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Bucharest

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- '''Cismigiu Garden''' is a lovable small park, the oldest in the city (designed 1845-1860), located in its very center. Has boat rental in summer, ice skating in winter time, a reasonable restaurant and several bars.
 
- '''Cismigiu Garden''' is a lovable small park, the oldest in the city (designed 1845-1860), located in its very center. Has boat rental in summer, ice skating in winter time, a reasonable restaurant and several bars.
  
- There are several parks around man-made lakes on Colentina River running through the city’s north and east side, the largest of them being '''Herastrau Park''' .It 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.
+
- '''Herastrau 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.
 +
[[Image:Park in Bucharest.jpg|thumb|left| A park in northern Bucharest]]
  
 
- '''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.
 
- '''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 '''(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.   
+
- '''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 from Piata 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.
+
- '''Tineretului Park''', just one subway station south of Piata 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.
 +
 
 +
- '''IOR 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.
  
 
===Clubbing===
 
===Clubbing===

Revision as of 18:18, 20 October 2007

Bucharest is Romania's capital and largest city, as well as the most important industrial and commercial center of the country. With its 2 million inhabitants in the city proper and more than 2.4 million in the urban area, it is also one of the largest cities in Eastern Europe.

Districts

Bucharest is divided in 6 official districts (sector, plural sectoare), numbered from 1 to 6, each has its own mayor and council. They are counted clockwise, starting from Piaţa Unirii. An unofficial district system is in far wider use, as people refer to places by using the neighborhood they are located in (cartier, cartiere). Neighborhoods cover the entirety of the city, both slums and rich suburbs. A neighborhood may cover 200.000 persons (such as Balta Albă) or 1.000 persons (such as Primăverii).

View of Bucharest from the Palace of Parliament

Understand

Bucharest is usually the entry point for most people into Romania. On the other hand, the city itself isn't particularly appealing to all tourists, and it is usually a matter of personal taste whether visitors like it or not. Some people adore it and think it really has a special feel to it, others feel uncomfortable due to the gray Communist-era buildings and lack of charm or tourist attractions. Yet again, others believe the urban myths about crime, homelessness and poverty, even though these are only what they state to be - myths. Bucharest offers some excellent attractions, and increasingly has the sophisticated, trendy and modern edge to it that defines a European capital. If you're in the region, it would be negligent to not visit it, even if just for the curiosity of seeing such a paradoxical city.

Language

The official (and native) language is Romanian. Most educated people born after about 1970 will speak reasonably good English; most educated people born before about 1970 will speak reasonably good French. The Gypsies speak their native Romany, as well as Romanian, and sometimes English. Other than that, you'll find some people who know German and Italian. Beyond that, as in any major city, there will be a smattering of other languages.

Climate

Bucharest has, like most of Romania, 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 28ºC and in winter about 0ºC. It can get really hot and dry during the summer (40ºC) and really cold during the winter (-20ºC). Best time to visit is April through June, September through October and early December.

Time

Bucharest is in the Eastern European time zone (UTC+2, and has a DST of UTC+3 from April to October).

Get in

By air

Connections

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. Starting June 2007, Delta Air Lines [12] will open a direct service between Bucharest and New York city (JFK airport). Discount air companies have been operating flights to Bucharest since 2004, but it was only in late 2006 - early 2007 that the number of such flights seriously began to grow, so at this point there are low-costs flights (Blue Air) to various destinations in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia and Turkey.

Airports

Most flights, both international and domestic, land at the Henri Coandă International Airport [13], located in Otopeni, 18 km north of the city downtown. 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 [14] and is used by the major international airlines. 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 at a bank downtown.

The smaller Aurel Vlaicu International Airport [15] was used for commercial flights as early as the 1920s; its present building was finished in 1952 based on a 1930s design. It is located inside the city, in Băneasa, about 4-6 km to the city center and is used primarily by business, charter and low-cost airlines: BlueAir [16], WizzAir [17], Easyjet [18] SkyEurope [19], Germanwings [20], MyAir [21], Alpieagles [22]. Note that this airport is amazingly small (only 6 gates), with outdated facilities and becomes extremely crowded especially during the charter season (June-September and December), being built to handle a tenth of the passengers it actually handles. The runway and taxiways have been thoroughly modernized in 2007, and a new terminal building is under construction. Free wi-fi is available (if you can find a place to sit and power-up your laptop, which is no small task).

