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Bucharest gets knocked by some visitors for a few well-known blemishes — a devastatingly gray makeover during Nicolae Ceaucescu's reign, stray dogs, rip-off taxi drivers, glue-sniffers outside the Bucharest train station. Getting past that is easy. Medieval cathedrals sit behind communist-era housing blocks, purposely built to obscure the location, and rows of early-20th-century Paris-worthy theaters and palaces house philharmonic orchestras playing hometown hero George Enescu pieces, stunning art collections, and — in one case — a heart-breaking take on Romania's peasant traditions. The central Historic Quarter is a fun place to begin a ...

Bucharest gets knocked by some visitors for a few well-known blemishes — a devastatingly gray makeover during Nicolae Ceaucescu's reign, stray dogs, rip-off taxi drivers, glue-sniffers outside the Bucharest train station. Getting past that is easy. Medieval cathedrals sit behind communist-era housing blocks, purposely built to obscure the location, and rows of early-20th-century Paris-worthy theaters and palaces house philharmonic orchestras playing hometown hero George Enescu pieces, stunning art collections, and — in one case — a heart-breaking take on Romania's peasant traditions. The central Historic Quarter is a fun place to begin a day's walk. Here you can see where the '89 revolution toppled communism at Piata Revolutiei, shop in antique stores along Lipscani Street, then head south to the Old Princely Court established by Vlad Tepes (the real Dracula), and tour the world's second-largest building at the mammoth (yet unfinished) Palace of Parliament. The ritzier areas of town huddle around the popular Herastrau Park in north Bucharest, where you can visit an open-collection of traditional homes at the Village Museum, walk past Romania's own Arc de Triomphe and pop in the delightful National Museum of the Romanian Peasant on the wide Sos Kiseleff Blvd.

Robert Reid
About the Expert

Robert Reid has updated 15 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, including Romania & Moldova, Eastern Europe, and Trans-Siberian Railway.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The capital city is located in the southeast of the country and lies on the banks of the Dâmboviţa River.
  • Language: Romanian
  • Currency: leu
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April, May, September, October