Bucharest Sightseeing

The Parliament Palace – the largest, most expensive and heaviest civilian building in the world and second largest administrative building topped only by the US Pentagton. It’s a Bucharest must see! Just ask the Reception to reserve a tour for you.

The Village Museum – the open-air ethnographic museum is located in the Herastrau Park showcasing traditional Romanian village life. The museum gathers 272 authentic peasant farms and houses from all over Romania spread on a surface of over 100,000 m2 and should not be missed if travelling in Bucharest.

Herastrau Park – The most popular of Bucharest’s parks is centered on a lake with which it shares its name. Home to numerous attractions, including children’s playgrounds, an aquarium and some classy cafes and restaurants, you should look out for the eclectic collection of statues in the alleyways and paths which fan out from the entrance. During the summer you can rent bikes and go boat riding.

The Triumph Arch – Bucharest’s Arc de triumf was raised in 1922 to commemorate Romania’s World War I dead. The original Arc was made of wood, replaced by the present concrete structure in 1935. Standing 25 meters high, the Arc has a staircase that allows visitors to climb to the terrace on the top of the monument, though it is strangely closed most of the time and only opened on special occasions.

The Peasant`s Museum – One of Europe‘s leading museums of popular arts and traditions, the Peasant`s Museum host`s an impressive collection of items that cover all aspects of the Romanian peasant life such as traditional Romanian clothing, terracotta pottery, hand paint Ester eggs, icons etc .

The Romanian Athenaeum – a landmark of the Romanian capital city, the neoclassical building is a as a symbol of Romanian culture; visit the Athenaeum for the architecture, the 75-sqm long and 3-m wide fresco that decorates the inside but most of all visit it for the wonderful classical music concerts held weekly by the most talented artists.

Cismigiu Gardens – The most central of the city’s public gardens, Cismigiu is a haven of lawns, trees, flowers and lakes. Often mistakenly refered to as a park, Cismigiu is actually a large garden with more than 30,000 trees and plants brought in from the Romanian mountains and exotic plants fetched from the botanical Gardens in Vienna. During the summer you can enjoy a boat ride while in the winter feel free to go ice-skating on the lake.

Patriarchal Cathedral – Set atop one of the city’s few hills, known as Mitropoliei, the Patriarchal Cathedral has been the centerpiece of the Romanian Orthodox faith since the seventeenth century. Next to the church – and closed to the public – is the Patriarchal Palace, residence of elected Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox.

Domniţa Balaşa Church – To say this church has been the victim of bad luck is an understatement. Built in 1885, the church burnt down soon after and in 1751 a second church was built; but that was also later damaged, during an earthquake in 1838. Building work almost immediately started on a third church, but that too proved unstable and just 40 years later it was replaced by the current, orange-coloured, Neo-Romanesque building.

The Cotroceni Palace – In the midst of a picturesque park, on the hill situated in the west of the city, rises a symbol of the Romanian medieval and royal power and art. Nowadays, Presidential Residence, Cotroceni Palace houses Cotroceni National Museum where, a tour to the halls of the former princely court resembles a visit to the Peles Castle, both of them being similar by the rich ornaments and local history.

Cultural Sightseeing

By Taxi, from Otopeni airport

We recommend you to reserve a pick-up car via Rembrandt Hotel. We guarantee you a fixed price of 90 Ron (20 euro) and a trustworthy driver. Taxis in front of the Arrivals gate at the airport always overcharge. Reservations can be done via info@rembrandt.ro.

By Bus, from Otopeni airport

Take the bus no 783 to  Piata Universitatii stop (down town).  Cross the intersection via the underground passage and turn right on the first street (Ion Ghica), pass the intersection with Doamnei Str. and after another 100m you’ll see us on your left side (opposite the National Bank of Romania).

By Taxi, from Gara de Nord train station

Because of short distance we cannot organize a pick-up car from the train station to the hotel. You can use the subway, coming to the closest stop (Piata Universitatii) or you can find a taxi outside. Be sure the taxi price doesnt’ exceed 3.5 Ron per km.

By Car, from Piata Victoriei and Piata Romana

Go south on Magheru Blvd staying in the right lane. Once you’ve passed Piata Universitatii take the first small street to your right (Ion Ghica Street). About 50 meters onto that there is an entrance to an underground parking where you can safely leave your car. Exit the parking towards Toma Caragiu Street, take a right and get back on Ion Ghica Str, pass the intersection with Doamnei Str. and after another 100m you’ll see us on your left side (opposite the National Bank of Romania).

