The 12 Best Things to Do in Bucharest: Must-See Attractions

by Sam
12 Best Things to Do in Bucharest

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To me, Bucharest is one of Europe’s most underrated capitals. With its rich history, stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, and delicious cuisine, there is something for everyone in this fascinating city. 

From the iconic Palace of the Parliament to the charming streets of the Old Town, Bucharest never fails to impress me with its unique blend of old-world charm and modern energy. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just looking for a fun weekend getaway, this city is definitely worth a visit. 

But what should you do? Let’s dive deeper into the best things to do in Bucharest! 

Best Things To Do In Bucharest

Best things to do in Bucharest

1. Walk around the Old Town

Exploring the Old Town is a must-do in Bucharest. It is the centrepiece and life of the city. As you walk through its narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter vibrant colours, beautiful architecture, and a lively atmosphere that is truly unique.

One of the Old Town’s main hotspots is the Lipscani District, home to its bustling street, Liscpani. This area brings Bucharest to life with many shops, cafes and restaurants. It also includes a long line of bars, clubs and pubs nearby.

While in the Old Town, you will come across some of Bucharest’s most famous buildings, such as the Stavropoleos Monastery, the National Bank of Romania, and the Palace of Justice. These spectacularly beautiful buildings offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and culture. The Old Town cannot be missed!

Walking around Old Town in Bucharest

2. Gaze upon Carturesti Carusel

For a literature paradise, head to Carturesti Carusel, located in the central part of the Old Town. Although it is relatively small, you’ll soon be mesmerised by its pristine architecture.

This building has gone through various transformations throughout the years. First built in 1903 for a Greek banking family’s headquarters, it fell victim to communism in 1950 and was later abandoned for many years. 

After two tough decades of legal battles from 1990, the family’s grandson finally reclaimed it in 2007, restoring it to its 1903 design. It was then leased to Carturesti, a Romanian literature chain, and the rest is history! 

Today, the store has three floors, an underground floor, and accessible lifts on-site. Books are both in English and Romanian, with signage stating which sections of the store are in English. On the 3rd floor is also a cafe for those who feel peckish during your visit.  

Recommendation: To avoid crowds and get those clear pictures, visit in the morning. It tends to get busy during the day all year round.

Interior view of Cărturești Carusel bookstore in Bucharest, showcasing a multi-level open space with ornate white balustrades, bookshelves filled with books, visitors browsing, and a unique red sculpture hanging in the centre

3. Wander around the Village Museum

Looking for one of the best things to do in Bucharest? This brilliant open-air museum is a top attraction in Bucharest and well worth a visit. Tickets cost 30 LEI. 

Spanning over 34 acres of land, the village museum showcases the traditional life in rural Romania that has spanned over three centuries, with an array of mills, houses and farms from different parts of Romania.

It gives a brilliant insight into how the country has evolved from its previous environments, with timelines and explanations of the house’s origins. Signs are everywhere around the village, with English translations, so you won’t need to worry about understanding what period is being represented. 

A local restaurant ‘La Bariera’ (double check this is true), is also in the vicinity and serves traditional Romanian food, perfect for a little stop off before you continue walking the grounds.

It should take around 2 hours to explore! 

Village Museum Bucharest

4. Visit the Revolution Square

Revolution Square is one of the most historic places in Romanian history. This location played a huge role in the end of the communist regime in 1989 during the Romanian Revolution.

The square is also home to some of Bucharest’s finest landmarks, including The Royal Palace. Today, the palace stands as The National Museum of Art of Romania, showcasing Romania’s history from the 19th and 20th centuries through its incredible art form.

Even if you’re not particularly interested in art, the palace’s neoclassical architecture is stunning and worth walking around. Adult tickets cost 24 Lei

It should take around 2-3 hours to explore fully!

Outside Revolution Square in Bucharest

5. Take a guided tour around The Palace of Parliament

The Palace of the Parliament, known as the ‘People’s Palace’, is a must-see in Bucharest. It is one of the largest administrative buildings in the world, covering a whopping 330,000 square meters and has more than 1000 rooms. Today, it serves as a building for the Romanian government and a tourist attraction.