City transfer

  • The Henri Coandă Airport is relatively lacking in means of reliable transportation to downtown Bucharest. To get there, travelers can choose between car rentals, taxi (Fly Taxi), limo service and public transport (bus line 783 running from 5:30 AM till midnight, with cheap prices). For the public bus, you need to buy a 2-trip magnetic card (or a city-wide contact-less card) from the booth in front of either the Arrivals or Departures terminals. You are not allowed to buy tickets from the driver.
  • During the night, only taxi-service is available for Henri Coandă Airport. The only taxi service allowed to offer transfers from the airport is Fly Taxi (the airport has auctioned the service), all others being pirate taxi services. Up until a few years ago, there was a taxi mafia running there during the night, charging 20 to 30 euros to get you to Bucharest (when normally the price would be around 10 euros). Sometimes this still happens, therefore, look for the authorized taxi service, do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and look for the tariff on the meter (for extra-urban trips, current tariffs are around 2-2.2 RON (0.6-0.7 €/km) and the distance to any place within the city is 12-20 km). Remember that with 30 euros you can get anywhere in the country by bus and train, so think twice before you decide to pay a taxi driver 30 euros for a less than 10 kilometers drive.
  • Being situated in Bucharest proper, the Aurel Vlaicu airport is easily accessible, either by taxi or public transportation. Taxi fares should be 1.4-1.6 RON/km (0.4-0.5 €/km). Do not bargain, demand that the meter be used, and remember that downtown Bucharest is about 6-10 km away and there is no place in Bucharest further than 20-25 km. Bus lines 131 and 301 connect it with Piaţa Romană in downtown Bucharest and bus line 205 with the Gara de Nord train station. Bus tickets must be purchased in the big booth at the bus terminal, and cannot be bought from the driver.

By bus

There are bus connections between Bucharest and large cities in Europe (especially in Southern Europe) and also to many large and medium sized cities throughout Romania. Bucharest has several bus terminals: Băneasa (for northern bound routes), Obor (east), Filaret (south), Alexandriei (south-west), Militari (west), and Griviţa (north-west).

The timetables for domestic routes are available here

By train

Bucharest is linked through direct daily trains to all neighboring countries’ capitals (Belgrade, Budapest, Chişinău, Kiev, Sofia), as well as to Wien, Venice, Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Moscow and of course to main cities in all of Romania’s 41 counties.

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. 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.

Watch out for the shady private taxi services. There will be drivers offering rides - be extremely wary.

By car

The city’s entrances from the north (the E15 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.

Get around

Bucharest has one of the most extensive systems of public transport in Europe, even though it can sometimes be confusing and crowded.

Metro (Subway)

Bucharest Metro map

The metro, which has four lines (M1, M2, M3, M4) and covers the city quite extensively, is usually a cheap (2 lei for 2 trips or 7 lei for 10 trips) 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.

Pipera station

Line M1 runs west-east,meeting up with the M2 (which runs north-south) at Piaţa Unirii station. Line M3 runs on different west-east route serving the main train station Gara de Nord. The newest line, M4, partially opened March 1st 2000, very modern and clean, starts from Gara de Nord and, when completed, will link it with the airports in the northern part of town.

Maps of the subway can be found on the Metrorex official site. A midlet for Java enabled mobile phones is also available here.

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 frequently, 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.

Tickets can be bought from RATB kiosks at a significant amount of stops. Single-use tickets (1,2 lei) are usable on any RATB vehicle, but they must be validated upon entering the vehicle and are valid for a just one ride on one route.Be warned that you cannot buy tickets in the vehicles and if caught by an inspector (controlor) you could be fined with 50 new lei.

It is advisable to buy tickets valid for a day (7 lei) or a week (15 lei) on all surface routes with unlimited rides. The tickets cannot be used on the subway.

A trolleybus on line 62

The ticketing system has been partially upgraded to use smart-cards, called Activ cards [23]. For the time being these cards are available at a smaller number of kiosks than paper tickets (paper tickets will still be available for a while). 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.

