The city of Bucharest is a must-see for any visitor looking to experience the beauty and history that Romania has waiting. From grand architecture, museums galore, shopping, and beautiful parks; you’ll never run out of things to do in Bucharest.
best things to do in Bucharest
Bucharest is fast becoming a must-visit destination in Europe and with a mix of modern buildings popping up among the 20th-century palaces and museums, plus one of the best nightlife scenes on the continent, Bucharest has something for everyone. So let’s get started and explore all the best places to visit in Bucharest, Romania!
1. Palace of Parliament
The Palace of Parliament, also known as the People’s house, is the most iconic building in Bucharest. Located atop the Dealul Spirii hill, it is the world’s second-largest administrative building, after the Pentagon, and is home to Romania’s parliament.
This architectural feat is the world’s heaviest building, weighing about 9.04 billion pounds. This massive building is constructed with marble and steel and sits on over 360,000 square meters of land.
Get your skip the line tickets in advance – Get fast access to the Parliament and once inside meet the Bucharest Parliament Official Guide to explore its interior. Highlights include taking in the panoramic views of the fountains boulevard from the Dictator’s Balcony and learning about the communist regime in Romania as you admire its nearly 500 chandeliers, more than 1400 mirrors and ceiling lights and 35 million cubic feet of marble.
The Palace of Parliament is a must-see for any visitor to Bucharest. The building is an architectural masterpiece, and its size is breathtaking. It is also a reminder of the country’s communist past, as it was commissioned by former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceau?escu. Today, the Palace of Parliament is a symbol of democracy and a popular tourist destination.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Palace of Parliament, take a guided tour! The tour guides are very knowledgeable and can provide you with insights into the building’s past, present, and future. Make sure to also visit the museum, which offers a fascinating look at how the building was constructed and the impact it has had on Bucharest and Romania as a whole. Book guided tours in advance here.
2. Old Town
If you are visiting Bucharest, make sure to check out Old Town! There is so much to see and do, and you’ll get a taste of the city’s rich history and many of the city’s most important landmarks are here.
Old Town is also a popular tourist destination, as it is filled with restaurants, cafes, and shops. Take a stroll down Calea Victoriei, the city’s main street, and enjoy the beautiful architecture. Or stop by Manuc’s Inn, a historic restaurant and inn that dates back to the 18th century.
Old Town is the historic center of Bucharest and was once the court of Vlad the Impaler. It is home to Curtea Veche, a museum of excavated medieval ruins, watched over by the bust of Vlad III Dracula. The National Museum of Romanian History is located on Calea Victoriei and features artifacts from all periods of Romanian history, from prehistory to modern times.
3. Bucharest Nightlife
It’s no secret that Bucarest has become known for its incredible nightlife. In Old Town, you can find some of the best clubs in the city, including, Nomad Skybar, which has a beautiful terrace that offers an amazing view of the city, and Bordello, an exciting lively club that has live music and cabaret shows with dancers, singers, and magicians.
One of the best ways to get a feel for Old Town’s nightlife is to book an Old Town pub crawl tour. This four-hour tour lets you discover the best bars and clubs in the Old Town area with an experienced local guide. Visit 4-5 different clubs and bars with a free shot in each venue. Meet new people and get the best recommendations for other things to do in Bucharest/
If you want to experience the best of Bucharest’s nightlife, Old Town is the place to be! The area is full of history and culture, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are interested in architecture, art, food, or the nightlife, Old Town has something to offer.
4. Arch of Triumph
The Arch of Triumph stands 27 meters tall and is located on Kiseleff Road, in the northern part of Bucharest. After Romania gained its independence in 1878, wooden beams were hastily manufactured and erected immediately after so that the victorious troops could pass beneath it.
The arch was reconstructed in 1922 and later replaced in 1935 to commemorate the Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I. Now, the structure is made of stone and is adorned with statues of Romanian heroes.
The Arch of Triumph is a popular tourist destination, as it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Bucharest.
This Bucharest City Driving Tour takes you on a four-hour tour of seeing the top attractions in Bucharest. Drive to sights like the Palace of Parliament, the Village Museum, Victory Avenue, Revolution Square, and the Patriarchal Cathedral.
5. Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum
The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, or the Villiage Museum, is a unique open-air museum that features a collection of traditional Romanian folk houses that have been painstakingly restored. Each of the 272 structures was carefully disassembled, transported to the museum, and reassembled in place.
Founded in 1936 and located in King Michael I Park, this museum extends over 100,000 square meters. As part of the park’s walkable village-style setting, made to depict the way life used to be like in Romania, you can see the peasant homes, various types of churches, barns, and other smaller displayed artifacts such as pottery on display.
6. Cismigiu Park
Cismigiu Park, or Cismigiu Gardens, is located in the middle of Bucharest. This public park may not be the biggest, but it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beautiful Romanian scenery.
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Cismigiu is a peaceful green oasis surrounded by a spectacularly colorful flower garden, a shady alley, and a large artificial lake (that is turned into a skating rink in the winter).
More of a botanical garden than a park, this is a wonderful spot to visit with the whole family or for a romantic stroll, and it has plenty of space for lounging and picnics. Take a seat on one of the many benches with a book or camera, as you’re sure to want to spend some time taking in the scenery.
One of our favourite ways to get around a city is by cycling. This guided tour by bicycle starts in the old city to marvel at the monumental Parliament Palace and see the top landmarks in Budapest while admiring architecture from the 19th and the early 20th century. Cycling is a great way to see a lot in a short time. See more details here.
