VISITING BUCHAREST? HERE IS WHAT YOU COULD DO
Many of you asked me to give more details about a Bucharest city break and seemed to enjoy my Instagram stories during my two week break in Romania. Bucharest is such a vibrant, cosmopolitan city! You can find every brand under the sun here, the food is amazing and there is lots of sightseeing and walking around.
How to get to Bucharest from Dublin. There are direct flights Dublin to Bucharest from Ryanair or Blue Air (Romanian airline). We always choose Blue Air and never had any problems with them. Flight prices vary due to season. We paid €532 for 2 adults and one child (2 year old) return with two checked in luggage (20kg each). It takes around 3.5h to get to destination.
Currency. Romania’s national currency is called LEU. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how strong the Euro coin is against the leu. Most things like services, food and transport are a lot cheaper than in Ireland. 1 Euro = 4.66 Lei. To put things in perspective, one pint is 12 lei which means €2.60.
Public Transport. The Romanian public transport is pretty great and cheap. There are plenty of buses, trams and a brilliant underground. You will never wait more than 10 minutes for either. A bus trip is 1.30 lei (0.28 cents) and an underground one is 2 lei (0.43 cents). We did a mixture of public transport and Uber’s. If you bring a buggie like we did, the public transport is not exactly the easiest to use. An Uber trip from one side to another of the city is around 6-7 euro so it definitely wont break the bank. I would strongly suggest using the Uber app and not get Taxis, the later can be a lot more expensive.
Accommodation. An AirBnB can be around of €30 per night and a decent hotel about €50 per night.
Shopping. You will find in Bucharest every brand under the sun! There is Sephora for beauty lovers and the pharmacy shopping can honestly rival the french ones. Price wise, branded items aren’t that much cheaper than in Dublin. Zara, H&M, Sephora are pretty much the same as in Ireland. There is however a better choice and product selection. I was thrilled to find a Zara HOME and H&M home. If you are looking for beauty bargains, i would hit the pharmacies. There aren’t that many stand alone shops in the city center, everything is concentrated in huge malls. The biggest and best is AFI Cotroceni, followed by Promenda Mall and Baneasa Shopping Mall.
Food. Ah food… the reason im coming back to Dublin a stone heavier. Eating out is very affordable and delicious! Im yet to have a bad meal in Bucharest. A meal for two with 2 mains, 2 drinks and dessert is around 120 lei (€26). And this is in a popular tourist attraction like the Old Town. Speaking of it, the Old Town has a brilliant concentration of restaurants with all sort of cuisine types and a wonderful lively atmosphere. I am working on a best places to eat in Bucharest next.
If you are self sufficient and plan to cook or try as much of the local food, the markets and supermarkets are packed. There are huge hyper markets like Carrefour and Mega Image, bursting with local flavor. I personally love to raid the supermarkets and discover new treats.
Places to Visit in Bucharest
Just 10 minutes away from the City, Therme Bucuresti is the largest relaxation and entertainment center in Europe built green. Host to Europe largest palm tree plantation, biggest outdoor urban sand beach with pools and bars, wave pools, water slides, thermal spa treatments and plenty of restaurants.
In our 14 day stay in Bucharest we managed to go five times and truly loved every minute. It was like having a beach holiday in the city! The pools are heated all year round, its very safe for kids and beautifully relaxing for adults. I will forever recommend it to everyone – it made our holiday. Price wise you can get a full day ticket for 80 lei (€17) each and kids under 3 go free. You get a bracelet to use for payment indoors, for restaurants and bars and you can pay the tab when you go. We usually spend around €68 for the three of us, including the entry tickets, lunch and a copious amount of drinks and ice cream.
With over 100 restaurants, pubs and bars, the Old Town (Centrul Vechi) is the main attraction if you are in the city center. The beautiful historical buildings are blending with the lively atmosphere, i guarantee you’ll love it. If you are into architecture and like to immerse yourself in the city’s history, you will find buildings from 1822-1833 period. The food selection is brilliant: from Greek, Italian, French or even Irish pubs.
If you are a book lover or just love a pretty library, you will adore Carturesti Carusel. Situated in the Old Town (55 Lipscani Street), Carturesti Carusel has a building history dating from 1903. The building itself has been carefully preserved and renovated, being recently transformed into the most beautiful book store. The Carusel of Light name is very fitting, the luminous and delicate interior is a true work of art in itself.
Lascar Catargiu Boulevard
Lascar Catargiu Boulevard is one of my favorite short boulevards in Bucharest, connecting Pta Romana to Pta Victoriei. I adore to walk under the leafy pathways and just look around to the old houses. There are discreet restaurants if you fancy a coffee on the terrace to soak in the atmosphere.
Right in the middle of the city, there is one of the biggest parks in Bucharest – Herastrau Park. Follow the green Kiseleff Boulevard from Piata Victoriei and you will get straight to Herastrau. Its a beautiful long walk, you probably noticed a theme here – i like to walk a lot. I just find that if you have the time and the stamina, its a great way of immersing yourself in the city’s culture. You will pass the L’Arc de Triumph, a real life replica and homage to the original french one. Fun fact: in the old days Bucharest was called Little Paris due to the architectural and cultural similarities.
The Village Museum is a real treat of Romanian history. A real life traditional village, with huts and houses dating from the beginning of the XVII sec until the early XX century. There are representative buildings from different areas of Romania, showing the evolution of traditional houses. There is also an Inn where you can taste traditional food dishes to have the complete experience.
Second largest administrative building (the Pentagon is first) the Palace of Parliament is former dictator Ceausescu most famous creation. Fun fact, its so big that you can see it from the moon! Still unfinished, it houses more than 3000 rooms and has over 330.000 square meters. You can get a guided tour inside and see some of the rooms or just admire it from afar. I doubt you will miss it!
OTHER HONORABLE MENTIONS
AFI PALACE – the biggest shopping mall in Bucharest. It has plenty of cinemas, restaurants and even ice skating!
BREAK OUT ESCAPE ROOM – if breaking stuff and games is your jam, you can do it to your hearts desire in the newest escape room in Bucharest.
CISMIGIU PARK and GARDENS – a jewel of a park close to the city center where you can have romantic walks. You can even hire a boat and test your fitness on the Cismigiu lake.
DIVERTILAND AQUA PARK – The biggest Water Park in Romania!
Im sure i forgot lots of places but these are my personal favorites. I realize there isn’t any clubs or pubs mentioned, i just haven’t been in one in years lol. If you are visiting Bucharest soon and need advice, do let me know and ill do my best to answer.
Thank you for reading! x