16 In Europe/ Romania

How To Spend A Weekend In Bucharest: Main Attractions & Alternative Tours

Have you been to Bucharest yet? No? You should start planning a trip there now! The capital of Romania is an exciting and beautiful destination, with a rich history, a vibrant nightlife and lots of things to do. While no amount of time ever seems enough to properly experience a location, if you’re planning to spend a weekend in Bucharest this 2-day itinerary will cover all the main points of interest, alternative tours and best things to do in Bucharest. Come discover where to go, what to see and what to do in Bucharest if you’re only visiting for a weekend.

The National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest, Romania

Wandering the streets of the Old Town in front of the National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest, Romania

In October I was invited to spend a weekend in Bucharest with 100 other bloggers at event called #ExperienceBucharest. The event was created to showcase the beauty of the city to the world and we had the opportunity to go on multiple tours and really experience the city. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity we had, I discovered so much about a city I knew very little about and met lots of other incredible bloggers.

Things to know about Bucharest

Bucharest is the capital city of Romania. You can get relatively cheap flights there from most European destinations, for example I flew there from Milan for 30 EUR return flights with Ryanair. Bucharest is a pretty big city but it’s also very walkable; you will find it very easy and enjoyable to explore the main landmarks of the city on foot or by public transport. If you want to get a taxi I recommend using Uber or as it is considerably cheaper than a normal taxi. I got from the Old Town to the airport with Uber and for a half hour journey it only cost us the equivalent of 5 GBP. Just remember that although Romania is part of the European Union it does not use the Euro. The local currency is the Romanian Leu (RON).

| READ MORE: HOW TO FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS |

View from one of the main roads of Bucharest with the Parliament in the background

View from one of the main roads of Bucharest with the Parliament in the background

What to see in Bucharest in 2 days

Before we get on to the alternative tours and off the beaten track locations to discover I want to cover the main points of interest and most famous places to see in Bucharest. As creative and alternative as you want to be on your trip, these are the most important attractions of the city, not seeing them would be like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum.

The Palace of Parliament

This is the single most famous building in Bucharest. It has a surface of more than 330,000 square metres and more than 1,000 rooms. It is also one of the most controversial buildings in Romania, since it acts as a constant reminder of the communist era and the sacrifices made to build it. I personally didn’t have time to go inside, however I would highly recommend it as it will give you an opportunity to learn more about Romanian history. You can find out more about the guided tours inside the palace here.

The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania

The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania

The Old Town

So the Old Town of Bucharest is actually pretty new, locals joke saying it’s the “newest Old Town in the world”. Some of the buildings in the area are a couple hundred years old, however the pedestrian cobblestone-paved roads that define the Old Town were laid down in 2011, when the City Council decided that Bucharest needed a central area for people to hang out. They were very successful at this, and the Old Town of Bucharest is now a vibrant and lively area full of bars, restaurants, shops and people at all times of day.

One of the bustling roads with cafes and restaurants of the Old Town of Bucharest

One of the bustling roads with cafes and restaurants of the Old Town of Bucharest

National Museum of Romanian History

The National Museum of Romanian History on Calea Victoriei, right next to the Old Town. It contains Romanian historical artifacts from prehistoric times up to modern times. It’s a great place to visit if you want to learn more about Romania’s history.

The National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest, Romania

The National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest, Romania

Romanian Atheneum

This is a famous concert hall close to the Old Town of Bucharest. In the early days before becoming a concert hall it was a building dedicated to art and science, as part of the Romanian Atheneum Cultural Society. It is just off the Calea Victoriei street, from where you can see it and is easy to find. It is normally only open concert hours, as it is the home of the George Enescu Philarharmonic Orchestra. Even if you are unable to take a peak inside (like me) it is still a beautiful building to admire from the outside.

Carol Park and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This park was designed by a French landscape artist and is a popular hang out location for locals on weekends. With the vast amount of wedding shootings taking place it was the first time I felt undressed in a park. It is easily reachable by walking from the Old Town and there are beautiful panoramic views over the city. Here there is also the Carol Park Mausoleum, which has acquired different meanings over time and has changed locations. It was originally a Communist building and is now dedicated to the Unknown Soldier (the memories of all soldiers killed in any wars).

