*'''Geology Museum''' –has a large collection of minerals, rocks and fossils.''Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 2''
*'''Geology Museum''' –has a large collection of minerals, rocks and fossils.''Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 2''
*'''“Dimitrie Leonida” Technology Museum''' –is set to be relocated in a wing of the [[Parliament Palace]]
*'''“Dimitrie Leonida” Technology Museum''' –is set to be relocated in a wing of the [[Palace ]]
*'''Aviation Museum''' –open-air display of various types of aircraft.''Otopeni airport''
*'''Aviation Museum''' –open-air display of various types of aircraft.''Otopeni airport''
Revision as of 09:42, 31 January 2013
Light show on the Palace of Parliament
Bucharest (Romanian: Bucureşti) is Romania's capital and largest city, as well as the most important industrial and commercial center of the country. With 2 million inhabitants in the city proper and more than 2.4 million in the urban area, Bucharest is one of the largest cities in Southeastern Europe.
Bucharest is the primary entry point into Romania. Bucharest is a booming city with many large infrastructure projects changing the old face of the city. Known in the past as "The Little Paris," Bucharest has changed a lot lately, and today it has become a very interesting mix of old and new that has little to do with its initial reputation. Finding a 300 year old church near a steel-and-glass building that both sit next to a communist style building is commonplace in Bucharest. Bucharest offers some excellent attractions, and has, in recent years, cultivated a sophisticated, trendy, and modern sensibility that many have come to expect from a European capital. Bucharest has been undergoing major modernization programs in recent years and is still going to continue with these projects in the years to come. Those who knew Bucharest in the past but have not visited it after 2010 will be surprised by the scale of the changes that are taking place. The center of the city is being completely revamped, and there is a major project in every part of the city. Bucharest has benefited from an economic boom along with the EU grants that have helped rebuild parts of the city. Ambitious projects are quite common in Bucharest. The largest project finished at this time is the impressive Basarab bridge, which is Europe's widest cable-stayed bridge.
The official language is Romanian, a Romance language which claims to be the closest currently-spoken relative to Ancient Latin, but contains around 20% of loan words from Slavonic languages. Most younger educated people will speak English reasonably well and will likely be proficient in one or more second Romance languages; most educated people born before about 1970 will speak French, Spanish or Italian reasonably well. The Roma people speak their native Romany, as well as Romanian, and sometimes English as well. Beyond that, as in any major city, there will be a smattering of other languages like Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Hungarian.
Bucharest, like most of Romania, has a temperate-continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. This region of Romania gets all four seasons, although spring is brief and falls mainly in April. The average high daily temperature in summer is about 29ºC and in winter about 2ºC. It can get really hot and dry during the summer (40ºC) and really cold during the winter (-20ºC), even though temperatures below -12ºC are extremely rare. Best time to visit is April through June, September through October and early December.
Bucharest is in the Eastern European time zone (UTC+2, with a DST of UTC+3 from April to October).
Connections and airports
Bucharest has reasonable connections with most European capitals and with the largest cities in Romania, but it can be difficult to find a direct flight to Bucharest from outside of Europe or the Middle East.
The city is also reached by a large number of low-costs flights, mainly from destinations in Italy and Spain as well as from some major cities in Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, Hungary, Turkey, Austria etc.
All scheduled flights, including those operated by low cost airlines, land at Henri Coandă International Airport (IATA: OTP) , located in Otopeni, 18 km north of downtown. Henri Coanda airport is often referred to as Otopeni on airline bookings, because of its location . The airport, built in 1968, underwent a massive modernization effort since the late 90's and is set to be further enlarged. It is the main hub for the Romanian flag carrier Tarom . All concessions inside the airport (shops, cafes, restaurants) are extremely expensive (everything is about twice more expensive than in the city). Avoid exchanging money in the airport, exchange rates are 20-25% worse than what you would find in the city - you are advised to use a credit card at an ATM in the lobby for immediate needs and exchange money downtown. There is a supermarket on the bottom floor (domestic departure) which is a reasonable place to get a snack and/or spend your last few Lei on departure.
The smaller Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (IATA: BBU)  was used for commercial flights as early as the 1920s and became a low cost hub in its final years. From March 25th 2012 it is no longer used by passenger airlines. It's located inside the city, in Băneasa, about 4-6 km to the city center and is set to become a sort of business airport.
Transport to the city
There are several options to get from Henri Coandă airport to Bucharest:
Express bus 783 goes from the airport to downtown Bucharest. It runs approximately every 20 minutes, daily, including weekends and holidays (every 40 minutes during the night). Timetable for departures from Henri Coandă Airport to the city center is available here: 
Expect the trip with bus 783 to be about 40 minutes long (from Piaţa Unirii to the airport) or even longer during rush hour traffic.
Express bus 780 links the airport with the main train station, Bucuresti Nord (Gara de Nord). It runs approximately every 40 minutes, daily (including weekends and holidays) from 5.30AM to 11PM.
When taking the 780 bus from Gara de Nord train station to Otopeni airport, note carefully that Gara de Nord is not the end of the bus route, hence, the 780 buses that pass Gara de Nord actually run in two directions. Therefore, at Gara de Nord, to catch the 780 that takes you to Otopeni airport, you need to catch it from the 780 bus-stop that requires crossing a road, i.e. not the 780 bus stop that is directly outside the Nord station. Best to ask locals where the correct bus stop is.
Lowest price option for any of these express buses is 8.6 lei (two rides uploaded on a Multiplu card).
Cards can only be purchased from the booth in front of either the Arrivals or Departures terminals (respectively on the return trip from ticket booths in stations along their route), they can't be bought from the driver. As of April 2012, there is a ticket machine in front of the Arrivals terminal in service 24 hours a day. Remember to always validate your ticket on boarding the bus, these two bus lines are a prime target for ticket inspectors. The bus is far superior to the train in terms of both time and cost.
The Henri Coandă Expres is a combined transfer service by minibus then train to Bucuresti Nord station. It temporarily resumed service in late March 2012.
Tickets can be bought inside the airport at CFR ticket counter; price is 8.1 lei. The trip starts with a transfer by shuttle bus to a small train stop two km away from the airport, followed by a 30 minutes train to Gara de Nord. The shuttle bus transfer IS INCLUDED in the train ticket . The total duration of the trip from airport to the Gara de Nord is approximately 50 minutes. From Gara de Nord you can take public transport (metro and buses) or you can depart by train towards other cities in Romania. The service runs approximately once every hour between 5.15AM and 8.20PM. Timetable for Henri Coandă Express is available here: 
Be extremely careful when taking a taxi from the airport to the center, and avoid it if possible. Even official taxi drivers will likely try and extort some extra money out of you if you don't speak the language and seem clueless enough. Taxi scams are one of the most common crimes in Bucharest, so think twice before delivering yourself to the mercy of an unknown driver. Common tricks are:
You get offered a ride for 20 lei, cheaper than a normal taxi. Once driving, it's suddenly 20 lei per kilometer.
You are driven to a remote forsaken place and have to pay up if you want to be driven to your destination.
You are promised a ride for 50 lei, which sounds pretty normal, but then 'taxes' for another 50 lei are added, and if you want a receipt it's suddenly another 50 lei.
