Before we get started with what to do in Bucharest, while visiting it by yourself… let me ask you this:
Sightseeing Bucharest with the help of a local?
If you are looking for a personalized tour plan for a 24-48 hours visit, to get to see Bucharest’s most famous spots and hidden gems, I can help you out. This means you don’t need to spend any time doing research before you arrive in Romania’s capital, nor stress about missing out on great places. I’ll ask you a few questions to understand what’s your style of traveling and your passions and I will design you a plan for your visit. Here you do the sightseeing by yourself.
Or if you are one of the lucky ones with good weather days and want for me to show you around the city, send me a message. I do only private full-day city guides. I promise I’ll give you enough info about the places, with no boring bla-bla-exact dates-bla-bla’s. Just Fun Facts, a personalized tour based on your preferences and ultimately, a local friend.
🔰 Are you an independent traveler who wants to experience Bucharest like a local? Check out this guide I put together: 🔰
Again, if you get nice weather while in Bucharest, and you want a short guided tour I got some ideas for you. Try out some unusual tours, to see Bucharest from another perspective than you would imagine. Here are my favorite tours, in cool locations and with awesome info:
✴ these Get Your Guide tours are affiliate marketing links, meaning if you book them after clicking them here I get a small commission with no extra charge for you. Thanks. 🥰
Top places to visit in Bucharest, Romania’s capital
1. Old Town Area
- walk around during the day to see the buildings or eat and drink. at night to choose a Pub or even a place to dance (during the winter days the parties are usually Friday and Saturday night but in summer you can find one almost every day)
- at night The Old Town is great for night life fun: you can choose Pub or even a place to dance (during the winter days the parties are usually Friday and Saturday night but in summer you can find one almost every day). Just walk around and jump in the places that look good to you.
- visit VillaCross Passage (looks nice during the day) where you can take a shisha/ narghilea/ hookah
- Carturesti Carusel Bookstore and cafe – one of the most beautiful bookstores in Bucharest, which has a nice cafe and bistro at the top floor.
- a hidden gem is the Stavropoleos Church, built in 1724, which has a cute and cozy yard.
- If you like Orthodox Churches: Biserica Sfântul Gheorghe Nou is one of the most beautiful in the city.
- You can do a Free Walking Tour for 2,5h and learn about the history while visiting the city.
- Cismigiu Park/ Gardens (close to the city center), the oldest park in Bucharest.
- Parcul Regele Mihai I (known as Herastrau). The biggest park in Bucharest, with a lake with boats, bike rentals, seasonal fairs and events, restaurants and terraces by the water, a skate park and a lot of places to walk around or sit on the grass.
- Right next to Herastrau you can visit Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum
An ethnographic museum dedicated to life in the Romanian villages, with hundreds of farms and peasant houses. A ticket is around 4 Euro for 1 adult.
Small but charming park, with stairs that give you a very nice view. The tall red granite monument is dedicated to the soldiers who died while fighting for Romania’s freedom.
While there check out the cute cafe under the bridge.
Built around 1935 as a symbol of the end of WWI. It is 27m high and it resembles the one from Paris.
- Palatul Parlamentului (The Palace of Parliament)
It is the third largest administrative building in the world, after Pentagon. It was built in the Communist era, by the well known leader of that time Nicolae Ceausescu. A ticket is around 10 Euro for 1 adult, the guided tour lasts 1,5h and you need to make a reservation (they recommend 24h in advance).
🔰 More recommendations in the e-Guide 🔰
in the Old Town Area
Here you can try Traditional Romanian dishes :
- Starters: Gustarea Ciobanului (polenta, cheese and sour cream) – Fig.1, Gustarea Gradinarului- Fig.2
- Soups: Bors de cocos (chicken soup), Ciorba de vacuta (beef soup)
- Grill (non pork): Mici Iordache- Fig.3, Frigaruie de oaie (sheep)- Fig.4, Pastrama de oaie (sheep steak)
- Hot Dishes: Pui la ceaun
- Side dishes: Iahnie de fasole, Varza calita
You just have to step inside the courtyard of this 200 year old inn. It’s impressive how imposing it is, with its 100 rooms, which back in the days were ready to host travelers. Today it holds one of the best traditional Romanian restaurants in the city. For lunch and dinner timeframes you’ll get live music and dances.