You can check the 2004 surface transport map here. (Note: Some routes / numbers have changed.)

Light rail

A tramway on line 41

RATB, Bucharest's surface transport operator, recently unveiled a snazzy new light rail network, which they call "light metro", in the western part of Bucharest. The network is modern, fast and clean, although its reach is currently fairly limited. If you're staying in this area, though, it can give you the best of both worlds - the coverage and convenience of the bus network combined with the speed and comfort of the metro network. The light rail is operated by RATB (it uses an improved version of the standard Bucharest tramway as rolling stock), and is also known as Line 41. You can use any standard RATB ticket on the Light Rail.

By taxi

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 should contain an initial "sitting" fee (between .9 to 2 lei), a per km fee (1 to 3 lei) and per hour fee (15 to 30 lei). 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. And you should insist to start the meter. You can find a list of taxi companies here. If you are traveling outside the city limits (say to or from the airport) prices per km and per hour are often doubled. But once the taxi is in he city limits (even on the same trip) the driver should change the fare back to the normal city price.

See

Museums

  • 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. Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr.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. In 1996, it won the European Museum of the Year Award. Şoseaua Kiseleff, nr. 3 [24]
  • Art Museum -located 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 [25] Recently opened inside a converted wing of the Palace of the Parliament, in what had been the private apartments of Ceaucescu, 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.Calea Victoriei, nr. 12
  • Bucharest History Museum –situated in the Sutu 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
  • “Dimitrie Leonida” Technology Museum –is set to be relocated in a wing of the Parliament Palace
  • 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.

Landmarks

  • Old Center - Fortunately a part of the city's historical heart escaped Ceauşescu's demolition frenzy. 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, narrow cobblestoned streets which keep the names of the ancient guilds that resided on them, bank headquarters, a few hotels, clubs, restaurants and shops. So far too little has been done for the preservation and reconditioning of many historical buildings and streets there, but the area is now in a rehabilitation project set to be finished after 2012.
Light show on the Palace of Parliament
  • 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 Ceauşescu, spans 12 stories, 3100 rooms and covers over 330,000 sq m. Ceauşescu bulldozed 1/6 of Bucharest to accommodate the massive building and its surroundings. There are 45 minute tours every half hour which lead through the building's vast collection of marble rooms and culminates in an impressive view from the Nicolae balcony.
  • 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.

Churches and monasteries

  • Curtea Veche (Old Court) Church –built around 1559, used to be the coronation church of the Wallachian princes.Near Piata Unirii.
  • Patriarhiei Church (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. 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.

Do

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 B-24-FUN. They have small sections in English available.

Walking / Recreation

  • Parks

- Cismigiu Garden is a lovable small park, the oldest in the city (designed 1845-1860), located in its very center. Has boat rental in summer, ice skating in winter time, a reasonable restaurant and several bars.

- Herastrau 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.

A park in northern Bucharest

- 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 Piata 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.

- IOR 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.

Clubbing

  • Gossip, Str. Lanariei 90 (near Tineretului Park), +4021 337 47 88, +4072 254 85 43 (), [1]. 6PM - 6AM. If too many places like Gossip keep opening up, then Bucharest is going to end up as the club capital of Eastern Europe (if it isn't already). This is currently the city's after hours favorite, where the great and good comes to chill out after shaking its expensive thang at other locations. More and more though it is trying to break into the all-night scene, and has been bringing over big name house and breakbeat DJs in order to do so.
  • Club A, (near University Square), +4021 313 55 92, [2]. 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.
  • Fire Club, (near Lipscani), +4021-312.70.19, [3]. The most well known rock and metal club in Bucharest. By day a pub and outdoor cafe
  • Twice, (near Unirii Square). One of the largest clubs in Bucharest, with two separate dance floors and two giant bars
  • Planter's, strada Mendeleev 8 (near Piata Amzei), +40723 559 908 (), [4]. Geared mostly to the ex-pat community and rather expensive
  • Bamboo, Str. Ramuri Tei 39 (in Tei Park), +40722 132 283 (), [5]. It's the largest club in Bucharest. Upmarket and expensive.
  • The Office, Str. Tache Ionescu 2 (in the Piata Romana area), 4021 211 67 48 (), [6].
  • Queen’s Club, E-4, Str. Mihai Bravu 32, tel. 0722 75 42 93, (), [7]. Like Gay clubs the world over, this place has become tremendously popular with a non-Gay 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! price="Entry costs 20.00 lei, but that includes 10.00 lei worth of drinks at the bar." Hours="Open 23:00 - 05:00, Thu 21:00 - 05:00, Sun 20:00 - 05:00. May be closed Mon, Tue, Wed."

