Paved road near the Palatul Parlamentului
One of the many things that Bucharest has to be proud of is the large amount of parks. Probably it is the only major city in Southeast Europe with so many parks. Wherever you go, you will find one to sit back and relax. I was really impressed by the fact that all of them are in almost perfect condition and very well – designed. It is very interesting to take a look at the people visiting them. From groups of friends or young couples to elderly people and various artists, all the locals and the visitors seem to have a really great time and doing their best to keep them clean.
The Cantacuzino palace. Today it is the museum of the composer George Enescu.
The biggest and the most important one is the Herăstrău, which can be characterized as the Hyde Park of the Balkans! It is a very big area in which you can spend a lot of hours. But the first thing that you should do when visiting it is to go to the Muzeul Satului. If you have any second thoughts about it, just think about an outdoor museum with traditional Romanian buildings that gives you an insight into the life of the villagers and the countryside of this beautiful country. Moreover, you can see the Japanese garden, dozens of plants and structures, as well as statues of famous writers, politicians etc and sculptures.
Yes, at Herăstrău you can even find a tribute to Michael Jakcson!
However, you will discover Herăstrău better if you rent a bike, which in some places of the park you can rent for free. You only need to show your ID or passport. In the middle of it there is a big lake and the bike gives you the opportunity to cycle around it and see the whole park in just a couple of hours. If you want you can even board a boat, sit down for a coffee, drink or meal in the restaurants & bars that are built on the lake’s banks, or have a picnic. I have to say that the locals are really lucky to have such luxuries, just a few minutes away from their homes.
Herăstrău park and the lake
Except from Herăstrău, other parks worth seeing is the Grădina Cişmigiu with busts of famous Romanian writers and poets, the Parcul Izvor that is right next to the Palatul Parlamentului, as well as the Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică). Moreover, if you have free time I would suggest paying a visit to Mogosoaia. It is a palace which is about 10 km away from the city and is a typical example of Romanian Renaissance architecture.
At Grădina Cișmigiu
If you like museums, Bucharest has some that are very interesting. My favorite is the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum. Its collection of flora and fauna from all over the world is really big and is a very good choice for visitors with small children. The National Museum of Art of Romania is also a museum that you should visit, and one more reason to do this is that it is housed in the former royal palace in Piata Revolutiei. Finally, there is of course the National History museum and the small aviation museum. Did you know actually that Romanians were among the world’s pioneers on this field? The cost of the ticket is usually very low, but keep in mind that the museums are closed on Mondays.
The National Museum of Arts of Romania
Bucharest is considered to be one of the best destinations for entertainment in Southeast Europe. The low prices and the many different choices attract thousands of visitors not only from Europe, but even from America, Asia or Oceania. And I can assure you that the entertainment offered is not of low quality.
Many locals and visitors, especially the young ones, choose the Old Town and neighborhoods near to it. It is actually an area where you can find restaurants (from fast – food to more luxurious), pubs and night-clubs. You can taste a lot of different cuisines and grab a beer or a drink. Sometimes, especially during the weekends, you may be disappointed however because it is full of people. So I believe that it would be better not to visit it more than 2 or 3 times. But one thing that you definitely should do is to have a dinner at Caru’cu Bere, right next to the Stavropoleos church. It is a restaurant dating back to 1879. I wouldn’t say that it is a great value for money, but the interior is very picturesque and in the evenings traditional Romanian bands play live music!
The Old Town is a 24/7 destination
At Caru' cu Bere
Last but not least, 4 important tips :
• The best time to visit Bucharest is probably between April and May when the weather is ideal since during the winter there is too much cold and snow and during the summer it’s very hot.
• If you have time and money left, a day trip to Sinaia with the castles and the monasteries and Brasov, hometown of the Dracula, is something that you should do!
• The locals are very friendly and polite, and even though some of them don’t speak very good English, they are always willing to help. You may sometimes encounter beggars or homeless people, mainly Roma, but I wouldn’t say that Bucharest is a dangerous city.
• Do not forget before leaving to buy traditional handmade ornaments or jewellery, foods such as the cascaval cheese and drinks like palinka and tuica. There are also several shopping malls.
So, this is everything you need to know about Bucharest. I hope to have the chance to visit it and enjoy it as much as I did!