The second before setting off, another man jumps in the car, and together with the driver, threatens you out of your money one way or another.
Should you end up in a situation like this, where the car is driving and the doors are locked and your luggage is in the trunk, then the only way out is to buy your way out through bargaining and lots of yelling back and forth. When lucky you might be able to settle for 120 lei with the driver, but 200 lei or more is not unheard of, especially when you end up having to pay a 'personal escort' of multiple people.
The safest way to get a taxi with the normal rate (1.39 lei/km) is to go to the Departures entrance and grab a taxi right as it's dropping off someone. Check nonetheless the rate before getting in (it should be written on the taxi's doors) and also check that the meter is turned on. With a normal-rate taxi the ride to the city center should cost about 30-40 lei.
The taxis waiting at Arrivals exit are rip offs, it's best to avoid them: they charge the maximal possible rate (3.5 lei/km), most of them have rigged taximeters and still often refuse to use them, preferring to negotiate even higher prices. A trip to downtown with them costs at least 60-70 lei and may go up to €30-40 at night. Remember that for €30 you can get anywhere in the country by bus or train, so think twice before you decide to pay a taxi driver the same for a drive of less than 20 km.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES accept the offer of the people near arrivals terminal who ask you if you want a taxi or offer to carry your luggage.
Buses are a good option to get to Bucharest if coming from Moldova, Turkey, Greece and to some extent Bulgaria, given the low frequency and speeds of trains between these countries and Romania.
If you're willing to make extremely long bus rides it's also possible to get to Bucharest from a large number of cities in Western and South-Western Europe; these lines are operated by Eurolines and their local affiliate Atlassib.
The city has several bus terminals: Băneasa (located in the northern part of town), Obor (east), Filaret (south), Rahova (south-west), Militari (west), Griviţa (north-west) as well as many other smaller stations.
Buses and minibuses from Chişinău (seven-eight buses every day, about 10 hours travel time, tickets around €15) arrive mostly at Filaret bus station (linked to downtown by tramway 7 and bus 232);
Buses from Istanbul (three-four buses per day, 12-14 hours travel time, tickets around €45) arrive at multiple stations along Viilor road (linked to downtown by tramway 32 from the northern end and tramway 7 from the southern end);
The only daily bus from Sofia (7 hours travel time, €18) stops near Tineretului subway station (one station away from city center);
Buses from Varna (one or two buses daily only between late May-early September, 5-6 hours travel time, tickets around €30) usually stop in various squares in downtown;
Buses from Athens (several times per week, 16-20 hours travel time, tickets around €60) arrive at stations along Viilor road;
Transfer buses for routes from Western Europe usually arrive at Rahova bus station (tramway 32 links it with the city center);
Bucharest also has bus connections to a vast number of cities in Romania. They're a convenient choice primarily when coming from places from which railways are under repair (like Constanţa and the Black Sea resorts) or too indirect (like Sibiu).
Timetables for most domestic routes and several international ones are available on .
All international trains and most long distance internal trains arrive at Gara de Nord (Northern) station, located quite near of the city center, to which it is linked by subway and several buses, trolley, and tramway lines.
Some trains to and from the Black Sea Coast use either Gara de Est-Obor (Eastern) station, or Băneasa station, as well as the main Gara de Nord station (most of the trains). Currently the route between Bucharest and Constanţa, the main city in the Black Sea area, has been modernised and the trip duration was lowered to 2:30 hours on direct trains. Following further modernisation expected to finish in 2012 the duration is expected to get to 2:10-2:15 hours.
The other three smaller stations (Basarab, Progresul and Republica) are used exclusively for local and regional trains.
The timetables for domestic routes are available here: .
Do not use any exchange services around the train station: they offer about 30-50 percent below the actual exchange rate--use an ATM instead or walk a few blocks to get a much better rate, then take the subway system, which is reasonably priced (~1 euro for 2 uses, as of January 2013) and has clearly marked maps and schedules.
Watch out for the shady private taxi services and avoid taking taxis near the stations as they are often rogue operators who may take advantage of less prudent tourists. You should know that near the stations all of them will try to cheat you and you will have to be both vigilant and lucky to avoid being ripped off. Always look to see if the cab driver starts the meter and alert him by saying "aparatul" (ah-pah-RA-tool) while pointing at the meter. There will be drivers offering rides - be extremely wary. It is recommended to ride only with drivers who use the meter and have the general tariff (currently 1,39 lei/km, January 2013). The tariff is written on the front doors of the car. Never accept bargains and other offers, they are usually more than double than the route is worth.
The city’s entrances from the north (the E60 road coming from Braşov), west (the A1 highway from Piteşti), east (the A2 (Sun) highway from Constanţa), south (the E20 road from Giurgiu) and the avenues in the city center are very crowded, especially at rush hours. Inside the city there are few parking spaces and some of the secondary streets are in bad condition.
Bucharest has one of the most extensive systems of public transport in Europe, even though it can sometimes be confusing and crowded.
Bucharest Metro map
The metro, which has four lines (M1, M2, M3, M4) and covers the city quite extensively, is usually a cheap (4 lei for 2 trips, 15 lei for 10 trips and 60 lei for a monthly pass) and easy way to get around even though there are surprisingly few stops in the city center, since the system was originally built to transport workers and commuters from outlying neighborhoods through the city to peripheral industrial areas. If you're staying outside the city center, or even if you want to travel within it, the Metro can be a very fast and convenient way of traveling to your destination, avoiding the traffic jams and crowds that frequently characterize surface transport.
The network is arguably frequent and fairly comfortable, reliable and easy-to-use. Surprisingly for some, it is by far the safest way to travel through the city. Since 2002, Bucharest Metro has embarked on a comprehensive modernization plan, including the replacement of old train-sets with state-of-the-art Bombardier Transportation trains and the renovation of stations and tracks in collaboration with Alstom.
Line M1 starts in the eastern part of the city and then goes through the downtown on a circular route, passing by the main train station Gara de Nord and meeting up with the M2 line (which runs north-south) at Piaţa Unirii and Piaţa Victoriei stations. Line M3 links the western and eastern parts of the city. The central section on the M3 between Eroilor - Nicolae Grigorescu is shared with M1 and trains from both lines run in tandem having the terminus displayed at the front of the cab. Line M4 is a short shuttle line starting from Gara de Nord 2 going to Parc Bazilescu in Bucureştii Noi neighborhood (as of 2011). Even though Gara de Nord and Gara de Nord 2 are in close proximity, transferring between the two is taxed as a separate trip. The only platform to platform link between M4 and M1 is at Basarab station. M4 line is planned to eventually link the city with its airports.
Maps of the subway can be found on the Metrorex official site .
Buses, trams and trolleybuses
A bus on line 131
Bucharest has a very complex network of buses, trams and trolleybuses which is, at first glance, fairly confusing to the tourist. This is not because of any inconsistencies within the network, but rather due to the intricate web of hundreds of bus, tram and trolleybus routes found in the city. Once you know your way around the network, however, public surface transport can be a very good way of getting around since there is a bus, tram or trolleybus stop virtually everywhere in this city. The vehicles are usually very frequent, although they can also get terribly crowded at peak hours.