The outer structure of the building can be seen from miles on the thoroughfare of Bulevardul Unirii. Walking up the building through this street is well recommended as it offers a stunning view of the architectural masterpiece.

The imposing Palace of Parliament in Bucharest stands under a clear blue sky, showcasing its grand neoclassical facade with ornate detailing, a symbol of Romania's historical and political heritage.

Exploring The Palace of Parliament

To explore The Palace of Parliament, you must take a guided tour. As you walk through its grand halls and opulent decorations while admiring the impressive architecture, you’ll learn fascinating history about the building and the events that led to its creation.

You’ll also dive into in-depth details about the communist regime in Romania, its significance to the country’s history, and how it influenced the transformation of the building. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough!

Inside Palace of Parliament Bucharest

6. Look around The Romanian Athenaeum

The Romanian Athenaeum is a true gem in Bucharest, with its neoclassical architecture that will surely wow you as you stroll around its premises.

This famous concert hall has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. It hosts various performances, including classical music concerts, ballet, and more.

Recommendation: If you plan to spend the evening in Bucharest, there is no better way to finish the night than with a performance in the Grand Concert Hall.

Its superb acoustics, often described as ‘one of the best in Europe’, will enhance your experience greatly while you witness some of Romania’s finest talent take to the stage.

Inside the Romanian Athenaeum Bucharest in the performance hall

7. Relax at the Therme Bucharest

For those looking for a relaxing spa treat away from the bustling city, why not head to Therme Bucharest? One of the largest wellness and relaxation centres in the world. 

The wellness centre is in a giant dome surrounded by a tropical paradise. As you walk past the tropical gardens’ 800,000 plants, you will be spoilt for choice in the array of pools, saunas, and waterslides. 

Therme is split into three zones: Elysium, The Palm and Galaxy. Children under 14 can only access the Galaxy zone, where you’ll find that vast collection of waterslides. 

My favourite part of the wellness centre was the massive choice of Saunas,  making me like a kid in a sweet shop. A notable favourite of mine was the Himalayan Salt Sauna. The calming ambience of it left me feeling rejuvenated and relaxed! 

Note: The saunas have different opening times, so I recommend checking the wellness activities schedule before your visit to see what’s open.

View of Bucharest Therme
There are also plenty of outdoor areas, perfect during the summer heat!

On top of its serenity is a massive choice of on-site restaurants and bars catering to various dietary requirements. 

Plus, there are over 14 PlayStation consoles, plenty of outdoor water activities and many more exciting things to keep you busy during the day. 

The duration of your visit can be between 3 hours, 4.5 hours and one day. You can view the updated prices on their website. Or, for a more convenient purchase, you can purchase your tickets through the MyTherme app. 

Bucharest Therme at Night
I highly recommend staying till the evening, when the night draws. The thermal park is stunningly lit up at night!

8. Take a stroll through Herastrau Park

If you’re planning to visit the Village Museum, make sure to take a stroll around Herastrau Park which surrounds it. This park is a peaceful and scenic retreat from the bustling atmosphere of Bucharest.

As you walk around, you’ll come across the picturesque Lake Herastrau. Boat tours are available to explore the lake, and you can even enjoy a few cocktails while you’re onboard! 

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes within the park, so you’ll always have options for a quick bite If you’re lucky, you might even catch a concert or festival at the park’s open amphitheatre. All in all, Herastrau Park is 100% worth the visit!

Lake Herastrau in Herastrau Park

9. Visit the Stavropoleos Monastery

Bucharest has a lot to offer, but one attraction that stands out is the Stavropoleos Monastery. This little gem, located in the city’s heart, features stunning Romanian-style architecture that will make you stop and intrigue you to take a closer look.

The courtyard is my favourite feature of the monastery. This includes a lush garden. It’s an ideal spot to take a break from the city’s bustling streets. 

