Romania

Is it worth to visit Bucharest, Romania?

(Last Updated On: 29/08/2019)

I don’t think I’ve heard many good things about visiting Bucharest (at least not until recently).

The capital of Romania was always known as a grey, overwhelming city with a tragic recent history and not many things to see in Bucharest (except second biggest administration building in the world, after Pentagon).

But for the past few years, for the reason I cannot even name, it’s been on top of my bucket list.

I just felt there must be something interesting, the city that used to be one of the greatest in this part of Europe just couldn’t lose its whole charm!

I was asking myself “is Bucharest worth visiting?” and I’ve decided to see myself as soon as possible.

I’ve decided to visit Bucharest during my recent Interrail trip and it turned out to be a great idea. I enjoyed my Bucharest visit a lot!

visit Bucharest

When my train was approaching the capital of Romania my head was full of all the bad rumors about the city, I kept wondering what is Bucharest like.

I tried to stay positive, I just didn’t believe it’s that bad (my travels around the Balkans or Caucasus have taught me there is nothing to worry about).

The first surprise was when I stepped into metro – clean and modern one (and so what it doesn’t really fit to some of the stations).

When I arrived at Piata Unirii – the heart of the city – I was expecting a concrete jungle yet I was welcomed with a nice, even if huge, park surrounded by a great example of interesting socialist-realist architecture.

I already loved it and was excited about all the places to visit in Bucharest that were waiting for me.

visit Bucharest

From Little Paris to tragic events – short history of Bucharest

The 20th century was really troublesome and tragic for Bucharest.

The city used to be known as the Little Paris, mostly due to the strikingly similar grand architecture, the lifestyle and the vibe.

The war has changed everything and made Romania one of the satellite states of USSR.

When in 1965 Nicolae Ceausescu came to power he ordered to demolish the majority of the old town, making the space for his idea of the modern city that Bucharest was supposed to be.

The center got its neoclassicist, Soviet-style architecture with boulevards that were meant to surpass Champs-Elysees.

But the most spectacular of all was the Palace of the Parliament that until now is the largest civilian building in the world.

Ceausescu was a very strict ruler and so his end was cruel too – he and his wife Elena (a pure evil) were executed by soldiers on the Christmas Day in 1989.

But before that a bloody and intense revolution took over the city, the army was shooting the civilians and Bucharest got really destroyed.

Events of December 1989 were just the beginning of the chaos in the country hence the capital was slowly decaying too.

Fortunately recently Bucharest has seen big changes and investments that eventually made it such an interesting and cool city to visit!

Bucharest history

what to see in Bucharest

Visit Bucharest Old Town – a surprising part of the city

When deciding where to stay in Bucharest during my Bucharest trip I opted for the Old Town and it was a perfect choice.

My hostel, Little Bucharest, was located in the middle of the Old Town and I couldn’t have asked for a better location.

Being based in the center of everything I could have explored the city on foot and in the 2 days in Bucharest I really walked like crazy.

I’ve crossed every street in the Old Town couple of times and every minute I was falling for the Old Town in Bucharest more and more.

Everyone I met told me that this part of the city started changing and was improved some 5 years ago, until then it was a no-go-to zone.

I had a hard time trying to imagine those not so old times as this now is the most lively part of the city, where the cafes and restaurants are countless (some hidden up high in the buildings), the streets are packed with people and the noise of happy chats hovers around until late night hours.

Everything seemed just perfect there but when looked closer you can notice that Bucharest has become another party destination for Europeans (the number of strip clubs is disturbing).

Still, the Old Town is a wonderfully enjoyable place and the amazing architecture just adds up to the experience.

I just couldn’t stop looking outside of the window of the hostel, especially at sunset. It really looked like I was in Paris, not in Romania!

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

Overwhelming Palace of the Parliament

The Old Town, no matter how great, is really tiny. I was really concerned about the rest of the city and I was wondering what are other Bucharest attractions and things to do in Bucharest.

But I enjoyed every corner of beautiful Bucharest I’ve seen.

The magnificent Palace of the Parliament really blows you away. This is probably the number one Bucharest sightseeing spot. You don’t need to be a fan of socialist-realist architecture to appreciate its greatness (I am, so that helped).

The building is really enormous, when you go towards it you think you’re a few steps away but you keep walking and walking and it doesn’t get any closer!

