Bucharest hotels and tours

Bucharest Destination Guide

The city of Bucharest is home to many world-class museums, art galleries and churches, and numerous architectural marvels as well. Its political legacy offers many interesting places for sightseeing. From the turbulent early 1900s, when Bucharest aspired to become the ‘Paris of the Balkans',  to the "Centru Civic", communist legacy of Ceausescu, which brought feelings of both awe and outrage among citizens, the appeal of Bucharest has always remained multi-dimensional.

The skyline of Bucharest is dotted with churches, excellent museums and parks.

Find out all the things you should check out during your stay in our Bucharest destination guide below. There is a wealth of things to see and do, especially for history and art buffs. Be sure to also take a look at our Bucharest tours page to book an exciting tour or activity with us. Our Romania Country Guide will provide all the travel information you need to plan your trip.

We recommend you check out the Bucharest travel information from fellow travellers on the RealTravel web site. 

Things to See & Do in Bucharest and surroundings

Follow the links below or scroll further down the page for details on some of the many interesting tourist attractions in Bucharest and surroundings:

If you might require english to spanish translation you can always count on our partners from Vedia translation agency. They will help you translate any city guide on any language you need!

Caru’ cu Bere

Caru’ cu Bere, a true living legend and also one of the oldest beer house in Bucharest, was opened for the first time in 1879 in the old Zlatari inn and, after 20 years it moved to Stavropoleos Street, where it can be found even today. Nicolae Mircea along with his family had a major role in Caru' cu Bere’s history. He managed along the years to make of Caru' cu Bere one of the most appreciated divertissement places from Bucharest.

The beer house from Stavropoleos Street is a traditional place, where each object has its own story. It is one of the few places in Bucharest where it seems that nothing has changed, and the architecture reminds, to the ones who step into, why Bucharest was once considered to be the little Paris. The mural paintings, the stained glasses and the carved cross-beams are distinctive elements of the beer house. The old time party spirit is still present in these days, the atmosphere reminding of Bucharest's exuberance from the XXth century beginnings. The place's symbol is Old Ghita, whose silhouette guards even today the right cross-beam. Old Ghita, the cellar man, worked some dozens of years within Caru cu Bere, moving up and down the stairs to the cellar cram-full with wine and beer barrels together with its inseparable lantern.

The pub's party atmosphere attracted along the years many important personalities. One of the most faithful clients of "Neculai Mircea's beer house”, as his Transylvanian fellows used to call him, was George Cosbuc or uncle Gheorghe for the close ones, who felt like home in Neculai's beer house. Uncle George often met with Octavian Goga, I.L.Caragiale, Iancu Brezeanu and other friends in Caru' cu Bere.

Along with the beer made after a secret original recipe, Caru' cu bere is also famous for the tastiest culinary recipes. For a long time, the house specialty was considered to be hot dogs with horseradish, of which tonnes were consumed every day, and for the minced horseradish many waiters generations wiped. The Frankfurters, boeuf salad, black radish and olives offered for free along with the wine bottle create for many people a pleasant addiction. But no one complained, on the contrary!

Nowadays Caru cu Bere has the goal to revive a tradition. Moreover, whatever happens in here shall be part of an activity of promoting a real beer culture! Upstairs, in the beer house, the unique recipe of the house' beer, along with a little diversified menu with specific food, shall remind of the old time taste. The old wine cellar shall be available for those ones who want to prepare more solidly for a night at the Caru cu Bere. Also in here there are objects from all over Romania related to the beer spirit. And also in here the spirit of the beer itself shall be found.

Exploring the city

If you're keen to explore the city, visit the areas of Snagov, Bran, Brasov, Sinaia and Poenari Fortress.


Herastrau Park

The immense Herastrau Park is spread over 400 acres, all the way from the Baneasa Bridge to the Arc of Triumph, and has a host of attractions from boat rentals to tennis courts and even an old-fashioned fairground. Several terraces in the park are opened during the summer. A good way to see the park is by ferry or by renting a boat. The Village Museum is also located in the park and is a great starting point for exploring the city. Remember to visit the streets between Bulevardul Mircea Eliade and the Soseaua Kisileff that have magnificent old houses built in the neoclassical style of the 19th century, art nouveau style of the 20th century and even luxurious modern villas. This is the part of town where the elite of Bucharest have always lived, and still do.

Historic Centre

The old cobblestone streets located between the Calea Victoriei, Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta, Bulevardul Bratianu and the Dambovita River are Bucharest’s most distinctive areas. Here you will find a happening alternative club scene, bars, restaurants and trendy cafes where life spills out on the streets during summer. Credited to Vlad Tepes, the Curtea Veche (Old Court), built in the 15th century, has a few remaining arches, walls, tombstones and a Corinthian column that has been restored. The 16th century church, Biserica Curtea Veche is located next door and is the oldest church in Bucharest. East of the church is Hanul lui Manuc, the oldest inn of the city, which still has a moderately priced hotel, basement restaurant and a cafe-bar in the courtyard (but now is closed for restauration).

