Check in at a central Bucharest hotel and all of this will be on your doorstep...
From a turbulent past, Bucharest is emerging and striding confidently towards the future. While you can still see crumbling tower blocks among the beautiful historical buildings that have been treated with tender loving care, you will also find modern architecture and plenty of outdoor terraces on which to sit and sip a cool drink on a hot day (or a hot drink on a cool day).
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Bucharest hotels are great value when room rates are compared with hotels in many of the city's European neighbours...
There's a good range of hotels in Bucharest at the higher end of the accommodation scale, and you can stay in some of the aforementioned elegant buildings of the 19th century for reasonable prices. The big chains have moved into the city in recent years. You'll find rooms at Intercontinental, Radisson, NH Hotels, K&K, Ramada, Ibis, Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Pullman, Double Tree and Best Western all helping to drive up the quality of hotels in the city.
The main tourist attractions of Bucharest are located centrally, and this is the place to stay to be within walking distance of the best sightseeing opportunities, restaurants, cafés and bars.
The city's metro is ideal for travelling long distances, but the buses of Bucharest are something of a tourist attraction in their own right, being fairly antiquated and rickety. Taxi drivers have also been known to apply a fairly random policy to pricing. For these reasons, it's best to stay centrally and use your feet to tread the streets and discover the best of Bucharest.
Take in the views from the rooftop terrace at the Palace of Parliament early on and then plot your path to the next attraction...
Top five attractions
Palace of Parliament
This gargantuan and impressive building can be found near Piata Unirii. There are thousands of rooms and you can see some of the interior during half-hourly guided tours, plus views from the rooftop terrace.
National Museum of Art of Romania
National art, dating back to the medieval period and racing ahead to the modern day, can be viewed at this museum.
Arcul de Triumf
A triumphal arch in the same style as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Constitution Arch in London, this arch can be seen in the northern part of the city, on the Kiseleff Road.
Often identified as the heart of Bucharest, Lipscani is a charming part of the city and well worth your time. Sip coffee in a chilled-out café or sample a local tipple at one of the charming bohemian bars.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant
This rather charming museum offers a lot on a clearly limited budget. Handmade cards guide you through the eclectic collection of exhibits, including a full 19th-century home and a rare collection of communist material.
Music of all genres fills the air in Bucharest during the city’s most popular annual events, including a Christmas tune or two…
EUROPAfest; May: Jazz, pop, blues and classical music are represented during this popular event, with musicians from around the world converging on Bucharest each May to perform.
George Enescu Classical Music Festival; September: Romania's favourite composer son is honoured at the autumn festival. Performances in the striking environs of the Romanian Athenaeum are particularly memorable.
St Nicholas Fair; December: Local artisans show their wares at this Christmas fair, which is hosted by the peasant museum. It's a great spot to pick up a unique gift.