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Best Things to Do in Bucharest Alone: 1, 2 and 3-day Bucharest itinerary

If you are wondering what to do in Bucharest Romania and if it is a safe city for solo travellers, then you have come to the right place. The capital city of Romania is the cultural, financial and industrial centre of the country. The city has a mix of culture and architectural style that earned its nickname, “Paris of the East.”

Initially, I wasn’t sure if Bucharest was a good destination for solo travellers. But after spending a few weeks in the capital city, I highly recommend this eclectic city to any independent travellers looking for something off the beaten path in Europe.

In this post, I will show you exactly all the best things to do in Bucharest with my detailed itineraries. Whether you are spending one, two or three days in Bucharest, you can follow each of my Bucharest itinerary and see all the most unique things in and around the capital city of Romania.

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Solo trip to Bucharest: what you need to know

Before you start your Bucharest itinerary, take a look at some of these travel tips that you may find useful:

  • Romanian leu (plural: lei) is the currency of Romania. RON is the three-letter code for the Romanian currency. 
  • Bucharest is safe for solo female travellers. I walked around both day and night and didn’t feel unsafe. Romanians are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.
  • Many locals speak and understand English. Even the menus have English translations and photographs.
  • Plan your visit to Bucharest with the following festivals and events:
    • The International Wine Festival of Romania (various times) – celebrates premium Romanian wine.
    • Bucharest International Light Festival (various times) – lights and video projections on landmarks around Calea Victoriei between 7 and 11 pm.
    • The Bucharest Christmas Market (December 1-30) – lots of shows, Santa’s Cottage, and traditional food.

How to travel to Bucharest Romania

Air

Travellers will arrive at Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP), 19km from Bucharest Old Town.

There are several ways to travel from the airport to the city centre. Take express bus 783 to Piata Unirii in Old Town (runs every 40 minutes and costs 3 lei) or take the Henri Coanda Express train (6.8 lei) to Bucharest North Railway Station.

Train

Bucharest North Railway Station is the main train station in the city. It connects Bucharest to many other cities in Romania, like Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu, Constanta and more.

Also, there is an underground metro station at the railway station. It might be the best option for travelling to the city centre or wherever your accommodation is.

How to get around Bucharest on your own

Walk

Walking is the best way to see Bucharest as the city is very pedestrian-friendly. I planned the entire 1-day Bucharest itinerary around attractions you can comfortably walk to.

Public Transportation

Societatea de Transport București is the public transportation system in Bucharest. It includes the subway, trams, and buses.

For day 2 of the Bucharest itinerary, I suggest getting a 24-hour pass to visit all the Bucharest attractions. It costs 8 lei for all surface transport (i.e. buses and trams). Purchase a ticket from the STB kiosks next to a major bus or tram stop. Make sure to validate your ticket when you board the bus or tram.

You might also need to hop on a subway to Bucharest North Railway Station to catch a train to other destinations around Romania. A subway ticket costs 3 lei and is valid for 90 minutes. Purchase a ticket from a machine or the customer service desk.

How many days in Bucharest as a first time traveller

If you are wondering how many days you should spend in Bucharest, then you’ll have to see my summary below. You can technically see all the best highlights in one day, but I suggest staying an extra day or two to see more of Bucharest and the surrounding area.

If you are only in Bucharest for one day, follow the 1 Day in Bucharest itinerary.

And if you are in the capital city for two days, follow the itinerary for the first two days.

And finally, if you spend three days in Bucharest, follow all three itineraries.

Here is a quick summary:

1 Day in Bucharest

  1. Visit the Palace of the Parliament
  2. Join a Bucharest free walking tour
  3. Wander and lunch in Bucharest Old Town
  4. Walk along Calea Victoriei and around Piata Romana
  5. Try traditional Romanian cuisine at Caru’cu Bere
  6. Watch a synchronized water show at Bucharest Fountain
  7. Enjoy Bucharest night life

2 Days in Bucharest

  1. Visit a Flea Market: Bazarul cu Amintiri – Targul Valea Cascadelor or Vitan Flea Market
  2. Try mici and gogosi at Obor Market
  3. Roam around Parcul Herăstrău aka King Mihai I Park
  4. Visit one or more museums in Bucharest
  5. Have a Romanian feast at Hanu’ lui Manuc Restaurant

3 Days in Bucharest

  1. Day trip to Transylvania: Peles Castle, Bran Castle and Brasov

Top things to do in Bucharest by yourself: 1, 2 and 3-day Bucharest itinerary

There are many interesting things to do in Bucharest Romania, but they are spread throughout different parts of the city.

