2 days in Bucharest itinerary (11 amazing things to do)

Wondering how to spend 2 days in Bucharest? Let me help.

There are loads of things to do in Bucharest Romania – it’s a pulsating capital. Granted, it’s a little rough around the edges, but that only makes it more interesting.

Bucharest is not your typical tourist destination with tour buses, selfie sticks, and souvenir shops around every corner.

No, Bucharest has its own thing going on. The Balkan capital might have a history of hardship and destruction under the communist regime, and the architecture may look like a strange clash of European styles and Soviet concrete left to time’s decay.

But Bucharest’s modern, classic, and distressed appearance is what draws you in.

Let’s take a look at how to plan your 2-day Bucharest itinerary!

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2 days in Bucharest itinerary

I’ve come up with a list of Bucharest attractions and places you should check out. This itinerary is ideal for you if you’re spending 2 days in Bucharest.

Bucharest, Romania

Things to do in Bucharest Romania

How to get around 

Although Bucharest is fairly large (1.900.000 inhabitants), the highlights are located in close distance.

I based myself in the Old Town and walked from one attraction to the next, except the Triumphal Arch. You can also rent a bike, take the metro, or Uber your way around town. I would avoid Uber and taxis in rush hour, though.

It’s really cheap and most sights are free

Only the Parliament Building and the National Museum had an entrance fee, but everything else on this list was free. Romania is super cheap compared to European standards.

Is Bucharest worth visiting?

YES! Absolutely. There are so many reasons to visit Bucharest Romania. It’s a bit quirky like Skopje, and it shows you a different side of the Balkans

Bucharest is also a great base for exploring the rest of Romania. If you have a couple of days to spend, I highly recommend visiting Brasov, Sibiu, and the notorious Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s castle. You can join a day tour from Bucharest to Bran Castle with GetYourGuide.

Bucharest’s modern, classic and distressed appearance is what draws you in - plus the fact that it’s a pulsating capital. There are loads of things to do in Bucharest. Here's a list of 10 amazing attractions in Bucharest, Romania, including hotel and restaurant tips.
Bucharest’s modern, classic and distressed appearance is what draws you in - plus the fact that it’s a pulsating capital. There are loads of things to do in Bucharest. Here's a list of 10 amazing attractions in Bucharest, Romania, including hotel and restaurant tips.

What to do in Bucharest

Day one:

1. Bucharest Old Town

Free activity

The Old Town or Lipscani (after the main street that crosses the area) is the heart of Bucharest. It’s not a classic European old town with medieval fairytale buildings like Dubrovnik, Riga, or Tallinn.

Nope, this is more of a backpacker hangout for young party-loving travelers, filled with wine bars, pubs, and hip restaurants.

Bucharest, Romania

The historic architecture, the old churches, and outdoor cafés make the Old Town a most vibrant area of the city. And even if you’re not there to enjoy the nightlife, it’s still very much worth visiting in the daytime.

Highlights of the Old Town: 

  • The nightlife
  • Shopping
  • Hip cafés, bars and restaurants
  • University Square
  • Old Palace of the Chamber of Commerce
  • The old court
  • Architectural styles: Baroque, Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau
  • Old churches (Zlatari, Selari and Stavropoleos)
Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania

2. The Triumphal Arch

Free activity

It’s a little smaller than the one in Paris, but Bucharest has its own Triumphal Arch. This version was inaugurated in 1922 to celebrate the victory of Romania in World War I, and today it’s one of the most notable Bucharest attractions.

The top floor is sometimes open to the public, but the Triumphal Arch is placed in the middle of the road so it’s difficult to get near it. I got this photo from the car.

Bucharest, Romania
The Triumphal Arch is 27m high

3. Free walking tour Bucharest

Free activity

The walking tour of Bucharest by locals is a brilliant way to get acquainted with a new town.

I love to wander around and get lost on my own, but you get to see so much more – hidden gems, restaurant tips, etc – when you’re with a local.

The best thing about these walking tours is that they’re free although the guides do accept donations if you’re able to.

Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania

4. The National Bank of Romania

Free activity

The National Bank of Romania is located in the Old Town and it’s a great example of the wonderful architecture you stumble upon when walking along the streets.

It’s built in neoclassical French style with a Corinthian columns facade and an enormous central banking hall.

Bucharest, Romania
The National Bank of Romania

5. University Square

Free activity

If you’re in the mood for architecture, head to University Square (it’s just 5-7 minutes walk from the Old Town). 

The four corners of the University Square unite some remarkable architecture, like the Bucharest National Theatre, the neoclassical Coltea Hospital and church, the University of Bucharest’s School of Architecture, and the Bucharest History Museum.

Bucharest, Romania
The University
Bucharest, Romania
Coltea Church
Bucharest, Romania
Coltea Hospital

6. St. Nicholas Russian church

Free activity

Ahhh, I love those Russian churches. They’re so colourful and cheerful, which is kind of odd considering how grey, dull, and monotonous Soviet buildings are.

I found St. Nicholas Russian Church accidentally on my way from University Square to the Old Town. Its seven gold domes crowned with an orthodox cross towered high over the street so I just had to check it out. 

Bucharest, Romania
St. Nicholas Russian Church was built between 1905 – 1909

Day 2

7. The National Art Museum

Entrance fee: 15 lei/$3.5

The National Art Museum is another Bucharest must-see.

The museum currently exhibits over 100,000 works from local Romanian and International world-renowned artists like Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, and Cezanne.

