Have you ever been blown away by a destination in an unexpected way? Bucharest did that for me. I didn’t know much about it or what to expect before I visited, and I think that is part of the reason why this city is still undiscovered. But it deserves so much more recognition!
Bucharest has a lot to offer. From beautiful historic buildings, to hidden ‘secret alleys’, beautifully designed shops, quirky museums, an emerging coffee and foodie scene, and the craziest nightlife. Bucharest has got it all, if you ask me.
I think it’s a shame that not more people know about this exciting city – I was one of them until recently. Bucharest is sadly not a city that people think of as a top European destination. But I have the feeling that this is about to change. Bucharest is ready to welcome the world!
Here are my top picks for those all important Instagram shots you will want to take when you visit.
Table of Contents
- 1 Pasaj Victoria
- 2 Carturesti Carusel
- 3 Palace of the Parliament
- 4 Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse
- 5 Romanian Athenaeum
- 6 Cantacuzino Palace
- 7 Abandoned Buildings of Bucharest
- 8 Mogoşoaia Palace
- 9 Arcul de Triumf
- 10 ‘Dimitrie Gusti’ National Village Museum
- 11 CEC Palace
- 12 Coffee shops
- 13 The views from Little Bucharest Hostel
- 14 Start Planning Your Trip
- 15 Book Accommodation in Bucharest
- 16 Like this post? Pin and save for later
Bucharest is full of secret passages that are hidden away from the main roads. You will often see an archway in the middle of a building leading to a little alley. Don’t be afraid to explore these passageways, you might find a little surprise! Pasaj Victoria is one of those surprises, a little alley covered with rainbow umbrellas, perfect for that photo opportunity.
Possibly the most photogenic space in Bucharest. This beautifully-designed bookshop is not only a bookworm’s paradise, but it is instagrammer heaven. The light is really bright and reflects off the white 3-level balconied shop, with its lovely classical style columns and dreamy spiral staircases that take you directly to the first floor balcony. There is also a gift and clothing store in the basement and a sweet little bistro on the top floor.
Palace of the Parliament
The sheer size of the Palace of the Parliament is the first thing everyone sees. It’s the second largest building in the world and can be seen from the moon! But what’s special about this colossal palace is not just its size. You can visit the interior as part of a tour, where you will walk through a series of incredible rooms, including the Senate Plenary Room with its beautiful domed stained glass ceiling.
UNIQUE TOURS OF BUCHAREST
This arcaded passageway is another one of those hidden alleys. In fact, it’s two alleys that join in at one end. This beautiful almost-Parisian arcade is covered by a glass roof that allows the natural light to come through. Both passages are lined by café bars where you can watch the world go by while you smoke a shisha (if that’s your thing).
A grand building with an even grander interior, the Romanian Athenaeum is a concert hall built in the late 19th century. It is considered a symbol of Romanian culture. The main hall has an impressive circular colonnade and two spiral staircases, and the auditorium has an incredibly ornate domed ceiling.
One of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest, the Cantacuzino Palace houses the George Enescu National Museum. The museum displays photographs, manuscripts and personal objects of the composer and musician. But the feature that stands out above everything, is its sumptuous Art Nouveau style entrance.
Abandoned Buildings of Bucharest
Because of its recent communist and post-communist history, Bucharest has a high number of abandoned historical buildings and post-industrial factories. But they are not safe to visit on your own. In order to explore them, book the Beautiful Decay tour with Interesting Times. They’ll be able to take you places that are normally out of bounds to the general public.
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We found this hidden gem when exploring the less known parts of Bucharest with @bucharesturbanadventures at #ExperienceBucharest ⠀ Sometimes it really pays to go with a local! I loved how they showed us so many different sides of this City of Contrasts. Bucharest exceeded all my expectations and it's mainly thanks to the incredible team of @experience_bucharest⠀ ⠀ What about you – what was the best guided tour experience you ever had?⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #presstrip #romania #romaniapitoreasca #topromaniaphoto #discoverbucharest #bucharest #visitromania #igersbucharest #igersromania #ig_romania #bucuresti #iloveromania #hiddengems #hiddentreasures #LocalsKnow #travelwithaninsider #letsgoeverywhere #staircase #decay #hiddengem #traveldeeper #forbestravelguide #lpfanphoto #lppathfinders
Ok, this one is not strictly in Bucharest, but it’s only 10 kms away and it’s worth the trip. Mogoşoaia is an 18th century palace in the Brâncovenesc style, the Romanian Renaissance style. Its unique architecture and its beautiful gardens make this palace a great destination for beautiful photos.