Make sure you know the stop you're getting off at - even though in most trolleybuses and in some modern buses and trams, following stops are announced automatically and displayed on a screen inside the vehicle. However, these displays tend to be not very reliable, pointing to either a wrong stop or not working at all. In addition, the older buses (most commonly found outside the core center) do not have any displays or announcements. If you are uncertain if a stop is the one you want, you can always ask your fellow travelers.
A trolleybus on line 62
The ticketing system uses contact-less smart-cards, called Activ cards . Once bought (you will need some ID to do that) the cards can be loaded with various ticketing options, including some that allow usage on both the subway and surface networks. To validate the card after entering a vehicle (or subway station) hold it still in front of the validating device (an orange box with a small LCD screen) until you hear a short beep (The LCD display will show "Calatorie Placuta" = Have a nice trip). If you hear a long beep followed by the message "Repetati validarea la acelasi validator" = "Repeat the validation on the same machine" or any other message, please validate the card again. It is very common in this system to give errors very often, so it recommendable to be sure that you have paid for your trip. If you want to be sure that you have paid, press the button 1 and hold the card near the validator, it will mention the amount left and for how many passengers it was validated. To validate it for more than one passanger (this is available only for electronic wallet not for daily/weekly/monthly pass), you have to press the button no. 2 and hold the card near the validator. For any other additional traveler you have to press 2 again and receive the message "Calatorie Placuta" for each passenger. The paper tickets valid for one ride on one route are not any more available (they were removed starting with May 2011). Be warned that you cannot buy tickets/cards in the vehicles and if caught by an inspector (controlor) you could be fined with 50 lei. Some buses still use the old system of paper ticket, essentially a strip of paper that needs to be validated inside the bus. Be sure to validate your ticket, as enforcers can be very strict, even to visitors unfamiliar with the system. A ticket is valid only on the bus/tram/trolley where it was validated. If you change the bus/tram/troley, you have to validate again the card. Also, the ticket is valid only for one trip with the transport vehicle from one end to the other. However, in Bucharest most of the busses and troleys will have one end (usually in dowtown, where is no space for creating proper "end of the line" stops) without any distinct stop, so you will not be aware that you have to validate again, being liable to receive a fine.
For this reason, is better to buy a daily (8 RON = 1.8 Euro) or weekly pass (17 RON = 4 Euro) for your trips in Bucharest, because the pass will not require any validation. The prices are very small compared with the travel options available (busses, night busses, trams and trolleys), so the pass will help you to have a trip without any headaches.
Starting with July 2011, the night buses are also available. They will run between 23:00 to 01:00, every 30 minutes, 1 to 5:00, every 1 hour and 5:00 to 6:00, every 30 minutes. The lines can be seen here  and the map here 
Car rental in the Pache Protopopescu Street or Europcar are all at the city and airport. Other local rentals also throughout the city. The average price for a day rental is about €20 for the cheapest car. Car Rental companies: Promotor Rent a Car Bucharest, RentNGO.
There are a lot of taxi companies in Bucharest and you'll easily find a cab here. But be aware! Don't take any independent cab drivers, but use only the services of big taxi companies. Cars from these companies have the rates displayed on the door. Each door used to contain an initial "sitting" fee (between 1.6 to 3 lei), a per km fee (1.4 to 3.6 lei) and per hour fee. However, taxis now display a single number which is both the initial "sitting fee" and the per km fee. The per hour fee is not listed, but should be around ten times the per km fee. Independent have significantly higher fees (up to ten times the average!) If a taxi does not display these prices on the door it is best not to take it and find another, as you'll probably be charged a rate five to ten times higher than usual. Also, it should be noted that some taxis now have a low "nighttime rate" listed in a large font with an expensive daytime rate listed in a small font. So, read carefully and remember that noapte means night. And you should insist the driver starts the meter, and pay the sum displayed on it. If you are traveling outside the city limits (say to or from the airport) prices per km and per hour are often doubled, or an extra 10-15 lei is added to the fare. Be wary of taking taxis from places where a lot of tourists pass through, especially from Gara de Nord. Many of these taxis may be operated by con men. Tourists being asked to pay large sums to recover their luggage from the trunk or even muggings after taxi rides are not unheard of.
Parliament Palace - In the center of Bucharest, near Piaţa Unirii (Union Plazza), the tourist can see the world's second largest building (after the US Pentagon), formerly named "Casa Poporului" (People's House). The building, which was built in 1984 by Nicolae Ceauşescu, spans 12 stories, 3100 rooms and covers over 330,000 sq m. 1/9 of Bucharest was reconstructed to accommodate this magnificent massive building and its surroundings. There are 30-45 minute tours every half hour which lead through the building's vast collection of marble rooms and culminates in an impressive view from Nicolae Ceauşescu's balcony. The marble and all the original decorations are 100% from Romania. There are different Tours ranging in price from 25 RON (15 RON for students, proof required) up to 43 RON. The basic tour includes the halls and the balcony, worthwhile is the terrace addition for the wonderful view from the top of the building. The basement addition on the other hand is not worth the money. They only show two rooms containing airducts, no additional facts and it lasts only 5 minutes! The tourist entrance is on the north side of the building.
A street in the old quarter
Old center - A part of the city's historical heart was not demolished by Nicolae Ceauşescu. The area (stretching approximatively between the Dâmboviţa river to the south, Calea Victoriei to the west, Calea Moşilor to the east and Regina Elisabeta boulevard to the north) today contains an assortment of middle 19th century buildings, ruins of the Wallachian princes' medieval court, churches, bank headquarters, a few hotels, clubs, restaurants and shops. Narrow cobblestoned streets retain the names of the ancient guilds that resided on them. The area was mostly renovated and is now a place of gathering for the young generation of the city.
Revolution Square (Piaţa Revoluţiei) - Site of part of the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Centrally located, it is not a long walk from the other squares, Gara de Nord, or the Parliament Palace. There is a tall monument in the center of the square in memory of those who died during the revolution.
The Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf). - Situated in the norhern part of the city, close to Herăstrău Park. The current arch was inagurated in 1936, but on the same site other arches stood starting with 1878.
Romanian Atheneum - A beautiful building situated near Revolution Square (Piaţa Revoluţiei) is home of the George Enescu Philarmonic. If you have the time, visit the interior of the building as well, as it holds a fresco that depicts scenes of the Romanian history. The building was inagurated in 1888.
Village Museum –an original open air museum created in 1934, it currently has around 300 traditional buildings (including churches, workshops, mills etc.) plus furniture, pottery, clothing gathered from villages in every region of the country in an effort to showcase the traditional way of life of the Romanians. Occasionally hosts folkloric and traditional crafts festivals. Entry fee 3ron for adult, 1.5ron for student, closes at 9PM in the summer, Şoseaua Kiseleff, 28-30.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant
Museum of the Romanian Peasant, also dedicated to the traditional way of life, it focuses mainly on traditional interior decoration, tools, clothing and artifacts. Again, it sometimes hosts folkloric and traditional crafts festivals. Very interesting, touching exhibit about one's grandma. With hidden rooms to surprise you. Entry 6ron for adult, 3ron for student. Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 3
Art Museum, in the building of the former Royal Palace, has collections of ancient, modern and contemporary Romanian art as well as exhibitions of rare European art dating as early as the 14th century. Calea Victoriei, nr. 49-53
National Museum of Contemporary Art Recently opened inside a converted wing of the Palace of the Parliament, in what had been the private apartments of Ceauşescu, the museum features fresh exhibitions from Romania's burgeoning art scene.
