Best Things to Do in Bucharest for the First Time Visitor

If you’d like to take a guided tour of Bucharest, check our tours on www.uncover-romania-tours.com

Bucharest is a sure candidate for the slogan visit a destination before the tourists come. Romania’s vibrant and chaotic capital is a top attraction for visitors looking to experience something different and authentic. In case you’re planning to visit Bucharest for the first time, here’s is our hand-picked guide to some of the best things to do in Bucharest.

Visit the Palace of the Parliament

A must of any Bucharest visit, the Palace of the Parliament, also known as the House of the People, is no doubt the most famous landmark of Romania’s communist period. One of the most impressive and controversial constructions in the world, the House of the People is an unforgettable symbol of a regime that irremediably reshaped the country’s history.

Palace of the Parliament

The second largest building on the planet after the Pentagon, the Palace of the Parliament extends on 370,000 square meters and is 84 meters tall. Part of Ceausescu’s vision of creating his own version of the capital, the construction is truly monumental. More than 1,000 rooms with hand-made decorations from the finest and most expensive materials including rare metals and over 700 crystal chandeliers, not to mention the anti-nuclear shelter and the escape tunnels from the underground. The attraction is top of our list of the best things to do in Bucharest.

Visiting hours: Daily between 10:00 and 16:00

Travel tips: Be sure to bring your ID card or passport.

Take a walk on Victoriei Avenue

Stretching on 2.7 kilometers from the United Nations Square to the Victoriei Square, a walk on Victoriei Avenue is not only the best way to see the main historical and cultural attractions of the capital, but also an excellent starting point to explore Bucharest off the beaten track as the avenue intersects with smaller streets with their own old houses and monuments.

Bucharest City

The major attractions of the avenue include the National Museum of History, the CEC Palace, the Military Palace, the Revolution Square, the National Museum of Art, the Atheneum, the Museum of Art Collections or the Cantacuzino Palace that hosts the Museum George Enescu.

Travel tips: Don’t miss a visit to the National Museum of History or the National Museum of Art.

Explore the Old Town

The Old Town will most likely be the first part of your Bucharest visit. Conserving some of the oldest monuments in the capital, but also lively streets packed with many restaurants and bars, this otherwise small part of Bucharest is one of its most vibrant stops and a must of any visit. Major attractions include the 19th century Manuc Inn, the oldest church in the city and the oldest residence of medieval princes, the 18th century Stavropoleos Monastery and old merchant streets.

old town bucharest

Travel tips: During summers, the narrow streets are almost fully occupied by outdoor terraces. If you prefer a less crowded experience, start your tour in the first part of the today and come back in the evening for a typical Romanian dinner.

Visit the Village Museum

The Village Museum displays a complex collection of over 53,000 traditional objects in the open-air section and its interior spaces. The permanent exhibition features 346 monuments, including hundreds years old wooden churches, traditional houses and installations, all brought to the museum from different corners of the country. Located in Bucharest’s largest park, Herastrau, this is one of the most important cultural attractions of the capital and one of the top museums in Romania

Village Museum Bucharest

A tour of the museum is a unique opportunity to get to know a fundamental part of Romania’s cultural heritage without stepping out of Bucharest. Don’t miss it!

Visiting Hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00

Visit the Bellu Cemetery

This cemetery is truly one of the most authentic cultural attractions in Bucharest, a unique outdoor gallery of impressive funeral sculptures and tombs created by famous artists of the past centuries, almost 200 of them being listed as historical monuments.

Bellu Cemetery

Travel tips: You can only take photos with prior written permission.

Visit centuries old churches

Bucharest has many old churches, some of them of major historical importance. From different centuries and built in different architectural styles, these churches have state of the art interior paintings and a rich history to recommend them as key cultural attractions. We recommend you don’t miss the churches of Stavropoleos, Coltea, Selari, Zlatari, Bucur, Radu Voda, Sfantu Gheorghe, Sfantu Spiridon Nou and the Patriarchy.

stavropoleos church

Travel tips: The churches are open daily and taking photos is allowed as long as you don’t disturb the religious activities. Sundays are very crowded. If you’re interested in their architecture and interior paintings, it’s better to choose another day for a visit.

Walk in the local parks

Bucharest is not the greenest capital in Europe, but its parks are true oasis in the urban jungle, the central ones having their own share of historical importance. Carol Park was inaugurated in 1906 by King Carol the 1st while Cismigiu is the oldest park in the capital, and Herastrau is the largest. They have many statues sculpted by great artists of the past centuries, and you’ll see at least one of them if you explore the central part of Bucharest on foot.

things to do in Bucharest

Travel tips: Located very close to Carol Park, Tineretului is a very popular park for locals with cycling trails, sports courts and many playgrounds for children.

Try street food

Locals have a great passion for pastry, and virtually everywhere you are in Bucharest, it’s very likely you’ll be very close to a pastry shop. The pretzels, covrigi in Romanian, are a local favorite. They come in different shapes and flavors, but all are delicious.

Travel tips: Try also the salty Dobrogeana – a traditional Romanian cheese pie or the apple strudels.

We hope you’ll have a great time uncovering the capital, and that you’ll add your own favorites to our list of the best things to do in Bucharest for the first time visitor.

Take a guided tour

If it’s your first time visiting Bucharest, and you’d like to have a carefree experience, try a guided tour. We offer complete city tours or more specialized communist, historical and cultural tours. Plus, all our tours are private for you to have the best experience possible.

Discover the tours on www.uncover-romania-tours.com

About the author

Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer, focusing on sustainable tourism practices and destinations. You can find Diana Condrea on Twitter and Google+

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