Is Bucharest a walkable city?
Sure it is! And this article will help you optimize your time, plan your trip to Bucharest so you don’t miss out on any of the highlights of this exciting city. Our 72 hours tour will take you to the most important landmarks in Bucharest and its most beautiful places.
Be guided through a sightseeing tour of Bucharest, taste local food, and experience neighborhood life in Cotroceni. With our 72-hour itinerary, you won’t miss out on any top sights during your first visit to Bucharest. Bucharest has a lot to offer and it is a perfect place if you are a city traveler, architecture, or nature lover.
Let’s dive into the most important places you should check if you are in the city for a weekend.
Day 1 Self-guided walking tour in Bucharest
1. The downtown area and the Northern part of Bucharest
- Calea Victoriei
- Cismigiu Garden
- National Theater
- Revolution Square
- Romanian Atheneum
If you are a coffee lover such as myself, I recommend you start your trip with a specialty coffee. Now, depending on your starting point I would suggest some coffee places. If you will start your walking tour from Izvor, I would recommend you to start from Origo, voted by locals as the best place in terms of specialty coffee.
After grabbing your coffee, your journey will start with Calea Victoriei. Being one of Bucharest’s oldest streets, here, you can find the most beautiful architectural monuments in Bucharest.
From Origo, walk along until the monumental CEC building, which for many locals, is the most iconic building in Bucharest. I have to mention that you can take amazing shots with the building, it is also listed on the most Instagrammable spots in Bucharest.
Next to the CEC building, on the left side, you can spot the National History Museum. Here you can find an astounding collection belonging to the Romanian Royal Family. You can admire some of their finest jewels, even the crowns of King Carol I and the beloved Queen Mary.
Moreover, here you can admire a scale copy of the Trajan’s Column. The original one is, of course, in Rome. The column is adorned with beautiful relieves which depict in more than 100 scenes two important wars between the Dacians and the Romans. These wars led to the conquest of Dacia and its transformation into a Roman province.
Moving further on Calea Victoriei, one can see some majestic buildings such as the National Military Palace or Casa Capsa. The latter used to be one of the most bohemian pastries of the glorious past. It was the place where the famous writers came to enjoy a sip of coffee and write, politicians and foreign royal guests had their meetings and it says that it was a custom of the Romanian aristocrats to come and have a delicious dessert after going to the theater. Yes, this building still preserves an aristocratic vibe. Nowadays it is home to the Casa Capsa hotel.
From this point, you have to options:
– on your left side, you can carry on for a pleasant walk to Cismigiu Gardens, the oldest park in Bucharest.
– on your right side, you will spot the University Square and Bucharest’s National Theater, gorgeous both inside and outside.
Tickets are available online here or can be bought directly from there.
Moving along Calea Victoriei, you will head to the Revolution Square and The Romanian Athenaeum area.
The Revolution Square boasts an interesting and controversial monument: the Memorial of Rebirth, in the shape of a white obelisk. This monument reminds the passers about the violent events from December 1989 which put an end to the communist dictatorship in Romania.
On the left side of this square, you will find the statue of King Carol 1st, the first king of Romania, who fought against the Turks and gained Romania’s independence. Many victories and improvements have been made during his reign and he was a very respected king by the Romanian people.
The most iconic building in Bucharest, in my opinion, is the Romanian Athenaeum, the concert hall of Bucharest. It is home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra and it has become a symbol of Romanian art and culture.
You will be amazed by the incredible fresco circled around the auditorium that illustrates the history of Romania from the Roman times until the Great Unification of Romania in 1918. The best way to visit it would be by attending a concert but if you have a limited time, a tour inside would be great as well.
Where to eat in this area?
When I am thinking about the Romanian Atheneum area, 2 options of sweet treats are coming into my mind, definitely worth tasting. The first one is the delicious eclair from the French Revolution, which is next to the Romanian Athenaeum, on the left side.
The second place that will delight your taste is Sweetology, they have one of the best Ice Cream in town.
You can find here the map with the first part of our itinerary.
