The “Small Paris” or simply said : Bucharest

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Bucharest is close to my soul because there I learnt how’s to be an adult, how is to be alone in a foreign country, how’s to be surrounded by strangers, how’s to enjoy the beauty of the moment, how’s to deal with lots of challenges and of course to study, work and from time to time to travel ūüôā¬†Bucharest was my home for about 4 years and since then, I’ve never missed the opportunity to go back there even for a short trip, because every time I go, all the places I used to go are bringing back good memories.

The birth of Bucharest was in 1459 and 403 years later became the Romania. Today, this city is the centre of Romanian media, culture and art. Its architecture is a mix of neo-classical,¬†inter war period ,¬†Bauhaus¬†and¬†Art Deco, Communist-era and modern. One of the most glorious moments in the history of this city was the period between the two World Wars. It was then, the moment when the city’s elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of “Little Paris”.

If you have one free weekend and want to discover the most of this city, I recommend you to start with the Piata Unirii – where is the Palace of Parliament and the beautiful avenue that was build by Ceausescu.¬†One short note here :¬†tourists can visit the Palace of Parliament, but a previous appointment is required!¬†When you’re there and want to see something that not many tourists visit, go on to the¬†Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral¬†(address: Aleea Dealul Mitropoliei, nr. 25). The complex is very nice and the main church is painted from outside as well as inside. This place will be interesting for those interested in architecture and art ūüôā

Not very far from the Palace of Parliament, just across Dambovita river is the Old Bucuresti or the Old Town. There you can find the first Bank of Savings (CEC) with its old and very interesting architecture. The central part of the building is covered by a roof  in the form of a dome made of glass. Other things to be visited here are: the National Museum of History, the National Bank of Romania, many other old and interesting, from architectural point of view, buildings.

Some streets and buildings are still in reconstruction and some are even for sale. If you’re looking for a place to open a restaurant, studio or saloon this can be one of the most valued places in Bucharest. I’m saying it, because, Romania is getting more and more attention from foreign tourists and visitors and when in Bucharest many will take a walk around this area.

Along Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue), you will find the¬†National Museum of Arts¬†and the¬†Romanian Athenaeum –¬†for a virtual tour, you can go¬†here¬†and for more information about performances and information regarding its history please access¬†this page¬†. Old churches that are build of red bricks are still opened to the public, one of them is almost attached to the National Museum of Arts.

If you decide to explore the blvd. Bratianu and Magheru (which are parallel to the Victory Avenue), then you’ll see the¬†National Theater¬†and across the street are the¬†old buildings of the¬†University of Bucharest. If you walk towards Piata Romana, then you’ll find the old building of the¬†Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest. For a vistual tour you can go¬†here.

From Piata Victoriei you have many options: to spend some hours wandering around on the blvd. Dacia, Eminescu street or blvd. Lascar Catargiu. If on the first two mentioned streets you could find various 18th, 19th, early 20th centuries city villas that are hosting now diverse Embassies, Museums and Institutes, then on blvd. Lascar Catargiu you’ll find the¬†Old Observatory Building¬†and many other city villas.

At the end of blvd. Lascar Catargiu¬†you’ll find Piata Victoriei or the Victory square, where are two important buildings: The Government Building – a big squared construction which is not accessible to visitors and the¬†Museum of the Romanian Peasant.

Then after having such a full day visiting and walking a lot, you can have a rest in one of the beautiful parks in Bucharest. My favorite parks are: Cismigiu Gadren (Gradina Cismigiu) and Herastrau Park.

For those who want to try some Romanian foods, I can recommend the following ones:

  • Caru’ cu bere. A very welcoming and warm restaurant. You might say that it looks very expensive, but you’ll be surprised to find reasonable prices. They have a special lunch menu that will cost you ~6 euro and if you’re a student you’ll have a special price of 4 euro ūüėČ
  • City grill. This place is popular among locals. You can have a lunch here for 5 euro and a dinner for less than 10 euro.
  • Curtea berarilor. This restaurants has a lot of space and cheaper drinks, if compared to other pubs and restaurants in the area. The food may seem a bit pricey, but the portions are quite big, therefore can be shared ūüėČ
  • Lacrimi si sfinti, is another restaurant where you can try dishes of 100 years old. This place will suprise you not only by its delicious food, but also by its design.
  • Crama Domneasca. The service is good and the food comes in big portions.
  • Zexe. Here you can try different foods that have the main ingredient the lamb! They have a small shop for those who want to take away a small part of Romanian kitchen.

If you want to try some Turkish food then I will suggest you to go to the¬†City Kebab¬†– the name sais it all, or for a more fine dinning you can try¬†Divan¬†– the chef is Turkish ūüėČ

If you arrive at Otopeni International Airport (Henry Coanda Aiport) and want to reach the city in a fast and convenient way, you can do it by buying tickets to the Express Line that connects Otopeni – Henry Coanda International Airport to Unirea Square, therefore, you’ll have plenty of choices where to step out of the bus. Also, in Piata Victoriei (Victoria Square), Piata Romana (Roman Square), Piata Universitatii (University Square) and Piata Unirii (Unification Square) you’ll find a metro line and buses lines that will take you to any part of the city.
The round trip from and to the International Airport will cost you about 1.5 euro! The full schedule you can download from the following links:

  • Bus schedule¬†from Bucharest to the International Airport¬†you can find and¬†download it to your PC or Smartphone¬†here.
  • Bus schedule from the International Airport to the city, you can consult and download¬†here.

Warning!¬†Keep your expensive things in deep pockets or in a locker at your hotel. The safest way to travel is to avoid crowded buses and places as these are the places where pickpockets are most likely to be. Don’t talk with suspicious people, don’t give advices or any kind of information to LOCALS! And better stay away from suspicious looking people….Romanian educated people won’t come to you and ask for things or information. Don’t be nervous and agitated, because this attracts troubles, just relax and enjoy your trip ūüėČ

I hope these tips will help you enjoy your trip to Bucharest and have a pleasant stay!

One last suggestion : try to find some time and especially a tour agency that will take you to¬†Cotroceni National Museum. In the new part of the building resides the president of the country – Traian Basescu and most of the officials are coming to this place. It’s a very very beautiful place to visit and it’s worth spending some of your time here. Not to forget: to enter you’ll need to provide and ID, Passport and DO NOT TAKE big bags, backpacks with you! All the electronic things will be left at the entrance and will be returned at your exit ūüėČ

Travel safe and wise!

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