Our hand-picked guide to some of the best things to do in Bucharest is designed to help you have an incredible time in this awesome city.
Bucharest is often overlooked when touring Europe. However, the capital city of Romania has a lot to offer tourists being both affordable and filled with history and culture.
We spent three weeks exploring Romania in 2017 and have been back to the capital of Bucharest a number of times since then.
While it’s fair to say that Bucharest isn’t going to win any awards for beauty or style, the Romanian capital still surprises many first-time visitors with its cosmopolitan vibe and energy.
Table of Contents
- 1. The Village Museum – Muzeul Satului
- 2. Bucharest Free Walking Tour
- 3. Herastrau Park
- 4. The National Museum Of Art
- 5. The National History Museum Of Romania
- 6. The National Military Circle
- 7. Bucharest Parliament Building
- 8. Lipscani Old Town
- 9. Bucharest Markets Tour
- 10. Sighet Memorial Exhibition
- 11. Unirii Square Fountain Show
- 12. Romanian Athenaeum
- 13. Romanian Peasant Museum
- 14. Stavropoleos Church
- 15. Cismigiu Gardens
- 16. Botanical Gardens
- 17. Arcul de Triumf
- 18. Manuc’s Inn
- 19. Revolution Square
- 20. Carturesti Carusel
- 21. Piata Amzei
- 22. Kitsch Museum
1. The Village Museum – Muzeul Satului
Located just next to Herastrau Park, the Village Museum is easy to get to by public transport, on a bike or in a taxi.
The museum is host to many beautiful and intriguing wooden huts and houses from over the centuries, each having its own unique flare. The houses don’t just differ from century to century but from region to region within Romania. Some of the huts at Muzeul Satului are open for you to look inside at the interior and decor.
The museum is open from 9am until 5pm daily, and costs just 15 Leu for an adult ticket (discounts are available for students and seniors).
The vast majority of this museum is outdoors, so it’s great during the summer months but not so great in winter. There’s also an affordable cafe on-site which is perfect for lunch or simply a drink and/or snack.
2. Bucharest Free Walking Tour
There are two free walking tours of Bucharest city, that cover the major sights while providing an in-depth history to the city and country as a whole. The first walking tour is run by Walkabout and the second by BTrip.
Both tours stop at a number of the same sights and cover roughly the same content just in a slightly different format. The only difference between which tour is right for you is likely to be the days and times in which the tours run.
3. Herastrau Park
Number one on the list of things to do in Bucharest (according to TripAdvisor at least) is Herastrau Park. This 200-hectare park includes a number of children play areas, coffee shops, a skate park and even a giant lake.
The easiest way to get to Herastrau Park is by heading on the metro to Aviatorilor station which is just a short walk from one of the nearby entrances.
4. The National Museum Of Art
Hosted inside one of the cities most grand buildings is The National Museum of Art. The museum currently plays host to two exhibitions; European Art and Romanian Modern Art.
I’m no art contour so we decided to only visit the European Art exhibition which features works by Rubens, Rembrandt and Monet. Adult tickets are 10 Leu per exhibition with discounts are available for students, children and seniors.
5. The National History Museum Of Romania
If you’re going to visit any museum during your time in Bucharest, make it The National History Museum Of Romania. Open from 10am until 6pm Wednesday through to Sunday the museum has a vast array of Romanian artefacts set over two floors.
Located in Calea Victoriei, in the centre of Bucharest entry is just 20 Leu for adults and 2.50 Leu for students which makes this an affordable and educational experience in the city.
6. The National Military Circle
One of the key benefits of staying in a hostel (above the cheap room rates) is the recommendations from other guests about the things to do in the city.
An that’s exactly how we found out that you could have lunch at the National Military Circle. Where a two-course lunch from a set menu is just 19 Leu and comes complete with a number of side dishes.
Located on Constantin Mile, the National Military Circle was designed by architect Dimitrie Maimarolu using French neoclassical style and built-in 1911. Having lunch here is affordable, and a fantastic way to catch a glimpse inside one of the most important buildings in the city.
7. Bucharest Parliament Building
Bucharest’s Parliamentary Building is the largest administrative building in the world. Commissioned under the communist reign in 1983, the building didn’t open until 1997 and has more than 1,100 rooms.
There are a number of different tours you can take of the Parliament Building that start from just 40 Leu per person.
8. Lipscani Old Town
A trip to Bucharest isn’t complete without a stroll along the streets of the Old Town. Alongside historic buildings such as Curtea Veche the court of Vlad the Impaler you’ll find a number of local shops selling wines, jewellery and traditional dishes.
Pro Tip: If you’re a lover of wine then be sure to book on to this tour of the Old Town which includes a stop in a winery where you’ll be served three wines accompanied by cheese and given the opportunity to learn more about the importance of wine in Romanian culture.
Come back after the sun has gone down to see these small streets transform into the party capital of the city with bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants.
