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Maps Restaurants Cafs Pubs Clubs Sightseeing Shopping Directory Hotels

PLAN GUIDE

MAP & GUIDE

BUCHAREST

OLD TOWN
A complete guide to Bucharests most living
area
ESSENTIAL BUCHAREST

Here you will find everything that you always


wanted to know about the Romanian capital

~ Contents ~
Arriving & Getting Around
Bucharest Basics
Restaurants
The most tasty places in the city to eat
Nightlife
The citys best pubs and clubs
Sightseeing
Dont leave Bucharest without seeing the essentials
Old Town
Where Bucharest goes to party
Shopping
Souvenirs, local designers and local wine
Hotels
Directory
Maps
Central & Southern Bucharest map
Street register

Arriving & Getting Around


ARRIVING AT OTOPENI
Bucharests only commercial airport is Otopeni (officially Henri Coanda), 17km north of the city on
the DN1. Opened in 1970 and recently extended, it is a spacious, efficient airport. After getting off
the plane and easing your way through passport control, youll find yourself in the baggage reclaim
area. Instead, grab your luggage and head off through customs to the arrivals area. Here there are
loads of ATMs, a press shop and a small cafe. To the right is a passage leading to the departures
terminal, lined with car hire desks and a few shops, including a chemist.
To order a taxi, look for the touch screens in the arrivals hall. They are fully automated and very
easy to use (and offer multiple-language options), and you can choose a taxi from just about the full
range of Bucharest taxi companies: all have their tariffs clearly displayed. Once the taxi company
has informed you (via a ticket which comes out of the machine) how long the taxi will take to arrive,
and what ID number the taxi has, you simply go outside to wait for it. Make sure you get into the
correct taxi: check the company name and ID number is the same as on the ticket
For the guests who want to head into town in a bit more comfort than your average visitor, there is
a very good company- BlackCab (blackcab.ro).

This company offers a comfortable, reliable airport transfer service at decent prices.
You can also get to town by taking bus 783, which stops underneath the arrivals hall, in front of
internal arrivals and leaves for the city centre (stopping at Piata Victoriei, Piata Romana and Piata
Universitatii) every 30 minutes during the day, and then every 40 minutes throughout the night.
The full timetable of the 783 bus is online at ratb.ro. Another bus, the 780, runs from the airport to
Gara de Nord from 05:15 to 23:00 roughly every 30 minutes. You need to purchase an Activ Card
before boarding (get it from the little booth which youll find on your right-hand side as you exit). A
return journey into the city costs 7 lei (no singles are available, but there is no time limit on using
the return). You also need to pay 3.70 lei for the card itself, but it can be recharged as often as you
like at any ticket kiosk in Bucharest, and used on all Bucharest buses, trolleybuses and trams. The
cards cannot be bought on board.
There is also a train which connects the airport to the main railway station, Gara de Nord. The train
departs at irregular intervals, however, and to get to the airports station you need to take a
minibus. Tickets are available from a counter in the Arrivals hall. Look out for the Bilete CFR sign.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Bucharest is served by an extensive public transport network, made up of bus, trolleybus, tram and
metro. All forms of public transport in Bucharest are very cheap.
BUCHAREST METRO First opened in 1979; Bucharests metro was primarily built to ship workers
from the vast housing estates of Titan, Berceni and Militari out to the huge industrial plants at
Pipera, IMGB, Republica and Industriilor.
Thats all very well if you are resident of Titan working at IMGB, but useless to almost everybody
else. The city centre is poorly served by the metro and only the north-south M2 line, from Pipera to
Berceni, which passes through Piata Victoriei, Romana and Unirii, and the M1 branch to the Gara de
Nord, is likely to be of any use to visitors.
METRO TICKETS for the Bucharest metro are cheap: they cost either 4 lei (valid for two trips; doua
calatorii) or 15 lei (ten trips; zece calatorii) and can be bought from any metro station. You can also
buy tickets valid for one day (abonament de o zi), costing 6 lei. The metro runs from around 05:00
to 23:00.
TRAMS, BUSES & TROLLEYBUSES (RATB)
Even the most remote corners of Bucharest are served by bus, trolleybus or tram, and most main
roads in the city centre benefit from three or four different transport routes. Most buses are
overcrowded, however, and travelling on them can often be a less than pleasant experience. Buses,
trolleybuses and trams run from very early in the morning (around 04:30) to around 23:00 (earlier
at weekends), after which the night buses take over. The night bus network is extensive, and
operates an hourly service throughout the night. All night buses depart from Piata Unirii. Look out
too for the open-top, hop-on, hop-off Sightseeing Bus. It runs each summer and follows a circular
route from Piata Presei Libere to Piata Unirii and back. Tickets valid all day cost 25 lei for adults, 10

lei for children. They can be bought on board. For more about the Sightseeing Bus, see the feature
online at iyp.me/bus.
RATB TICKETS To use a bus, trolleybus or tram you will need to buy an Activ Card before climbing
aboard. These cards cost 3.70 lei, and can be bought from the little kiosks next to major stops. They
need to be loaded with credit (minimum 5 lei) and are reusable. The card is then debited each time
you validate it at one of the orange devices located on buses, trams and trolleybuses. One trip costs
1.30 lei. On all forms of public transport in Bucharest children under the age of seven travel free.
After that they need a full-price ticket.

