Bucharest is not one of the most visited capitals in Europe. Few people associate any attractions related to this city at all. Romania’s capital is a place of great contrast, where modernity is mixed with local traditions. Bucharest at first glance does not impress. Here, next to the architectural mementoes of communism, there are modern buildings, and a bit further, completely ruined buildings.
However, Bucharest is a city worth visiting. There is no shortage of captivating views and unique atmosphere, but also interesting monuments. We will definitely not be bored in the Romanian capital. Interesting museums, nice parks and numerous religious buildings await tourists in the city. Bucharest’s greatest attraction are the remains of the exuberant vision of the Romanian dictator Ceaușescu. It was he who, after the earthquake in 1977, wanted to rebuild the Romanian capital, following the example of the city of Paris.
Hence, Bucharest is often called – Little Paris or the Paris of the East.
So let’s start exploring Bucharest with our travel guide.
A big plus of visiting Bucharest is the fact that most of the attractions and monuments are located close to each other. The Romanian capital can be visited over the weekend. This city is perfect for a short break. It will especially appeal to history lovers, with particular emphasis on socialist realism. Globetrotters, as well as people who like to enjoy the nightlife, will find themselves in Bucharest. An additional incentive to visit this city are certainly relatively low ticket prices to various attractions.
The best time to visit Bucharest is spring – more or less from the end of April to the end of June and autumn. In summer, the temperatures are quite high here. Additionally, you can avoid possible queues and larger groups of tourists. As we have already mentioned, the Romanian capital can be visited even in one day. However, it is best to come here at least for the weekend to see everything calmly.
Regardless of the length of your stay, it’s good to know what to see in this city. Where to go and what to see to enjoy the atmosphere of this place. That is why you need to get to know the most important places in the Romanian capital and make a sightseeing plan before the trip.
And what exactly are the attractions waiting for us in Bucharest?
Tourist attractions in Bucharest
Now let’s check what tourist attractions are hidden in Bucharest for all those who are going to this city for a weekend or vacation.
The literally greatest attraction in Bucharest is the People’s Palace, the present seat of the Romanian Parliament. The building is so impressive that it is exactly the second largest such object in the world after the American Pentagon. The originator of this huge construction was the president and dictator in one person – Nicolea Ceaușescu. In fact, it has not been completed to this day.
The People’s Palace has an area of 356,000 square meters, with over a thousand rooms, spread over 12 floors. The interior can only be visited with a guide. During such tours, it is worth taking a closer look at marble finishes and crystal chandeliers. Unfortunately, you also have to be aware that the palace was built in a place where previously historic, Art Nouveau buildings were located, which were razed to the ground by the dictator’s order. Including inhabited tenement houses, churches and temples.
See on the map of Bucharest how to get to the People’s Palace:
As we have already mentioned, Nicolea Ceaușescu used the earthquake in the Romanian capital to bring his vision of the perfect city to life. In imitation of the capital of France – Paris. Hence, to this day, you can see the real Arc de Triomphe in Bucharest. It is located on the roundabout next to the Herastrau Park and is a real tourist attraction in the city.
It measures 27 meters and its present form has replaced the wooden arch that was erected here several years earlier. Its shape strongly resembles the one known from Paris and, just like it, stands on a busy roundabout.
There is the Arc de Triomphe in Bucharest, and there must also be the Champs Elysees. The local counterpart is Bulevardul Unirii, which is the main artery of the center of the Romanian capital and at the same time its unusual attraction. This representative street of Bucharest runs straight to the largest building, the People’s Palace. Along it, there are tenement houses that remember the times of socialist realism, greenery and numerous fountains that, when lit at night, add charm to this city.
Interestingly, Ceaușescu had Bulevardul Unirii built slightly wider and longer than the Champs Elysees, which clearly showed his megalomania.
See on the map of Bucharest where Bulevardul Unirii is located:
A popular attraction in Bucharest is also the Stavropol Monastery. It is an atmospheric Orthodox temple, considered one of the prettiest in the Romanian capital. Built in 1725, it is famous for its rich collection of Byzantine music books and an exceptionally picturesque courtyard. Initially, the entire complex consisted not only of a church, but also a library and an inn!
It was thanks to the latter that the whole could hold. Unfortunately, only the temple and the library have survived to this day, the rest were destroyed during the earthquake in 1977.
Sights in Bucharest
The monuments of Bucharest are another tourist attraction that is definitely worth seeing and visiting.
One of the prettiest monuments in Bucharest is definitely the Romanian Athenaeum. Built in 1888, mostly with private donations, it is an excellent example of the neoclassical style. Currently, Ateneum is the seat of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert hall itself can accommodate over 800 people. Classical music concerts are held here, which are definitely worth a visit if we have enough time.
