Bucharest – capital city of Romania
Bucharest’s hidden treasures are well worth the hunt. Tree-lined boulevards, an Arc de Triomphe replica and neoclassical buildings meant the city was once touted as ‘Paris of the Balkans’ but even years of communist rule and development can’t quite obscure Bucharest’s best monuments from view. As the city reinvents itself, that former glory is starting to re-emerge. Seek out bell-towered mansions, Byzantine-style chapels, the Piati Revolutiei and Vlad Dracul’s 15th-century court. The historic centre is lined by cobbled streets overflowing with bars, restaurants, coffee shops, antique and clothes shops where you can buy everything from wedding gowns to cheap jeans. For an infusion of Bucharest’s culture, visit the Romanian Peasant Museum, the National Art Museum and Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral. After a day’s sightseeing, hop on the metro and head north for the tranquillity of Herastrau Park, with its boat rides and village museum.
Go to Bucharest for its hidden architecture, its historic museums and its peaceful parks. Bucharest has a lively arts scene so go for the music (traditional and modern), the orchestra, opera and theatre performances. Enjoy summer festivals and outdoor summer concerts in Cismigiu and Tineretului parks.
When to Go?
Bucharest has a temperate continental climate, with often-cold, windy winters and warm summers with average temperatures of 23°C. The rainiest seasons in Bucharest are spring and autumn. July and August can be very hot and stifling, so the best time to travel to Bucharest is during the early summer and early autumn months. Low-cost airlines are starting to fly to Bucharest, so look around for a bargain.
How to get there?
The largest airport in Bucharest is Henri Coanda International Airport, set 10 miles north of the city. Direct flights fly from London and Dublin and buses and taxis are available for airport transfers. The nearest train station is Gara de Nord, Bulevardul Garii de Nord 2. The metro is the best way to travel around the city centre and tickets for buses, trams and trolleybuses are interchangeable.
Don’t leave Bucharest without a tour of Parliament Palace, Ceausescu’s greatest folly. Rumoured to house a nuclear bunker big enough to shelter the entire government, one of its rooms has a sliding ceiling wide enough to accommodate a helicopter landing! The neighbouring National Museum of Contemporary Art is also worth a visit. And if you’re a fan of classical music, try to catch a concert by Bucharest’s George Enescu at the 19th-century Romanian Athenaeum.