ARRIVING AT GARA DE NORD


If you arrive in Bucharest by train you will arrive at Gara de Nord. There you will find ATMs, shops,
kiosks, a McDonalds and a KFC. It even now has free Wifi. To get to town you can take a taxi from
the official taxi station outside. Currently, only taxis from two reliable Bucharest companies,
Meridian and Pelican, are allowed to pick up fares here. If no taxi is waiting, use one of the two
touch screens to order one.
You can also hop on the metro: you are just one stop away from Piata Victoriei, or take the bus: No.
123 goes to Piata Unirii and trolleybus No. 85 to Piata Universitatii. Tram 44 goes to Cismigiu.
CAR RENTAL IN BUCHAREST
A delivery and collection service is available free of charge within the city limits; the service is on
request, and it dependson the availability of the Rent a Car Bucharest.
You can make online reservations: office@bucuresti-rent.com;
www.bucurestirentacar.com or you can call: (004)0747368227.

www.bucuresti-rent.com;

BUCHAREST TAXIS
By and large, Bucharests numerous cheap and trustworthy yellow taxis are easy to spot as they are
emblazoned with the name and phone number of the company they are associated with.
Some of Bucharests taxi companies now have smartphone apps which make use of your phones
GPS capabilities to get the closest taxi to you as fast as possible. The best is StarTaxi: search for it on
Google Play or the App Store.

TRUSTED TAXI COMPANIES:


Cobalcescu 021 9451, Cristaxi 021 9461, Meridian 021 9444, Mondial 021 9423, Speed Taxi 021
9477, Taxi As 021 9435, Taxi Total 021 9424. Most of these companies have at least one
operatorwho speaks English.

Bucharest Basics
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BUCHAREST

Bucharest is a relatively new city: mention of it is not made until 1459, as one of the residences of
Vlad III (the Impaler), ruler of Wallachia. The exact origins of the city are therefore unknown.
Folklore has it that a shepherd, Bucur, founded the city, but a more likely candidate is Radu Voda
(also known as Radu Negru), ruler of Wallachia from c. 1290- 1300.
It was under Vlad the Impaler that the city grew to any real size, when it became the preferred site
of the Wallachian court. This was based in what is today known as the Old Town, around the Curtea
Veche. The city was sacked for the first time in 1476 by the Moldavian ruler Stephen the Great
(Stefan cel Mare), and again by the Turks in 1554. During Mihai Bravus uprising against the Turks
in 1594, Bucharest was all but destroyed in heavy fighting. It was not until the reign of Wallachian
prince Matei Basarab in the 1640s that the city fully recovered, and the princely court rebuilt.

Sacked again in 1655 (by the Transylvanians) Bucharest suffered plague and famine for much of the
rest of the 1600s.
It was the accession to the Wallachian throne of Constantin Brancoveanu in 1688 which changed
Bucharests fortunes. Brancoveanu negotiated alliances with the Hapsburgs and Russians - keeping
the Turks at bay - while overseeing a cultural renaissance at home. The Turks finally got the better
of Brancoveanu in 1714: ordered to Constantinople to account for himself he was beheaded by
Sultan Ahmed III. No longer trusting local Wallachian princes to serve their interests, the Turks
instead appointed a long line of Greek administrators to rule the principality. Known as the
Phanariots (they came from the Greek district of Constantinople, Phanar) they would rule over
Bucharest until 1821. During this time the city grew in size and importance, despite regular
disasters: there were major earthquakes in 1802, 1804 and 1812, while plague returned in 181314. As many as 40,000 people died in Wallachia during the plague. While still nominally a Turkish
province, the Peace of Adrianople which ended the Russo-Turkish war of 1828-9 left Wallachia
(and Bucharest with it) under Russian occupation. Fortunately, the general the Russians appointed
to govern Bucharest, Pavel Kiseleff, was an enlightened man who during his 14 years in charge of
the city (1829-1843) oversaw sweeping changes. In January 1859, at the Hotel Concordia on Strada
Smardan, Wallachias nascent parliament elected Alexandru Ioan Cuza as the principalitys new
ruler. Given that the Moldavian parliament had elected the same man to be their leader a few days
before, the vote at the Concordia in effect created the first state of Romania. Bucharest grew - and
flourished - during the reign of Carol I (1866-1914), Romanias first king. Electricity was introduced
in 1882, and the city hosted a grand exhibition, Romania in the World, in 1906. The Carol Park in
southern Bucharest was built to host the fair.
During the 1920s and 1930s Bucharest was one of Europes most dynamic, and architecturally
avant-garde cities. Large numbers of art deco buildings were constructed around the city.
Bucharest was heavily bombed during the latter part of World War II, but in comparison with much
of Europe, the city was relatively unscathed. The communist authorities therefore initially made
their mark on the city not by rebuilding it but by greatly extending it. The citys population doubled
from 900,000 at the end of World War II to 1.8 million in 1980. In 1977 the biggest earthquake in
the citys history killed more than 1,500 people. Many buildings were destroyed or damaged
beyond repair, and Romanias leader Nicolae Ceausescu took the opportunity to remodel the city in
his own vision. By 1989 almost a fifth of Bucharest had been destroyed to make way for the new
Centru Civic. Bucharest was the scene of the heaviest fighting during the Romanian Revolution of
1989, most of which centred on Piata Revolutiei, Piata Universitatii, the TVR building and Otopeni
Airport. Since the revolution Bucharest has continued to grow, although much of that growth has
been outside the city limits. The population of the city proper in fact peaked in 2000, at 2.3 million:
it is officially now down to 1.9 million (2011 census).
Where I am now?
Bucharest, capital of Romania. Situated in that part of the world which will - to those of a certain
age always be known as Eastern Europe, it would be more accurate to describe Bucharests
geographical location as southeastern Europe.

