17 Top Tourist Attractions in Bucharest, Romania (+Map)

Bucharest is the capital and largest city in Romania. It is also a destination that has not yet made it on most travelers’ radars, which is both a shame and a blessing. It’s a shame because Bucharest, which was once known as the “Little Paris of the East,” is home to some gorgeous architecture, many interesting sights, charming hotels and a city where travelers will definitely get more bang for their bucks or euros.

It’s a blessing because travelers who do visit Romania don’t have to deal with crowds and rising prices that have affected many other formerly off-the-radar destinations, such as Croatia. The following are just a few of the can’t-miss attractions in Bucharest.

Map of Bucharest

17. Little Paris Museum

The Little Paris Museum

Offering a captivating journey into Bucharest’s Belle Époque era, The Little Paris museum lets you step into the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A time when Bucharest embraced rapid modernization and European influences.

Explore meticulously restored rooms adorned with elegant furniture, intricate decorations, and exquisite artwork, each narrating the city’s transformation. From aristocratic mansions to bustling cafes and theaters, every corner reflects Bucharest’s evolving identity.

Beyond homage to the past, the museum celebrates Bucharest’s present, showcasing its unique architectural blend from French neoclassical to Art Nouveau, still evident in the city today.

After exploring the museum, take a stroll through the surrounding area to fully appreciate the architectural gems that make up Bucharest’s Little Paris district.

16. Snagov Monastery

Snagov Monastery

Situated on a small island near Bucharest, Snagov Church holds significant religious importance in Southern Romania. Initially part of a medieval monastery, it was fortified and expanded by local princes to support the Orthodox Church.

Legend claims it is the final resting place of Vlad Ţepeş, better known as Vlad the Impaler or Dracula, immortalized by Irish writer Bram Stoker. Though unconfirmed if his remains are located within the monastery, Dracula’s legacy remains entwined with this site.

The monastery features exquisite frescoes, intricate woodwork, and religious icons, reflecting the artistic craftsmanship of its era. Whether as a historical or mythical figure, a visit to Snagov Church offers a fascinating glimpse into Romania’s rich cultural heritage and the enduring legend of Dracula.

15. Revolution Square

Revolution Square

More than just a bustling hot spot but a crucial emblem of local and national history, Revolution Square was renamed in honor of Romania’s 1989 revolution. A time that marked the decisive end of the Communist era. The square was the epicenter of mass revolts between 1968 and 1989, ultimately sealing the regime’s fate.

Dominating the square is the monumental Palace of the Parliament, a testament to Nicolae Ceaușescu’s grandiosity. Another focal point of Revolution Square is the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum of Art of Romania, radiating neoclassical charm and housing a remarkable art collection.

Beyond its historical significance, Revolution Square remains a vibrant nexus for public events, protests, and celebrations, embodying the enduring spirit of democracy and freedom.

14. Patriarchal Cathedral

Patriarchal Cathedral

Perched atop Mitropoliei Hill, the Patriarchal Cathedral has been the cornerstone of Romanian Orthodox faith since the 17th century. Its exterior, blending Byzantine and Romanian influences, exudes simplicity and beauty. However, stepping inside reveals a breathtaking display of stunning frescoes, intricate mosaics, and ornate decorations adorning the walls and ceilings.

Unfortunately, none of the original interior paintings have survived, except for a single icon depicting Constantin and Helen, the patron saints of the cathedral.

A guided tour offers deeper insight into the cathedral’s resilience, having survived communist demolition. From its elevated position, you’ll witness several communist-era housing complexes, emphasizing the cathedral’s prominence. Despite the uphill journey, a scenic ten to fifteen minute walk along tree-lined cobblestone streets, the cathedral’s majestic presence makes it a worthwhile visit.

13. Fountain Show

Fountain Show

In the heart of Bucharest, Piata Unirii bursts into life with a mesmerizing display of synchronized fountains. As night falls, the Fountain Show enchants spectators, transforming the square into a dazzling wonderland.

The fountains sway gracefully to the music, shooting water jets into the air to form intricate patterns and shapes. Vibrant hues from the lights dance on the water’s surface, enhancing the spectacle’s beauty. These artesian fountains, equipped with cutting-edge technology, mark Bucharest as the pioneer of urban fountain entertainment in Europe.