Once you grab your ice cream, your day just becomes better and you can move further.
2. Romana Square – Arthur Verona Street – Ioanid and Gradina Icoanei Park – Dorobanti Neighborhood
Things to see
- Romana Square
- Arthur Verona Street
- Ioanid and Gradina Icoanei Park
- Polona Street
Your next destination will be Arthur Verona street. Here the walls are filled with brightly-colored graffiti, flower designs, comic snippets, realistic figures, and even cartoon-like characters.
It’s definitely the place to be if you’re looking to get creative and take some amazing pictures with unique murals.
After the photo session, your way goes through 2 small, quiet, and refreshing parks where you can rest your legs in nature and prepare for the second part of the day, Gradina Icoanei Park and Ioanid Park.
Going out of Ioanid Park you can take a walk on Polona Street. You will be amazed by the architecture of the houses, it is a pleasure to walk on this street and take some Instagrammable shots. Nearly every building in this area is absolutely exquisite. You could literally go building by building and admire each one’s unique decorative sign.
Where to have lunch?
Now it is time to have lunch, after all this walking you have earned your lunch!
I would make two recommendations for restaurants in the area which I think you will enjoy but of course, there are many, many options from where you can choose.
Frudisiac and Pio Bistro, both of them manage to provide a chill vibe and cozy atmosphere while having a healthy and delicious meal. They are extremely famous for their American pancakes which are seriously amazing. If you really deserve a second breakfast instead of lunch.
Check their menu first, it will be much easier to choose.
3. Herastrau Park – Village Museum – The Arch of Triumph
Things to see
- Herastrau Lake
- Village Museum
- The Arch of Triumph
- Free Press Square
In the afternoon, carry on with the second part of your self-guided walking tour.
We are now in Dorobanti neighborhood, from where you can take a bus to our next destination, the Northern Part of Bucharest, The Village Museum is the station where you will hop off. (Bus 131 | 331 | 331, see here on the map)
Arriving in the Northern Part of Bucharest, there are a lot of things to do and see. A shortlist would be Herastrau Park, Village Museum, The Arch of Triumph, and The Free Press Square.
Besides these, you can find a lot of restaurants on the shore of Herastrau lake, you can enjoy a boat-ride or you can just walk and connect with nature. The most famous restaurants in Herastrau Park are Beraria H, Hard Rock Cafe, and Pescarus.
If you choose to explore the area more and not remain in the park, I have 2 great restaurants to recommend to you.
One is on the 18th floor of City Gate Towers, popular among locals as the Twin Towers of Bucharest. The name of the restaurant is 18 Lounge, a fine dining restaurant that offers you dinner with a view. This restaurant is next to Free Press Square, an impressive landmark not to be missed. You can find it here on the map.
The second would be Casa Doina, this restaurant was built in the neo-Romanian style by our national architect Ion Minulescu.
At first, this building was supposed to be used as a pavilion for grand exhibitions from Paris but later they transformed it into a great Romanian restaurant frequented by famous politicians, artists, and poets. Here you can enjoy a delicious traditional meal, prepare to be amazed!
PS: for both places you need to make a reservation in advance, these places are pretty busy.
Another sight not to be missed in Bucharest is definitely the Village Museum, the second most visited museum in Bucharest after the Palace of Parliament.
This is an open-air museum, next to Herastrau Park, that hosts more than 30 traditional houses representing each region of the country. This museum is very unique and has a lot to offer, needless to say, that you can experience rural Romania in the heart of its capital.
Learn more about the story of the Village Museum here.
It is a unique pleasure to visit this traditional “village” and discover the Romanian countryside life. One very important thing to mention is that you can find here the most special gifts and souvenirs to buy for you and your loved ones. For ideas check this article, 10 Best Romanian Souvenirs you should buy from Bucharest.
There you go folks, these are some of the things that you should visit in the Northern part of the city. Moreover, my colleague Boogie has made a video in the area so you can have an idea of what it is like.
Here you have the map with the itinerary.
Now that you visited the Northern part of Bucharest, for those who don’t want to spend the evening in this area, let’s go back to the city center.
