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I have a confession to make: I don’t love every city to which I travel. There, I said it. I found Ottawa boring and didn’t like the vibe in Copenhagen. However, I try to give every place a second chance because while I hated Paris on my first trip, I fell in love with it on my subsequent trips. Paris is still my favorite city in the world. That’s why I thought I would enjoy Bucharest in the summer. I first traveled to the Romanian capital in the fall of 2016 and didn’t like it, but as the city has a lot of parks, I figured it might be pretty in the summer. I went back last week, but it turns out I still dislike the Bucharest. Well, I can’t love every place in the world. Nonetheless, there are things that I like in this Eastern European capital, and I’m going to share them with you in case you find yourself in this part of the world for a few days. Here are my favorite things to do in Bucharest, Romania.
I spent four days in Bucharest, Romania and was there mainly to visit a friend but also to see if I might like the city a little bit more in the summer. A few days here are certainly going to be enough for you to get a feel of the Romanian capital.
Bucharest, or București in Romanian, has an international airport with connections to many European capitals and other parts of the world.
While most people from abroad probably use Bucharest as a starting point for exploring the rest of Romania, there are things you can learn about the country in its capital and largest city.
Like most capital cities, Bucharest’s history will tell you a lot about Romanian history in general, as it was where decision-makers ruled the entire country.
If you’ve been to Bucharest, you know that the city now attracts Western tourists who are looking for cheap drinks and entertainment, but I’m going to share three of my favorite things to do.
Take in Some Fresh Air in Bucharest’s Parks
While Bucharest is a party hot spot, it is also an excellent place for people who want a more relaxing city trip. There are various parks throughout the city which add some much-needed nature to this otherwise gray city.
On both my trips, I spent quite a bit of time in the various city parks. Given that I live in a city that doesn't have a lot of nature, it was an excellent way to recharge on some much-needed fresh air without having to leave behind the comforts of a major European city.
You may not be able to see all of Bucharest’s parks, but you should make time for the following three: Herăstrău Park, Cişmigiu Gardens, and the Botanical Garden.
Herăstrău Park in the north of the city is the largest of Bucharest’s parks surrounding the artificial lake of the same name fed by the city’s Colentina river. The park is enormous, and you could spend days here relaxing and enjoying the peaceful scenery.
The Cişmigiu Gardens are much smaller but also feature an artificial lake. Cişmigiu is the oldest park in Bucharest and easy to reach given its central location.
The city established the Botanical Garden in the picturesque Cotroceni neighborhood in the late 19th century. I like how colorful and exotic botanical gardens can be, and I enjoyed this one a lot.
There are more parks in Bucharest, and you could probably spend days in the city without leaving its parks. Go ahead and explore as many as you can!
Visit the Village Museum
This open-air museum was created in the mentioned Herăstrău Park in 1936 by transporting houses from different regions of the country to the capital. Yes, that’s right: Buildings were moved from other parts of Romania to be reassembled and displayed in the Village Museum.
If you don’t have the time to visit other regions in Romania, this museum is an excellent way of getting familiar with traditional Romanian life in the countryside. You can stroll through the museum and get an idea of how villagers have been living for centuries.
Read or Buy a Book at Cărturești Carusel
If you don’t visit the Old Town, it will be like not having been to Bucharest at all. There are bars, clubs, and restaurants here that will keep you entertained for days.
Bucharest is, after all, one of the hot spots for cheap entertainment for Westerners. There is, however, a little oasis of culture in the midst of all these establishments.
While Cărturești Carusel is part of a big chain of bookstores and sells tons of knick-knacks aside from books, this particular store has managed to be much more classy. Located, in a beautifully renovated building from the 19th century. You can browse through Romanian and foreign-language books here and even go to the cafeteria on the top floor to start reading your newly purchased book right away.
Whether you come here solely to look at the beautiful interior or to have a chat in the cafeteria with friends, Cărturești Carusel is a must in Bucharest.
Have you ever been to Bucharest? What did you think?
Half Bulgarian Turk, half German living life as an expat in Greece.
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