Is Bucharest Worth Visiting? A Complete Guide

is Bucharest worth visiting?
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The truth of the matter is… when I first heard about Romania; I was hooked.  I fell head over heels for the picturesque images on Google.  The frightening idea of Dracula.  And the intriguing thought that the entire region of Transylvania portrayed Dracula’s story.  I had this idea that no matter what I had to visit Romania at some point in my life.

So when the time came that I had infinite time off of work, I booked a flight.  Reserved a car.  And committed to spending nearly two weeks in Romania.  And while I wondered if Bucharest was worth visiting, I ended up booking four nights in Romania’s capital city.  Below you’ll find my recommendations on Bucharest and everything else you need to know about visiting.

 

If you’re planning a road trip through Romania, don’t miss…

 

Is Bucharest Worth Visiting?

I have to admit – Bucharest is not my favorite place.  Which saddens me because overall, I absolutely loved Romania.  In fact, it’s one of my top favorite countries in Europe!  And while I didn’t love Bucharest, if you’re planning a trip to Romania, chances are you’ll spend a little bit of time here.  I just would not recommend coming to Romania strictly for Bucharest (I would only come if you have time to venture to other parts of the country) and if you do visit Bucharest, I would only stay for 1-2 days.

 

What is Bucharest Best Known for?

Bucharest is best known for its stunning architectural diversity, prominently featuring the Palace of the Parliament, one of the heaviest buildings in the world.  Bucharest is often referred to as the “Little Paris of the East” due to its early 20th century transformation, featuring grand boulevards and Belle Époque architecture inspired by Paris.  Bucharest is also celebrated for its dynamic arts scene, hosting numerous galleries and classical music venues like the Romanian Athenaeum.  Historically, Bucharest has a rich and layered past, with connections to iconic figures such as Vlad the Impaler, adding a touch of historical intrigue.

 

Is Bucharest Safe?

Overall, I would say that yes – Bucharest is safe.  I visited as a solo female traveler and did not experience anything “unsafe”.  However, Bucharest still gives off that Eastern European vibe so people can seem cold and you do often wonder if you’re being ripped off.  If you visit Bucharest, just take basic safety precautions (don’t walk alone late at night, etc) and be on the lookout for any strange behavior.

Some of the most common scams in Bucharest include…

  • Taxi drivers overcharging tourists – going a longer route or using faulty meters
  • “Menu scam” – menus are given to foreigners with higher prices than what locals are charged – make sure to check your bill before paying
  • Locals “helping” with luggage is generally a way to get money out of you or pickpocket you

 

Is Romania Safe for American Tourists?

I think that this is a main question on people’s minds now that Russia has invaded Ukraine.  However, I would still say that yes, Romania is safe for American tourists.  Like I mentioned above, make sure to take basic safety precautions, beware of pickpockets, and you should be fine.  Romania is a truly beautiful country and I hope that safety is not a reason that deters you from visiting.

 

What is the Best Time to Visit Bucharest?

Bucharest, Romania, is best visited during its spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) months when the weather is mild and pleasant, ideal for walking tours and outdoor festivals.  These periods avoid the peak tourist season and the extreme temperatures of summer.  However, for those who don’t mind a chillier visit, late fall and winter can offer festive markets and snowy scenes with far fewer tourists.  The city’s rainy season typically occurs in May and June, though showers are generally short and not too disruptive.

I visited Bucharest in October and the weather was great!  It was cool, but not too cold and each day was still sunny.

 

How to Get to Bucharest

Chances are, you’ll be flying into Bucharest.  The airport in Bucharest is called Bucharest Henri Coanda International airport and it’s located about 11 miles outside of the city.  To book a flight to Bucharest, I recommend using a big search engine to compare flight prices and airlines.  (If you’re based in the US, make sure to sign up for Going for cheap flight notifications).

Once you land at the airport, to get to the city you can take an Uber, taxi, or bus.  If you want an Uber, it operates the same as it does in the states.  If you choose to go the taxi route you’ll order a taxi from the yellow touchscreens at “arrival”.  Each taxi is labeled with the price of a ride – $/km.  Make sure to choose a taxi that is anywhere from 1.7-2 Lei/km.  The taxi should not cost more than 55 Lei to get to the old town.  Make sure that the taxi meter is on!  If you want to book a taxi with an English speaking driver ahead of time, you can do so here.

