Category Archives: Romania

Bucharest Christmas Market + Other Festive Things to Do 

Bucharest Christmas Market

Bucharest Christmas Market is just one of the reasons why it’s worth visiting the capital city of Romania in winter. Bucharest at Christmas time is amazing, a real fairy tale, even locals say! The little wooden cottages selling food, souvenirs and mulled wine set all over the city, as well as the festive songs you can hear everywhere and the lights that decorate the city make Bucharest Christmas spectacular. Bucharest weather in December is also pretty good, the temperature is not as extreme as it can get in other European countries. Here are the best things to do in Bucharest in winter. 


» Don’t miss our guide what to do in Bucharest all year round


1. Bucharest Christmas Market

There are plenty of fairs and more than one Christmas market in Bucharest in December. 

You will find one in every part of the city and a few in the city center. 

But the most popular one is the Bucharest Christmas Market at Universitatii Square (Piata Universitatii) which opens around mid-November. 

The Christmas Market is impossible to miss if you are downtown as it has millions of lights, decorated Christmas trees, nativity scenes, elves, Santas, wooden houses like in the fairy tales and lots of traditional food and sweets, as well as carolers. 

Unlike other European Christmas markets, Bucharest has managed to retain its tradition and sells genuine Romanian products.

Go in the morning for a delicious hot chocolate or even better, in the afternoon for a taste of that mulled one that is too good for words.

The mulled wine is usually made from Romanian wine enriched with spices that make it a delicious experience with a touch of Romanian locality. It is sweet and it is tasty but it is not to be taken lightly!

Piatti Revolution Bucharest at Christmas

2. Old City Center Bar Hopping

The Old City Center attracts tourists like a magnet, whatever the season might be.

From United Nations Square (Piata Natiunilor Unite) to the Central Military Circle (Cercul Militar Central), you can walk down Victoriei Street (Calea Victoriei) and use any of the cobbled streets to enter the Old City Center. 

The Christmas atmosphere is fun so much so you will find it difficult to settle in just one bar. 

Check out Bordello Bar for excellent cocktails, The Drunken Lords for the cool vibe and Oktoberfest Pub for beer lovers. 

3. Go to a Christmas Concert

While Romanian singers are giving performances in different venues in Bucharest in December, for a remarkable experience you should see The Extraordinary Christmas Concert called Viennese Regal (Regal Vienez) – 16th of December, 20.00, National Bucharest Theater, Studio Venue. 

4. Christmas Shopping in Bucharest

If you like Christmas, you will love shopping for Christmas in Bucharest! 

Special wooden houses with souvenirs, traditional sweets and drinks, and other delicacies pop up all over the city. 

You can take home some wool mittens for your loved ones, or a gingerbread house styled to perfection. If you want a different shopping experience, more on the luxurious/ fashion side, pay a visit to the shops on Victoriei Street (Calea Victoriei) or in Baneasa Shopping Mall. 

You will find Christmas shopping in Bucharest more affordable, compared to other European capitals, so don’t worry about putting a dent in your wallet.  

5. Bread and Butter, Craft Bakery (23rd, Calea Victoriei)

Start the day of festivities right with a breakfast fit for a king at Bread and Butter, Craft Bakery. 

You will discover that overindulgence has never tasted better, or healthier, for that matter. 

The eggs with avocado and smoked salmon on toast are a thing of the divine. Ah, yes, and they serve breakfast all day long. Be aware that you might end up spending hours here without even noticing, so plan this for when you have a bit of time on your hands. And try the deserts, it’s a must! 

6. Christmas Lights on Magheru Boulevard (Bulevardul Magheru)

It is not December in Bucharest if the lights are not on. 

The Christmas lights turn Bucharest main boulevards into a feast for the eyes.

Many people walk the streets just to enjoy the enchanting atmosphere with fairy-like illumination. 

7. Build a Snowman

When was the last time you built a snowman? If you don’t remember, it’s a clear sign you need to repeat the experience. 

The parks in Bucharest are amazing and it often snows in Bucharest in November or early December. 

So, you can enjoy a real Narnia adventure here. 

Tineretului Park (Parcul Tineretului) is amazing in winter and closer to the city center compared to another famous park, Herastrau. You can also visit Cismigiu Park to see its monuments and fountains sprinkled with snow. 

Snowball fighting is an acceptable pastime in Bucharest in winter, whatever the age of the participants might be. 

Clock tower in Cismigiu park, Bucharest in winter season 

8. Warm Up With Tea 

Bohemia Tea House or Infinitea are just two of the lovely tea houses you can find in Bucharest. 

The festive atmosphere is lovely and the decors impressive. 

Have you ever tried cotton floss flavored tea? Or precious teas such as White Monkey or Sencha Fukujyu? 

The menus are elaborate and cater for tea connoisseurs, as well as enthusiasts. And the sweets, of, the sweets! 

Try Matcha muffins or homemade cookies for a taste of happiness. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxCjixInQvy/

9. Traditional Romanian Restaurant Dinner

There is no place like home to spend Christmas unless it’s a traditional Romanian restaurant, which is the next best thing. 

Caru’ cu Bere (5 Stavropoleos street) is a famous beerhouse opened in 1879. The neogothic style building is impressive on the outside and decorated with paintings, stained glass, mosaics and carved panels on the inside. 

It could easily be a museum, but it’s something even better – a unique place in Europe all foodies should check out. 

The menu alone is a work of art. A novel that you can spend a few hours reading and learn much about the Romanian traditions, lifestyle and history. 

The jokes in the menu alone make the trip to Caru’ cu Bere all worth it. 

And the food, well, the food is another story. In a few words, this is traditional Romanian food at its finest. 

The specialities to try for Christmas are homemade boeuf salad and smoky eggplant Zakusca dip for starters. Then you can have a bean soup with smoked pork served in a bread bowl or the classic Romanian skinless sausages called “mici.” 

My personal favorite is the roasted pork knuckle with braised sour cabbage, polenta, horseradish and chili pepper. It weighs 1.6 kg, so don’t try this on your own. 

Ordering this dish is a courageous act, and you might end up not being able to walk after dinner. But they can call you a taxi, so don’t worry about this. 


Practical Bucharest Travel Information

While Romania is in the European Union, you won’t be able to use euros here. 

The currency is the Romanian leu (ron). You can get the currency straight out of the ATM if you want to use a credit card. 

There are also plenty of exchange shops around the city, as well as bank offices, where you can get the Romanian currency. 

Paying by credit card is possible in most venues (restaurants, hotels, malls), but rarely (if ever) possible with street vendors or taxis.


Getting Around Bucharest in December 

To get around Bucharest in December, you can choose in between metro, bus, tram and taxi. 

The taxi prices are affordable compared to the rest of Europe, so you might be tempted to give it a try. For example, a trip from the airport to the city center should be no more than 10-15 euros. 

Always get a company cab and check the cost per km (it is written on the door, usually 1.5- 2 lei/km during the day and a bit more for night time from 10 pm to 6 am). 

However, Bucharest tends to have nightmarish traffic during the holidays, so the metro might be a better option if you need to travel long distances. Also, give walking a chance if the weather is good. There is always something to admire while walking the streets of the Romanian capital city.


Bucharest Weather in Winter 

The weather in Bucharest in December is usually sunny with a chance (or more) of snow. 

The temperatures are often with a minus (-) in front of them, so bring warm clothes. You’ll need boots, a hat and mittens for your trip to Bucharest starting with November, especially if you want to spend some time outdoors. 


