Bucharest Travel Guide

For a landlocked city, the capital of Romania has a lot of water around it. There are many lakes dotted throughout the city and two rivers snake their way around the center. This, combined with the various styles of architecture on display, make Bucharest an enjoyable city with which to become acquainted. Gone are the days of despots and bread lines as Romania takes stock of itself and begins ardently to play catch-up with Western Europe.

One of the newest countries to be admitted into the European Union, Romania is embracing change and Bucharest is in the center of the action economically, politically and culturally. The city has seen a bit of a Renaissance in the last years, after regaining its balance following the assassination of its dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. Although the Ceausescu years saw many historical sites destroyed to make way for Communist-style apartment blocks and monumental salutes to the man’s ego, there are still many to be found, such as Curtea Veche and the CreĆŁulescu Palace.

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Paris of the East’, Bucharest is on par with any other Eastern European metropolis when it comes to the arts. Theater and dance have always played a prominent role here, and still do, judging by the sheer volume of theaters around town. Classical music is as popular as ever, best seen at the Romanian Athenaeum, and a plethora of smaller venues cater to more specific crowds and tastes.

Highlights

Alba Lulia square: the Paris parallel won’t be hard to draw as avenues dart out from the roundabout, although the area is without its own Arc De Triomphe. There is just a slight lack of majesty here but it’s still worth a look.

Cismigiu Garden: take advantage of the natural settings to be found among the concrete and brick, here in this beautiful park with its pretty flowers and charming walkways.

Curtea Veche: the traditional princely court in the center of town was once inhabited by Vlad Tepes, better known mythologically as Count Dracula.

Cretulescu Palace: the headquarters of UNESCO’s European Center for Higher Education is now housed in this early 20th century residence.

Romanian Athenaeum: catch the best classical concerts Romania has to offer in one of the most beautiful buildings in the capital.