Below are the three Bucharest itineraries for one, two and three days in the capital city.

One Day in Bucharest: what to see in Bucharest

If you only have one day in Bucharest, follow the itinerary for 1 Day in Bucharest to see all the best places to visit in the capital city.

1. Visit Palatul Parlamentului (Palace of the Parliament)

Anyone who goes to Bucharest will want to see Palatul Parlamentului (Palace of the Parliament) because the physical characteristics of the building are quite impressive.

Ordered the Nicolae Ceausescu, the late dictator during the communist era, the Parliament building was built between 1984 to 1997 in a mix of Socialist realism, modernism and Neoclassical style.

The building is over 365,000 sqm and has a volume of 2,550,000 cubic meters. Moreover, it is the heaviest building in the world! It weighs about 4,098,500 kilograms. After all, it is the second largest administrative building in the world (after the US Pentagon).

As for the interior, there are several chambers for the Parliament of Romania, three museums and a conference centre. But about 70% of the building is actually empty.

It might be neat to see the inside of this huge building. And you can tour inside the Parliament building if you are interested. But the only available time is at 3 pm.

So maybe take a few photographs in front of the Parliament building. Also, you can check out the manicured lawns and fountains on Bulevardul Unirii directly in front of the Parliament building.

Address: Strada Izvor 2-4, București

2. Join a Bucharest free walking tour

If this is your first time visiting Bucharest, I highly recommend joining a free walking tour around the Old Town. This is an excellent introduction to the city where an experienced local guide can show you around. And he also has a ton of interesting stories.

There are free walking tours every day at 10:30 am. It takes about 2.5 hours to visit these attractions in Bucharest’s Old Town:

  • Palatul Voievodal Curtea Veche (Curtea Veche Palace) – Vlad III Dracula’s palace, but only ruins are left.
  • Mănăstirea Stavropoleos (Stavropoleos Church) – an Eastern Orthodox church in Brancovenesc style from the early 18th century.
  • Calea Victoriei (Victoria Street) – major avenue in Bucharest.
  • Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse (Macca-Vilacrosse Passage) – a passage covered with yellow glass with a Paris vibe.
  • Strada Lipscani (Lipscani Street) – a street in Old Town Bucharest.
  • Biserica Sfântul Nicolae fostă Rusă (St. Nicholas Church) – Russian Orthodox church with seven ornate onion domes.
  • Hanul lui Manuc (Manuc’s Inn) – oldest functioning hotel in Bucharest.

Book a free walking tour a day (or a few days) before to ensure a spot on the informative tour.

Even though the tour is free, tips are very much appreciated so the tour company can continue running these free tours for tourists.

3. Wander and lunch in Bucharest Old Town

Bucharest Old Town is one of the best areas to wander around. The cobbled stone streets are full of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, churches, Neoclassical buildings, and so much more.

Besides all the places you already visited during the free walking tour, don’t miss these attractions:

  • Cărturești Carusel – the flagship bookstore in a 19th-century building and has a super Instagrammable interior
  • Pasajul Victoriei (Victoria Passage) – the umbrella street in Old Town.
  • Strada Hanul cu Tei – interesting alley with art studios and boutique shops.
  • Muzeul Micul Paris (Little Paris Museum) – go back in time and see Bucharest’s golden age.

And it might be a good time and spot for a quick lunch. Here are some suggestions for places to eat in Old Town Bucharest:

  • Taverna Covaci– traditional Romanian restaurant in the middle of Old Town.
  • Bodega La Mahala – a quaint restaurant at the end of the narrow alley.
  • Lacrimi și Sfinți – cute restaurant with funny names for each dish.
  • Scovergaria Micai – try savoury or sweet scovergă and crepes in this local cafe.