“Curtea Veche” (Old Court) Museum –the ruins of the crown palace of the Wallachian princes, some parts dating as early as the 16th century. It’s around an earlier fortification located in this same place that Bucharest began to develop.Strada Franceză, nr. 25-31
Cotroceni Palace Museum –has collections of objects that belonged to the former Romanian royal family. Today it is also the residence of the Romanian presidents.Bd. Geniului, nr. 1
National History Museum -located in a neoclassical late 19th century building, has exhibits documenting the evolution of society on Romania’s territory from the Paleolithic until today, a replica of Trajan’s Column in Rome and a very interesting numismatics collection. It is undergoing some remodeling and only two exhibitions are open to the public as of June 2009. Calea Victoriei, nr. 12
Bucharest History Museum –situated in the Şuţu Palace, built in 1834, has collections related to the development of Bucharest from a small 14th century fortress into Romania’s capital.Bd. I.C. Brătianu, nr. 2
Military History Museum –has collections of weapons dating since the prehistoric times and permanent exhibitions dedicated to important military events, including the Romanian revolution of 1989, as well as an outdoor exhibit of relatively modern weaponry, including cannons, tanks, helicopters etc.Strada M. Vulcănescu, nr. 125-127
Jewish Community History Museum –documenting the life of this community in the region since ancient times and through the Holocaust.Strada Mămulari, nr. 3
“Grigore Antipa” Natural History Museum –has over 300.000 exhibits illustrating the transformations of Earth and the evolution of species. Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 1
Geology Museum –has a large collection of minerals, rocks and fossils.Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 2
Aviation Museum –open-air display of various types of aircraft.Otopeni airport
Railways Museum–rarely opened.Calea Griviţei, nr. 139B
Firefighters Museum –likewise.Bd. Ferdinand, nr. 33
There are also a number of smaller museums, housing private collections, notably the “D. Minovici" Western European Arts Museum located in a beautiful eclectic villa (strada N. Minovici, nr.3) and numerous memorial houses dedicated to various literary, scientifical and political personalities.
Churches and monasteries
Curtea Veche (Old Court) Church –built around 1559, used to be the coronation church of the Wallachian princes.Near Piata Unirii.
Patriarchal Cathedral (1658) and Mitropoliei Palace (1708) –the residence of the Orthodox Patriarch, sort of a small Romanian Vatican.Located on the hill overlooking Piata Unirii.
The Stavropoleos Church
Stavropoleos Church –built in the early 18th century, has some stunning decorative sculpture and amazing frescoes. A little jewel. In the old center area.
Colţea Church – (1702) it’s the first church in Bucharest built in the Brancovenesc style. Near Piaţa Universităţii.
Sfântu Gheorghe Nou (New St. George) Church –dating from the 18th century, houses the tombs of the princes Constantin Brâncoveanu and Ion Mavrocordat. At half way between Piaţa Universităţii and Piaţa Unirii.
Kretzulescu Church –another interesting example of the Brancovenesc style (1722). On the left side of the National Art Museum.
Plumbuita Monastery –built in the last half of the 16th century, it once housed the first printing house in the region (1582); today has a religious objects museum and a large park. Relatively far from the city center, on Şoseaua Colentina.
Oţetari Church - The Oţetari Church is a very discreet, yet spiritual place, giving some religious comfort in the centre of the city. It's name actually means "cruet", because of the initial destination of the street it is situated on. It was built in the 18th Century and it features a number of interesting paintings and stained glasses . Close to the Rosetti Square, National Theatrer and the Spiru Haret National College.
Guided Bucharest Free Walking Tour (Free walking tour), Unirii Square (Meeting point is next to the clock in the middle of the Park), ☎ 0040745593938, . 11:00. Stroll through more than 500 years of history from the times of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula to the "golden era" of communism and the '89 Revolution and unravel the stories of old and new Bucharest. Explore the fascinating mixed architecture and hidden attractions while the guides fill you in with the tips and tricks of living in Bucharest (B&B, entertainment, nightlife, culture).(44.427497,26.10244)
- There are two free weekly guides published in Bucharest featuring all the events of the week, as well as listing the addresses of most restaurants, clubs, pubs, bars, cinemas etc. in the city. One is Şapte Seri (Seven nights), the other 24-FUN. They have small sections in English available.
Walking and recreation
A walking tour is always the best solution for getting accustomed with a new city. You can find free guided walking tours of the city centre, this being an option for budget travelers, youth and backpackers. Usually, you have to book the tours, but in the high season there are tours organized every day, rain or sun.
There are also paid tours to be found, in this case booking being necessary at all times.
Cişmigiu Garden is a lovely small park located in the very centre of Bucharest. It's the oldest in the city (designed 1845-1860). Has boat rental in summer, ice skating in winter time, a reasonable restaurant and several bars.
Lake in Cismigiu park
Herăstrău Park (the largest of several parks around man-made lakes on the Colentina River running through the city’s north and east side) houses the Village Museum, an open-air theater, various sports grounds, something like an amusement park and numerous restaurants and clubs. Has boat rental and boat-trips in summer.
The Botanical Garden, established in 1884 near Cotroceni Palace, displays a variety of plants from all over the world, including an indoor tropical plants exhibition. Small entry fee.
Carol Park (designed in 1906), a quiet oasis not so far from Piata Unirii, has an open-air theater replicating a Roman arena and another construction replicating a medieval fortress. It houses the tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as an infamous mausoleum built for the Communist nomenclature.
Tineretului Park, just one subway station south of Piaţa Unirii, has a large multipurpose building (Sala Polivalenta) used for various concerts, sporting events, exhibitions etc., an amusement park for children, boat-rental, several restaurants and bars.
Titan Park (also known as I.O.R. Park), a green oasis amongst Communist era high rise apartment buildings in the eastern part of the city (Titan subway station), has a charming wooden church as well as several lake-side clubs.
Opera Naţională (National Opera), Bulevardul Mihail Kogălniceanu nr. 70-72 (Eroilor area), ☎ +40 21 314 6980 (fax: +40 21 310 2660), . 5-64 lei.
Filarmonica George Enescu (George Enescu Philharmonic), Strada B. Franklin nr. 1-3 (Revoluţiei square), ☎ +40 21 315 2567 (fax: +40 21 312 2983), . Housed in the Romanian Athenæum, a city landmark
Teatrul Naţional de Operetă Ion Dacian (Ion Dacian National Operetta Theater), Bulevardul Nicolae Bălcescu nr.2 (near University square), ☎ +40 21 315 1502, .
Most films are screened in their original language with Romanian subtitles; some animation features and children's movies are dubbed in Romanian.
Cinemateca Română, strada Eforie nr. 2 (near the old quarter), ☎ +40 21 3130483. A branch of the National Film Archives, screens mostly classic movies
Noul cinematograf al regizorului roman (Romanian director's new cinema), strada Intrarea Monetăriei nr. 3 (at the Romanian Peasant Museum), ☎ +40 21 317 9660 (fax: +40 21 312 9875), . Art films and documentaries selected by major Romanian directors10 lei.