This is the beauty of this city, there are so many options to have a walk, have a great meal, enjoy a good glass of wine, or experience the restless nightlife.
Bucharest is well-known for its clubs and rooftops where you can admire the city from above and experience a legendary party.
You have again, many, many options, a few of them would be Nomad, Linea, PuraVida, Deschis GastroBar, SkyBar Dorobanți, Silk Panoramic or Upstairs Rooftop.
Day 2 – Day trip from Bucharest to Peles & Bran Castles
Highlights of the tour
- Peles Castle
- Bran Castle also is known as Dracula’s Castle
- Brasov medieval city of Transylvania
For the second day in Romania, I would recommend you to take a full day out of the city, a day trip to explore 2 of the most beautiful castles in Romania and the medieval city of Brasov.
We are lucky to have such amazing places to show to our tourists and these 2 castles and the medieval city of Brasov, are some of those places you must visit when you come to Romania and can be explored in just one day trip from Bucharest.
This tour starts at 08:00 am, from the gorgeous Romanian Athenaeum. From here you will head to Transylvania and the first visit will be Peles Castle.
Along the way, you enjoy a panoramic view of Bucharest and learn the story from your local expert, the tour guide.
As I said before, the first visit will be Peles Castle which is the former summer residence of the Romanian Royal family. Peles Castle is the most visited castle in Romania and considered the most beautiful one. The complete story of the Royal Castle you can read here.
There you will have a guided tour of the ground floor, for about 45 minutes and also free time to explore it from outside, you will find a beautiful garden, don’t forget to bring your camera. Speaking of this, inside the castle there is a photo tax of around 7 Euros to be paid. The interior of the castle is amazing and most of the people told us it was really worth it so it is up to you if you choose to pay the fee for it but no worries, outside you, can take as many photos as you want.
Leaving Peles Castle behind, you will head to Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle due to the famous novel of Bram Stoker, Dracula. He was inspired by the cruel Romanian Prince Vlad Tepes, who used to impale his enemies so they called him Vlad the Impaler.
Here you can find out all you need to know about Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle).
Bran village is in the mountain area, a small settlement with so many wonders.
Besides visiting the castle for about 45 minutes I must say that along the way you have the opportunity to explore the Romanian countryside and get to see the real beauty of Transylvania. You will be passing through rural villages, admire medieval fortresses, and well-preserved fortified churches during this day.
Now it is time for lunch. There are many restaurants where you can taste great traditional food. Don’t forget to try also the traditional palinka, in order to have a typical Transilvanian experience!
Learn more about Romanian traditional food and Desserts.
The next destination is Brasov, a former Saxon medieval town where the German architecture is still well preserved. Here you will enjoy a guided walking tour of the most important spots in Brasov, which are: The Catherine’s Gates, Rope Street (among the narrowest streets in Europe), the Black Church (a masterpiece of Transylvania’s Gothic architecture) and the Council Square.
After the guided walking tour you will have some free time to stroll around the cobbled streets and admire the great architecture of Brasov.
In the end, we will head back to Bucharest. The way back lasts around 3-4 hours depending on the traffic and the tour ends at the same point, in front of the Romanian Athenaeum.
More information about Transylvania you can find here.
PS: By booking this tour you will receive a bunch of discount codes at some museums, restaurants, and souvenir shops in Bucharest.
Day 3 Old Town – Palace of the Parliament – Cotroceni Neighborhood
After running around to see all these things on Day 2 and Day 3, today you will need a chill day.
Let’s get started in the magnificent old town of Bucharest. Besides strolling around the cobblestone streets of the old town, there are a few things you would like to see.
1. Carturesti Carousel BookStore
I would start by taking a coffee from Emozia Coffee Manifesto, one of the best in town, and moving forward to Carturesti Carousel. Named “The Carousel of Light” this place is a magical bookstore, hosted in a monumental edifice transformed into a wonderful architectural jewel. The interior has 6 floors and on the top floor, you’ll discover a bistro where you can enjoy a warm cup of tea while deciding which will be your next book. Even though you would not buy a book, you have to check this place out as great shots can be taken in there. At the end of this visit, don’t forget to check out the National Bank with its little square in front of the building.