4. Walk along Calea Victoriei and around Piata Romana

Next, walk up Calea Victoriei, a major avenue in Bucharest. The long road has a few attractions and will lead you to Piata Romana, a pedestrian-friendly area with a great vibe.

Here are some things to look for:

Calea Victoriei

  • Ateneul Român (Romanian Athenaeum) – Neoclassical concert hall hosting the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Piața RevoluțieiMonument of Rebirth and the monument of Iuliu Maniu.
  • Kretzulescu Church – Eastern Orthodox Church.
  • Romanian National Museum of Art – across from the Equestrian Statue of Carol I.
  • Cafes and bars on Calea Victoriei between Strada George Enescu and Strada Biserica Amzei.

Piața Română

  • Cărturești Verona – electric bookstore (same chain as Cărturești Carusel).
  • Graffiti Urban – many street murals on Strada Pictor Arthur Verona between Strada Pitar Mos and Strada Dionisie Lupu.
  • Cafes and restaurants on Strada Piata Amzei and Strada Nicolae Golescu.

5. Try traditional Romanian cuisine at Caru’cu Bere

For your first day in Bucharest, you must have traditional Romanian food at Bucharest’s oldest brewery, Caru’cu Bere.

Set in a Neo-Gothic building, the famous restaurant has been around for over 130 years and is the symbol of the Old Town.

Sit outside in the alfresco dining area, where you people-watch. Or sit inside and maybe even catch a performance. It would be especially nice if you could get a table on the second-floor balcony overlooking the entire restaurant.

I enjoyed the Moldavian stew, but there is plenty of traditional Romanian food on the menu. But definitely order their draught beer (the restaurant means “beer cart”).

Address: Strada Stavropoleos 5, București | Hours: 9:00 am to 12:00 am

6. Watch a synchronized water show at Bucharest Fountain

If you are in Bucharest between June and October, you might want to catch a water show on the weekend at the Fontänen von Bukarest (Bucharest Fountain).

The large fountains at Parcul Unirii have 44 independent fountains spanning over 1.4km, which made the Guinness world record for the longest choreographed fountain system in the world. And it is the first smart fountain in Europe.

During the 45-minute performance, the multimedia fountain show with synchronized water jets, lights, and music will wow all your senses. Plus, it has 3D projects on the water as well.

This is the perfect place to wrap up day 1 in Bucharest. I’m bummed that I missed a spectacular show. But seeing the fountain during the day ain’t bad either.

Address: Piața Unirii, București | Hours: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9:30 pm in June & July; 9:00 pm in August; 8:00 pm in September to the beginning of October

7. Enjoy Bucharest night life

If you think Bucharest Old Town is awesome during the day, you’ll have to go back at night and see how the small cobblestone streets come alive.

Many people visit the city just to indulge in a bit of partying because Bucharest nightlife scene is some of the best in Europe. Many bars and clubs open late and some even stays open until the sun comes up.

As a solo traveller, I’m not a big fan for staying out late. But I enjoyed walking around Bucharest Old Town at night even just to soak up a bit of excitement. It is safe to walk around even on your own.

2 Days in Bucharest: other unique things to see in Bucharest

If you are spending two days in Bucharest, follow the itinerary for the 1 day in Bucharest.

Then on the second day, see other unique things to do in Bucharest as outlined below. I highly recommend getting a 24-hour pass (8 lei) for all the surface transportation during your second day in Bucharest.

1. Visit a Flea Market: Bazarul cu Amintiri – Targul Valea Cascadelor or Vitan Flea Market

For day two in Bucharest, start bright and early and visit one of the two flea markets in Bucharest. You can only visit one of them as they are located at opposite ends of the city.

Bazarul cu Amintiri – Târgul Valea Cascadelor

Bazarul cu Amintiri – Targul Valea Cascadelor is a big flea market on the west end of Bucharest. The outdoor market has over 5,000 sqm and over 500 sellers selling all kinds of stuff.

Many vendors sell vintage items like furniture and home decor. There are also secondhand clothing, jewellery and other fun retro trinkets.

