Useful Information, Bucharest
Unfortunately Bucharest does not have a travel and discount pass, like most of the other capitals in Europe has.
This is the fastest way to get from one distant point to another in Bucharest. The city is pretty large - as in not easy to walk from quarter to quarter - and crowded when talking about roads and cars. The subway network is covering pretty much of the central area and lines to the exits. It is nor the biggest or the smallest subway network in Europe, but it is reliable and certainly looking and smelling nicer than the Parisian one.
- 2 rides ticket: 4 RON (~0.9 EUR)
- 1 day pass: 6 RON (~1.4 EUR) use this one if you want to make more than five trips during a day
- 10 rides ticket: 10 RON (~2.3 EUR) best one for 2-3 days trip in Bucharest .. smallest cost/trip
- 1 month pass (max 62 trips): 35 RON (~ 8EUR)
Tickets can be found in every subway station, at cashiers or automatic vending machines.
If you have arrived in Romania,one of the first thing you have to do is to go to exchange.
So,i think is better to have an idea how the money looks like after you've checked the exchange rates here : http://www.bnro.ro/Exchange-rates-1224.aspx (better to do this at a bank,not at first exchange that you can find; a bank is more reliable), so here you can see how the coins and notes in circulation looks like : http://www.bnro.ro/Coins-and-notes-in-circulation-1331.aspx
I hope this is helpful :)
(Funny thing: the word 'LEU' means 'lion' and the word 'LEI' means 'lions'.Lol,but when someone tell you 'this .... cost 4 LEI',obviously,it's about money,not the animals from the zoo)
Favorite thing: Be prepared for piles of snow in winter, and very low temperatures! But don't let that prevent you from going out, exploring the city and enjoying the winter! THe example of this is here - Helen (*hailun*) at the park near Triumph gate. You should see us wrapped up, like snow beasts as our mutual friend Vlada (*enroute*) would say!
Seems to me at least a bad taste or waste of money, and at most a sign of hidden inferiority complex.
A few years ago Cluj Napoca was "the city of flags", because of its nationalistic mayor Gh. Funar. As if it had a "flag factory", the mayor made every public building to wear as many flags as possible, street benches to be painted in red-yellow-blue, even some houses in the old centre to be renovated in the same colours.
Now that Cluj has changed his megalomaniac mayor (one might add with a stupid one:-), it was time for Bucharest to catch up. Basescu¡'s election as president meant dozens of large flags to be installed on the boulevard heading for the presidential palace of Cotroceni.
Nowadays, some churches, especially in Bucharest, do not only have crosses on their top, but the Romanian flag at their entrance, sometimes even accompanied by the EU one, as if the way to god is paved by nation-states citizenship.
It's important to get a recent guidebook as things seem to be changing rather rapidly in Romania. I would recommend getting the Rough Guide and/or Lonely Planet, they seem to handle Central & Eastern European countries with more depth than Fodor's or Frommer's.
The best online resource I found was In Your Pocket and you can also pick up an updated copy once you get to Bucharest. This information seemed to be the most reliable as it is updated more frequently than the guidebooks.
I read a couple of interesting books before I left on the trip, one on the Ceausescu's and one on Vlad Tepes and his ties to vampire lore.
Favorite thing: Having experienced some pretty bad toilets in parts of Eastern Europe/Russia, I have to say I was surprised at how often we found really clean free toilets, at restaurants, museums, gas stations, on trains. I did not have to resort to using the McDonald's toilet even once on this trip, I think that is the first time ever :-) And they were always stocked with toilet paper!
Romania's capital, the nation's centre of cultural and economic life, was founded more than 500 years ago and is a natural starting point for visits to the country. During the 1930's its tree-lined boulevards and "fin de siecle" architecture gave it the nickname "Little Paris". There is even an Arc de Triomphe on the impressive Soseaua Kisseleff which is longer than the Champs Elysees and has ranges of trees which flower beautifully in the spring.
Despite the massive reconstruction of the 1980s, Bucharest remains a Garden City, leafy and pleasant, with cafes open on sidewalks in the summer, and with boats on its lakes and rivers. Finding your way is easy in Bucharest. The underground network offers a standard fare and covers most of the city. Major boulevards run North-South from the Arcul de Triumf (Triumphal Arch) down to the Centrul Civic (Civic Center), crossed by others going East-West. Calea Victoriei - a continuation of Soseaua Kisseleff - is the place where the city's inhabitants prefer taking strolls on summer evenings and where you will find majestic public buildings like the National History Museum and the main Post Office, whereas close to its Southern end there is the lovely Parcul Cismigiu (Cismigiu Park). Bulevardul (Boulevard) Magheru is parallel to Calea Victoriei and it hosts tourist and airline offices, cinemas and hotels. You will be intrigued by the city's eclectic mixture of architecture, from Curtea Veche, the remains of Prince Vlad Tepes 15th century palace - he was the city's founder as well as the inspiration for "Dracula", - to Orthodox Churches, Second Empire mansions, the stolid Stalinist architecture of the communist years and the colossal 6,000 room Parliament House, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.
One of the best libraries in town for traverels' interests. Dozens of books in English about Romanian and Bucharest history, picture albums, including art ones. A reasobale variety of travel guides, both for Romania and other countries can be found, notably Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Michelin.
Located on Magheru blv., near Intercontinental hotel, same side.
Fondest memory: Old books for sale in here too. I found many interesting ones in the old books section over time.
Te area is ok, look for Calea Victoriei, you'll find nice places to eat, bistro, Ciocogelateria'Venchi", delicious icecreams from fresh fruits, nice people to meet there, have a chat. Next to this is a bistro, opened till 24, good food, reasonable prices, late dinner, approx 10euros. (The owner is a lady who studyied in Swiss, International Communication)I liked being there.