Where to Stay in Bucharest 

When it comes to accommodation, there is something for all budgets in Bucharest. 

Prices tend to rise over the winter holidays, so make sure to book well in advance. 


» You may also like: The best places to stay in Bucharest


Kiseleff Road bucharest


Festive Opening Hours 

Christmas Day and the 26th are quiet days in the city. Most museums, shops and tourist attractions will be closed. 

Trains do operate so if you are around over Christmas you may want to travel to Bravos or Prahova Valley. Read this guide on Bucharest day trips for more ideas. 

Book this portion of your trip in advance as accommodation books up fast and can be pricey. 


People in Bucharest 

Don’t be shy when it comes to engaging with locals. People here are very friendly and you will notice that most of them speak a certain level of English and are willing to help, if you need assistance with anything. 

Don’t be surprised if you bond with the locals over a cup of mulled wine in the Christmas market so much that you end up getting an invitation for a home visit. 

Thank them politely and keep in mind that if you go, you will be required to eat tremendous amounts of food and drink at least four different types of drinks (alcoholic). 

Christmas food in Romania is not for the fainted hearted, so tread with care. The Romanians are very welcoming and you will be having a meal during each house visit, whatever the time of the day might be, or the duration of the visit. Copious amounts of food are served. 

If you don’t finish everything on your plate, the hosts can easily assume that you hate them, and Romania too. 


Bucharest City Tours

If you want to discover more about Bucharest in wintertime, you can choose a guided tour. 

Bohemian Bucharest: Markets & Mahallas Small Group Tour takes you from the heart of the city towards the outskirts and gives you a glimpse into the life of the capital. A unique historical, architectural and culinary experience.

Bucharest City Tour with Village Museum takes you sightseeing and then for an exclusive visit to the Village Museum, in the northern part of the city. This tour is a great starting point for first-time visitors. 

The most popular day trip from Bucharest is, of course, Brasov. Hunt for Count Dracula at Bran Castle. Want to do it independently? Here’s how to get to Brasov from Bucharest.

If you want to see where people go to relax over the weekend and learn more about Bucharest and its surroundings, the Snagov Monastery and Mogosoaia Palace Half-Day Tour might be the right tour for you. You probably want to know that Snagov Monastery is the final resting place of Dracula (Vlad Tepes). 

Inside Bran Castle walls Romania


Bucharest in December is a real wonderland. There are many things to do in Bucharest in December, and Bucharest Christmas Market is certainly a popular choice. 

The prices for everything from accommodation to the mulled wine you buy on the streets are affordable, so Bucharest in winter could be a good option if you want a Christmas market, but you are on a budget. 

The traditional Christmas food is too good for words, with options for vegetarians. Expect your calories intake to be on the rise the moment you set foot on Romanian soil. 

Also, look forward to making friends for life and to have an amazing experience in this Eastern European capital. 


Planning a trip to Bucharest in winter? Pin to your board

Bucharest in December, Bucharest, Romania, Bucharest Christmas, Things to do in Bucharest, Bucharest Things to do, Bucharest Christmas Market, Bucharest Travel, Bucharest food and where to eat, Cheap budget free Bucharest, what to do in Bucharest, Bucharest Romania travel, Bucharest photography, Bucharest tips, Bucharest nightlife, Bucharest restaurant, bucuresti


About the author: Anne has lived most of her adult life in Bucharest. The parks, the food and the narrow, cobbled streets of the city center are her favorite things in the city and the main reasons for being here.

Where to Stay in Bucharest | The Best Areas

Where to stay in Bucharest and Old Town buildings

Bucharest, Romania’s capital is fast becoming a popular destination. With an attractive party scene, interesting recent history and an easy day trip to Bran Castle, it’s no wonder this surprisingly hipster, and affordable, city is on many European bucket lists. Bucharest is actually quite big, with many of the main attractions located around the Old Town, but city parks and lesser-visited things to do are a bit further out. Let’s take a look at where to stay in Bucharest, so you can choose the best area for your type of travel. Don’t miss our popular guide on things to do in Bucharest

Sunset over buildings in Bucharest Old Town


The Best Hotels in Bucharest By Area  

Bucharest Areas

  • Best for atmosphere – Universitatii or Piata Romana
  • Best for nature – Herastrau
  • Best for partying – Old Town

→ Note: We personally use Booking.com when we plan our trips. We find it great value for money, easy to use and love that you can often cancel without charge. We also link to TripAdvisor to give our readers more choice.


Bucharest’s Old Town (Sector 1) 

Centru Vechi, the Old Centre, isn’t actually that old. Redeveloped in the late 2000s, the Old Town today is where you will find streets of bars, restaurants with PRs and shops. A little calmer during the day, by night this area of Bucharest is jumping.

Expect blaring music, groups of friends partying and dancing girls in windows.

Not to everyone’s taste but we stayed in the Old Town and managed to sleep peacefully.

Pretty much everything you see on Instagram is near the Old Town, Carturesti Carusel (that white library with spiral stairs), ‘Umbrella Alley’ (Pasajul Victoriaget), and the sunset over those bronze roofs!


Bucharest Old Town Hotels

  • Filitti Boutique Hotel $$ – a 4-star modern hotel with unique decor (very 70s chic). Italian restaurant and sky bar onsite. Guests love that breakfast is served with a city view. Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking
  • Little Bucharest $ – This is actually a boutique hostel so a great option for those wanting a budget stay in a nice setting. We stayed with Little Bucharest during our trip and loved that the private room windows open up onto what can only be described as a fairytale city! Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking

Bucharest Old City Buildings from window


Cismigiu (Sector 1) 

Cismigiu is mainly a quiet residential area with a few exclusive boutique hotels taking up prime real estate.

The appeal? As well as being central, Cismigiu Park (or Cismigiu Gardens) is close by. This tree-lined green space is a popular city escape. You can hire pedalos or just go for a nice walk. During winter, locals ice skate on the park rink.


Cismigiu Hotels

  • Hotel Cismigiu $$ – Gorgeous historic building, guests love the location as it is not quite in the Old Town but everything is walkable. Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking
  • Hotel Trianon $ – Clean rooms, friendly staff. Lots of food for breakfast. Ten minutes walk to Old Town and ten minutes walk to the Palace of the People. Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking

» Visiting for the festive period? Check out our guide to Bucharest at Christmas


Clock tower in Cismigiu park, Bucharest in winter season


Herastrau 

Herastrau is the biggest park in the city and well used by residents and tourists. The park is where you will find Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum and the Michael Jackson tribute. 


Herastrau Hotels  

  • Hotel Herastrau $ – Surprisingly affordable for a park central hotel. very large rooms and hospitable staff that go the extra mile. Guests like being surrounded by nature. Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking.
  • Nordului Herastrau Luxury Apartment $ – Heated swimming pool wins the guests over, rooms are often reserved during summer so book in advance at TripAdvisor and Booking to avoid disappointment.

Herastrau Park area of Bucharest, green bush, blue skies, water fountain


Piata Romana  

Piata Romana is a historically important area. This is where the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu did a runner via helicopter in 1989.

Today it is a hip area with lots of cafes, vintage shops and restaurants. Architecture fans will like the prestigious street, Calea Victoriei and the ornate concert hall, Athenaeum.


Piata Romana Hotels

  • Athénée Palace Hilton $$$ – Grand building that doesn’t skimp on bedroom size. Guests love the outdoor seating, breakfast and location. Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking.
  • Radisson Blu $$$ – Location, location, location. Outdoor jacuzzi and swimming pool are also a hit with visitors. Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking.

Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest with green grass and blue skies


Universitatii

Surrounded by statues, this is where life happens in Bucharest. In the past, this was the meeting point where a friendly student protest resulted in violence in 1990 (Golaniad).

Today, still an important location where the locals shop, dine, and go to university. Here you will also find the National Theater of Bucharest.


Universitatii Hotels 

Intercontinental Hotel $$$ – 5 star, historically significant hotel in the heart of Bucharest. Guests adore the bedroom balconies with city views and club on the 21st floor. Check for the best prices at TripAdvisor and Booking.


Unirii

Unirii Square is the centre of Bucharest. 

During the weekends in spring/summer, the Unirii Square fountains put on a show to light and music. 

They really are quite special to the city after being left to decay for decades.  

The Palace of the Parliament is also close by where you can take a tour of the elaborate seat of Parliament.

Unirii Metro Station is located in this area but the Old Town is only approximate a 7-15 minute walk. The Palace of Parliament is around 15 minutes’ walk.


Unirii Hotels  


Floreasca 

Floreasca is an upmarket area of Bucharest, home to fine dining restaurants, bars and clubs. Less frequented by tourists in comparison to the above neighbourhoods.


Floresca Hotels 


Pin to your Romania board for later

Where to stay in Bucharest Romania, where to stay in Bucharest on a budget, Bucharest Romania, best hotels in Bucharest, accommodations in Bucharest for under $40, Bucharest sectors, Bucharestnna hotel best, Bucharest districts to stay in, hotels in Bucharest, accommodation in Bucharest,Bucharest sectors, boutique hotels in Bucharest, cheap hotels in Bucharest city center, places to stay in Bucharest, best things to do in Bucharest, Bucharest travel tips, budget travel in Bucharest


» Read next: our Romania travel guide


18 Things To Do In Buzzing Bucharest

Things to do in Bucharest

BAM! Bucharest blew me over. Little research had been done on things to do in Bucharest and the blogs I had read on Romania’s capital hadn’t whipped me into a frenzy. I’m here to tell you differently. Coined the ‘new Berlin’ – Bucharest is buzzing; the party scene is powerful, yet the scars from the Soviet hold lie just under the surface.

Lots of time in Bucharest? Don’t miss our day trips guide.

Bucharest Things to do Today

1. Old Town, Bucharest/Centru Vechi

Probably the youngest Old Town in the world, Bucharest Old Town is that a decade old!

The aim of the redevelopment of Centru Vechi (the Old Centre, as the locals call it) was to entice locals and tourists alike to enjoy some social drinking while spending a bit of coin.

The plan has been successful, this area is jumping.

Streets and streets of bars, restaurants, kebab shops, and pumping music, all housed in grand buildings.

Warning – local beer, Csíki Sör, is pretty cheap in Bucharest but vodka comes in at £2.50.

A glass of wine is not that far off it leaving a bit of a bad taste in my mouth after a month of 75p wines in Hungary and £1.20 swifters in Slovenia! Invest in some hydration tablets US / UK, we never travel without them if visiting a city with a solid drinking culture.

Be sure to check out ‘Umbrella Alley’ on Pasajul Victoriaget.

This is probably the most photographed spot in Bucharest.

How to Get to Bucharest’s Old Town

The borders of the Old Town are Dambovita river to the south, Calea Victoriei to the west, Bulevardul Brătianu to the east and Regina Elisabeta to the north.

While in the Old Town, you might want to swing by the Insta-famous Bucharest library, Carturesti Carusel.

Old Town I Things To Do In Bucharest

2. A Room With A View

The popular hostel, Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel, sits at the top of the Old Town like the queen of the party scene. Inside is tranquillity; cosy cafe, speedy WiFi, equipped kitchen, friendly staff, social dorms, and private rooms with this view…

Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel Views I Things To Do In Bucharest

Open the front door, welcome to the bustle of Bucharest Romania! Solo traveller?

No fear, Little Bucharest also has planned daily events, it’s a social hub, not just a hostel. You won’t miss any Bucharest things to do with this social calendar.

  • Hostel: Booking, Hostelworld
  • Address: Strada Smârdan, București, Romania
  • Bucharest travel blog tip: best shots of the Old Town are from the hostel cafe window

» Read our full guide on where to stay here


3. Free Walking Tour Bucharest

One of my favourite things to do in the first couple of days of visiting a city is to take a walking tour.

Why? Because it helps me get my bearing (which are shocking for a travel blogger!) and I can annoy the local guides for insider tips on food, bars and top activities.

Bucharest now has a walking tour and it is free.

I should note here that free tours in Europe and beyond aren’t actually free, you pay by tip at the end of the tour.

The walking tour takes you through the city and  500 years of history from Vlad the Impaler, you may know him as Dracula, to the 1989 Revolution.

  • Time: 10:30
  • Where: Piata Unirii Park, in front of the Clock
  • Duration: 2 hours – don’t forget water and wear sunscreen in summer

The jury is out on whether to drink the tap water in Romania.

Some ex-pat sites suggest the water smells a bit foul.

The eco-warriors amongst us may want to consider this purifying water bottle.

Check out our unbiased review of DrinkSafe Travel Tap or get 15% off Water To Go [quote TSA15 at checkout].

Bottled water is available in shops, of course, it’s just terrible for the environment.

4. Food Hood Bucuresti

Move over Portland, Bucharest’s food carts are in town. Seems like Romania’s capital is stealing the solid North American idea of food trucks with a couple of bars, bands, and bunting thrown into the mix.

There are a variety of events held at Food Hood too such as yoga, badminton and record fairs. We dined and drank here at night, really casual vibes and live music.

Food Hood I Things To Do In Bucharest

5. Bucharest Markets Tour

If you really like food or if you prefer a more relaxed cultural experience check out the Bohemian Maret Tour.

In this tour, you will try the beloved ‘mici’ street snack in Bucharest and local beers from the country craft breweries.

The tour isn’t just about the belly though, expect to wander the streets around prominent sociopolitical spots such as University Square and Strada Batistei.

What makes this tour a little different from others is that it leaves the centre boundaries for lesser-known neighbourhoods such as the Armenian quarter and the old Jewish quarter.

Here is where your local English-speaking guide will introduce you to the most famous street-food, covrigi.

The next stop takes you back to Communist Bucharest (Mosilor Stree) to visit Obor Market. Food includes

  • A ‘peasant platter’ (local cheese and meats, plus seasonal vegetables and homemade bread)
  • Street snack
  • 2 mici (includes bread and mustard)
  • 1 platter of local cheeses
  • 1 Wallachian doughnut
  • 3 beers
  • 1 shot of palinca (yikes!)

Tour Info:

  • Time: 10 am
  • Meeting point: National Theatre
  • Duration: 5.5 hours
  • You must book ahead, click here to do so

6. Bucharest Bike Tour

Bucharest is not only an extremely interesting historical city but is actually pretty big.

An accessible way to get around all the important places to visit in Bucharest is by bike. Slow Tours Half Day Bike tour meets every day and guides you around Romania’s Bucharest filling your head with facts about the ‘City of Contrasts’.

Our tour guide (and business owner), Mihai, was friendly, funny, and very knowledgeable.

We kicked off our tour at Charles de Gaulle Square, cycling through the impressive Herăstrău Park (see below), then many other green areas (Bucharest has lots!), past the Palace of the Parliament (see below) to Revolution Square where Mihai shared his researched knowledge (and a degree in anthropology) of the 1989 Revolution which resulted in the execution of the then-dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, who lost his life, along with his wife, Elena on Christmas Day.

I know four hours sounds long but time flies when you are working your buns!

