BucharestCopyright: Augustin Lazaroiu/Shutterstock.com
BucharestBucharest is Europe’s best kept secret. While visually it can't quite compete with other grand Eastern European capitals, it leads the pack in dynamism, energy and forward momentum. The remnants of Communism are still palpable in the urban fabric, but the city has its sights set firmly on the future. Trendy outdoor cafes and high-street shops live side-by-side with gorgeous Orthodox churches and world-class art galleries in the old town, all overlooked by the imposing Palace of Parliament.
The CityRomanian legend tells that Bucharest was founded on the banks of the Dambovita River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name means “joy”. By playing the flute he amazed the people, and his wine from nearby vineyards was very popular among the local traders, who gave his name to the place. As one of Europe’s most up-and-coming destinations, Bucharest has had to react quickly to its newfound status. As a result, there is a bevy of recently opened venues to eat, drink, shop, club and sleep. Standards are high and local residents have come to expect only the best. From Piaţa Universitatii, most sights of interest are easily accessible. The nearby Calea Victoriei is a great starting point for shopping. These two landmarks constitute the central Bucharest area where many of the most well-known restaurants and bars are situated. Walking in this part of the city is the best way to see Bucharest quickly, but do not be afraid to venture further north, east and west to discover many more treasures. Wander the tree-lined streets, take in authentic folk art and sample a range of international cuisines. Whether you want traditional Romania or contemporary city life — come and find it all before the rest of the world does.
Do & See
Bucharest boasts many beautiful monuments and landmarks, the most prominent being the Palace of Parliament — an imposing structure that now houses, among other things, one of the city's best museums: The National Museum of Contemporary Art. Other museums worth visiting are the Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the National Art Museum, housed in the old royal palace. Alternatively, enjoy the vast green spaces the city has to offer, like the gorgeous Parcul Carol, or wander around the charming old town.
Bucharest offers a fantastic selection of international cuisine, including French, Italian, Japanese and much more, though sampling local fare should be your top priority. Traditional restaurants are inspiring and offer top-notch food in lively surroundings. Here are a few international and local choices.
Bucharest has developed a varied and sophisticated cafe scene, absorbing influences from around the world in terms of coffee production and preparation, as well as decor and ambiance. The city's wonderful coffee can and should be accompanied by a fresh pastry or a light snack, both of which are done so well in Bucharest.
Bars & Nightlife
Bucharest’s bars are scattered around the city and searching for the best venues is all part of the fun. Here you will find cosy pubs, chic lounges and trendy bars that all add to the city’s nightclub scene. There are enough top nightspots here to cater to everyone’s taste, whether you want to dance the night away or chill out in one of the more mellow venues.
Bucharest offers top-notch fashion shopping, such as you might expect to find in Paris, Milan or London, but the true joy of shopping here lies in local products. If you are hunting down souvenirs, there is an endless range of little shops that sell Romanian handicrafts and knick-knacks, some more authentic than others, as well as wonderful antique shops and stores selling items from the days of Communism.