1. Have dinner at Caru’ cu bere.
Try the Romanian dishes mamaliga cu smantana, mici, and sarmale and have a taste of the best wines while listening to traditional music at this restaurant located on Lipscani street. Besides the great food, check out the restaurant’s neo-gothic architecture and ‘1900 Art’ decorations.
Eat a covrig at Simigeria Petru.
This popular snack has its origins in Turkey and it is now served in more than 480 bakeries in Bucharest. Covered in sesame or poppy seeds, a covrig usually costs only 1RON, but the annual sales are estimated to be around 160 million Euros. Simigeria Petru, founded in 1937 by the Romanian baker Petru and reopened by his grand-grandchildren, is one of the most popular bakeries where you can find this tasty snack.
3. Go to a concert in Piata Constitutiei.
Constitution Square is located in front of the Palace of the Parliament, which is the biggest building in Europe and the third biggest in the world. It was established on Dealul Spirii after Nicolae Ceausescu ordered the demolition of the old monasteries, factories, and houses. Nowadays, the building hosts the Chamber of Deputies, while Constitution Square is the place for concerts, fairs, sports events and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
4. Go to the Enescu Festival.
This festival, held in celebration of the Romanian composer George Enescu, gathers orchestras from around the world to play in various theaters in Bucharest. If you don’t want to purchase tickets, you can to go to Piata Ateneului, located near the Athenaeum, to listen to some classical music for free.
5. Walk in the Michael Jackson alley.
Herastrau Park is the biggest park in Bucharest and the place to enjoy an evening walk, to skate, play tennis, have a picnic or even do some bungee jumping. In 2009 a statue dedicated to the famous artist was placed in the alley; it’s since been called the Michael Jackson alley.
6. Visit the Romanian Peasant Museum.
Located close to the Herastrau Park, the Romanian Peasant Museum hosts traditional handmade objects and shows its visitors the type of life Romanian countrymen lead. Occasionally the museum organizes fairs where you can buy traditional food, wine, or handmade objects.
7. Have a coffee in the Old City.
The Old City is known for its pubs and clubs and most tourists go there in the evenings to party. But you might get another perspective on the historical centre of Bucharest if you wake up early in the morning and get a cup of coffee while admiring the beautiful architecture of the old buildings. You can choose from the variety of coffee shops located on Strada Franceza, the oldest street in Bucharest, Lipscani, Smardan or Stavropoles Street.
8. Party in Regie.
Regie is a student district located near the Politehnica University. Next to the student dormitories you can find pubs, clubs, cheap restaurants, billiards clubs and basketball courts. Here you can buy the cheapest drinks and spend the entire night dancing without having to worry about the next exam.
9. Smell the flowers in the Botanical Garden.
The summer days can get really hot in Bucharest. A perfect way to hide from the burning sun is to visit the Botanical Garden, which was opened to the public in 1860. Smell the flowers, read a book under a tree, or have a picnic. You can even watch a short film during the Shortsup festival. Don’t forget to have a look inside the Botanical Museum, home to over 15000 collections.
10. Share a kiss in Cismigiu Park.
Cismigiu Park is the oldest garden in Bucharest. Here you can row a boat during summer time or ice skate during winter, walk through the rose garden, play chess or find inspiration in the so-called writers’ corner, where you will be surrounded by the statues of the Romanian writers Mihai Eminescu, Ion Creanga, and Ion Luca Caragiale. This park has been the set of many romantic novels.
11. Have a beer at Happy Pub.
You will find this pub in a small house near Romana Square. The friendly waitresses, the music, the beer-related words of wisdom nicely framed and hung on the walls and the beers from all around the world help this small pub earn its name. Although no food is served here you are allowed to have pizza delivered. During summer, you can enjoy your cold drink on the small terrace. However, make sure you have reservations, as this pub is almost always full.
12. Stare into the eyes of Nicolae Grigorescu’s Gypsy Girl from Ghergani.
Nicolae Grigorescu (15 May 1838 – 21 July 1907) is one of the greatest Romanian modern painters, alongside Stefan Luchian, Nicolae Tonitza, Theodor Pallady and Constantin Daniel Rosenthal. Their works can be found at the National Museum of Art – the former Royal Palace – which hosts the European Art Gallery and the National Gallery. You will find Nicolae Grigorescu’s painting on the third floor of the museum, in the Modern Romanian Art section.
13. Pet a cat at Miau.
This the first cat café in Bucharest. You can use the toys to amuse the cats but there are strict rules on how to treat the animals. If you fall in love with a cat and can’t leave the place without it, just ask the waitress if you can take it home, as most cats are for adoption.
14. Have a tea at Camera din fata.
Another friendly café in Bucharest is Camera din fata. Every morning you will be greeted by the smell of freshly-roasted coffee beans and a new inspirational quote written with chalk on a small blackboard. You will sit at a table made out of an old sewing machine and read a menu which contains different types of coffee and tea from all over the world, as well as some delicious cakes.
15. Walk around the Cotroceni District.
The district was built around the old hills of Bucharest and is full of old houses with beautiful architecture. Go to the Kogalniceanu Square, located near the Cismigiu Park, and walk all the way to the National Opera House. You will pass by the Law School and reach the Dambovita River. On the other side of the river, you find the Elefterie Church and not far away the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy. Don’t stop until you’ve reached the Cotroceni Palace, the residence of the President.
16. Listen to jazz at Green Hours 22.
Green Hours 22 jazz café was opened in 1994 on Calea Victoriei, and has since then hosted not only numerous jazz concerts but also many cultural events and festivals. In 1997 the Monday Theater was opened, and Green Hours became the first café to support the independent theater in Bucharest.
17. Climb up the fire tower.
The fire tower was built in 1892 and was used for its original purpose for more than 42 years. In 1963 the Museum of the Firemen was opened to the public.
18. Join a class at Fundatia Calea Victoriei.
Register for a class at Fundatia Calea Victoriei; you can choose from a variety of courses including acting, history, arts, philosophy and fashion. On Saturdays the foundation organizes cultural events or guided tours in Bucharest.
19. Ride a bike at Prima Evadare.
The cycling infrastructure in Bucharest is almost nonexistent, consisting of only a few trails on the main streets and parks; however Romanians have started organizing festivals and competitions such as Prima Evadare, ‘an official mountain bike competition for both professional and amateur cyclists’, and Skirt bike, a ride for women wearing beautifully colored skirts.
20. Visit the Mogosoaia Palace.
Choose a sunny day to go 15 km outside of Bucharest, where you will find the Mogosoia Palace, built in 1702 at the request of Constantin Brancoveanu. You can spend the day walking through the park, riding a bicycle, visiting the nearby church or even horseback riding. Or if you prefer, just relax by the lake.