Founded, legend has it, in the 14th century, Bucharest is in that part of Romania known as
Wallachia, one of the three historic principalities which make up the modern country (the others
are Moldavia and Transylvania). The official population of Bucharest is just under two
Million, but as many migrants from the rest of the country do not bother to register as citizens of
the capital; the true number is thought to be closer to three million.
Bucharest is close to the Danube (which is just 69 kilometers to the south), the border between
Romania and Bulgaria. The main crossing point is at Giurgiu, linked by a bridge with Ruse, the
Bulgarian town on the other side of the river, whose pleasant centre is well worth a day trip. Alas
you will need a car, as train services between Bucharest and Ruse (and the rest of Bulgaria) is poor.
Bucharest is around 240 kilometers from Constanta and the Black Sea coast, and now that the A2
motorway goes all the way to the Black Sea port, the journey can be done in just over two hours.
The train service to Constanta is slightly faster. To the north of Bucharest is Ploiesti the centre of
Romanias oil industry, and beyond that the Carpathian Mountains, a two hour drive away.

Restaurants
AMERICAN
CHAMPIONS
Still serving one of the very best burgers in Bucharest (you can choose one or design your
own from an endless choice of toppings), a fact undisputed by anyone weve ever met. It is
also one of the biggest. In fact, now we think of it, the portions of everything here are
enormous: even the childrens servings are very healthy indeed. Besides the burgers you
will find a great selection of American pub food, as well as Tex Mex treats and even some
more refined, slow food options. Famously good cocktails, and more televisions showing
sport than you could ever hope for. Find it in the Marriott: up the stairs as you go in and to
your right.QB-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 90 (JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel), tel. (+4) 021
403 19 17, www.championsrestaurant.ro. Open 12:00 - 24:00.
HARD ROCK CAFE
One of the largest Hard Rocks in Europe, you cant go wrong here, whatever time of day you
visit. Come for lunch with the kids (who are always well looked after, and have their own
menu), dinner with the crowd from work or late drinks and live music with your mates. All
things to all people the burgers and ribs are a cut above the usual, desserts are as outsized
and sweet as they should be, and the service comes from smiley waitresses and expert bar
staff. QA-2, Sos. Kiseleff 32, tel. (+4) 021 206 62 61, www.hardrock.com/bucharest. Open
12:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 01:00.

CHINESE
RESTAURANT NAN JING Dating back to 1980s this little piece of Bucharest foodie history
was the first Chinese restaurant in the land. It is still one of the best, as its longevity (no
mean feat in a city where good eateries come and go fast) testifies. Prices are reasonable,
the setting is good, with a nice covered terrace overlooking busy Bulevardul Lascar
Cartagiu. You will find the Nan Jing on the ground floor of the Minerva hotel. On weekday
afternoons from 14:00-17:00 their Happy Lunch offers a 50 per cent discount.QB-4, Str.
Gheorghe Manu 2-4, MPiata Victoriei/Piata Romana, tel. (+4) 021 318 12 85/(+4) 0726 10
34 07, www.restaurantnanjing.ro. Open 12:00 - 24:00.
FOOD & DRINK
18 LOUNGE
On the 18th floor of one of the tallest office buildings in the city, this place doesnt need to
serve decent food to attract clients: fortunately, it does. More than just a restaurant the
lunch is a great deal, and late in the evening it becomes a smooth, relaxed pace to hang out.
It is also a self-declared anti-fitze establishment (much like its sister locations in the centre
of town) and the vibe is always a little trendy but never kitsch. QA-1, P-ta Presei Libere 3-5,
tel. (+4) 0733 50 14 01, www.18lounge.ro. Open 12:00 - 24:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 24:30.
EMBASSY
The central and original Embassy (there are a couple of spin-offs in town) has been around
a few years now, and in this city longevity alone is a sign of how good it is. Serving a good
gourmet burger - widely regarded as one of the citys best - and much else besides
(including some great cocktails) it is the kind of place that grows on you as the evening
wears on, and in all likeliness you will stay until very late. QC-4, P-ta Lahovari 8, MPiata
Romana, tel. (+4) 0733 50 03 00, www.embassy-club.ro. Open 11:00 - 02:00, Mon 12:00 02:00, Fri, Sat 11:00 -03:00.

LOFT LOUNGE
It might be too fashionable for some tastes, but the truth is the food is amongst the best in
the land, cooked by perhaps the best chef in the country. Its not just us who say so
Either: ask anybody in the city who knows their food and you get the same reply: its
brilliant. Inventive and magnificent food (seafood dominates), cooked to perfection. The

