Nicknamed by many as ‘the Paris of the East,’ the Romanian capital of Bucharest is easily one of Eastern Europe’s most unique, beguiling cities to visit. If you’re currently going through the process of designing your own Bucharest itinerary, then you’re probably figuring out whether you want to spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Bucharest.
Boasting lovely weather for much of the year, fascinating architecture, delicious food and drink, and exceptionally low prices (compared to most of Europe, anyway) Bucharest is a very underrated destination that seems almost guaranteed to pick up more traction as a European city break spot as time goes by.
But, with that being said, how long should you aim for your trip there to be? And, which sites and landmarks should you make sure to check out during your holiday?
This article covers all of these questions and more in plenty of detail. So, if you want to ensure that your trip to Bucharest is the best it can be, then you’ll want to make sure to read on!
How Many Days in Bucharest?
If you’re reading this article, it’s fairly likely that you’re wondering how many days to spend in Bucharest. The historic Romanian capital has plenty to check out, after all, but it’s not exactly massive. And, you’ll likely want to visit other destinations on your trip, too. So, what’s the best way to make it all work?
With 1 day in Bucharest, you’ll be able to check out some of the city’s most significant, popular landmarks and tourist sites. However, you’ll struggle to cover some of the lesser-known destinations and won’t have much of a chance to really get a feel for the place, especially outside of what might be considered tourist traps to some.
If you choose to spend 2 days in Bucharest or a weekend in Bucharest instead, then you’ll have plenty of time to see the city’s highlights, as well as explore some of its lesser-known areas and really sink your teeth into the local cuisine.
With that being said, 3 days in Bucharest is preferable if you’re keen on exploring the local area surrounding the city, too; having an additional day opens you up to the opportunity of, say, taking a day trip to another city or historical site nearby.
So, while it’s entirely possible to spend a single day in Bucharest and have a fantastic time doing so, we recommend that you aim for a slightly longer visit, with three days being ideal, if at all possible.
Getting To & Around Bucharest
Bucharest and its surrounding area are served by Henri Coanda International Airport – bus links between the airport and the city centre can take you into downtown Bucharest from the airport in as little as half an hour. You can also organise an airport transfer.
As far as travel within Bucharest itself goes, the local public transport and metro system is comprehensive, reasonably reliable, and quick. It’s also considerably more affordable than what you’d pay in the majority of Europe’s major cities, making it, on the whole, a fantastic way to get around.
Downtown Bucharest is also reasonably walkable, so you’ll be able to get your bearings in the city without too much difficulty.
With that being said, many of the major landmarks and tourist sites are something of a trek from one another. So, unless you really enjoy exploring new places on foot, expect to need to work some other form of transport into however you plan on navigating the Romanian capital.
If you’d prefer a little more flexibility in how and when you travel between sites on your Bucharest itinerary, then you might like to use taxis or rideshare apps like Uber or Bolt to get around.
Services like these are significantly cheaper than what you can expect to pay across most of Europe; however, it’s worth keeping the environmental impact of travelling by car versus, say, public transport in mind.
Overland transit between Bucharest and Romania’s other major cities offers travellers an alternative to flying from place to place; it’s also possible to travel from Bucharest to a number of larger European cities by train.
Direct rail services exist, for instance, between Budapest and Bucharest; keep in mind, though, that you can expect a journey of around 16 hours, so it’s unlikely to be your best option if time is truly of the essence.
1, 2, or 3 Days in Bucharest Itinerary
The following itinerary offers suggestions for ways that you might want to spend each day of a three-day itinerary for Bucharest. Of course, you’re free to change or amend the itinerary as you see fit – the most important thing is that you enjoy your holiday!
If you want to explore with a guide, consider taking this walking tour or going on this bike tour. There are also specialised tours such as this communism tour, this food tour and this alternative tour.
