Bucharest is a captivating mystery to new tourists. The capital of Romania, where communist reined, is not a description that does justice to the old “Little Paris” or the new city.
We can show you that once you arrive. In over 550 years of existence, Bucharest has been the main arena for Romania’s artistic, cultural and political changes. We’ll show you how these influences have help the city become what it is today in our Half Day Tour.
Between the history, architecture, and lifestyle there is a story this current city is telling us. A story that is more complex than what you might notice at first glance. Let’s explore it.
From Little Paris to New Berlin
During the interwar period, many of the large landmarks, buildings and the structure of the main boulevards of Bucharest were defined. Their architecture was inspired by an even created in the French style.
This was the time when Bucharest received its nickname “Little Paris” or in some cases “the Paris of the East.”
In the Communist era, the capital was one of the most altered urban landscapes. Besides the numerous grey blocks created for housing the emerging population, important landmarks like the Palace of Parliament, were also erected.
This is the second-largest administrative building in the world and the largest building in Europe. It has over 1100 rooms.
Unfortunately, that meant that in order to build the new communist vision, a lot of the belle époque constructions were destroyed. There are many landmarks and architecture that have survived.
The main element that keeps the connection the Romanian’s capital has to its old nickname “Little Paris” is the Arch of Triumph.
A few other places in Bucharest that will remind you of its old name are:
- Calea Victoriei
- George Enescu Museum Building
- Grand Hotel Continental
- Elisabeta Boulevard
- The Old Town Center
- H.M. Berthelot Street
- Pasaj Macca-Vilacrosse
These streets are still packed with boutiques, coffee shops, book stores and splendid views of parks. Find a seat in a garden terrace and watch life unravel in front of you.
We’d recommend a walking tour after that, to see the full image of what Bucharest is in 2019.
The new architecture is cool and gritty. There is also a growing number of tech startups that have sparked international interest. This is what gave the city its latest nickname: “the new Berlin”.
The urban culture is making its mark through graffiti drawings, hip bars, and amazing experiences.
Mixing in the Latin spirit, the oriental and soviet patina and the western European vision, Bucharest is unique and visually memorable. But the story of the city is not told only by its architectural history.
Drinks, Dance, Live Music, and Night Lights
The story of Bucharest comes to life when party time starts. It’s a great destination if you want to party hard and for less than in other European capitals. Romania might not have the same drinking culture as Britain or America but parties are the hearth of night activities in all major cities.
You can start your night by getting a few drinks at an Old Town bar. A few beers and shots while listening to great music you enjoy, will get you pumped up for dancing.
Some of the best bars you can start your night when you visit “Little Paris” are:
- Fabrica De Bere Bună, created by the team behind the local microbrewery ”Zăganu”, here you can taste a lot of local craft beers.
- Shoteria, they have a large selection of unique shots. You know you are in the right place if the menu behind the bar looks similar to how the arrivals and departures board in Gara de Nord looks like.
- Linea is the closest place to the moon in Bucharest. They have a stylish décor and incredible selection of cocktails.
- E3 by Entourage is a botanic decorated bar, full of beautiful people. You can consider it especially if you plan on moving your party to one of the more posh clubs.
- Nomad Skybar is a great place to grab something to eat before you hit the clubs. They have a great variety of food and drinks from all over the world.
The next step is to enjoy the beautiful night lights of Bucharest before dancing all night long. Most touristic attractions have a magical glow in the night lights. We can show you all of these in a short one hour and a half drive tour.
If you should visit Bucharest your story must continue with hours of dancing in one of the clubs. Depending on what crowd makes you more comfortable you have 3 main categories to choose from.
There are many local clubs where most students and local youth spend their time. There are also numerous uber clubs where the trendy high society likes to party. The third category includes the venue type locations where many Romanian bands play live each night of the week.
Most clubs in Bucharest are open many hours after midnight and even have a “last man standing” policy.
Some clubs where you and your friends can have an awesome night include:
- BOA (Beat of Angles)
- Player Club
- Control Club
If clubs aren’t really your thing there are numerous music festivals that you can enjoy until the crack of dawn.
Getting Around in Bucharest
The best holiday stories are usually connected to getting from one point to another and all the complications that came with that. Not that we’d want you to have one less story about Bucharest to tell your friends. We think you’d like a little less stress while you are trying to relax.
We considered adding our best tips when getting around in “Little Paris”. The list will help you have a smooth ride:
- Keep in mind that traffic in Bucharest can get a little hectic, especially during rush hours. If you have to travel between 7:00 – 10:00 in the morning and 15:30 – 19:00 in the afternoon take some extra time to get to your destination.
- Be aware of taxies from the airport and in front of hotels. Some of them might charge you up to 5 times the prices of a ride. You can end up paying up to 100 RON for a simple ride that actually only costs 20 RON. Ask people at the reception of your hotel to call a cab for you, to be on the save side.
- Use Uber or other apps. To make sure no one scams you and also be able to pay with a credit card, use Uber or Bolt (formerly known as Taxify). If you are going to a special event you can also use BlackCab or BlackLane to get a luxury car or limo with a driver.
- Public transportation is always an option. Bucharesthas a large transportation system that includes the metro, buses, trams and trolleybuses that can get you literary anywhere. Google maps can always help you create your route using them but keep in mind that schedules might not always be updated. You can also get a weekly card that you can use on all types of transportation.
- Consider alternative options of transportation. You can rent a car or try the car-sharing app Pony. Once you have your account set up, find the nearest car. Walk up to it then open it with your phone. You can start driving. It will charge you by the minute. Ape Rider is a similar app but for bike sharing and Flow is for electric scooters.
- Wear good shoes. If you’ll get to enjoy Bucharest at its full extent, you’ll do some walking around. Many Old Town streets and plazas have cobblestone so consider wearing something comfortable.
If you take all of these into consideration all your stories about Bucharest will have a happy ending. When visiting let us know so we can help you plan your trip and you won’t miss anything.
The Bucharest Story
From the social changes throughout history to the contemporary lifestyle of the locals, Bucharest has a different story to tell than the one you might have heard. The former “Little Paris” has changed in an upcoming IT center that is leading the culture and the look of this city.
It’s a place that will create a unique memory for you and your friends with its parties, incredible places and navigating it all. If you’re considering a weekend getaway it’s the perfect place that will be affordable for all.
We’d love to meet you and hear your personal story of traveling through Bucharest. Take a look at our shared and private tours to get a better idea of what suits your plans. Make sure to book your seats ahead of time, so you don’t lose your spot.