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:
- Caru’ cu Bere
- Exploring the city
- Herastrau Park
- Historic Centre
- Jewish Bucharest
- National Art Museum
- National Museum of Contemporary Art
- Parliament Palace
- Revolution Square
- Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral
- Romanian Peasant Museum
- The Arch of Triumph
- The National Theatre
- The Romanian Athenaeum
- Village Museum
- Zambaccian Museum
- Curtea Domneasca
- Stavropoleos Church
- Cismigiu Park
- Pacuitul lui Soare Fortress
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.
If you're keen to explore the city, visit the areas of Snagov, Bran, Brasov, Sinaia and Poenari Fortress.
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
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.
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.
Visit the small but very beautiful Kretzulescu Church at the south end of the square.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.