So, you finally decided it is time to take those well-deserved days off and have a little city break. In the meantime, you read something on the internet about the top five trendy European destinations and got really excited about the idea of trying something new. Then, you thought Bucharest sounds exotic enough and managed to book inexpensive flight tickets and accommodation.
(Congratulations! Let me tell you something: you are about to have a great holiday!)
But now you feel a bit insecure about what to do once you are in there. After all, no one you know visited Romania. And well, to be completely honest you are starting to panic a bit. Hey, it is totally fine. I have been there too.
When I first arrived in Bucharest in September 2013 I had no idea what the hell I was doing — I had no friends, I didn’t speak the language at all, and information about the city was very scarce back then. (For a while, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off.) Even so, I managed to put my %”$! together, totally fell in love with the city, and stayed for three years.
Luckily for you, it is 2019 now and Bucharest is becoming better known as time goes by.
Actually, I truly believe Bucharest is the new European capital of cool.
In case you are visiting soon and looking for some advice for a short relaxing city break, these are five awesome things to do in Bucharest.
1. Rediscovering Food
Maybe you don’t know about this yet but Bucharest is a paradise for foodies. And I am not exaggerating here — when I visited earlier this month, I gained three pounds in a single weekend…
The city is crammed with little coffee shops and restaurants where you can order anything from Romanian dishes to Nouvelle cuisine. Also, most places are of great value compared with other European destinations.
Thesee are a few of my favourite places:
This restaurant definitely holds a special place in my heart, since it is the spot where Sebastian proposed on August the 18th, 2014. Everything is delicious there: the salmon, the filet mignon with green pepper sauce, the raspberries sauce duck… But oh my, if you ever go there, please don’t miss the opportunity to taste the triple chocolate cake. It is OMG! Like, I-died-and-went-to-Heaven kind of awesome.
Are you into brunch? (I mean c’mon, who isn’t these days?) Then give Le Boutique du Pain a go. They offer a wide variety of sweet and salty options. Everything from benedict eggs to waffles, including a daily menu you cannot miss.
I will say one word only — Papanași. They offer a delicious deconstructed version with a black and white chocolate dip to die for. (Seriously guys, I now dream of stealing the recipe. I am actually plotting an implausible as well as complicated Ocean’s Eleven style plan that might or might not send me to send me to jail… But I will keep you updated.) But whatever, just don’t think it twice and go.
2. Visiting the most beautiful bookstore in Europe
And once more, I am not exaggerating here. A quick Pinterest research will show you how stunning this place is. It doesn’t matter if you are a bookworm, the building is impressive enough to enjoy the visit. If you are a reader, also please consider they actually have a wide foreign languages section too and a nice little coffee shop in the last floor where you can actually sit and read.
3. Going on a vintage and antiques shopping spree
To me, shopping during the holidays never gets old. But I’d rather go hunting for antiques than exploring the same boring high street shops you can find in any other city. In this sense, the Romanian capital is absolutely amazing.
One of my favourite places is located in the 11th of Doamnei street. The building used to be an university library but nowadays it holds the main antiques and handmade market. In there, you will find anything you can possibly imagine: old pictures and postcards, porcelain dolls, furniture, Soviet medals, and old passports. I never manage to spend less than one hour there, sniffing for bargains as a bloodhound.
If you are more into second-hand, just be attentive when you walk around. In no time, you will realize the city is full of little stores specialized in used goods, vintage and even second-hand designer items. Now, since the prices are very inexpensive when compared to other countries, be prepared for a proper loot (aye, captain!).
4. Exploring Little Paris
I have already mentioned the undeniable Parisian resemblance before.
In order to see it with your own eyes, take some time to peacefully wander through Victoriei area and discovering the Romanian Atheneum (which you can visit by simply booking a ticket and whose breathtaking hall was inspired by the Opera Garnier palace), the National Bank building, the National History Museum and many others. You can also visit the beautiful Passage Villacrosse, a lovely gallery built the Parisian style and full of nice little terraces where you can sit and smoke a Turkish pipe.
5. Having afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel Continental
Whether you make a proper stop for afternoon tea or simply to rest a bit, please make a stop at Continental Hotel. It is one of my favourite places to chill after a long shopping day.
And this was another installment of the Vintage Guide series.
I truly hope you enjoyed it.
Now, if you excuse me, I am going to keep plotting how to steal that legendary Papanași recipe. Please, pray for me and call a lawyer…