It’s possible to visit the Parliament inside and I can definitely recommend it. Just be sure to secure the ticket earlier.

It’s not always possible to do it at the official website or on the spot so I recommend you getting this tour that will take you inside the Palace of Parliament. Click here for details!

The streets leading to the Palace of the Parliament are a great example of the neoclassicist 20th century architecture, kind of intimidating but still incredible.

Too bad this impressive area was built at such a high cost…

visiting Bucharest

visiting Bucharest

visiting Bucharest

visiting Bucharest

But Bucharest is more than just the Old Town and Palace of the Parliament. It’s full of parks where lots of people hang out, hiding from the heat.

The random streets around are home to some beautiful houses, dating back to the 19th century.

Those mix with some interesting modernist architecture and a Soviet-style building that together give a great combination (or at least it was great for me).

Every now and then I stumbled across a beautiful old church, surrounded by the more recent face of the city.

This incredible mix, seen at every step, just showed how complex Bucharest is, how rich past it has and altogether it makes a really interesting destination, proving that Bucharest is worth a visit.

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

visit Bucharest

Is Bucharest worth visiting?

If you’re still wondering if Bucharest is a good place to visit my advice is – GO!

The city really is great, even if sometimes it takes some effort to find its beauty.

I wasn’t sure how long to spend in Bucharest, at first I thought 2 full days is too much.

But when I was leaving for Bulgaria I found myself regretting not giving more time to the city to enjoy it even more, check more Bucharest places to see or go for a day trip to Busteni or other places around.

So don’t listen to people telling you it’s not worth to visit Bucharest or who don’t know what to see in Bucharest, they just don’t know what they’re talking about! Travel to Bucharest yourself and see how great it is!

Oh, and the best time to visit Bucharest in either spring or autumn, when it’s not too hot but warm enough to enjoy Bucharest.

visit Bucharest


Travel resources

With over 15 years of independent traveling, I’ve learned which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust the following websites:

Money – My number one tip for everyone is to start using Revolut bank card to save money when traveling.

You get the card by mail within a few days and you can use it all over the world. You top up the card in the app on the phone, where you can also have accounts in different currencies and exchange money between them, for no extra fee and at very favorable rates. Everything is super easy and fast, you only need an internet connection to manage your accounts in the app.

Revolut supports over 140 currencies and offers free withdrawal from ATMs all over the world. In the first 6 months I’ve used Revolut card in 12 countries in 3 continents and had no issues at all. And I saved a lot of money in the exchange rates!

Click here to learn more about the service and order your own Revolut card!

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation through Booking.com.

They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if your plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs.

I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use a few times.

Check the best deals on accommodation in Bucharest here!

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road and better safe than sorry (I’ve learnt my lesson).

I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me.

Click here to get the insurance policy for Romania here.

Day tours – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that saves you time and money.

I most often use Get Your Guide that offers a variety of tours all over the world. Click here to check all the best tours you can take during your travels!


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

  • Would you like to travel to Central/Eastern Europe or the Balkans? Let me help you with travel planning! Click here for more details!
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  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Bucharest too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!

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61 Comments

  • Reply
    kamieverywhere
    02/08/2015 at 21:20

    As I’m heading to Bucharest in September. I’m really happy to finally hear some nice things about Romanian capital. Looking at your photos I had the impression that the city looks quite similar to Belgrade, isn’t it? Have you had a chance to go to one of the block of flat district like Militari?

    • Reply
      kami
      03/08/2015 at 22:19

      well, every city in Central Europe is similar in a way but I wouldn’t say Bucharest is almost like Belgrade. from these two I think I prefer the capital of Romania. And sadly I didn’t have time to go to the flat districts, as it turned out 2 days weren’t enough in Bucharest, so plan wisely!

      • Reply
        Schläpfer
        10/03/2019 at 08:38

        it’s a good post. I live in Bucharest.

        • Reply
          kami
          05/04/2019 at 14:28

          thank you!

  • Reply
    Mindi Hirsch
    02/08/2015 at 23:19

    I’ve never been to Romania, so this is really interesting.

