One day in Bucharest itinerary – a full guide to how to spend a perfect day in Bucharest (including where to stay, what to eat and a map with all attractions).
Bucharest is the capital of Romania and it’s the largest city in the country. It’s a dynamic and energetic city, full of Belle Époque buildings and hipster coffee shops.
Is Bucharest worth visiting
Is Bucharest a good place to visit? Yes, the city is a great choice for a leisurely weekend getaway filled with beautiful architecture and delicious food. It’s a cheap destination with bursting nightlife and an excellent restaurant scene. The city is a unique mismatch of Art Nouveau architecture and neglected buildings left from the communist rule.
The Old Town is packed with trendy bars and traditional restaurants, serving delicious food. And not to forget the hipster gelato and coffee shops. When it comes to food, Bucharest is a real treasure. You won’t leave disappointed or with an empty stomach.
How many days in Bucharest
From 1 to 2 days.
You’ll need no more than one or max two days to explore the city.
You can also discover the capital of Romania on a half-day bike tour.
However, don’t miss to add one more day to your itinerary to explore the beautiful countryside of Romania. Most popular day trips include the royal palace in Sinaia and of course the famous Dracula Castle.
I spent 2 days exploring the city at a leisurely pace visiting a lot of museums and churches.
On the third day, I took a day trip from Bucharest to the royal palace in Sinaia. Although I am a huge Dracula fan, I chose Sinaia, because it’s closer to Bucharest and it’s easier to get there. And I didn’t regret at all. The royal palace was one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.
It’s a nice 4-star hotel with a perfect location – close to the Old Town, attractions and restaurants.
How to get from Bucharest Airport to the city centre
Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP) is located about 16km north from the city centre. There are several ways to get there:
- the easiest one is to book a private transfer directly to your hotel. I love Welcome Pickups because they are always on time and very helpful.
- take a bus (783 Express line) from the airport to the city centre. In this case, you’ll need to buy a magnetic card. It’s available for 2 or 10 trips.
- to get to Gara de Nord from the airport you have to take the 780 Express line
Hotel Concorde – Best for families
Charming hotel with a perfect location right in the Old Town.
9.2/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,230+ guest reviews
Hilton Garden Inn – Best for couples
4-star elegant hotel in the heart of the city centre.
9.1/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,980+ guest reviews
Comfy and spacious apartments in the Old Town and close to public transport.
9.6/10 Rating – See apartment images and 230+ guest reviews
See more good hotels in where to stay in Bucharest.
One day in Bucharest itinerary
What are the must-see places in Bucharest? Follow this detailed itinerary to get the best of the city in a day.
Morning – Traces of communism
08:15 AM – 09:15 AM
Start your day with a breakfast at M60 or Paul.
M60 is a nice hipster coffee shop that offers awesome breakfasts. I loved their avocado toast with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese.
Paul is the typical French bakery with mouthwatering croissants and pastries. It’s a great start of the day if you look for something sweet along with your cup of coffee.
09:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Ceausescu Mansion (Palatul Primăverii) was one of the highlights of my trip. This was the private residence of Nicolae Ceauşescu, the last Communist leader of Romania. He lived there with his wife Elena and their 3 children for 25 years (1965-1989). The palace is decorated with luxurious furniture, handmade tapestries and many artworks. It’s in a complete contrast to how the ordinary people used to live during the communism.
To visit the mansion you have to book a guided tour for a certain time slot, at least 24 hours in advance. Then you have to wait for a confirmation email.
I booked a week before the date and I had to wait 4 days for them to confirm my reservation. So, don’t wait for the last minute. Also, be there about 15 minutes before the booked hour.
My reservation was for 10:00 AM. They opened the gates at 09:45 AM and I immediately bought the tickets. However at 09:50 I received an email that my booking was cancelled, although in fact, it wasn’t. This could be quite confusing especially if you arrive exactly on time for the booked tour.
The easiest way to get here is by using the underground. Take metro line M2 (direction Pipera) to station Aviatorilor. From there it’s about 500m to the palace.
11:15 AM – 12:30 PM
While you’re in this area of the city, don’t miss the Village Museum. It’s an open-air ethnographic museum in Herăstrău Park. Muzeul Satului features more than 100 authentic peasant houses from all over Romania. The atmosphere is truly peaceful even during the weekends and it’s full of cats.
12:30 PM – 02:30 PM
On your way to the Old Town stop at French Revolution. It’s one of the best shops for éclairs I’ve been to. They offer a huge variety of flavours and the éclairs are to die for.
