Romania’s capital city is renowned for its grand architecture, Communist history, and buzzing nightlife, and with some forward planning, it’s possible squeeze all off its highlights into 24 hours. Here’s how to spend one day in Bucharest.
Morning: Explore the Old Town
A walking or bike tour of the Old Town is the perfect introduction to the city, as exploring with a guide provides historical context that brings city landmarks to life. Start with a visit to the 20th-century Palace of Parliament, built by Communist ruler Nicolae Ceaușescu, then stop to admire Bucharest symbols that include the Stavropoleos Monastery, the Old Courthouse, and the National Bank of Romania.
Pass through the grand University Square and stroll down Pasajul Victoria, a popular photo spot due to its canopy of colorful umbrellas, and then arrive at Revolution Square, an important site in Romania’s Communist history.
Afternoon: Lunch by the Lake
Head north to the vast Herăstrău Park and take a moment to marvel at the Arch de Triumph (Arcul de Triumf), which heralds the southern entrance to the park. Bucharest’s green lung is filled with scenic walkways, all of which wind their way to the lakeside—settle into one of the waterfront restaurants for lunch and sample Romanian specialties such as chiftele (meatballs) or sarmale (stuffed cabbage) as you enjoy views of Herăstrău Lake.
After lunch, choose between taking a stroll along the lakefront promenade, setting sail on a romantic cruise around the lake, or visiting the Japanese-style gardens. Also worth a visit is the Village Museum (Muzeul Satului), an open-air museum that offers a glimpse into life in the Romanian countryside.
Night: Bar-hopping in Bucharest
Bucharest knows how to party and the Old Town is the place to head after dark. Kick off the evening at Caru' cu Bere, Bucharest’s oldest beer house, which is famed for its Art Nouveau interiors, Romanian cuisine, and beer that’s brewed on-site.
For those who want to drink and dance into the early hours, a guided pub crawl—which takes you to some of the coolest bars, pubs, and nightclubs in Bucharest, and ensures you make it safely back to your hotel—is the best way to discover the city’s nightlife.