    • Reply
      Teddy
      20/08/2019 at 11:11

      Thank you for the great post and pictures. I love Bucharest for the Interbellum architecture: Bauhaus and Art Deco mainly, but also for its long tree lined boulevards. My favorite areas are the Dacia Boulevard and Dacia quarter for their incredible end of the 19th up to 1940’s architecture. I would also advise visiting Ceausescu’s House (not the Parliament building), but the house in which he actually lived, to get an idea of the luxury contrasting with the poverty of the ’80s. The neighborhood where the house is located is really beautiful. I also liked visiting the Museum of recent Art which is in the same neighborhood and has amazing contemporary paintings. If you go to Bucharest you should also not miss the outdoor Village museum in the Herestrau Park; it is one of the first museums of this kind in Europe and has incredible houses and wooden churches, some of them dating back to the 17th century brought here from villages across the country. You can easily spend there half a day. I also saw one of the most jaw-dropping museums: the National History Museums – in the treasure room you have incredible golden jewels, sculptures, plates dating back to the Dacian, Greek and Roman periods but also from the migratory period and the middle ages. Just stunning! I saw that you loved the inside of the Romanian Atheneum, I think there is another stunning building which is extraordinary inside, it’s the National Bank, located in the old town (Lipscani). You can visit the inside just as for the Romanian Atheneum.

      • Reply
        kami
        15/09/2019 at 14:32

        Thank you for all the accommodations Teddy! I’ve already visited some of the places you’ve mentioned during my last trip to Bucharest but there’re still some places I need to see – fortunately I’m going back there soon again :) Thanks!

  • Reply
    Pauline McCarthy
    03/08/2015 at 00:54

    Went and loved it!!

  • Reply
    Sarah Ricks
    03/08/2015 at 02:28

    We visited several places in Eastern Europe last year and enjoyed how beautiful they were, plus cheaper than western Europe. So Romania is on our list.

  • Reply
    Darek Sekula
    03/08/2015 at 06:05

    Been there and I wouldn’t say that was worth worth it. Thankfully there, in Romania, were many other things to see :)

  • Reply
    Anna Bloch
    03/08/2015 at 06:27

    Byłam tylko przejazdem a szkoda bo widać, że warto! :)

  • Reply
    Monika Marcinkowska
    03/08/2015 at 06:27

    I haven’t heard anything as we’ll :-)

  • Reply
    Weronika Belczewska
    03/08/2015 at 07:38

    Byliśmy i bardzo polecam ;) Dużo unikatowych perełek ;)

  • Reply
    Ewa Serwicka
    03/08/2015 at 07:49

    Jeszcze nie, Rumunia jest na mojej liście, ale niestety nie w pierwszej dziesiątce ;)

  • Reply
    Piotr Goroh
    03/08/2015 at 08:44

    Everywhere is worth it if you haven’t been there yet;)

  • Reply
    Ola Żeleńska
    03/08/2015 at 11:27

    Nie byłam niestety, ale jest na mojej liście marzeń.

  • Reply
    Lesley Carter
    03/08/2015 at 13:01

    It does sound beautiful. I haven’t been but I think that every new place is worth visiting. You can always find beauty.

  • Reply
    Vicki Mattingly
    03/08/2015 at 13:17

    I loved Romania when I was there 21 years ago. I really want to go back soon and see it again. I’m sure it’s changed a lot. I’d also like to see inside the People’s Palace (and didn’t get a chance to when I was there).

  • Reply
    Tatiana
    03/08/2015 at 16:04

    We are dreaming of Rumunia next year. Hope there will be time to organise, plan and explore :) Bucharest looks awesome!

    • Reply
      kami
      03/08/2015 at 22:20

      ah, I really hope you will go there next year, it’s such a wonderful country and I’m sure you’d love it!

  • Reply
    Elaine Schoch
    03/08/2015 at 16:57

    Bucharest looks like a very interesting – and beautiful – destination to visit in Romania. Love all the photos!

    • Reply
      kami
      03/08/2015 at 22:20

      Thanks! And it surely is interesting and beautiful! Such an inderrated city!

  • Reply
    Heidi Wagoner
    03/08/2015 at 16:31

    Oh this in on our list of places to visit for sure. We have so much to see in Eastern Europe, but are based in Spain for now. That should make it a little easier.