Carol Park and the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in the distance

Carol Park and the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in the distance

Carturesti Carusel

This is a prime example of how certain places become famous thanks to social media. Carturesti Carusel, also known as the “Carousel of Light” is just an ordinary bookstore, which has the peculiarity of having a beautiful and elegant interior. The white columns and spiral staircases make for a stunning photo backdrop, which have made this bookstore so famous. Great place to buy a book or souvenir too once you’re done taking photos!

The inside of the Carousel of Light bookstore in Bucharest, Romania

The inside of the Carousel of Light bookstore in Bucharest, Romania

Pizza Colosseum

Another example of an ordinary side street that has become a main attraction thanks to social media is Pizza Colosseum. It’s hidden in a passageway just off one of the main roads of Bucharest, and with its colourful umbrella rooftop it attracts loads of people everyday that photograph it. Pizza Colosseum did a very clever marketing move there if you ask me!

The colourful umbrella street in front of Pizza Colosseum in Bucharest, Romania

The colourful umbrella street in front of Pizza Colosseum in Bucharest, Romania

Do a Walkabout Free Tour

Now on to the more unknown parts of Bucharest! If you want to discover Bucharest beyond the main tourist attractions you have to do a free walking tour with Walk About (they do also the standard “Best of Bucharest” tours that will take you to see the main points of interest).

The first tour I did with them was a tour called “Wild About” and it was a walking tour of the Vacaresti Natural Park. Vacaresti was originally a neighbourhood built on land reclaimed from swamps to make room for several grand architectural projects, the main one being an ambitious hydrological infrastructure to connect Bucharest to the river Danube. In 1989 when the Romanian revolution removed Nicolae Ceausescu from power these projects were abandoned, and nature took its rightful place in what looks like a huge empty lake. The park is pretty wild, with narrow paths that you can walk along to explore it. While walking around the park you could almost forget that you were actually close to the city centre of one of Europe’s largest cities.

View over Vacaresti Natural Park and the Bucharest skyline in the distance

View over Vacaresti Natural Park and the Bucharest skyline in the distance

The second tour I did was called “Walk & Shoot – 2 Slices of Bucharest”. They took us to visit two neighbourhoods where the abrupt changes that happened during the 1980s revolution are most visible, the old slums and the new Civic Centre. Unfortunately we were unable to access the two rooftops we were promised as part of the tour. This was a bit disappointing as it was the selling point of the tour in my opinion, but it was still interesting to see a different part of Bucharest and learning about it from people that were born and raised there.

View over Bucharest and Carol Park from under the Monument of the Unknown Soldier

View over Bucharest and Carol Park from under the Monument of the Unknown Soldier

My absolute favourite tour was the Alternative Tour with Open Doors Travel. They took us walking around the city to explore the street art, explaining what it meant. This was fascinating since the vast majority of graffiti had political implications, and it was interesting to hear from a guide local to Bucharest what each of them meant in the context of the current political situation. When I signed up for a street art tour I was expecting big Instagrammable murals, however I was surprised to find a lot of the more politically or socially meaningful pieces of urban art were actually small messages. This was a great tour that allowed us to see some of the main and central parts of Bucharest under a completely different light.

Some of the street art we explored during the Alternative Tour of Bucharest

Some of the street art we explored during the Alternative Tour of Bucharest

Where to eat in Bucharest

One of the things that pleasantly surprised me about Bucharest was the vibrant nightlife and vast amount of bars and restaurants in the city centre. The whole section around the Old Town is pedestrian and all the restaurants there have tables and chairs outside, bustling with people at any time of day. Whether you’re looking to just have a casual drink on a rooftop, grab a pizza with your mates or go on a wild night out, there is something for everyone!

As part of #ExperienceBucharest we visited a variety of restaurants, bars and venues. One of my personal favourites was the street food market Food Hood. This was a big area right in the centre of the Old Town with food trucks parked around it and coloured chairs and tables in the middle. We were there for lunch where we had some incredible burgers and typical Romanian sausages. If you visit in the evening there is also a bar and the atmosphere if even more lively and fun.

The main bar at Food Hood

The main bar at Food Hood

Another personal favourite was French Revolution. I enjoyed this tour even more as we didn’t get told where they were taking us, just that it was a place with one of the best cakes in the world. With a premise like that how could I not go! French Revolution specializes in éclairs, that’s the only dessert they make and they have a huge variety of flavours. Having never had an éclair I wasn’t sure what to expect, but can easily say it was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Eclair party at French Revolution

Eclair party at French Revolution

As far as bars go Pura Vida Sky Bar was my favourite. This is a bar on the rooftop of a hostel in the Old Town of Bucharest. There is no elevator to get to the top and the stairs are dotted with motivational stickers to improve your mood as you walk up the stairs. In true Romanian and hostel vibe the drinks are very cheap, with cocktails costing as little as a couple RON.