Eurocinema, strada Johann Gutenberg nr. 19 (near Izvor bridge), ☎ +40 21 315 8165 (fax: +40 21 3121962). Th-Su at 8pm. Plays mainly independent European movies10 lei.
Europa, Calea Moşilor nr. 127 (at the start of Moşilor road), ☎ +40 21 314 2714. Plays relatively recent European movies
Elvira Popescu, Bulevardul Dacia nr. 77 (at the French Institute), ☎ +40 21 210 0224, . Mostly French movies
Cinema City, Bulevardul Vasile Milea nr. 4 (in the AFI Palace mall), ☎ +40 21 407 0000, . Largest multiplex in the city (21 screens, including one IMAX)17-32 lei.
Holywood Multiplex, Calea Vitan nr. 55-59 (in the Bucharest Mall), ☎ +40 21 327 7020, . First multiplex to open, has 10 screens22-35 lei.
Movieplex, Bulevardul Timişoara nr. 26 (in the Plaza Romania mall), ☎ +40 21 43 10000 (fax: +4021 4078333), . Located in the western part of Bucharest, has 11 screens15-45 lei.
Light Cinemas, Şoseaua Progresului nr. 151-171 (in the Liberty Center mall), ☎ +40 21 369 9740 (email@example.com), . Located in the south-western part of the city, has 7 screens15-33 lei.
Patria, Bulevardul Gh. Magheru nr. 12-14 (between Universităţii and Romană squares), ☎ +40 21 316 9266. A large (over 1,000 seats) 1930s cinema located along the city's main avenue
Scala, Bulevardul Gh. Magheru nr. 2-4 (between Universităţii and Romană squares), ☎ +40 21 316 6708. Another large older cinema located in the downtown
CinemaPro, strada Ion Ghica nr. 3 (near Universităţii square), ☎ +40 31 824 1360 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 14-24 lei.
Bank headquarters near Piaţa Victoriei
Major brand-name shops and upscale boutiques are concentrated along the main boulevard from Piaţa Romană to Piaţa Unirii and on the small streets adjacent to this boulevard, but also on Calea Victoriei, on Calea Dorobanţilor (the part between Blvd. Iancu de Hunedoara and Piaţa Dorobanţilor) or on Calea Moşilor's section between Blvd. Carol I and Piaţa Obor.
In the past years numerous modern shopping centers have sprung up in the city (and even more are in construction), the best known being:
Băneasa Shopping City, Sos Bucureşti-Ploieşti nr.42D, tel. 40213057195  - opened in April 2008
Liberty Center in section 5, opened 31st October 2008
AFI Palace Cotroceni in district 6, Bulevardul Vasile Milea, No. 4, Tel. +4031 425 75 10.
More shopping malls in Bucharest and its surrounding area are being currently constructed or in the planning stages of being constructed
Book stores with a good supply of English language books are difficult to find in Bucharest but there are a few places mainly situated in the center.
Cărtureşti, str Arthur Verona nr.13, tel 4021 3173459 (0721518351, 0788758408)  - A few blocks south of Piaţa Romană on the east side of Bd. Magheru. The store is set back the street and has a small park in front of it.
Bastilia, excellent bookshop (with nice cafe at top) located in newly renovated building right at Piata Romana.
Nautilus is an English language bookstore near the Kiseleff Park, mostly with fantasy and science fiction books.
Anthony Frost English Bookshop, Calea Victorei, Nr. 45, Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania (The bookstore near the Art Museum. Walk down the right side of the large building just to the left of a very old church. The bookstore is near the back.), ☎ 0040213115138 (email@example.com). is a recently-opened English language bookstore. Lots of reasonably-priced books and a comics (mostly manga) section.
Dalles - situated near Piaţa Universităţii (University square)
Also, the biggest chain of libraries in Romania called "Diverta" has in every location a department with English/German/French books. Now it's down.
Thomas Antiques, Str. Covaci 19 (Lipscani area), ☎ +4 0752 440 818, . Beautiful antique shop. With a large collection of antiques and where it is possible to have a drink in this unique atmosphere.
Bistro Jaristea, Str. Henri Coanda 5, ☎ +4021-650.5000, . 10:00-02:00. Stylish bistro with Romanian specialties, including game and a varied selection of wines. Friendly staff, reservations not always necessary.
Cafeanua Actorilor, Actor's Cafe, strada Batişte (located at the National Theater). Attracts a lot of Americans, because of good food, and the U.S. Embassy and Intercontinental are right across the street. The salads, especially the one called "Act II" is a meal all by itself. Service tends to be excruciatingly slow, driving away many locals.
Caru' cu bere, Stavropoleos str. No. 5, . One of the most famous places to eat in the old city centre, it is situated in a wonderful building, with an extraordinary architecture. Present in Bucharest from 1879. Best home-made beer in Bucharest.
Casa di David, Soseaua Nordului nr. 7-9, Tel. 021/ 232 47 15. Opened in 2005, it is a hangout of the city's nouveau riche. It comes complete with a German car ads at the entrance and an extensive wine list. Food (Italian inspired) and ambience are at best good, but portions are small and prices are far above average for Bucharest. A 3-course meal for two with local wine will set you back over 400 Lei.
Casa Iancului, No.2 Sarafineşti str., . The menu is limited to typical Romanian cuisine. Dishes are based on chicken, fish, pork, game and venison. Casa Iancului boasts an extensive selection of wines and has a professional sommelier.
Cuptorul cu lemne, B-dul Pache Protopopescu nr. 63, +40-21-2522414 - A nice pizza place with a nice outdoor summer garden and a relaxed atmosphere (the restaurant also houses a caricature club). Low prices. Tends to be very crowded during weekends.
Jariştea, strada George Georgescu 50 - 52 (near the crossroad of Regina Maria Blvd. and Libertăţii Blvd), +40 021 335 33 38 (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org), , M-Su 11AM -last customer. Beautiful historically themed restaurant, live traditional music, old Romanian specialties... but always check the bill thoroughly. Reservations are compulsory.
Jour-Fixe, Str. Garamont 23 (near George Cosbuc Square and Carol Park), . A fine restaurant offering a cuisine which blends the French style and the old Romanian spirit. Prices are medium-high.
La Mama (6 outlets around Bucharest, Barbu Văcărescu 3, Delea Veche 51, Episcopiei 9, and Carrefour Orhideea being the largest ones, +40-21-2124086 ) - focusing on traditional Romanian food. Reasonable prices.
Malagamba (Italian cuisine), 2 Sf. Dumitru (in the historical centre - next to Comedy Theatre), ☎ +4 021 313 3389 (email@example.com), . 11AM - 12AM. Named after Sergiu Malagamba, interbelic urban-culture personality, the menu is specifically Italian. They have great risotti, super-fresh pasta, and the most gorgeous lime sorbet. The staff is friendly and the space is modern, hosting also an informal art gallery.
POEM Restaurant, Suter Str. 23-25 (in the Carol park area), +40-21-3363377, . One of Bucharest's exclusive restaurants, in the elegant CPH atmosphere. Excellent international chefs, but very pricey.
Red Lion Cafe, strada Academiei 1A (in the Universităţii area). Nice atmosphere, budget prices, very good pizza.
