Getting ready for a trip to Bucharest is not largely different than getting ready for any other big city in Europe. However, Bucharest is not yet a tourist friendly destination in the traditional sense, meaning that there’s not a lot of information ‚on the streets’. We have only one information center in the entire city so it’s safer to do your research at home before landing in this otherwise great city that is Bucharest.
On your mission of getting ready for Bucharest here’s some inside knowledge:
Bucharest is at its best from April to June and September, October and maybe December. The only reason for this, is the weather which goes as high as 40 degrees Celsius in July and August which makes it basically impossible to stay outside of air conditioning and drops as low as -12 in January and February with the possibility of snow blizzards.
Have an answer ready for: „Why did you come to visit Bucharest?” and brace yourself for a long list of reasons why you should not like Bucharest. You are going to be amazed by this, I've seen it happen so many times. We, Romanians, are a strange lot on this matter. It’s as if the more you seem to like it here, the more we are offended and try to argue some sense in you. We haven’t gotten around the idea that Bucharest might be a place worth seeing and, shockingly, maybe even find it cool, nice and interesting.
Don’t try to understand traffic. I've been living here for 9 years and I still can’t predict for sure when and why it’s going to be heavy traffic. If British scholars don’t know what to study next then, by all means, please enlighten this dark matter that is Bucharest traffic.
To your utter surprise you might see that we completely lose our sense of humor when it comes to Dracula jokes. We kind of heard them all so unless you crack one hell of a joke that is not humanly possible to resist, you might just get an awkward smile as a reaction.
Bucharest does live up to its „city of contrasts” stamp: rich&poor, ugly&pretty, dirty¬ so dirty, cheap&expensive –everything has found a way to coexist in this city.
Smoking is still permitted therefore finding a smoking free place can be a challenge. That’s why it’s great that now we have a map with all the places where smoking is not allowed. (click here for the map)
Universitate Square and a day with light traffic
Having these essentials covered, I prepared a list of articles, sites and the likes, a sort of Bucharest-ready kit that will easy you into Bucharest culture.
To have an idea on Bucharest’s background I recommend the history crash course on lonely planet (article here). The information is to the point, accurate and it will give you a picture on where, who and when. Additionally, there are two testimonials from eye witnesses of the ` 89 Revolution that might send a chill down your spine.
Planning your activities will get easier after the article on National Geographic: Top 10 things to do in Bucharest. I just wouldn't rank the Palace of Parliament on the top spot but anyway, it’s so big that it’s impossible to overlook.
A second article that might help you organise an itinerary is 48 hours in Buchareston the Independent. I agree with their proposals, they have all the classics covered. Only the transportation section is outdated as it is no longer possible to use the same card for both metro and buses.
For a better insight on transportation read the Transportation in Bucharest article, right here on Roaring Romania. Useful information on taxis, especially the taxis at the Gara de Nord, the main train station is in Taxis at Gara de Nord on Bucharest life.
And since you are on Bucharest life lets stay on this site a bit longer as they have good insights on Bucharest. Check What should be labelled essential? Most of their essentials are the usual must see entries for Bucharest but Bellu Cemetery and George Enescu Museum are a turn from the beaten path.
The sister site of Bucharest life is Bucharest In Your Pocketwhere you will find a complete guide of recommendations for your trip: from landmarks to safety, food and cultural must-knows. You can also download the guide to have it on you or ask about it when you arrive at the hotel.
For the ones who want to further immerse in the Bucharestian life before coming here watch this video: Meanwhile in Bucharest. Besides the stories it will give you a visual sneak peak into the city.
You have any unanswered questions on Bucharest? Let us know, maybe we can help!
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