  • Reply
    Koralina
    03/08/2015 at 18:59

    It’s totally worth visiting! I was there few years ago and a big part of the old city was under renovation, but it still was nice to see the city. But now, I can see it changed and for good!

    • Reply
      kami
      03/08/2015 at 22:21

      i only can imagine how run down it was but the way it looks now is pretty amazing! Such a great city to visit!

  • Reply
    łukasz kędzierski - podróże i fotografia
    03/08/2015 at 19:11

    I see that we have to catch up with this place… unfortunately we’ve never been to Romania.

    • Reply
      kami
      03/08/2015 at 22:22

      time to change that! there’re so many beautiful places in Romania I’m sure you’d find something for yourselves!

  • Reply
    Zofia Bałdyga
    03/08/2015 at 20:37

    I love Bucharest. I really believe that it’s one of the most underrated European capitals. All that interbellum architecture…it really IS a gem.

  • Reply
    Marcin - NRWTrip
    04/08/2015 at 07:07

    I’ve never been there. Very cool and interesting description of the photo report. Can you speak Hungarian language?

    • Reply
      kami
      13/08/2015 at 21:40

      Thank you! and no, I don’t speak Hungarian. Why would I need it in Bucharest ;) ?

    • Reply
      Marianne
      29/07/2019 at 15:02

      You can speak Hungerian in Transilvania, north west of the country, in Bucharest not many people are speaking hungerian, but you could speak in English

  • Reply
    Darek - Przedeptane.pl
    04/08/2015 at 07:18

    That “donut on a spike” statue cracked me up :)

    • Reply
      kami
      13/08/2015 at 21:42

      they actually call it “a loaded potato” in Bucharest ;)

  • Reply
    Qmoh w podróży
    04/08/2015 at 07:20

    A ja jeszcze cały czas się zastanawiam, czy zahaczać o Bukareszt podczas planowanej wyprawy do Konstantynopola. I chociaż z jednej strony chciałbym bardzo, to z drugiej moja niechęć do dużych miast podpowiada mi – a weź omin to miasto. I taki jestem w bukaresztańskiej rozterce :)

    • Reply
      kami
      13/08/2015 at 21:43

      możesz na chwilę zajrzeć, skoro i tak w szeroko pojętym pobliżu będziesz. przyjemne miasto, chociaż potrafi przytłoczyć.

  • Reply
    Natalia | Biegun Wschodni
    04/08/2015 at 10:12

    A ja byłam i polubiłam to miasto. Jest trochę dziwne. Z jednej strony trochę napuszone, a z drugiej odrapane. Wymuskany parlament i największy bulwar świata, a dwie ulice dalej piękne stare kamienice w opłakanym stanie. Ale naprawdę da się lubić to miejsce.

    • Reply
      kami
      13/08/2015 at 21:44

      ja też bardzo polubiłam, i dlatego mnie dziwi cała ta zła opinia jaką ma Bukareszt. Naprawdę przyjemne to miasto na parę dni!

  • Reply
    Els Mahieu
    04/08/2015 at 17:34

    Never been, but usually like grim cities, so would probably enjoy Bucharest :-)

  • Reply
    Pola (Jetting Around)
    05/08/2015 at 21:18

    I’d visit simply because I like underrated cities. The best way to help propel places like that to the next level st by going there, supporting the local economy, and spreading the word about them. And judging by your photos, Bucharest is definitely worth a visit anyway. :)

    • Reply
      kami
      13/08/2015 at 21:45

      I feel exactly the same! And Bucharest is really worth a visit!! too bad it has such a bad reputation…

  • Reply
    Julia Anna Raczko
    06/08/2015 at 04:27

    Jeszcze nie! Cholera daleko tam teraz mam, a chciałabym…

  • Reply
    Przemyslaw Czatrowski
    06/08/2015 at 08:04

    myślę, że jakbym się wybierał do Rumunii, to w top 3 byłaby Transylwania.. ;)

  • Reply
    Connie Siokos Reed
    07/08/2015 at 01:32

    I don’t recall ever hearing anything mentioning they’ve visited Bucharest. Looks fascinating.

  • Reply
    Sara Pinna
    20/08/2015 at 19:44

    I’m from Italia and now I live in Bucharest and everyday I discover something beautiful and most of all lots of interesting activities to do! If You are interested in street art I suggest You for the next time the Alternative Tours, You can find one about it and it’s really really interesting! :)

    • Reply
      kami
      07/09/2015 at 20:09

      I went for the alternative tour and I totally loved it, such a great way to discover Bucharest! I still have to write about it. Bucharest is so full of surprises, that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much!

