When was the last time you considered Romania for your next vacation?
Exactly my point.
Well isn’t it often the case that we so easily form opinions and ideas before we have collected all of the information for ourselves? The old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover” comes to mind. Bucharest is the perfect example of this. With its history of communism combined with the tumultuous political environment of its Northern neighbour Ukraine, many tourists have put their blinders up when it comes to Romania.
I was invited, among 100 other bloggers and influencers, to visit Bucharest as part of the #ExperienceBucharest campaign to change the face of tourism in the city. Its mission was to shatter stereotypes and preconceived notions of Romania through highlighting the beauty, the modernity and humanity of Bucharest. To be honest I had zero expectations for what my time in Bucharest would be like….It’s not that I had never wanted to visit Romania; I had just never given it much thought until this opportunity presented itself.
But, to put it simply: I was blown away.
Here’s why you will be too:
Its energy is edgy, alternative, and infatuating. You will quickly notice the vibrancy of Bucharest; how eager and proud its people are to help and to tell you about their city. From Uber drivers, to restaurant servers, to hotel staff; all of the people who I chatted with were more than willing to give advice and insights to help me discover their city (in fact, I usually didn’t even have to ask)!
Old Town. You will feel enamoured with the old world architecture and charming cobblestone streets in old town. There is something so special about wandering through historic corridors and alleyways, as if you are looking back through time.
The rooftop parties! You will feel intoxicated with the sheer amount of gorgeous rooftops, music and nightlife (…and maybe the blue wine too!). Pura Vida Sky Bar has it all and should definitely not be missed when in Bucharest!
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Secret bars and cafes. Be blown away by all of Bucharest’s hidden corners and edges, where you might be rewarded for wandering aimlessly by finding abandoned buildings, tucked away coffee shops or a hidden garden bars. I really liked Eden (Gradina Eden), which I would never have found without the help of a local friend because it is so well hidden behind this empty building.
It’s Nature. Learn about Vacaresti (affectionately known as the Urban Delta), a hidden oasis with a unique story, situated right in the centre of Bucharest’s urban jungle. You can enjoy the greenery through its walking trails, take a bike ride around its perimeter or admire the gorgeous view from up above in the Urban Delta’s conservatory office. You can also take a fascinating guided tour of the park with Bucharest Walkabout Free Tours to learn about its history and connection to communist times.
The rich history. Trace back the country’s history of communism with a tour of the staggering Parliament Palace building (which I wrote an entire post about). Learn the background of the stunning yet obscene architecture and how it interconnects with Bucharest’s past and present society. I took a guided tour through the building with Authentic Romania and would highly recommend the experience to provide some context!
It’s beautiful in its own way. Get lost in Bucharest’s nooks and crannies, finding beauty in its boldness…
The thermal baths. Forget about the hot pools of Budapest…Bucharest is home to Eastern Europe’s largest thermal baths! Therme Bucharesti also doubles as the most diverse botanical garden in Romania, boasting over 500 exotic plants.
The humbling reminders.
The Castles. Fall in love with the countryside, just a few hours outside of the city limits…and feel like a princess (or prince) at Peles Castle.
…and tick off the infamous and historic Bran’s Castle (aka Dracula’s Castle) in Transylvania from your bucket list!
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Though the morale of the story is to not judge a book by its cover, I still made my own judgement of Romania’s capital city in just 5 brief days …I decided that Bucharest is a truly special place – perhaps even one of my favourite European cities!
With history, culture, food, coffee shops, nightlife, tours, natural beauty, architecture, art, music, castles, and humble, welcoming locals… I’m quite certain there is something for everyone in Bucharest.
So, what are you waiting for? Go experience it for yourself!
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A huge thank you to the #ExperienceBucharest team for including me in their media trip!