By Car, from Piata Unirii

Go north on Boulevard I.C. Bratianu, staying on the left lane. At the first street light turn left onto Doamnei Street. Continue straight and take the second street to the right (Academiei Str.). Almost at the end of that street there is the entrance to the underground parking. Exit the parking towards Toma Caragiu Street, take a right and get back on Ion Ghica Str, pass the intersection with Doamnei Str. and after another 100m you’ll see us on your left side (opposite the National Bank of Romania).

Lipscani, the Old City Center

While much of Bucharest has changed beyond recognition over the past two decades, nothing compares to the recent transformation of Old Town, which in the past two years has turned what was very much a no-go area with almost nothing to offer into the Romanian capital’s liveliest and most vibrant entertainment district.

The best place to start any exploration of Old Town is at Universitate from where you can enter the Old City Center on Toma Cargiu or Ion Ghica Street where the first sight that will probably grab your attention (it will be difficult to miss it) is the beautiful, colorful St. Nicholas (Students’) Church. It is known colloquially as the Russian Church and it is topped with seven typically Russian onion domes and crowned with an orthodox cross.

Walk to the end of the street (Str. Ion Ghica) and you will see in front of you the unmistakably Neo-Classical exterior of the National Bank of Romania (BNR). The building boasts a facade with Corinthian columns, and an enormous central banking hall. The passing of time has seen the building become rather hemmed in, but it remains a classic worthy of admiration.

From there take a right turn on Smardan Street where you can admire an 1925 restored building that houses a hotel nowadays and can even visit the old safe room of the National Bank of Romania, turned into the wine cellar of a local café.

Next Street is Lipscani Street, which gets its name from the large number of traders who, in the 18th century, sold wares here brought from Leipzig, which at the time was one of the largest trading posts in Europe. As Str. Lipscani was the main commercial street in the Old Town, it over time lent its name to the whole area. Ironically, its name and history aside, modern Str. Lipscani has little to recommend it, although it does have some exceptional bars, pubs and clubs, and a theatre. It also has some hidden treasure: if you walk through the little alley opposite Str. Selari (an alley now packed with cafes and bars) you will come to Str. Blanari, home to the St. Nicolas Church.

Back on Str. Lipscani, the Hanul cu Tei is a wonderful courtyard (once part of a large inn) which today houses art galleries, antique shops, second-hand book shops, gift shops, studios and portrait artists, as well as a lively terrace and bar/restaurant.

Retrace your steps to the National Bank, and head for Str. Stavropoleos, named for the eponymous church found along its length (Biserica Stavropoleos opened every day; service is held every Sunday in Romanian). The church was built in 1724 by the Greek monk Ioanikie Stratonikeas. It is characterized by its beautiful stone and wood carvings, of which the finest are on the main doors. The courtyard outside (beautiful on a warm afternoon) has a curious collection of tombstones dating from the 18th century. On the other side of the wall, there is another historical monument, a building with a breath taking interior hoasting a beer house and restaurant dating from 1875.

A few steps to the right is the Zlatari Church (Biserica Zlatari) built in the 19th century on the site of an earlier church and featuring interior frescoes by Gheorghe Tatarescu, famous Romanian churches painter. The ornate building on the other side of the road is the headquarters of CEC, the national savings bank, while the Neo-Classical giant facing it is the National History Museum.

On the far side of the museum is Str. Franceza, another Old Town street now blessed with more restaurants, cafes, bars and such like than you could wish for. About half way along look out for the Sf. Dumitru Church and if you descend further to the street you will intersect with the birthplace of Bucharest, the Old Court Palace and Church.

The Old Court, first built on this site in the second part of the 15th-century by Vlad Ţepeş, was considerably extended during the 16th-century, by Mircea Ciobanul, and again a century later, this time at the hand of Constantin Brancoveanu, who added a splendid voievodal palace, decorated with marble and icons. The palace was by and large destroyed by a series of fires in the 19th century however, and subsequently neglected. Much of what remains today was uncovered during archeological digs that took place from 1967-72, when the palace ruins were first opened as a museum.

Looking anything but its best is the Hanul lui Manuc opposite. Built in 1808 it remained operational as a hotel and restaurant until 2007 when it was closed but now has been return it to the descendants of its original owners and part of the inn (the restaurant/bar, courtyard and some function rooms) was finally reopened.

Opening in from of Manuc`s Inn is Saint Anton Square where, during the summer, all kind of concerts, theatrical performances and movie projections are held. From there, if you go straight ahead on Sepcari Street you can end your journey in Roma Piazza, next to the ground zero kilometer of Bucharest, where the statue of the Capitoline Woolf marks the square.

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