Buy

Bank headquarters near Piata Victoriei

Major brand-name shops and upscale boutiques are concentrated along the main boulevard from Piata Romana to Piata Unirii and on the small streets adjacent to this boulevard, but also on Calea Victoriei, on Calea Dorobantilor (the part between Blvd. Iancu de Hunedoara and Piata Dorobantilor) or on Calea Mosilor's section between Blvd. Carol I and Piata Obor.

Shopping Malls

In the past years numerous modern shopping centers have sprung up in the city (and even more are in construction), the best known being:

Book Stores

Book stores with a good supply of enlgish language books are difficult to find in Bucharest but there are a few places at which they can be found

  • Carturesti, str Arthur Verona nr.13, tel 4021 3173459 (0721518351, 0788758408)Website : http://www.carturesti.ro/ - A few blocks south of Piata Romana on the east side of Bd. Magheru. The store is set back the street and has a small park in front of it.

Eat

Restaurants

  • POEM Restaurant, Suter Str. 23-25 (in the Carol park area), +40-21-3363377, [31]. Bucharest's most exclusive restaurant, in the famously elegant CPH atmosphere. Excellent international chefs, but very pricey.
  • Red Lion Cafe, strada Academiei 1A (in the Universitatii area). Nice atmosphere, budget prices, very good pizza.
  • Jariştea, strada George Georgescu 50 - 52 (near the crossroad of Regina Maria Blvd. and Libertatii Blvd), +40 021 335 33 38 (mailto:[email protected]), [32], M-Su 11AM -last customer. Beautiful historically themed restaurant, live traditional music, old Romanian specialties...but always check the bill thoroughly. Reservations are compulsory.
  • Burebista (vânătoresc), strada Batiştei 14 (in front of the US embassy, near the National Theater), +40 021 211 89 29 (mailto:[email protected]), [33]. The hunting orientated place of the Burebista restaurant chain, it has bear, wild boar, venison etc. specialties at relatively affordable prices.
  • Cafeanua Actorilor, aka the Actor's Cafe, strada Batiste (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.
  • La Mama,(6 outlets around Bucharest, Barbu Vacarescu 3, Delea Veche 51, Episcopiei 9 and Carrefour Orhideea being the largest ones, +40-21-2124086 [34]) - a favorite amongst locals, focusing on traditional Romanian food. Reasonable prices (and the standard by which most locals would grade restaurants).
  • Cuptorul cu lemne, B-dul Pache Protopopescu nr. 63, +40-21-2522414 [35], another favorite with locals, having one of the best pizzas in Romania. 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.
  • City Grill, a chain of steak restaurants (7 locations in Bucharest [36]), usually frequented by locals during the lunch break. One of the few places in Bucharest selling natural grape juice (must). Prices slightly higher than average, but with larger portions than average.

Drink

Pubs

  • Becker Brau, Calea Rahovei 155 (in the Palace of Parliament area), +4021 335 56 50. Mo-Fr 11.30AM-midnight, Sa-Su 11.30AM-3AM. German beer and foods. Beer is brewed on the premises, making it one of the few microbreweries in town
  • Piranha, Splaiul Independenţei 313 (in Regie, the student campus of Bucharest, 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 RON, about €0.75). However, quite crowded and sometimes noisy.
  • Caru' cu bere, strada Stavropoleos 3-5 (in the Historical Center area, next to the National History Museum), +4021 313 75 60 (), [8]. The city's best known and oldest pub (opened 1879), a magnificent late 19th century setting, prices a bit high.
  • Bavaria, strada Orhideelor 19 (two bus stops away from Gara de Nord), +4021 316 64 03, +40748 511 511, [9]. A large pub and club in Regie, with German beer and a mock-German atmosphere. House music and strip club with Playboy and Penthouse parties on weekends.
  • La Motoare, (on the roof of the National Theater, Universitate Square), +40213158508. An outdoor pub on the roof of the National Theater, offering great views over the city. Mostly frequented by university students. Rock music and movies in the evening

