Travel

Bucharest is Romania’s capital and largest city, as well as the most important industrial and commercial center of the country.

With 2 million inhabitants in the city proper and more than 2.4 million in the urban area, Bucharest is one of the largest cities in Southeastern Europe.

Welcome to Bucharest

Bucharest is situated on the banks of the Dambovita River, which flows into the Arges River, a tributary of the Danube. Several lakes – the most important of which are Lake Herastrau, Lake Floreasca, Lake Tei, and Lake Colentina – stretch across the northern parts of the city, along the Colentina River, a tributary of the Dambovita. In addition, in the centre of the capital there is a small artificial lake – Lake Cismigiu – surrounded by the Cismigiu Gardens.

The Cismigiu Gardens have a rich history, being frequented by famous poets and writers. Opened in 1847 and based on the plans of German architect Carl F.W. Meyer, the gardens are currently the main recreational area in the city centre.

Climate

Bucharest, like most of Romania, has a temperate-continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. This region of Romania experiences all four seasons, although spring is brief and ends mainly in April. The average high daily temperature in summer is about 29ºC and in winter about 2ºC.

It can get really hot and dry during the summer (40ºC), and really cold during the winter (-20ºC), even though temperatures below -12ºC are extremely rare. Best time to visit is April through June, September through October and early December.

Besides Cismigiu, Bucharest has several other large parks and gardens, including Herastrau Park and the Botanical Garden. Herastrau is located in the north of the city, around Lake Herastrau, and is the site of the Village Museum, while the Botanical Garden is the largest of its kind in Romania and contains over 10,000 species of plants, many of them exotic; it was once a park for the royal family.

Land Area: 226 square KM
Population: 1,75 million

Getting here

You’ll be flying to Henry Coanda International Airport (OTP), the biggest airport in Romania. Speaking of, Henry Coanda built the world’s first jet powered aircraft, did you know that?

The airport is located 16km north of the city and connects by bus, taxi and a shuttle bus to Gara de Nord, Bucharest’s main train station.

Transportation

After arriving at the airport, you can reach downtown by taking the Express Bus. It costs 3,5RON (aprox 1$) and will take you to Unirii Square, through Romana and Universitatii Squares.

Once in the city, you can either take the bus or the subway. The latter is faster and it can take you almost everywhere in the city. You can pick a map from the subway stations. One journey by subway costs 2 RON (45 eurocents) but you can also pick a ticket for the entire day (around 2,2 EUR).

Cabs can be very cheap in Bucharest, if you know the big companies: Speed Taxi (1,39 RON/km – 30 eurocents), Meridian Taxi (1.40 RON/km), Mavi Taxi (1,39 RON/km), Nord Taxi (1,29 RON/km).

Attractions

Bucharest can surprise you in so many ways: Casa Poporului (The House of Parliament) is the second largest bulding in the world, and is located down town.

The Romanian Athenaeum building is also considered to be a symbol of Romanian culture, and since 2007 is on the list of European Heritage sights.

Other cultural venues include the National Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History “Grigore Antipa”, Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul Ţăranului Român), the Village Museum (open-air), and the Military Museum.

During the day, between 10AM-11PM, you can visit two of the biggest shopping malls in Eastern Europe: Baneasa Shopping City and AFI Palace Cotroceni.

In the middle of town, a bunch of really old streets greet you with tons of coffee shops, restaurants and pubs. Located near Unirii Square, the Old Town is the perfect choice when you want to have fun or simply eat.

You can try Romanian beer in an surprising atmosphere at Biutiful (Gabroveni St. 6-8), Irish beer at St. Patrick’s (Smardan St. 25 – try their chocolate lava also, is to die for) and so on, but nothing says better that you are in Romania than Caru’ cu Bere (Stavrapoleos St. 5).

In the Old Town, you can find numerous types of cuisines: Mexican, Italian, Lebanese, Irish, Spanish or Chinese. If you fancy haute cuisine, try Morgan La Dud (Sperantei St. 7, near the University), where one of the chefs from MasterChef Romania creates every day beautiful dishes. Fan of Hard Rock Cafe? You can find it in the biggest park in Bucharest – Herastrau.

Night life in Bucharest

During the night, you can hang out in one of the most known clubs here: Fratelli (affiliated with Nicky Beach from Saint Tropez), BOA, Le Gaga, Gaia, etc.

The prices range from 40EUR per alcohol bottle to 100EUR, and each bottle comes with energizers or juice cans.

There are several clubs in the Old Town too: Mojo (live music during the weekend), Bordello’s, Embassy, Club A, El Comandante, Expirat, etc.

USEFUL TIPS

  • A mobile prepaid card costs 5 EUR+VAT (you need your ID to buy it). Also, you can activate the internet connection on your phone
  • In Romania, all kind of recreational drugs are prohibited
  • Almost everybody here speaks English, so you won’t have difficulties regarding communication with the locals
  • A Euro is valued at around 4,5 RON and it is recommended to exchange your money in the local branches of the banks (BRD, Raiffeisen Bank, Transilvania, Unicredit, BCR, etc)

LET’S LEARN ROMANIAN

SALUT = HELLO
BUNA DIMINEATA = GOOD MORNING
BUNA SEARA = GOOD EVENING
CE FACI? = HOW ARE YOU?