Bucharest Romania Palace Parliament
ROMANIA

4 Must-Do Tours and Experiences in Bucharest

By on 06/07/2017

I know what you are thinking… Bucharest seems to be all the rage now. How has this city been under people’s radar all this time and suddenly everyone is talking about it? Well, let me explain…

Bucharest is full of passionate people who believe their city deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. So one day they decided that it was time to tell the world all about this intriguing city and its secrets.

This is how Experience Bucharest came to be, a project born out of passion for a beautiful city waiting to receive inquisitive travellers from all over the world with open arms. So an invitation was extended to 100 international travel bloggers, vloggers, instagramers, snapchatters and all kinds of influencers, to come and experience what this city has to offer, warts and all, so they can go out and tell the world.

Bucharest Romania CEC Palace

Bucharest morning light

I was lucky enough to have been part of this really exciting project that ended up being great fun, a real eye opener and an enormous success.

But what did we get up to during our time in Bucharest? We got to know aspects of the city that are not necessarily obvious, and that do not appear in the travel guides. We got to see and experience a Bucharest that only a local guide or friend can show you.

If you like to look beyond the sightseeing highlights and the veneer of a city, keep reading. Here are four tours and experiences just for you, where you will be able to discover the city beyond what’s right in front of you.

Garlic-Themed Culinary workshop

With My Secret Romania

This is a culinary workshop with a twist. And I’m not talking about the garlicky twist here, but a darker twist. This workshop does not only involve tasting delicious garlic treats such as garlic soup, roasted potatoes with garlic and beautiful spreads made with… you guessed it, garlic. It will also take you through a storytelling journey into deepest darkest Romania, where magical practices and stories of vampires still exist. Of course garlic has always played an important role in these rituals and protecting country folk from evil spirits.

Bucharest Romania Foodie Garlic Workshop

Delicious cheese and garlic spread

Bring your bravest self and an empty stomach to this fab day out with Ioanna and Gabriella, the team behind My Secret Romania, and enjoy the (smelly but tasty) ride!

Garlic trivia: Did you know that there was time when you could buy a slave with 7kgs of garlic? That’s how valuable this smelly little bulb was!

Bucharest Communist Walking Tour

With Open Doors Travel

Everyone who travels to Bucharest or Romania has at the very least a slight notion of the country’s recent communist past. You can see the evidence all around you wherever you go, but what you can’t see are the stories behind the changes this regime brought in. The Communist Walking Tour lets you into the secrets of how communism shaped Romanian society, what life was like under communist rule and what Romanian’s outlook on this not so distant past is today.

Bucharest Romania Communist Architecture

Government Officials lived in beautifully designed communist buildings

From the excesses of the Ceaușescu household, to the huge urban change inflicted on Bucharest, and the engineering feats that were achieved to allow people to continue to worship their religion. Our guide Stefan even showed us his own school book from the 80s, where the content blatantly glorified the virtues of communist Romania. It was a real journey back in time and a great way to gain a better understanding of what life was like 30 and 40 years ago.

Bucharest Romania Palace Parliament

The Palace of Parliament seen from Boulevard Urunii

Communism Trivia: The Palace of the Parliament, built by Ceaușescu, is the largest building in Europe and the second largest in the world after the Pentagon. It can be seen from space!

Bucharest Romania Palace Parliament

Inside the grand Palace of Parliament


Are you an avid Instagrammer?
Check out Bucharest’s most Instagrammable Spots


Rroma Heritage Tour

With Open Doors Travel

The Rroma Heritage Tour will take you deep into the Rroma culture in Bucharest. Livia, our tour guide, covered controversial topics on discrimination, activism, labels and segregation, as well as the history of this misunderstood community, including their music and culture. She explained how this group of people was enslaved for 600 years in Romania and how things have progressed to this day. Nowadays, Rroma culture is celebrated every year on 8th April, a day that also serves to raise awareness of the issues that this community faces.