squid served with risotto, for example: it sounds so simple yet its a taste sensation. Not
cheap of course, but worth the cost. QC-4, B-dul Iancu de Hunedoara 56-60, MStefan cel
Mare, tel. (+4) 0756 38 56 38, www.loftlounge. ro. Open 12:00 - 16:00, 19:00 - 02:00.
Closed Sunday.
KARISHMA
A good Indian-in-Bucharest option where the menu boasts no fewer than 10 lamb dishes: a
rare treat in these parts where the raw material is so hard to find. There is much more
besides of course, including an extensive range of vegetarian food, and the chefs will
happily tone down (or up) all dishes according to your spice tolerance levels. QD-5, Str.
Iancu Capitanu 36, tel. (+4) 021 252 51 57, www.karishma.ro. Open 13:00 - 24:00.
BISTRO MON CHER
One of those places that merits praise simply for having been around for so long. There is
something for everyone, from sandwiches for the lunchtime crowd to good coffee and even
hot chocolate for the kids. QB-3, Calea Dorobantilor 20-28, MPiata
Romana, tel. (+4) 021 211 46 98. Open 08:00 - 06:00.
CASA DI DAVID
You can say what you like about this legendary, high-class place (and most people in
Bucharest have some kind of opinion), but to us it remains a very nice place to spend the
evening, especially if the weather is good and you can sit outside away from the television
screens. The food is ristorante Italian with a twist (the duck breast with citrus fruits is our
pick of the current menu) and outstandingly good, with enough fish dishes to make it
appealing to sea food lovers. QB-1, Sos. Nordului 7-9, tel. (+4) 021 232 47 15/(+4) 0722 26
93 60, www.casadidavid.ro. Open 12:30 - 23:30.
YOSHI
Sushi and teppanyaki - and more besides - at the best new Japanese restaurant to open in
Bucharest for some time. Located in upmarket Dorobanti it is not cheap (good Japanese
food rarely is) but it is very good and the set-menu at lunchtime is excellent value. The
place itself is spacious and very contemporary, and the perfect setting for a meal of this
quality. QStr. Banul Antonache 40-44, tel. (+4) 0749 97 95 21, www.restaurantyoshi.ro.
Open 12:00 -00:00.

CHEZ TONI
Terrific Lebanese food in the leafy, away-from-it-all setting of the Pescariu Tennis and Sports Club.
All your Middle Eastern favourites are here, from Antaki, Adana and Beiti kebabs to sujuk (those
tangy, spicy little sausages) and simple yet perfectly grilled sea bass (and a ton of other fresh fish).
Everything is cooked by the resident Lebanese chef.QC-2, Str. Glodeni 3, tel. (+4) 021 242 02
04/(+4) 0740 00 78 78, office@cheztoni.ro, www.cheztoni.ro. Open 12:00 - 24:00.
FOUR SEASONS DOROBANTI
From the same people who have long been serving some of the best Lebanese food in the city at
their Vasile Lascar location comes Four Seasons Dorobanti, a more upmarket place to indulge
yourself. The food is fabulous and features the full range of Lebanese food, including the best
selection of mezze in the city. There are grilled meats and fish too, while vegetarians will also find
plenty to tempt them with. Make sure you try the superb Lebanese yoghurt - made with mint and
garlic - and the amazing homemade lemonade.QB-3, Calea Dorobantilor 177, tel. (+4) 021 233 94
31, www.four-seasons.ro. Open 12:00 - 24:00, Sun 12:00 - 23:00. Also at (C-4) Str. Vasile Lascar 81,
tel. (+40) 21 212 29 92.
Romanian Restaurants
HANU BERARILOR
Housed in the former Casa Bucur (a place you could write a book about) it is a very good Romanian
restaurant serving the kind of food you only usually get in peoples homes. Seriously: only in two or
three other places in Bucharest will you find carnati de oaie (mutton sausages) or bors de peste. If
you are feeling really hungry go for the platou mioritic: a huge plate of meaty treats. QB-6, Str.
Poenaru Bordea 2, tel. (+4) 021 336 80 09, www.hanuberarilor.ro. Open 10:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat
10:00 - 02:00.
LA PLACINTE
Popular Moldovan chain of eateries (there are more than 10 of these restaurants in Chisinau)
comes to the centre of Bucharest. Charmingly decorated in a brilliant mix of traditional and hip you
will love it the moment you walk in. The food is good, and as the name suggests (placinte means
pies) there is a big range of pie on offer: potatoe pie, cheese pie, pumpkin pie and even apple pie.
They are all good, made fresh (so you might have to wait a bit) and come served piping hot. There is
much else besides,including the entirely recommended pelmeni. QB-4, B-dul Dacia 20, MPiata
Romana, tel. (+4) 031 410 80 21, www.laplacinte.ro. Open 10.00 - 23.00. Also at (C-4) Sos. Stefan
Cel Mare

NightLife
CLUB BAMBOO
Music is clubby, friendly house, loud enough to dance to but mellow enough to permit conversation.
Always has loads of PAs from decent acts as well of plenty of live entertainment. QD-2, Str. Tuzla
50, tel. (+4) 0726 22 62 66/(+4) 0723 22 62 66, www. bambooclub.ro. Open 23:00 - 06:00. Closed
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun.
FRATELLI SOCIAL CLUB
One of Bucharests uber-clubs, where the richest and best looking people in the city come to see and
be seen. Serving up a neverending supply of top DJs from both Romania and abroad, it is clear that
the people who run this place consider the music to be as important as anything else: something
not every club in this town can boast. Not cheap (kind of the point) if you stick to the beer and do
not sit at a table (which requires you buy a bottle of spirits) then you can still have a reasonably
priced night out here. Brilliant. QD-2, Str. Glodeni 1-3, tel. (+4) 0731 03 62 22, www. fratelli.ro.
Open 23:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun.
PLAYER CLUB
The concept at super-club Player this is subtly different to last year, and the place has been given a
thorough makeover to keep it sparkling and at the cutting edge of the Bucharest nightlife scene:
honestly, if its top people and top sounds you want in an exclusive setting then this should be your
first stop in the city. Boasts the sexiest dancers, the best DJs - often as many as four top names in
one night- and is guaranteed to leave you bleary-eyed the next morning and wanting more. We
should also point out that the attitude is a bit more relaxed here than that at some of the other
uber-clubs: just how we like it. Get in.QA-2, Str. Primo Nebiolo 1, Piata Montreal, tel. (+4) 0720 73
47 34/(+4) 0737 73 73 34, www.theplayer.ro. Open 23:00 - 05:00. Closed Mon, Tue, Thu, Sun.

