Despite its grey and sometimes dreary facade, Bucharest offers expats a host of interesting sights and activities. From its historic buildings and museums to ornate churches and beautiful parks, visitors will learn about the city's troubled past while experiencing first-hand its quest for modernity in present-day, post-Soviet Romania.
Below are some of the most popular attractions in Bucharest.
Recommended attractions in Bucharest
Palace of Parliament
One of the largest buildings of its kind and a landmark of Romania's communist history, the Palace of Parliament is a must-see for any visitor to Bucharest. Expats can go on guided tours of the building, which consists of 1,100 rooms housing the Romanian parliament, three museums and a conference centre. The ornate interior is furnished with rare and expensive materials, including bronze, gold, marble and crystal.
Stavropoleos Monastery Church
There are many beautiful and historic churches in Bucharest for new arrivals to explore. The Stavropoleos Monastery, an Eastern Orthodox Church tucked away in Bucharest's Old Town, is a must-see. Originally built in 1724 during the reign of Nicolae Mavrocordatos, the building is characterised by beautiful stone and wood frescoes inspired by biblical themes. The church is also a conservation centre for the relics of several saints and has one of Romania's largest collections of Byzantine music books.
Romanian National Art Museum
Located in the former Royal Palace on Revolution Square, The Romanian National Art Museum features the country's largest collection of Romanian and international art from medieval to modern times. Moreover, the museum's building is an attraction in itself. Visitors can take tours of some of the former royal living quarters and the throne room and view the exquisite art.
The Romanian Athenaeum
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania, the Athenaeum is a glamorous concert hall in central Bucharest. This ornate domed and circular building is a landmark on the city's skyline and a significant symbol of Romanian culture. It is home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. It's also one of the main venues where the George Enescu International Festival and Competition is held in honour of the Romanian composer.
King Michael I Park
Formerly known as Herăstrău Park, King Michael I Park is the largest park in Bucharest. With an open-air theatre, yacht club and sporting facilities, King Michael I Park is a popular location for family picnics as it has something for everyone to enjoy. It's also home to the Village Museum, which showcases traditional Romanian village life in an open-air setting. The museum has over 60 original houses, farmsteads, windmills and churches scattered around the park showcasing Romania's historic regions.
►Read Lifestyle in Bucharest for an overview of what life is like in the city
►For famous annual events in the city, read What's On in Bucharest
"With all of the events and things to do, it’s really easy to meet new people. We are often approached by Romanians or other foreigners whenever we attend a festival, art event, sporting event, etc." Read more of Jessica's experiences in Bucharest.
Are you an expat living in Bucharest?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bucharest. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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