Despite its grey and sometimes dreary facade, expats will find a host of interesting sights and activities to see and do in Bucharest. From its historic buildings and museums to its ornate churches and beautiful parks, visitors will learn about the city’s troubled past while experiencing first-hand its quest for modernity in present-day, post-Soviet Romania.
Recommended attractions in Bucharest
Palace of Parliament
One of the largest buildings of its kind and a landmark of Romania’s communist history, the Palace of Parliament is a must-see for any visitor to Bucharest. Expats can go on guided tours of the building, which consists of over 1,000 rooms housing the Romanian parliament, three museums and a conference centre. The ornate interior is furnished with rare and expensive materials, including bronze, gold, marble and crystal.
There are many beautiful and historic churches in Bucharest for new arrivals to explore. The Stavropoleos Monastery, an Eastern Orthodox Church tucked away in Bucharest’s Old Town, is a must-see. Originally built in 1724 during the reign of Nicolae Mavrocordatos, the building is characterised by beautiful stone and wood frescoes inspired by biblical themes. The church also conserves the relics of several saints and has one of the largest collections of Byzantine music books in Romania.
Romanian National Art Museum
The Romanian National Art Museum is housed in the former Royal Palace on Revolution Square. It features the country’s largest collection of Romanian and international art from medieval to modern times. The building is an attraction in itself. In addition to viewing the impressive art collections, visitors can take tours of some of the former royal living quarters and the throne room.
The Romanian Athenaeum
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania, the Athenaeum is a glamorous concert hall in central Bucharest. This ornate domed and circular building in a landmark on the city’s skyline and a significant symbol of Romanian culture. It is home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. It's also one of the main venues of the George Enescu International Festival and Competition, held in honour of the Romanian composer.
Nestled around Herăstrău Lake, in northern Bucharest, Herăstrău Park is the largest park in the city. The park is a popular location for family picnics. It has something for everyone to enjoy, including an open-air theatre, a yacht club and sporting facilities. It's also home to the Village Museum, which showcases traditional Romanian village life in an open-air setting. The museum has more than 60 original houses, farmsteads, windmills and churches scattered around the park showcasing Romania’s historic regions.
►Read Lifestyle in Bucharest for an overview of what life is like in the city
►For famous annual events in the city, read What's On in Bucharest
"During the summer, we attended festivals, saw midnight art exhibitions, danced at roof parties and went kayaking outside of the city." Read more of Jessica's experiences in Bucharest.
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