Bucharest Romania Rroma Gypsy Craft Shop Mesteshukar Butiq

Mesteshukar Butiq sells items crafted by the Rroma community

Despite the harsh realities of this tour, I personally loved it because it showed the face of a resilient community that is unconditionally free. We visited the Ferentari neighbourhood, a Rroma ghetto that is virtually cut off from the rest of the city by the lack of public transport and services in the area.

Bucharest Romania Ferentari Rroma

Life in the Ferentari Quarter of Bucharest

The tour ended on a more positive note, with a visit to the flower market at the Piața de Flori, which is run by Rroma flower sellers. We were welcomed with open arms by the vendors and walked away with at least one flower each.

Bucharest Romania Flower Market Rroma

Flori, the friendly flower seller who treated us to peonies and smiles

Architectural Treasure Hunt – Armenian Neighbourhood

With Vanatoarea de Comori Arhitecturale

This is an architectural experience like no other. A treasure hunt for anyone with an interest in architecture, but also for those curious about design, details and wanting to have a little peek at how Bucharestians live in the Armenian Quarter. Known for its tea houses, this charming neighbourhood remains largely unexplored by visitors to Bucharest. And while you are having fun taking part in this urban game, you feel like you are discovering an area yet to be identified by the travelling masses.

Bucharest Romania Armenian Quarter Brazilian Embassy

Architectural contrasts in the Armenian Quarter

No previous architecture knowledge is required for this tour. All you need is a camera, comfy shoes and a curious mind to spot all those hidden architectural gems. Think arcades, bow windows, domes, mascarons (my favourite)…

Bucharest Romania Armenian Quarter Architecture

Beautiful architectural details in the Armenian Quarter

Travel Tip: Make some time to visit the Melik House, thought to be the oldest house in Bucharest, after your tour. It’s an excellent example of traditional Romanian architecture. It houses the Theodor Pallady Museum, showing the art collection of Serafina and Gheorghe Răut, and stunning interiors.

Bucharest Romania Melik House

The entrance at Melik House

So if you enjoy getting to know a destination in depth, these are some ideas to get you started with Bucharest. There are lots more experiences like these, so just check out the tour company’s website for more inspiration!


Like this post? Pin and share it!Bucharest Romania Tours Experiences

 

Disclosure: A big thank you to Experience Bucharest, Open Doors Travel, My Secret Romania and Vanatoarea de Comori Arhitecturale, who hosted me during my time in Bucharest. As always, all views are my own.

TAGS
RELATED POSTS
40 Comments
  1. Reply

    Mihaela

    08/07/2017

    I am really glad you enjoyed my city and it was a pleasure to meet you! I love how you are seeing Bucharest and I hope more and more people will start discovering this special city!

    • Reply

      Teresa

      08/07/2017

      Thanks Mihaela! Bucharest was such a surprise for me that I fell in love with it straight away. There’s so much to discover, and not enough people know about it 🙂

  2. Reply

    Penny

    08/07/2017

    I love your honest approach to blogging. There is the good and there is the bad. No place can exist without both. Bucharest definitely looks like a place that I would like to visit. As long as I don’t meet any vampires there that is! Lol!

    • Reply

      Teresa

      08/07/2017

      Thank you so much Penny. This is what I love about this city. It is fully aware that it is not all glossy beautiful buildings with a romantic history. It has gone through some tough times and it’s just part of what the city is right now so why not embrace it? Our history makes us who we are, and I love Bucharest for this, it bares it all for everyone to see 🙂

  3. Reply

    Robert

    08/07/2017

    Always enjoy eco-friendly walking, biking and food tours when traveling. You really get to experience everyday life in the places you visit, much like you did here in Bucharest. Excellent post, photos and travel inspiration! 🙂

    • Reply

      Teresa

      08/07/2017

      Thanks Robert! I love these types of tours too, and I’m finding myself doing them more and more, as they give you an insight that no other experience in a new place can give you 🙂