Drinks with other bloggers at one of the evening parties

Drinks with other bloggers at one of the evening parties

Where to stay in Bucharest

As part of #ExperienceBucharest myself and other bloggers were put in accommodation all around the city. The best area to stay is around Calea Victoriei street, between boulevard Regina Elisabeta and the Revolution Square. While obviously in a weekend I could only stay at one of these hotels, the others are places my friends and fellow bloggers stayed at and of which they all had positive things to say about:



Booking.com

Have you been to Bucharest? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below! Bucharest is an exciting and vibrant city in Europe, a perfect destination if you’re looking for a short weekend getaway. With this article I hope I have inspired you to visit this beautiful city and given you some ideas of the best things to do and how to spend your weekend in Bucharest.

Enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Bucharest in a weekend? Pin it!

Planning a weekend trip to Bucharest? Check out this travel guide with everything you need to know and suggestions of the best things to do!

Want to spend a weekend in Bucharest but don't know how? Find out all the best things to do and places to visit for a weekend trip to Bucharest!

Want to spend a weekend in Bucharest but don't know how? Find out all the best things to do and places to visit for a weekend trip to Bucharest!

You Might Also Like

  • Ruth
    November 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    It is crazy to learn how cheap was to fly from Milan! Gosh, if I would live in Europe I will be traveling every weekend! Bucharest looks so cool and beautiful. Really like the Old Town, Athanaeum and library. I need to make plans to visit one day (the sooner the better). I have a thing for Eastern European cities.

    • gomoboni
      November 10, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      I know! Think it was an exceptionally lucky cheap flight but within Europe it’s quite often like that off-season! Haha yes, feel like because I live here I underestimate all the travel potential, I should start doing more weekends away! If you have a thing for Eastern European cities you will love Bucharest 🙂

  • Kristen
    November 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Oh I love Romania so much! It looks like an adventure packed time and beautiful trip 🙂 I’ve never heard of that street art tour — looks great for a future trip!

    • gomoboni
      November 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      It was definitely a good one! Our guide was amazing and it made it one of the best tours of the weekend! Bucharest is beautiful too 🙂

  • UnaVeronicaVagante
    November 11, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I love the video!
    I have been reading and hearing amazing stuff about Romania – I am just wondering… what about the language?
    Is it easy to get around with English?

    • gomoboni
      November 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Thank you, really happy you liked the video! Yes it is, pretty much everyone I spoke to understood English, it’s quite easy to get around especially in the main tourist parts 🙂

  • Maartje Hensen
    November 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Would love to go to Bucharest, you have made me more enthousiast. And wow your pictures, amazing!

    • gomoboni
      November 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks so much!

  • Jason Reid
    November 11, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Definitely a city I’m going to have to visit sometime. Great read! 🙂

  • Caroline
    November 11, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    I keep hearing amazing things about Bucharest and I would love to go sometime! It looks like such a beautiful city – that architecture is amazing. And I’m dying to see that umbrella street in person, it looks so colorful!!

    • gomoboni
      November 13, 2017 at 9:40 am

      The architecture around the Old Town really is incredible! Haha yeah the umbrella street is awesome, I’ve been told there are others like that around the world too!

  • Michelle Joy
    November 11, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Wow that bookstore looks absolutely amazing! We haven’t been to Bucharest yet, so I’ll keep this handy for when we get to go.

    • gomoboni
      November 13, 2017 at 9:41 am

      The bookstore is adorable! Definitely worth a visit! Hope you have a great time in Bucharest and that this guide can be useful 🙂

  • Helena
    November 11, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    I’d love to visit Bucharest and combine it with a visit to Transylvania. Great introduction to the city, thanks for sharing!

    • gomoboni
      November 13, 2017 at 9:42 am

      No problem, glad you found it useful! Yes I know quite a lot of the other bloggers on the trip did that 🙂

  • Greta's Travels Is 1 Year Old: Lessons Learnt In My First Year of Blogging
    November 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    […] Romania […]