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Day 1 in Bucharest

Welcome to Bucharest! Upon arrival at the airport, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check-in, and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!

We recommend you get acquainted with the city, Bucharest was known as “Paris of the East” in the 1900s for its reputation for the high life and the art nouveau influences reminiscent of Paris. The capital city has a lot to offer visitors with a mixture of old and new architecture and attractions found throughout the city, the new “Old Town”, and a thriving art scene. The city has a walkable city center and decent transportation system making it easy to connect to the sights and attractions. Taking a walking tour is a great way to get accustomed to the city, there are free guided walking tours of the city center.

The city is known for its beautiful tree-lined boulevards and grandiose Belle Epoque buildings, it is Romania’s largest city and a bustling metropolis today. Check out the charming churches, historical palaces, and fantastic museums such as the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, which tells the tale of the country’s long and rich peasant tradition with elaborate woodwork, pottery making, egg painting, and weaving skills shown educationally and amusingly.

See the stunning People’s House or Palace of the People, a massive famous structure in the city featuring over 1,000 rooms. A Totalitarian and modernist Neoclassical building is the biggest civilian building in the world, the heaviest building in the world, and the most expensive to build. The complex consists of the two houses of the Parliament of Romania, an international conference center, and three museums: the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of the Palace, and the Museum of Communist Totalitarianism, all are well worth a visit and will keep you occupied for hours. There are hour-long guided tours of the 1980s building which is adorned with tons of marble, hardwood, and gold.

Head over to the Old Town/Lipscani neighborhood for some lunch, the locals refer to it as “the youngest old town in the world” due to a recent makeover there are brand new buildings that stand next to ones that are hundreds of years old. Stroll through the charming cobblestone streets filled with people, shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants making it a go-to place for travelers and locals alike.

Old Town is the ideal location for dining and people-watching in the city. There is a soaring cafe culture in Bucharest with quaint cafes found on every corner serving up delicious freshly brewed coffee and sweet treats. There are plenty of other eateries on the streets many offering outdoor seating on beautiful terraces where you can sit back and relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

You will find many of the city's attractions on the narrow streets of Old Town including the National Museum of Romanian History and the Romanian Athenaeum. You will also come across quite a few interesting churches like St. Nicholas Russian Church and the stunning quaint Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse with its yellow glass ceiling.

Be sure to visit Carturesti Carusel, the now-famous bookstore in Old Town, a book lover’s dream! The bright, airy, and elegant establishment is comprised of six floors and home to around 10,000 books along with 5,000 albums and DVDs. There is a multi-media area, an art gallery, a gift shop, and a cafe bistro on the top floor with great views.

Within walking distance is the beautiful Cismigiu Gardens, a public park with old trees and wrought iron signposts and benches covering several acres. Stroll through the park after lunch and wander by the lake decorated with fountains, and flowers. This park is an important monument in the history of the city, the park and lake form the oldest and largest park in the city’s central area.

After a busy day of sightseeing head back to your hotel to rest for a while, shower, and head back out for a wonderful authentic Romanian dinner. Old Town is again one of the most popular areas in the city for dining. The Manuc’s Inn Restaurant is the oldest operating hotel in Bucharest, and possibly the oldest across all of Europe. The restaurant/inn features a massive courtyard with charming old fashioned balconies, the courtyard is where the tables are set up for the restaurant along with a bar and coffee house, the inn is a spectacular place to enjoy your first dinner in the city with traditional Romanian food in an authentic atmosphere.

Old Town is also the epicenter of Bucharest nightlife, where plenty of bars, pubs, clubs, cafes, and restaurants offer great evening entertainment. If you feel like an after-dinner drink, some dancing, and music then the streets of Old Town are the place to be.

Day 2 in Bucharest

Start your day with a visit to one of the many cafes or coffee houses in the city for some freshly brewed coffee and pastries. Take a trip to one of the city’s beloved markets, Piata Obor is bursting with fresh produce, meats, local wine, and delicacies such as honey, white cheese, rose petal jam, and walnut honey. The market also has a section selling unique authentic Romanian souvenirs such as beaded jewelry, ceramics, and clothing. The food served here is also amazing, be sure to sample the meatballs or sausages served with fresh bread. Take in the fun, vibrant atmosphere of the market and enjoy a true Romanian experience, you will need a few hours to explore the massive marketplace.

The city of Bucharest is home to many churches, if you are going to visit only one make it the captivating Stavropoleos Monastery Church. The church was founded by the Greek monk loanikie Strtonikeas in 1724, there used to be an entire Orthodox monastery here for nuns until the late 19th century. What is left today is the striking Brancovan architectural style church, the facade features ornate arches, with small medallions of saints above them and there are beautiful frescoes and an iconostasis inside. The church’s courtyard is a hidden gem and the perfect place for some quiet time in the morning.

Head over to Revolution Square (Piata Revolutiei) on Calea Victoriei, one of the main squares in the city, and once the location of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. The stunning square is surrounded by some of the city’s most important and impressive buildings including the Romanian Athenaeum, and two monuments that celebrate the revolution. The marble Memorial of Rebirth was erected in 2005 and includes the names of over 1,058 victims of the bloody revolution, and a bronze statue of Luliu Maniu, the Romanian Prime Minister imprisoned by the Communist Party.

The Royal Palace of Bucharestis also found on Revolution Square, it was once the King of Romania’s residence before the Communist regime took over. The palace has been restored several times after being damaged by fire and during the 1989 Revolution, and today it is home to the National Museum of Art of Romania.