Over to the north is Strada Lipscani, a merchant street where you can buy handmade hats, bridal gowns and cheap clothes. The Hanul cu Tei alley is a great place to shop for antiques and handmade souvenirs.

One block to the south west of Strada Lipscani is Stavropoleos street, where the notable Biserica Stavropoleos is located. Built in 1724, this church can be called Bucharest’s most beautiful, not only for its recently restored icons and frescoes, but also for its peaceful cloister garden that is filled with 19th century tombstones and many antiquities. This church was designed by the Wallachian prince, Constantin Brancoveanu (1688-1714) who was known for his achievements in religious architecture.


Jewish Bucharest

There are many interesting things to see in Vacaresti, the old Jewish part of town that is located east of the historic part of town and northeast of the Piata Unirii. The Jewish History Museum, located in a 19th century synagogue, showcases the countless Jewish contributions to Romania and serves as a memorial to 350,000 Romanian Jews who died in WW II concentration camps. A visit to the Sephardic Jewish Cemetery in south Bucharest, near the metro station at Eroii Revolutiei, is another must when in the city. The working synagogues in Bucharest are Yeshoah Tova and Choral Temple.

National Art Museum

The National Art Museum is the country’s foremost art museum and was founded in 1948, initially to display the erstwhile Royal Collection of European and Romanian art from the 15th to 20th centuries. The museum is located in the neoclassical style former Royal Palace close to several historic buildings like the Kretzulescu Church, Hotel Athenee Palace-Hilton and the Romanian Athenaeum. There are two main sections showcasing over 100,000 works of art. The National Gallery features famous Romanian artists such as Aman, Andreescu and Grigorescu, along with a roomful of sculptures by Brancusi which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and shows how the artist was more expressive than his master and mentor Rodin. The second part of the museum is the European Gallery, which consists of 15 rooms with works of Monet, Rembrandt, El Greco, Breughels (both father and son), Rubens, Cezanne and Renoir. If you’re short on time, then visit the National Gallery as it houses the most cohesive collection of Romanian art in the world.

National Museum of Contemporary Art

The MNAC, as it is called by the locals, is the city’s newest museum and showcases works by contemporary Romanian artists and travelling exhibitions by famous international artists. Located in a wing inside the Parliament Palace, this area was originally the private apartment of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, where the bathroom measured 680 sq ft and the adjacent boudoir was triple its size.

Parliament Palace

Once known as the People’s Palace, the immense Parliament Palace was built by Nicolae Ceausescu, leader of the Communist Party, and is the world’s second largest administrative building after the Pentagon in the US. The construction of the Palace required 700 architects and 20000 workers. There are 12 storeys, with a total of 1100 rooms and four underground levels, of which one is a huge nuclear bunker, and a grand 328 ft long lobby.

It is possible to see the palace on a guided tour when the Senate is not in session, as part of the palace is used by the Senate. The palace interior is luxurious and imposing, with crystal chandeliers that have up to 7000 light bulbs, oak panelling, gold leaf, marble, mosaics, rich carpets and exquisite stained-glass windows.

Revolution Square

This famous square came to the world’s attention when Nicolae Ceausescu’s last few moments in power were broadcast on TV on 21December 1989. It was at this spot that the world saw him stand on the balcony of the erstwhile Communist Party Headquarters and stare in disbelief at the angry crowds gathered to rail at him. He left by helicopter but was captured outside the city after a few hours.

Visit the small but very beautiful Kretzulescu Church at the south end of the square.

Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral

Almost hidden by nondescript housing blocks built in the 1970s, this 17th century cathedral stands on a small hill that overlooks the Piata Unirii, a grey communist building that houses the headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Church. There is a magnificent fresco depicting the blessed ascending to heaven and the damned tumbling to hell, as well as a depiction of its patron saints Constantin and Helen (1655), the oldest icons at the cathedral. The icons are beautifully expressive and are embedded into a gilded altarpiece, dazzling even in the darkness. The patron saint of Bucharest, St. Dumitru is entombed in the cathedral’s left-hand corner; worshippers climb up to this spot to pay their respects.

Romanian Peasant Museum

The Romanian Peasant Museum opened its doors in 1906 and features a rich collection of Romanian folk art, with more than 90000 pieces denoting the diverse cultural life of the people of Romania. Its pottery collection has 18000 pieces, which makes it the country’s key pottery centre; the oldest item dates back to 1746. In its costume collection, there are close to 20000 traditional costumes, many dating back to the early 19th century; this gives visitors a great insight to styles of clothing as well as traditions of Romanian peasants in the past.

The Arch of Triumph

This monument was designed by Petre Antonescu, in honour of the bravery of WW I Romanian soldiers, and serves as the city’s own Arc de Triomphe. Standing 85 ft tall, the original construction of the Arch – in wood – took place in 1922, and it was eventually completed in Deva granite in 1936. Visitors can climb up to the top of the Arch via an internal staircase for a beautiful view of the city. There are a series of sculptures decorating the building. These sculptures have been created by Romania’s leading artists – Constantin Medrea, Ion Jalea and Constantin Barasch.