Mihai not only treated us to stories but also local tips and a scone-like bread snack for lunch, which we ate in the sun. Bliss!

  • Meeting Point: Charles de Gaulle Sq
  • Price: €30 per person
  • Duration: Approx. 4 hours
  • Pedal while you learn, Bucharest things to do and see

Obviously never travel without insurance regardless of what type of trip you are making.

We use True Traveller for insurance, which I claimed during our time in Vancouver, Canada and I was happy with the service.

See if they are right for you here. You may also like our insurance comparison guide.

Carol Park I Things To Do In Bucharest

7. Bespoke Walking Tour + Support Ex-Homeless

If you are looking for a unique thing to do in Bucharest that sheds a different, realistic light on the city join this tour with a formerly homeless guide.

Not only will you learn about the attractions in the Old Town but also the struggles of life on the street. 

An alternative way to explore while supporting a local NGO and a formerly homeless person with employment. Tours are available in English and Spanish and a street snack is included.

  • Time: 10am
  • Meeting point: National Theatre main entrance
  • Duration: 2.5 hours

8. Arcul de Triumf

Seriously, guys, I am not that fit. I did not cycle to France. Bucharest has its very own Arch of Triumph!

This monument was made, speedily, to celebrate the end of World War I.

The original design did not last long but was replaced with stone. Unfortunately, there was (and is often) ugly construction around the beautiful Arc.

If you are lucky, and you time your trip right, you might just get up it.

Did you know that Bucharest’s nickname is ‘Little Paris’? Like architecture? Check out Timisoara, Romania.


» Heading to Dracula’s Castle? Here are five ways to get to Bran


Arcul De Triumf I Things To Do In Bucharest

Arch of Triumph: Bucharest, Romania points of interest

9. Bucharest’s Prettiest Parks

If you are wondering where all the locals are at the weekend you’ll find them at the beach or be lazing in the parks of Bucharest.

The biggest park is Herăstrău Park (Sector 1) which is 187 hectares built around Herăstrău lake.

Visitors can hire a boat, visit the Village Museum, or check out the many sculptures (look out for King of Pop!)

Other green spaces include Bucharest’s Botanical Gardens (Șoseaua Cotroceni 32), Cismigiu Gardens / Grădina Cismigiu  (Bulevardul Schitu Măgureanu) and the concrete Carol Park, home to the Monument to the Heroes of the Struggle for Freedom and Socialism (Filaret Hill) – a couple of things to do for free in Bucharest.

Herastrau Park I Things To Do In Bucharest

10. Palace of the Parliament

Seriously, this is Bucharest Parliament!

I know, this ‘House of the People’ resembles a battleship but this home to politicians is not just any parliament, it is the second-largest administrative building in the world, after The Pentagon of course!

This monstrosity of a building was created by Romania’s dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu’s, in 1984, five years later the Romanian revolution would kick off.

Visitors can take a tour of the Parliament, (book in advance and take your passport for ID).

When you hear that it eventually took 700 architects (initially headed by a young woman, Anca Petrescu) and 20,000 building workers to erect this thing, it’s easy to see why it is one of the top things to do in Bucharest Lonely Planet.

  • Address: Calea 13 Septembrie 1
  • Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm / off-peak 10am – 4pm
  • Price: Standard 45 LEI  additions
  • Pre-book 1.5-hour tour: reserve your spot here (cheaper if you purchase on site)
  • Remember your passport
Palace of the Parliament I Things To Do In Bucharest

Hard to miss Bucharest attractions

11. Sighet Memorial Exhibition

Take a look at the bullets on the buildings and you will see proof that Romania has suffered.

For a long time (according to locals), Bucharest has not displayed its history unlike Sarajevo does extensively.

This has changed with the introduction of the Communism Exhibition which takes you through a timeline of events from the stronghold of the Soviets on Romania in 1945 to the withdrawal of the Soviets then the Romanian Revolution / Uprising of 1984. This museum was one of the (many) highlights for me.

The Romanians did not have a Tito to keep Moscow at arm’s length like former Yugoslavia did and this resulted in the Red Army ‘protecting’ the country for 14 years. Romania was made a Soviet satellite state, which meant its industries were nationalised and placed under the SovRom title, everything from petrol to media to hospitals to the movies were ‘looked after’ by Joseph Stalin.

He even renamed the city of Brasov, ‘Stalin City’ to show who was boss.

However, the big industry was not the only aspect of life that communism controlled. Landowners were evicted, many did not go down without fighting, burning their own farms down before the Red Army could get to them.

Education was heavily controlled, books were audited, bibles were made into toilet paper – so Romanians were literally wiping their asses with religion (which wasn’t banned, just heavily restricted).

Ok, so maybe you could handle losing your house, job, bank account, all for the ‘greater good’ of the Soviet nation but Stalin’s techniques did not tickle. Students, bishops, priests, dissidents (men and women) were arrested and placed in ‘re-education through torture’ programmes. Prisoners were beaten physically and mentally.

Boiling gruel was served, prisoners were forced to lie on their stomachs with their hands behind their backs and eat with their mouths like pigs.

Once tortured to the point of no return, prisoners were made into the torturer – maiming their old friends, no longer a human being themselves- ‘the brutality was boundless’.

By 1958, the Soviet tanks were leaving, and by 1965 the liked and then loathed, dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu was in power. This gallery displays, texts, images, and a clever computerised device, to convey what life was like in Romania.

  • Permanent Exhibition Area of the Sighet Memorial in Bucharest: Website
  • Contact: +40 21 313 7628
  • Address: 66 Jean Luis Calderon St., Bucharest
  • Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm
  • Price: Free
Communism Permanent Exhibition I Things To Do In Bucharest

Permanent Exhibition Area of the Sighet Memorial in Bucharest

12. Communist Tour in Bucharest

Red tourism is very popular in European cities and Bucharest is slowly taking on the demands of its visitors.

This Bucharest Communist Tour teaches you about the rise and fall of Ceausescu while you walk past communist-era landmarks and political memorials. It covers life under the communist regime and life in Bucharest today including a visit to lesser-known communist-style neighbourhoods, definitely one of the cultural travellers.

  • Meeting Point: Near the red-brick bell tower of the Patriarchy, walking distance from Piata Unirii
  • Duration: 3 hours

Bucharest buildings

13. Michael Jackson Spotting in Bucharest

Michael Jackson is an unlikely hero but he is to the Romanians! MJ was one of the first celebrities to visit Bucharest after the uprising.

It was official Budapest, I mean Bucharest, was on the map!

Yes, poor Michael made that mistake live on stage – whose bad?!

So the next time someone asks ‘where is Bucharest?’ think of the King of Pop!

14. What to do in Bucharest at NightUnirii Square Fountain Show

During spring and summer, there is a grand performance involving music, light and water from 44 fountains at Unirii Square. 

15. Bucharest’s Bar Hopping

What comes after the Old Town bars? Hipster pubs.

Checking out the local talent in Bucharest put my backpacking attire to shame.

There are a lot of cool cats roaming the city streets and hanging out in Bucharest’s hipster bars.

Partying is one of the more obvious things to do at night in Bucharest!

Gradina EDEN, Bucharest

Close your eyes, think of the garden of Eden, open your eyes…

Yes, you are there.

Eden offers beer in bottles and on tap, wine, spirits and a calm environment to enjoy them in.

Eden receives 5 stars for things to do in Bucharest TripAdvisor.

  • Facebook: Gradina EDEN
  • Address: Calea Victoriei 107, București, Romania
  • Top tip for things to do in Bucharest – nightlife is jumping here, seriously! 

