The complete private tour of Romania from Bucharest covering Transylvania, Maramures and Bucovina. Explore beautiful Romania in a small group tour. See Transylvania castles and medieval towns, Bucovina painted monasteries or Maramures wooden churches.
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Bucharest – a short travel guide. The best tours from Bucharest
The largest city in Romania, home of more than 2 million people, Bucharest is also the most visited city in the country. For the curious eye of the tourist, Bucharest can be a rather unexpected surprise. Not trying to compete with Europe other big capitals, Bucharest has a generous and unique touristic offer.
Geographically, Bucharest is located in the southern-eastern part of Romania, in the Danubian plain. It’s 2 hours drive from the Black Sea coast and 3 hours from Danube Delta. If you are planning a Transylvania tour from Bucharest, the closest Transylvanian big city is Brasov, at 2 hours, while Sibiu is at 4 driving hours distance. Cluj, Iasi, and Timisoara, the largest cities in Romania are also connected to Bucharest by plane.
One of the main landmarks of the city is Parliament Palace. Each Bucharest tour is including a visit or at least just a walk around the giant building. The main element of Ceausescu plan to reshape the face of the city in the 80s, The Parliament Palace is a construction equally ugly and beautiful. The second-largest building in the world, a good example of Communist architecture never cease to impress with its grandeur.
Old Town. Just a few minutes walk from Parliament Palace, the old town is the perfect exponent of Bucharest character: a unique blend of Belle Epoque architecture, with newer Art Deco or Byzantine-inspired style small churches.
Every walking tour of Bucharest old town should include Stravopoleus Church ( a fine example “Brancovenian” architecture, with its ornate carvings in stone and wood).
Packed with a variety of pubs and restaurants, the narrow streets from Old Town are the heart of Bucharest nightlife, pulsing with a cosmopolitan vibe and energy.
Of the old inns built for travelling merchants in the early 19th century, two have survived: The Tei Inn and Manuc’s Inn. If Tei Inn is now a small alley of antique stores, Manuc Inn is still one of the largest and best-preserved former Caravanserai in Europe. On Smardan street, several 19th-century bank buildings have survived, built in the Neo-Classic French style. But the most imposing bank palace can be seen on Victoriei Avenue. The CEC Palace is an eclectic building with a monumental central dome and entrance archway supported by pillars.
Walking up on Victoriei Avenue, the traveller will discover more of Bucharest historic district. Reaching Revolution square, one can find the Ministry of Interior Affairs, another communist building, where an important piece of Romania recent history happened. Just nearby, we will see the Neo-Classic National Art Museum ( the former Royal Palace) and The National Library.
Then, we will able to see another iconic building of Bucharest, the Atheneum. Built in the Neo-classical style, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, the atheneum has been the host of George Enescu National Philharmonic Orchestra for more than a century.
Museums Passionate about museums? Bucharest has over 60 different museums or memorial houses. The most popular are The Antipa Museum of Science History, The National Village Museum, or National Arts Museum. While in Bucharest, one can choose also to visit the former private residence of the communist dictator Ceausescu, or the Cotroceni Museum, the residecence of Romanian presidency. For the kid in you, you can have a look at the Aviation Museum, Military Museum or the Trains Museum.
Parks. In a crowded and dusty city like Bucharest, the parks are an oasis of clean air and tranquillity. There are a few green areas spread over the city, but the parks close to the touristic area of the city are a few. Cismigiu garden is one of the oldest and probably the most romantic parks of Bucharest. Very close to the Old Town, the parc was designed in the 19th century by a Viennese horticulturist.
The Botanical Gardens are just across the Presidential Palace, so if you are planning the Cotroceni museum, you can have a walk in the gardens as well.
The largest parc in the north side of the city is Herastrau, and due to its’ size is the number one choice for runners. If you plan a tour in the north side of Bucharest, Herastrau and the Village Museum should be on your list, as they are separated only by a fence.
If you are for a few days in Bucharest, you just might want to see some of the Bucharest main attractions mentioned before. If you are looking to find something outside Bucharest, you can choose the day tours to Transylvania or Tranfagarasan. Or you can drive just a few kilometres outside the city, to find your self surrounded by sumptuous natural setting.