Make sure to plan your visit around the Summer season to see the shows. Piaţa Unirii offers multimedia shows every Friday through Sunday starting in May until early October, each with its own theme and accompanying music.

12. Therme Bucuresti

Therme Bucuresti

Situated within Romania’s largest botanical garden, Therme Bucuresti stands as Europe’s largest wellness and relaxation center. Hosting over 800,000 plants, including palm trees, orchids, and other unique species, it offers a wellness retreat like no other. Renowned for its thermal pools, Therme Bucuresti’s warm, mineral-rich waters, sourced from deep underground, provide a soothing escape. Immerse yourself and feel the stress slip away as you embrace the therapeutic benefits of natural minerals.

Whether you prefer tranquil pools or invigorating whirlpools, the experience promises rejuvenation. Additionally, Therme Bucuresti offers a variety of wellness facilities.

Treat yourself to luxurious spa treatments and massages, detoxify in saunas and steam rooms, or enjoy thrilling water slides and a wave pool for the more adventurous. Therme Bucuresti invites you to unwind, indulge, and revitalize in its expansive oasis.

11. Old Town

Old Town

Exploring the Romanian capital is incomplete without wandering through the charming old town, locally known as Centru Vechi. Situated at the heart of the city, Bucharest’s old town traces its roots back to 1459 when it served as a crucial trading stop along the route from the Ottoman Empire to Leipzig.

Old Town Street

Despite a devastating fire, remnants of the past still linger in the mid-19th-century architecture, with a few buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Rich in history, the old town also houses museums like the National Museum of Romanian History, offering a glimpse into the country’s ancient past.

As night falls, the vibrant atmosphere of Centru Vechi comes alive with vibrant nightlife, featuring an array of bars, clubs, and restaurants, including Bucharest’s oldest brewery, Caru’ cu Bere.

10. Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum

Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum© Radub85 / Dreamstime

Established in 1834, the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum offers travelers with a thirst for knowledge and those with children an interesting way to spend a couple of hours while in Bucharest. This museum, which was named after Romanian’s best known biologist, boasts more than 2,000 exhibits, including ones that showcase dinosaur fossils, minerals as well as the plants and animals that are native to Romania.

It is also home to the largest butterfly collection in Europe. The museum also has a number of hands-on and interactive displays, and it was recently renovated to make it more accessible for visitors who have visual, hearing or physical impairments.

9. Victoriei Street

Victoriei Street© Alberto Grosescu / Dreamstime

This is Bucharest’s best-known thoroughfare. So it’s not surprising that many of the city’s attractions are located here, including the Cantacuzino Palace, which houses the George Enescu Museum, the National Museum of Art of Romania, Odeon Theatre, Revolution Square and the Kretzulescu Church.

There are also many hotels, restaurants and shopping options on this avenue. Victoriei Street runs between Piata Victoriei in the north and Piata Natiunilor Unite and the Dambovita River. This street was originally called Podul Mogosoaiei, but its name was changed to Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) on October 12, 1878 after Romania won its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

8. Cismigiu Gardens

Cismigiu Gardens

These gardens provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. First laid out in 1845, these are the oldest public gardens in Bucharest. Cismigiu Gardens boasts a lake, where you can go rowing in the summer and skating in the winter, a children’s playground, the ruins of an old fortress and more than 30,000 trees and plants.

One of its best features is a Roman Garden that includes busts of many famous Romanian writers. This is a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic. But there are also cafes, bars and refreshment kiosks in the park for those not into picnicking.

7. Hanul Manuc

Hanul Manuc© Radub85 / Dreamstime

Built in 1806, Manuc’s Inn was the oldest operating hotel in Bucharest before it was recently shut down for restoration. However, the hotel’s restaurant — which was also renovated — is open for business. Over the years, Manuc’s Inn has been the site of a number of important events. For example, the peace treaty that ended the Russo-Turkish war in 1812 was held in this building.

Manuc’s Inn is an impressive, three-level structure and a beautiful cultural landmark. Before it was shut down for is restoration, this historic inn was often used as a background for Romanian television folklore shows. After its restoration, it is hoped that Manuc’s Inn will be returned to its full beauty and glory.

