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Shopping in Bucharest

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Bucharest is one of the most picturesque and colorful capitals in Europe. It is a city with an amazing energy, a captivating culture and dynamic history, where great architectural, artistic and cultural contrasts blend. This bustling city has much to offer to foreign tourists who are looking for an unforgettable adventure or to simply spend a great time enjoying green city parks, lovely afternoons in chic cafes, ranging pulse in old city markets, irresistible shopping sprees in modern Malls and thrilling sports in and around Bucharest. This restless capital has many hidden charms and unveils many leisure possibilities for tourists all over the world. Not falling in love with its inimitable energy is impossible as day by day, moment by moment you will be, slowly and irreversibly, conquered by its increasingly fascinating treasures.

Discover Bucharest’s amazing shopping Malls

When you’re in Bucharest shopping is a must. Surprisingly, something as simple as buying a new outfit or a couple of souvenirs to remind you of your visit can turn into a real challenge. This is because the city is rich in shopping Malls and eclectic local markets, endless shops and places where you can find many amazing things. Bucharest’s Malls are so popular that they attract over 2 million visitors every week, a number greater than the city’s inhabitants. For shopping, watching a movie, having a café, a nice meal at one of the diverse restaurants or for a stroll among other shoppers this is the right place to go. And another great thing about the city’s Malls is that these are plenty to choose from.

Bucharest has numerous shopping Malls that range from small and chic shopping centers to incredibly large and impressive buildings with a wide selection of brands, restaurants, cinemas, indoor playgrounds, beauty centers and more. There is something to do and see for everyone. Still, what are the best, most popular or the newest shopping centers in Bucharest? What are the places where people go when they want to have fun, meet other people or simply discover fashion opportunities?

There are currently 11 Malls in Bucharest. The newest ones are ParkLake and Veranda Mall. ParkLake is located near Titan Park, a lovely green space in the city center’s proximity. The center measures over 70,000 square feet which means more than 10 football stadiums. Veranda Mall was the last one to be inaugurated and it measures only 28,000 square feet, about 5 football stadiums. But these two recent shopping centers have some serious competition as the other 9 Malls enjoy a vivid clientele that doesn’t miss out on the opportunity of spending a great time within its premises. If you are in Bucharest and you feel like visiting one, here is everything you need to know about the city’s best shopping centers.

Baneasa Shopping City

Located in the northern area of Bucharest, Baneasa Shopping City is one of the most famous and appreciated malls in Romania. Its location is a key factor for its success as in this part of the city live expats, business men and people with high income. Opened in 2008, the center is the largest one in Bucharest as it measures 85,000 square feet. With 200 brands stores, a big cinema, many restaurants, cafes, beauty shops and indoor playground, Baneasa Shopping City is acknowledged as Bucharest’s best destination for shopping and leisure. This is also the reason why most foreign investors choose this Mall for opening their first clothing shops in Romania.

Unirea Shopping Mall

This is the place where everything starts, the first destination for vibrant shopping, joyful get-togethers with friends and chic cultural experiences. Located right in the heart of Bucharest, Unirea Shopping Mall is the number one choice for countless tourists. Because it is so close to the city’s Old Town, it represents a terrific shopping opportunity. You can adventure here right before setting on a lovely cultural adventure on the picturesque streets of the Lipscani area. With 84,000 square meters and 250 shops, Unirea Shopping Mall was first opened in 1976, but due to its continuously increasing number of visitors it was enlarged in 1989 and continued to function under the name of Unirea Store. In 2004, it was reopened under a new ownership and name- Unirea Shopping Mall. Even though it was known as the largest department store in Communist Romania, now, in modern days, it has become an extremely fashionable destination for young people and tourists from across the globe. The fact that it has 1000 parking spaces and a convenient proximity to the metro station makes it a very attractive and accessible choice for visitors of all ages and social backgrounds.