Another part of the market has many old electronics and all kinds of stuff you can find in a hardware store. I even saw people rolling around a few car tires.

A handful of stalls sell food and drinks if shopping and bargaining for a good price make you hungry.

Târgul Vitan-Barzesti (Vitan Flea Market)

At the southeast corner of the city, you will find Bucharest’s largest market, called Târgul Vitan-Barzesti (Vitan Flea Market).

Over 5,000 sellers set up their stations every Sunday and sell stuff like vintage objects, antiques, Romanian souvenirs, and more. Plus, I’m pretty sure there are some genuine objects from the socialist era that you can find here.

Bazarul cu Amintiri – Targul Valea Cascadelor Address: Bd. Timișoara 111, București | Hours: 5:30 am to 1:30 pm Thursday; 6:00 am to 2:00 pm Saturday and Sunday | Admission: 3 lei

Vitan Flea Market Address: Splaiul Unirii 450, București | Hours: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm Sunday | Admission: 3.5 lei

2. Try mici and gogosi at Piata Obor (Obor Market)

Next, visit Piata Obor (Obor Market). The market has been around for more than 300 years, making it the oldest (and biggest) market in Bucharest! Locals come here frequently to shop because of the food’s freshness and the excellent prices.

The market consists of a three-storey indoor and outdoor area with many vendors under tents or around the major corridors.

The indoor market has vendors selling fresh produce on the ground floor, meat and other produce on the second and homeware on the third. And the outdoor area has vendors selling houseware and even cooked food.

Speaking of cooked food, you have to try gogosi (fried sweet pastry) at one of the food stalls. There are plain ones or ones stuffed with chocolate or cheese.

Moreover, you have to try the famous mici (Romanian grilled sausages) at Teresa Obor. The queue can be long, but it is totally worth the wait. Order as many mici as you like, along with bread and ask for lots of mustard.

Address: Strada Ziduri Moși 4, București | Hours: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Friday; 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Saturday; 7:00 am to 4:00 pm Sunday

3. Roam around Parcul Herăstrău aka King Mihai I Park

Located at the north end of the city, Parcul Herăstrău or also known as King Mihai I Park is the largest and most popular park in Bucharest. There are over 187 hectares of green space around Lake Herastrau where you can find dozens of walking and cycling paths and many activities.

You can easily spend a whole day in Herastrau Park but since you are on a tight 2-day Bucharest itinerary, check out some of these highlights in the park:

  • Arcul de Triumf (Arch of Triumph) – the 27m tall monument commemorating Romania’s participation in WWI. It was remodelled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
  • Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum or Muzeul Satului (Village Museum) – a cultural museum with over 360 monuments and objects that depict the traditional life of the citizens of Romania.
  • The Japanese Garden – see cherry blossoms in full bloom during springtime
  • Have lunch at one of the restaurants around Herastrau Lake, like Taverna Racilor Herăstrău, an excellent seafood restaurant or have a picnic on Insula Trandafirilor

Address: Şoseaua Pavel D. Kiseleff 32, București  | Hours: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm

4. Visit one or more museums in Bucharest

Even if you spend all 3 days in Bucharest, you still wouldn’t be able to see all the museums in the city. There are over 60 museums in Bucharest! It’s so crazy!

This means you will have to pick and choose the ones you want to see. I’m only listing the unique and interesting museums you can’t find anywhere else. So depending on your timing, you may be able to see one or two of these:

  • Primaverii Palace (House of Ceauşescu) – see the inside of the 80-room private residence of the late dictator during the communist era, Nicolae Ceausescu.
  • Muzeul de Artă Recentă (MARe) – a private art museum displaying the most representative Romanian artworks from the 1960s to the present.
  • Muzeul Național de Artă (Romanian National Museum of Art) – besides European and Oriental art, the museum also has a large collection of Romanian medieval and modern art.
  • Muzeul National de Istorie a României (National Museum of Romanian History) – over 60 exhibition rooms displaying items such as Romanian historical artifacts.

5. Have a Romanian feast at Hanu’ lui Manuc Restaurant

Hanul lui Manuc (Manuc’s Inn) is the oldest operating hotel in Bucharest. It was built in 1808 as a caravanserai (an inn with a courtyard for merchants to exchange goods and for travellers to interact).