Day 1 – Bucharest’s Iconic Landmarks
The first day of your Bucharest itinerary will see you checking out the city’s best-known landmarks, sites, and cultural icons. If you only end up having 1 day in Bucharest, then you won’t want to miss any of the stops on this list!
Palace of Parliament
The Romanian parliament is, rather uniquely, held in its very own palace. The Palace of Parliament is said to be the most expensive administrative building in the world (as well as the second heaviest).
It took 700 architects 13 years to finish the palace and it now stands as a massive monument to the Romanian political establishment; it also costs the government millions of Euros each year in electricity bills alone.
You can simply admire the exterior of the palace if you so choose, but visitors do also have the option of touring its interior, which is well worth doing if you have an interest in politics or history in particular. You can book tickets here or organise a guided tour.
Whether you choose to go in or not, there’s no denying that visiting this iconic building is one of the best things to do in Bucharest.
Cismigiu Gardens make up one of Bucharest’s most famous and historically significant parks, and you’ll definitely want to pay a visit if you ever end up visiting the Romanian capital.
Containing a number of eye-catching landmarks, including the Romanian Round and monuments to war heroes from different countries, Cismigiu Gardens is a lovely place for a relaxed stroll.
The Romanian Athenaeum
Romania has a great tradition of classical music, and the Romanian Athenaeum, located in central Bucharest, is perhaps one of Eastern Europe’s most impressive concert halls.
It’s absolutely gorgeous, too; grand without being ostentatious, the Athenaeum boasts an iconic dome and has frescoes depicting various scenes from Romanian history. The venue generally only officially opens for concerts, but it’s often possible to take a look inside at other times.
Not far from here located on Calea Victoriei is the National Museum of Art, which is another great place to visit. Located in the former royal palace, this art museum is great for fine arts lovers.
The Triumphal Arch
Dating back to the early 1920s (though it’s since been renovated on multiple occasions), the Triumphal Arch of Bucharest stands as a testimony to Romania’s successes throughout the First World War.
In addition to its impressive size, the arch features some truly beautiful inscriptions and carvings, so, if you’re able, it’s definitely worth trying to get a closer view of the structure.
King Mihai I Park
Bucharest is known for its parks, and King Mihai I Park is perhaps its most famous. It’s absolutely enormous, encompassing a whopping 187 hectares inside the city, and is home to various gardens, fountains, sculptures, and green spaces. This is also a fantastic place to go for a picnic in the warmer weather.
National Village Museum
The open-air National Village Museum, located in King Mihai I Park, aims to showcase traditional Romanian rural living by reconstructing various village environments there.
Originally conceptualised by the sociologist Dimitrie Gusti, the museum is a fascinating experience for history and culture enthusiasts.
Day 2 – Old Town of Bucharest
Got 2 days in Bucharest to spend? The second day of this itinerary will take you to more of Bucharest’s most beloved landmarks, as well as the city’s quaint Old Town district.
This grand old arcade is an ideal spot for grabbing lunch or a coffee while ensuring that it’s as memorable as possible. Just don’t forget to look up – this building’s incredible ceiling is a huge part of its appeal!
If you’re a book lover and want to experience another gorgeous building, the Carturesti Carusel bookstore is only a five-minute walk away and it is absolutely stunning.
National Museum of Romanian History
If you’re a fan of history, then Romania’s national history museum, located in Bucharest’s Old Town district, is pretty much guaranteed to impress. Its collection covers the history of the country from all the way back in the prehistoric period to modern times, and it includes priceless Gothic artefacts and the Romanian Crown Jewels.
The museum also happens to be located in the former headquarters of the Romanian Postal Services, which is honestly one of the most beautiful buildings in the entire city. It’s pretty much worth visiting for the architecture alone.
Wander the Old Town
Bucharest’s bustling Old Town is full of character and a great place to spend an afternoon wandering around and getting lost. With unique shops and boutiques, restaurants, clubs, medieval ruins, and Romania’s National History Museum, the Old Town has something to offer just about everyone.
