4 MUST-DO TOURS AND EXPERIENCES IN BUCHAREST

Bucharest Romania Palace Parliament

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…

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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 veneer of a city, in this case the sightseeing highlights of Bucharest, 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!

But don’t stop at garlic… Bucharest has some really cool restaurants and a vibrant food scene.

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!

Book this Tour Here

More Foodie Tours in Bucharest

 


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.


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Bucharest Romania Palace Parliament
The Palace of Parliament seen from Boulevard Urunii

Communism Trivia: The Palace of the Parliament, one of the top places to visit in Bucharest, was built by Ceaușescu and 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

Book this Tour here

Other Historic Tours in Bucharest

 

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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

Contact Stefan to Book this Tour

Other Alternative Tours in Bucharest

 
 

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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

Contact Ioana to Book this Tour

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!


Looking to go further afield?

Day Trips from Bucharest

 

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Start Planning Your Trip

 

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4 Must-Do Tours of Bucharest, Romania

4 Must-Do Tours of Bucharest, Romania

4 Must-Do Tours of Bucharest, Romania

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.

 

 

42 thoughts on “4 MUST-DO TOURS AND EXPERIENCES IN BUCHAREST

  1. Mihaela says:

    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!

    • Teresa says:

      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. Penny says:

    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!

    • Teresa says:

      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. Robert says:

    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! 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      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. Catherine says:

    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! 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      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. Sally E says:

    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!

    • Teresa says:

      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 ?

  6. Jen says:

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

    • Teresa says:

      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 ?

  7. Laura says:

    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.

    • Teresa says:

      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.

  8. Hang Around The World says:

    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!!

    • Teresa says:

      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! 🙂

  9. Casey says:

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

    • Teresa says:

      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 🙂

  10. Abigail Sinsona says:

    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!

    • Teresa says:

      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! 🙂

  11. John says:

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

    • Teresa says:

      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 🙂

  12. Ricci – When In My Journeys says:

    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.

    • Teresa says:

      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 🙂

  13. Sara Broers says:

    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?

    • Teresa says:

      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 🙂

  14. Alberto C. says:

    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

    • Teresa says:

      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! 🙂

  15. jitaditya says:

    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.

  16. Chiera says:

    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 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      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 🙂

  17. Luminita says:

    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.

    • Teresa says:

      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 🙂

    • Teresa says:

      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! 🙂

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