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Things to see in Bucharest
Getting to Bucharest is easy. The city has two airports: Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport (Otopeni), the largest, and Bucharest Aurel Vlaicu Airport (Baneasa), the smaller. Wondering how to get to Bucharest from the airport? Most domestic flights land at Otopeni Airport. From there, it's an easy 30-minute drive to the city. Hop in a taxi or save a few leu when you ride a dedicated airport train or shuttle bus. There are many unmissable sights and attractions in Bucharest. Like most European capitals, the city boasts impressive historical and modern architecture, including beautiful churches, government buildings and monuments. These are some of the top things to see in Bucharest, no matter how long you're staying:
Palace of Parliament
Bucharest's impressive Palace of Parliament (also called the Republic's House, the People's House, or the People's Palace) is the second-largest administrative building in the world. Visitors can see inside on a guided tour, which must be booked before getting there. Standard tours include some of the Palace's main rooms and hallways, while other options include basement tours. Step back in time and see solid wood furniture, crystal chandeliers and towering marble columns at every turn. There are more than 3,000 rooms in the Palace, each with a unique function and design. Guided tours don't take you through all of them, but you'll get a good feel for Bucharest's parliament when you spend a few hours exploring.
The Romanian Athenaeum is an impressive concert hall in the center of Bucharest. It's also one of the city's most famous landmarks. Whether you head there for the beautiful Neoclassical design or visit to enjoy a performance, this is an attraction you won't want to miss.
Stravropoleos Monastery Church
Historic churches are often the most beautiful buildings in European cities. The Stravropoleos Monastery Church in Bucharest is no exception. This tiny church is one of the most attractive monuments in the city, nestled in the heart of Bucharest's Old Town. This eighteenth-century Brancovenesc masterpiece combines Oriental, Byzantine and late Italian Renaissance elements. Look out for carved stone columns and doors, beautiful, intricate window frames and detailed frescoes. The monastery is also home to a collection of rare historical items and religious books.
Arcul de Triumf
The Arcul de Triumf, in central Bucharest, is the city's triumphal archway and one of its most famous monuments. The celebratory arch was initially made from wood in 1878 when Romania gained independence. It was constructed for troops to march through on their way into the city. After World War I, the Arcul de Triumf was rebuilt on the same site. Over a decade later, in 1936, the arch we know today was built from sturdy granite. Military parades are held under the arch every year on December 1st, Romania's National Day. If you happen to be in Bucharest during the celebration, head to the Arcul de Triumf to join the festivities.
Unmissable Bucharest attractions
Whatever your reasons for visiting Bucharest, the city's unique attractions are a perfect way to build out your itinerary.
National Village Museum
The National Village Museum, or Dimitrie Gusti, is an open-air museum in King Mihai I Park. This charming museum first opened in 1936, after being designed to teach visitors about life in rural parts of Romania. Travel through various times, periods and Romanian cultures when wandering around the houses, farms and mills that make up the museum. It's the best way to get a feel for days gone by and an exciting way to enjoy one of Bucharest's beautiful green spaces.
Cismigiu Gardens is Bucharest's most central public park. It's home to beautifully-kept lawns and flowerbeds, lakes and woodland, a perfect place to visit come rain or shine. This large garden is one of the best places to relax in the city, a beautiful backdrop for picnics, games and time spent outdoors. More than 30,000 trees in Cismigiu Gardens were transported from the Romanian Mountains. At the same time, exotic plants were carried here from Vienna's botanical gardens. Cismigiu Gardens' highlights include the Roman Garden is laid out in the ancient style and is home to statues and busts of some of Romania's most famous writers. The vast lake offers boating in summer and ice skating in the winter. Looking for refreshments? Kiosks, cafés and terraces are open throughout the year, while children's playgrounds to keep little ones happy.
Finding Romanian food and drinks in the capital
Bucharest is an excellent destination for foodies, offering plenty of delicious Romanian dishes and drinks you may never have tried before. Wondering what to eat in Bucharest? Look no further.
Romanian dishes to try
Sarmale(cabbage rolls) are one of the most famous Romanian foods, often considered the country's national dish. Cabbage leaves are stuffed with rice and minced meat, vegetables and local herbs, then slowly cooked in clay. Cabbage rolls are usually served with mamaliga(a traditional corn flour mash) and sour cream. More unmissable Romanian dishes include ciorba de burta (tripe soup), balmoș(a mash of corn flour, butter and cheese) and jumari(crunchy smoked bacon). Prefer something sweet? Papanasi is a fried, cheesy doughnut served with soured cream and sweet jam.
The best Romanian restaurants in Bucharest
Caru' cu Bere is one of the best places to head for an authentic taste of Romania. This classic restaurant dates back to 1879, boasting a stunning interior and celebrating Romanian beer culture. It's one of the oldest breweries in Bucharest, serving many tasty traditional dishes. Hanul Lui Manuc is another excellent option offering two menus: Romanian and Lebanese. Both showcase diverse dishes from their cuisine. Or head to Torna Fratre for your authentic Romanian meal. This restaurant serves traditional dishes and is also known for its excellent seafood. Folklore and live music performances add to the ambience from Wedesday to Sunday.