Throughout the years, the inn went through many restorations, but the basic structure of the inn remains relatively the same.

Today, the three-storey inn has several stores, a coffee house, several bars and an excellent restaurant serving the best Romanian food in Bucharest.

So to finish your second day in Bucharest, enjoy a delicious dinner at Hanu’lui Manuc Restaurant. Try the Romanian platter if you are super hungry or the sarmale (cabbage roll).

And depending on the timing, you might even catch the live music and do a bit of dancing.

Address: Str. Franceză 62-64, București | Hours: 10:00 am to 12:00 am

3 Days in Bucharest: what to see outside of Bucharest

If you spend 3 days in Bucharest, follow the itineraries for the first two days.

Then on the third day, take a day trip to see Transylvania. On the day tour, you’ll see Peles Castle, Bran Castle and Brasov.

Day trip to Transylvania: Peles Castle, Bran Castle and Brasov

There is a perfectly organized day trip for solo travellers to tour around Transylvania, see Peles Castle and Bran Castle, and get a glimpse of Brasov. During the tour, you can see the following:

  1. Peles Castle – stop in a small town called Sinaia first, then visit the Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains.
  2. Bran Castle – see the famous Dracula’s Castle in Bran and learn more about the story of Vlad the Impaler, which inspired Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula.
  3. Brasov – roam around the Old Town in the medieval town with a guided tour.

The organized tour includes transportation from Bucharest and a tour guide but doesn’t include any castle admissions. But the cost and organization of the transport are worth spending.

It is possible to do a day trip independently, but you’ll have to sort out all the transportation details. Even though I enjoy independent day trips, I highly recommend this tour if you want to take a day trip to Transylvania.

Where to stay in Bucharest Romania as a solo traveller

If you are in Bucharest for only a few days, you’ll want to stay somewhere central so you can walk everywhere. Stay either in the Old Town, along Calea Victoriei or Piata Romana (just north of Old Town).

Here are some of my favourite places to stay in Bucharest:

  • Apartment on Calea Victoriei ($$) – stay at a perfect 1-bedroom apartment on Calea Victoriei right next to the Old Town. Beautifully decorated, and the apartment even has a balcony.
    • Check prices & reviews: Airbnb
  • Moxy Bucharest Old Town ($$) – get a modern room at this 3.5-star contemporary hotel in the middle of Old Town. I stayed at the Moxy in Lisbon and loved it! You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • The Marmorosch Bucharest ($$$) – stay in a luxurious room at this 5-star hotel in Old Town and earn Marriott Bonvoy points. The hotel has an amazing cocktail bar, indoor swimming pool and spa.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda

Staying longer? Here are some more Bucharest tours and experiences:

Bucharest itinerary: which one are you going to follow?

Before my trip to Romania, I didn’t know much about Bucharest and wasn’t sure if it was a good destination for solo travel. But after spending a few weeks in Bucharest, I really enjoyed many parts of Bucharest and found the city safe for solo travellers.

So I hope you will take a solo journey to Bucharest too. The city has so much to offer, and the food is exceptional. You can also venture out and explore other cities like Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu (some of my favourite small towns in Transylvania).

And if you have any other questions, leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading my Bucharest itinerary

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

4 Comments

  • Phil
    May 29, 2023 at 5:32 am

    Hi, great article!

    In what season did you visit Romania? I’m thinking of going in July – is this a good time to go?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      May 29, 2023 at 11:19 am

      Hi Phil,
      Thanks so much! I was in Romania in July and August and it was super hot! At least that was the weather last year so be prepared for sweltering heat. But summer is the best time to visit especially when the Black Sea Coast is thriving.
      Enjoy your time in Romania!

      Reply
  • Lise Hartwick
    December 4, 2023 at 2:33 am

    Just finishing up 4 days in Bucharest, and your blog was very helpful. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      December 4, 2023 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Lise, thanks so much for your feedback – it is always nice to know. Hope you had a great time in Bucharest – must be nice this time of the year (I went when it was very hot during the summer). Happy travels!

      Reply

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