18 Things To Do In Buzzing Bucharest

Things to do in Bucharest

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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 (I jest), Bucharest Old Town’s redevelopment is fairly recent!

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 are all housed in grand buildings.

Warning – local beer, Csíki Sör, is pretty cheap in Bucharest, but vodka is more expensive.

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 Old Town’s borders are the 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. 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 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.

3. Food Hood Bucuresti

Move over Portland; Bucharest’s food carts are in town.

It 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, with really casual vibes and live music.

Food Hood I Things To Do In Bucharest

4. 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.

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

This 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!)
  • Reserve here

5. Bucharest Bike Tour

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

An accessible way to get around all the important places to visit in Bucharest is by bike tour.

The four-hour tours covers Romanian civilization, Communism, and culture today.

The route includes Palace of the Parliament, 19th and the early 20th century, and most of the city’s highlights.

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

6. Palace of Parliament

Join at guided tour of the Palace of Parliament, one of the heaviest buildings in the world and 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 before the Romanian revolution.

The tour includes access to honor hallway, the pink room, and Europe’s largest ballroom.

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 for architecture fans.

Palace of Parliament Bucharest framed by leaves with blue skies

7. 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.

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

8. Bucharest’s Prettiest Parks

If you are wondering where all the locals are at the weekend you’ll find them at the beach or lazily 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.

Read our guide on where to stay here next.

Herastrau Park I Things To Do In Bucharest

9. 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’.

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

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

Could you handle losing your house, job, and bank account, all for the ‘greater good’ of the Soviet nation?

For many, there was no choice, as Stalin’s techniques did not tickle.

Students, bishops, priests, and dissidents (men and women) were arrested and placed in ‘re-education through torture’ programmes. Prisoners were beaten physically and mentally.

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

Once tortured, 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 began to leave, and by 1965, the liked and then loathed dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu was in power.

Sighet Memorial (66 Jean Luis Calderon St) displays, texts, images, and a clever computerised device, to convey what life was like in Romania; visit to find out more.

Communism Permanent Exhibition I Things To Do In Bucharest

Permanent Exhibition Area of the Sighet Memorial in Bucharest

10. 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 Romania

11. 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. Who’s bad?!

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

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

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

13. 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.

Many cool cats are 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!

Love to party? Book your Bucharest pub crawl spot.

Leafy Gradina EDEN Bucharest

14. Check Control Club

Check Control Club (Strada Constantin Mille 4) is popular bar with live bands and DJs dancing, and a garden terrace.

15. SkyBar Dorobanti

Beautiful people in a striking setting, SkyBar Dorobanti (Floor 5, Terasa, Calea Dorobanți 155) is a modern, chic rooftop bar and restaurant.

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

Indoor seating is available, too.

16. NOMAD SkyBar

Another popular rooftop hangout is NOMAD (Etaj 2, Strada Smârdan 30).

House goal decors, crafty cocktails and music.

Receives mixed reviews.

17. 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 to five different themed pubs, which means four to five alcoholic shots in each.

The tour takes place in the Old Town, so if you 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 mix with locals and holiday-makers alike during the four-hour bar crawl.

Flip-flops and sleeveless shirts are prohibited, so dress up for the occasion.

18. Leave Bucharest For Dracula!

One of the most popular things to do in Bucharest is leave!

Many visitors want to glimpse the famous Bran Castle that 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
Bran Castle Romania with blue skies

More Day Trips from Bucharest

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

In need of a hike in the mountains?

You might want to leave the city if you have more than 2-3 days in Bucharest.

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 at Roaming Renegades.

Things to do in Bucharest on a Rainy Day

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

View of Old Town from window Bucharest

Useful Bucharest Travel Information

Things to Eat in Bucharest

One of Romania’s national dishes is sarmale, consisting 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 was impressed when I tried some at La Mama (Strada Episcopiei 9).

Very tasty.

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

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 want to grab a quick bite, don’t miss the Food Hood 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

Sarmale cabbage meal in Bucharest

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 Booking
  • Hostel dorms start at 7 euros. Check out more hostel options and availability at Hostelworld

Check out our guide on where to stay in Bucharest for more.

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 several buses, trams, and light rail routes.

Über operates here, and 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.

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 pleasant 27 – 29 degrees, whereas winter temperatures can fall to below 0.

Rain falls mainly 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 with blue skies In Bucharest

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 see here.

Bucharest Map

Romanian Tourism has a helpful page of maps for Bucharest and other towns and cities.

WiFi in Bucharest

WiFi in Bucharest is rapid!

I recommend working here if any digital nomads are looking for somewhere in Europe as a base.

Sunset over buildings in Bucharest Old Town

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.

One of the main things to be careful with is stereotypes.

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

The Roma people are traditionally a group who travel but are also found in Romania 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 (primarily women with children) begging for money, some of whom are Romani.

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