How to spend 3 unforgettable days in Bucharest, Romania! The 20 must-see attractions of the city with photos and pins on Google Maps, so you don’t miss a thing.
Last updated: 3 Feb 2024
Planning to spend 3 days in Bucharest, but aren’t sure what to do?
To help make your trip planning just a little easier, we’ve put together a Bucharest itinerary to help you make the most of your 3 days in the city.
From bookstores and communist-era buildings to medieval food and huge spas, you’ll get an authentic slice of local life.
How Many Days Are Enough in Bucharest?
We chose to stay 3 days in Bucharest and a total of five days in Romania.
Two days are enough to tour the city’s historic center and its most important neighborhoods.
The third day can be spent either relaxing in the huge wellness center Therme Bucuresti, or on a day trip to Dracula Castle and the beautiful Brasov.
However, if you have time, add at least one more day to your trip, and spend two days in Brasov.
Is Bucharest, Romania, worth visiting?
Easily accessible and affordable, Bucharest is a good choice if you want to experience a European capital that, until recently, was under communist rule.
However, if you plan your itinerary carefully, you can have a great time without breaking the bank.
Also, about 2.5 hours away by train is the picturesque Brasov, which is worth at least one night.
Where to Stay for 3 Days in Bucharest?
Here is my unpopular opinion: I suggest you avoid staying in the “heart” of Bucharest’s Old Town.
As you will find yourself, the area is full of tourist bars and restaurants, with quite a lot of noise and drunken people often roaming its streets.
On the contrary, you can stay nearby; we chose the Grand Boutique Hotel, which is a 10-minute walk away, and it turned out to be a great value-for-money choice.
Alternatively, a similar option is the hotels near Calea Victoriei.
On the other hand, if you are on a tight budget, check the Bread&Breakfast. It’s clean and in a central location.
How Do You Get to Bucharest?
Bucharest is easily accessible from Henri Coanda International Airport.
From there, you can get to the city center by taking the 783 Express bus.
Alternatively, you can take an Uber or a pre-booked taxi.
The service I use on my trips is Welcome Pickups, as they wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed, and they have numerous positive reviews on TripAdvisor and Trustpilot.
So, even though their flat rate is a few euros more expensive, they are worth it.
In any case, I wouldn’t suggest using a taxi from the street to get around.
Bucharest in 3 Days: Day 1
The recommended route for your first day
1. Carturesti Carusel
Why: The first area worth exploring in Bucharest is definitely the Old Town.
Among its most exciting attractions is the Carturesti Carusel, a wonderful bookstore housed in a 20th-century building.
Its interior alone is a reason to visit.
But on its shelves, you will also find thousands of titles in many languages, apart from Romanian.
In addition, make sure to take advantage of a stop in its basement if you love TV series and manga, but also on its highest level for a quick coffee.
2. Macca – Vilacrosse Passage
Why: The most enjoyable part of Old Town is, without a doubt, walking through its streets.
Leaving the Carturesti Carusel, pass the Church of St. Nicolae Selari, and head towards the Macca – Vilacrosse Passage.
Its architecture is distinctive, with a yellow glass roof that catches your attention as you walk through it.
The place is almost empty in the morning, while it is filled with people sitting in the hookah lounges in the evenings.
3. Zlatari Church
Why: Zlatari Church is a few meters away from the Macca – Vilacrosse Passage.
Founded on an older 17th-century church site, it’s listed as a historic monument by Romania’s Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs.
Its exterior stands out with its shape and the red bricks that decorate it.
Its interior is even more beautiful, with stained glass windows and lovely interior paintings by Gheorghe Tattarescu, an important Moldavian – Romanian painter.
4. Palace of the Deposits and Consignments
Why: Right across the street, you will find the Palace of the Deposits and Consignments, one of the most remarkable buildings in Bucharest.
It was built in 1900, on the ruins of Saint John the Great monastery, as the headquarters of the oldest bank in Romania.
Even today, it continues to function as a bank, while its construction strongly resembles the buildings of Paris as it was designed by the French architect Paul Gottereau.
5. Stavropoleos Monastery Church
Why: Passing the National Museum of Romanian History across the street, continue walking along Stavropoleos Street towards the Stavropoleos Monastery Church.
There is no way to miss it, as it is completely different from all the surrounding buildings.
Quiet and calm, it has a beautiful garden, and it is an ideal spot for some unique photos.
6. Manuc’s Inn
Why: The walk through the Old Town ends with Manuc’s Inn, the oldest operating hotel building in the city.