Sightseeing
The first port of call for any visitor to Bucharest these days should probably be the Historic Centre,
or Old Town. The Peasant and Village Museums should also not be missed, as well as the Grigore
Antipa National History Museum- While still the most famous building in the city and usually top of
the agenda for most visitors, Casa Poporului/ Palatul Parlamentului tends to be a bit of a let down
for most. Art lovers should pencil in at least an afternoon at the National Art Museum. Last but not
least, half a day at the Bellu Cemetery is a wonderful trip through Romanian literary, artistic,
political and architectural history.

CASA POPORULUI (PARLIAMENT PALACE; PALATUL PARLAMENTULUI)


Palatul Parlamentului (known universally as Casa Poporului) was built during the darkest days of
the Nicolae Ceausescu regime. Standing 84m above ground level on 12 floors, the building has long
been shrouded in mystery, rumour and hyperbole. Originally designed (by a young architect, Anca
Petrescu, who was just 28 at the time) to house almost all the organs of the communist state, it
today plays host to the Romanian parliament, as well as Romanias Museum of Contemporary Art.
The public tour of the building is thoroughly recommended (it is the only way to see the building, in
fact) though the commentary often consists of little more than a guide reeling off endless
superlative statistics. Youll see plenty of grand staircases, marble-plated halls and conference
rooms, while- if you pay the extra - you may also have the chance to go on the roof, which offers
perhaps the best view of central Bucharest. You can now even take a trip into the bowels of the
building down below, though again this costs extra. To join one of the tours you will need to bring
your passport.
Use the entrance on the right-hand side of the palace (if youre looking at it front-on). Izvor is the
nearest metro station. QB-6, Calea 13 Septembrie 1, intrarea A3, MIzvor,tel. (+4) 021 311 36 11,
www.cdep.ro. Open 10:00 - 16:00 (last tour 15:30). Admission 25-45 lei adults, 13-23 lei students.
Free for children under 18 and the disabled. An additional fee of 30.00 lei is payable by those with
cameras, either still or video.

GEORGE ENESCU MUSEUM (MUZEUL NATIONAL GEORGE ENESCU)


Mistakenly believed to be the great Romanian composer George Enescus former home, this
outstanding Secession house was in fact built for landowner George Cantacuzino in 1905, and many
older Bucharest residents still refer to it as the Cantacuzino Palace. It became state property in
1955, the year of Enescus death, and a year later opened as a museum dedicated to his life and
work. You will find rooms full of the usual memorabilia and artefacts from the eventful life of
Romanias most famous composer, as well as a full telling of the story of Romanian music in general.
QB-4, Calea Victoriei 141, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 318 14 50, www.georgeenescu.ro. Open
10:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon. Admission 6 lei, children 1.50 lei. Free entry on the 26th of
each month.

GRIGORE ANTIPA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY (MUZEUL DE ISTORIE NATURAL GRI


GORE ANTIPA)
One of Romanias finest museums, and one of the best natural history museums in Europe. Packed
with terrific exhibits which will keep kids of all ages and their parents occupied for the best part of

the day, there are all sorts of hands-on, interactive displays, as well as 3D films, artificial caves and in the basement - a thorough guide to the incredible amount of animal and plant life native to
Romania. The building which houses it all is itself worthy of note, purpose built in 1908 at the
behest of Grigore Antipa, a noted Romanian naturalist who then set-up and ran the museum for
almost five decades until his death in 1944. QB-3, os. Kiseleff 1, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021 312
88 26, www.antipa.ro. Open 10:00 - 20:00. Closed Mon. From November 1st Open 10:00 - 18:00,
Sat, Sun 10:00 - 19:00. Closed Mon. Admission 20 lei, pensioners 10 lei, children/students 5 lei.
PEASANT MUSEUM (MUZEUL TARANULUI ROMAN)
The Peasant Museum is one of the most enjoyable in Bucharest, and one of the best in the country.
Housed in a wonderful red brick building designed by Nicolae Ghica-Budeti and dating from 1912,
the museum offers a range of exhibitions showing you just about all you need to know about the
diverse and fascinating history of life around the Romanian countryside over the past four
centuries. There are exhibitions covering all aspects of Romanian peasant life, from handpainted
Easter eggs to terracotta pottery, from colourful religious icons to a huge range of traditional
clothing. Replicas of some of what is on display can be bought in the excellent museum shop.
Fittingly for the building that from 1948-89 was home to the Museum of the Communist Party and
Romanian Revolutionary Workers Movement, there is a rather good although somewhat
monolingual collectivisation exhibition in the basement. The Peasant Museum hosts excellent craft
fairs in its courtyard at least once a month.
It also puts on childrens puppet shows at weekends (usually at 10:30 and 12:00, both Saturday and
Sunday) and has a lovely (covered) terrace cafe. QB-3, os. Kiseleff 3, MPiata Victoriei, tel. (+4) 021
317 96 61, www.muzeultaranuluiroman.ro. Open 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon.
Last admission 17:00. Admission 8 lei, students and children 2 lei, pensioners 4 lei. Audio guides
are available in English, French, German and Romanian, from 12 lei. Entrance to the craft fairs (held
every month or so) usually costs around 6 lei.