If you love mexican food, look for Don taco restaurant( 10 min, foot distance,Dr. Iacob Felix, corner Banu Manta Boulevard, nice garden,good food/servings, till late, approx 10-15 eur/person/late dinner, also romanian food, mexican music)http://www.dontaco.ro/.
For esoteric, Casa Satya http://restaurants.bucharest-guide.ro/casa-satya.htm
For massage, if in need, call for an appointment at Adnana Massage Center, http://www.sapteseri.ro/ro/detalii-loc/adnana-center-art-of-sensorial-massage-b/bucuresti/ thai traditional massage, sweedish, footreflextherapy, you'll remember this experience. I had a bad cramp on my back, the therapist make it dissapear in 5 min, i loved her magic hands... Next day I was Flying, I'll come back, for sure, there, when back.
If having time and money to spend, go to Casa Doina, memorable refined cuisine, a masterpiece of "Brancovenesc style" vila architecture, beautifull terrace. http://www.casadoina.ro/
Good enough, need more tips? Wish you'll enjoy your one day in Bucharest
Fondest memory: Adnana Massage Center, the place for relaxing, far away from the office stress, refueling myself, my wellbeing oasis...
the Argentinian restaurant, Barbizon, http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-1714-pullman-bucharest-world-trade-center/restaurant.shtml
Best beef filet I ever eat!
City Panorama from the Intercontinental swimmingpool terrace...
For an unique 'Surprise" at desert, at Casa Doina, try "Sorpresa", is amasing! At Casa Doina, everything is amaasing, you'll have the real taste of the Romanian traditional warmth...
http://www.villarodizio.ro/ wonderfull villa, recently and beautifully restored, nice terrace, food presentation & serving is superok, also milongas, from time to time...
Gradina Icoanei terrace, for a tea nand music experience, Serendipity tea house http://www.serendipity-tea.ro/
many other things, I'll come back soon with more tips!
Despite the rather lax interpretation of traffic rules by the locals, Bucharest is a very safe place to walk day and night - there are just some suburbs (e.g. Pantelimon) to avoid. However, distances are often underestimated - what looks like a quick walk on the map may involve multiple street crossings. You can loose 10 minutes just trying to cross one of those monumental squares with big roundabouts - Unirii is the most notorious of them.
If you have to cross Unirii east-west or vice versa, you'll be quicker using the northern side or the little park along the main street (Unirii Bulevard). North-South crossings are the most difficult, here a walk along the eastern side with the shopping mall makes more sense than along the western side. For any crossings which do not involve the south, you can also use the tunnel system of the metro station - a good sense of orientation is recommended to find the right exit. Avoid the southern side if possible - it has only little infrastructure for pedestrians.
My suggestion: Walk in the old town, along Calea Victorei and around the Parliament Palace. For everything else, use the excellent metro if possible.
Yea it's a bit rough, but then the area round any main station in any capital city is a bit rough. Take the normal precautions and you'll be OK. The hotel restaurants are a bit naff, except Euro Hotel on Calea Grivitea. The Pub N Gara near the tech college on Galea Givitie is a cheaper choice and does decent Romanian food and the beer is drinkable.
If you want a taxi, don't take it from the station or outside your hotel. Look at the price on the door - should be Lei 1.39 or 1.40 per Km, not 3.99.
The metro is good, simple and cheap, but stops running at 23.00.
Get a licensed taxi from the Airport - not a 'pirate' - it will cost your 65 ron to the gara de nord from Otopeni and about 20 ron from Baneasa. Try not to change money at the railway station or the airport. The exchange rate is 10-20% worse than other places.
I hope that is useful.
The best place to be in Bucharest is either the the Royal Palace (nowadays hosting a fine Romanian Art Gallery with great Medieval religious art exhibits) or Melik House, one of those small, old residences which are way off the beaten path. Or maybe the best thing would be a stroll in one of the quarters where regular people live... You choose.
Fondest memory: What I miss about Bucharest when abroad? Maybe I miss the stray dogs, maybe I miss the cheese pastry, some zacusca at La Berbecu' or a concert at the Athenaeum. Why? Because this is part of what I call 'home'. Simple, isn't it?
Favorite thing: Wander around. Although Bucuresti is a large city, you can see a great deal of it on foot because so much of what a tourist probably wants to see is generally in the same area. Walk up and down the Calea Victoriei, walk over to the University, shop on B-dul M. Kogalniceanu. Visit Cismigiu and the Stavropoleos Church. Okay--take a taxi to the People's Palace and the Village Museum. But you do yourself a disservice if you don't simply wander the streets and discover such spots as strada Lipscani and so many others.
To find a post office in central Bucharest is not that easy – you should know where they are, if you intend to send a picture of the Parliament Palace to your friends. The fact that stamps are only for sale at the post office does not make it easy to write postcards.
The central post office is located at Matei Millo Street (Number 10), close to the Novotel at Victoriei Avenue. It does not look really inviting, but I was well assisted and cards for Germany arrived within five days. This is a clear contrast compared to the image the Romanian post had some years ago.... Have a look at the picture and compare it to the former Post Office Palace (2nd picture), a representative building which now houses the National Museum of Romanian History.
Comfortable and safe accommodation at an affordable price, in elegant apartments located in downtown Bucharest, starting from 16 Euros/night (for more than 19 nights). The apartments (studios and two rooms) are at three stars hotel standard, elegantly furnished and fully-equipped. For details please visit us at www.accommodation.home.ro or call us at +40722.657.957.