» Love to party? Book your Bucharest pub crawl spot «

Gradina EDEN I Things To Do In Bucharest

Check Control Club

Overpriced hipster alarm.

We paid £5 cover fee to get into Check Control Club expecting some kind of action in exchange, a DJ, band, dance floor?

Nope, just two bars for you to spend your hard-earned cash on. We promptly left with our cover fee refunded.

Check out what’s on before planning your night out.

Pura Vida Sky Bar

Watch the sun set over the copper rooftops with soothing summer tunes and a drink in hand at Pura Vida Sky Bar.

As the Costa Rican saying goes this is a ‘pure life’!

  • Facebook: Pura Vida Sky Bar
  • Address: 7 Smârdan Street, București, Romania
  • This bar is actually a hostel. Check out reviews and prices here
  • Climb the stairs to heaven – Bucharest to do list for this year, tick it off
Pura Vida Sky Bar I Things To Do In Bucharest

SkyBar Dorobanti

Beautiful people in a striking setting, SkyBar Dorobanti is a modern, chic rooftop bar and restaurant.

Lounge in your best dress-up gear on the outdoor sofas or take a snap against the flower backdrop.

Indoor seating is available too.

  • Address: Floor 5, Terasa, Calea Dorobanți 155, București 010564

NOMAD SkyBar

Another popular rooftop hangout is NOMAD.

House goal decors, crafty cocktails and music.

Receives mixed reviews.

  • Address: Etaj 2, Strada Smârdan 30, București 030167

16. Bucharest Pub Crawl

If you are travelling alone or are a social group why not hop aboard the booze train with this pub night crawl in Bucharest?

Bar hop between four-five different themed pubs which also means four-five alcoholic shots in each.

The tour takes place in the Old Town so if you managed to lose the crowd it won’t be hard to find them again!

The first couple of bars are more relaxed, getting you in the mood for the remaining party places – dancing is not mandatory!

Expect to be mixing with locals and holiday-makers alike during the four-hour bar crawl.

Flip-flops and sleeveless shirts are not permitted so dress up for the occasion.

  • Duration: 4.5-5 hours
  • Meeting Place: Varies

17. Leave Bucharest For Dracula!

One of the most popular things to do in Bucharest is actually leave in the city. Many visitors want to glimpse of the famous Bran Castle which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

You don’t have to attempt to get to the town of Bran yourself as this tour offers transportation to Transylvania and back to Bucharest.  It is a long day at 12 hours but the trip includes stories about  Vlad the Impaler, time at Peles Castle (Sinaia) and a stop at Brasov, located in the heart of Transylvania.

  • Reserve your ticket here
  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Instant confirmation, skip the line ticket included

18. Things to Eat in Bucharest

One of Romania’s national dishes is sarmale (pictured) which consists of ground meat and rice wrapped in cabbage.

Locals state that the best sarmale is slowly cooked in an iron cauldron over a small fire.

I tried some at La Mama (Strada Episcopiei 9) and was impressed.

Very tasty.

For a quick snack try plăcinte cu brânză dulce which is a fried bread and sweet cheese found in bakeries (and there are lots of them, always busy).

Sarmale I Things To Do In Bucharest

Restaurants in Bucharest

There are hundreds of restaurants in Bucharest which serve local and international dishes.

The streets of the Old Town are jam-packed with eateries.

The area around Strada Episcopiei also has a few more options.

If you are looking to grab a quick bite don’t miss the Food Hood (see above) or look for the shop window with the busiest queue – that is the bakery!

Here’s a guide to vegan restaurants in Bucharest.

For trendy options, brunch at Fior di Latte or Pio Bistro, cake at Mara Mura, lunch at Papila or Cafe Lier and dinner at GRAM Bistro.


Hotels in Bucharest

Accommodation in Bucharest is not expensive.

  • Hotels range from 30 euros per night so suits every budget. Check the best rates at TripAdvisor and Booking
  • Hostel dorms start at 7 euros. Check out more hostel options and availability at Hostelworld

Bucharest Public Transport

Bucharest has a metro system which has been running since 1979. Trains start at 5am – 11pm every day of the week.

A map of the metro system can be found here.

Bucharest also has a number of bus, trams, and light rail routes. Über operates here as well as a taxi app called Speed Taxi Bucuresti or Speed Taxi Bucharest (reviews online not so hot).

A reader recommends Bolt, Yango and Clever. Let me know how you get on with them in the comments below please. We used the Bucharest airport bus (783) during rush hour which was a nightmare – two hours to get to the city. It should take 45 minutes outside of rush hour.

My understanding is that the ticket was £2 per person however a reader has advised us that it is £2 for two people or £2 return.

We used Über to get back to the airport which took 25 mins,  not in rush hour.

Bucharest Weather

Similar to surrounding countries, Romania, sees hot summers but cold winters.

Summer runs from June to August and winter from December to February.

Summers average at a nice 27 – 29 degrees, whereas winter temperatures can fall to below 0.

Rain falls mostly from March to May (spring) then again from September to November (autumn/fall) however summer often experiences violent storms.


» Visiting during winter? Here’s our guide to Bucharest at Christmas, written by a local


Romanian Athenaeum I Things To Do In Bucharest

Bucharest what to do today? Bike tour!

Things to do in Bucharest, Romania on a Rainy Day

In addition to the two museums mentioned above, Bucharest is also home to

There are lots of high street shops for every budget in Bucharest.

Shop like a local!

There is a flea market at Strada Mihai Bravu and a fresh foods market at Amzei Market. When considering things to buy in Bucharest, especially souvenirs check out the gift shops of the museums for authenticity.

There is often a market at the back of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant which came recommended for trinkets and traditional food.

Currency in Romania

Although Romania is part of the European Union it does not use the Euro.

The currency used in Romania is the Romanian leu. For the most up to date exchange rates click here.

Bucharest Map

Romanian Tourism has a very helpful page of maps for not only Bucharest but also other towns and cities.

WiFi in Bucharest

WiFi in Bucharest is rapid! If there are any digital nomads out there looking for somewhere in Europe to touch base then I highly recommend working here.

Little Bucharest also offers a co-working space, the first one in the city!

Why not stay longer, tell the world about Romania’s capital and create a Bucharest blog?

Bucharest Romania

Things to Watch Out for in Bucharest

As a travelling couple, we felt safe in Bucharest.

If you are a non-drinker then the Old Town at night may be one of the things you want to avoid in Bucharest.

However, the Food Hood still has nice vibes and less bustle than the bars on the streets next to it. One of the main things to be careful with is stereotypes.

Romanians are not Roma (or Romani/Romany) people (often referred to ‘gypsies’, but this term can be deemed as negative).

The Roma people are traditionally a group who travel but are also found in Romania just to confuse matters. Romanian people are natives of the country Romania (although many Romani people were born in Romania too).

Romanians speak the Romanian language, the Roma communities have their own language. Roma people are often discriminated against and EU states that it is each EU country’s responsibility to prevent this exclusion.

Like many big cities, there are many people (mostly women, with children) begging for money, some of which are Romani.

Smoking in Bucharest

Hooray! Bucharest has joined the rest of civilised Europe and enforced the smoking ban in public places.

Day Trips from Bucharest

Wondering where the castles are? Fancy a dip in the Black Sea?

In need of a hike in the mountains?

If you have more than 2-3 days in Bucharest you might want to get out of the city.

Here’s our guide to the best Bucharest day trips.

Did you know that Romania has excellent treks?

