3 days: What to do in Bucharest?
Bucharest (and not Budapest!) is not a well-known destination for tourists, yet the capital of Romania is full of charm. At only 3 hours by plane, it is full of small local addresses in its historical city center and its nightlife is very lively.
How to visit Bucharest in 3 days?
We offer you a detailed itinerary to discover what to do in Bucharest, with tips to organize your trip!
? Where to stay during your 3 days in Bucharest?
During my stay in Bucharest, I stayed in 2 different hotels right in the center of the old city. I don’t recommend the Hilton hotel because despite its standing, the double glazing is not efficient enough against the noise of the surrounding bars. On the other hand, I can recommend this accommodation:
HOLT Old Town: this self check-in accommodation is ideally located, well insulated and especially very well decorated ?. Count about 70€ per night. Slightly above the average price of the city but worth it! Everything is done on foot.
How to prepare your trip to Bucharest?
➡️ When to go to Bucharest?
Contrary to popular belief, the climate is not so cold, since Bucharest is located relatively in the south of the country (at the same level as the French Riviera by the way!) and the city enjoys a good amount of sunshine.
In order to get the best climate, I recommend to visit Bucharest from April to October, but you can enjoy this city almost all year round, if you are not too afraid of the winter cold.
➡️ Where to get your plane ticket?
We recommend you to compare the best offers and book your flights on Ulysse. If you don’t know this platform yet. You can benefit from -10€ on your first air ticket booking on Ulyssedee by signing up via our link!
➡️ What budget to visit Bucharest in 3 days?
- Flights France – Bucharest: 150€ per person on average
- Airport – downtown: 10€ round trip with a cab or 2€ round trip by bus
- Hotels: 60€ per night for a 3 star or even 4 star hotel depending on the period
- Restaurants: 20€ per day per person
Total = 610€ for a 3-day stay in Bucharest or 305€ per person, excluding activities / visits
➡️ How to get around in Bucharest?
I was surprised to see how heavy the traffic was in Bucharest! The easiest way is to get around by metro: 1€ for two trips and you can share your 2nd trip with someone.
You can also find cabs (or Uber) quite easily. Be careful to check that the meter is running to avoid scams. And if the driver refuses (it happened to me), get out of the car and take another one.
➡️ Should you buy tickets online to visit the must-see spots?
Indeed, for the price, language and ease we advise you to pre-book your activities on one of the following 2 sites:
? Good plan for your trip to Bucharest
To book your airport parking: you can save 10% on your reservation through OnePark.
What to do in Bucharest during 3 days?
Our 3-day itinerary in Bucharest
Let’s go, we are going to reveal you our itinerary to visit Bucharest in 3 days.
Days 1 & 2 : The old town and the historical center
If you are interested in the history of Romania, I strongly advise you to book a free guided tour by clicking here.
If you walk around by yourself, you will realize that Bucharest has many similarities with Paris in its architecture and monuments. It was called the Paris of the East. Bucharest was booming until the 20th century and its sad period of dictatorship before the revolution in 1989.
? The Old City
I really recommend walking through the small streets of the historic city center. You will be surprised by the disparity between the old historical buildings and the modernity of some restaurants or stores. You can also admire the different architectural styles, with Haussmannian buildings and buildings from the communist era. I advise you to go to the Macca-Vilacrosse passage, which has a really beautiful architecture.
? The Triumphal Arch
It’s hard to miss the Arcul de Triumf when visiting Bucharest. Located on the Charles de Gaulle square, I was surprised to see how much it looks like the one in Paris! Even if it is less imposing, this monument remains magnificent.
? La Calea Victoria
If we stay in the Parisian comparison, this large avenue of 3 km is comparable to the Champs Elysees It is the historical boulevard of Bucharest where you can admire, among others, the museum of the Old Princely Court, the Cantacuzino Palace, the National Military Circle or the Romanian Art Museum. You can also enjoy the many restaurants, cafes and fashion stores.
? The Parliament Palace
This is a must-see in Bucharest: if you walk up Calae Victoria, you can admire the gigantic Palace of Parliament. It is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world after the Pentagon! Former dictator Ceaușescu had entire neighborhoods razed to the ground to build this communist behemoth and assert his power.
I advise you to book a guided tour on this website to know all the explanations.
? The Romanian Athenaeum
This is for me one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest! Built in 1888 by the French architect Galleron, his idea was to design an ancient building in the middle of the city. Its huge dome contains a concert hall, where you can admire the frescoes on the walls that depict the history of Romania. Please note that it is not possible to visit the building during rehearsals or concerts.
