputation as a party capital thanks to it vibrant nightlife which accommodates for virtually every taste. Luckily for you, you will be right near the heart of it in the Old Town. Virtually every other building in the maze of cobbled streets around the Old Town Centre is home to a bar or a pub with a diverse choice of music and drinks. Partying around here very rarely finishes before dawn so prepare for a wild atmosphere! The BRB recommendations are Fire Club for dancing and the Nomad Skybar for a cool off cocktail to end the night.
Photo Credit: @nomad.skybar
A DIY walking tour is the perfect antidote to a hangover right? Right? Start off at the Romanian Athenaeum, one of the most stunning buildings in Bucharest and an emblem of the city. Finished in 1888, this concert hall incorporates a mix of neoclassical, eclectic, and 19th century French architectural styles. Spend some time marvelling at the ornate exterior before wandering around the Athenaeum’s garden to see numerous statues of important cultural and political Romanian personalities.
Photo Credit: @georgianaa.oanceaa
A short walk away is the Memorial of Rebirth. This striking monument was erectedin 2005 in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in the bloody uprising against the Ceausescu regime. Interestingly, the red paint which drips down the memorial’s façade was not part of the original design. In 2012, someone threw paint at the structure and the authorities never erased the vandalism which actually completes the symbolism of the monument.
Photo Credit: @prabhu_retinography
From here, head to the Stavropoleos Monastry Church. Built in 1724, this charming church is small but sweet and the gorgeous stone and wood carvings that decorate it give it a magical feel.
Photo Credit: @kaanyslbdk
Finish your morning at Bucharest’s most mind-blowing landmark, the Palace of Parliament. In 1984, an entire neighbourhood was flattened to make room for this immense building at the request of Ceausescu who dreamed of building the world’s largest palace. After the revolution, Parliament took over the building. With 12 floors and over 3,000 rooms, the palace is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. While you might be impressed by the immense and imposing Palace of Parliament, for many locals it is a reminder of their troubled past and a terrible drain on resources.
Photo Credit: @balkanxperience
After that long morning of sightseeing, a delicious and filling lunch is in order! Head to the Carturesti Carusel bistro, a fabulous place to grab some grub on the top floor of an incredible bookstore. The glass ceiling lets in loads of natural light as you munch down on a specialist sandwich and I recommend washing it down with their refreshing homemade pomegranate lemonade.
Photo Credit: @repostandoomundo
Once you’re refuelled, head back downstairs to show the main book shop some love. The beautiful white winding staircases, reading nooks and 10,000 books make for an absolutely enchanting space.
Spend the rest of your afternoon taking your senses fora wild ride at Bucharest’s famous Museum of Senses. Test, challenge and stimulate your senses as you journey around this unique exhibition. Awaiting you are all sorts of optical illusions, an infinity mirror room, a vortex tunnel and much more.
Photo Credit: @museumofsensesbucuresti
As the sun begins to set, grab one of the best seats in the city to view it from at a bar called Linea/Closer to the Moon. A favourite of locals and visitors alike, there is always a good vibe and a lovely crowd here.
Photo Credit: @mariciu
Make your last dinner count with an exquisite authentic meal at Caru’ cu Bere. The name translates to “beer wagon” and the gothic revival building will transport you through time to the restaurant’s foundation 130 years ago. Over the years, the Caru’ cu Bere has entertained guests such as The Prince of Japan and the Rolling Stones so you will be in good company! Make sure to save room for the local dessert Papanasi – a pastry filled with cream and drizzled in sour cherry jam.
Photo Credit: @flying.fox
Bring the night to an end with one last drink and toast to a holiday well done at Dianei 4. This beautiful 19th century mansion served as the headquarters of a communist intelligence service before being turned intoa bar. Shabby chic and full of soul, I can’t think of a better place to say bye to Bucharest.
Photo Credit: @te_bessum
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Bucharest and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Roxana Bujoranu (Travel Expert at BeRightBack)
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