kamila

Can't live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

Is it really not worth to visit Bucharest?

I don’t think I’ve heard many good things about 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 much to see (except second biggest building in the world, after Pentagon). But for 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’ve decided to visit Bucharest during my recent Interrail trip and it turned out to be the great idea as I enjoyed the city big time!


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visit Bucharest

When my train was approaching Bucharest my head was full of all the bad rumors about the city but 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 to 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 but it was getting better and better from now on!

 From Little Paris to tragic events – short history of Bucharest

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 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 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 a big changes and investments that eventually made it such an interesting and cool city to visit!

Visit Bucharest Old Town – not what you expect from the city!

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 explore the city on foot and in the 2 days I’ve spent there 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!

Palace of the Parliament – probably the most overwhelming building you will ever see!

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 things to do in Bucharest. But I enjoyed every corner of Bucharest I’ve seen. The magnificent Palace of the Parliament really blows you away. 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 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 really regret I didn’t do that (it was closed for public during my visit as it was Children Day and all the school groups were there). Apparently the interior is pretty spectacular too, just take a look at Yomadic’s post. 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…

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 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.

If you’re still not sure if you should visit Bucharest my advice is – GO! The city really is great, even if sometimes it takes some effort to find its beauty. At first I thought 2 full days is too much for it but when I was leaving for Bulgaria I found myself regreting not giving more time to the city to enjoy it even more 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, they just don’t know what they’re talking about! I’m already thinking of returning there!

visit Bucharest

Where I stayed

I based myself in the Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel and I couldn’t have asked for a better place. The location was unbeatable, right in the heart of the Old Town, with the incredible view over Romanian National Bank and numerous cafes and restaurants just few steps away. The hostel wasn’t too big but the rooms were spacious and really comfy and even if it was noisy outside, once you closed the windows you could hear nothing. Also the common area was well separated from the resting part of the hostel so no matter what you were up to, you didn’t disturb anyone. The interior was bright, tastefully decorated and overall I really enjoyed my stay there! If you’re looking for an affordable and decent accommodation look no further, Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel is a place for you! The prices start at 9€ for the bed in the dormitory!

Would you like to visit Bucharest? Have you been to Romania? What city has positively surprised you?

Are you looking for a place to stay in Bucharest? Look no further! Book cheap accommodation in Bucharest here!


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If you think of visiting Romania or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!

Note: my stay in Bucharest was in partnership with Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel however all the opinions are 100% mine, as always!

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2 Sie '15

There are 52 Comments.

  1. kamieverywhere
    21:20 02/08/2015

    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?

    • kami
      22:19 03/08/2015

      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!

      • Stefan Boleanu
        17:23 07/04/2018

        You should go to the best flat district there: Ferentari. Look it up, it’s gorgeous and worth visiting. You’ll see how life truly is around there.

        • kami
          18:19 07/04/2018

          Thanks! I’m actually going back to Bucharest next month so I will try to go there!

  2. Mindi Hirsch
    23:19 02/08/2015

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

  3. Pauline McCarthy
    00:54 03/08/2015

    Went and loved it!!

  4. Sarah Ricks
    02:28 03/08/2015

    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.

  5. Darek Sekula
    06:05 03/08/2015

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

  6. Anna Bloch
    06:27 03/08/2015

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

  7. Monika Marcinkowska
    06:27 03/08/2015

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

  8. Weronika Belczewska
    07:38 03/08/2015

    Byliśmy i bardzo polecam ;) Dużo unikatowych perełek ;)

  9. Ewa Serwicka
    07:49 03/08/2015

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

  10. Piotr Goroh
    08:44 03/08/2015

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

  11. Ola Żeleńska
    11:27 03/08/2015

    Nie byłam niestety, ale jest na mojej liście marzeń.

  12. Lesley Carter
    13:01 03/08/2015

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

  13. Vicki Mattingly
    13:17 03/08/2015

    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).

  14. Tatiana
    16:04 03/08/2015

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

    • kami
      22:20 03/08/2015

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

  15. Elaine Schoch
    16:57 03/08/2015

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

    • kami
      22:20 03/08/2015

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

  16. Heidi Wagoner
    16:31 03/08/2015

    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.

  17. Koralina
    18:59 03/08/2015

    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!

    • kami
      22:21 03/08/2015

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

  18. łukasz kędzierski - podróże i fotografia
    19:11 03/08/2015

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

    • kami
      22:22 03/08/2015

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

  19. Zofia Bałdyga
    20:37 03/08/2015

    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.

  20. Marcin - NRWTrip
    07:07 04/08/2015

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

    • kami
      21:40 13/08/2015

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

  21. Darek - Przedeptane.pl
    07:18 04/08/2015

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

    • kami
      21:42 13/08/2015

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

  22. Qmoh w podróży
    07:20 04/08/2015

    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 :)

    • kami
      21:43 13/08/2015

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

  23. Natalia | Biegun Wschodni
    10:12 04/08/2015

    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.

    • kami
      21:44 13/08/2015

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

  24. Els Mahieu
    17:34 04/08/2015

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

  25. Pola (Jetting Around)
    21:18 05/08/2015

    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. :)

    • kami
      21:45 13/08/2015

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

  26. Julia Anna Raczko
    04:27 06/08/2015

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

  27. Przemyslaw Czatrowski
    08:04 06/08/2015

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

  28. Connie Siokos Reed
    01:32 07/08/2015

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

  29. Sara Pinna
    19:44 20/08/2015

    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! :)

    • kami
      20:09 07/09/2015

      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!

  30. Adam
    08:38 21/08/2015

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

  31. Sky
    23:05 30/08/2015

    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.

    • kami
      20:14 07/09/2015

      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

  32. Alex
    13:40 12/06/2017

    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.

    • kami
      09:32 21/06/2017

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

  33. Ovidiu
    17:32 16/06/2017

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

    • kami
      08:15 21/06/2017

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

  34. Charles
    12:14 11/03/2018

    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.

    • kami
      21:12 29/03/2018

      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!

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