Hey, traveler! Deea Journey here. 🙋♀️ Welcome to my home city, Bucharest, the eclectic capital of Romania. This article will answer a popular question: Should you visit Bucharest?
To answer this question I asked for help from a solo traveler who lived for 3 months in Bucharest. Because I can only be biased on this topic, I needed a view from someone who has been in Bucharest long enough to experience more of its vibe, its chaos mixed with charms.
I want to start a series of interviews with solo travelers
This is because it’s fascinating for me to witness how other people see and feel the city that I’ve lived in my whole life. I am aware that each person will have a different perspective, based on their own way of seeing life, their past experiences, and the culture they are most accustomed with.
I met Abhi Chopra on a Facebook group for Expats & Locals
[Btw I totally recommend you to join that group, even if you only stay for a week in Bucharest.]
Me and him talked a lot about the travel experiences we each had and how that changed our point of view over the world and life itself.
Abhi is a solo traveler from Brazil, who spent 6 years of his life connecting with thousands of travelers from around the world while managing a hostel. After he took time to explore the whole South America, in 13 months, now he’s in Europe for the past 7 months. And he’s not planning to stop anytime soon. He started a youtube travel channel to share with the world his adventures and to inspire people to solo travel too.
Interview about solo traveling in Bucharest
Deea: Tell me your first impression of Bucharest, from the moment you arrived.
Abhi: I arrived before the New Year, in December 2021. Booked a hostel for a week and while I was there I looked for an apartment for a longer stay.
My absolute first contact with Romania and Romanians was with the border control police. They asked me a few questions about my plans in Romania. And I remember how excited they were when l said I am a YouTuber (at the time doing tech reviews) and planning to make videos about my experience in Romania. I felt welcomed in this country from the first minute I step foot.
Deea: After 3 months spent in Bucharest, what’s your impression now?
Abhi: I am extremely impressed with the Romanian culture, the mix of architectural style, the food, but most of all with the people.
I got to meet a lot of Romanians who were very kind, warm, friendly, and helpful. And that made my stay very comfortable and fun. It also kept me in a mood of excitement over what might come next, especially during the days when I had to work a lot.
Deea: Tell me a funny story about an interaction with Romanian people.
Abhi: I would say I was surprised how many people started conversations with me on the street, as they saw me talking to a camera. They asked me what I was doing and some wanted to be in the video.
But my funny story it’s definitely with Romanian Police.
I was talking in front of the camera in the Old Town. When I took a break two police officers approached me and asked me what I’m doing. I kindly explained myself and asked if there was something wrong. As I was talking I noticed 3 more police officers came.
For a second I really thought I was in some trouble.
It turns out they wanted to follow me on Instagram, as they were super curious about how a traveler sees life in Bucharest. I was shocked and super impressed in the same time.
Another time, I was taking pictures of myself in front of Arc de Triumf and a police car was parked somewhere behind me (it was showing in the pictures, but I didn’t think it was a problem, it kinda felt part of the local scenery).
And then an officer came up to me, and asked what I was doing. I explained myself again. Then he says: “Do you want us to move the car out of your frame?”. I was shocked and impressed again.
That’s how wonderful my experiences with Romanians have been.
Deea: What would you advise a solo traveler, for the first time in Romania, to do?
Abhi: Oh, so many things! It’s so hard to give a short answer about all the beautiful spots and buildings I’ve seen in Bucharest. That’s why I am going to say: walk as much as you can, there’s so much to discover. Especially Victory Street, from the city center, all the way up to Victory Square. And then continue until Arc de Triumf.
Also, get a local SIM card to have fast (and cheap price) internet. No ID or any documentation is required.
Deea: What are very small details about the city that caught your eye?
Abhi: There are a few actually. I’m just going to mention them in random order: The very small cars for two people, a brand called Smart. Many girls have red hair. Public transportation is so cheap. Everywhere I went I felt super safe and everybody seems so relaxed. Many French words in the language.
Deea: What should a traveler keep in mind while in Bucharest?
Abhi: I think I was surprised that many museums require an appointment in advance (24 or 48h). This happens for the ones that have guided tours, so they want people to be there in a small number and at specific hours. And actually, these ones are the most important museums you do want to visit while in Bucharest, like: The Parliament, Ceausescu’s House, Cotroceni Palace and the National Bank.
For most of the others, you can visit by yourself, so an appointment is not required.
Money wise, it’s good to have cash with you, like euro or dollars, as conversion rates are very good in the local exchange offices (don’t go to banks). Also, Banca Transilvania ATMs are awesome for taking out Lei from your foreign cards (for my Brasilian card I had no fees and a very good rate and I’ve heard other travelers say the same).
Deea: In your opinion, why should a solo traveler choose to visit Bucharest?
Abhi: As a solo traveler, I was looking for a city that was first of all affordable for a longer stay. In Bucharest prices for hostels and even renting a long-term apartment are very good. Food is cheap too, especially if you like to do a bit of cooking.
Even transport and visiting museums are cheap.
Then I was looking for a safe city, with friendly and welcoming people.
And Bucharest has it all. And more, as it’s clean and beautiful.
So yes, I see a million reasons to encourage a solo traveler to explore Bucharest.
This was my interview with Abhi about how a solo traveler from Brazil felt in Bucharest. Will he want to come back?
Abhi: Absolutely. I am actually making a plan to visit again very soon, so I can experience some other cities in Romania this time.