Best Things to Do in Bucharest for the First-Time Visitors

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 is a sure candidate for the slogan visit a destination before the tourists come. The low numbers compared to famous destinations like Rome or Paris make it a safe bet if you’re looking to escape the crowds and long queues. Plus, the city is a great choice if you want to experience a different European capital.

Bookmark our hand-picked guide to the best things to do in Bucharest, and start planning a new discovery.

1. Visit the Palace of the Parliament

The Palace of the Parliament opens our list of the best things to do in Bucharest. Also known as the House of the People, this is the most famous landmark from Romania’s communist period. It’s one of the most controversial constructions in the world, the symbol of a dictatorship that changed the country’s history.

Palace of the Parliament

The Palace of the Parliament

The second-largest building on the planet after the Pentagon, the Parliament has a surface of 370,000 square meters and a height of 84 meters. It has over 1,000 rooms, nuclear bunkers, and escape tunnels in the underground.

Yet, its monumental dimensions shouldn’t surprise you. The landmark was supposed to be the core of Ceausescu’s new Bucharest. Visiting it gives you a chance to understand how far a dictator can go against the common good of his own nation.

Book your visit on http://cic.cdep.ro. Bring your ID card or passport for the security check.

2. Take a walk on Victoriei Avenue

Save at least two hours for a walk on Victoriei Avenue, the most beautiful boulevard in Bucharest. This is the best way to see famous landmarks and an excellent starting point to explore Bucharest off the beaten track. Take a right or a left on the many small streets it intersects and uncover charming old houses, cafes, and local life.

CEC Palace

The CEC Palace

The major attractions you will pass by are the National Museum of History, the CEC Palace, the Revolution Square, the National Museum of Art, the Atheneum, and Cantacuzino Palace.

If you have enough time, visit the National Museum of History and the National Museum of Art.

Discover more museums in Bucharest.

3. Explore the Old Town

The Old Town will most likely be the first part of your Bucharest visit. You’ll find there some of the must-see monuments in the capital, but also lively streets packed with restaurants and bars.

Don’t miss the 19th-century Manuc Inn, the medieval ruins of the Old Court, Stavropoleos Monastery, the former bank edifices from Lipscani Street, and the most beautiful bookstore in the city.

Old Town bucharest

Former bank edifice in the Old Town

For a complete tour of the Old Town, cross the Bratianu boulevard and visit the church Sfantu Gheorghe Nou, the Choral Temple, and the Museum of History of the Jewish Community.

4. Visit the Village Museum

Located in Bucharest’s largest park, Herastrau, the Village Museum is one of the best open-air museums in Romania. Take a tour to discover the rural heritage and architecture without stepping out of Bucharest.

The museum has an open-air collection of over 300 rural monuments, including old churches, traditional houses, and installations from different corners of the country.

Village Museum Bucharest

The Village Museum

Check the visiting hours on http://muzeul-satului.ro

5. Visit the Bellu Cemetery

Go outside the city center and explore one of the most authentic attractions in Bucharest.

Bellu Cemetery, easy to reach by subway, displays a fascinating gallery of funeral sculptures and tombs. Take your time to walk around and see as many of the almost 200 historical monuments.

Bellu Cemetery

Bellu Cemetery

Discover more impressive cemeteries in Romania.

6. Tour the centuries-old churches

Bucharest has many old churches, most in the historical center. While seeing all of them is almost impossible in a short time, don’t miss the churches of Stavropoleos, Coltea, Bucur, Sfantu Gheorghe, Mihai Voda, Antim, and the Patriarchy.

Stavropoleos Monastery

7. Discover the local parks

Bucharest is not the greenest capital in Europe, but its parks are a true oasis on a hot day. The oldest one, Cismigiu, is the easiest to reach, either from Victoriei Avenue or from the Old Town. If you want to go outside the center, take a long walk to Carol Park and enjoy a panoramic view of the Parliament.

things to do in Bucharest

Cismigiu Park

Just a few minutes away, Tineretului is one of the locals’ favorite parks. It has cycling trails, sports courts, and many playgrounds for children.

8. Try the pastry

Locals have a great passion for pastry, and you’ll find a pastry shop on almost every corner. The pretzels, covrigi, are a local favorite. They come in different shapes and flavors, salty and sweet, but all are delicious. Try also the salty Dobrogeana, a traditional Romanian cheese pie, and the popular apple strudels.

9. Take a guided tour

If it’s your first visit and you’d like to have a more in-depth experience, try a guided tour. We offer complete city tours or specialized communist, historical, and food tours.

Check more ideas for self-organized tours in Bucharest.

Bucharest Guided Tours

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

We hope you’ll have a great time uncovering the capital with our list of the best things to do in Bucharest.

Pack your bags and get ready to be surprised.

Where to stay in Bucharest

Don’t forget to book your accommodation in time to get the best deals. You can find below a hand-picked selection of our favorite places to stay in Bucharest.

If you prefer a central hotel, our recommendations are Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest, Mansion Boutique Hotel, Grand Boutique Hotel, and Grand Hotel Continental. Check also Epoque Hotel, Cismigiu Hotel, and Marmorosch Hotel.

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

If hostels are your thing, try Umbrella Hostel, Podstel Bucharest, or First Hostel Bucharest.

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