I will spare you the usual… of course if you will come here you should go see the all buildings other blogs talk about.
I`ll give you recommendations I would give to a traveling friend, not a sterile list copy-pasted in all other top 10 Bucharest list.
A little myth busting:
We have guests coming expecting a demolished 3rd world city with horse and carts speeding on the broken roads, rabid dogs, corrupt police and threatening gypsies.
You couldn`t be farther away from reality:
It is one of the safest cities in Europe with violent crime being very rare. Do mind your wallet.
Police presence is big but they will not even look at you unless you are looking for trouble.
Gypsies despite their bad reputation abroad are not a threat at all. They mind their business as anyone else. In the old town some Roma women will try to sell you a rose, that`s all.
Horse and carts you will find in the villages out from the city. Who needs a car when the world is going green?
Rabid dogs are gone are a thing of the past.
Architecture is wonderful here; sure it is not as ancient as Rome or sparkling as Dubai but it has its charm.
Young Romanians usually speak many languages, with English as a must, and are very curious and open with foreigners.
Here is my personal top 10:
It is the best I have ever experienced and for all kind of people and style.
There is the old town commonly called Lipscani: an only pedestrian district with hundreds of bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs, karaokes. Spring to Autumn its great to sit outside having a drink and people watching.
The over the top clubs: for the overly beautiful girls and overly rich guys. Wanna-be kind of place, totally recommended experience, dress up and take your credit card.
Live like a millionaire for a few hours and enjoy the views of beauty from your prive` table before going back to reality.
The super-cheap: mainly for students where a beer can be 1 euro and shots too cheap to resist.
Folk clubs with Manele, sometimes if you have bad luck its live. A mind-blowing experience.
I cannot deny the stereotype: hot girls and cheap alcohol.
So many parks to choose form. At least one in each district of the city. In most you can rent bikes for free, rent pedal or rowing boats. People go there to run, relax and enjoy: you will find food, drinks and often restaurants, cafes and bars.
Do try the corn on the cob
The valley of the kings… somehow is what the beautiful pasajul Macca-Villacrosse is most known as.
Here you only find lots and lots of water-pipe cafes. Also known as hookah, shisha, narghilea. Perfect for an afternoon meetup with friends or a pre-club session.
Kebabs are just about everywhere in the city and some serve 24h.
Forget fancy dining! Autoservire is what you need: take a tray, you look at the food, all ultra-traditional and yummi, point at it, pay, eat. Best served by middle aged women in dodgy looking eating places with plastic chairs and tables. Very cheap and very Romanian.
Lots of the best city restaurants, cafes and bars have their own urban jungle. They are very hard to spot but well worth the search.
Possibly the best spa in the world. Indoor and outdoor hot water pools, saunas with all kind of lights, salts and one with a movie theater inside. A slide area, a pool with artificial waves, pool bars… the non plus ultra chill experience. Just avoid the crowds, nobody likes too many people.
We had among the first and best Escape Rooms in Bucharest inside X Hostel. Then competition grew huge and we stopped operating games but focused on selling the concept. Now we are in 63 countries with over 450 games.
But Bucharest has very challenging and high quality games. If you never tried this experience shame on you but here`s your chance.
Another little secret: tea houses can be cool! Some have board games and all are so uniquely stylish. Great for a night off from drinking.
People care! Whether is to block the government from making a law allowing them to steal with impunity or to protect the environment from corporations the people of Romania take to the streets. These protests are peaceful, with satirical signs, dogs, kids, families, flowers given to the police, music, flags… something moving to watch. The new Romania is this: European, fierce, kind heated, peaceful and with a good sense of humor.
It might not be the most beautiful city in the planet, for sure you will not find the best customer service, people will come late at meetings and bureaucracy is still a burden of its recent socialist past… but who wants the boredom of a perfect city?
Bucharest biggest asset is its people with their heritage of Dacians, influences in culture from ancient Rome to the Ottoman Empire, with its minorities and superstitions; what else to say when the world`s most famous Vampire is their national hero?
With virtually no immigration and a tiny expat community you can live like the locals in a way you cannot do in other cities of Europe.
Locals in my foreign eyes are full of contradictions: conservative but daring, melancholic but positive, rough but tender, patriotic but open minded, flirty but stern.
I have a love and hate relationship with this city and its people. There must be a reason that of all the world I chose to stay here, I do hope you will find the same joy and great experiences as I did.