Bucharest is what you might call a fusion city. It’s been influenced by a mixture of so many different cultures, regimes and nationalities, that eventually it became an entirely new thing. Its history has been strongly influenced by both the east and the west, creating unique architecture, a diverse people and delicious food.
When we first started planning our trip to Bucharest, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect. We had heard that it was a big international city, and that we needed to spend at least a week to truly see the city. This was also our first time visiting Romania, and we were unsure if we should be starting our trip in the big, bustling capital city.
We ended up deciding to spend a week and a half in Bucharest. This ended up being the perfect amount of time! We got to see a lot of the city, which was awesome. In reality there’s probably thousands of awesome things to do in Bucharest. But given our limited time, here is our list of 33 things to do in Bucharest, Romania.
General Things To Do
1. Try Romanian Food
Romanian food is definitely interesting. It has some similarities with different cuisines from all over the world. We recommend trying a few of the most popular Romanian dishes to get a taste for Romanian food. A few great dishes to try are cabbage rolls (sarmale) or tripe soup (ciorba de burta).
2. Admire the Street Art (Strada Arthur Verona)
Who doesn’t love street art? It’s like visiting a modern art museum without having to pay an entrance fee. The best street art in Bucharest is located along Strada Arthur Verona. We accidentally strolled by the area and were amazed by the beautiful murals. It was only later that we realized that this street is known to have the best street art in the entire city.
But street art in Bucharest isn’t limited to this one street. It’s all over the place! Take a walk through any part of the city center and you’ll encounter these creative murals.
3. Try The Street Food
You can’t leave Bucharest without trying street food at least once. There is street food from all over the world, including Vietnamese, Turkish, Italian, American and more. Even if you’re a health nut, you’ll find street food vendors selling fresh fruits and veggies and cold pressed juices.
Our favorite street food vendor was Fancy Gourmet Street Food. They’re the vendor that sold us the delicious artery-clogging masterpiece above, known as the New York Cheesie Hot Dog. They also have authentic Romanian food and an indoor seating area. It’s the perfect place to dip your toe into the Romanian street food scene.
Things To Do In Old Town
Old Town is one of Bucharest’s most popular neighborhoods among tourists. It’s certainly one of the most charming neighborhoods, with cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture. Here are a few things to do in Bucharest’s Old Town neighborhood.
4. Visit Stavropoleos Monastery
The Stavropoleos Monastery may not be very big, but it is certainly full of beauty and history. This tiny church is over three centuries old today, and it was founded by the Greek monk Ioanichie. Visit this monastery to take in the beautiful artwork and carvings that has popularized it today.
5. Have a cup of coffee in Pasjul Macca-Vilacrosse
Pasjul Macca-Vilacrosse is easily one of the coolest places to grab a cup of coffee in all of Bucharest. This covered street has beautiful Greek-style architecture and art hanging from the ceiling. Each side of the passage is lined with charming cafes, perfect for an afternoon cup of coffee. This is also a great place to be when it’s raining since the top is covered!
6. Grab a beer at Caru’ cu bere
Caru’ cu bere is one of the most beautiful restaurants we’ve ever been inside. Romanian for “beer cart,” caru’ cu bere was the first bar ever opened in Bucharest. It was named “beer cart” because the founder used to pull a cart of beer to give to visitors.
Inside, the green ceiling has stained glass windows, beautiful woodwork, and stunning chandeliers. There’s also a big patio to sit outside, but the inside is the most beautiful part. Whether you grab a beer or dinner, leave yourself time to enjoy this place since they often have live music.
7. Visit the Romania National Bank
Even though we visited the Romania National Bank on a Sunday and it was closed, we still loved this building. The architecture is so beautiful and regal–we couldn’t resist taking a few pictures outside. It’s located centrally in Old Town, so stop by to admire the incredible architecture for yourself.
8. St. Nicholas Church
Unfortunately for us, when we visited St. Nicholas Church in July 2019 it was undergoing remodeling. The entire front of the church had scaffolding, so we were unable to really take a good picture. Regardless, the images online were enough to convince us that this beautiful church is worth a visit–once remodeling is completed.
9. Carturesti Carusel Book Store
Carturesti Carusel looks way more like a museum than a book store! This four-story sprawling bookstore is definitely worth a visit–especially on a hot summer day to enjoy the air conditioning. Many of the books are in Romanian, but there is an English language section of books.
On the top floor, there’s even a cafe where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while you read your newly purchased book. It has great views of the bookstore, as well as out onto the streets down below.