Rossetya, 9 Str Dimitrie Bolintineanu, classic style restaurant with prices a bit higher than average, but with a very neat and cultivated atmosphere, outstandingly friendly English-speaking personnel, high food quality.
Taj Indian Restaurant (Calea 13 Septembrie, 127-131,), Sector 5, Bucureşti (Near Marriott hotel), ☎ 410.18.20, . 12.00 - 24.00. Good Indian restaurant near Marriott hotel, especially for vegetarians. Little pricey.
Wok Away, Calea Mosilor, Nr 288 (vis-a-vis Raiffaisen Bank), ☎ 0729326284, . Chinese specialities and Asian food. The food is prepared separately for each customer, so you will have a great experience with every meal.
L'ecrevisse Bistrot, Gheorghe Pop de Basesti 48 | Sector 2, Foisor de Foc area, ☎ 0734721990 ; 0737206532, . French restaurant located in a quiet area. During warm seasons, there is a nice courtyard. Specialties: Boeuf Tartar, Coq au Vin, Moules Frites, Poire Belle Helene.
Absintherie Sixtină (Sixtine Absintheria), Covaci 6, 1st floor, ☎ 021 3103566. Classic style bar with reasonable prices. The absinthe is served with a slow drip fountain.
Beer O'Clock, Gabroveni 4 and Villacrosse passage (near Police Department). Bar with several types of Belgian, Czech and Slovak beer.
Curtea berarilor (The Brewers Court), Selari 9-11, ☎ 0723 279620, 021 3137532, . Pub in old center having mostly Timişoreana beer.
Green Hours, Calea Victoriei 120, ☎ 0722 234356, 0788 452485. A quiet club which often hosts jazz concerts.
Interbelic, Intrarea Selari 1A (near Lipscani), ☎ +40722681618, . 17:00-last. Cocktail bar; fine spirits, great nights.medium.
La Motoare, (on the roof of the National Theater, Universitate Square), ☎ +40213158508. An outdoor pub offering great views over the city. Mostly frequented by university students. Rock music and movies in the evening. It is temporarily closed for renovation. (summer of 2011)
Piranha, Splaiul Independenţei 313 (in Regie, the student campus, next to the Polytechnic University), ☎ +4021 315 91 29. A large pub, with a huge outdoor terrace in the middle of a wooded area, featuring a small collection of exotic animals. One of the few outdoor places where the summer heat is actually bearable. A favorite amongst students, with amazingly low prices (a beer is 2.5 lei, about €0.60). However, quite crowded and sometimes noisy.
The Vintage Pub, Str. Smardan 43 (in The Old City Center), ☎ +40 743 797 173 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The place to be in Bucharest's Old Center. Great place to meet people and not very expensive.
Cafe Hazard, Baraţiei (coming from Unirii towards University, take your first right after the fornetti store and then your first left), ☎ +40 72 770 0107. 3PM-5AM. A rock bar, with a great atmosphere, open thinking, great beer and people.
Club A, (near University Square), ☎ +40 21 313 5592, . 6PM - 6AM. The first and oldest club in Bucharest, with nearly 40 years tradition (this means amazingly much for a city where most clubs are less than 5 years old). Since the beginning, it was and remains a student pub and club, with an unpretentious but welcoming atmosphere, good music and low prices. Like many clubs in Bucharest, be mindful that the bouncers can be overly aggressive to patrons at times.
Control Club, Str. Academiei nr.19 (go to Victoria Passage coming from University square), ☎ +40 73 392 7861, . 3PM-5AM. Best alternative/indie club with a lot of live shows and good music.
Expirat/OtherSide, Str. Lipscani nr. 5/Str. Brezoianu nr. 4, ☎ +40 73 EXPIRAT (email@example.com), . Very lively and popular club, divided in two sections - Expirat, the old club with rock/dance/hiphop music, and its newer offspring, the OtherSide, where DJs spin electronica. Themed nights, very expat-friendly, great cocktails and very reasonable prices.
Fire Club, (near Lipscani), ☎ +40 21 312 7019, . The most well known rock and metal club in Bucharest. By day a pub and outdoor cafe.
Kulturhaus, Str. Sf. Vineri nr.4, ☎ +40 21 3135592, . 10PM-5AM. A club with a German concept – ”the culture house” – a place where all sort of cultural events (such as live music concerts, art exhibitions, film projections) take place. Kulturhaus is very cheap – no entry fee (except for music concerts) and low prices – it is the cheapest club in town – maybe this is why the place is crowded every Friday and Saturday night until 05:00.
Queen’s Club, E-4, Str. Mihai Bravu 32, ☎ +40 72 275 4293, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Open 11PM-5AM, Thu 9PM-5AM, Sun 8PM-5AM. May be closed Mon, Tue, Wed.. Like Gay clubs the world over, this place has become tremendously popular with a hetero set fed up with the meat market atmosphere at so many of the city’s other locations. That, together with superb music, makes this an essential stop for hedonists of all persuasions. Shake it. It can become quite crowded so watch yourself."Entry 20.00 lei, but that includes 10.00 lei worth of drinks at the bar.
Underworld, Str. Colţei, nr. 48 (go to Colţei street coming from the Rosetti Square, near University), . The only punk-rock oriented pub in Bucharest. It also has a small concert hall, a fusball table, board games, dedicated evenings, etc.
Camping Băneasa/Casa Alba, Aleea Privighetorilor 1-3 (at the edge of the Băneasa Forest, close to the Băneasa Airport), . Space for up to 80 caravans or 120 tents, running water, showers, toilets, kitchen. It is the only camping site in Bucharest proper. Note that it is quite far from the center of the city, and, during rush hour, it may take well over 1 hour to reach downtown.
Butterfly Villa Hostel, Str. Ştirbei Vodă 96 (entrance from Str. C.Stahi), ☎ +40 21 314 7595, +40 74 172 1169 (email@example.com), . Newly renovated, clean hostel in the centre of sector 1. Bedsheets, breakfast and internet is included the price. Airport pick-up, excursions and laundry-service.
Counting Crows Hostel, 20 Ocolului Street, ☎ +40726283352 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: anytime; checkout: anytime. Very spacious hostel with a lot of rooms and around 20 beds accomodation space.Its advantage is that even if it gets crowded you'll still have a lot of private space ( if you need it ) since the house is pretty huge.It's freshly opened and includes a cafe/bar and a big terrace with a lot of hammocks. If you're into meeting romanian people and getting a taste of Romania this is your hostel. Also, the location is not exactly in the very commercial area of Bucharest ( still, 10-15 minutes walk from OldTown ) so you'll also get a bit of how other romanians live. Free Broadband WiFi, Free Washer Dryer, Free Bicycles, Breakfast Included. Bar crawls, day-tours and much more, free of-course. Everything is flexible and if you want something you don't see available right then you can always ask the owner ( Radu ) - he's always around trying to make everyones accomodation a good Bucharest experience. 10 euros per night. (44.449866,26.113021)
East Hostel, Bvd Hristo Botev 11, ☎ +40 73 729 3493 (email@example.com), . checkin: 24/24; checkout: 11 a.m.. Brand-new hostel in Lipscani Quarter. Free breakfast, free pasta daily at 7 p.m., fast wi-fi connection throughout, A/C at night, thick comfy mattresses and quality pillows and duvets, lavish bathrooms.From €9/night.