7. Romanian Athenaeum
Opened in 1888, the Romanian Athenaeum, or Ateneul Român, is a concert hall located in the center of Bucharest, Romania. The Romanian Athenaeum is a popular tourist destination, as it is one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in Bucharest.
The building is a neoclassic architectural masterpiece and is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world. The concert hall is world-renowned for its acoustics and is home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. It hosts a variety of classical music concerts throughout the year. If you are a fan of classical music, make sure to check the schedule and see if there is a concert during your visit.
8. Go for a Walking Tour
One of the best ways to see Bucharest is by going on a walking tour. Walking tours are a great way to learn about the history and culture of the city, as well as get some exercise.
There are many different walking tours available, so you can choose one that interests you. There are tours that focus on the history of the city, the architecture, or the food. Some of the most popular walking tours include the Old Town Tour, the Communist Tour, and the Dracula Tour.
Walking tours are a great way to explore Bucharest at your own pace. You can stop and take photos, go into shops and restaurants, and really get a feel for the city. No matter which tours you choose, you’re sure to learn a lot about Bucharest and have a great time.
This Bucharest alternative walking tour lets you see a unique point of view of the city. From the Military Club Palace, youl’ll explore street art and graffiti and learn about the freedom of expression in libraries, bars and independent theaters. It’s a cool way to see off-the-beaten-bath places in Bucharest and to listen to stories from a local perspective while snapping photos of coolest places and murals in town.
9. Herastrau Park
Herastrau Park, or Parcul Herastrau, located on the shores of Lake Herastrau, is one of the largest and most popular parks in the area. While sharing the same jaw-droppingly beautiful qualities as Cismigiu Park, Herastrau features a larger variety of recreational activities with the National Village Museum in its proximity.
Renting a rowboat or taking a ferry boat trip on Lake Her?str?u is a fantastic way to appreciate the park’s natural splendor. The wide paths make it perfect to cycle or take a stroll. While on your walk, keep an eye out for the notable statues of Beethoven and Shakespeare and sculptures of animals, Romanian legends, and mythological creatures.
Not up for walking? Have a picnic, visit the rose garden, or check out the incredible Reef Aquarium. There are also many restaurants and cafes, as well as a playground, dog park, and plenty of sports facilities.
If you are looking to enjoy the outdoors, Herastrau Park is the perfect place for you.
10. Try traditional food at Caru cu Bere
Caru cu Bere is a traditional Romanian restaurant located on the Lipscani Street, part of the Old Town.
Caru cu Bere has been serving traditional Romanian food since 1879 and is known for its authentic delicious Romanian cuisine, original beer recipe, and unique atmosphere. The menu features a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, meats, and vegetables and an extensive wine list.
If you are looking for a truly unique dining experience, make sure to visit Caru cu Bere as it’s one of the greatest restaurants you’ll find throughout the country, with delectable cuisine and live classic music. You’re sure to have a memorable meal at this Bucharest icon.
11. Spa Day at Therme Bucharest
After a long day of sightseeing, there’s nothing better than unwinding at Therme. While outside of Bucharest, the giant spa complex is located just 10 minutes away from the city and offers a variety of treatments and services. Therme provides a free shuttle bus all week long that departs from Piata Romana and arrives at the doors of the spa. They are the largest relaxation centers in all of Europe and for good reason.
Therme is the perfect place to unwind and includes different treatments, facials, massages and body wraps. There is also a sauna, a steam room, and a few pools.
The mineral pools, waterslides, and indoor botanical garden are the highlight of the fun and relaxing stay. Make sure to book a treatment or two, as you’re sure to leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Book your 5 hour admission including transfers in advance here to enjoy the biggest indoor wellness center in Europe.
Best Day Trips from Bucharest
12. Dracula’s Castle And Peles Castle
You can’t visit Romania and not see Dracula’s Castle. This highly rated full day tour from Bucharest takes you from Bucharest to Transqylvania where you’ll take a guided tour of Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle) Plus visit the fairytale castl of Peles Castle and the medieval town of Brasov.
13. Stunt School Training
One of our favourite things to do in Bucharest was to take a stunt training course just outside of town. Located just outside of Bucharest is Academia Titi Aur where regular Joes like us can get into car simulators to learn about safety and lessons of rally car racing before going out on the track and putting those practical tips to work.
We took part in the crash simulator, the car rolling simulator and the drunk simulator before hitting the track to learn how to slide slip, drift and drive on two wheels. Make sure to watch our video above for all the fun! For more information on Titi Aur Academia check out their website: http://www.titiaur.ro/
14. Transylvania and Brasov
This Bucharest to Brasov tour includes skip the line tickets to Peles and Bran Castles plus guided tours. Hear about the life of Vlad the Impaler and enjoy time at the pretty town of Sinaia, the summer palace of Romanian Royals. You’ll also take a walking tour of Bra?ov.
These are just a few of the many things to do in Bucharest. No matter what you’re looking for, Bucharest is the perfect destination. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip today and come experience all that this city has to offer!
Photo of Therme Spa by Daniele Napolitano, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Where to Stay in Bucharest
We stayed The Hilton Garden Inn in old Town and loved its central location. It was easy to get around by walking or taxi.
Another great hotel is Novotel downtown just steps away from Old Town, National Art Museum, Romanian Athenaeum, Cismigiu Garden and more.
Both of these hotels are currently taking in people displaced by the war in Ukraine so make sure to check with the hotels for availability.
And these are the best things to do in Bucharest Romania. Bucharest is an affordable European city to explore and we thoroughly enjoyed our time here. Hopefully, these insider tips will help you put Bucharest and other parts of Romania on your European Itinerary.