2. Stavropoleos Monastery
The next sight to be visited is Stavropoleos Monastery. This old monastery built in 1724, witnessed and survived the communism period. Placed right in the heart of the old town, the interior is a little garden where you can find peace and quiet and the building itself is amazingly gorgeous.
3. Palace of Parliament
Head on to the marvelous masterpiece of Nicolae Ceausescu, the Romanian communist dictator. On Day 1 you visited his home at Casa Ceausescu and today it is time to visit his office.
The Palace of Parliament is the second-largest administrative building after the Pentagon and the heaviest in the world. Actually, this building is listed along with the buildings made by a man that can be seen from the Moon.
You should know that the attraction is open for visits daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 am – the last tour admission is at 3:30 pm. A reservation has to be made within 24 hours before, give them a call at +40 733 558 102.
If you don’t want to bother with all that, you can always just book a tour. Well, you’ll be happy to know this attraction is part of our popular “Last Days of Communism” tour. It’s only 4 hours long, and it will teach you everything you need to know about the Communist rule in Romania before 1989.
In front of the building, you can find the Constitution square, from where you can have great shots with the grandiose Palace of Parliament. Depending on the time you are visiting, you may find stalls with Romanian delights and souvenirs and also this is the place where the Christmas Market is held.
From the Constitution Square until Alba Iulia Square is Unirii Boulevard formerly named the Socialist Victory during the communist time. Nicolae Ceausescu was inspired by his visit to China and North Korea and he wanted to create the equivalent of the Champs Elysee of Socialism.
Along this boulevard, there are 44 fountains. The interesting thing is that during the weekends, at 21:00 pm from May until October, a Multimedia show called “The water symphony” is taking place at Unirii Square.
4. Cotroceni, the coolest neighborhood in Bucharest
Cotroceni is the coolest and known as the most romantic neighborhood in Bucharest. For architecture lovers, this is the place where you can be amazed, you can spend literally hours taking house by house and walking along those beautiful alleys.
Things to see
- Cotroceni Palace
- Botanic Garden
- Romniceanu Park
- Carol I National Defence University
Cotroceni Palace used to be the residence of the second Royal couple of Romania, King Ferdinand and Queen Marie. Even though it is not the most popular in Bucharest, we strongly believe that it is the most beautiful one, it is a place where the art and culture are well preserved. The new wing of the building is housing the Romanian presidential family. You can visit the museum from Tuesday to Sunday starting from 10:00 until 16:00. More info about the palace and the museum can be found on the official website here.
Also here you can take a walk in Romniceanu Park, a small and bohemian park, on the Cotroceni Hill. Next to the park, you can find the marvelous collared stairs, very popular among locals and a good place to take pictures.
Nearby, don’t miss Infinitea, where you can sip a great cup of tea in their beautiful garden.
Last but not least, I would recommend you to have dinner at one of the most iconic restaurants in Bucharest, Caru cu Bere. The interior is gorgeous, you will be thrilled to see the painted walls. They serve Romanian traditional food and sometimes they have folkloric bands and you can listen to traditional Romanian music or watch folkloric dances.
A reservation in advance is really necessary, being so famous, almost every day they have a full house.
Don’t forget if you book a tour with TravelMaker you will receive discounts from famous restaurants and museums in Bucharest including Caru cu Bere or you can also book our Bucharest Evening Tour and Traditional Dinner.
There you go guys, here you have some ideas on how to make the most of your time while traveling to Bucharest for just 72 hours. We have many, many other interesting ideas on how to enjoy your time in this beautiful city and we would love to share them with you.
Dive deeper into the things to see and do in Bucharest here.
Suggested tours with TravelMaker
So, if you need further information or you need help, just drop us a line and we will take care of every single detail of your trip!
You can contact us at [email protected] or give us a call at +40 735 525 710.
All the best from Bucharest!