For an even cheaper alternative opt for a bus.  The express bus 783 leaves the airport every 30 minutes.  The price is cheap (only $1-2), but expect the ride to take nearly an hour.  When the bus drops you off you’ll need to walk or grab a ride to your final destination.

 

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT TO BUCHAREST HERE!

 

Where to Stay in Bucharest

I would try to base yourself in or as close to the old town as possible.  Here are some of my top hotel recommendations in Bucharest…

 

BOOK YOUR STAY IN BUCHAREST HERE!

 

The Best Things to Do in Bucharest

Why I Won't Be Visiting Bucharest Again... But You Should

Below are some of my favorite things and must see attractions when you visit Bucharest!

  • Visit Carturesti Carusel, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world
  • Go on a free walking tour to get a lay of the land and learn the history of Bucharest (Google “free walking tour Bucharest” and you’ll be met with a plethora of options)
  • Visit Stavropoleos Church, a beautiful monastery
  • Take a day trip to the famous castles around Bucharest
  • Visit the markets and join a traditional food tour
  • Learn about communism in Romania
  • Take a tuk-tuk ride as you learn about the history of Bucharest
  • Meet other travelers and experience the night life in Bucharest by joining a pub crawl
  • Experience the wine scene by joining a wine tour through the city

 

The Best Bars & Restaurants in Bucharest

Why I Won't Be Visiting Bucharest Again... But You Should

One thing that impressed me in Bucharest was the number of incredible bars and restaurants.  The traditional Romanian food was one of a kind and paired with the local wine… heaven.  Below are my favorite bars and restaurants in Bucharest!

  • Caru’ cu Bere – This is one of the most touristy spots in Bucharest, but I also don’t think it can be missed.  Caru’ cu Bere is the oldest beer house in Bucharest having opened in 1879!  The building was designed in the art nouveau form, designed by an Austrian architect
  • Lacrimi si Sfinti – A traditional Romanian restaurant in the heart of old town
  • Origo – A coffee shop on the outskirts of the old town; close enough to walk to, but far enough to draw more locals than tourist
  • Pâine si Vin – A wine bar on the outskirts of old town; they only serve Romanian wine and pizza
  • The Urbanist A unique cocktail bar that doubles as a men’s clothing store

 

FAQ

Q:  “Is Bucharest or Budapest better?”

  • A:  While the two cities are completely different, I’d have to say Budapest is infinitely better.  (It’s one of my favorite capital cities in Europe!).  If you plan to visit Budapest, don’t miss this post.

Q:  “Why is Bucharest famous?”

  • Bucharest is known for its unique blend of historical and modern architecture, particularly highlighted by the massive Palace of the Parliament.  The city also boasts a vibrant arts scene, with a rich array of galleries and classical performances.  Additionally, its historical connections, including those to figures like Vlad the Impaler, add a layer of mystique.

Q:  “Is Bucharest safe for solo female travelers?”

  • A:  I visited Bucharest as a solo female traveler in 2019 and I did feel safe, but I also took basic safety precautions.  I didn’t go out at night by myself; I didn’t walk home late at night, etc.  At times I felt “uneasy” but I’m a very paranoid person, especially when traveling alone.  However, I would go back to Bucharest alone and not give it a second thought.

Q:  “Is Bucharest cheap?”

  • A:  Yes, I found Bucharest to be an affordable city, along with the entirety of Romania.  If you’re wanting your dollar to go far, Romania is a great country to visit.

Q:  “What is the currency in Bucharest?”

  • A:  Although Romania is part of the EU, it operates on its own currency – the Lei also known as the Ron.  The dollar is much stronger than the lei so your money will go far in Romania.  Know that a majority of places take a credit card, but it’s smart to have cash on hand just in case.

 

Romania Essentials – What You Need & Need to Know About Visiting Romania

TRAVELING THROUGH ROMANIA

  • For car rentals in Romania, I recommend Discover Cars (if you rent a car in Romania you will need an international drivers license)
  • To get around by bus, I recommend Bookaway
  • To get around by train, I recommend Omio
  • To book a flight to Romania, I recommend using a big search engine (if you’re based in the US, sign up for Going for cheap flight alerts)
  • If you want an English speaking driver waiting to pick you up at the airport, use Welcome Pickups
  • I highly recommend travel insurance when traveling through Romania – I use and recommend SafetyWing
  • If you need an e-SIM card, aloSIM for an easy and affordable e-SIM (use code “KYLEE5” for a 5% discount)

ACCOMODATION IN ROMANIA

  • To easiest way to book hotels in Romania is through Booking.com or Expedia
  • The easiest way to book rentals in Romania is through VRBO

TOURS IN ROMANIA

  • For tours and activities in Romania, I recommend using Viator

WHAT TO BRING TO ROMANIA

 

So, is Bucharest worth visiting?  To access other parts of Romania – yes.  On its own – no.  I hope that this guide helps inform and inspire your travels through Romania.  If you have any questions about Bucharest or Romania, let me know in a comment below!

