Tips for Exploring Bucharest, Romania

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Romania is a country in the South-East of Europe, best known for Transylvania – Dracula’s land. It’s a wonderful country to visit. It has high mountains with great sky, slopes, and seaside with trendy beach resorts. Unique in Europe, Romania also homes the Danube Delta, a natural reserve protected by UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today however I am going to tell you about Romania’s capital, Bucharest, a city that has grown and developed a lot in the past 10 years and which is now one of the best party places in Europe.

Beautiful Architecture by

Beautiful Architecture by


Useful Phrases:

  • Bună ziua – Good day
  • La revedere – Good bye
  • Mulţumesc – Thank you
  • Vă rog – Please
  • Gară – Train station
  • Autogară – Bus station
  • Unde este toaleta? – Where is the bathroom
  • Am nevoie de ajutor – I need help
  • Unde e …. – Where is …
  • Bere – Beer
  • Vin – Wine
  • Numele meu este – My name is

Food and Drinks To Try

In Romania, we have a saying: “The best chicken is pork”, so you can imagine that our cuisine is based on pork. We always cook and eat our national food for holidays like Easter and Christmas, for which we spend about 3 days in advance in the kitchen to prepare everything. Our dinners are very big and we manage to fit in 3 courses without too much trouble.

Outdoor Cooking by

Outdoor Cooking by

Here is a guide to our most popular and delicious dishes:

  • Sarmale: This is a must when talking about Romanian food, as it is our national food. It consists of mixed mincemeat and rice rolled inside sour cabbage or wine leaves, cooked in a cabbage, bacon and tomato sauce. It is usually served with polenta and sour cream on top.
  • Mititei: Grilled ground meat rolls made out of a mixture of pork, beef and different spices, we usually enjoy them with mustard and French fries. It’s a very common dish for barbeques in the nature, they are best when grilled on the open fire and not in the pan.
  • Ciorba – A minestrone-soup like broth with vegetables and meat, made with borsch. My favourite is “Ciorba de burta” – Pig belly’s Ciorba, but I also recommend
    • “Ciorba de perisoare” – Soft meatballs Ciorba,
    • “Ciorba a la Grec” – Chicken Ciorba, or
    • “Bors de Peste” – Fish Borsch.
  • Papanasi: Soft cheese filled dough, shaped into spheres and boiled or fried, served with sour cream and topped with sour cherries jam. Absolutely delicious!
  • Cozonac: This is our traditional sweet, a very soft bread-like roll, filled with cocoa, walnuts, raisins, Turkish delight and rum flavouring. The more, the better I would say.
  • Palinca: Now, I would only recommend you to drink this if you know you can handle alcohol. It is a clear, prunes or apricot based drink, with usually over 70% alcohol. We only drink it in small quantities and we sip it after our main meal, as a digestive. It is not meant to be drank as a shot, it will get you drunk instantly if you do this.

Delicious Cozonac by

Delicious Cozonac by

To have a delicious Romanian dinner I would recommend the “Caru cu bere” restaurant. Having dinner here is a whole experience. It is a unique place in Bucharest, in an old mansion, with a stunning architecture. Every evening they have traditional Romanian dances and the food is just like mom makes it.

Things to See and Do

  • Lipscani – The Old Town: A few years ago this used to be a ruined area, filled with falling apart buildings. Now it has been renovated and every building hosts one or more pubs, restaurants or clubs. Here the party starts at 8PM and lasts until morning. You can find thousands of venues, easy to find one to your liking. Most of them tend to be very cheap, one pint costing only around £1.
  • Go and see a symphonic concert at the Athenaeum: Or the ballet at the Opera. Or a play at the National Theatre. Often not mentioned in any of the guide books, a night at the Opera or at the Athenaeum will take you to another world – one of grace and elegance. Don’t forget to wear your best clothes for the performances.
  • The Parliament: This is the largest building from Europe and the second one in the world after the Pentagon. An entire third of the city has been demolished to make space for this “monstrosity”, as some of us call it. It is an impressive building with large crystal chandeliers and elaborate decorations. Top Gear even had an edition where Jeremy, James and Richard raced their cars inside its basement.

The Parliament by

The Parliament by

  • Discover a non-touristic neighbourhood: Wander around the Cotroceni neighbourhood or the Armenian neighbourhood. You will find beautiful architecture that reminds of why Bucharest used to be called “Little Paris” in the past.
  • Take a stroll in Herastrau park: Situated in the North of Bucharest, Herastrau is the biggest park of Bucharest. You can go round the lake with the “little ship” or you can rent your own paddle boat.
  • Visit the Village Museum: An open air museum, with traditional houses from every region of Romania, the Village Museum will teach you about how life used to be in rural Romania many years ago and about our traditions. They often organise handmade markets, where small producers sell different crafts and cook traditional food on the spot. Don’t miss the autumn fair, when must is the main star.

These are just a few of my suggestions for visiting Bucharest off the beaten track and get to know a little bit of the Romanian life. Don’t forget to Pin this for later or Share it with your friends!

Tips for Exploring

20151226_170343Meet The Author
Joanna from The World In My Pocket. Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with her backpack and her camera. Contributing to make the world a better place. You can follow her travels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.