Sleep

Hotels and hostels

Downtown area

  • Carol Parc Hotel, [37] - 5***** Bucharest's premiere luxury hotel, also the most expensive in town. Located near the beautiful Carol park, it has the best view of the entire city. This hotel is fully booked most of the time, mostly by business clientèle due to its exceptionally good services.
  • Vila Helga, str. Mihai Eminescu nr. 184, tel. +4021 2120828, (mailto:[email protected]), [38] - a hostel affiliated to Hostelling International [39]; located near Piata Romana. 10 or 10.5 euro/night (bedsheets and breakfast included).
  • Carpati, str. Matei Millo nr. 16, tel 0040(021)3150140 (fax 0040(021)3121857 , mailto:[email protected]), [40] - 1*
  • Banat, Piata C.A. Rosetti nr. 5, tel. 0040(021)3131056 (fax 0040(021)3126547), [41] - 2**
  • Capitol, Calea Victoria 29, tel. 401 315 80 30 (fax 401 312 41 69), [42] - 3***.As of 2002, US$75 single / US$98 double includes breakfast and all taxes. You may be able to get a discount by paying cash (US dollars will do nicely): ask at the desk. Comfortable, though admittedly not quite hassle-free, 100-year-old three-star hotel with big rooms and enormous bathrooms, near Cercul Militar. The heat works. Little things like that do not go without saying in Romania.
  • Ambasador, Blvd. Magheru nr 8-10, tel +40-21-315.90.80, (fax +40-21-312.35.95, mailto:[email protected]), [43] - 3***
  • Opera, str. Brezoianu nr. 37, tel. 004021 3124855, (fax:00 4021 3124858, mailto:[email protected]), [44] - 3***
  • El Greco, str. Jean Louis Calderon nr. 16, tel. 040021 3158141 (fax 0040021 3158898, mailto:[email protected]), [45] - 4**** is situated in the heart of Bucharest , near to the commercial and cultural zone. El Greco Hotel , founded in 1896 and recently redecorated and arranged , is offering to its clients an incursion in the world of smart and good taste.
  • Continental, Calea Victoriei nr. 56, - 4****
  • Majestic, Calea Victoriei nr. 38-40, tel. 4021 3102715 (fax 4021 3102799, mailto:[email protected]), [46] - 4****
  • Lido, Blvd. Magheru nr. 5-7, tel. (+4)021 314.4930 (fax (+4)021 312.1414, mailto:[email protected]), [47] - 4****
  • Sutter Inn, [48] - 3*** located in an edifice built by the renowned architect Suter in 1900 and restored and prepared to serve as a hotel in 2005, it turned, even after a short time of activity, into a well visited hotel in Bucharest for its central address, attractive prices and good services.
  • Intercontinental, Blvd. Nicolae Balcescu nr. 4, tel. 40213102020 (fax 4021 3120486), [49] - 5*****
  • Hilton-Athenee Palace, str. Episcopiei nr. 1-3, tel. 40(021) 303 3777 (fax 40(021) 3152121, mailto:[email protected]), [50] - 5*****
  • Howard Johnson Grand Plaza, Calea Dorobantilor nr. 5-7, tel. +4021 2015000 (fax +4021 2011888, mailto:[email protected]), [51] - 5*****

Northern area

  • Crowne Plaza, Blvd. Poligrafiei nr. 1, tel. +4021 2240034 (fax +4021 3181302), [52] - 5*****

Palace of Parliament area

Gara de Nord area

  • Astoria, Blvd. Dinicu Golescu nr. 27, tel 40(021)3189989 - 2**
  • Ibis-Nord, Calea Grivitei nr. 143, tel. 40(021)2222722 (fax 40(021)2222723, mailto:[email protected]) - 3***
  • The Funky Chicken Hostel, Str. Gen. Berthelot 63. Close to Gara de Nord (10 min), the main squares, and other attractions. A good hostel for around 8€!