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Have you ever been totally blown away by a city? That's how we felt about Bucharest when we visited for the first time in 2014. When Katie returned to the city for a visit last week, the feeling only grew!⠀ ⠀ Bucharest is happening right now – there's so much going on, and the city centre is changing at warp speed! At the same time, beautiful old parts of the city and area are being preserved, like the Mogoşoaia Palace (pictured) which is a short drive from the city center and a perfect 1/2-day trip!⠀ ⠀ Can't wait to return to Bucharest yet again next month!⠀ ⠀ @experiencebucharest⠀ #experiencebucharest⠀ @urbanadventures ⠀ @bucharesturbanadventures ⠀ @DelishXperience ⠀ @opendoorstravel ⠀ #OpenDoorsTravel
Arcul de Triumf
You’d be forgiven to think you are in Paris, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Arcul de Triumf is not clogged with traffic and it’s a bit smaller than its Parisian counterpart. Slightly out of town, this arch was built in 1878 in a bit of a hurry after Romania gained its independence, so that victorious troops could march under it.
‘Dimitrie Gusti’ National Village Museum
Right next to the Arcul de Triumf, you will find this open air ethnographic museum that showcases traditional Romanian village life. It has 272 authentic peasant farms and houses, all with their unique architecture adapted to the way of life of each region. All the buildings were moved from their original sites and placed in the museum.
This palace is an icon in Bucharest’s Old Town. It was built in 1900 as the headquarters of CEC Bank, Romania’s oldest bank. Because of its location, you will see this building over and over again in your explorations of the city. But I can guarantee that you will never get bored of it and will always look at it in awe of its beauty.
The coffee scene in Bucharest is alive and kicking, and I’m not just talking about instagramming your cup of coffee here. Yes, the coffee is fantastic, but the coffee shops themselves are worth a visit and worth capturing on camera. There are so many with really cool designs that if you want to visit them all you will need a long time, and you’ll need to get a lot of caffeine in you… not necessarily a bad thing.
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Double tap if you like quirky coffee shops. If you're a foodie and a coffee shop lover, you'll love Bucharest. It's full of hidden gems and sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to get there. Over the past days I basically have been on a food-a-thon, hopping from cafe to cafe and I absolutely loved it! Keep an eye out fory insta stories as I am moving over to Croatia for more explorations. You can enable notifications in the top right hand corner of my insta gallery. But I'd like to know, do you love quirky coffee shops as well? And should I write a blog post about it (would you read it)? _________________ #experiencebucharest #exerienceromania #whereIwalkforCoffee #igromania #bestcafes #topromaniaphoto #puravidaromania #explore_romania #discoverbucharest #entirelifestyle #athomeintheworld #myunicornlife #pursuepretty #darlingmovement #flashesofdelight #ThatsDarling #collectivehub #interiors @coffeeshopsoftheworld #foodheaven #foodstagram #gramoftheday #igdaily #foodiegram #bestcafes #onthetable #bestfashiondaily
The views from Little Bucharest Hostel
Nestled in the hustle and bustle of the Old Town, Little Bucharest Hostel offers some of the best views over the streets of this beautiful city. Whether you are staying in a dorm or in a private room, every single window in the hostel has views to die for. Even if you are not staying here, go for (at least) one drink and enjoy the views from the bar balcony.
Don’t wait any longer, Bucharest is waiting for you to discover it!
Start Planning Your Trip
Book Accommodation in Bucharest
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Disclosure: A big thank you to Experience Bucharest, who hosted me during my time in Bucharest. As always, all views are my own.
Teresa is an award-winning travel blogger based in London. She’s on a mission to explore the world through responsible cultural and adventure travel, and through deeper, more meaningful local experiences. She’s a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and she’s always looking for ways to make a positive impact through sustainable travel.