Bucharest, Romania

8. Bucharest parks

Free activity 

I already mentioned that Bucharest has its fair share of grey Soviet-style utilitarian buildings and crumbling structures. But what I didn’t tell you is that the city also has many parks where locals come to relax and hang out.

The biggest park is Herăstrău Park, which is built around a lake.

Other parks include the botanical garden and Carol Park, which has a mausoleum and monument in honour of fallen soldiers.

Bucharest, Romania

9. Stavropoleos monastery

Free activity

Stavropoleos Monastery was one of my favourite places in Bucharest. This quiet and peaceful monastery lies right in the middle of the bustling Bucharest Old Town, and it’s a little oasis.

It’s built in Romanian and Byzantine style with a small garden and courtyard filled with tombstones, beautiful frescoes, and wood-painted icons. It’s worth viewing or listening to the mass if you can find room in the small church.

Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania
This is how it looks from the street

10. The Carturesti Carusel bookstore

Free activity

Carturesti Carusel Bookstore might be a strange attraction to highlight, but this classy, almost newly opened bookstore is worth a visit.

Not just because it’s located inside a beautifully restored 19th-century building and has free WiFi, but it’s a spectacular place to relax with a book and a glass of wine.

On the top floor, there’s a bistro that caters to all your needs.

Bucharest, Romania

11. The Palace of Parliament

Admissions fee: 30 lei/$9 + photo fee. You need to show your passport to enter

The Palace of Parliament is the world’s second-largest administrative building after the Pentagon and it holds the title as the world’s heaviest building.

For the Romanian people, it’s also a constant reminder of the Communist regime under dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu who commissioned this monstrous building and crippled the country’s economy with its extravagance.

Ironically, back then it was known as the “People’s Palace”.

It took 5 years, 20,000 workers, and 700 architects to build this massive structure. In total, it has 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, 4 underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker.

Bucharest, Romania

We went there in the morning, hoping to get a tour around the building. But they wanted to see our passports at the entrance (which we hadn’t brought) and we would only be permitted to see a very small part of the palace.

Considering that the fee was almost $20 per person (plus camera fee) and that we wouldn’t be able to see it all anyway, we decided to leave. I got a pretty good feeling of the hugeness from outside, though.

Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania

Where to stay in Bucharest

Although the Old Town is much a party area, it’s also an excellent place to base yourself when visiting Bucharest.

I didn’t come for the partying, but I still stayed there and would do it over again. So my advice is: Find a hotel or hostel in Bucharest Old Town.

Rembrandt Hotel – We stayed at Rembrandt Hotel, which is a stylish 3-star hotel. The staff was so nice and I LOVED the breakfast and their delicious Belgian waffles. It’s upscale and so is the price, but you get your money’s worth there. Click here to see the latest prices.

Bucharest, Romania

Top restaurants in Bucharest

There’s something for every taste in Bucharest, and it’s the place to try anything from street food and local soups to the most bizarre Romanian dishes like fried brain and tongue. Here are a few of the best restaurants in town:

Vegetarian & Vegan 

  • Simbio
  • Arome
  • Barca

Street food & Cafés

  • The Food Hood
  • Grand Cafe Van Gogh

International & Local

  • Sinbad (Lebanese)
  • Belviso (Italian)
  • Caru’ cu Bere
  • Bistro Ateneu
Romanian food
Breakfast at Rembrandt Hotel

A thousand thanks to Rembrandt Hotel and Romania Tourism for hosting us. I was a guest, but all opinions are my own as always.

FAQ – Bucharest things to do

What is Bucharest best known for?

Bucharest is best known for its massive Parliament building, vibrant Old Town, and the mix of communist-era and modern architecture.

Is it worth going to Bucharest?

Yes, Bucharest is worth a visit. It’s got a unique charm, lively nightlife, and plenty of history and culture to dive into.

What should I be careful of in Bucharest?

In Bucharest, watch out for pickpockets, especially in crowded places, and be cautious with taxis – use reputable companies or apps.

Is Bucharest or Budapest better?

Choosing between Bucharest and Budapest depends on what you’re after. Bucharest offers a raw, authentic vibe with a rich history, while Budapest is known for its stunning architecture, thermal baths, and a more polished tourist experience. Both have their own charm.

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  1. Your photos are always so amazing! Bucharest hit my radar a little more with the latest Marvel movie. I love that they have so many free activities to do – definitely a place to add to the bucket list!

  2. The photos that you kindly shared reminded me of the wonderful times I experienced in Buccharest earlier this year. I am planning on visiting again this time spend alittle longer.

  3. So glad I stumbled across this! we have just a full day to do what we can in September this year on our road trip, and after searching for best things to do, this is the one! Thanks for the blog very informative.

  4. Just visited and we loved it! We also went to the thermal baths (Thermes) just outside the city – you should hit it up next time you go…it’s awesome!

  5. Bucharest is gorgeous indeed – my favorite place to visit in Romania. Moghioros Park is just amazing, especially at night.

    For those of you who travel alone to Bucharest I recommend you a stay in a gorgeous, recently-renovated apartment in Bucharest.

  6. Hello Miriam!
    I was in Bucharest last year and I had wonderful time. I also visited The National Art Museum and The Triumphal Arch while I was there. I would recommend to everyone to visit neighbourhood called “Sector 2”, you can see it here in map: https://www.hartabucuresti.com It has most of attractions in one place. Also food is very cheap and very very delicious 🙂

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