Check out this post on hiking in the Carpathian Mountains from our British blogging friends over at Roaming Renegades.

Heading to Bucharest? Why not pin to your Romania Pinterest board?

Bikes, beers, and and not a vampire in sight - the essential top 10 things to do in Bucharest, Romania. Could Little Paris be the new 'Berlin'

Have you been to Bucharest? Would you like to go?

Bucharest Destination Guides

Thanks to Little Bucharest and Slow Tours for a lovely long weekend in Bucharest, our own opinions as always.

Bucharest to Transylvania: How to get to Bran Castle

Day trips from Bucharest

In the heart of Transylvania, on top of a cliff, is the majestic silhouette of one of the most famous structures in the fictional world – the Dracula Castle. This guide details how to get from Bucharest to Transylvania to visit Romania’s famous Bran Castle.

Built over 600 years ago, the castle retains and projects to its visitors some of the pride of the knights that passed its doors in ancient times. At present, it is one of the main travel destinations in Romania. Inside the castle is the permanent Bran Museum, which displays an impressive collection of ceramics, furniture and weaponry.

Besides the fact that this is one of the most well-preserved and impressive medieval castles in Romania (and former royal residence), legend has it that this castle is the resting place of the famous Count Dracula. This is precisely the reason why hundreds of thousands of visitors visit it each year, in search of his spirit.


» Going to Bucharest? Don’t miss our popular guide on things to do


Why Visit Bran Castle?

The myth of Dracula from Bram Stoker’s novel has transformed Bran Castle into a world destination. Forbes places the famous castle alongside the most expensive real estate properties like the villa in Beverly Hills where The Godfather was filmed and where John F Kennedy spent his honeymoon.

Full of historical treasures and cultural heritage, the castle is a great example of medieval defensive strongholds, built as a fortress by the Teutonic Order in 1212.

Furthermore, it was used as a residence for the Habsburg, Holzhausen and Sandhofer royal families.

In the 1920s, citizens of Brașov offered the building as a gift to Queen Mary of Romania. A token of appreciation for her contribution to the unification process of the country. This is when it became a castle.

But, although it bears an impressive historical heritage that spans over 600 years, its main appeal is the legend of Dracula!

Where is Dracula’s Castle?

You can find Bran Castle at the entrance of the Rucăr-Bran passage, on the road between the cities of Brașov and Câmpulung, placed between the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountain tops.

The distance from Brașov to the castle is of 30 km, on the national road DN73, starting from the city at the west, through the Bartolomeu neighborhood.

Bran Castle surrounded by green trees

How to get to Bran Castle, Romania?

The distance from Bucharest to the famous Bran Castle is around 200 km and there are five ways to get there.

You can book a car, a tour, hire a private taxi, use the public bus or go there by public train.

Bran Castle is one of the most traveled destinations in Romania, expect long lines if not booking a tour with ‘skip the line’ options.

I recommend planning well ahead how to get there and to book enough time to discover the history and the legend surrounding the place.

Driving to Bran Castle

It takes around three hours to drive to Bran Castle from Bucharest.

From Bucharest, go north on DN1/E60, pass by Ploiești city, keep following DN1/E60 and after Azuga town turn left on DN73A, then at Râșnov town turn left again on DN73/E574 and after 10km.

You will find the castle on your left.

The main reason to go there by car is that you’re not restricted by time and you can enjoy the sightseeing around the castle.

Booking a Dracula Castle Tour

Choosing an agency to handle your transport from Bucharest to Bran Castle, as well as the entrance ticket is a great option.

This means you can fully enjoy the travel experience, leaving the stress of organizing the tour as someone.

Here are some options if you would like to choose to book a tour.

Dracula’s Castle Full-Day Tour from Bucharest

This Dracula Castle full-day tour leave Bucharest early morning and takes you on a jam-packed tour lasting for 12 hours.

Your guide shares stories about Dracula and educates you about how the Bran Castle has transformed itself in its 600 years of existence.

You also get also a guided tour Brașov Old Town and Peleș Castle, in Sinaia – another royal residence.

Pros

  • Convenient meeting points for downtown Bucharest hotels and hostels
  • Professional guide
  • Entrance tickets included
  • Skip the line entry

For booking and more details please click here.

Inside Bran Castle walls Romania

From Bucharest to Transylvania Day Trip (11 hours)

If you choose to visit the castle in a small group of up to eight people, then this tour option that suits you best. For less than 300 lei/person (64 Euro) you will receive:

Pros:

  • English-speaking guide
  • Hotel/hostel pick-up
  • Small-group tour
  • Air-conditioned minivan
  • Headsets for guided tour
  • Skip the line tickets

To check availability please click here.

Peleș & Bran Small Group: 2 Transylvanian Castles in 1 Day

On this full-day tour from Bucharest (12 hours), you will visit the historic region, exploring the influence of different cultures, including Romanian, Saxon, Turkish and Hungarian.

You will visit both the former royal residence of Peleș Castle and Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s castle, for less than 400 lei/person (85 Euros). Click here for availability and best rates.


Train from Bucharest to Bran Castle

Leaving from North Railway Station (Gara de Nord) in Bucharest take the Brașov train route. The journey takes around 3.5 hours.

From there you only have to take a short bus or taxi transfer to Bran Castle.

Auto-station No. 2 Brașov offers regular public bus between Brașov and Bran-Moeciu, departing every 30 minutes during the week, and every hour during the weekend.

Pros

  • Cheap (around 10 Euros/person) and you can enjoy the beauty all around.

Cons

  • No guide.

Private Taxi to Vlad Dracula Castle

If you do not have a car at your disposal, and you do not want to go by train, consider a taxi from Bucharest to Bran.

A drive from Bucharest to Vlad Castle takes about 3 hours. Outside of Otopeni-Bucharest Airport, there is a taxi rank.

This option will be at least eight times higher than train/bus prices.

Pros

  • Self-managed time, round trip transportation.

Cons

  • Expensive and you don’t have a guide.

» You may also like: Bucharest’s best day trips – history, nature and the beach


Hotels Near Bran Castle

If you decide to stay one night or more, here are two of my preferred accommodation options near Bran Castle.

These are also two of the best-rated hotels in the area.

The Törzburger Manor (Conacul Törzburger)

Situated in Bran and with Bran Castle reachable within 500 metres, Conacul Törzburg features a garden, non-smoking rooms, free WiFi and a bar.

Boasting luggage storage space, this property also provides guests with a restaurant, where a buffet breakfast is available each morning.

Rooms come with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. 

This property also has one of the best-rated locations in Bran, and really, for this place you are getting more for your money compared to other properties in the area.

Prices start from $100 for a double room, but the proximity (only 3 minutes, 195 m on foot) and the view really make it worth the price. 

→ Check the best rates at TripAdvisor and Booking.


Hanul Bran

A very good alternative at half the price is Hanul Bran

Just 300 m from the famous Bran Castle, this hotel has a large restaurant and hotel units with free Wi-Fi and cable TV.

Set at the foothills of Bucegi mountains, Hanul Bran provides free private parking.

Overlooking the mountains or Bran castle, its rooms and suites feature carpeted floors, desk and minibar. The private bathroom comes with shower, hairdryer and free toiletries.

The restaurant has an “a la carte” menu and consists of two halls and a summer terrace.

One hall features a mediaeval theme and wooden furnishings, offers a bar and has views of the castle. The adjacent Panoramic Restaurant serves traditional specialities from the region.

The local bus station, a 24/7 grocery shop and a bazaar with souvenirs are all 400 m from Hanul Bran.