Want to see the Danube Delta, but you don’t have enough time? There is a Delta just a few kilometres from Bucharest, the Neajlov River Delta which is offering almost the same biodiversity: wildlife and lush vegetation inside of a 1000 hectares of a marshy area. There is plenty to do there, from kayaking to biking or just walking in the natural reservation.
On the other side of Bucharest is Snagov, much more known due to the connections with Dracula. There are rumours saying the Vlad Dracula is buried there, but so far, no evidence was found. But if you’re choosing to visit the monastery, you will not be disappointed. The monastery is located on an island, in the middle of a lake, in a beautiful natural area.
Mogosoaia Palace is another place we recommend to visit. A fine example of Romanian Renaissance style ( or Brancovenesc style), the palace is an original blend of local, Venetian and Ottoman elements, using rich decorations for its carved columns and verandas. If you are visiting the Mogosoaia in the warm season, you can have a picnic in the park in front of the Palace or you relax in a more active way, by boating on the lake nearby. Go there in May, to admire the iris flowers in bloom.
In terms of food, Bucharest is trying to recreate its lost flavour from the Belle Epoque and interwar period, the periods of glory for the Romanian capital.
There are hundreds of good restaurants in Bucharest. From fine dining restaurants to traditional touristic restaurants or gourmet pubs, they have it all. The only difficulty comes when you have to choose. Luckily, there are worldwide reviewing platforms, like Google or Tripadvisor which can make your decision much easier. So, for this reason, we will give you just a few suggestions, and we are saying from the beginning that is just our subjective opinion.
Praised equally by Gault and Millau guide and local foodies, Zexe restaurants menu is offering a fine combination of Romanian peasant food with old aristocratic dishes. The excellent taste given by carefully selected ingredients and the decent price is making Zexe a culinary destination a foodie tourist should not miss while in Bucharest.
An old restaurant, with a long history, whose building is an exponent of early Neo-Romanian architecture is Casa Doina. Located a few minutes walk from Victoriei Square, Casa Doina is serving a mix of Romanian classical food with international interferences, keeping its high standards from long ago.
Another restaurant whose building comes with a historical flavour is Manuc Inn. We already talk about it as a place to visit in the Old Town in Bucharest, and for this reason, it can be included in the touristic restaurants which are serving a rather good Romanian food.
Just a few minutes walk, in front of Stavreopoleus church, there is Carul cu Bere ( The Bear Chariot). Yes, it’s touristic, but the restaurant had succeeded to revive the 19th-century beer house atmosphere. Add to this the outside neo-gothic architecture, the interior decorations and the daily music and dance shows accompanied by good food and beer.
There a few options. The easiest way is to fly directly to Bucharest. The international airport is the main transport hub of the country, being transited by more than 14 million passengers in 2019. From the airport, one can take the bus to the city centre, taxis or Uber being also an alternative.
If you are coming from the neighbouring countries, the train is also an option, as Bucharest is connected with Vienna, Budapest, Sofia or Athens.
The central historical district is the most popular area for tourists looking to spend a few days in Bucharest. But if you are coming by car, you should check if your hotel is offering free parking, as in Bucharest the parking places are limited. Also, some of the streets in the old town are pedestrian, so you should consider carrying your luggage for a few hundred meters if you choose your hotel or apartment in those areas. The best public transportation in Bucharest is the underground, so if you want to move around the city easily, you should have in mind also the closeness to the nearest underground station. Reaching the airport from downtown is around 40 minutes, or even more at the rush hours. So, if you are returning to Bucharest at the end of your Romania holiday, just to catch a flight, is a good idea to consider a hotel close to the airport.
In terms of the type of accommodation, you can find almost everything in Bucharest, from simple apartments rented by the locals to classy boutique hotels, or big hotels, belonging to international chains.
In some periods, during cultural or sports events, it’s possible to find a room with difficulty, so, to avoid any stress, be sure you have booked your hotel in advance.
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