What to do:
The Romanian Athenaeum:
Built in 1888 and still in use today, this theater is so intricately detailed you must make the time to pay it a visit! It is located about 10-15 minutes walking distance outside of Old Town, but the neighborhood it is in will give you serious French vibes. It is well worth the walk and you can grab a coffee and snack at one of the cute cafes near by.
If you aren’t interested in seeing or paying for a show here, no problem. If you are facing the structure, there is an entrance on the right side of the building that you can use to simply check out the interior architecture. Beware though- since this theater is still in use, there are current performances and practices taking place. During those times you will not be able to enter. This happened to us the first time we walked the 20 minutes from our hotel to get here. 😪 Luckily, the man working the front door told us to come back the next day at a specific time and wha-la we could enter! They may charge you a small entrance fee. He asked us for 10 LEI, which is equivalent to $2 USD, so we we weren’t that upset about it.
It doesn’t seem that many people know about the side entrance and the beauty the inside of this antique theater holds. We basically had the whole place to ourselves for about 45 minutes. Take your time, enjoy every last detail, and take all the pictures!
The infamous umbrella passage. Of course almost every major city has one, but Bucharest’s is placed along a narrow passage filled with restaurants and cafes for you to enjoy. You probably won’t spend too much time here. We just snapped some pictures and ended up getting caught in the rain! Hopefully you will have better luck.
Translated, this means ” “. Created as a form of liberation, this library is not only beautiful but it is a symbol of Romania’s break from communism. There are two locations of this beautiful library. The one pictures is located right in the center of Old Town. With the bright light, soft tones and white spiral staircases, it is arguably one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Renovated from an abandoned palace, this library is a great place to grab a coffee (top floor) and take some great pictures. There is a second location outside of old town which is renovated from an old house. It has a beautiful garden where you can relax and enjoy your morning or afternoon.
Bring a bathing suit!! Therme is unlike any traditional waterpark experience. It holds three unique rooms; the palm, the spa and the waterpark. You can choose to enter one room, two or all three based on your interests and what you feel like doing. We had been walking around day and night for 4 days so we paid for entrance to the palm and the spa. Let me tell you, the palm is like being on an island without actually leaving the city! It has real plants and palm trees through out, indoor and outdoor pools and a swim up bar. The spa has massages (for an additional fee) and a variety of steam and sauna rooms. They also have many high-end restaurant options available at the food court such as Mexican, Asian, American and even sushi! Overall, it was a great way to relax and unwind after the hustle and bustle of exploring. It is located about 25 minutes outside of Old Town so I recommend you take an Uber or Bolt to get there. It was only $12!
Where to stay:
Bucharest’s Old Town has been renovated and updated as recently as the last decade. Many of the buildings in Bucharest are old palaces or homes that have been made into restaurants or shops while keeping much of the architecture in tact. In Old Town you will find a majority of Bucharest’s entertainment such as restaurants, shops, and nightlife. While in Bucharest, choosing a hotel that is near Oldtown is sure to be the best location for your stay.
What to eat:
Simbio: If you search for this restaurant, you’ll see many pictures of burgers and salads with reviews saying they are just okay. However, this gastropub is rated one of the top 12 restaurants in Bucharest! This restaurant is a bit hidden and is actually renovated from an old house. Located about a half mile from Old Town, Simbio opens around 10 or 11am every day and this is when you need to get there if you haven’t made a reservation. It fills up fast and the breakfast is mouthwatering and divine! If the weather is nice, you can sit in the garden and order a refreshing smoothie or fresh lemonade. They offer a wide variety of breakfast items such as eggs Benedict with smoked ham and ricotta pancakes with banana. Seriously if you go to Simbio for brunch you will not be disappointed! Check out their instagram here!
Grand Cafe Van Gogh: Located in the heart of old town, Cafe Van Gogh will fill your foodie needs any time of day, but especially for breakfast! This top rated cafe has a delicious variety of breakfast and coffee selections to choose from that are just what you need to fuel you for your day of sight seeing. If you are in Bucharest on a Monday, check their event calendar, you might get lucky and have the chance to paint tour own Van Gogh! Check out their instagram here!