Built in 1808, it houses shops, cafes, bars, and a restaurant that fills its inner courtyard with people.
Entrance to the courtyard is free and well worth a visit: after all, it’s not every day you visit a two-century-old hotel.
The latter is a… palace from the time of Vlad III Dracula; however, it has been closed for years for maintenance, and you can’t visit it.
7. Bucharest Fountains
Why: On your way to the hill of the Romanian Patriarchy, pass through the Unirii park and the Bucharest Fountains.
The main attraction is the central fountain, which is surrounded by other fountain areas all around.
In addition to daytime, it is worth visiting them at night as the special lighting makes them look mesmerizing.
If you are lucky and come to the city between May and October, you can watch an impressive multimedia show every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night.
In May and August, the show starts at 21:00. In June and July at 21:30, and in September and October, it begins at 20:00. It lasts about 45 minutes, and access is free.
8. Dealul Mitropoliei
Why: At the top of Dealul Mitropoliei are the headquarters of the Romanian Patriarchy and the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helena.
Despite being in the center of the city, the place remains calm and is ideal for continuing your exploration during your first of 3 days in Bucharest.
Note that from here, you will enjoy one of the best views of the city and Parliament.
At the same time, do not miss visiting the cathedral, which has a well-preserved interior full of paintings of saints of the Orthodox Church.
9. Constitution Square
Why: Immediately after Dealul Mitropoliei, return to Bulevardul Unirii and walk towards Constitution Square.
You will find many shops and restaurants around, while for a decent coffee, you can stop at The Coffee Shop Constitutiei.
Continuing, you reach Constitution Square, where you will enjoy a great view of the Palace of Parliament.
10. Palace of Parliament
Why: The Palace of Parliament is one of the city’s most important attractions.
Built by order of Nicolae Ceausescu, the dictator of Communist Romania, it manages to create mixed emotions.
On the one hand, to impress you with its luxury and incredible size, as it is one of the largest administrative buildings in the world; on the other hand, to trouble you for the exact same reasons.
To visit it, you will need to book a tour in advance, which also helps you understand its history.
Important tip: to book a tour, you need to call the number provided on the Parliament’s website here, 24 hours in advance. Not 2 days before, or the same day.
Alternatively, you can book your tickets anytime online through Get Your Guide here, paying a few extra bucks.
In both cases, the guided tour is the same and is provided by official guides of the Parliament.
11. Romanian Food
Why: After a long day of walking, a good meal is a must.
About half an hour’s walk away, next to Calea Victoriei, which you will visit more thoroughly tomorrow, you will find Excalibur.
It’s a restaurant with a medieval theme, serving a lot of meat.
In general, meat and soups dominate the local cuisine, which you will quickly understand by reading the restaurants’ menus.
As for Excalibur, although it seems a bit like a tourist attraction, it serves delicious food at reasonable prices and huge portions – I recommend ordering a few dishes only.
Alternatively, you can visit Alt Shift which offers a diverse, international menu, with dishes such as spaghetti and burgers in almost equally large quantities.
Bucharest in 3 days: Day 2
The recommended route for your second day
12. Brunch Among Locals
Why: On the second of our 3 days in Bucharest, we chose to begin with brunch among the locals.
Simbio is a three-minute walk from the Grand Boutique Hotel we stayed in and is housed in a wonderful building with an equally beautiful courtyard.
Given that it is located outside the Old Town, you will meet mostly locals at its tables.
The owners serve hearty portions and quality coffee, and everything is well-priced, like almost everywhere in Romania.
According to Chrysavgi, my wife, the Maple Latte is worth a try; I always drink plain double espresso, so my coffee recommendation is less fancy.
13. National Village Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”
Why: The Village Museum is located inside Herastrau Park and is an open-air museum dedicated to traditional Romanian village life.
As you walk around its premises, you can see authentic houses from all over Romania and understand how life was in the country over the centuries.
It was one of the most interesting destinations we visited while in town, and we were surprised that so few visitors were present.
I strongly recommend you stop by; keep in mind that you will need about two hours to go around it.
14. King Mihai I Park (Herastrau Park)
Why: Right after the Village Museum, continue your walk in the huge Herastrau Park.
In the area, you will find, among others, a Japanese Garden and Herastrau Island, while you can rent bicycles and small boats.
It is ideal for enjoying a walk away from the busy city, relaxing, or exercising if you are this type of person.
15. Arcul de Triumf
Why: Next to the park, you will also find the Arcul de Triumf, the first construction of which, back in 1878, was made of wood.
