Romanian legend tells that Bucharest was founded on the banks of the Dambovita River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name means “joy”. By playing the flute he amazed the people, and his wine from nearby vineyards was very popular among the local traders, who gave his name to the place.
As one of Europe’s most up-and-coming destinations, Bucharest has had to react quickly to its newfound status. As a result, there are a bevy of recently opened venues to eat, drink, shop, club and sleep. Not only this, but standards are high and local residents have come to expect only the best.
From Piaţa Universitatii, most sights of interest are easily accessible. The nearby Calea Victoriei is a great starting point for shopping. These two landmarks constitute the central Bucharest area where many of the most well-known restaurants and bars are situated. Walking in this part of the city is the best way to see Bucharest, but do not be afraid to venture further north, east and west to discover many more treasures.
Wander the tree-lined streets, take in some authentic folk art and sample a range of international cuisine. Whether you want traditional Romania or contemporary city life, come and find it all before the rest of the world does.
Palatul Parlamentului (Palace of Parliament)
Originally built to house all offices of the Communist ruling officers during Ceausescu’s regime, the imposing Palace of Parliament is Romania’s most famous building. Tours are open to the public, showing off the opulent staircases and chandelier-filled rooms and offering great insight into the building's history. The palace also houses Romania's National Museum of Contemporary Art.
Arcul de Triumf (Triumphal Arch)
Similar to its Paris namesake, Bucharest’s Triumphal Arch, standing tall at 26 metres, remembers Romania’s Great War soldiers and its reunification in 1918. Initially, the arc was built using wood in 1922, and was then finished in Deva granite in 1936.
The Ateneul Roman is home to the superb Filarmonica George Enescu and the hub of Bucharest’s musical activity. Exquisite mosaics and historical frescoes adorn the 19th-century circular building, which hosts impressive orchestral concerts and other performances, which should not be missed if you have the chance.
Good to know
You can easily walk or bike around the city, but you can also take the bus, tram, trolleybus or metro around Bucharest. With these forms of public transport you can get around the city safely and efficiently.
Bus, tram and trolleybus tickets can be purchased at any RATB kiosk. Punch your ticket in the machine board to avoid a fine. Transport runs from 5am to midnight.
Bucharest’s metro has four lines. Trains run every 4-7 minutes, every 15-20 off-peak, from 5:30am-11pm. Sit at the front of trains to avoid missing station signs which are not clearly signposted. The metro is good for travelling longer distances.
Tickets can be used on all means of transportation except the express buses.
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