The best of Bucharest in a day
Do you have just one day to spend in Bucharest, the capital of Romania? Yes, the city is a great choice for a leisurely weekend getaway filled with beautiful architecture and delicious food. It’s a cheap destination with an excellent restaurant scene and bursting nightlife. The city is a unique mix of Art Nouveau architecture and neglected buildings left from the communist rule.
Old Town of Bucharest
Wandering through the Old town can turn out to be quite a stroll through both history and nowadays social life. Walkable throughout, you can choose between the great variety of bars, pubs and restaurants should you need to take a small break. The old town is also full of shops where you can buy souvenirs from, of pastries or even better, gelaterias. If the weather is nice and sunny, you can stay at the terraces that are on virtually all the streets of Old Town. otherwise, you can quickly jump into the National History Museum nearby or the National Art Gallery. Make sure you also visit the Macca-Vilacrosse Passage: it’s a very elegant fork-shaped tunnel through the old buildings where you can enjoy a coffee in the more intimate bars there or the atmosphere of the Egyptian cafes. Also, look out for the beautiful churches that are dotted about.
Visit Carturesti Carusel Bookstore
Carturesti Carusel or the “Carousel of Light” is an amazing bookstore that opened in 2015 in the heart of Bucharest on Lipscani street inside a beautifully restored elegant XIXth century building renovated by the current owner. The bookstore runs on six levels using about 1000m2 area. Carturesti Carousel is a cultural experience providing space for reading, socializing and artistic exploration of the heart of the city. You can also enjoy a drink or cake at the cafeteria on the top floor of the bookstore.
Admire Romanian Athenaeum
One of Bucharest’s symbols, the Romanian Athenaeum is a concert hall built at the end of the XIXth century by the French architect Albert Galleron and is now the most prestigious and beautiful concert hall of the capital. This unique historical monument is also the headquarters of the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. Its interior is even more impressive than its exterior: four Carrera marble spiral stairs, an arch decorated with medallions depicting various sciences, organ realized at the George Enescu’s proposal and the concert hall adorned with amazing frescoes. So if you have some time, go see it also from inside or even better – attend a concert there and enjoy its world-famous acoustics. In recent years, Romanian Athenaeum was included in the European Heritage List for its historical importance to Europe and the EU.
Have dinner at Caru’ cu Bere
If you want to go back in time into some of the most vivid and deciduous sceneries from a hundred years back, then definitely dead to Caru’ cu Bere (The beer Waggon) which beautifully captures the nostalgia from those times. It’s a gothic revived building designed by Austrian architect Siegfrid Kofczinsky, in 1899. It is well known for its distinctive art nouveau interior decoration. But apart from the looks of the place and old recipes with great food, Caru’ cu Bere will also put a show for you. Be it contemporary dance shows at which you’re invited by the dancers to participate or traditional music played by the few artists to know the old tunes.
Near Caru’ cu Bere, in the heart of Bucharest’s Old Town, you can find, somehow hidden away – the Stavropoleos Monastery. Although small, the church hides inside frescoes and a gorgeous interior courtyard, probably the best and contrasting view of the entire city centre. The monastery was constructed by archimandrite Ioanichie in 1724, during the second reign of Nicolae Mavrocordat in Wallachia. In 1897, however, other buildings were erected according to the plans of the architect Ion Mincu leading to today’s small and hidden retreat in the busy life of Old Town.
Take a walk in Cismigiu Park
Right in the centre of Bucharest, Cismigiu Gardens are the city’s first public garden, opened in 1854. The park was designed by landscape designer Wilhelm Mayer in the style of English gardens and features playgrounds, a foyer that hosts live concerts in summer and plenty of green meadows for picnics. An artificial lake in the middle of Cismigiu Gardens is a perfect spot for renting a boat in summer or a pair of skates in winter.
Marvel at the size of the Palace of Parliament
The Palace of Parliament, also known as the People’s House is one of the most extravagant and expensive building projects in the history of mankind and the world’s second-largest building by surface area after the US Pentagon. To build the Palace, Ceausescu ordered to demolish most of Bucharest’s historic districts including many churches and synagogues and about 30,000 homes. With its 270m width and 240m long, the Palace of Parliament is 12 stories tall with at least 8 underground levels. Its 1,100 rooms were constructed only from Romanian materials. In present days with Many of the premises being unoccupied, the building houses Parliament of Romania and the National Museum of Contemporary Art. It also has a nice terrace on the top floor where you can enjoy a drink and the amazing view of the city.
Go back in time at National Village Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”
Easily to be reached from Herastrau Park from the lakeside and extending on 14ha, the Village Museum is one of the first open-air ethnographic museums in the world. It recreates the past three centuries of the Romanian village from villages in the far reaches of the country. So in the middle of Bucharest, you can see a “village” with monuments, houses, entire yards and artefacts from the end of the XVIIth century to the early XXth century. Village Museum’s official opening took place in 1936 in the presence of King Carol II. Today, the permanent exhibition includes 123 distinct complexes, totalling 363 monuments and more than 50 000 objects.
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