Bucharest’s own Arc de Triomphe, which was originally built in 1878 of wood and celebrated Romania’s Independence, the current version was completed in 1935 featuring a Neoclassical look and closely resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with the Romanian Royal Crown and scenes from WWI inscribed into its stonework.

The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum of Bucharest is the highlight of King Mihai I Park. A unique open-air ethnographic museum that stretches through Herastrau Park, depicting the traditional Romanian village. The museum was created by Dimitrie Gusti in 1936 and over 300 buildings including genuine farms, thatched barns, churches, workshops, mills, and peasant houses relocated here from across the country. Throughout the museum, visitors will notice each region boasts its own peasant-style farms, the park itself has plenty more to offer with lawns, forests, and Lake Herastrau with plenty of restaurants along the shore with beautiful scenery to enjoy a drink and some lunch.

The ruins of Old Princely Court (Curtea Veche) are nestled in the heart of Old Town and were the palatial residence of Wallachian princes. Its best-known occupant was Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s tale of Dracula. There is a statue of the infamous Romanian prince still standing along with the court walls, several arches, and columns. The Old Court Museum is also found here and a worthwhile visit featuring pottery, and artifacts found during an archaeological dig around the ruins.

After another busy day of sightseeing, it’s time to relax, make your way to Therme Bucuresti, the largest thermal bath complex in all of Europe. The spa temperatures are between 84-86 degrees and the water temperatures are at a constant 91.4 F. The pools and spa are surrounded by hundreds of thousands of exotic tropical plants which transport you to a tropical location. There are six saunas, four wet saunas, and 16 water slides to enjoy on the property.

Head to the Pura Vida Sky Bar on a rooftop in Old Town for some cocktails and breathtaking views. Bucharest offers a fun and vibrant nightlife with a vast amount of bars and restaurants. Pick your choice of cuisine for the evening whether it be another enjoyable Romanian dinner, or possibly choose from Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Italian, Indian, or French there is plenty to choose from throughout the city.

Victoriei Street runs between Piata Victoriei in the north and Piata Natiunilor Unite and the Dambovita River, it is one of the main bustling avenues in the city packed with hotels, shopping, and restaurant options. Old Town is also bustling with people and places to enjoy dinner and drinks in the evenings.

Day 3 in Bucharest

Today head out of Bucharest and explore some more of Romania, after all, they do say the city is the gateway to the rest of the country. The charming medieval town of Brasov, set in the heart of Transylvania, it can be reached in around three hours by train, car, or bus. Brasov is a beautiful city nestled in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, it is truly one of the most beautiful destinations in Transylvania full of fun things to do and see, and perfect for a day trip.

The main draw to this historic town is the historic center which is filled with ancient buildings placed in the shape of a crown, which earned the city its nickname “Kronstadt” which translates to “city of the crown”.

There are many fascinating activities and attractions to explore in Brasov, head into the Piata Sfatului or the old town square which is a bustling portion of the city. See the spectacular architecture here including baroque buildings, colorful patterned tiles, and glistening fountains.

Stop for a coffee and a Kurtos Kalacs, a sweet cylindrical cake roasted on a spit and sold on the streets in one of the many charming quaint cafes or coffee shops, and admire the colorful ornate building and the locals passing by.

A short distance from the Old Town Hall is the statuesque Gothic Black Church,Strada Sforii, which is long and narrow and the narrowest street in Eastern Europe. A great picture op!

There are many old sections of the historic city with portions of the old wall, towers, gates, and other fortifications from the old city’s defense system from hundreds of years ago. These include the Lower Walls, Upper Walls, Red Tanners’ Bastion, and the 16th century Ecaterina’s Gate, which is now a museum, the Turnul Alb and Turnul Negru both offer spectacular views over the rooftops of the city.

Take a cable car to Tampa Mountain, which leads to the forests and the Brazov Fortress perched on top of the hill. You can also hike up Tampa Mountain which is said to offer the most breathtaking views in the city. Enjoy dinner at the top of the hill for a memorable evening.

Alternatively, visit Bran Castle in Transylvania, most associate the castle with the fictional character of Dracula. The beautiful moody castle is the best real-life match to the castle described in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, however, historians believe that Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Dracula) never actually set foot inside the castle. The towering castle sits on a rock and is surrounded by verdant forests and soaring mountains, creating a spectacular backdrop and great first impression.

After entering the castle make your way up to the main courtyard and into the old royal rooms that back out to the wooden balconies. There’s a hidden passage in the castle where you can sneak your way from the first to the third floor.

Peles Castle is another superb castle in Romania, tucked away between the small village of Sinaia and the Bucegi Mountains. The stunning royal castle doesn’t seem real, built in 1883 as a summer residence for King Carol I of Romania with a Neo-Renaissance design borrowed from various alpine countries like Germany and Italy. The castle boasts a beautiful facade and the inside is simply monumental, surrounded by well-manicured gardens and lawns.

Additional Days in Bucharest

If you are able to spend additional days in Bucharest the city hosts a number of cultural festivals many taking place during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Opera Festival - May and June - Includes ensembles and orchestras from all over the world.

George Enescu Festival - September every two years (odd years) - Several locations throughout the city hosted by the Romanian Atheneum Society.

Romanian folk arts and crafts - events throughout the year - The Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the Village Museum host events showcasing Romanian arts and crafts.

International CowParade - dozens of decorated cow sculptures placed across the city.

Chinese New Year’s Eve Festival - February - Nichita Stanescu Park.

Bucharest International Film Festival - Honoring famous names from the world cinema.

Your Last Day in Bucharest

Depart from your hotel to the airport for your return flight home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer to the airport if so the representative will meet you at your hotel with plenty of time to get you to the airport for your flight out.