Exploring the monastery will take a maximum of 1 hour to take in the architecture’s intricate details and have a nice little relaxation in the courtyard. 

It is free to enter! However, donations are welcome.

Exterior Stavropoleos Monastery Bucharest
Interior of Stavropoleos Monastery Bucharest

10. Take a stroll in Cismigiu Gardens

This serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle is just next to the Parliament Building. Take in the views of the monument and have that nice, hearty picnic! 

The park is full of artistic objects, statues and monuments, all for viewing, with many bench seating areas. 

You can rent paddle boats if you want to venture out onto the lake across the park. It is beautiful to look at night as the surrounding lights glisten on the water. 

It is a must-do in Bucharest! 

panoramic view of Cismigiu Gardens in Bucharest

11. Experience the nightlife in Bucharest

One of the best things you can do in Bucharest is experience the nightlife. This vibrant city comes alive after the sun sets. While walking around the city and its Old Town at night, you’ll come across many famous clubs, bars and lounges filled with tourists. 

There’s no surprise as to why this is the case. Bucharest is one of the cheapest cities in Europe, with an array of nightclubs and bars. 

This will undoubtedly attract many sun-seekers, explorers or party enthusiasts to come here on their holidays, splash out on cheap alcohol at night and enjoy some of the city’s finest monuments during the daytime.

Fun fact: An average beer in Bucharest costs 11 LEI – cheaper than most places worldwide. 

Bucharest at night

12. Take a day trip around the Transylvania Region

Looking for one of the best things to do in Bucharest? Romania’s Transylvania region is one of Europe’s most beautiful places and reachable from Bucharest. 

The Transylvania region is, perhaps, most known for being the location of Bran Castle, famous for its significance in literature through Bram Stoker’s work ‘Dracula.’ On top of that, the region boasts an extensive range of medieval-style castles, charming Old Towns and other historical treasures.

The best way to explore the Transylvania region from Bucharest is through a tour agency! 

During your visit, you’ll discover some of Romania’s most famous castles, Peles and Bran, and then head off to the picturesque Old Town of Brasov. 

As you walk through both Bran Castle and Peles Castle, you’ll experience them at their best with in-depth information on their history and any trivia on the way. 

After you visit the two castles, you’ll be given free roam to experience the Old Town of Brasov, a medieval Old Town filled with cobbled streets, stunning architecture and quaint surroundings. I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Bran Castle interior
Walking through the Brasov Old Town

Frequently asked questions best things to do in Bucharest

How many days do I need for Bucharest?

For your Bucharest trip, I would allocate at least 2 days. This gives you enough time to comfortably explore the attractions and enjoy any extra hidden treasures.  It is perfect for a weekend getaway! 

Where should I stay in Bucharest?

Where to stay depends on your preferences and itinerary. If you are only sightseeing, don’t stay in the Old Town if you want to avoid the bustling nightlife of Bucharest. Situate yourself nearer to the main attractions. 

Recommendation: Stay in the district of Tineretului. It offers serene greenery, affordable accommodation and convenient access to well-connected metro lines.

Tineretului Park in Bucharest
Tineretului Park is one of the biggest and best in Bucharest!

How do I get around Bucharest? 

Bucharest is easy to get around. Many attractions are nearby, so travelling on foot is quick and easy.

Public transport is also convenient and feasible, so well recommended if you prefer a leisurely trip. Metro is the go-to form of transportation for Bucharest. Single tickets cost around 2.50 LEI, and day tickets are also available to purchase for a discounted price. 

For a complete guide on public transport in Bucharest, click here

Final thoughts on the best things to do in Bucharest

Bucharest is easily one of the most underrated capitals in Europe. There are so many things to do,  often not spoken about enough.

If you’re planning a trip to the Transylvania region or an area nearby, it is much worth your time to head down and explore this vibrant and exciting city.

From the beautiful architecture to the bustling nightlife, there is something for everyone in Bucharest! 

Interested in more content about Romania? Check out:

Top 10 Unforgettable Brasov Day Trips

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