Biutiful Downtown: This eclectic restaurant has opened a new location in the city of Bucharest, about a half hour out of Old Town. If you are interested in seeing the original location and you are traveling to Northern Romania, you should also check out Biutiful by the Lake. Whether you visit for lunch or dinner, the ambiance of this place will make you feel ready to party. Not only does this place have amazing food and a perfect setting for pictures, they also play great music! Check out their instagram for hours and locations.
Caru Cu Bere: Here is where you will find traditional Romanian delicacies. The portions are quite large so if you want to try a variety of menu items, I recommend ordering one of many different things and sharing them with your travel buddies. Located off of a pathway in Old Town, here you will have the option to sit outside and enjoy the weather or inside and enjoy the ambiance. There is typically a musician or band playing traditional Romanian music on the piano or violin on the weekend. At Caru Cu Bere you will find a huge menu with coffee, beer or wine to get you started. Next, ask your waiter what they recommend! This is they best way to ensure you are getting a traditional Romanian dish. Trust me, you will not be disappointed! Try not to fill up too much on the appetizers or main courses because dessert could easily be your favorite part of this meal. Here is their instagram to give you an idea, but their pictures really don’t do the food justice!
The Urbanist – If you are looking for a fun place that specializes in mixology, this is it! One of the best atrium bars I have ever been in, this place will satisfy what ever thirst you have. If you are in the mood for a strong coffee or a fun cocktail, this is your place! Be sure to take a picture in the bamboo egg chair while you’re there! Here is their instagram.
Linea Closer to the Moon – I have two words for you; rooftop bar! This is the best rooftop bar in Bucharest in my opinion. It is adapted to be used year round so if you are visiting in the winter or rainy season, they will set up igloo tents with tables and chairs inside so you can still enjoy the view without having to worry about the season. The views from this rooftop during sunset are some of the best aerial scenes you will get in the city. This bar also offers light food and specialty refreshments so you can snack while you drink. There are a few other rooftop bars in Bucharest, but if you only choose one make this the one! Here is their instagram so you can see some sunset pictures.
When to visit:
Bucharest has very severe summers and winters. Due to this, the best months to travel are in May and September. We were lucky enough to see Bucharest at the end of May and although we had one rainy day, the rest of the days were beautiful and ideal for walking around all day comfortably.
Take a food tour:
We usually do not take tours when we travel and after this food and street sights tour, I’m kicking myself for not taking advantage of this in other countries as well. We booked a private tour through ” ” and were fortunate enough to have the most amazing and knowledgeable tour guide. She was our age, funny, and not only did she show us all the best Romanian food Bucharest had to offer, she also introduced us the best bars and restaurants in Bucharest.
We began the tour at the beautiful restaurant “” where we sat outdoors and were treated to some ginger, mint and honey lemonade. Here our tour guide Emma taught us some basic Romanian and began telling us the history of the city. We were amazed at the size of the plates and dishes that were served here! We were given three traditional Romanian spreads “” “” “” which we put on the fresh baked bread the restaurant provided for us. We were also given a traditional meat and cheese plate and a fresh salad. As our last dish, we were given “”. A hearty dish consisting of cornmeal and cheese. Our tour guide informed us that Romania is a farming country so this high carb dish was created to keep the farm workers full during their working hours. We couldn’t believe this was only the first stop on our tour. We were already so full!
On the way to our next stop, “” Emma walked us around town and showed us some creative street art and explained how it impacts Bucharest and it’s citizens. Our next stop was a beautiful meat and cheese shop where we were treated to meat balls and “”, another traditional Romanian dish.
As we continued our tour, we moved onto the sweets as Emma told us more about the history of Bucharest and Romania and walked us down many influential streets and past famous buildings. She took us too a small “” which she picked some cheese danishes and sweet cookies for us to enjoy.
Our last stop was a French eclair bakery, “”. Located next to the Atheneum, this bakery is a direct reflection of the French influence you will see throughout Bucharest.
Emma is self-employed and will create a tour just for you, based on your interests. Visit her instagram and message her about a booking a tour!