Discover the old “Little Paris”: although much of the stunning architecture that earned Bucharest this moniker was destroyed by war, earthquakes, and communist urban planning, you can still catch glimpses of beautiful Neoclassical, Bauhaus, and Art Deco buildings.
Appreciate Romanian art: view classical and contemporary Romanian art at the National Museum of Art of Romania and the National Museum of Contemporary Art. There are also smaller, more specialised collections, such as the Anaid Art Gallery which houses contemporary art with a focus on fashion design.
Sample local delicacies: dine in Centru Vechi, the city’s Old Town, for authentic local cuisine. Try sarmale – stuffed cabbage rolls – filled with pork and flavoured with dill and parsley. Vegetarians should try zacuscă, a vibrant roasted vegetable spread on warm bread.
Behold the Palace of Parliament: Bucharest is home to the biggest building in Europe and the largest parliamentary building in the world. The Palace of Parliament is comprised of a staggering 1,100 rooms and covers over 3,500 m².
Go boating on a lake: there are plenty of lakes nearby, but the Herăstrău Lake north of the city is the largest and arguably the most beautiful. If you prefer to keep your feet dry, you can also hire a bike and pedal around the vast park.
Have a literary museum experience: visit the National Museum of the Romanian Literature. Housed in a rare Neo-Classical building in the city centre, it is home to a wide range of manuscripts, periodicals, and rare books, as well as furniture and personal items belonging to famous Romanian writers.
Shop like a local: active since the 18thCentury, Obor Market is one of the largest and most colourful markets in Bucharest, bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the Romanian countryside.
Visit Vlad the Impaler: just north of Bucharest is a famous small monastery on an island in the middle of Lake Snagov. Supposedly, it is the final resting place of the bloodthirsty 15th century prince who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Cycle to Mogoșoaia Palace: not one for the faint-hearted, braving the Eastern European traffic is worth it for the stunning views of this historic building. Constructed between 1589 and 1702 in the Romanian Renaissance style, it is surrounded by impressive gardens.
Explore the Romanian mountains: go hiking in the Ciucaș Mountains, which form part of the Carpathians range. The scenery is perfect for day hiking, with quiet forest, rock formations, and photo opportunities at the summit.
Bucharest is home to many tiny hidden churches, often tucked away in unusual and surprisingly small places. During communist rule, many churches were ordered to be demolished, so city planners saved some by moving or hiding them. One particularly hard to find church is hidden in an Italian restaurant’s car park.