Reinterpreted Romanian dishes (a fancy cuisine and a bit more expensive). Recommendations:
- Starters: Pious Croquettes, The Scholar’s Chicharrones (fried duck pieces), Republican Ciulama (mushroom stew), Folded Cheese
- Meat: Lamb Chops- Fig.1, Turkey on guard duty, Mutton Pastrami-Fig.2
- Desert: Plum dumplings, Sensational rolls, The honest pie
More locations: Str. Bacani 1 (in the Old Town), Str. Episcopiei 9 (Piata Amzei, between Piata Romana and Universitate).
Romanian dishes and a variety of foods.
Str. Smardan 30, 2nd floor. From 4pm to 12am (for food) and to 2 am and to 6 am (for Friday and Saturday).
It’s a fancy place, dressing up is needed. They have some interesting food also, but the place is awesome for drinks and late-night parties.
Fancy inside restaurant, a cool terrace with a great view. Nice choice for drinks and dishes.
Serves breakfast and coffee snacks. Cool interior design on the Van Gogh thematic.
🔹 Zoomserie cakes and cafe
Some of the best sweets and cakes you can find in the city are at Zoomserie. Check their locations here: Locations.
Calea Victoriei Area
A medieval restaurant where you eat with your hands and huge plates (usually for 2 people).
- Sabia Excalibur (a whole grilled chicken)
- Ospatul din ajunul bataiei (chicken parts)
- Mega vegetariana (veggies deep fried *schnitzel style* and delicious)
Many options, even pasta, fish and burger. Good recipes! Also a good place for drinks (beers, cocktails, fancy drinks).
Many types of craft beers, cool place.
Close to Calea Victoriei
🔹 Restaurant & Bar (cute summer terrace) J’ai Bistrot
Opens at 10:00 and till 1pm it’s breakfast menu, and from 1 to 4 pm AND from 6 to 10 pm it’s menu a la carte, but between 4 and 6 pm only grill menu (but the grill menu is also available from 1pm till 11 pm, just the all a la carte menu is not working between 4 and 6 pm).
Various foods: wraps, burgers, pasta. Good choice of drinks: coffees, beers and craft one, cocktails, strong drinks, shots, wine.
🔹 Atelierul de tarte (food and sweets made by a chef)
The food here is delicious and the sweets are great. The prices are quite decent for the quality and the looks. The place is cozy but tiny, so a reservation would be needed in most days.
Explore Bucharest from a Tuk Tuk, 1-hour ride. You can choose from 2 routes and book online your ride. It’s great for seeing the city fast and taking pictures in some popular places.
You get to drive these cut cars around Bucharest, with an organized tour. A completely different road experience, for sure! It’s an 80 minutes experience.
As you can find in most European cities, a city tour bus is one option to do some sightseeing in Bucharest. The Bus has many stops and you can hop on and hop off where you want, with one ticket for 24h.
If you love walking to explore a city, then I have made for you a few recommended routes (with Google map points; just hit start and go). Bucharest has very charming streets, especially if you are a fan of 1850-1900’s small palace-like architecture. Problem is that these wow streets are mixed with meh and even some “eww” streets haha. So I decided to make some routes to spare you the wasted time on streets where is nothing to see and enjoy what the city has to offer. Don’t expect too much tho, Bucharest is an eclectic city, charming at times, but not very impressive. Anyway, as they say ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. So behold my routs!
Go to the beach (in summertime) or the amazing pool and water slides in Therme. (at the moment closed cause of Covid, waiting for it to reopen)
Therme is around 30 minutes away from Bucharest, with free buses from Piata Presei Libere to take you there and back. It has a tropical vibe and it’s great for relaxing no matter the weather or for having fun on the water slides.