Eastern Europe has a lot of hidden gems just dying to be explored. One of them is the capital of Romania – nicknamed the Little Paris between two World Wars.
Are you planning a family vacation or a little old stag party adventure in Bucharest? You should definitely mark this city as your next tourist destination because it will keep you exploring and on your feet constantly. It’s surprising how this nation hasn’t made it on most tourists’ radars. It is home to some of the most renowned attraction sites in the world, including the Palace of the Parliament which is considered the world’s heaviest – yes, the heaviest – administrative building to date.
If you intend to explore the beautiful capital city of Romania, below are 6 must-do activities and places to see you should definitely make room in your itinerary.
Caru’ cu Bere
Caru’ cu Bere is Bucharest’s oldest beerhouse and restaurant well known for its peasant-girl hostesses and traditional Romanian delicacies. It is a bustling and vibrant place worth exploring, especially if you need a quality locale for your stag do pub crawl list.
The Neo-gothic styled floors decorated with colorful mosaics and curved paneling really make it pop out. It’s quite an attraction for both locals and tourists because you can savor some authentic grub and experience the folk tunes firsthand. This is Romanian culture 101.
Ancient churches and monasteries
Bucharest boasts some of the world’s oldest churches dating back as early as the 15th century. The city has approximately 311 religious settlements, and most of these holy grounds are still used for worship. Some even conduct sacral and communal rituals as they used to centuries ago.
These structures have survived the earthquakes, wars, and the tooth of communism to remain one the most visited attraction sites in Bucharest. Interestingly, some of these monasteries are hidden, and you will be required to go beyond the buildings to explore them fully. They are usually located in impossibly small corners and are characterized by high steeples with signature details, which include stone balustrades and raised pillars. These early churches are found within the Choral Temple, Bucur Church, Antim Monastery and Stavropoleos Church among others.
The Palace of the Parliament
This mentioned monolithic structure is famous for being the second most enormous administrative building on the planet, second only to the Pentagon. Interestingly enough, it is also known to be the heaviest in the world. It consists of 20 floors, 8 of which are underground floors and boasts over 3000 rooms.
The designing of the palace involved over 700 architects led by a 28-year-old-woman and chief – Anca Petrescu. Among the most fascinating features about this building include underground tunnels used by Nicolae Ceaușescu – the longtime dictator of Romania who once had to flee the building during the revolution against him.
National Museum of art
This museum features some of the country’s most comprehensive and complex fine art collections which include jewelry, mural paintings, woodcarvings and sculptures, manuscripts and icons. The museum building itself is historical and dates back to 1837 during the era of a famous noble Ghica family. It is also home to the treasured fragments that were excavated from the churches and monasteries demolished during the 1980s.
If you really want to push your limits in Bucharest, try skydiving. This activity has grown in popularity and is now a preferred sports activity for both adults and kids (with, of course, professional supervision).
Bear in mind that skydiving is mostly available during the weekends and legal holidays. You can check out some reliable skydiving centers in Bucharest and enjoy the thrill while having a spectacular view of the Danube and the majestic Carpathian Mountains.
Bucharest is home to a vast number of parks that are really worth exploring. Herăstrău Park is the biggest and offers a variety of outdoor activities such as boat riding, bike riding and large playgrounds for kids.
This park also features the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum – an open-air ethnographic museum that will send you back to the nation’s authentic historic days. If you are planning a great family vacation in Bucharest, do not by any chance miss out on the adventure Herastrau park has prepared for you.
Opened in 1960s, Cișmigiu Gardens is arguably the oldest “park” in Bucharest. It is often mistaken for a park due to its beautiful English-style lawns, lush trees, picturesque fountains, and boating lakes. It is merely an extensive garden but an amazing place to chill and hang out, nevertheless. You can also find a landmark restaurant Monte Carlo nestled within its vibrant greenery and luxurious pre-communist buildings divided by the surrounding Regina Maria Boulevard.
Lastly, we have the Parcul Izvor, and it’s considered the most silent park in Bucharest. It is very quiet here. That is why a walk through this beautiful and peaceful park is a meditative experience. People purposefully come here to enjoy the vegetation, breathe deeply and just pause every once in a while to relieve stress and anxiety.
You won’t make a mistake with Bucharest, that is a given! From savory traditional Romanian cuisine and colorful load markets to peaceful parks and pristine architectural designs, this city is bound to give you a fascinating experience for your entire family and friends. And should you want to turn things up a notch – Bucharest’s energetic nightlife opens its arms to everyone, costs are incredibly minimal, and fun will last after dawn. Little Paris has everything for everyone.