I knew Wandering Earl had been living in Bucharest, Romania for the past 6 months so I was expecting it to be a bit special. I met Earl for coffee one afternoon and after about an hour I could see why he’s spent so much time here – it’s stunning.
The old town is where it’s at. Hundreds of coffee shops, bars, restaurants and diners – all surrounded by century old architecture, 18th century monastaries and grand boulevards, Bucharest is something special.
I could only spend 3 days in Bucharest, which was a bit of a shame, I really love it here. In those 3 days though, you can easily see all the main sights. But Bucharest is a city to ‘feel’, not one to ‘visit’ so I’ll most certainly be back.
That being said, it still plays host to some pretty impressive sights, so check out the top 3 things to see in Bucharest.
1) The People’s Palace (of Parliament):
This building dominates Bucharest, it’s the heaviest building and second biggest building in the world (second to the Pentagon). It was built by their former dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, as a tribute to himself (?!) at a cost of $4 billion in a time when Romania were really struggling financially. Top guy eh. With the balcony overlooking a huge boulevard he had dreams of addressing millions of people, all adoring him, giving dramatic speeches.
As it worked out though, in 1989 he was overthrown, to much fanfare in Romania. So he never got his wish to give speeches from the balcony of his 3100 room mansion. Only one man has done that there. Michael Jackson. Take that Ceausescu!
2) Old Princely Court:
Built in the 15th century, the court is in the centre of the awesome old town. They have a statue of Vlad Tepes out front too, but maybe you know him better as Count Dracula, so get a little of your vampire fix here before heading into Transylvania and seeing his actual castle.
3) The Scene of the Revolution:
By all accounts, Nicolae Ceausescu wasn’t much of a stand up guy, so when he was finally given the boot (or the bullet), everybody in Romania rejoiced. You can see where he gave his final speech at the Central Committiee of the Communist Party Building, as the crowd famously booed him and refused to listen. The protesters ended up destroying most the building too.
Like I say, Bucharest isn’t a city rich in sights, but it’s a great place to hang out and recharge. Spend the majority of your time in the old town and you’ll be loving it too. Happy travels!