Visiting Bucharest in Winter, you will see the city in a whole new light. The snow adds a new dimension, lining the wide boulevards, capping the monuments in the city centre and dressing the neo-Romanian buildings in a new light. It’s definitely worth braving the cold for and there are plenty of things to do in Bucharest in the Winter, most of which are free! With just a day to explore the Romanian Capital before catching the train to Bulgaria, we took our chance to see some of the highlights of the city.
1. Palace of Parliament
Of all the things to do in Bucharest, the Palace of Parliament should be first on your list and with good reason. It’s the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon, has more than 1,000 rooms, over 450 chandeliers and is constructed using the finest materials money can buy, all sourced locally. Occupying 330,000 square metres of the Romanian capital, it’s larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza and is visible from the moon!
Entry is by guided tour only. Tours are conducted between 10am and 4pm, with the last tour starting at 3:30pm. Prices are 25lei for the standard tour, which lasts about 45-60minutes. Be sure to bring your passport and you will need to pay an additional 30lei if you want to take photos.
2. Old Town
In summer, we are told that Bucharest’s old town is a hive of activity with people sitting out enjoying the weather. In winter, it doesn’t quite have the same buzz to it but the added bonus is that the streets are not cluttered with outdoor furniture. This gives you a much better view of the area. As you might expect, the old town is home to some of the oldest monuments and buildings in the city dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Highlights include the city’s oldest church, Old Court Church and Caru’ Cu Bere.
3. Romanian Orthodox Churches
One of our favourite things about visiting Bucharest in winter was the Orthodox Churches. These small, beautiful buildings have so much charm and character and should without a doubt feature in your Bucharest itinerary. Stavropoleos was probably our favourite of the churches we visited and it’s even more beautiful by night.
A small courtyard adjacent to the church has a curious collection of old tombstones engraved in Cyrillic and with a dusting of snow in winter they are really beautiful. If the door is open, you can go inside the church, walk around and be sure to look up at the inside of the dome. As always when visiting religious sites be quiet and courteous as locals come here to reflect and pray. Ask before taking photos inside, but there shouldn’t be any problem.
Walking around Bucharest, the city’s architecture is really impressive. While there are new, modern, glass-fronted buildings in the city centre, there also loads of art-deco masterpieces from the 19th and 20th century. The National Bank of Romania, the Caru’ Cu Bere and the churches dotted around the city are just stunning to look at. You will find these immense buildings scattered throughout the city, just stay on the lookout as you walk around the city.
5. Quirky Bucharest
It’s the little things that often make a city so special and Bucharest is no exception. Vintage clocks are dotted around the city and add real character to the streets. The old tram that rattles though the city looks in serious need of replacement but will no doubt be a standout memory of your trip to Bucharest.
Tips for visiting Bucharest in Winter
- Wrap up: It get’s cold in the Romanian capital in Winter but don’t let that put you off visiting. Wrap up against the elements and get on with your trip.
- Footwear: We walked everywhere in Bucharest so be sure to have good footwear. Also, in winter there is a lot of melting snow on the ground and if you don’t want your feet to feel like two ice blocks, waterproof shoes are a good choice.
- Taxis: Taxis display their rates per kilometer on the side of the car, however there may still be some haggling required. Always ensure that the metre is turned on and if in any doubt just get out and find another taxi.
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