The Top 10 Things to Do and See in Bucharest

Lipscani, Bucharest
Lipscani, Bucharest | © Photosebia / Shutterstock
Georgeta Gheorghe

Everyone has a relatively good idea of what to expect when visiting Paris, London, Berlin, Prague or Budapest. But what to make of Bucharest, one of the biggest cities in Europe and an up-and-coming destination for years? Here’s our guide on how to make the best of Bucharest to get you started.

See stunning architecture

An architect’s surrealist dream or total nightmare, Bucharest can be both. From large Stalinist architectural monuments lining the big boulevards designed during the country’s Communist decades, to quiet and charming tree-lined streets with Art Deco villas, the city’s got it all. The meeting ground of Western and Eastern architectural styles, Bucharest has a unique architectural identity, the keyword being ‘diversity’.

Uncover unique museums

Explore quirky neighbourhoods

Bucharest’s neighbourhoods could not be more different. Walk the huge boulevards in the city centre inspired by Nicolae Ceaușescu’s ill-fated visit to North Korea, get lost on the winding cobbled streets of the nearby Lipscani, the city’s party epicentre, cool off in the charming Cotroceni while admiring imposing villas, then grab a meal in one of restaurants in Floreasca, among the city’s best. And you’ve only just scratched the surface.

Discover charming bookstores

The city’s bookstores are the best place to pick a souvenir in the form of an album about Romania’s picturesque region of Bukovina, its magnificent castles or the Danube Delta, one of Europe’s top wildlife destinations. Do not miss Kyralina, hosted in a beautifully restored 19th-century villa, and the breathtaking book lovers’ paradise that is Cărturești Carusel.

Spot original street art

Bucharest has a lot of old buildings whose walls and roofs are starting to be covered in some very creative ways. In one of the latest projects, developed by Make a Point, a group of local creatives has hit a major mark by covering the rooftops of several blocks of flats with murals inspired by the identity of their neighbourhood, Pantelimon.

Visit churches and monasteries

The city has plenty of churches and monasteries, where rituals are carried out in the same way as hundreds of years ago. Experience the otherworldly draw of Byzantine spirituality by attending a morning or evening service in 18th-century, Brâncovenesc-style Stavropoleos Monastery, Domnița Bălașa church or Plumbuita Monastery. And, if you’re looking to lift a particular curse, consider heading to Zlătari church.

Relax in the park

There’s no better way to escape the crowds than head to one of Bucharest’s parks and gardens. If looking for a carefully designed green oasis in the heart of the city, visit Grădina Cişmigiu, the oldest and most popular public garden. For wide lawns and long walking lanes head to Herăstrău Park or Tineretului Park, and for a wildlife-watching experience go to Parcului Natural Văcăreşti. The Botanical Gardens, some of the best in the country, will introduce you to the varied local flora.

Taste great food

A visit to Bucharest can act as the best introduction to Romanian cuisine. Try local staple dishes such as sarmale, mititei and papanași, while not forgetting that the Romanian capital is a great spot to revisit world cuisine at its many cafés and restaurants.

Shop at the market

Bucharest has some pretty colourful markets where you will find fresh local produce, such as berries and mushrooms from the Carpathian Mountains, honey products and the best quality fruit and vegetables around. The biggest market in Romania, Obor Market, is perhaps the best place for an immersive experience, while treasure hunters should brace the distance and pay a visit to Valea Cascadelor, the city’s biggest flea market.

Buy local design

Traditional Romanian souvenirs are a great way to bring a piece of the local culture to your home. But while in Bucharest, take time to browse through shops and galleries looking for objects, clothes and accessories by local designers and you might stumble upon some treasures.

Watch a Romanian movie

Romanian cinema has been on an upswing since the ’90s. Over the years, local powerhouses Cristi Mungiu, winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2007, Calin Peter Netzer, winner of the Berlin Golden Bear, and Cristi Puiu have successfully exported their creative vision abroad and have already started receiving competition from talented young directors, to the benefit of cinema lovers everywhere.

Enjoy the vibrant nightlife

One of the undisputed party capitals in Europe, Bucharest’s nightlife has something for everyone. Start off with a cocktail in one of the hip bars in Palatul Universul or at the many pubs in the old centre before heading to Control or Expirat for a cool, alternative crowd, or Fratelli for an unforgettable glamorous extravaganza.

Go to the beach

While perhaps a surprising suggestion at first sight, going to the beach – a real yellow sandy one with palm trees even – is perfectly possible. In the summer, head to Sands of Therme, the biggest urban beach in Europe, and in the cold months you can head the same way, since the covered thermal water pools at Therme are open year-round.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Edit article