For lunch go to Alt Shift. It’s an excellent restaurant with a modern vibe. I found it by accident when I was looking for something different than the traditional Romanian cuisine.
Afternoon – Tour the Old Town
02:30 PM – 02:45 PM
Pasajul Victoria is one of the most picturesque places in the city. It’s a popular street passage covered with colourful umbrellas.
03:00 PM – 03:20 PM
Stavropoleos Church (Biserica Stavropoleos) is an 18th-century masterpiece of Brâncovenesc style. This style combines local, Oriental and Italian Renaissance elements.
03:20 PM – 03:40 PM
Cărturești Carusel is a popular bookstore and it’s totally charming. The white columns and spiral staircases create the perfect fairytale atmosphere.
And they even have a cat! The cat is not super friendly, but I guess it’s just too tired of the constant crowds.
Cremeria Emilia Romania
If you love gelato, there is one place to go – Cremeria Emilia Romania. Also, their cakes are something not to be missed.
Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral
04:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral is a splendid cathedral from the 17th century, built in Brâncovenesc style. Catedrala Patriarhală din București is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Palace of the Parliament
04:45 PM – 05:15 PM
Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) is the most famous building in Romania. It’s the second largest administrative building in the world. It was constructed during the rule of the communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. The building has more than 1,100 rooms. However, only 400 of them were finished and used.
To visit the Palace of the Parliament you have to call and book a guided tour 24 hours in advance. You’ll also need your passports for the security check.
For dinner choose between Caru’ cu Bere and Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare. They both serve traditional Romanian food.
Caru’ cu Bere is the most famous beer hall in Bucharest. I liked very much the authentic atmosphere of the place and the view of the Old Town (if you sit outside).
However, the food at Hanu’ Berarilor Casa Oprea Soare was better. Try the mititei and for dessert – papanași.
If you look for a unique and fun experience, visit Excalibur. It’s a medieval themed restaurant that serves big portions and you have to eat with your own hands! No forks or spoons are provided.
For some drinks in a relaxed atmosphere, go to Club Control. The club features a nice garden with a bar.
What to do in Bucharest in one day – more ideas
See some street art
Take an alternative walking tour and see the most famous graffiti and learn more about the artists.
Explore the city’s dark history
The Triumphal Arch (Arcul de Triumf) was built after Romania gained its independence in 1878. Initially made of wood, it was replaced by a concrete one after World War I in 1922.
George Enescu Museum
George Enescu Museum is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Gheorghe Grigore Cantacuzino, the city’s mayor at that time, commissioned the construction in 1901. Today it houses a museum of the composer George Enescu.
Central University Library
The Central University Library is another gorgeous building from the 19th century.
The CEC Palace (Palatul CEC) is the headquarter of CEC Bank. And this is probably one of the most beautiful bank buildings in Europe.
Saint George New Church
One of the most important rulers of Wallachia, Constantin Brâncoveanu, built this church in the 18th century. Biserica Sfântul Gheorghe Nou is also his final resting place. Although it looks a bit ordinary outside, the interior of the church is pretty impressive.
The Choral Temple is the only existing replica of the Synagogue Tempelgasse in Vienna, that was destroyed in 1938 by the Nazis. You can visit Templul Coral only with a guided tour and you’ll need your passport for the security check. The tours take place often, so you won’t wait long.
Old Court Church
During the 15th century, the royal residence of Vlad the Impaler stood here. Later the palace was expanded by Mircea Ciobanul, Prince of Wallachia. He also founded the Old Court Church (Biserica Curtea Veche). It’s the oldest church in the city, dating from 1545.
Getting around Bucharest
Bucharest is a walkable city, so you probably won’t use the public transport more than a few times. Yet if you need to use it, take the subway. It’s faster and more regular than the buses.
To use the subway you need to buy a magnetic card from the offices at any station. You can choose between 2 or 10 rides or a daily pass.
Find out more interesting places to see near Bucharest in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Eastern and Central Europe.
Visitors often combine Bucharest with:
- Brasov – it’s a charming medieval city in the heart of Romania. Check out the best hotels to stay in Brasov.
- Sofia – the capital city of Bulgaria. It’s a beautiful cheap destination full of history with a vibrant nightlife. Find out how to spend one day in Sofia. The cheapest way to get from Bucharest to Sofia is by FlixBus.
If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.