If visiting in winter, the nearest ski slopes are just 2.5 km away, while the Poiana Brasov Ski Resort with 12 slopes are approximately 22 km from Hanul Bran.

The prices start from $40 for a double extra large room, but can also be less expensive if you book a room in advance.

→  Check the best rates at TripAdvisor and Booking.

Looking for hotels in Bucharest? Here’s our guide


Advice for Visiting Bran Castle

Dracula’s Castle is proof that a vacation in Romania should be top of everyone’s European bucket list. Its beauty even rivals the famous Neuschwanstein in Germany.

  • Pack a good camera because the darker rooms inside the Bran Castle may pose a challenge to your smartphone camera.
  • You have to pay a photo fee but it is worth it. You’ll want to capture the beauty and history of this majestic castle.
  • Set aside at least thirty minutes if taking a self-guided tour.

Information About Bran Castle

Between The Legend and History

Although it has entered the tour circuit and is known as Dracula’s Castle, it seems that Vlad Tepes – the historic character that was the inspiration for Bram Stoker – has never lived here.

In fact, the Bran Castle was built on a wooden fortification by the Teutonic Knights in 1225.

Subsequently, in 1337, the Saxons arrived on the Chair of Brașov and asked King Ludwig of Hungary to build a new fortress, the present Bran Castle.

It was used by Sigismund of Luxembourg, emperor and king of Hungary as a strategic base in 1395, remaining a defensive fortress for centuries.

In 1920, the Brasov City Council donated Bran Castle to the Queen Mary as a gratitude for the achievement of the Great Union in 1918.

The Bran became state property in 1948 and was restored in the 1990s.

The year 2000 was the year when Archduke Dominic of Habsburg claimed it, then in 2009, it was re-furnished.

Although the Vlad the Impaler Castle, in the heart of Transylvania, has six centuries of history behind it, Dracula’s myth has transformed it into the tourist destination.

Where does the castle and Dracula legend come from?

Simple.

The well-known English writer, Bram Stoker, describes a Transylvanian castle that was set on a tall rock in which a blood creature lived.

Bran Castle is the only one in Transylvania that suits the description, and for this reason, it has been tied to the story.

However, the Irish writer has carefully avoided creating a real historical connection between his character, Count Dracula, and the historical personality of Vlad Tepes, the fearsome Wallachian ruler.

When is the Best Time to Visit Transylvania?

Thanks to the reader who let us know that there are three major Halloween parties in Transylvania!

Firstly, one in Bran Castle which is a club party.

Secondly, the party in Sighisoara citadel, Vlad birthplace, with magicians shows and Ritual Killing of a Living Dead.

Finally, an event in Dracula Castle with a banquet. Have you been? tell us below.

Save for later planning

How to get to Bran Castle, Romania, Transylvania, Romania How to get to Bran Castle from Bucharest, Romania, Romanis essential information, Bucharest train to Bran and Brasov, best Bran Castle tours from Bucharest, Bucharest to Transyvania, Dracula, Romania, Dracula’s Castle, Vlad the Impaler how to visit Bran Castle, what to expect at Bran Castle, things to do in Bucharest, Bucharest travel, Bucharest tips, Bucharest day trips

Final Words

History, myths, intrigues … For legends, die-hards and history enthusiasts, for romantic lovers eager to discover the hidden stories of the thick walls of the castles, or perhaps simply tourists who want to know the world long and wide, Bran Castle, also called Dracula’s Castle, is undoubtedly a tourist destination not to be missed.


About the author
Vivianne is an online content creator from US who fell in love with Romania since she first visited her friends there. She is in love with the mountains, the beach, the people and the Romanian culture. She felt such a powerful attraction with the place that she even married a Romanian local.

» Read next: Our Romania travel guide+ Bucharest at Christmas


8+ Best Day Trips From Bucharest: Dracula, Beaches + Mountains

Day trips from Bucharest

Romania’s capital, Bucharest, really should be top of your travel list of 2019! The city is full of recent history, beautiful green space, charming architecture and hipster bars but this guide is not boasting about Bucharest – it is going to tell you why you should escape the city. Day trips from Bucharest include lots of attractions from castles to coastlines, spit cake to sandy beaches – keep reading to find out more about the best independent and guided tours from Bucharest. If you are doing these day trips independently, do check out our road trip packing list before you drive.


» Check out our city guide to Bucharest + hotels guide


Day Trips From Bucharest

1. Sinaia

Sinaia is probably the most famous mountain resort in Romania, given its easy accessibility from Bucharest, at only 120km away. This makes it the perfect escape from the hectic capital, which can easily be done in just one day.

There is no shortage of castles near Bucharest but Sinaia is famous for the Peles Castle, the most impressive castle in Romania. Even though Bran Castle gets all its fame thanks to Dracula, Peles draws tons of tourists due to its Neo-Renaissance architecture and its location, secluded from the town centre, on a vast and green complex. Its construction was finalised in 1883 and became home to the Romanian royal family. The castle is definitely worth a visit, although during summer there are long queues at the entrance. During the summer months, Peles Castle is closed on Mondays, and during winter months it closes both on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Sinaia is filled with restaurants and bistros, but a very famous one is Bistro La Teleferic, a cosy B&B with a tiny restaurant providing delicious meals. It even serves the Romanian staple sour soup made of beans and served in bread.

Bucharest to Sinaia: To get to Sinaia, you can either take a bus or even better, a train. They’re both regular buses and trains that get to Sinaia, but the train will provide a more romantic and smoother trip. Regarding prices, a train ticket will cost anywhere between 5 to 10 euro for a one-way-trip, around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Andra | Our World to Wander | Facebook

2. Peles Castle [also see Sinaia above]

One of Romania’s true gems, Peles Castle in the leafy town of Sinaia was once the summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family.

The magnificent castle houses over 160 extravagant rooms furnished with exquisite chandeliers, fine arts and frescoes and stained glass windows and exploring the castle feels like entering a fairytale world. Access is by guided tour only and there is a fee for photography which is worth it to capture the majestic castle.

Many visitors combine a visit to Peles Castle with a stop at the nearby Sinaia Monastery which is home to Orthodox monks.  

Bucharest to Peles Castle: Peles Castle is located in the town of Sinaia, a 90-minute train journey from Bucharest. It’s a lovely uphill walk from Sinaia Train Station to Peles Castle and it is accessible via a forest path or by walking along the main road. Taxis are also available outside the train station. If you have a rental car, the journey between Bucharest and Sinaia takes about 2 hours by road.

Elaine and Dave | Show Them the Globe

Peles Castle Romania

 

3. Bucharest to Transylvania [Brașov]

Transylvanian city of Brașov is quite a small city and, if you get there early enough, you can see all of the main attractions in a day. Several companies run walking tours, some of which are free, and these can be a great way to immerse yourself in local Romanian history and see all of the main sights within a few hours.

These attractions include the old medieval walls, as well as churches like the Black Church, the church of Bartolomeu, and the Orthodox Church of Saint Nicolae.

Walking to the top of nearby Mount Tampa is definitely recommended, as it gives you some fantastic views of the city and the chance to see the famous Hollywood-esque sign up close. If you’re short of time, or not comfortable walking, there’s a cable car as well.

Finally, be sure to stop for some traditional Romanian food like Ciorba in paine (soup in a bread bowl), Sarmale (cabbage and pork spring rolls), and Papanași (Romanian doughnuts) before heading back to Bucharest.

