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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Bucharest

My interest in Central and Eastern Europe continued when I visited Romania's capital, Bucharest. 

Bucharest The Wandering Juan

I stayed a few days in Bucharest and managed to at least get a glimpse of what the city has to offer. This guide can help you plan your trip.

Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Bucharest

Bucharest The Wandering Juan

Bucharest is the largest city and capital of Romania. The city has a long history spanning centuries. The first mention of "Bucharest" dates to 1459 when Vlad III The Impaler had it recorded in a signed document. He had a fortress built in Bucharest to defend against the invading Turks. It became Romania's capital in the early 1860s. 

Getting a Visa

Depending on the type of passport you use, you can enter Romania if you have a valid double or multiple entry Schengen visa. I'm a Filipino passport holder so I can only enter Romania if I have a valid double or multiple entry Schengen visa or a Romanian tourist visa.

Here's how I got a Schengen visa: how to get a Schengen visa

How to Get to Bucharest

When you're planning your budget and itinerary for Bucharest, you might be thinking how you can enter the city. You can get into Bucharest by air or land.

By Plane

Henri Coanda International Airport or Otopeni Airport is your gateway, if you're arriving from another country. There are regular international flights to and from this airport.

*It's easy and convenient to get to the city from Otopeni Airport. You can take bus 783 to the city center. Alternatively, you can board a train bound for Gare de Nord station. However, you'll have to take the subway or another bus from the train station to your accommodation unless your staying near the train station. 

*You could also head straight to other cities or towns in Romania from Otopeni Airport. There are vans departing for Sinaia, Brasov and others from a terminal outside the airport. I took the van directly to Sinaia upon my arrival.

You can check bus schedules here: https://www.autogari.ro/

By Bus

You could also travel by bus to Bucharest from neighboring countries.

Check Flixbus for schedules: www.flixbus.com 

Things to Do and Places to See

Bucharest is Romania's capital and was once called "Little Paris." The city has an interesting mix of architectural influences namely Art Nouveau, Neoclassical, Byzantine, and others. You could spend a few days visiting some of the city's attractions and going on day trips.

Old Town

Bucharest The Wandering Juan

This area is one of the oldest in the city. It has buildings and structures that have been around since the 15th and 16th centuries. Romania's previous princes have made it their center of power, trade has come and gone here, and many travelers have passed through over the centuries. Since the end of Romania's communist era, many buildings have gone or are undergoing renovation and restoration. Here you'll find many shops and restaurants. The area is quite touristy but still worth a visit.

Palace of the Parliament

Palace of the Parliament The Wandering Juan

This massive building is a city landmark because of its impressive architectural design. It's one of the largest administrative buildings not just in Romania but in the world. It used to be called the People's House when Romania was still under the rule of Nicolae Ceausescu. The former dictator destroyed parks, churches, and parts of the old town to have this building built. 

Romanian Athenaeum

Romanian Athenaeum The Wandering Juan

Romanian Athenaeum The Wandering Juan

This Greek-inspired building is Bucharest's most prestigious concert hall. This building dates to the 19th century. French architect Albert Galleron designed it. 

Revolution Square

Bucharest The Wandering Juan

This historic area was the place where a coup d'etat took place. Thousands of people gathered in this square to demand the ouster of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. 

Arcul de Triumf

Arcul de Triumf The Wandering Juan

The early wooden version of this arc finished construction in 1878 to commemorate the country's victory during the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Another arc was built when its earlier wooden version deteriorated over the years to commemorate the soldiers who fought in World War I. The granite structure you see today was built in 1936 and was designed by Petre Antonescu.

Carturesti Carusel

Carturesti Carusel The Wandering Juan

This fetching bookshop inside a restored 19th century building is a place you might want to visit during your stay in Bucharest. Carturesti Carusel has thousands of books. Its minimalist design allows natural light to filter in. 

Stavropoleos Church

Bucharest The Wandering Juan

This Orthodox church dates to 1724 and was built by Ioanikie Stratonikeas, a Greek monk. The church has wood and stone carvings with a mix of Byzantine and Romanian influences. Inside you'll find wood icons and frescoes. 

Other places you might want to include in your itinerary:

  • The Old Princely Court
  • Herastrau Park
  • Romanian Peasant Museum
  • National Museum of Art
  • George Enescu National Museum
  • National Museum of Romanian History
  • Calea Victoriei

Bucharest is a big, bustling city with plenty of others things to do and places of interest. There are shops, malls, cafes, bars, clubs, and restaurants if you want to go shopping or just hang out while getting something to eat and drink.

Day Trips

Bucharest is also an ideal hub for day trips to popular destinations in the country.

Peles Castle

Peles Castle The Wandering Juan

Peles Castle is a striking destination located in Sinaia. Its interiors is just as beautiful as its exterior. I actually liked Peles more than Bran. 

How to go: Take the bus or train to Sinaia. From Sinaia station, you can walk to the castle, take a taxi or board a local bus. The castle isn't far and Sinaia is a lovely town. 

Entrance fee:  RON 50 (basic tour), RON 100 (ground floor and first floor)

Bran Castle

Bran Castle The Wandering Juan

Bran Castle is one of the most popular destinations in Romania. Its association with Dracula made it a famous attraction. 

How to go: Take a bus or train to Brasov. From Brasov, make your way to Bus Terminal 2 for a bus bound for Bran Castle.

Entrance fee: RON 45

REMINDER: If you're planning to visit either castle by public transportation, I suggest you start as early as possible since it takes a few hours to get to them per way from Bucharest.

You can read more about my Transylvania trip here: budget and itinerary for Transylvania

Getting around Bucharest

Bucharest has an extensive public transportation network that makes it convenient to get around the city without taking taxis. You can take the metro, bus, tram or trolley bus to get anywhere. I often take the metro because it's easier to navigate and is often within walking distance from attractions in the city.

Where to Stay in Bucharest

Bucharest has plenty of accommodation options whether you want to splurge or traveling on a tight budget. I often stay in hostels because I'm out most of the day anyway. It's a great way to save money and meet people. I book a bed or a room through www.booking.com.


Budget for Bucharest

It's possible to go on a Bucharest on a budget trip. It's one of the most affordable cities I've been to, including some cities in Asia. The currency Romania uses is the Romanian Leu, RON or lei. A budget of US$35, RON 161 or roughly P1900 (Philippine peso) per day covers a bed in a dorm room, taking public transportation, occasionally eating out, and a few paid attractions. It's possible to spend less or more depending on your budget. I only spent a few days in Bucharest. I only scratched the surface of what Romania's capital has to offer. You can spend more time depending on the total length of your trip. 

You might also want to read my other posts about Europe:

Itinerary for Bucharest

Here's a sample itinerary for your upcoming trip.

Day 1

Old town

Carturesti Carusel

Romanian Athenaeum

Stavropoleos Church

Revolution Square

Palace of the Parliament

Arcul de Triumf

Day 2

Day trip to Bran Castle

Day 3

Day trip to Peles Castle

Day 4 

Chill in the city and prepare to leave for your onward destination

You can add or remove places depending on your interests. You could see a lot in one day even if you're not in a hurry.

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