Bucharest Mini Guide
Tell me About Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital of Romania and on the banks of the Dambovita River. It became known as ‘Little Paris’ and ‘Paris
of the East’ between the 2 World Wars, due to its mixed but grand architecture. It’s name, as legend says, comes from a shepherd called Bucur (whose name meant joy). He entranced the locals with his wine and flute playing, so they decided to name the town after him.
Getting To Bucharest
Eurolines and Atlassib have long distance coaches from western Europe and CFR Railways has trains from major cities in eastern Europe and Russia
. The city’s Henri Coanda International Airport has flights arriving from most major airports in Europe and Russia. From there you can drive into the city using the DN1 route or take the 783 bus. Some hotels have shuttle buses from the airport, so it’s worth checking. Within the city, you can use the metro system or the buses and trams to get around.
What can I see There?
To get the best out of your stay, you can take a guided walking tour of the city – there are many places of interest to discover. If not, start at Parliament Palace, the 2nd largest building in the world behind the US Pentagon. It was built by Nicolae Ceausescu and has 3100 rooms – you can see just some of these on a 45 minute tour. In the same building you can also visit the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Just outside is the Revolution Square, the site of the Romanian Revolution.
The old centre has an assortment of 19th century buildings and ruins alongside modern shops and hotels. There you can find the ruins of the Princes Medieval Court as well as the Old Court Church dating from 1559. You can discover more there at the Old Court Museum. Look out for the Stavropoleos Church built in the early 18th century, it has decorative sculptures and frescoes.
Similarity to Paris continues there with the Arc of Triumph, it was built in 1922 to commemorate the soldiers lost in World War I and it has a staircase inside you can take up to the top, to see panoramic views of the city. To get a feel for how life used to be in the city, visit the Village Museum, an open air museum created in 1934, it shows a very traditional lifestyle of old. Just outside of the museum you can relax in the Cismigu Garden, a park designed in 1860. In summer you can rent a boat and take it onto the lake or in winter you can ice skate.
Out and About
If you are there for a few days, you should visit the town of Snagov, just 20km away. There are lakes with beaches and a small monastery on an island, where Dracula or Vlad the Impaler lies. Also visit Peles Castle in the town of Sinaia.
Restaurants and cafes are plentiful in Bucharest, whether you want to eat local food or international cuisine, you will find something to suit your taste there. The Actors Café is very popular with visitors to the city as is the Beer Cart, dating from 1879, it also brews its own beer. There is an abundance of nightclubs and bars to keep you busy after dark or you can visit one of many cinemas or grand theatres.
Bucharest, the capital and biggest city of Romania, has a lot for the tourist. If you have time, why not tour the 3,100 rooms of the world’s second largest building, the Presidential Palace, built by Nicolae Ceausescu. Many neighbourhoods were razed to enable it to be built. Guided tours are available every thirty minutes.
To find out more about the city, leave the hire car in a car park and join one of the city’s walking tours that will visit the parts of the city left unscathed by the former president’s modernisation programme.