Day trips from Bucharest to Transylvania: Situated about 170 km from Bucharest, the small Transylvanian city of Brașov is one of the most popular places to visit in Romania. Getting there takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes, which is just within the realms of a feasible day trip from Bucharest.  

Bucharest to Bravos: There are three main ways to get to Brașov from Bucharest: either by train or by bus, on a tour bus, or by car. Driving gives you more freedom to set your own timetable and allows you to stop off at attractions like Bran Castle and Snagov Forest. Most importantly, driving in Romania is just a fun experience in itself.

James | This Travel Guide  | Twitter

Bravos Cable Car Romania

 

4. Bran Castle Tour from Bucharest

Bran Castle is famously known as the location of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Technically speaking, the castle doesn’t have much to do with Dracula, but it is still an interesting piece of architecture, perfect for visiting during a day trip out of Bucharest.

When in Bran, the first and most important thing to do is, of course, visit the castle. Perched on top of a small hill, the castle is open for public all week long, except for public holidays.

The tours offered by the castle administrators are really interesting. The castle is perfect for both children and adults – there is something to do there for everyone.

Most importantly, visitors have to make a wish in the castle’s garden well. Who doesn’t want their wish to be fulfilled as soon as possible?

Although most visitors expect to see Dracula in the flesh, that is definitely not going to happen. The only appearance might be made, perhaps, by some local actors trying to keep the legend alive.

The inhabitants of Bran understand that people come to the castle for Dracula, but they might get offended if all you talk about is vampires.

The people of Bran really need to be kept happy, so they can prepare the wonderful traditional dishes, such as polenta with sour cream, beef sour soup or kürtőskalács (a Hungarian spit cake sold everywhere in Transylvania), that the visitors must definitely try out.

The adventure awaits!

Love Halloween? There are parties on in Transylvania to celebrate. 

Bucharest to Bran Castle: In order to get there, there are a lot of options, many including expensive offers from the most various travel agencies. Some of the trips to Bran reach almost 150 EUR and they include a guide.

If on a budget, the cheapest way to get to Bran is to take the train from Bucharest to Brasov and then the bus from Brasov to Bran (rides every 30 minutes and it is a 40 minutes’ trip). All in all, this costs somewhere around 15 EUR.

It all depends on the type of adventure people are looking for!

Iulia | The Traveling Tulip | Facebook

→ Read the full details about how to get to Bran Castle here.

Book Your Castle Tour Before It Sells Out


Bran Castle

5. Sibiu [/Hermannstadt]

Bran Castle and Brasov certainly have a charm and are worth visiting. However, Sibiu has a splendid mix of Romanian culture and German traditions that tourists shouldn’t miss when in Romania.

Wandering in the streets of the Lower Town is definitely one of the best things to do in Sibiu, given the colourful German houses and the lovely Medieval atmosphere. It’s also where the oldest church in the town is, the Asylum Church.

Like Amsterdam and many other cities in the Old Continent, Sibiu achieved the title of European Cultural Capital and, as a result, multiple cultural events take place in the town.

On days when the weather is good (and even on the bad days too), the Brukenthal Museum is an interesting place to go. This is a complex in the Mare square with one library, two art galleries, and five museums showcasing European art from different schools, including the Romanian, of course.

Alternatively, discovering Sibiu by bike is also a fun way to get around, even though everything can be reached on foot.

The Bridge of Lies in the historic centre is another place worth visiting, not only because of its beauty but also because there is a good restaurant right next to it. It’s said that when somebody tells a lie on this bridge, it starts moving and making weird noises. That’s where its name comes from.

For the foodies, Sibiu offers some delicious Romanian traditional foods, such as salted pretzels (covrigi) and polenta with cheese (bulz or mămăligă).

Bucharest to Sibiu: Even though Sibiu has an international airport, most people come to the town by train or car.  Sibiu can be reached by train from Bucharest (20 ~ 30 euros return ticket) and it takes around 5 hours 30 mins to get there.

However, renting a car and going on a road trip in the region of Southern Transylvania is the best option, since the town is 279 km away from Bucharest and the landscapes along the way are breathtaking!

Bruna |  Maps ‘N Bags | Facebook 

 

6. Transfăgărășan + Romanian Mountains

If you’ve exhausted yourself of castles the next stop could be the Fagaras Mountains (Transylvanian Alps) but not before driving the crazily winding Transfăgărășan road. Notable tourist spots around the mountains include Curtea de Arges monastery, cable car rides at Balea Lake and of course another castle, Poenari Citadel (it is Romania after all). Hikers may want to base themselves in this are for one-day and multi-day treks.

Bucharest to Fagaras Mountains: It is best to travel by car (four hours) or by with a tour like this one 

 

7. Vama Veche

If you want to continue the party outside of the city head to Vama Veche village by the Black Sea.

This beach town is where the old school hippies have settled in Romania and attempt to cling on to their nudist traditions (northern side of the beach) while the hotels move in and build upwards.

Bucharest to Vama Veche: Buses leave from the city and take around 3-5 hours. A ticket will cost between 6-20 euro.

Day Trips from Bucharest to Bulgaria

Due to its close proximity, day tours from Bucharest are not limited to the country of Romania – visitors can easily hop the border to Bulgaria! Please be aware that Romania uses the Romanian leu and Bulgaria the Bulgarian lev, two different currencies.

8. Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Bulgaria

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ivanovo in Bulgaria is an excellent day trip from Bucharest. The stunning rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo are a complex of hill-top churches and monasteries cut right into the rock above a valley in northern Bulgaria and are known for their stunning frescoes.

It’s a steep climb from the car park to the church complex and, if the vigorous climb doesn’t take your breath away, the stunning frescoes most certainly will!

The rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1979 and the frescoes are a perfect example of Bulgarian medieval art.

Despite dating back as far as the 13th Century the frescoes are extremely well preserved and are wonderful to see.

Many visitors combine a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo with a trip to Veliko Tarnovo, a beautiful hilltop city surrounding the medieval Tsarevets Fortress.

Bucharest to Ivanovo: Rental car is a cost-effective way to get to Ivanovo from Bucharest. It’s a 2-hour drive from Bucharest with a relatively easy border crossing into Bulgaria.

It is also possible to join a guided tour which visits Ivanovo. Whichever way you choose to travel just don’t forget your passport for the border crossing!

Elaine & David, | The Whole World is a Playground  

Bucharest day tour to Ivanovo Bulgaria

Bucharest Day Trips Map [click the image]

Bucharest Day Trips Map | Romania Road Trip

Final Thoughts

Bucharest day trips may not be massive if quantity but they certainly make up for it in quality and quaintness. It’s not just the top attractions that are the lure either, the Romanian food from the different districts is also appealing.

Naturally, if you like to sample the local drink (like we do) you are better opting for one of the group tours from Bucharest to let someone else do the driving. So if you have more than three days in Bucharest, bookmark this post and start planning your Romanian holiday!


Our Romania Guides

Things to do in Bucharest
Bucharest at Christmas 
Best areas to stay in Bucharest
Bucharest’s most popular day trips
How to get to Bran Castle 

Bucharest day trips, day trips from Bucharest, how to get to Bran Castle, Romania, Transylvania, Romania How to get to Bran Castle from Bucharest, Romania, Romanis essential information, Bucharest train to Bran and Brasov, best Bran Castle tours from Bucharest, Bucharest to Transyvania, Dracula, Romania, Dracula’s Castle, Vlad the Impaler how to visit Bran Castle, what to expect at Bran Castle, things to do in Bucharest, Bucharest travel, Bucharest tips, Bucharest day trips

Any questions or comment? Just post below.


» You may also like our Romania travel guide