Inside, you can admire not only great acoustics, but also a fantastic leaf-shaped vault.
Another historic attraction in Bucharest is also the local Village Museum – Muzeul Satului. In this open-air museum, you can see over 360 buildings from different parts of Romania. Among them, residential huts, churches, windmills and farm buildings. Inside the buildings, you can admire original furniture as well as historical and ethnographic documents. All this creates a slightly idyllic image of the village, which is located in the very center of a metropolis with over 2 million inhabitants.
From time to time, there are also demonstrations of traditional crafts held in this museum. It is all located on a 14-hectare area, within the municipal park.
See on the map of Bucharest where the village museum is located:
The Royal Palace – National Museum of Art
A monument in Bucharest that is hard to miss is the Royal Palace building which is located in Revolution Square. It comes from 1815 and important offices were located here at one time. The palace has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years, and the last renovation took place in 2013.
Currently, it houses the National Museum of Art. In the middle of which you can admire over 70,000 exhibits, both works of Romanian artists and European paintings. Among them, we can mention such eminent names as Rubens, Rembrandt or Monet.
Interesting places in Bucharest
Apart from the monuments, there are many other interesting places in Bucharest, which we bring you below.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant
An interesting place on the tourist map of Bucharest is the Romanian Peasant Museum. It is a museum facility where you can see as many as 90,000 exhibits related to Romanian traditions and culture.
It is in the Romanian Peasant Museum that you will see everyday objects used in the countryside, ceramics produced in the old days and, above all, traditional folk costumes. Also pots, photographs, icons, furniture and tools from all parts of Romania.
Palace of Vlad the Impaler
Another interesting place in Bucharest is the Palace of Vlad the Impaler. The name of Vlad the Impaler is well known to all admirers of Dracula. Not only Bran Castle has the traces of one of the cruelest Romanian rulers. Curtea Veche was the first residence of Vlad the Impaler. Its ruins are now in Lipscani, which is one of the districts of Bucharest. For fans of Vlad who liked to stick his enemies’ heads on stakes, it’s a must see.
Cărturești Carusel Bookshop
One of the most photogenic and simply pretty places in Bucharest is undoubtedly the Cărturești Carusel bookstore. It is located in the Old Town and is a highly advertised place among instagramers. A few years ago, this building was in complete ruin, today, after a thorough renovation, it delights with its interior.
Normally you can buy books and various trinkets in the bookstore. However, at the top there is a cafe where it is worth taking a seat and a drink of coffee or any other drink.
What’s worth seeing in Bucharest?
What other attractions and interesting places are worth seeing while spending time in Bucharest?
One of the places worth seeing in Bucharest is Revolution Square – Piața Revoluției. A historically important point on the map of the Romanian capital. It was here that the coup overthrew the Ceaușescu dictatorship. At the Revolution Square, there is the above-mentioned Royal Palace with the National Museum of Art, the Senate and the athenaeum.
In its center there is also a monument commemorating the victims of 1989. In addition, there is also a statue of King Carol I on horseback, right in front of the University Library.
National History Museum of Romania
In Bucharest, the National Museum of Romanian History is also worth seeing. An ideal place for history lovers and people who want to delve into the history of this country. Inside, you can admire a rich archaeological exhibition, among which the most impressive is gold jewelry.
Additionally, you can always find other, thematic exhibitions, set up here temporarily.
When it comes to places where you can take a break from exploring the Romanian capital, the best of them will be the local green areas. In Bucharest, despite the large concrete buildings, there are many parks. Two of them deserve special attention.
Park Parcul Herastrau
It is the largest and oldest park in Bucharest. It is a favorite place not only of the inhabitants of the Romanian capital, but also of tourists. The entire area covers 110 hectares, with a lake in the middle. The Park Parcul Herastrau was created in the swamps, which were specially drained here.
Here you can walk, ride bicycles, do water sports, and take part in outdoor cultural events.
The second green area on the Bucharest map is located near the Old Town. Cismigiu Gardens cover an area of less than 16 hectares and, like in Parcul Herastrau, there is a lake. You can walk here or rent water equipment.
In winter, an ice rink is created on the lake. An additional attraction of these gardens is also the local aviary.
Tourist map of Bucharest attractions
On the map of tourist attractions in Bucharest below, you will find all the interesting places and monuments that are worth visiting while spending a weekend or vacation in Bucharest:
And what are your favorite attractions and monuments in Bucharest? We are waiting for your opinions in the comment section below!