Essential Bucharest

Tour Creator

Alexandra is a local, highly-rated Bucharest tour guide. Her favorite city to guide is Bucharest for all the quirky stories it has to tell. Besides traveling and castles, Alex’s hobbies…Read More Bio »

Bucharest

GPS-directed

Remote Tour Included

1hr/3hrs(Extended itinerary)

1km/3km(Extended itinerary)

This tour will take you through the city center of Romania’s capital, from the grand 19th century buildings, to the massive constructions of the communist era. You will witness the eclectic mix of old and new, rich and poor, ugly and beautiful that make Bucharest a true ‘city of contrasts’. You will walk down Victoriei Boulevard, named after Romania won its Independence War, see the balcony where Dictator Ceausescu held his last speech and visit a cute 18th century monastery right in the heart of the city. You will be able to admire some of Bucharest’s most impressive palaces and dark alleys. Enjoy your walk through the puzzling city that is Bucharest with its centuries-old stories.

Avoid the Crowds

Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group

Created by an exceptional local tour guide

Written by the founder and tour guide for a 5-star rated tour company on Tripadvisor

GPS Directions

Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour

Highlights include:

Romanian Athenaeum, Memorial of Rebirth, and Stravropoleos Monastery

Remote Tour Included

As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home

Itineraries

Essential Bucharest – Extended

Essential Bucharest- Pt 1

Essential Bucharest – Pt 2

  1. Romanian Athenaeum - We'll start the tour in front of the Romanian Athenaeum, the symbol building of Bucharest and the local’s sweetheart building. The Athenaeum was opened in 1888 and what initially was supposed to be a center for the arts and sciences, the building had such good acoustics that it was used as a concert hall from the beginning to the present day.
  2. King Carol I Statue - The statue in front of you is not the original statue of King Carol I, the first king of Romania. The original piece made by a Czech sculptor was taken down by the communists on the night of the 30th of December 1947 when the then King Michael signed the abdication
  3. National Architects Union Headquarters - This odd building nicknamed The Robot or The Jar, is a one of the most controversial buildings in Bucharest, juggling between kitsch and modern art.
  4. Ministry of Internal Affairs - Here you will hear stories of the Golden Era of Romanian communism.
  5. Memorial of Rebirth - December 25th 1989 - the dictator and his wife were dead, executed. Normally this would end the Revolution as people got what they wanted but the country was kept in a state of terror and chaos for two more weeks which turned the Romanian Revolution into the bloodiest revolution out of all the countries behind the Iron Curtain with over 1500 people deaths or wounded. In 2005 the Memorial of Rebirth was built by a local sculptor and it was dedicated to the victims of the Revolution.
  6. Kretzulescu Church - On the other side of the street you can see a small Orthodox Church in red brick, The Kretzulescu Church. Believe it or not, when this church was built in 1722, this was the Northern border of Bucharest. Build by Safta Kretzulescu, the church has a family drama behind it. You will learn here the story of the Brancoveanu family and their tragic beheading at the hand of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
  7. Novotel + Palace of the Telephones - Again an odd looking building in Bucharest: the Novotel with its early 20th century style entrance while the rest is all glass. Right next to it is the Palace of the Telephones, an Art Deco structure that scandalized the conservative views of the locals in the 1930s when it was build.
  8. Casa Capsa - One of the first hotels in Bucharest, a place where the high society of the city used to have their dinners after attending the theatre. A place popular among the 19th century nobility, politicians, artists and foreigners alike, Casa Capsa is also famous for its chocolate bombons.
  9. University of Bucharest - The old building of the University was founded in 1864, being the second oldest University in Romania. Ever since the beginning, Romania adhered to a French system of education with 8 years of school and 4 years of high school. School is free and obligatory in Romania and even university is partially funded by the government.
  10. University Square - Two years after the Revolution and the people in Bucharest realized that even if communism was gone in theory, in practice the country was led by the second tier of communists which used to be close to dictator Ceausescu. In June 1990 there were massive anti government protests organized in Bucharest declaring University Square km 0 of democracy, an area free of neo-communism. The protests ended in bloodshed.
