The Weekly Getaway: Bucharest, the Latin exception in Eastern Europe
You know what they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. In the past years, Romania has been strongly degraded by the media. All that pop-ups in people’s mind when they hear the word “Romania” is poverty and thieves. And yet, having lived in Bucharest, the capital, during more than seventeen years, I can assure you that this city is so much more than those poor clichés and is really worth the visit!
The only risk you might encounter? Wanting to come back!
After the end of communism in 1989, Bucharest never stopped booming and developing. You’ll always find little cute places to discover such as simple street food, fancy restaurants, traditional clothing shops or drinking holes. The city has become a reference for party lovers! With almost always-free entries and cheap drinks, Bucharest promises memorable nights.
In terms of cultural activity, Bucharest is maybe not the busiest area but what’s best than getting lost in the tiny streets, contemplating the contrasted architecture and feeling the atmosphere of the city?
There is no best specific date to visit Bucharest. Each season has its particularity. Yet, I always prefer to go there in the summer when it’s warm and when pools and restaurant terraces are open! Be aware that winters can be extremely cold (temperatures can go down up to -20°C) but for snow lovers, it’s a must go during this period! Especially during Christmas time when the entire city is lightened up!
- Mercure - pretty basic as its part of the known chain
- Intercontinental - central location and a bit more upscale, also part of the known chain Intercontinental hotel
- House of Parliament - Biggest historical monument in Europe built by the former dictator Ceausescu. Impressive. Book 24h in advance for a complete tour.
- Herestrau Park - Biggest park of the city located on the northern side of Bucharest.
- Muzeul Taranului - Huge museum on the history of Romania. Get the chance to purchase one of the most iconic fashion items that have inspired a lot of famous creators, the Romanian blouse.
- Carturesti - Amazing bookstore located in the centre of the town. Great architecture and a wide selection of books.
- Dacoma - Local artisan making stunning leather goods. Show him a picture of your dream bag; he’ll make it just for you! (Reasonable prices)
- Lipscani - One of the most vibrant districts of Bucharest. The nightlife there is wild! Cars forbidden.
- Dorobanti - Perpetually evolving district full of cafes and restaurants. Good for shopping as well.
- Domeni Market - One of my favourite spots. An authentic place offering fresh products. My family always get their fruits and veggies from there.
- Grano - Delicious Italian Caterer. Can also grab a seat and enjoy a plate of fresh pasta.
- Gradina Eden - Amazing outdoor space with a hippie atmosphere opened during the summer. Enjoy a cocktail or simply a beer on their wooden tables under the fairy lights.
- Isoletta - Some argue it’s the best Italian restaurant in the city. They might be right. Amazing pasta, fish and crudos. (One of the priciest places of Bucharest).
- Casa di David - Fancy and trendy Mediterranean food restaurant located on the Herestrau Lake. Very good food and beautiful spot.
- La Rue du Pain - French-inspired café. Good for a simple coffee or a quick lunch. Their terrace gets crowded when the sun comes out.
- Linea/Closer to the Moon - My favourite rooftop in Bucharest offering a very good view over the old town.
- Zaitoon - For the oriental food amateurs, this is definitely the best Lebanese restaurant of Bucharest. A must go!
- Caru Cu Bere - Located in Lipscani. A good old-fashioned and fun restaurant where you’ll be able to taste the most traditional Romanian meals.
- Frudisiac - Brunch spot with the unavoidable avocado toasts and maple syrup pancakes.
The old town is full of clubs and bars where people enjoy their nights. No matter what your tastes are, you’ll definitely find the right place to have fun!