Recently, I flew to Bucharest for a few days to speak at Digitalium, a digital marketing conference.
I’d heard Bucharest wasn’t a city for ‘lazy sightseers’ – that you had to dig to find the hidden gems.
With only a few hours to wander the city, I had a few spots on my list of places to see, and decided to use any free time as a means to explore at leisure.
Albeit I didn’t see much of the city, I love what I did see. Sure, it may lack the polished grandeur or historical quaintness of other European capitals, but there’s something to be said for places you have to look below the surface.
Explore beyond what’s in plain sight and you’ll discover cozy cafes, garden spaces for sipping coffee and tons of great place to grab a drink or charming alleyways worthy of a stroll down.
These are a few of my favourite finds while wandering Bucharest:
Stroll Old Town: Lipscani, Bucharest’s Old Town, has plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from. Plus, winding narrow streets, aged cobblestone and charming crumbling facades
Pasajul Macca: A picturesque passageway in the heard of Old Town with lots of cafes and shisha places to enjoy
Pasajul Vilacrosse: Nearby Vilacrosse, this passageway is known for its bright, rainbow umbrellas. A quick photo opp in the morning hours- at night, I’ve heard the passageway really jumps to life
Carturesti Carusel: A beautiful bookstore with lovely, quiet cafe on the top floor
Relax in a lovely cafe: There are plenty to choose from- my favourite find was the Van Gogh Grand Cafe (colourful tribute to a painter I enjoy), and M60 for their cold brew
Bonus: I was fortunate to be a guest at the semi-annual Portobello Straddle, Bucharest’s chic street festival. A tribute to urban lifestyle, Portobello is frequented by trendsetters and public figures in fashion, architecture, art, food and music. Really dug observing the festival and its vibes for a few hours on my first night in the city. A great way to really get a feel for local culture. Afterwards, we had dinner at Caju, which was excellent – think Eastern European + Mediterranean.
Hoping I make it back to Bucharest one day to see more of the city.
Have you ever been? What recommendations would you give to someone visiting for the first time?