? The neighborhood and Lipscani Street
Located just a stone’s throw from the Old Princely Court Museum, Lipscani became a shopping area as early as the 19th century. The word lipscan means “merchant who imports goods from Europe”. Today it is a very popular area and you can find many chic stores, antique shops, restaurants and cafes.
? Cișmigiu and Herăstrău Parks
Located west of Victoria Avenue, don’t miss the Cişmigiu Garden, popular with locals for a walk or a coffee in the quiet of the city.
Next to the Arc de Triomphe, I recommend you to also visit the Herăstrău Park which stretches along a large lake for more than 200 hectares. For me, it is the most beautiful park in Bucharest and if you go there in the summer, you can enjoy the many festivals organized. For a lunch with a view on the lake in a really hot setting, I recommend Biutiful By The Lake!
? Where to eat in Bucharest?
Bucharest is full of small local addresses. There is something for every taste and for prices really cheaper than in France. I recommend you these restaurants that I tested:
- CARU’ CU BERE: It is the oldest restaurant in Bucharest and its atmosphere is authentic. You can eat traditional Romanian dishes and drink local beer (also served by the liter if you are very thirsty!) at very reasonable prices. If you book for dinner, you can enjoy the dance show.
- CAFENEAUA 9: excellent Italian restaurant with a nice clean decor and great service! Let yourself be tempted by the original pasta 😉 I loved the one with salmon & vodka ?.
- OBRAZNIC WAFFLES: for a naughty dessert, go to this rather special waffle maker ?.
? Where to go out in Bucharest?
Bucharest’s nightlife is arguably one of the most vibrant in Europe. Everything is located in the old town so the bars and clubs are gathered in a small area.
I still recommend you to start your evening on the rooftop “Nomad Skybar”. The setting is top, the view is nice, the music not as loud as in the street and the cocktails are very good ?.
For the clubs, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Be careful, the price of drinks is divided by 2 or 3 sometimes compared to France ?. The Vodka* Rebull extra shot got the better of me… *To be consumed with moderation
? Where to have a drink in Bucharest?
I give you a must in Bucharest: have a cocktail in a former bank safe! Direction the basement of the hotel The Marmorosch.
Probably one of the most incredible places where I could have a drink in the world. Except for the bar, everything is in its juice. You can even open some safes while sipping your cocktails (which are very good but not cheap for the city – 13€).
Day 3: Bucharest Thermal Baths
When I arrived in Bucharest, I didn’t think I would enjoy the thermal baths so much. The Bucharest Thermal Baths are the biggest in Europe. You will find a huge complex that includes 10 pools, 7 saunas and 3 hammams, all with different properties and temperatures.
The thermal baths are divided into 3 zones:
- The Palm: This is surely my favorite area for its decor! Accessible to all, you will find in this area different pools, one of which is outside and especially hundreds of palm trees for a tropical atmosphere.
- Galaxy: This is a part more oriented for children (but not only!) with no less than 16 different slides, accessible according to the age. In the back of this area, you will also have access to the hammams with free treatments offered according to the hours. I was able to test a salt scrub and a clay mask.
- Elypsium: this area is reserved for adults and includes the 7 saunas and a mineral pool. Each sauna has its own particularities with temperatures ranging from 45°C to 90°C. You will also find animations in the saunas during the day.
It is possible to book massages (I recommend you to book as soon as you arrive to be sure to have space during the day) and they are really very qualitative.
You will also find several restaurants and bars, some of them directly in the pools! To pay, everything is done via your bracelet, no need to bring money or a credit card. You will pay the totality of your day at the exit.
How to get to the thermal baths in Bucharest?
The thermal baths are located outside the city. To get there, you can take bus 442 from the center which will take you directly to the Spa or you can take a cab (about 30-40€ round trip).
I found the prices really reasonable for the quality and size of the spa. For a full day and the 3 zones, count on about 35€. There is a huge range of prices depending on the length of time and the zones you choose, but prices start at around 12€ and go up to 35€.
For the practical part, just remember to bring your bathing suit, a towel and flip-flops (mandatory) to move around the spa. Otherwise, everything is for sale on site.
I hope that this article on Bucharest has been useful for you to organize your stay.
Are you looking for other city trip ideas in Europe? Find our guide on 3 days in Porto or on a stay in Rome.