10. Admire the CEC Palace
The CEC Palace is, in our humble opinion, the most beautiful building in all of Bucharest. We stumbled upon it while wandering through Old Town and couldn’t believe our eyes. It is so beautiful in person–you have to go see it!
Believe it or not, this building was actually built as a savings bank! It looks more like a museum or government building to us. It’s also one of Bucharest’s most solid buildings, since the foundation was not damaged by massive earthquakes that once shook Bucharest.
11. People watch from one of the many patios
Old Town is full of great restaurants and cafes with outdoor patios. Since there’s a combination of locals and tourists strolling through Old Town’s streets, it can be fun to take a seat and people watch for a little bit. A beer or cup of coffee is very inexpensive, and it can be a nice way to take a break from the heat.
12. Visit the Historic Manuc’s Inn
Manuc’s Inn was an Inn for merchants traveling from Germany to Turkey hundreds of years ago. The journey was very dangerous, so the inn was opened a safe place for travelers to spend the night and socialize.
Today, it is the site of two restaurants. Hanu’Lui Manuc is one of the restaurants, and it comes highly recommended by many locals. On weekend nights, they do live Romanian music and dancing performances. The perfect date night spot!
Herăstrău Park (King Michael I Park)
You don’t have to spend your entire time in Bucharest in a concrete jungle. Just a few kilometers north of the city center is Herăstrău Park (or King Michael I Park), a beautiful sprawling park surrounding multiple lakes. Here, you can spend time in nature while still being close to the main city center. Here are some great things to do in Herăstrău Park.
13. Take a Walk around Herăstrău Lake
There is a beautiful walking path that runs all the way around Herăstrău Lake. It’s the perfect place to walk on a hot summer day, since there are so many trees that the path is mostly in the shade. Along the way, you’ll pass plenty of benches to take a break.
14. Rent a bike
There are many places to rent a bike in Herăstrău Park. While the i’Velo portals are the most convenient, we weren’t able to figure out how to rent a bike since the app is entirely in Romanian. We picked our bikes up from a rental shop outside the Piata Charles de Gaulle entrance of the park. It costs 10 RON (about $2.35 USD) to rent a bike for two hours.
15. Grab a beer from Beraria H (largest beer hall in Southeastern Europe!)
We couldn’t resist grabbing a beer from Beraria H while we were in Herăstrău Park. After all, it’s supposedly the largest beer hall in Southeastern Europe! They had a beautiful patio and an awesome selection of beer. They also had a pretty delicious looking food menu, but we didn’t have time to order any food since we had to return the bikes.
16. Take a boat ride
It wouldn’t be a lake without boats! Boat trips depart from the jetty (debarcader) behind the Hard Rock Cafe. We didn’t have time to take a boat ride while we were in the park, but it looked like the perfect thing to do on a hot summer day!
17. Visit the Arch of Triumph
Bucharest was nicknamed mini Paris for a reason–they really like copying Parisian architecture! Check out the massive Arc of Triumph that was recreated right next to the park.
18. Grab a bite to eat from a food stand outside Beraria H
Exploring a new park is great, but what happens if you get hungry? Not to worry, there are plenty of places to eat along the way! From nice restaurants to beer halls, Herăstrău Park has it all. We loved these food stands outside Beraria H because they’re an affordable alternative if you want to eat on the go!
19. Relax beneath rainbow umbrellas
As we were biking through the park, we kept having to stop to take in all the cool sights. There was a skateboarding park, and pirate ship and even an adventure park for kids! At one point, something rainbow caught our eye through the trees. It turns out it was this beautiful array of rainbow umbrellas to keep the seats beneath them shady. See if you can find this pretty spot, too.
Things To Do In Centrul Civic Neighborhood
This neighborhood is mainly the area surrounding Unirii Boulevard, the main road that runs through the center of Bucharest. A walk through this neighborhood will reveal massive concrete buildings that were built under Romania’s former dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.
20. Visit the National Theatre of Bucharest
The National Theatre of Bucharest is a great place to start when exploring the Centrul Civic neighborhood. It is always showing a great variety of performances, including plays, musicals, orchestras and live music. Outside, there’s a really funky statue featuring musicians on a wagon that you also have to check out.
21. Try Turkish Food at Coltea Kebab Shop
Turkish food in Romania!? It does sound a little surprising, but it’s actually really good. This is because Romanian Turks is a cultural minority living in Bucharest. We stopped by Coltea Kebab Shop to try their falafel wrap and fresh orange juice. Everything was fresh and delicious–perfect for a lunch on the go.