After World War Ι, it was rebuilt from cement and took its final form in 1936.
As you will see up close, it is similar to that of Paris and ideal for some photos.
If you are in town on the weekend, you can also climb to the top, with free admission, and enjoy an amazing view of the entire city.
Why: Your next stop is Dorobanti, about a 20-minute walk from the arch.
It is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city, full of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Grab a coffee in hand from Frudisiac and stroll its tranquil streets.
For our lunch, we chose Cannoleria, a small Italian restaurant with delicious pizza and excellent cannoli.
Its prices are slightly above the city average, but the quality offered is worth the extra money.
17. Carturesti Verona
Why: After a good meal, it’s time for a walk in another city’s central neighborhood, Piata Romana.
Here the first stop is another beautiful bookstore, Carturesti Verona.
Books, games, puzzles, comic books, and many ideas for original gifts are on its shelves.
Right behind, there is a cozy outdoor cafe, which also serves food if you want a Dorobanti alternative.
18. Romanian Athenaeum
Why: Built in 1888, the Romanian Athenaeum is one of Bucharest’s most important attractions.
It is a concert hall equally impressive inside and outside.
If you want to visit its interior or attend a concert, you will find more information about the opening hours on the official website here.
Unfortunately, you cannot buy tickets online, and the visiting program may change anytime, so make sure to check the website before your visit.
19. Calea Victoriei
Why: The second of your 3 days in Bucharest ends with a walk on Calea Victoriei, which is full of attractions.
The Central University Library of Bucharest, founded in 1895, is one of the most important.
Directly opposite, you will also see the National Museum of Art of Romania, located in the city’s Royal Palace.
Bucharest in 3 days: Day 3
The recommended route for your third day
20. Therme Bucharest
Why: On our third and last day in the city, we visited Therme Bucharest.
Chrysavgi is a big fan of spas and massages.
So, when she discovered that there was a colossal wellness center in Bucharest, it was sure that we would visit it.
Therme Bucharest is located 22 kilometers (14 miles) from the city center, close to Henri Coanda International Airport.
In its facilities, there are saunas, water slides, indoor and outdoor pools, hydromassage beds, pool bars, restaurants, and everything else needed for a day of absolute relaxation.
Half an hour after leaving our hotel, we were in a giant pool, hot tubbing and drinking Piña Coladas.
We bought our tickets online and chose the package that includes all three zones, so we have access everywhere.
Arriving at the facilities, we scanned our tickets, received an RFID bracelet, and left our things in the lockers.
The bracelet works as a key between the different areas, and you can also use it for your purchases.
At the end of the visit, you scan it again and pay for what you have consumed.
Overall, it was a different experience than usual.
Although I always try to see as much as possible on my travels, sometimes it’s good to let go and relax.
Since Therme Bucharest is close to the airport, we chose to visit it on the day of our return to Athens.
We thought it would be easy to take an Uber and go directly from the wellness center to our flight.
It turned out to be a very bad decision, almost causing us to miss our departure.
Although there were many Ubers in the parking lot, none of them answered our calls.
As we found out later, the drivers prefer only rides to the city to earn more money, as the distance to the airport is very short.
So, after waiting for an hour, and since we didn’t have tickets for the bus, we had to take a taxi paying the same fee as the one back to the city.
Therefore, if you decide to go from the spa directly to the airport like us, make sure to check the bus schedules beforehand.
Alternatively, you can pre-book a tour that includes transfers and entry to the spa.
Optimizing Your Bucharest Itinerary
The above itinerary should be enough for you to have 3 great days in Bucharest and see most of the major sights and landmarks.
However, if you want to take your time and relax, you can skip the Dealul Mitropoliei (point 8) on Day 1. After Bucharest Fountains, go directly to Constitution Square.
On the second day, you can use public transport or Uber to move between Arcul de Triumph and Dorobanti, and between Dorobanti and Piata Romana.
Additionally, you can skip Piata Romana (point 17) entirely and move toward Romanian Athenaeum (point 18).
On the contrary, if you love super tight schedules, add a visit to Cismigiu Gardens on Day 1.
It’s located between the Palace of Parliament (point 10) and Excalibur (point 11).
Lastly, if you are not a big fan of spas, on Day 3, you can do a full-day trip to Dracula Castle, Peles & Brasov.
Or, if you want to extend your trip, you can always add a two-day visit to Brasov and the surrounding region of Transylvania.
Make Your Trip Easier
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights, as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.
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