VILLAGE MUSEUM (MUZEUL NAIONAL ALSATULUI DIMITRIE GUSTI)


Founded in 1936 and covering 15 hectares on the shores of Lake Herstru, Muzeul Satului is one of
the greatest outdoor museums in the Balkans. There are more than 60 original houses, farmsteads,
windmills, watermills and churches from all of Romanias historic regions: Transylvania, Oltenia,
Dobrogea and Moldavia. Every exhibit has a plaque showing exactly where in Romania it was
brought from. Some even now have recorded commentary in four languages (if the stickers are
missing, press the second button for English). Most of the houses date from the mid 19th-century,
but there are some, such as those from Berbeti, in the heart of Romania celebrated for their
intricately carved entrances - which date from as early as 1775. The highlight of the museum is
probably the steep belfry of the wooden Maramure church, complete with exquisite but faded
icons. You should also not miss the earth houses of Straja, dug in to the ground and topped with
thatched roofs. The museum has a great souvenir shop, and stalls selling traditional Romanian

sweets and cakes. It even has a restaurant, La Francu, set in a 19th-century inn. Children love the
museum, and it makes for a perfect family outing. QA-2, Sos. Kiseleff 28-30, MAviatorilor, tel. (+4)
021 317 91 10, www.muzeul-satului.ro. Open 09:00- 18:00, Mon 09:00 - 17:00. Admission 10 lei,
pensioners 5 lei, students/children 2.50 lei. Audio guides available for 50 lei, guided tours in
English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian 300 lei: call in advance. Note that while the museum is
open on Mondays, the houses are not.

BUILDINGS WITH A HISTORY


ARCUL DE TRIUMF
Bucharests Arc de triumf was raised in 1922 to commemorate Romanias World War I dead. The
original Arc was made of wood, replaced by the present, Petru Antonescu designed concrete
structure only in 1935. Standing 25 metres high, the Arc has a staircase that allows visitors to climb
to the terrace on the top of the monument, though the whole building is currently being renovated,
and a pedestrian underpass built which will allow people to get to it without risking their lives. QA2, Piata Arcul deTriumf, MAviatorilor.
ATHENEUM (ATENEUL ROMN)
Possibly the finest building in the city, the Romanian Atheneum, with its sublime baroque cupola,
stands proudly at the flux of the citys busiest public square, competing with the Athenee Palace
Hilton hotel, the Royal Palace and the old national library for attention. The work of French
architect Albert
Galleron, who also designed the National Bank of Romania, the building was inaugurated on
February 26, 1888, and was built almost entirely with money donated by ordinary citizens of the
capital, when a campaign called Give a penny for the Atheneum (Dati un leu pentru Ateneu)
rescued the project from folly after the original patrons ran out of funds. Today the seat of the
Romanian Philarmonic George Enescu, the auditorium is renowned worldwide for its outstanding
acoustics. QC-5, Str. Benjamin Franklin 1-3, tel. (+4) 021 315 25 67, www.fge.org.ro. Open 14:0016:00.
PALATUL DIN PIATA VICTORIEI (PALATUL VICTORIEI)
Today the home of the Romanian government, this linear construction was built in 1937 to the
design of Duiliu Marcu, originally to house the Foreign Ministry (which is now elsewhere). Entrance
is only granted to those on government business. QB-4, B-dul Ilie Pintilie 1, MPiata Victoriei.

PARKS & GARDENS


BOTANIC GARDENS (GRADINA BOTANICA)
Bucharests rather fabulous Botanical Gardens were founded in 1860 with the significant financial
backing of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, at the time the leader of the nascent Romanian state.
Completed in 1866 to the designs and instructions of Ulrich Hoffmann, they were originally in the
grounds of the Cotroceni Monastery, moving to their present location in 1884. The gardens today
extend over an area of more than 17 hectares, and host more than 10,000 species of plants,
approximately half of which are cultivated in the impressive glasshouses, recently renovated and
fabulous: kids love the wide variety of strange plants inside, especially the cacti and the Venus fly
traps.QSos. Cotroceni 32, MPolitehnica, tel. (+4) 021 410 91 39, www.gradina-botanica.ro. Gardens
Open 08:00-20:00.
Botanical Museum Open 10:00-15:00, 09:00-13:00 Sat, Sun, Closed Fri. Greenhouses Open 10:0013:00, Closed Mon, Wed, Fri. Admission to the gardens 5.00 lei, students and children 2.00 lei.
Museum and greenhouses cost extra: 2 lei adults, 1 leu children.
CISMIGIU GARDENS (GRDINA CISMIGIU)
The most central of the citys public gardens, Cismigiu is a haven of lawns, trees, flowers and lakes.
Cismigiu was first designed and laid out in 1845 by the German landscape architect Carl Meyer, but
not completed until 1860. More than 30,000 trees and plants were brought in from the Romanian
mountains, while exotic plants were fetched from the botanical gardens in Vienna. Highlights of the
17 hectare garden include the Roman Garden, laid out in the style of ancient Rome, and including
busts of Romanias most famous writers, and the lake, which come winter can be skated on.QB-5,
Between B-dul Regina Elisabeta, Calea Victoriei, Str. Stirbei Vod and B-dul Schitu Mgureanu,
MUniversitate.
HERSTRU PARK
This glorious park, spread over 187 hectares around Herastrau lake is one of the jewels in
Bucharests crown, which might explain why half of the city chooses to spend its Sunday afternoons
here. The first thing you will see when entering the park from Piata Charles de Gaulle is a tall,
bronze, rather bizarre statue of de Gaulle himself. Unveiled in 2006 the statue is the work of local
artist Mircea Corneliu Spataru, and was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture to commemorate
Bucharests hosting that year of the Francophonie conference. Charles de Gaulle is not the only
historic figure honoured in this part of the park with a statue or bust, however. In fact, the
alleyways and paths which fan out from the entrance are all dotted with famous people, from
Romanian revolutionary Nicolae Balcescu to Bengali literatures most important figure,
Rabindranath Tagore. Look out also for local artists Nicolae Grigorescu, Constantin Brancusi and
Theodor Aman, as well as writers George Cosbuc, Alexandru Vlahuta and Romanias national poet,
Mihai Eminescu. Other foreigners honoured with statues include William Shakespeare, Ady Endre,