  4. Reply

    Catherine

    08/07/2017

    This is a very well-written and super-informative post. Lovely introduction to Bucharest. I loved the culinary class with all the garlic: you could almost smell it whilst reading! 🙂

    • Reply

      Teresa

      08/07/2017

      Thank you so much Catherine. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! The garlic workshop was so cool! Lots of really interesting stories and fabulous food. What else could you ask for? 😀

  5. Reply

    anekha

    08/07/2017

    oo I haven’t heard a lot about this city but putting it on my list 100%

    • Reply

      Teresa

      08/07/2017

      You should visit if you have the chance. It’s a really cool city! So much to do! 🙂

  6. Reply

    Sally E

    08/07/2017

    It’s so mind-blowing how much there is to do in Bucharest! I’m obsessed with this city and need to go back. The gypsy tour was by far one my favorites!

    • Reply

      Teresa

      08/07/2017

      I know right? I’m obsessed too and can’t wait to go back. Hoping to attend experience Romania. Will you be going? It’d be good to see you there 😊

  7. Reply

    Jen

    09/07/2017

    You had me at garlic themed anything, and those flowers are gorgeous! Definitely make Bucharest look inviting, can’t wait to plan a visit!

    • Reply

      Teresa

      09/07/2017

      Hehe. Glad you enjoyed it! Bucharest is a lot warmer and welcoming that it looks. It definitely deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list 😊

  8. Reply

    Laura

    24/07/2017

    I’d really like to try this walking tour. Seems like there is so much History. It would be so interesting to learn about life under communist rule. One of my favourite things to do in a city I’ve never been to is walk around and experience the culture and history. My friend recently came back from Bucharest and said it is somewhere I must visit. Thanks for this great article.

    • Reply

      Teresa

      25/07/2017

      Thanks Laura! I am so glad you enjoyed it. I agree with you. A walking tour is one of the best ways to get an introduction to the culture and history of a city, and the communism tour, in particular, was an eye opener.

  9. Reply

    Hang Around The World

    24/07/2017

    We have a friend who have always invited us to visit Bucharest and now thank to your post we know why. With your photos you inspired us and we’d love to try your same experience especially the tour around the Armenian Quarter!!

    • Reply

      Teresa

      25/07/2017

      I am so happy to hear that this post has inspired you to visit Bucharest! It is a fabulous city and there are so many interesting things to do there! This is just a sample of 4 tours, but there are many, many more. I wish I’d had more time there. If you have the chance, don’t hesitate to go and visit your friend! 🙂

  10. Reply

    Casey

    24/07/2017

    These sound so interesting! All things I never would have thought of myself. I especially love the idea of a garlic/vampire experience.

    • Reply

      Teresa

      25/07/2017

      Thanks Casey! It was a great way of getting to know a local food staple and the legends that surround it, things that you don’t necessarily read on the guide books 🙂

  11. Reply

    Abigail Sinsona

    25/07/2017

    You definitely got me curious about Bucharest with this post! I have to agree with you, there are a lot of cities in Europe that are on my bucket list but Bucharest isn’t as hyped up as some of these (well at least as they deserve to be!). But there are so many interesting things to do and explore based on your guide alone. That culinary workshop is so unique and one that intrigued me most. I do believe that food and culinary arts from a given city or place can provide a lot of insight into the city’s history and culture!

    • Reply

      Teresa

      25/07/2017

      Thanks Abigail! I couldn’t agree more. Exploring the culinary scene of a city or a country is a great way to getting to know its culture. I didn’t know much about Bucharest before I visited, but the one thing I know now is that it deserves a lot more recognition than it gets, and it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list… right at the top! 🙂

  12. Reply

    John

    26/07/2017

    These all look like incredible experiences. Bucharest is such a lovely city! I would love to try the Garlic-Themed Culinary workshop.