  11. Macca Villacrosse Passage - A passage covered with yellow glass built in the ornate style of the turn of the century. This place is one of the hidden gems of Bucharest and it's a favorite with everyone who visits it
  12. CEC Palace + Post Office Palace - The CEC Bank and what is now the National History Museum are two of the massive buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. The CEC Bank is representative for the eclectic architectural style of Bucharest and it's considered to be one of the most beautiful palaces in the city. On the other side of the boulevard, just as grand, is the former building of the Post Office.
  13. Caru cu Bere - This restaurant dates back to 1874 when Mircea Nicolae, the first owner of the business, opened a brewery with a small restaurant next to it. The business became so popular that Nicolae was decorated as an honorary citizen of Bucharest by the King himself. During the communist times, the restaurant was nationalized and confiscated by the government only to be given back to the heirs of the initial owners in 1999.
  14. Stavropoleos Monastery - This beautiful small monastery is located right in the heart of the city. It was built in 1724, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city and a symbol for the Romanian architectural style in the South of the country
  15. Lipscani + National Bank of Romania - You are now in the heart of the Old Town of Bucharest on the street named Lipscani, the main street. The name of the street that became synonymous with the Old Town itself, comes from the 18th century tradesmen who sold here materials brought from Leipzig in Germany.
  16. The Roman Wolf Statue - In ancient times, part of what is now the territory of Romania was conquered by the Roman empire. This is why Romanian is a Latin language. So Romanians recognize the Romans as ancestors. In 1906, 40 years after Bucharest officially became the capital of the Kingdom of Romania, Rome gifted Bucharest a copy of the Roman Wolf with the two founders of Rome: Remus and Romulus.
  17. Manucs' Inn - The restaurant was built between 1806-1808 by an Armenian, Manuc. The reason was the Russian - Ottoman war that took place on Romanian lands. Manuc working as a double spy, needed a place to accommodate officers from both armies so he could travel the news from one side to the other. In it's long history, the inn lived through several downfalls and refurbishments, managing to escape even the communist demolitions of the 1980s.
  18. Old Princely Court - Vlad the Impaler, the historical figure who was the inspiration for Bram Stokers' novel, is a controversial person in Romanian history. Some people see him as a hero, others as a sociopathic warlord. Considered the father of Bucharest, the tales about Vlad's life are a mix of horror stories and life in the dark ages.
  19. Unirii Square - The boulevard that you are standing now, is a creation of the 1980s when Ceausescu demolished the entire area to create the project which includes the Palace of the Parliament that you can see bordering one end of the boulevard. At the other end there was supposed to be a huge statue symbolizing the triumph of communism but the revolution happened and the project was interrupted.
  1. Romanian Athenaeum - We'll start the tour in front of the Romanian Athenaeum, the symbol building of Bucharest and the local’s sweetheart building. The Athenaeum was opened in 1888 and what initially was supposed to be a center for the arts and sciences, the building had such good acoustics that it was used as a concert hall from the beginning to the present day.
  2. King Carol I Statue - The statue in front of you is not the original statue of King Carol I, the first king of Romania. The original piece made by a Czech sculptor was taken down by the communists on the night of the 30th of December 1947 when the then King Michael signed the abdication
  3. Ministry of Internal Affairs - Here you will hear stories of the Golden Era of Romanian communism.
  4. Memorial of Rebirth - December 25th 1989 - the dictator and his wife were dead, executed. Normally this would end the Revolution as people got what they wanted but the country was kept in a state of terror and chaos for two more weeks which turned the Romanian Revolution into the bloodiest revolution out of all the countries behind the Iron Curtain with over 1500 people deaths or wounded. In 2005 the Memorial of Rebirth was built by a local sculptor and it was dedicated to the victims of the Revolution.