Sandor Petofi and Victor Hugo. Oh, and theres a memorial to Michael Jackson too. Yes, really.QB-3,
Sos. Kiseleff 32, MAviatorilor.
OLD TOWN

Old Town - which most locals call Centru Vechi (Old Centre)- is a little pocket of 19th and early 20th
century Bucharest which survived both the bombing of World War II and the bulldozers of
Romanias communist planners. It is described by Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta and Piata
Universitatii to the north, Bulevardul IC Bratianu to the east, the river to the south and Calea
Victoriei to the west. Not more than one kilometre square, the area boasts more restaurants, pubs
and clubs than any other district in the city.

Begin your exploration of Old Town at the four statues in Piata Universitatii, before heading to the
Russian Church (officially called the St. Nicholas Students Church). From here, its worth popping

along to the Museum of Bucharest in the Sutu Palace before doubling back along Strada Ion Ghica
until you get to the National Bank, on the other side of which is the majestic Pasajul MaccaVillacrosse, and Strada Lipscani: the street whose name is often used to describe the whole Old
Town area. Then make sure you head along Strada Stavropoleos to see its architectural gems: the
church which shares its name and the Caru cu Bere pub and restaurant. Head out on to Calea
Victoriei to take a look at the Zlatari Church, National History Museum and CEC building before
coming back into the Old Town via Strada Franceza and the Sf. Dumitru Church. At the far end, in
Piata Sf Anton, is the Old Court Palace and Church: the very raison detre of the entire Old Town
area. The Hanul Manuc is opposite.
OLD TOWN SHOPS
SOUVENIR SHOP
Everything you would want from a decent souvenir shop - with both Romania and Bucharest
branded gifts available - and more besides. QC-5, Str. Smardan 13, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0722 32
25 40/(+4) 0723 65 55 84, www.souvenirshop.com.ro. Open 10:00 - 22:00.
THOMAS ANTIQUES
By common consent the best antique shop in the city. Stocks everything from furniture and
paintings to clocks and decorations, with new pieces being added all the time. Upstairs you can
even drink coffee, beer or cocktails in the bar: yep, sit and drink coffee on an antique chair and
picture yourself doing the same at home.QC-6, Str. Covaci 19, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0752 44 08 18,
(+4) 021 310 43 89, www.thomas-antiques.ro. Open 12:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 24:00. Closed
Sun.
PUBS & RESTAURANTS
CHOCOLAT
Hard to pin this place down. Is it a cafe serving chocolate, or a chocolate shop serving a little coffee?
In fact, it is neither. It is a brilliant restaurant serving delicious, well priced light meals (soups,
pasta, salad) of a French and Italian bent. There is chocolate of course - loads of it as well as more
kinds of gourmet bread than we could possibly list. Find it next to Caru cu Bere.QC-5, Calea Victoriei
12A, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0728 03 41 75/(+4) 021 314 92 45, www.chocolat.com.ro. Open 08:30
- 23:30. Also at (B-3) Str. Radu Beller 13, tel. (+4) 021 230 23 83, Afi Palace Cotroceni, tel. (+4) 0727
84 68 02 and Baneasa Shopping City, tel. (+4) 0730 60 88 88.
TRATTORIA BUONGIORNO
We have always loved Trattoria Buongiorno, and have quickly become big fans of its most recent
location in the Old Town. Decent Italian food (there is a small but good selection of fish dishes
which are well worth looking out for). and one of the biggest and busiest terraces in Bucharest (at
the right time of year) make it a seriously good eat and watch the world go by type place. (And at
weekends, it can feel like the whole city is going by).QC-6, Str. Franceza 52, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4)

0733 11 04 64, www.trattoriabuongiorno.ro. Open 08:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 08:00 - 02:00. Also at (B2) Str. Herstru 2; (B-4) Bdul Lascar Cartagiu 56; Baneasa Shopping Center, 1st Floor.

SINDBAD
New Lebanese restaurant in Old Town serving what might just be the best lentil soup in Bucharest.
Fabulous fresh bread too (made on site) and a decent range of mutton dishes as main courses.
Theres both an exterior (at the right time of year) and interior terrace, and the decor is vaguely
Middle Eastern without over-doing it. QC-6, Str. Lipscani 19, MU- 14:00-24:00. MUniversitate, tel.
(+4) 021 317 77 88/(+4) 0735 22 28 88, www.restaurantsindbad.ro. Open 11:00 - 01:00.

