Housed in the southwestern wing of the Palace of the Parliament, the iconic Communist-era building that dominates Bucharest’s skyline, the MNAC is the city’s top art venue. You can expect an eclectic collection of Romanian and Eastern European artists, as well as two to three temporary exhibitions by thought-provoking, up-and-coming Romanian artists. As the visit requires a long walk from the closest metro stop (Izvor, on the red and yellow lines), check the museum’s website in advance to see what’s on. Luckily, the museum, which is located on a hilltop, offers great year-round views over Bucharest from its terrace.
Strada Izvor 2-4, Aripa E4, Bucharest, Romania, +40 21 318 9137
When only visiting for a city trip, a walk through the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum is the best way to take in the diversity and charm of Romanian traditional village architecture. Located in Herastrau Park, Bucharest’s largest, this open-air museum showcases around 300 houses, farms, windmills, and churches from all regions of Romania, displayed along winding alleys bordered by old trees. When the weather allows, the museum hosts fairs where local artisans can display their craft, as well as mass picnics and workshops.
The Museum of the Romanian Peasant hosts the country’s most valuable collection of peasant costumes, ceramics, rugs and carpets, and other household objects gathered over generations from all regions of the country. Out of the 90,000 items on display, 20,000 are garments and accessories that reflect the richness and originality of peasant craft. Every year, on February 24th, when Romanians celebrate Dragobete, the local equivalent of St. Valentine’s Day, the museum’s yard hosts a dedicated fair.
Șoseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 3, Bucharest, Romania, +40 21 317 9661
Built in the Brancovenesc style, the Cotroceni Palace has seen 400 years of history unfold inside its walls. What started as a monastery erected in 1679 was later transformed by Romanian rulers into a summer residence, before King Carol I built the current palace and turned it into his royal residence. When the Communist regime came in, in 1947, the palace was turned into the headquarters of the Communist youth movement. Today, the royal palace is both a museum and the residence of the President of Romania. The museum has on display paintings, sculptures, decorative art, old books, religious art, and photography of high aesthetic and historic value.
Bulevardul Geniului 1, Bucharest, Romania, +40 21 317 3106
As expected from such an establishment, the Museum of the National Bank of Romania has one of the most valuable collections of coins on display, some as old as two and a half millennia. But the most intriguing thing about the imposing edifice conveniently located in Bucharest’s Old Center, is its acoustics. Built by one of the collaborators of French architect Charles Garnier, who gave Paris its iconic Opera House, the building allows for conversations uttered in the lowest tone of voice to be heard from the balconies, an incentive for staff to always be at their most honest.
Strada Doamnei 8, Bucharest, Romania, +40 21 313 0410