Alexandru Ioan Cusa Park
Given how many incredible parks Bucharest features, it’s fair to say that Alexandru Ioan Cusa Park has some stiff competition to contend with. But we think it more than lives up to the job; this lush, expansive green space is absolutely tranquil throughout the year, providing a welcome refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life to anybody who chooses to visit.
Day 3 – Bran Castle or Danube Delta Day Trip
Got 3 days in Bucharest? In that case, we recommend that you head out for a day trip on your third and final day in the city; there’s an incredible amount to do and see in the surrounding countryside and smaller towns within reach of the capital.
Bran Castle (‘Dracula’s Castle’)
If you’re a fan of horror movies, appreciate the history of film more generally, or just enjoy visiting cool castles, then you’ll almost definitely want to look into making a day trip to Bran Castle from Bucharest.
Bran Castle is located just a couple of hours’ drive from Bucharest outside the town of Brasov, and it is regarded by many as having been the home of Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Whether or not Stoker was aware of the existence of Bran Castle or intended for it to be Dracula’s home remains to be seen, but regardless, it’s an incredibly impressive and historic structure that is well worth visiting in its own right.
Found nestled away in Transylvania, Bran Castle has existed in some shape or form since the 1200s. It now operates as a museum, displaying the collection of Queen Marie, who was the wife of King Ferdinand I. And, at this stage, there isn’t any evidence that Bram Stoker meant for Bran Castle to be Dracula’s home.
Regardless, it would fit the role perfectly. Bran Castle happens to be quite spooky, as well as fairly isolated. It also features a number of secret passageways, which further add to the intrigue and mystery surrounding the place.
Many organised day trips to the castle such as this full-day tour will provide a guide, which is a fantastic option for learning as much of the history of Bran Castle as possible.
Even if you’re not a massive history fan, we would still recommend visiting Bran for its gorgeous views and architecture, as well as the curious atmosphere that permeates the place. Some day trips from Bucharest also include a stop at Castle Peles, which is equally interesting and certainly worth a visit, too.
Romania actually happens to be a real haven for biodiversity and ecology, and the Danube Delta, which can be found not far away from Bucharest, is one of the best-preserved river deltas in the whole of Europe.
As such, it makes for a fantastic day trip from the Romanian capital; it’s also possible to take river cruises along the Danube, which are excellent for really immersing yourself in the incredible wildlife that the area has to offer.
Though this is located about four hours away from Bucharest, it can be worth taking the time to make your way out to this beautiful natural area.
A number of providers operate day trips such as this full-day tour to the Danube Delta from Bucharest that include cruise tickets and transport to and from the city, which can be a very convenient way to experience one of Romania’s most impressive and significant nature areas. There are also two-day tour options if you have more time.
Where to Stay in Bucharest
Euro Hotel Grivita – Mid-range visitors to Bucharest will love this cool hotel in the city centre. They have a number of nice rooms to choose from along with an excellent location for exploring the highlights of the city. Click here to check availability
The Mansion Boutique Hotel – Those looking for a luxury option while in Bucharest will love this opulent hotel in the centre of the city. They boast a range of plush rooms to choose from along with an unbeatable location for exploring the Romanian capital. Click here to check availability
Bucharest Old Town Apartments – If you’re after your own apartment when you visit Bucharest, then these flats are an excellent option. There are a number of full-furnished flats to choose from that come equipped with all you need during your stay. Click here to check availability
T5 Social – Those visiting Bucharest on a tight budget or solo will love this cool hostel. Located within easy reach of all the Romanian capital’s to attractions, they have both dorms and private rooms to choose from along with common areas. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bucharest hotels!
Bucharest is perhaps one of the most historic and unique cities in Eastern Europe, making it a true joy to visit for those who decide to do so. We hope that this article helps you plan the perfect getaway to Romania’s charming capital city!
Are you planning to visit Bucharest? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!