The National Theatre

The National Theatre is a popular destination and the theatrical heart of the city. There are events and shows for both adults and children, such as the Tandarica Puppet Theatre, which is in Romanian, but can be easily understood by everyone.

The Romanian Athenaeum

The Athenaeum was designed by Albert Galleron, a French architect who was also the architect of the National Bank of Romania. It looks like an ancient temple, with its Doric columns and high dome. Completed in 1888, the Athenaeum was almost completely financed by money donated by the public.

The lobby of the Athenaeum has a magnificent painted ceiling embellished with gold leaf and has rounded balconies around a grand spiral staircase. The pink marble columns and flowing arches with brass lanterns give the impression of a beautiful necklace. Known for its exceptional acoustics, the Athenaeum is the city’s most prominent concert hall and is home to the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra.

Attend a performance of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra in the magnificent Royal Athaeneum or take in a ballet performance.


Village Museum

This interesting outdoor museum was founded by a royal order in 1936 and is the largest of its kind in Europe, covering 30 acres of Herastrau Park on the banks of Lake Herastrau. There are 50 buildings that represent the design and history of rural architecture in Romania, showcasing everything from thatched barns, churches, peasant homes with steep roofs, log cabins and watermills from across the country that were taken apart, shipped to and then rebuilt at the museum. The Village Museum has many special events all through the year, where one can see folk artists demonstrate local techniques of pottery, weaving and other traditional crafts. Don’t forget to visit the museum gift shop, where you can pick up some traditional arts and crafts.

Zambaccian Museum

Now a part of the National Art Museum, the Zambaccian Museum was started when in 1946, Krikor Zambaccian, an Armenian collector left his personal collection of impressionist paintings, including an early sculpture of Constantin Brancusi and his beautiful home, to the government. While the Romanian collection is quite small, it does have works of some of the country’s most famous artists, such as Stefan Luchian and Nicolae Grigorescu. There is also a small selection of works by masters such as Cezanne, Bonnard, Renoir and Picasso on the museum’s top floor.

Curtea Domneasca

 

  Curtea Domneasca Ruins

Inhabited off and on by local royalty, even since the 14th century, "Curtea Domneasca" from Bucharest is richer in legends and stories than in walls. It is said that from here headed off to the Turkish Empire waggons loaded with gold and precious gemstones. 


Stavropoleos Church

 

 Stravropoleos Church

Stravropoleos Church Altar 

Stravropoleos Church 

 Stravropoleos Church Detail

Stravropoleos Church Garden

Stravropoleos Church Garden

Stravropoleos Church Altar

A small street in the heart of the capital has in its history important events in the developement of Bucharest. Connecting Calea Victoriei (when it was known as Mogosoaia Bridge) and Smardan Street (when it was known as German Ulpia), the road was build in order to make access to Stavropoleos Inn - inn that was build by the greek monk Ioanikie Stratonikeas on a small land, behind the big inn of Constantin Voda Brancoveanu. In 1725, the same monk will buid the church that has the same name as the monastery in Greece, where he was priest.  

Now Stavropoleos Church is under reconsolidation and renovation. The first time this type of works were done it was at the beginning of the 20th century, by  architect Ion Mincu , taking care to preserv the autenticity of the place.  


Cismigiu Park

Old newspaper stand in Cismigiu

Branches bridge in Cismigiu

Cismigiu lake

The old Cismigiu (the name comes from the job of cismigiu - worker that was in charge to take care of th public fauntains) was the second public garden of Bucharest. In 1800 it was just a pond with enough fish for both amateur and experienced fishermen. In 1830 the Cismigiu Lake was already included in the urban plans of General Kiseleff, who intended to build here a public garden. Actualy in 1837 some woks begin and in the spring of 1845, under landscape architect Karl Meyer's survelience, arrived in the country at emperor's Gheorghe Bibescu's request, the lake is drained and the first trees are planted.      


Pacuitul lui Soare Fortress

Fortress wall

Fortress detail

Fortress detail

On the island of Pacuitul lui Soare, near Ostrov town, many centuries ago, the bizantine fortress Vicina was rising. It was recently revealed by the Danube's low waters. The ancient walls that couldn't be studied until the waters retreated, offered the explorers a huge surprise. Were also discovered the remains of something looking like an ancient medieval ship.  






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Welcome to Bucharest

Bucharest hotels team Meet your local connection in Bucharest, Romania- Roxana Ionescu & the team of Travel Biz! We are proud to be apart of whl.travel, and are passionate about sharing our destination with travellers. Bucharest is a city rich in history, with unique customs and traditions that are still practiced today. We are fond of working with people, interacting with different cultures and going above and beyond to provide the best service.

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