9. Bucharest Markets Tour
Explore the historical, architectural, and culinary delights of Bucharest on this incredible market tour that sees you visit many of the cities vibrant neighbourhoods.
The tour includes a tram ride through the city, as well as the chance to taste traditional Romanian food such as mici, the local street snack.
10. Sighet Memorial Exhibition
Despite the importance of the cities communism which lasted 40 years, there’s no dedicated museum to it in the city of Bucharest.
Instead, this free exhibition focuses on telling the stories of those who experienced the crimes and is open daily from 10am until 6pm.
11. Unirii Square Fountain Show
Having undergone a major redesign in 2018, the Bucharest Fountains in Unirii Square have become increasingly popular with tourists and locals alike.
The award winning fountain show takes place every weekend (from Friday through until Sunday) and starts at 8pm.
12. Romanian Athenaeum
The Romanian Athenaeum is both a concert hall and a major landmark within Bucharest city.
Having opened in 1888 the incredibly ornate circular building is the city’s main concert hall and home of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic and the George Enescu annual international music festival.
For just 10 Leu per person, you can go on a 30 minute organised tour of the Athenaeum which takes place multiple times a day.
13. Romanian Peasant Museum
Founded in 1906, The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant boasts a 100,000 piece collection of textiles, icons, ceramics, and other artefacts of Romanian peasant life.
The museum is open from Tuesday through until Sunday from 10am until 6pm. Tickets cost just 8 Leu for adults and 4 Leu for children.
14. Stavropoleos Church
If you’ve a particular interest in religious buildings then a trip to Stavropoleos Church should definitely be on your list of things to do in Bucharest. Formerly Stavropoleos Monastery, Stavropoleos Church is one of the most famous and popular churches in Bucharest.
Pro Tip: This three-hour walking tour is perfect for those looking to learn more about the importance of religion within Romanian culture.
Built in a Brâncovenesc style the church is over 300 years old and hosts a collection of rare icons, iconoclastic objects and old history and religious books.
15. Cismigiu Gardens
Located just a 10-minute walk from the famous Memorial of Rebirth is the English-style Cismigiu Gardens. Here you’ll find a vast array of trees and plants brought from the Romanian mountains alongside imported exotic plants from the botanical gardens in Vienna.
If you’re visiting in the summer months between May and September then be sure to rent a paddleboat. This provides you with a fantastic opportunity to get closer to the wildlife that inhabits the 16 hectares which make up these award-winning gardens in the heart of the city.
16. Botanical Gardens
Founded in 1860 and covering more than 17 hectares a trip to the botanical gardens is one of the best things to do in Bucharest in summer.
Located within the Cotroceni neighbourhood of the city the gardens are home to more than 10,000 species of plants the vast majority of which are kept inside industrial-sized greenhouses.
17. Arcul de Triumf
Bucharest has long been known as the Paris of the East and nothing symbolises this more than the Arcul de Triumf which happens to look exactly like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Situated on Kiseleff Road in the north of the city the Arcul de Triumf was built in 1922 to commemorate the Romanians who died in WWI.
Originally built from wood so that victorious troops could march under it as Romania gained its independence the arch was later rebuilt in Deva granite.
18. Manuc’s Inn
Situated in the old town of Bucharest is the oldest hotel in the city, Manuc’s Inn. Built in 1808 by an Armenian lord, the inn was designed to be a beacon of light to those in need of shelter in troublesome times.
Today, Manuc’s Inn is home to a hotel, restaurant, several bars and a coffee-house all of which are popular with tourists and locals alike.
19. Revolution Square
No trip to Bucharest is complete without a visit to Revolution Square. Located on Calea Victoriei the square was known as Piața Palatului until it became the starting point for the Romanian Revolution 1989 upon which it was renamed.
The square is home to a number of Bucharest’s finest museums (many of which are on this list) alongside a number of statues and memorials including the Monument of Rebirth.
20. Carturesti Carusel
This restored 19th-century bookstore in the heart of Bucharest old town quickly became famous on Instagram for its white spiral staircases and endless shelves of books.
Be sure to stop at the Bistro on the 2nd floor for lunch where you’ll find a variety of vegetarian meals.
21. Piata Amzei
Piata Amzei often simply referred to as Amzei Market is one of the oldest attractions in Bucharest and one of a number of markets in the heart of the city.
Pro Tip: If you love to experience markets around the world then be sure to book onto this five and a half hour tour which includes a stop at a number of markets in the neighbourhoods of the city.
At this daily market you’ll find a variety of traditional foods and beverages alongside Romanian clothes and furnishings.
22. Kitsch Museum
Last but not least on our list of things to do in Bucharest is a trip to the Kitsch Museum. The museum opened in 2017 and is divided into eight categories with one entirely dedicated to Count Dracula – a fictional upon which Romania is famous for.
This award winning museum is open daily from 12 midday until 8pm, and tickets cost 30 Leu per person.