    • Reply

      Teresa

      29/07/2017

      Thanks John. They were a real eye opener. I learnt so much about the city and their people through these tours. I would recommend to anyone to do similar sort of tours when visiting any city 🙂

  13. Reply

    Ricci – When In My Journeys

    29/07/2017

    The tour was like an in-depth documentary not just about Bucharest but of Romania as a whole. The culinary workshop is interesting. We have the same beliefs/folklores back home (in the Philippines) about garlic and evil spirits.

    • Reply

      Teresa

      29/07/2017

      It really was! It was a great insight into Romania’s traditions and folklore. I didn’t know you had similar beliefs in Philippines too. I’m looking forward to visiting some time next year 🙂

  14. Reply

    Sara Broers

    29/07/2017

    Culinary tours seem to be popping up everywhere. All of these tours looks fascinating to me. If I were to choose between one of these four tours, which one would you recommend to a beginner to this area of the world?

    • Reply

      Teresa

      29/07/2017

      It’s a hard one as they were all excellent. And I absolutely love foodie tours and the insight they give into a country and culture through their food. But for a beginner the communism tour may be the best option as it goes through the last 60 years of history and gives you a better understanding of Romanian society today 🙂

  15. Reply

    Alberto C.

    30/07/2017

    Bucharest is usually overlooked by most western travellers, and I don’t really understand why! The architecture looks incredible and the food looks even better! I haven’t visited Romania yet, but your informative post will definitely be handy when I do! Thanks for sharing

    • Reply

      Teresa

      10/08/2017

      You are right that it’s completely overlooked by most people, but I think it is a lack of awareness of what this exciting city has to offer. It’s a true gem! 🙂

  16. Reply

    jitaditya

    31/07/2017

    I like the old-world charm of Bucharest. Classy buildings, markets, uncrowded promenades, something I crave for but can’t find in my own city nowadays.

    • Reply

      Teresa

      10/08/2017

      I love it too! There’s something about Bucharest that makes you fall in love with it.

  17. Reply

    Chiera

    31/07/2017

    I worked in Romania last summer and absolutely fell in love! This is so interesting to me. I’d love to go to Bucharest and learn all about the history.Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Reply

      Teresa

      10/08/2017

      Fantastic! I’m hoping to explore Romania in a bit more depth in October and I really can’t wait. Bucharest gave me a bit of a taste for the country 🙂

  18. Reply

    Luminita

    29/08/2017

    Hi Teresa! I would add that night tours are also a good idea to explore the vibrant city life in Bucharest. It’s always interesting to see how a city transforms from day to night and almost every time it’s a very pleasant experience.

    • Reply

      Teresa

      31/08/2017

      Hi Luminita. Thanks for the tip! Cities look so different at night time! I’m hoping to go back to Bucharest in October so I will try and do a night tour 🙂

  19. Reply

    Agness of aTukTuk

    26/09/2017

    Bucharest is definitely worth seeing and exploring, Teresa. Your pictures are definitely stunning. When’s the best time of the year to explore it?

    • Reply

      Teresa

      01/10/2017

      Thank you Agness! I’m really glad you enjoyed my photos. I was there in May and the weather was stunning. Really sunny and actually hot! 🙂

  20. Reply

    Taryn

    17/10/2017

    Just lovely! Your pics are amazing and the flower market made me smile! 🙂

    • Reply

      Teresa

      17/10/2017

      Thanks Taryn! Really happy that you enjoyed it 🙂

LEAVE A COMMENT

HI, I'M TERESA!

Hi! I’m Teresa, a London-based traveller and photographer who quit her job in the summer 2016 to explore the world. I’ve been to 39 countries and have ticked some adventures off my bucket list. I hope I can inspire you and motivate you to get out there and explore this beautiful world we live in. Follow my updates and discover the essence of travelling with me!

Become a Fan
Subscribe

Subscribe to travel updates, inspiration and more!

Airbnb Credit
Airbnb Credit £30
Search