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Where else can you find grey communist-era housing blocks alongside medieval churches and 21st-century skyscrapers? Book a flight to Bucharest with Qatar Airways and get to know this trendy, cosmopolitan city.
Once known as the “Little Paris”, Bucharest’s Old Town has undergone a decade-long facelift, giving the city a chance to regain its lost lustre. The capital of Romania is one of the largest cities in Southeast Europe and home to an alluring mix of architectures.
Time blurs with every step you take here, and today, Bucharest’s cultural attractions rival that of any European capital.
Many travellers see Bucharest as a stopover destination during a Halloween tour of Transylvania. But there are plenty of historic sites and attractions to warrant a trip to the Romanian capital at any time of year.
Stroll around the 19th-century buildings and winding cobblestone streets of Old Town, then take a tour of the Parliament Palace. You can book basic or extended guided tours to explore the palace, which has 3,100 rooms and is the world's largest parliament building.
Don't miss the opportunity to see the Romanian Athenaeum near Revolution Square, a popular concert hall in Bucharest. The hall features a 75-square-metre fresco that depicts Romanian history. And in the National History Museum, you will find a replica of Trajan's Column.
Another intriguing attraction is the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, which offers insight into the traditional way of life in Romania, from clothes to terracotta pottery. Other museums worth visiting are the Village Museum and the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
The best way to experience Bucharest up close, is to take a walking tour. Complimentary guided tours usually run every day, while bike tours are a popular alternative when visiting the city's most important sights.
If you have enough time when you travel to Bucharest, the city has plenty of venues where you can listen to live opera or classical music. The National Opera and George Enescu Philharmonic are the two most popular sites.
At weekends, mingle with the locals at the city's parks. Cismigiu Garden, in the city centre, offers boat rental during the summer months and an ice rink in the winter; it is a great family picnic spot.
Romanians love food, and their cuisine is characterised by its variety – taking influences from Greek, German and Hungarian dishes. You should try some of Bucharest’s specialities such as ciorba (soups), mămăligă (a polenta-type grain) and parjoale (meatball). Romanian papricas, or goulash, is also available in most restaurants.
As well as traditional Romanian restaurants, you'll find Turkish, Greek, French, Italian and Indian food here. In fact, whatever type of cuisine you are in the mood for, you will usually be able to find it. It is possible to eat well at restaurants offering a budget menu, but Bucharest also has a slew of options for fine-dining, at five-star hotels and international establishments.
For lunch on the go, Bucharest has its fair share of fast-food establishments, offering freshly made sandwiches, salads and hummus.
Calea Victoriei is Bucharest's main boulevard, and home to designer boutiques and international brands. Make sure you check out the city's biggest shopping centre, Baneasa Shopping City, which has a great mix of premium brands and refined restaurants. It is also an ideal location if you’re travelling with children, as it has a multiplex and several playgrounds.
For souvenirs, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant gift shop is a must-visit. Here you'll find ceramics, local crafts, woven rugs and table runners. Bucharest has a number of English-language bookshops, too.
Essential facts about Bucharest
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip