Bucharest hasn’t appealed to many travelers as of yet, but it’s an interesting destination, destined to become one of the most popular places to visit in the near future. There are many reasons to visit Bucharest but the following reasons may entice you to not only visit Bucharest but to fall in love with Romania!
1. It’s Inexpensive
Romania is not in the Eurozone so if you plan to visit Bucharest from Europ,e you have to change your euros into RON just like when you’re traveling from a non-European country. The good news is that once you learn how to convert your currency (euro/pounds/dollars) into RON – you’ll soon realize how inexpensive the city is.
For example, you can buy a beer for 2 euros, have a luscious dinner in a local restaurant for 15 euros, jump on a taxi from the airport to the city center for maximum 10 euros. You will also be able to stay in first class accommodations (for example, the 5 Starred Radisson) for 100 euros a night – with breakfast and facilities included. These prices are enough to make you consider leaving your city for good!
2. It’s Pleasantly Disturbing
An almost nonsensical architectural mix welcomes visitors from all over the world leaving them astonished and confused. Art Nouveau buildings are mixed with grey ugly communist blocks of cement, abandoned buildings sit right next to super modern ones, older style shops share the same facade with highly technologic and luxury shops.
3. The Book Culture is Massive
To beat the fear left behind by the Communist regime, education is a primary staple in Bucharest these days. As such, it’s not unusual to find books being sold almost everywhere – in bookshops, on the road, and inside the metro.
… and It’s Home to One of the Coolest Bookshops in the World:
In Bucharest, you can also find one of the coolest bookshop in the World: Carturesti Carousel. The building was home to a department store during the communist era, then was neglected for almost a quarter of a century. Today it is a beautiful cultural space and despite the many many people hanging around simply to take pictures, it leaves you breathless. Shelves and shelves of books, vinyl, stationery and a coffee on the top floor (which is considered the most expensive coffee in Bucharest).
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4. It’s Packed with Adorable Coffee Shops
When planning to visit Bucharest, your first thought probably doesn’t go to coffee which is typically associated with other countries, such as Italy. However, the city is home to some incredible coffee shops (for example, Origo and T-Zero) where people meet and greet at all hours.
5. You can Hunt Abandoned Buildings:
In a city where contrasts are huge, abandoned buildings are the norm as well. You can decide to discover the counterculture of Bucharest by yourself or you can embark on a tour with the guys at Interesting Times. You will explore old abandoned historical buildings and also rooftops, the best of the street art in the city and also post-industrial factories you might not fight on your own.
6. You Can Visit the Second Biggest Building in the World
Built in the 1980s by Nicolae Ceaușescu, the Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest (biggest? Largest?) administrative building in the world and today it’s the seat of the Parliament of Romania. The building is majestic and luxurious and the intent of Ceaușescu was to show the grandeur of the regime. Over 1,000 rooms have been counted inside the building however, visitors can only visit a small portion of them to admire its ornate interiors. Make sure you buy your ticket at least 24 hours in advance: the Parliament is one of the most visited places in Bucharest.
7. Have a Look at One of the Most Controversial Monuments Ever
Every city has a controversial, yet iconic, monument and in Bucharest, this is represented by the Memorial of Rebirth on Revolution Square. The monument commemorates the struggles and victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which overthrew Communism. It’s a marble obelisk with a bronze element on top and despite the circumstances of its creation, the citizens of Bucharest have called it in many different ways including “potato on a stick”, “olive on a toothpick” and “brain skewered on a spike”. No doubt it’s extremely iconic.
8. Explore the Only Urban Delta in Europe
The Vacaresti Delta is a beautiful place and it has many stories. From being an unfinished project of the communist era (abandoned in 1989) to today as one of Romania’s most diverse ecosystems (and also an officially protected area!).
It’s just 30 minutes away from the city center. From the Observatory, you can look at it from the top after a hike into the nature searching for one of the 100-odd species of bird and animals of any kind, lakes and flowers/plants. Plan your visit with Walkaboutfreetours and you’ll be greatly rewarded.
9. Relax at the Largest Thermal Baths in Europe:
Opened in 2016 in the northern part of Bucharest, the Therme Bucuresti is an unmissable experience when in Bucharest. Relax in one of eight pools with a constant temperature of 33°C (91°F) while the air temperature is kept between 29°C (88°F) and 3°C (37°F). Visitors can also find a series of other leisure activities included in the price (such as?) (from 10 euro per person). The Therme can accommodate up to 4,000 people simultaneously.
10. Experience Some of the Craziest European Nightlife
Bucharest is becoming more and more famous because of its nightlife culture. The heart of fun in Bucharest is The Old Town with many bars and clubs. People who want to party gather around every single night of the week, especially on Friday and Saturday. Nightlife in Bucharest is pretty affordable and people usually party until morning – so if you’re young and brave you won’t be disappointed at all.
11. Rent a bike
Last but not least I suggest you rent a bike and go discover the many parks where you can relax and just enjoy the vibrancy of a city that never sleeps or rests.
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Veruska is an Italian writer and blogger living in Dublin, Ireland and specializes in Food and Travel content. She’s always on the move with her husband and photographer Giuseppe to experience something different and new with a particular focus on food and wine: sommelier and on the boards of directors of the World Food Travel Association, she never says no to a good Italian pasta carbonara and a donut. When home, she likes to binge watch pretty much everything and talk about it (far more than the required amount of time!). Follow her on her site LcsKitchen to learn about her food-trips.