Explorers Hostel, Str. Luigi Cazzavillan 21, ☎ +40 21 310 6971, +40 767 330 505 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. Great boutique hostel, centrally located and also close to the train station. Free breakfast,free internet,free air conditioning. Bike renting,city tours on bike and laundry-service are available for good prices.from €7/night.
The Funky Chicken Hostel, Str. Gen. Berthelot 63, ☎ +40 21 312 1425 (email@example.com), . Close to Gara de Nord (10 min) and the main squares. Simple place for one night, but a bit dirty and uncomfortable for a longer stay.Around €10/night.
Hostel Tina, Odobesti 2B Street, Bloc N3B, 9th Floor, nr. 38. (Buzzer 38 C), District 3 (3 stops from the centre and 6 stops from the railway station Gara de Nord, 10 min from Dristor metro station), . Cosy two room house, hot breakfast, bed linen and towels are included in price. Free coffee, tea, use of computer printer, all rooms have free wifi. Clean and safe hostel. Will send driver and car for €22. Tourist information is provided.1 private room with queen bed €28, and one shared room 4 beds €14/bed. (44.4174,26.1506)
The Midland Youth Hostel, Str Biserica Amzei no 22, ☎ +40 21 314 5323 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Central, breakfast included, free internet.from €8/night.
Vila Gabriela, Str. Mărgăritarului 18, Vila A 104, Otopeni, judeţul Ilfov (just outside Bucharest on the way to the international airport), ☎ +40 21 236 2053 (email@example.com). Big house managed by a friendly couple, Carmina and Vlad. Carmina can speak English, French and Italian. The rooms are clean and welcoming.Double room €25/night (you can pay in euro) with a shared toilet. If you want the best room, you'll also get your own toilet for €35/night. Breakfast is included..
X Hostel Bucharest, Str. Balcesti, 9, ☎ +40213127613 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Party hostel & pub. Free strong wireless connection, hotel standard rooms as well as large cheaper dorms, mainly air conditioned.from €6/night.
Cameliei, Strada Cameliei, nr. 37, ☎ +40 78 877 6456, . €25-€31/night.
Carpaţi, str. Matei Millo nr. 16, ☎ +40 21 315 0140 (email@example.com, fax: +40 21 312 1857), . Located in one of the oldest parts of Bucharest, directly between Calea Victoriei and Grădina Cişmigiu. 15 min walk to the University metro station. Small, affordable rooms in a clean and welcoming atmosphere.€40-€85/night.
ApartHomes, George Valentin Bibescu Street 33, ☎ +4021-232-0406, . €49-€79/night.
Capitol, Calea Victoriei 29, ☎ +4021315 80 30 (fax: +4021312 41 69), . Comfortable, though admittedly not quite hassle-free, 100-year-old three-star hotel with big rooms and enormous bathrooms, near Cercul Militar. €55-€75/night.
Casa Victor, Str. Emanoil Porumbaru nr. 44 (on a quiet side street parallel to B-dul Aviatorilor a few blocks north of Parcul Kiseleff and a few blocks south of the Aviatorilor metro station), ☎ +4021 222 57 23 or 222 96 26 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +4021 222 94 36), . checkout: 11:00AM. €55-€140/night.
Crowne Plaza, B-dul Poligrafiei nr. 1, ☎ +4021 224 00 34 (fax: +4021 318 13 02), . from €80/night.
Dalin Center Hotel, Sos. Ştefan Cel Mare 33A, ☎ +4021-211-0070, . Dalin Center Hotel is a new hotel, with a particular interior design and modern facilities. €49-€59/night.
K+K Hotel Elisabeta, Str. Slanic 26, ☎ +40-21-3029 280 (email@example.com, fax: +40-21-3118 632), . Located in the centre. From here you can easily reach the University, business quarter, city center as well as the famous Cismigiu Gardens.
Le Boutique Hotel Moxa, 4 Mihail Moxa Street, ☎ +4021'' 6505555 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Four star hotel, centrally located. €80-€110/night.
NH Bucharest, Bulevardul Mircea Voda, 21, ☎ +40.21.3000545, . Modern 4 star hotel located in the heart of the business district. Bedrooms are cosy and comfortable with a modern twist.Rooms from 50€.
Hotel Siqua, Calea Plevnei nr. 59A (near Opera), ☎ +4021 3195160 (email@example.com), . from €75/night (tax and breakfast included).
Hotel Suter Inn, Aleea Suter nr. 3 (5' from Parliament Palace), ☎ 004021'' 3373939 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 00 4021 3371133), . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 10:00. Three-star hotel near Carol Park, the Palace of Parliament and Autogara Filaret.€35-52/night. (44.41798,26.09268)
Carol Parc Hotel, Str. Aleea Suter 23-25, ☎ +40-21-3363377, . Boutique hotel near the Carol park, it has a great view of the city.
El Greco, str. Jean Louis Calderon nr. 16, ☎ 040021'' 3158141 (email@example.com, fax: 0040021 3158898), . Central location, near to the commercial and cultural zone. Founded in 1896 and recently redecorated.
Hilton-Athénée Palace, str. Episcopiei nr. 1-3, ☎ 40(021)'' 303 3777 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 40(021) 3152121), . Typical 5 star Hilton, nice coffee shop, in the summer pretty garden terrasse (in the moment under renovation), near Atheneum.
Howard Johnson Grand Plaza, Calea Dorobanţilor nr. 5-7, ☎ +4021'' 2015000 (mailto:email@example.com, fax: +4021 2011888), . New hotel near Plata Romana, with expensive restaurants (Benihana) and Casino inside.
Intercontinental, Blvd. Nicolae Bălcescu nr. 4, ☎ 4021''310202 (fax: 4021 3120486), . Partly newly renovated, still renovation in progress, large rooms with balconies directly in the city center, friendly staff, good club floor and excellent club lounge in 22nd floor. Since the new German general manager a good place again.
JW Marriott Bucharest Grand, Calea 13 Septembrie nr. 90, ☎ +40 21 4030000 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +40 21 403000), . Large hotel behind the Parliament building. All typical amenities, not ultra central, but still centrally located.
Parliament, strada Izvor nr. 106, ☎ +40 21 411 9990 (email@example.com), . designer hotel,close to Marriott and Parliament building
Radisson Blu Hotel, Calea Victoriei No. 63-81, ☎ +40 21 311 9000 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +40 21 601 3625), . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Recently nominated as the Global Hotel of the Year 2010, this hotel is a landmark of great architecture and design. Almost permanently no.1 on Trip Advisor.€100-150.
Buses are safe, but use your common sense, and put your things in internal pockets, just to be 100% sure. Taking taxis from areas frequented by foreign tourists may also pose a threat as some of these taxis may be operated by con men waiting for an unsuspecting victim. This is especially true for taxis around Gara de Nord where their associates actively try to lure you into such cars. If possible, avoid taking cabs from Gara de Nord unless you are familiar with the taxi operators there.
It is strongly recommended to avoid taking a taxi from Bucharest "Henri Coanda" Airport, especially after dark. Even if the officially rate is 3.5 lei/km (in the city is under 2 lei/km), most of them will try to overcharge you.
