Six Museums in Bucharest You Should Definitely Visit

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

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

Bucharest might not strike you as a museum-packed destination, but don’t be too fast to judge. The capital has fabulous museums, lovely art galleries, and many open-air cultural events. If it’s your first time here and you have at least one day to take your pick at the best places to visit apart from the main tourist attractions, bookmark our list of museums in Bucharest you should definitely visit.

museums in Bucharest

The Roman army crosses the Danube, scene from the Column of Trajan (copy), the National History Museum

The National History Museum

You can never go wrong with a classic, and this is what the National History Museum is. Hosted by the imposing building that once was the Palace of the Post, the museum deserves at least two hours of your time. The permanent collections include ancient artifacts from the Roman and Dacian periods, jewels and other objects that belonged to the royal family, and thousands of patrimony pieces discovered by archaeologists.

National History Museum

Jewel piece in the collections of the National History Museum

You can also take a virtual tour of past and present exhibitions.

Visiting hours on www.mnir.ro

Ceausescu Mansion

Bucharest’s present is intrinsically linked to its communist past under the rule of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. No single man in the modern history of Romania had a similar power to destroy, change, and ultimately decide the faith of the capital as did Ceausescu. His former residence is open to visitors, exactly as it looked when it was the home of the feared dictator and his even more maleficent wife, Elena. If you’re keen to find out how far he could go in his megalomania, visit also the Parliament Palace.

Ceausescu Mansion

Portrait of Nicolae Ceausescu and the miners exhibited in the gallery of paintings

Visiting hours on casaceausescu.ro

Check our Communist Bucharest Tour, if you’d like to uncover more about the past regime.

The Art Collections Museum

The Art Collections Museum is for us the loveliest art museum in Bucharest for its very personal touch since its collections were all donated by private persons.

In just a couple of hours, you can discover a diversity of over 12,000 art objects, including the works of some of the best-known Romanian painters like Nicolae Tonitza, Dimitrie Ghiata, Theodor Aman, Theodor Pallady, Nicolae Grigorescu but also Asian sculptures, oriental rugs, ceramics, old Romanian religious icons, and fine French furniture from the past centuries.

Oriental decorations from the collection Marcu Beza-Hortensia and Vasile G. Beza

Photo source: commons.wikimedia.org

You can buy a joint ticket that also includes the National Museum of Art, but plan at least half a day for both.

Visiting hours on www.mnar.arts.ro

The Museum of Old Maps and Books

If you’re a history buff like us, you’ll love visiting this small museum of old maps and books because as borderless as our global world is likely to become, things weren’t always like that. Leaving geopolitics aside, creating maps was a highly specialized skill hundreds of years ago when access to information and technology was a fraction of what we have today.

Military map of Moldavia from 1781

Follow the evolution of maps and city plans, from the 16th to the 20th century, and discover the collections of over 1,000 works hosted by the Museum of Old Maps and Books.

Visiting hours and online tickets on www.muzeulhartilor.ro

Photo source: Muzeul Hartilor

The Museum of History of the Jewish Community

Before WW2, Bucharest had a strong Jewish community, a dynamic Jewish neighborhood, tens of synagogues, and praying houses. Few sites survived the communist makeover of the historical center, and only a small Jewish group lives today in Bucharest. This profound difference between past and present makes a visit to this museum even more interesting.

museums in Bucharest

Photo source: Muzeul de Istorie si Cultura al Evreilor din Romania

Located in one of the lucky synagogues that escaped Ceausescu’s demolishing, the museum was founded in 1978 during a period when the former communist ruler liked to pose as a friend of Israel.

Visiting hours on www.facebook.com/jewishfed.ro

For a bigger picture of Jewish Bucharest, check our Jewish Bucharest Tour.

Cotroceni Palace

It’s always about history with us, especially when listing our favorite museums in Bucharest. The truth is we can never get enough of it, especially when it’s about the fascinating Queen Maria, this time by visiting her Bucharest residence, Cotroceni Palace.

One of the most important women in the history of the country, she was more than the wife of King Ferdinand (1916-1927). Strong-minded, independent, and influential, she had a key political role in WW1 even if her official role was far from it. She also had exquisite taste, a passion for architecture, and interior design as you’ll easily observe at Cotroceni.

museums in Bucharest

Cotroceni Palace

Photo source: Muzeul Cotroceni

Visiting hours on www.muzeulcotroceni.ro

What about you? Which are your favorite museums in Bucharest? Which one would you add to our list?

Where to stay in Bucharest

If you prefer the hotel experience right in the heart of historical Bucharest, our recommendations are Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest, Mansion Boutique Hotel, Grand Boutique Hotel, Grand Hotel Continental, Epoque Hotel, Cismigiu Hotel, all splendid buildings from the glory days of Bucharest.

Booking an apartment is also a popular and more budget-friendly option in Bucharest. While there are hundreds of choices, we can help narrow down your list to the best. Our suggestions are Vila Cotroceni Boutique Apartments, University Central by Orchid Garden, Bucharest Residence, Diana’s Flat Bucharest, Cismigiu Orchid Garden, Studio Old Town, Elysium.

If hostels are your thing, try Umbrella Hostel located in a 1920s building, Podstel Bucharest close to the beautiful Carol Park or First Hostel Bucharest.

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

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