22. Admire the architecture of Coltea Hospital
Coltea Hospital has to be one of the prettiest hospitals we’ve ever seen. We first saw it when walking to grab some food, and had to look up what it was. When we discovered it was actually a hospital, we were shocked!
23. Grab a cup of coffee from Klauss Coffee Shop
As digital nomads, there is nothing we love more than a good coffee shop. Klauss Coffee Shop was the perfect place for us, since they had phone charging cords at every table. They make pretty much any time of coffee you can imagine, and even have tea. The atmosphere is very modern and clean–the perfect place to work for a few hours.
24. Visit the University of Bucharest
While there’s no point to going inside the University of Bucharest, it is a beautiful building to admire from the outside. It’s an important architectural landmark, plus it’s surrounded by great shops and restaurants.
25. Talk a Walk in Unirii Square (Piata Unirii)
Unirii Square is located in the very center of Bucharest. It’s a beautiful park that is well known for its beautiful fountains that do water shows throughout the day. There are also great walking paths and benches to relax on.
Things To Do In The Jewish Quarter
As with most Eastern European countries, the history of Judaism in Romania is quite painful. Visiting a neighborhood meant to preserve the buildings and culture of the Jewish people in Bucharest is a really meaningful experience that we highly recommend.
26. Pay a visit to the Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum is located in Bucharest’s Jewish neighborhood. It is housed in the former Templul Unirea Sfântă synagogue, which is one of the few Jewish buildings to survive both World War II and the reign of communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu.
It’s a truly remarkable building, with orange and white stripes, Stars of David, and Hebrew engravings characterizing the building. It’s closed on weekends, so plan your visit on a week day if you want to go in.
27. Visit The Coral Temple
The Coral Temple is a beautiful temple in Bucharest’s Jewish neighborhood. Named after it’s pretty coral color, this is one of the most beautiful synagogues in Eastern Europe. It’s open to the public for visits, but it is closed on weekends.
28. Sinagoga Mare
Sinagoga Mare, or the Great Synagogue of Bucharest, was built in the 1840s by the Jewish-Polish community. The building has a tough history, requiring repairs multiple times due to damages.
29. Free Walking Tour: The Story of Bucharest
We love free walking tours. It’s the perfect way to introduce you to a new city without breaking the bank. It’s also a great way to meet fellow tourists!
Bucharest has a couple free walking tours. The first one is calling The Story of Bucharest Free Walking Tour. During this three hour tour, you’ll learn all about the history of Bucharest and Romania while checking out beautiful sights within the city.
The English tours are twice daily, at 10:30 and 6:00 PM. The meeting place is in Piata Unirii Park, right next to the grandfather clock. You’ll be able to find the tour easily because the tour guide wears bright orange.
30. Free Walking Tour: The Royal Century
The same company also runs another great tour, called The Royal Century Free Walking Tour. This tour is more focused on architecture, and is meant to be done after doing the story of Bucharest tour first.
The tour meets once per day at 5:00 PM. The meeting point is at the National Military Club (“Cercul Militar National”), in front of the flag.
As with all free walking tours, be sure to tip your tour guide! It’s free, so the guides rely on tips to make a living.
Day Trips from Bucharest
31. Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)
One of the coolest parts about Bucharest is that it is only a short drive from Romania’s historic Transylvania region. This is the part of the world where rumors of vampires once emerged, although today it seems to be mostly tourists. The rumors started under the reign of Vlad the Impaler, who was rumored to have tasted the blood of criminals while he tortured them.
We took a day trip to Bran Castle (AKA Dracula’s Castle) with Mr. Tripp’s Tours and had a wonderful time. It was great getting to see this historic castle and learn about the history of the region. It wasn’t spooky at all–mostly just very interesting!
32. Explore the charming Transylvanian city of Brasov
As part of our tour to Bran Castle, we also got to stop into the nearby city of Brasov. Brasov is the second most visited city in Romania after Bucharest. We loved this charming little Transylvania city. The main square was absolutely beautiful and we even got to see a super scary thunderstorm while we were there.
33. Constanta (on the Black Sea)
If you’re craving a beach day during your time in Bucharest, the Black Sea is only a short way away! You can easily take a train or a bus to Constanta, one of the nicest Romanian cities on the Black Sea. Here, you’ll find beautiful beaches, resorts, and a great nightlife scene. It’s the perfect way to spend a hot summer day.
Clearly, there is plenty to do in Bucharest, Romania! Whether you have a few days or a couple weeks, you can keep busy in Bucharest for as long as you’re there. We hope this post helps you plan your trip! Don’t forget to pin it below if you want to save it for later.