  5. Kretzulescu Church - On the other side of the street you can see a small Orthodox Church in red brick, The Kretzulescu Church. Believe it or not, when this church was built in 1722, this was the Northern border of Bucharest. Build by Safta Kretzulescu, the church has a family drama behind it. You will learn here the story of the Brancoveanu family and their tragic beheading at the hand of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
  6. Novotel + Palace of the Telephones - Again an odd looking building in Bucharest: the Novotel with its early 20th century style entrance while the rest is all glass. Right next to it is the Palace of the Telephones, an Art Deco structure that scandalized the conservative views of the locals in the 1930s when it was build.
  7. Casa Capsa - One of the first hotels in Bucharest, a place where the high society of the city used to have their dinners after attending the theatre. A place popular among the 19th century nobility, politicians, artists and foreigners alike, Casa Capsa is also famous for its chocolate bombons.
  8. University of Bucharest - The old building of the University was founded in 1864, being the second oldest University in Romania. Ever since the beginning, Romania adhered to a French system of education with 8 years of school and 4 years of high school. School is free and obligatory in Romania and even university is partially funded by the government.
  9. University Square - Two years after the Revolution and the people in Bucharest realized that even if communism was gone in theory, in practice the country was led by the second tier of communists which used to be close to dictator Ceausescu. In June 1990 there were massive anti government protests organized in Bucharest declaring University Square km 0 of democracy, an area free of neo-communism. The protests ended in bloodshed.
  1. Macca Villacrosse Passage - A passage covered with yellow glass built in the ornate style of the turn of the century. This place is one of the hidden gems of Bucharest and it's a favorite with everyone who visits it
  2. Caru cu Bere - This restaurant dates back to 1874 when Mircea Nicolae, the first owner of the business, opened a brewery with a small restaurant next to it. The business became so popular that Nicolae was decorated as an honorary citizen of Bucharest by the King himself. During the communist times, the restaurant was nationalized and confiscated by the government only to be given back to the heirs of the initial owners in 1999.
  3. Stavropoleos Monastery - This beautiful small monastery is located right in the heart of the city. It was built in 1724, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city and a symbol for the Romanian architectural style in the South of the country
  4. Lipscani + National Bank of Romania - You are now in the heart of the Old Town of Bucharest on the street named Lipscani, the main street. The name of the street that became synonymous with the Old Town itself, comes from the 18th century tradesmen who sold here materials brought from Leipzig in Germany.
  5. The Roman Wolf Statue - In ancient times, part of what is now the territory of Romania was conquered by the Roman empire. This is why Romanian is a Latin language. So Romanians recognize the Romans as ancestors. In 1906, 40 years after Bucharest officially became the capital of the Kingdom of Romania, Rome gifted Bucharest a copy of the Roman Wolf with the two founders of Rome: Remus and Romulus.
  6. Manucs' Inn - The restaurant was built between 1806-1808 by an Armenian, Manuc. The reason was the Russian - Ottoman war that took place on Romanian lands. Manuc working as a double spy, needed a place to accommodate officers from both armies so he could travel the news from one side to the other. In it's long history, the inn lived through several downfalls and refurbishments, managing to escape even the communist demolitions of the 1980s.
  7. Old Princely Court - Vlad the Impaler, the historical figure who was the inspiration for Bram Stokers' novel, is a controversial person in Romanian history. Some people see him as a hero, others as a sociopathic warlord. Considered the father of Bucharest, the tales about Vlad's life are a mix of horror stories and life in the dark ages.
  8. Unirii Square - The boulevard that you are standing now, is a creation of the 1980s when Ceausescu demolished the entire area to create the project which includes the Palace of the Parliament that you can see bordering one end of the boulevard. At the other end there was supposed to be a huge statue symbolizing the triumph of communism but the revolution happened and the project was interrupted.

Check out a free sample of this tour!

Share this tour

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Get the tour in our app today!