When last May the organizers of #ExperienceBucharest invited me to the Romanian capital, Bucharest had never been on my radar to be honest. But as I love to discover off-the-beaten-path destinations, I said “Sure”! Months later, I’m so glad I did, as visiting Bucharest was a wonderful experience. These are the 11 reasons why you need to visit the city as soon as possible + a list of things to do in Bucharest.
1| Bucharest Is Super Instagrammable
If you’ve been following me on Instagram lately (and if you haven’t, you should!), you might have realized that I’ve grown a liiittle bit obsessed with it, so it was great to realize that Bucharest is full of little charming corners where you can take great shots. My favourite? This street with hanging umbrellas! The address is …
For inspiration for your next IG photo, discover the best Instagram spots in Bucharest. My favourite? This street with hanging umbrellas! The address is Pasajul Victoriei – Calea Victoriei.
2| Romanians Know How To Party
Oh, they do, you gotta trust me for this one. I came to Bucharest knowing nothing about the city’s nightlife, and I left with amazing memories of crazy night and needing a liver transplant. Actually, delete that, not that many memories 😀 Screw Berlin, Barcelona, or Amsterdam. If you want to have the time of your life, head to Bucharest!
Coming up soon a Bucharest nightlife guide, so stay tuned for that one!
3| You Can Learn About Bucharest’s Past Guided by a Homeless Guide
I’ve toured London with an ex-homeless guide before, and I absolutely loved it, so when I found out that there was a chance to do something similar in Bucharest, I jumped at the opportunity. Sometimes it’s easy when traveling, especially on organized/sponsored trips, to see just the bright side of a country, the most beautiful spots, and to forget that there’s a whole other city hidden to the view.
I had the absolute pleasure of listening the stories told by Sergiu, a young man who used to be a homeless teenager and a drug-addict, and who was able to revolve his life around and get back on his feet no matter how hard was life to him. Mind you, they are strong stories. The tour wasn’t a fun one, but that is really not the point. It’s so important to understand , and not stopping at what you just see. This tour is an occasion to dig in, to learn more about the history of the country and of the city, and to leave with watery eyes, and a deep feeling of thankfulness for what we have. I can’t recommend it enough.
The Outcast tour is organized by Urban Adventures, and the $50.55 fee supports a local NGO that secures employment for Romanians living on the streets. In fact, all net proceeds go directly to the Parada Foundation, so taking this tour is a great way to give back to the community.
4| It’s Still an Off-the-Beaten Path Destination
Most of the tourists that come to Romania head directly to Transylvania. Big, BIG mistake, if you ask me. In fact, I haven’t been to Transylvania (yet!) but I’m certain I will go back to Bucharest some time soon. Because it’s such an easy city to like, and there aren’t the typical crowds you find in other European capital cities which make it a nightmare to visit the major attractions. Also, since the city doesn’t specifically cater to tourists, the vibe is much more authentic.
5| Your Dollars (or Euros) Go A Long Way Here
Romania uses Romanian Leu (Ron) as currency. At the time of writing, $1 equals Ron 3,88 and €1 equals Ron 4,56. Considering that a full meal with 3 courses in a mid-range restaurant (with wine!) will cost you no more than $15-20, and that you can easily have lunch at a bakery for the equivalent of $3, a trip to Bucharest can easily be done even if you’re on a tight budget.
Accommodation is also cheap: one night in a dorm at the awesome Podstel Bucharest (truly recommended as the owners are amazing!) start at $15.
6| It’s a Foodie Destination
I never had thought of Bucharest, and Romania in general, as a foodie destination, but once again, I was wrong. Oh so wrong! From tasty and colored tapas at hipster cafès, to full meals with juicy meat and lots of wine to go with it, I had some incredible meals in Romania.
My friend Nathan of Foodie Flashpacker wrote this guide to Bucharest’s best restaurants after a month spent in the city trying out as many restaurants as he could… I know, hard job, but someone’s gotta do it!
7| Therme or Beach? You Can Have Both
Do I even need to explain this one? Any city who has a beach AND a big spa is already my favourite. Therme Bucharest was only inaugurated in 2016, yet it’s on almost every list of things to do in Bucharest. It isn’t hard to understand why! With ,this is the biggest wellness and spa complex in Romania and makes for the perfect relaxing afternoon or night.
But there’s more: starting from last June, the complex also features the Sands of Therme Beach, which is the largest urban beach in all of Europe. So if you can’t get to the seaside, you can still enjoy the sun, the sand, and the palm trees with a cocktail.
Therme Bucharest ( ) can be easily reached by taxi or by shuttle (it’s free) from Piata Romana.
8| Hipstery Cafès… and a Cat Cafè!
As a digital nomad who lives off her laptop, I probably give more importance to coffee shops than a regular person does. But don’t you love spending time with a cup of good coffee and a friend or a book when the cafè has a quirky decor? I am totally in love with hipster cafès, so this was another good surprise about Bucharest… Bucharest, can you stop being so amazing? Here it’s a Bucharest guide for the coffee lovers.
My favorite was the cafè at the upper floor of Carturesti Carusel (Strada Lipscani 55), one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever seen.
Also, one more thing. Bucharest has a cat cafè! If a city has a cat cafè, what are we talking about? Pack your bags and go! Read more about Bucharest cat cafè.
9| The Locals Are Super Friendly
I’ll be honest. This is on this list because I wasn’t really expecting it. Previous experiences with other neighboring countries, prejudices… but I was wrong, oh so wrong. Since the moment I landed in Bucharest, everyone was marvelous and very helpful.
During the event, I was also able to speak with quite a few local bloggers and business owners who were volunteering their free time in order for us have a great experience and fall in love with Bucharest. So crazy that all these wonderful people are proud of their city and wanted us to like it too (which – if it wasn’t clear – we absolutely did!).
From this to the night where my friend Inma and I started chatting with our taxi driver and in the end he refused to take our money cause he’s had a good time (where does that ever happen??), I will say that the people in Bucharest are one of the things that make this city special.
10| You Can Climb Abandoned Buildings
If you like to explore the edgy side of a city and you don’t mind the dust and a bit of adventure, then you should definitely take the Beautiful Decay tour by Interesting Times Bureau.
In one morning we toured an abandoned building, the Architecture University, and other interesting buildings. It’s quite fascinating if you are into street art, architecture, and the underground culture!
11| It’s Called The Paris of theEast
In Bucharest you’ll find massive buildings (the Palace of Parliament is the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative!) , luxurious interiors, and a very elegant architecture. Strolling through the streets of the Old Town is so nice!
WHAT TO WEAR IN BUCHAREST
Bucharest is urban and trendy, with high heels almost mandatory if you plan on clubbing! During the day, brighten up a simple outfit made of black skinny jeans and a black leather jacket with a few colored accessories.
Thank you so much to everyone part of the #ExperienceBucharest team for hosting me, helping me discover a new favorite place, and just for generally being a wonderful group of people.
They are so awesome that they are organizing a second edition, and the good news is, you can join too! Click here for more info.