Bucharest is a bustling city and the capital of Romania. You may not know this but it is known locally as “little Paris” and it even has it’s very own Arc de Triomphe! The airport has flights arriving from all over Europe and the city is also easily reached by car. We drove from Sofia, Bulgaria and the journey was around 6 hours including a couple of short stops.
With only one day in Bucharest to explore I had to be very efficient with time! We arrived early, around 10am and headed straight to meet the Free City Tour. These tours operate daily at 10:30am and 6pm and are a fantastic way to get to know the city quickly and on foot. The guides are great and give you information not only on the history of the city but also the best places to go to eat and drink etc.
After this we went to see the famous and incredibly impressive Palace of the Parliament, or, the People’s Palace as it is also called. The palace was the vision of Romania’s last communist leader, Nicolae Ceaușescu and was designed by a 28 year old architect, Anca Petrescu. It’s the second largest building in the world and the one and half hour tour that you take will show you only approximately 5 percent of it! The palace is one of the most dramatic buildings I have ever seen. The decor is amazing with an estimated 1 million cubic metres of marble and 3,500 metric tonnes of crystal used for 480 chandeliers! The full tour will cost you around 10 EUR each and a little more if you want to take photographs inside the building. It’s definitely worth it though as this tour takes you out onto the main balcony which overlooks the Romanian Champs-Élysées.
After the tours it was time for lunch and there’s so many restaurants to choose from in the centre of Bucharest. You can easily have a nice meal for two for around 15-20 EUR.
To stay the night, I opted for a real budget hotel, City Hotel Bucharest, mainly because I knew that we would be out for most of the time. I wasn’t really bothered about where we’d stay but in actual fact it was quite a nice hotel! The price was just 18 EUR per night for a twin room which was small and basic but clean. The only thing I would change there is the toilet paper as it was the kind that can be mistaken for sandpaper so perhaps buy your own! A taxi to the centre from the hotel cost around 5 EUR.
In the evening, walk around the centre and you will find two main busy streets full of bars and restaurants. In the warmer months they all have tables outside and are great places to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere of this vibrant city.