How to Spend a Perfect Day in Bucharest

One day in Bucharest itinerary

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).

One day in Bucharest itinerary

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.

How many days I spent

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.

Where to stay in Bucharest

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


Corporate Apartments
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

Breakfast

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.

M60

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.

Paul

Ceausescu Mansion (Palatul Primăverii)

09:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Ceausescu Mansion 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.

Ceausescu Mansion

Village Museum (Muzeul Satului)

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. The Village Museum 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.

Village Museum

cat in Village Museum

Lunch

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.

French Revolution

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.

Alt Shift

Afternoon – Tour the Old Town

Pasajul Victoria

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.

Pasajul Victoria

Stavropoleos Church (Biserica Stavropoleos)

03:00 PM – 03:20 PM
Stavropoleos Church is an 18th-century masterpiece of Brâncovenesc style. This style combines local, Oriental and Italian Renaissance elements.

Stavropoleos Church

Cărturești Carusel

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.

Cărturești Carusel

And they even have a cat! The cat is not super friendly, but I guess it’s just too tired of the constant crowds.

Cărturești Carusel cat

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.

Cremeria Emilia Romania

Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral (Catedrala Patriarhală din București)

04:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral is a splendid cathedral from the 17th century, built in Brâncovenesc style. It is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral

Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului)

04:45 PM – 05:15 PM
Palace of the Parliament 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.

Palace of the Parliament

Dinner

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.

Hanu' Berarilor

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.

Excalibur

After dinner

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.

street art

Explore the city’s dark history

Take a dark history tour and learn more about the city’s secrets including the infamous Vampire of Bucharest.

Triumphal Arch (Arcul de Triumf)

The Triumphal Arch 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.

Triumphal Arch

George Enescu Museum (Muzeul George Enescu)

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.

George Enescu Museum

Central University Library (Biblioteca Centrală Universitară)

The Central University Library is another gorgeous building from the 19th century.

Central University Library

CEC Palace (Palatul CEC)

The CEC Palace is the headquarter of CEC Bank. And this is probably one of the most beautiful bank buildings in Europe.

CEC Palace

Saint George New Church (Biserica Sfântul Gheorghe Nou)

One of the most important rulers of Wallachia, Constantin Brâncoveanu, built this church in the 18th century. It’s also his final resting place. Although it looks a bit ordinary outside, the interior of the church is pretty impressive.

Saint George New Church

Choral Temple (Templul Coral)

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 the Choral Temple 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.

Choral Temple

Old Court Church (Biserica Curtea Veche)

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. It’s the oldest church in the city, dating from 1545.

Old Court Church

Getting around Bucharest

Find a detailed map of this itinerary here.

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.

Further reading for your trip

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.

How would you spend 1 day in Bucharest?
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About the author
Avatar Milena Yordanova
I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.

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One Reply to “How to Spend a Perfect Day in Bucharest”

  1. Thank you so much for your recommendations, and especially for Concorde Hotel. We stayed there and it was just perfect! Right in the Old Town, close to all attractions and restaurants.

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