Is Budharest worth a visit?

Jan 15th, 2015, 05:23 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 327
Is Budharest worth a visit?

We're considering a Eastern European trip and would like to know if Bucharest is worth a visit? And how many days?. We're interested in art, architecture and local foodways.
Joe18 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 10:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Everywhere humanity has imposed itself on a landscape is worth a visit for someone.

But it's tougher to find a reason for visiting Bucharest than for almost any other European capital - or even many county seats. It has a substantial number of pretty (in a Grimms fairy tale sort of way) late 19th century villas round the inner-city edge, and its Victorian/Edwardian grandiose buildings were less devastated by WW2 or postwar urban "renewal" than in most other Eastern or (if we're being politically correct) Central European places.

Its Ceausescu-era buildings eliminated (I'm told) a lot of picturesque neighbourhoods, though far less than many think. Personally I'm rather fond of some of his constructions: by the standards of most reconstruction follies, most are on a surprisingly human scale (apart from his palace, none are more than six storeys), few are as hideous as the Communist relics in Warsaw or Moscow and, decades later, there's an almost charming 1950s science fiction feel to many. But they're still of interest only to students of the many weird side-turns 20th century top-down civic planning took.

But there are still scores of European cities with more interesting 19th century buildings. On architecture, I'd put it about on a par with Belfast (which few would regard as an essential part of a visit to the British Isles)

I've no idea what a foodway is. Romania has little to boast about culinarily, unless you're especially fond of polenta.

Its National Museum of Romanian History is fine as a way of diverting yourself if you're there (there's some excellent Gothic gold), though it was largely closed for restorations last time I was there (it might have re-opened since, but Romania has generally adopted Italy as its model for development, so I wouldn't bet on it). There's a national art gallery with a couple of decent European paintings.

The most distinctive museum is its largely open-air National Village Museum (, a reconstruction of 300 "typical" local buildings from around Romania. Though there are a couple of similar places in Scandinavia, this is the one place in Bucharest I've come away from thinking I might have considered making a special trip to see. There's also a sort of associated indoor National Peasant Museum (

All very laudable. But I wouldn't give up a day in Dresden for it. Or a day among Romania's painted monasteries in the country's north.
flanneruk is online now  
Jan 15th, 2015, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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No, the place is as Flanner describes and there are still feral dog packs in some of the 'burbs.

Despite vast amounts of EU money criminality is still a problem (take care around the railway station which makes Naples station look like St Peter's gate.

Google racial issues for the country.

Meanwhile the country is pretty pleasant in places
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 05:43 PM
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Thanks to you both. Flanner, "foodways" according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is "the eating habits and culinary practices of a people, region, or historical period."
Joe18 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2015, 07:54 AM
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Depends on what else you're doing on your trip. I spent a couple of days there on a three week Romania trip and didn't consider the time wasted. Click on my name for my Romania TR. BTW, the Romania History Museum is open, and has a good display of ancient gold artifacts.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 18th, 2015, 10:13 AM
Join Date: May 2010
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If you can only visit one city in Romania go to Brasov or Sibiu.

Bucharest would be worth a visit only if you'd have more time for this country (at least a week).
The part of town that's increasingly popular with average foreign tourists is the Old Town ("old" as in "built between 1850-1900"), a pedestrian area created in the past few years in the downtown, filled with of restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes etc.
Safety isn't really an issue (criminality is far lower than in similarly sized European cities and stray dogs aren't a problem in areas worth seeing).
flat4 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2015, 03:08 AM
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In case you're still interested, I would say Bucharest is worth visiting for a day or two, although there are many other more attractive tourist destinations in Romania (I'm thinking of Sibiu, Brasov or the regions of Transylvania, Maramures or Bucovina)

As you're declared interests are art and architecture, I think you should not miss in Bucharest The National Art Museum, The Village Museum, The Romanian Athenaeum, The Mitropoliei Cathedral, The Old Town or The Parliament Palace, the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon, built during the totalitarian regime of Ceausescu. Subject of controversy in terms of architectural style and good taste, The Parliament Palace (also called "House of People") is worth a guided tour, in my opinion, for the impressive history behind it.

As for the food, you should definitively try "mititei" (also called "mici"), a traditional Romanian dish of grilled ground meat rolls made from a mixture of beef, lamb, pork and local spices. Another very appreciated Romanian dish is "sarmale". This one is made with sour cabbage filled with chopped meat, rice and various spices. Very tasty !

Stray dogs aren't a problem anymore, at least in the tourist areas, and the level of security is reasonable.

Hope these were useful to you.
marianaT is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2015, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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I agree with flat4. I stayed in Sibiu and it is a beautiful place and has an airport and train station a short distance from the Old Town location. Brasov has a beautiful old area and several locations nearby (Bran Castle, monestary, Peles Castle) to visit.

My only positive in Bucharest was the village museum. It houses relocated wood church and buildings. Some are hundreds of years old.

So unless you go for the arts; music, theater and/or museums, I would say it is not worth the time. If you have to travel through due to routing then I'd say a day or two at most.
Aboehmer is offline  

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