6. Spring Palace

Spring Palace© CarolRobert / Dreamstime

The Spring Palace is the former residence of the deposed Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena, who were ousted from power during the Romanian Revolution. They were then executed on Christmas Day 1989. The mansion had been closed for many years after the executions, but it was opened to the public in 2016 as a museum.

Visitors can now check out the 80-room mansion, its swimming pool and the luxurious lifestyle that this Communist leader and his wife enjoyed. The tour through the Spring Palace also gives visitors a peak at Romania’s history during the Communist regime.

5. Romanian Athenaeum

Romanian Athenaeum© Catalin / Dreamstime

Opened in 1888, this stunning, neoclassical domed building is one of Romania’s best-known landmark and home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. It is also one of the sites used during the biennial George Enescu Music Festival, which is the largest international cultural event held in Romania.

The Romanian Athenaeum seats approximately 800 guests, and the interior circular wall is decorated with a fresco that depicts important moments in the history of Romania. If possible, travelers should try to obtain tickets for a performance here, but if that’s not possible, they should still make an effort to visit the building and its lovely gardens.

4. Village Museum

Village Museum© Rechitan Sorin / Dreamstime

Located on the shores of Lake Herastrau, this open-air museum is home to several hundred historic houses, farms and other structures that have been moved from their orginal locations around Romania and rebuilt on this site. The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum was opened in 1936, and most of its structures date back to the mid 19th century.

There are a few, however, that are even older. For example, some structures from Berbesti, a region located in the heart of Romania, date back to 1775. The Village Museum is a must-see for anyone who will not have a chance to venture out of Bucharest to see the Romanian countryside.

3. Stavropoleos Church

Stavropoleos Church

Located in the Old City, Stavropoleos Church is a small, pretty church that was built in 1724. It is known for its unique Brancovan architectural style and also for its beautiful, carved doors. Stavropoleous Church also contains some interesting artifacts, including Lord Nicolae Mavrocordat’s throne.

The church was originally part of an inn and also had a monastery, but both were demolished by the late 19th century. Stavropoleos Church is also one of the few churches located in the Old Town that survived the Great Fire of Bucharest, which occurred in 1847, which decimated a large portion of the city.

2. Herastrau Park

Herastrau Park© Radub85 / Dreamstime

This park, which is the largest in Bucharest, is located around Herastrau Lake and is also home to the Village Museum. First opened in 1936, Herastrau Park offers visitors a lovely escape from the city. Among its many features are walking trails, a Japanese garden and an open-air theater that hosts performances.

Visitors can also enjoy boat rides on the lake or rent bikes to cycle around the park. There are also numerous restaurants located around Herastrau Park. Although this park is very popular with local residents, it is large enough that it never really feels crowded.

1. Palace of Parliament

Palace of Parliament

After the Pentagon, the Palace of Parliament is the world’s second-largest administrative building. Construction on this massive and lavish building, which was the brainchild of Nicolae Ceausescu, began in 1984. However, it has still not been completed to this day.

The neoclassical building, which has more than 3,000 rooms, is — in a lot of ways — a reminder to the Romanian people of the excesses of the communist period, especially since it was built during a time when most of its citizens were desperately poor. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bucharest, so it’s recommended that visitors purchase their tickets in advance.

Best Time to Visit Bucharest

Bucharest Climate

Lying in the south of the country along the Dambovita River, Bucharest enjoys a continental climate with cold winters and hot, humid summers. Although June to August are among the most popular months to visit, temperatures of 27 to 29°C (80-84°F) can make sightseeing a bit sticky.

This though is when the capital hosts some of its biggest events like the Summer Well music festival. While the city is crowded during the week, at the weekend it empties as people cool off in the mountains or by Black Sea beaches.

Many locals say Bucharest is best in spring when its pretty parks are green again, costs are lower and the weather is a comfortable 18 to 24°C (so 64-75°F). Avoid early May though as many Romanians are on holiday and lots of places shut.

September and October are again pleasant due to the autumnal foliage and events such as the George Enescu Festival. Sightseeing is more pleasant due to the slightly cooler climate.

From December to February, temperatures plummet to 1 to 4°C (34-39°F). While Little Paris looks lovely all snowy, the weather makes sightseeing challenging. Some do visit though for its month-long Christmas market that brightens up the dark winter.

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