Otopeni area

  • Vila Gabriela, Str. Margaritarului 18, Vila A 104, Otopeni, judetul Ilfov, tel: 40(021) 2362053 (mailto:[email protected]) - It's located just outside Bucharest on the way to the international airport. That is why it is well connected to the center: you can use the but for the airport that passes very often. The number of the bus is 783, it goes from the airport to Piata Unirii and back. The return ticket is 5 lei, you can buy it on the bus, last ride is at about 23:00; be early because they are not very punctual. The place is a very nice big house managed by a friendly couple, Carmina and Vlad. Carmina can speak English, French and Italian. The rooms are clean and welcoming. The double room costs 25 euro/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 euro/night. The breakfast is always included. If you contact them by email, they might offer you to come to pick you up at the airport for 8 euros. According the standard prices in Romania, this is very expensive. The 783 bus goes there straight away and it is much cheaper but, since you don't know exactly where it is, you might consider accepting it. Then, when you'll become more expert of the local transport, you can do by yourself.
  • Golden Tulip Sky Gate, Calea Bucurestilor nr. 283, Otopeni, judetul Ilfov, tel. +4(021) 2036500 (fax +4(021) 203.65.10, mailto:[email protected]), [53]

Apartment rental

  • Bucharestaccommodation.com, tel. 4(021) 3306439, 0040 723214491 (mailto:[email protected]), [54] - affordable apartments starting from 30E/day, in Downtown Bucharest, 3*** hotel standard, with queen size bed, CATV, local calls & Internet connection. They organize Bucharest sightseeing and tours all over the country from 50E/2pers.
  • Visali, str. Occidentului 25, tel: 4021 3003000 (fax: (4021) 3190919, mailto:[email protected]),[55] - 3***.If you don't need any hotel services, you can get a short term rental on a pleasant, centrally located apartment for a price comparable to a midrange hotel like the Capitol (with good discounts for long-term stays). The office staff speaks excellent English.
  • Relax Comfort Suites, Blvd. Nicolae Balcescu nr.22, tel. +4021 3110210 (fax + 4021 3110213, mailto:[email protected]), [56] - 4****

Camping

  • Camping Băneasa/Casa Alba Address: Aleea Privighetorilor 1-3, at the edge of the Băneasa Forest, close to the Băneasa Airport [57]. 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.

Stay safe

Buses are safe, but use your common sense, and use internal pockets, just to be 100% sure. Other than that, you'll see that Bucharest is a far safer city than its western european counterparts.

Bucharest has perhaps the largest population of stray dogs for a city in eastern Europe (numbering several hundred thousand). Although their numbers are gradually decreasing due to projects by the City Hall, they still remain a threat to safety as at least ten people have to be hospitalized every day for painful dog attacks, and at night they tend to form packs which greatly increases their danger. Rabies vaccinations are not required but recommended: 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, and thus 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.

Walking around at night is fine except for the dog problem. It is very difficult for anyone to get away with violent crime because everything is packed so closely together, any loud noise will attract attention. And 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.

Stay healthy

Drinking tap water should (at least in theory) be safe in Bucharest. However, in many parts of the city, the water smells and tastes quite foul, mostly because of the huge amounts of chlorine added into the water and because of the old pipe network that the city has at its disposal. Most locals do not drink tap water and will buy bottled water for drinking, but will use the tap water for cooking. Thus, it is recommended to buy bottled water - locals prefer sparkling (carbonated) mineral water (apă minerală) to non-carbonated water (apă plată). Water is available in 1.5 or 2 liter bottles (both carbonated and non-carbonated, about 1.2-2.2 RON/bottle) or in 5 liter bottles (non-carbonated, about 3.0-5.0 RON/bottle).

Those with allergies may find Bucharest annoying in that it is both hot and very dusty in the summer, with temperatures easily exceeding 40 C in July and August, so bring whatever you might need to stay comfortable. Please note that there are very limited shaded areas in Bucharest, so, during the summer, sun strokes and heat strokes can be very dangerous.

Pharmacies are usually open between 9 AM and 6 PM, but many 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.

Get out

  • 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 monastery is quite hard to get to, and you may 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.
  • Bucharest is one of the starting points for trips inside Romania. See the country article for longer trips.



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