  • Reply
    Adam
    21/08/2015 at 08:38

    Chętnie bym się tam wybrał. Po zdjęciach widzę, że przepiękne miasto.

    • Reply
      kami
      07/09/2015 at 20:09

      zdecydowanie warto!

  • Reply
    Sky
    30/08/2015 at 23:05

    Unfortunately, Bucharest is still a quite underated travel destination. Yes, there are good experiences and bad experiences, depending on how carefuly you plan your trip, but the city definitely has a lot to offer, as long as you keep and open mind. First time travelers should opt for a private tour with a local guide, who will offer all the necessary information to visit the most beautiful places and to avoid tourist traps.

    • Reply
      kami
      07/09/2015 at 20:14

      I don’t think first time travelers should opt for a private tour in Bucharest. It’s so much fun to explore the city on your own and I honestly haven’t heard of anyone who fell for a tourist trap there, it’s just the destination like many others with its good and bad things. Bucharest really deserves much more attention and a better publicity

  • Reply
    Alex
    12/06/2017 at 13:40

    I am romanian and I’m proud to see other people notice what a beautiful country we have and actually seeing the good not just the bad.

    • Reply
      kami
      21/06/2017 at 09:32

      Romania is beautiful! Fortunately more people can see it these days :)

  • Reply
    Ovidiu
    16/06/2017 at 17:32

    I’m so glad that someone discover the beauty of my country! Thank you, Kami for your beautiful words and pictures!

    • Reply
      kami
      21/06/2017 at 08:15

      thank you for your nice comment! Your country really is amazing and you can be definitely proud of it!

  • Reply
    Charles
    11/03/2018 at 12:14

    I was put off by stories in the Daily Mail about drug addled robbers living in the sewers, just coming up to rob tourists.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2632858/The-ultimate-living-How-poor-carve-living-SEWERS-Eastern-European-city.html
    So I was apprehensive when I went there. It turned out that the “sewer dwellers” were just people who lived in basement flats. Ceausescu was paranoid and ensured that every block of flats had several layers of basements, in case of nuclear war. Obviously it’s a lot cheaper to live in these flats, just as it is in London.
    I was impressed by Bucharest and also by the people, who are pretty friendly. In summer there are lots of outdoor free concerts in most of the parks, and everything is much cheaper than in most of the rest of Europe. I would strongly recommend it.

    • Reply
      kami
      29/03/2018 at 21:12

      I agree, Bucharest is a great place to visit and so affordable! I heard some horror stories about it too before but I think they just come from the lack of knowledge about the city. After all it’s a normal capital, like any other! And it’s so fascinating to visit!

  • Reply
    Emma White
    22/06/2019 at 21:45

    I’ve just came back from Romania and I loved it!
    I think the Palace of Parliament is pretty overrated, but the parties in the city centre are lots of fun.
    Since I’m not a big fan of museums but wanted to see something history-related, I’ve discovered a little atypical communism museum out of the beaten path , where I spend hours talking to the guide and has super tasty snacks. It’s called Ferestroika and I highly recommend checking it out.

    • Reply
      kami
      26/06/2019 at 02:13

      to each their own, I honestly prefer the Palace of Parliament over parties in the old town. Thank you for the info on the museum.

  • Reply
    Aimee
    11/08/2019 at 15:11

    Looks cool, I may have to cram in a day trip there from Brașov on my interrail trip next month.

    • Reply
      kami
      18/08/2019 at 15:46

      Definitely! It’s such a cool city to visit, and not too far from Brasov!

  • Reply
    Ken
    01/11/2019 at 04:40

    Very well written article. I am debating if i should visit Romania and Moldova in April 2020 or to Slovenia and Coratia. I am from Malaysia so the cheapest way is to fly to Vienna then take domestic flight. We only have 17 days to travel.

    • Reply
      kami
      07/11/2019 at 15:16

      To be honest, between Croatia + Slovenia and Moldova + Romania I’d choose the first pair. Also the weather should be better there in April. But no matter which one you choose I’m sure you will have a great time!

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