CLUBS & PUBS

OLD CITY
Very good, always lively pub and club with regular live music and other events on Lipscani with a
huge beer garden (in the right weather) out the back. Serves a decent range of very good cocktails
(a sweet-as-you-like mojito went down very well with Mrs. In Your Pocket on our last visit) and
some pub grub that is far better than you would assume. A big screen shows football and the like,
and it hosts loads of theme nights, from Insane Wednesdays to Champagne Saturdays.QC-6, Str.
Lipscani 45, MUniversitate, tel. (+4) 0729 37 77 74, www.oldcitylipscani.ro. Open 10:00 - 05:00.
FINNISH COCKTAIL & CLUB
A little more chic and upmarket than most other places in the Old Town, Finnish is a cocktail bar
and club which brings a little contemporary Scandinavian design to the Romanian capital. The
house drink is of course Finlandia vodka, available in more varieties than you ever thought possible,
but there is more to this place than vodka: cocktails, wine, champagne and beer. They even have
Guinness on draught. The music - usually provided by a DJ - is as contemporary and as good as the
design.QC-6, Str. Selari 28, MPiata Unirii, tel. (+4) 0753 57 82 09, www.finnish.ro. Open 13:30 05:00.
FREDDO
The biggest, boldest place on Strada Smardan. If you get there you will enjoy the sound cocktails,
pizza and decent salads: and note you can enjoy it all at proper, big wooden tables. You might want
to reserve at the weekends: this place is damn popular.QC-6, Str. Smardan 24, MPiata Unirii, tel.
(+4) 0722 37 33 36, www.freddo.ro. Open 12:00 - 05:00.

SHOPPING
Bucharests main shopping areas are the shopping centres and malls listed below, as well as B-dul
Magheru and - increasingly - Calea Victoriei.
SHOPPING CENTERS

AFI PALACE COTROCENI


One of Bucharests biggest malls, and probably its best, with loads of top brand names and the
added attraction of an IMAX cinema, a large ice skating rink (open year round) and even an indoor
roller coaster and childrens funfair.QB-dul Vasile Milea/B-dul Timisoara, MPolitehnica,
www.aficotroceni.ro. Open 10:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat, Sun 10:00 - 23:30.
BANEASA SHOPPING CITY
The largest mall in Bucharest. With more than 220 shops it makes everywhere else look quite
small. Just past the old Baneasa airport you can get here on buses 131 or 301 from Piata
Romana.Qos. Bucureti-Ploieti 42D, www.baneasashoppingcity.ro. Open 10:00 - 22:00,
Restaurants Open 10:00 -23:00.
PROMENADA MALL
Opened in October 2013, this is currently Bucharests most talked-about mall. Featuring the usual
mix of top stores, restaurants there is also a rooftop recreation area (pictured right), but no
cinema.QCalea Floreasca 246B, MAurel Vlaicu, www.promenada.ro. Open 10:00 - 22:00.
UNIREA SHOPPING CENTRE (10 minutes walking from our hotel or you can take the bus RATB 123
or 1o4- 3 stations)
A good shopping centre in the heart of the city. There are fashion stores on the first and second
floors with electronics and kids shops on floors three and four. An excellent Mega Image
supermarket can be found in the basement.QC-6, Piata Unirii 1, MPiata Unirii. www.unireashop.ro.
Open 10:00 - 22:00.
BUCURESTI MALL or VITAN MALL (5 minutes walking from our hotel)
Recently extended in a major redevelopment, this place - when opened in 1999 - was the first mall
in the city. Loads of shops, including Marks & Spencer and H&M.QE-7, Calea Vitan 55-59,
www.bucurestimall. com.ro. Open 10:00 - 22:00.

Directory
International Schools
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
QSos. Pipera-Tunari 196, Comuna Voluntari, tel. (+4) 021 204 43 00/(+4) 021 204 43 01,
www.aisb.ro.
ATHENA GREEK SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST
QD-6, Str. Parfumului 9, www.greekschool.ro.
BRITISH SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST
QErou Iancu Nicolae 42, tel. (+4) 021 267 89 19/(+4) 0728 13 34 33, www.britishschool.ro.
BUCHAREST CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
QD-7, Aleea Mizil 62B, tel. (+4) 021 323 58 87/(+4) 021 323 54 08, www.bcaromania.org.
CAMBRIDGE SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST
QB-3, Calea Dorobantilor
www.cambridgeschool.ro.

39,

tel.

(+4) 021

210

21

31/

(+4) 021

210

21

38,

INTERNATIONAL BRITISH SCHOOL


QE-5, Str. Agricultori 21-23, tel. (+4) 021 253 16 98, www.ibsb.ro.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL FOR PRIMARY EDUCATION
(INSPE)
QStr. Petre Aurelian 72, Green Lake Residence, tel. (+4) 021 380 35 35/(+4) 021 380 36 36,
www.inspe.ro.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF BUCHAREST
QSos. Gara Catelu 1R, tel. (+4) 021 306 95 30, www. isb.ro.
IOANID PRESCHOOL INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONQStr.
Jandarmeriei 14, tel. (+4) 0746 04 1000, www.internationalkindergarden.ro.

JAPANESE SCHOOL IN BUCHAREST


QA-2, Str. Alexandru Constantinescu 61, tel. (+4) 021 222 19 85, www.jpschool.ro.

LAUDER-REUT
QC-6, Str. Iuliu Barasch 15, tel. (+4) 021 320 15 38, www.lauder-reut.ro.
LYCEE FRANCAIS
QSos. Bucuresti-Ploiesti 160A, tel. (+4) 021 212 58 93, www.lyfrabuc.ro.
MARK TWAIN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
QStr. Erou Iancu Nicolae
www.marktwainschool.ro.

25B, tel.

(+4) 021

267

89

12/(+4) 0724

00

09

00,