Before my boyfriend and I flew to Bucharest, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know anyone else who had been to Romania (which made it all the more exciting) and I wasn’t sure where to begin with my research.
As it turns out, Bucharest is full of gems – some hidden, some in plain view. It really is one of the coolest European cities I’ve visited, with the romantic beauty of Paris, the exclusivity of Berlin and the charm of Italy.
Whether you’re visiting Bucharest with a partner, group of friends or your family, there’s plenty to see and enjoy in Romania’s capital city. Below I’ve listed a few sights and attractions you don’t want to miss out on!
Wander through the Old Town
To really fall in love with Bucharest, take a stroll through the city’s Old Town. Throughout the 16th century, this district was home to the merchants and artisans of the city, with bakers, jewellers and craftsmen lining Lipscani Street and selling their goods to passersby.
Today, it’s undoubtedly the most charming area in the city, with lots of beautifully restored churches and market places to explore.
Go drinking in one of Bucharest’s many bars
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bucharest became Europe’s capital for stag and hen nights in a few years time. With a myriad of chic bars selling drinks at extremely reasonable prices, there’s no excuse to go home early.
NOMAD Skybar was certainly my favourite; with a voguish interior and a menu of delectable cocktails, it’s the kind of place you could stay for hours without getting bored. There’s also a heated smoking area with views across the city’s skyline, which looks exceptionally pretty at night.
Another great rooftop bar is Pura Vida Sky Bar. This is part of a hostel, so it has more of a backpackers vibe than NOMAD. Fortunately, this also means cheap drinks and a laid-back atmosphere, with fab views of the Old Town’s rooftops.
Warning: there are five flights of stairs to climb before you can embrace these views!
Try Romanian cuisine in one of Bucharest’s most charming restaurants
After seeing a picture of Caru’ cu Bere’s beautiful interior online, I knew we had to book a table for dinner. Built in 1899, this gorgeous, wood-panelled building also happens to be the city’s oldest beerhouse.
Its lively atmosphere and range of traditional dishes, each served by waiting staff who burst into dance every now and then, makes this a must for all travellers. Don’t miss out on your chance to try delicious Romanian cuisine under the stained glass windows of Caru’ cu Bere on your next trip to Bucharest!
Top Tip: Caru’cu Bere is an extremely popular restaurant, especially on weekends, so don’t forget to book a table.
Relax under the palms at Therme
Tucked away just 30 minutes from Bucharest’s city centre, visiting Therme is a must for every tourist. This indoor spa has been designed to feel like a tropical oasis, with indoor palm trees, orchids, water temperatures of 33 degrees, eight saunas and a beautiful glass exterior to enjoy.
There are three different sections to explore:
- Galaxy – a fun-filled zone with some of the best water slides I’ve ever been on! This is the only zone you can enjoy with children.
- The Palm – with heated indoor and outdoor pools, you can swim around with a cocktail in hand or even take part in water aerobics – there’s plenty going on! At night, this area transforms into a beautiful neon-lit zone complete with a DJ.
- Elysium – uniquely-themed saunas and a terrace make this a truly relaxing place to be. Enjoy infra-red beds, massages and much more!
The best part? As Bucharest hasn’t yet reached the same levels of tourism as other European capitals, Therme still feels like a bit of a hidden gem. It’s also extremely reasonable; with an Elysium pass (approx. £20), we were allowed free access to all other zones!
Get lost in fictional worlds at Cărturești Carusel
Book lovers, a visit to Cărturești Carusel is a must! With gorgeous winding staircases and more books than you could possibly dream of browsing, make sure you give yourself at least an hour of shopping time. I’d also recommend getting here as early as possible, otherwise you’ll be swamped by people trying to take the perfect Instagram shot (…guilty).
Once you’ve had a browse, pop upstairs for a glass of wine and slice of cake in the upstairs cafe. From here, you’ll have an incredible view of the entire bookshop!
Top Tip: If you want the books without the hustle and bustle, head to Carusel’s quieter but just as charming sister shop, Cărturești Verona.
Wander beneath the domed ceilings of Pasajul Vilacrosse & Pasajul Mecca
Part of me hates the fact that Instagram has become flooded with identical pictures of pretty streets and secret alleyways, but the other part of me is grateful for the fact it’s never been easier to find beautiful spots that otherwise you may have missed. When it comes to Bucharest, one thing I’m grateful to Instagram for is pointing me in the direction of the Vilacrosse passage and the Mecca passage.
With gorgeous domed ceilings and stained glass windows, these interconnecting passages look like they’ve been taken straight out of Paris. Inside, you’ll also find a smattering of independent cafes and restaurants – it’s the perfect place for a coffee break.
There’s still a lot I’d love to see in Bucharest, so I’m 100% sure I’ll go back one day. If you have any other recommendations, please let me know!
P.S. Vegans, click here to check out my blog on the best vegan eats in Bucharest!