Althought it’s the capital of Romania, Bucharest is often overlooked in favour of more famous tourist destinations like Transylvania and the Bran Castle. However, this eclectic city which has a lot to offer to everybody – from history buffs to architecture lovers and foodies. Here are five things you can’t miss on a trip to the city once dubbed ‘The Little Paris of the East.’

Visit the Parliamentary Palace

Probably the most famous sight you just can’t miss on a trip to Bucharest is the Palace of the Parliament. This is the largest (365,000 square metres) and the heaviest (weighing about 4,098,500,000 kilograms) parliamentary building in the world and one of the most controversial ones. It was built during the communist regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu as part of his idea to redesign Bucharest. His plan was to build many enormous and impressive buildings to show the world how rich and powerful his country was. It took about 13 years, 20 000 workers and 700 architects to construct it. Nowadays, the building houses the two houses of the Parliament of Romania, the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. There are three museums and international conference center as well. Still, only 70 percent of the building is used.  Paying a visit to the palace you can get some perspective of the kitsch and extravagant life Ceaușescu and the political elite led in those times, often at the expense of the ordinary people.

You can check the official website to see the fees, opening hours various tours you can join.


Take a walk in the Old Town

After a few years of refurbishing the Old City Center, Bucharest has now its own vibrant and charming pedestrian area. It is filled with bars and restaurants where locals and tourists alike love to hang out. Grand Café Van Gogh is among the favourite ones with nice drinks and foods on its menu and a cosy artsy interior. It is just a few metres away from the National History Museum, so it might be the perfect spot for an energizing drink before or after exploring the artefacts in the museum. Another interesting place worth visiting both for its food selection and impressive interior is Restaurant Hanu’ lui Manuc. Built originally as a roadside inn in 1808, it is now a favourite place for enjoying some traditional sarmale (cabbage rolls) and Țuică (plum brandy) in its peaceful courtyard.

While you are in the area you can visit Stavropoleos Church – Eastern Orthodox monastery for nuns standing out in the centre of the city with exceptionally beautiful architecture and tranquil atmosphere.

Stop by for a gift for yourself or someone back home at Cărturești Carusel – a six-storey bookshop whose name literally translates as “Carousel of Light” and can be seen on any list of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.

Hanul Manuc

Hanul Manuc

Wander around Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum

This is a unique open-air ethnographic museum where you can explore traditional village life. It was created after serious and long research, coordinated by Professor Dimitrie Gusti, founder of Sociological School of Bucharest, in order to fully and correctly represent the life in the different rural parts of the country in the past. The museum started with 33 houses transferred from the places where Professor Dimitrie Gusti and his students did the research and consists now of 272 original complexes from all parts of Romania. Even the smallest details in the interior is carefully crafted to make sure that the rural experience is as authentic as possible.


Visit Revolution Square

The Romanian Revolution of 1989 in one of the most important yet one of the most violent and bloodiest events in the country’s recent history.  It was the square formerly known as Palace Square from where the Revolution that would end with a show trial and public execution of the Communist Party leader Nicolae Ceaușescu began. The square houses the former Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party from where he gave his last speech and later tried to escape by helicopter with his wife Elena. In 2005, the memorial of Rebirth was inaugurated in the middle of the square to honour the victims of the historical revolution. However, it quickly became one of the most controversial monuments in the city, with people not understanding the idea behind its unordinary design and nicknaming it ‘The Impaled Potato’, ‘olive on a spike’ or ‘brain on a stick’.  Something else that attracts tourists attention in the area is the the building of the Union of Romanian Architects. Since it was almost entirely burned during 1989 and had to be restored, an interesting architecture decision occurred. The first half of the building remained in its old French Renaissance style. Bullet holes from the revolution still can be seen on the walls on this half. The second one was built as modern style glass skyscraper which makes it an interesting and unusual sights with historical significance.

The history of Communist Romania and the Revolution of 1989 is very complex so in order to get a better understanding of it we recommend joining the Free Communist Tour where the guides will take you to the most important places and tell you all you need to know from local’s perspective.

Memorial of Rebirth

Explore why Bucharest is called “The Little Paris of the East”

In the northern part of the city, on the Kiseleff Road, Bucharest has its very on Arcul de Triumf, almost identical with the world-renowned one in Paris. Its first, wooden version was built in 1878, right after Romania gained its independence. Later, it was replaced by one with a concrete skeleton in 1922 to celebrate the victories of the Romanien armies during Second World War. Then in 1935 the Arch got the look it has nowadays and became one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.

It’s not only the arch that got the city its nickname. To get more of the Parisian-like atmosphere you can stroll along Calea Victoriei or Elisabeta boulevards or check the buildings of CEC Palace, Sala Radio, Central University Library of Bucharest or Grand Hotel Continental.