If you really want to take a taxi, go to Departures Terminal and wait for a taxi that comes from the city center. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES accept the offer of the people near arrivals terminal who ask you if you want a taxi or offer to carry your luggage.
One rule of thumb is to go with older taxi drivers, since they will be more cautious and only try to get a bit extra out of you if they scam you, unlike young drivers who will claim a trip costs 3-5 times as much as it should, may claim the meter does not work, and may try intimidation tactics to make you pay.
Be very careful of unsolicited offers of help by passersby, even if they have good English. In particular if a stranger offers to accompany you to your hostel or hotel in a taxi to show you the way, decline immediately. They are often working in tandem with unlicensed taxi drivers who will attempt to scam you, drop you at incorrect (and remote) locations while demanding exorbitant payment, or who will simply steal your luggage. A common scam is for a stranger to tell you that a place is not safe, and to direct you to an official "government" or "student" taxi, that is driven by an accomplice. They will then drive you a remote location, and demand high sums of money, possibly threatening you with violence if you don't comply.
Be also careful when boarding or leaving trains. Scamsters have been known to impersonate other passengers, and enter couchettes or sleeping booths on trains while the occupant politely waits outside, and then steal from luggage. When requesting assistance on boarding trains, deal only with the conductor and if anyone asks you for information, demand to see ID.
As strange as it sounds, you'll see that Bucharest is a far safer city than its western European counterparts. Statistically Bucharest is one of the safest capitals in Europe, far safer than cities like Berlin, London, Rome, etc. Nevertheless, possibly moreso than the aforementioned counterparts, violence is not an uncommon solution, towards locals or towards foreign looking people (minorities, out of place individuals, etc.) in any club, but particularly those playing ethnic music, especially when drinking and after hours are involved. However, just avoiding any conflict, particularly with people who have the air of "owning the place" or a mafioso look would reduce your chances to almost zero. Generally speaking, the larger and richer the city, the fewer problems you'll have.
Bucharest has perhaps the largest population of stray dogs for a city in eastern Europe. Although their numbers are gradually decreasing due to projects by the City Hall, they still remain a threat to safety and, at night, they tend to form packs which greatly increases their danger. Rabies vaccinations are recommended but not required, as there have been no rabies cases in Bucharest since 1979. Most dogs will not give you a problem unless you go out of your way to pester them, but many dogs have been treated poorly. Be extremely wary of them, and do not approach a stray dog if you are alone. It is perhaps best to walk around in a group or walk where you see other people.
Like most other big cities, walking around at night isn't safe in some parts of the city like Pantelimon, Ferentari, Giulesti, and the Gara de Nord area. If you must travel into these neighbourhoods, it's safer to take a taxi.
Gara de Nord is not particularly dangerous to walk in, but avoid suspicious-looking characters, and if you feel that you are being followed, just walk into the station. Gara de Nord and its surroundings are populated by homeless people and children. Be careful, as many street children use an inhalant drug (equivalent to huffing paint) and may be dangerous. As heartbreaking as this problem is, it's best to avoid any contact. If you do wish to give them something, buy food for them, don't give them money. Ferentari is a gypsy enclave in Bucharest and, while not as dangerous as it used to be, it's not advisable to walk there at night. In fact it is better to avoid it completely. For the traveler, there is nothing of interest there so you should have no reason to go there to begin with.
The unofficial red light district is Mătăsari, which is also a popular place for clubbers and pubs; you can walk there without any worries because it's always crowded and lively, but avoid talking to strangers in that particular area, especially Gypsies. As of 2009 there have been a lot of crackdowns on pimps and prostitutes in the Matasari area, so be careful or you might wind up spending a night in jail and with a hefty fine if caught soliciting.
In the event that you do get caught in a police raid, do not attempt to bribe your way out of it with so many of them around as you might get into serious trouble. Police are more inclined to take bribes from locals than from foreigners so do not contribute to this phenomenon that has been plaguing this country for so many years. Police corruption has been vigorously fought in the past years, and it is not as generalized as it used to be in the 1990s. It's always better to walk on boulevards and avoid alleys and backstreets.
The crime rate is low, but a traveler must always be cautious. Violent attacks are very low, but if attacked just yell, "Ajutor!". It is very difficult for anyone to get away with violent crime because as everything is packed so closely together, any loud noise will attract attention. This is truly a city that doesn't sleep. You'll find people out and around at all hours in most parts of the city. Police men are pretty friendly and the younger ones speak English, so you can ask directions. In the event that you do need to report a crime to the police, do not hesitate and proceed to the nearest police station. They will often help you to the best of their ability.
One must be incredibly careful as a pedestrian in Bucharest. Drivers are inconsiderate and often do not obey traffic signals. NEVER assume a car will stop for you at a red light--be vigilant at all times. This is definitely the biggest hazard in Bucharest, not so much in the daytime, when crowded streets make it impossible to drive cars at high speeds, but, at night, the streets clear out, a lot of illegal races taking place with reckless driving on main boulevards.
Asian tourists are more likely to be seen as an easy mark for dishonest taxi drivers and other criminals. It does not make a difference if you are Asian-American or are from Asia. Some young Asian women may also get a lot of perverted looks from men all around the city - be prepared to be stared at especially if you are traveling alone, though some men will stare no matter what.
Those with allergies may find Bucharest annoying in that it is both hot and very dusty in the summer, with temperatures easily exceeding 30 C in July and August, so bring whatever you might need to stay comfortable. Please note that during the summer, sun strokes and heat strokes can be very dangerous.
Pharmacies are usually open between 9 AM and 6 PM, but some will stay open through the night. In Romania, there are relatively few over-the-counter drugs available, but pharmacists are allowed to dispense limited quantities of some prescription drugs (such as pain relief medicine) for what they see as immediate needs. Bucharest has 6 designated emergency hospitals and a modern ambulance service, plus a large number of additional public and private hospitals, clinics, and dental practices.
Snagov is a small town 20 km north of Bucharest, and a quick escape from the city for many locals, with its big lake and beaches. Visit the small monastery on the island in the middle of the lake, where the grave of Vlad III lies (better known as Dracula or Vlad The Impaler). (Note that the route from the highway to the monastery is not very well signposted from the highway and quite hard to get to, and you will need to rent a boat)
Mogoşoaia is yet another small town close to Bucharest (5 km), featuring a large late 17th century palace in the unique Brâncovenesc style.
Buşteni get a trip to our small town from the Prahova Valley by train, take the Gondola lift and see the Omu mountain, The Babele or our Natural-Made Sphinx.
Sinaia is easily seen as a day trip from Bucharest (taking the train is the recommended option). Do not miss the beautiful Peleş Castle.
Bucharest is one of the starting points for trips inside Romania. See the country article for longer trips.
Budapest is 16 hours on a daily overnight train laving at 17:45, seat costs about 50EUR, bed 70EUR as of Sep.2011.
Constanta is 3.5 hours away at a cost of 55 RON. Buses depart every 45 minutes during the summer and some buses offers WiFi-connection. The station is located near Gara de Nord at the intersection of Strada Mircea Vulcanescu & Bulevardul Dinicu Golescu.
Sofia is about 11 hours by Train. There is a Train leaving Gara de Nord at 23:15 for about 120RON for Seating and about 170RON for Courchette.
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