Bucharest is Europe’s best kept secret. While visually it can't quite compete with the likes of some of the other grand Eastern European capitals, it leads the pack in dynamism, energy and forward momentum. While the remnants of Communism are still palpable throughout, the city has its sights set firmly on the future, though never forgetting its history. Trendy outdoor cafes and high-street shops live side-by-side with gorgeous Orthodox churches and world-class art galleries in the old town, all overlooked by the imposing Palace of Parliament.
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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.
Bucharest boasts many beautiful monuments and landmarks, the most prominent being the Palace of Parliament, an imposing structure that now houses, among other things, one of the city's best museums: The National Museum of Contemporary Art. Other museums worth visiting are the Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the National Art Museum, housed in the old royal palace. Alternatively, enjoy the vast green spaces the city has to offer, like the gorgeous Parcul Carol, or wander around the charming old town.
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Bucharest offers a fantastic selection of international cuisine, including French, Italian, Japanese and much more, though sampling local fare should be your top priority. Traditional restaurants are inspiring and offer top-notch food in lively surroundings. Here are a few international and local choices.
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Bucharest has developed a varied and sophisticated cafe scene, absorbing influences from around the world in terms of coffee production and preparation, as well as decor and ambiance. The city's wonderful coffee can and should be accompanied by a fresh pastry or a light snack, both of which are done so well in Bucharest.
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Bucharest’s bars are scattered around the city and searching for the best venues is all part of the fun. Here you will find cosy pubs, chic lounges and trendy bars that all add to the city’s nightclub scene. There are enough top nightspots here to cater to everyone’s taste, whether you want to dance the night away or chill out in one of the more mellow venues.
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Bucharest offers top-notch fashion shopping, such as you might expect to find in Paris, Milan or London, but the true joy of shopping here lies in local products. If you are hunting down souvenirs, there is an endless range of little shops that sell Romanian handicrafts and knick-knacks, some more authentic than others, as well as wonderful antique shops and stores selling items from the days of Communism.
Henri Coandă International Airport
Bucharest is served by two airports: Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP) and Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (BBU). The Henri Coandă International Airport is located approximately 17 kilometres from the city centre of Bucharest and the journey takes 40 minutes. Most international and domestic flights leave regularly from here.
Trains connect the airport and the Bucharest North Railway Station. You can also catch the 780 express bus line. Bus 783 connects the airport and the city centre and it runs throughout the whole day, every 40 minutes at night. You can find the buses in front if the Arrivals Terminal and the Departures Terminal.
Taxis can be ordered on the touch screen in the Arrivals Terminal.
Address: Henri Coandă International Airport, Bucharest
Phone: +40 21 204 1000
Aurel Vlaicu International Airport
Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (BBU) is located 8 kilometres north of the city centre, and the journey takes approximately 20 minutes. It mainly serves charter flights for package holidays and domestic flights.
To get to and from the airport you can catch buses 131, 335, 148, 112 and 301. You can also catch tram number 5 and the express route 783.
Address: Aurel Vlaicu International Airport, Bucharest
Phone: +40 21 230 5607
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.
Always make sure your taxi has a meter to avoid unnecessarily high fares. Once this has been established, you are in for a comfortable and inexpensive ride. Just hail a taxi down from the side of the street. Two reputable companies are:
+40 21 9466
Address: Str. Matei Millo, nr. 12, Bucharest
Phone: +40 21 315 3971
Pharmacies in central Bucharest are well stocked and several of them stay open late.
Address: Str. Radu Beller 6, Bucharest
Phone: +40 21 233 89 61
Country code: +40
Area code: 21
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