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When you’ve only got 24 hours to spend in Bucharest, every minute counts. We’ve rounded up the best places for you to visit, eat and party to help you make the best of you available time between the first coffee and that very last cocktail.
Kick off your day at any hour with a strong coffee at Origo, offering some of the best brews in the city. Conveniently positioned near the Old Centre, it opens up the possibility to visit the imposing Palace of the Parliament before the crowds show up and head over to the Cișmigiu Gardens for a stroll or a game of chess with the locals. If the former option holds the most appeal, do not miss Domnița Bălașa, one of Bucharest’s most beautiful churches.
Alternatively, start your 24-hour adventure in Piața Amzei, where plenty of cafes, such as M60, serve great coffee and delicious cakes. Since you’re already in the neighbourhood, continue toward Calea Victoriei, where most attractions are located. Check out the Museum of Collections, the National Museum of Art of Romania or the George Enescu Museum, all located among Bucharest’s busiest historic avenue.
If a lovely afternoon of sightseeing revolves around a hearty meal, a stop at Dianei 4 is a great option; they offer delicious Romanian food as well as contemporary cuisine dishes. Alternatively, grab lunch on the go and head to the Village Museum for a quiet afternoon among old traditional Romanian houses and churches gathered in a collection that showcases the variety of building styles of the country. Architecture lovers will enjoy walking along Dacia Boulevard, lined with shady old trees and imposing richly adorned historic villas that speak of Bucharest’s glorious interwar years that earned it the nickname Little Paris.
The winding streets behind Piața Romana are also full of treasures. The Frederic and Cecilia Cuțescu-Storck Art Museum should appeal to both art and history lovers since it gathers under one roof the works of a family of creators that left a mark on the city’s history. Spending the afternoon in Cotroceni neighbourhood, one of Bucharest’s quaintest and most charming, is a great option; a trip to the Botanical Gardens can easily be combined with a visit of the Cotroceni Museum.
The recipe for a nice evening in Bucharest involves a hearty dinner. Caru’ cu Bere in the Old Centre is still among the best options for a traditional Romanian meal – it’s popular among locals and tourists alike.
Alternatively, allow Bucharest to offer its best rendition of some of the most enticing cuisines of the world and stop by the area surrounding the Romanian Atheneum, where French food restaurant Le Bistrot Francais, Caju by Joseph Haddad and Sushi Room have raised the bar for quality. The up-and-coming neighbourhood of Floreasca offers delicious Asian food at Yuki Japanese Home Dining and Thai cuisine at restaurant Tuk Tuk, plus there’s the Pasta Restaurant, an eatery specialising in, well, you’ve guessed it.
If you love cocktails, head to Fix Me a Drink in Palatul Universul to sample some very original herb-infused creations and enjoy the coSiness of the decor. Beer lovers on a mission to discover the best Romanian craft beers should look no further than Fabrica de Bere Bună. Its 10 taps offer the freshest beer in Bucharest, made by true local pioneers of the craft with a genuine passion for beer.
Nights in Bucharest can be anything you make them, so head to Control Club for a night of electronic music, Expirat for a lighter and brighter side of the musical charts or opt for Fratelli Social Club or Gaia Boutique Club to enjoy the glamorous side of partying in Bucharest. However, if you’re only looking for a pub-crawl/dancing-till-dawn kind of evening, the Old Centre has never disappointed. Finish off with a late night cocktail at one of the Old Centre’s sky bars and catch the sun rise over the city.