The Romanian capital of Bucharest is an increasingly modern and affluent city, despite its tumultuous past. Sadly, large portions of the city were destroyed during the communist Ceaușescu regime and evidence of this is still apparent in the large number of crumbling buildings and poorly maintained roads. But parts of the historic old town remain intact and modern-day Bucharest has a surprisingly dynamic feel to it. While it may not feature among the leading European city break destinations at present, it is an interesting option for those seeking something slightly off the beaten tourist trail.
Bucharest is located in the south-east of Romania and is the largest city in the country. It has been the capital since 1862 and was once known as 'Little Paris' due to the large number of buildings in a French architectural style. Many old buildings have survived the passage of time, despite the ravages of two World Wars, natural disasters and the Ceaușescu regime, when many original buildings were replaced by soulless grey housing blocks.
The city is thought to have been inhabited since around 500 BC and now has a population of 2.2 million. Visitors to Bucharest are welcomed by wide tree-lined avenues, handsome architecture and friendly locals. Several museums are well worth a visit, while those who venture outside the borders of the city can enjoy the nearby lakes and forests.
Visitors might be surprised by the amount there is to see and do in Bucharest. Here are some of the must-sees:
Open-air Village Museum - This large outdoor museum gives visitors a good idea of traditional village life in Romania. Tourists can wander around 272 authentic farms and houses from all over the country and see traditional crafts.
National Museum of Art - Established in 1937, this important museum is located in the former royal palace and features medieval and modern Romanian artworks, as well as a large international collection.
Stavropoleos Church - This is an outstanding example of Romanian Orthodox architecture. Located close to the city centre, it is one of the oldest churches in Bucharest. It may be small, but the interior is ornate and well worth seeing.
Romanian Athenaeum - This domed concert hall is one of Bucharest's landmark structures. The pillared building was opened in 1888 and restored in 1992, creating an ornate interior that provides an impressive backdrop for regular world-class performances.
The majority of international visitors arrive at Henri Coanda International Airport, which is located 11 miles north of the city centre. Regular buses offer an affordable way to proceed to the city.
Bucharest is beautiful in the spring, when the city looks particularly leafy and verdant ahead of the heat of summer. Early autumn is also a lovely time of year to visit before the chill of winter sets in.
If you're planning a trip to Romania, why not take a look at our holiday apartments in Bucharest? We offer high quality accommodation in key central locations that is often much more affordable than staying in a hotel.
All Bucharest apartments are available for online booking for the convenience of the travelers and direct reservation.