 

While I didn’t love Bucharest, I did love Romania; check out these posts to guide your travels…

 


For more recommendations on things to see and do in Romania, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching #ppinromania or finding “Romania” in my highlights.


 

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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.  Passports and Preemies is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees.

 


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Kylee is a NICU nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee has been a NICU nurse for 9 years and a travel nurse for 7 years. Since starting her career in travel nursing, she’s worked in six different states, 10 different hospitals, volunteered as a nurse in North Macedonia, worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia, and has traveled to 45+ countries. Her favorite travel nurse assignment was in Seattle and her favorite destination is Georgia (the country). Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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9 Comments

  1. October 30, 2019 / 6:14 pm

    I felt similarly about Bucharest and Romania in general, but I think the time of year (end of winter) might have affected my experience quite a bit. I quickly realized that most of the photos you see online are all the same Instagram highlights. I still think it’s a place worth seeing once, but like you I’m not itching to go back. Four nights was a long time!

    • November 3, 2019 / 6:41 am

      Totally! Its funny how one thing such as weather, a bad tour guide, etc can change your entire trip. But I agree, Bucharest seemed like a lot of IG highlights but didn’t live up to the hype for me!

  2. LauraN
    March 4, 2020 / 10:27 am

    Hi.
    As a Romanian living in Bucharest I have to underline the fact that this is one of the SAFEST places when it comes to capital cities in the world.
    Mugging, violence and guns are rare issues here (unlike many cities in the USA or Western Europe).
    The fact that many people are very poor and hang out asking for money or being loud is just what you get after a hard period of communism where a big part of the population didn’t even dream for education or being rich, it was all about survival.
    Please research what the crime levels in the cities you are visiting before making such statements.
    Thank you

    • March 4, 2020 / 9:19 pm

      Hi Lauran! Thanks for sharing, I always love a locals perspective. I never spoke directly to the crime levels in the country, I was only stating my own personal experiences. I love that travel allows us all to experience things differently and while some may love and adore Bucharest, that just wasn’t my personal experience.

  3. A review
    April 21, 2022 / 5:18 am

    Lmao this is one of the dumbest reviews I’ve read. The city doesn’t look like the images on Instagram? Worried you’d run into rude people like seriously? As an American I wouldn’t be surprised about your review . Typical American ignorance. Of course the us is much safer with its constant school shootings and rampant gun violence. Stick to Montana or whatever redneck place you come from xoxo

    • April 26, 2022 / 1:33 am

      First, I love that anyone who leaves an unnecessarily nasty comment doesn’t have the guts to leave a name. Honestly, grow a pair. Second, I’m from Nebraska, not Montana and I’m proud AF about it. After traveling to 40 countries by the age of 32, I promise you – I have more insight into this world than you will EVER know or understand. But if you’re looking to read a blog of strictly fake reviews – I can assure you, this isn’t it.

      • Mike M
        December 30, 2022 / 2:28 pm

        Way to go!
        I am considering a visit to Romania and found your review honest and insightful. It mirrored my neighbors thoughts, since they recently returned from visiting several countries in the region and Romania was the only one they said they would never return to. I will probably still plan a trip, however i will limit my time in Bucharest.
        Also, I really enjoyed your reply to no-name. Their reply was way off mark…I hope I don’t run into them 🙂
        Wishing you the best on future travels

        • December 30, 2022 / 4:10 pm

          Hi Mike, your comment was a bright spot in my day! I’m glad you found this post and thank you for reading. Overall, I really liked Romania outside of Bucharest and think that it is an underrated gem in Eastern Europe. I truly hope you get to go and come back and tell me what you thought ;).

  4. jesse
    March 30, 2023 / 2:05 pm

    Hey I’m thinking about visiting well I am visiting. just don’t know when yet I’ve heard and worry about the same things but did this happen to you while you were there “Worrying I was being “screwed” over. Worrying about whether or not my taxi driver dropped me off at the correct address. Watching my back at every twist and turn” Ive spoken to another person who says the same thing but says that nothing like that actually did happen.

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