Bucuresti Mall

You can’t talk about Bucharest’s shopping centers without mentioning the first official shopping center built in this restless European Capital. With a big appetite for shopping, the city’s inhabitants felt the need for a big and modern shopping center about 28 years ago, in 1999, right when they stepped out of the Communist era. At that time, the opening of a big Mall was an outstanding event, a step forward for progress so it is easy to understand why its success was inevitable and why its name still echoes across local shoppers. The shipping center measures a modest 36,000 square meters surface and includes 115 shops, but the brands that are available here are a great selection of the most popular and sought after brands in Romania. Bucuresti Mall also has a modern cinema, many restaurants, cafes and a big car parking.

AFI Palace Cotroceni

Most people agree that this is one of the most fun and interesting Mall in Bucharest. With a very attractive design, excellent parking facilities, great entertainment areas and complex playgrounds, AFI Palace Cotroceni is extremely popular and fun for both locals and tourists. The building measures 76,000 square feet and has 300 shops and it was inaugurated in 2009. Located in the central-western part of the city, between the city center and two of the most important areas, Drumul Taberei and Militari, the shopping center also invites its visitors to spend a pleasant time watching a movie in its I-Max cinema complex with 20 screens, have a delicious meals at one of its 30 restaurants and fast foods, do wall climbing or have fun on its ice rink.

There are many other shopping centers in Bucharest that await for shoppers to indulge themselves for a couple of hours or more with fashion shopping, entertainment opportunities, beauty sprees, gorgeous foods and the newest box office movies. Above you have a short list of the most important and popular shopping destinations in the city. Choosing which one to visit is a personal choice that depends on the things that matter most to you.

Shopping in the Old Town area

Most of Bucharest cosmopolitan’s vibe and energy is concentrated in the City’s Old Town which still preserves the ambiance and décor that gave to Romania’s Capital the nickname “Paris of the East”. In the center of the gray landscape and endless rows of tall concrete buildings, there is still life, color and beauty. Bucharest continues to take your breath away with wonderful art nouveau buildings, eclectic small museums, old monasteries and churches, elegant brick streets, coquette lakes and stunning green parks. Currently, the Old Town is called Lipscani which is the main street that crosses the area. Here is where tourists and locals go to have a good time in the long summer days while sipping a delicious drink on the street terraces or while tasting amazing International cuisines. During the night, the streets are transformed into bustling alleys that burst with joy and color. The bars and clubs are overwhelmed with people who are looking to experience the vibrant night life.

But the Old Town isn’t just about bars, restaurants and night life. It is also an amazing place for shopping. With wonderful antiques markets and chic boutiques the city center is a great opportunity for foreign tourists to find and buy unique souvenirs that will remind them of the fascinating Bucharest. Of course, there are numerous shops on the small streets of Old Town. These are all excellent places for finding lovely objects that concentrate the local charm of Bucharest or clothing that encapsulates the best of Eastern European fashion. Below there is a list of such small shops that you simply can not miss.

Hobirama is a one of a kind, playful and nonconformist store that carries brands which are not available anywhere else. It is ideal for those who are fed up with commercial brands and fashion trends and prefer to dress differently. Minimalist shapes, unique sneakers, original outfits, surrealist prints and non-colors are just a few of the peaks of Hobirama. This little clothing shop located on Lipscani no 63-65 is the go place for amazing fashion statements.

If you count the cities you’ve visited in the number of perfumes you love then Createur5dEmotions is a must stop. This boutique started as a perfumery and it offers a lovely range of fragrances that boost powerful emotions and create an urge for discovering beautiful things. These days, the brand is an irresistible source for chic handbags, jewelry, scented candles and unique perfumes. The shop can be found at Doamnei Str no 105.

David Sandu is one of the most famous and appreciated modern Romanian jewelers of our days. If you are looking for a more extravagant memoirs of Bucharest then one of his jewelries might be just the thing for you. He is the official supplier for the Romania Royal House and his creations are unique and utterly refined. You can find his store on Smardan Str no 30.

Atelier A!urea is a new concept in Bucharest. It is vintage boutique with retro outfits and modern accessories. The accessories have been manually crafted and are one of a kind, meaning only one piece has been made. Hand painted shoes, personalized bags and much more await to be discovered here, on Covaci Str no 19.

Discover the lovely local flea markets

Everyone agrees, Bucharest bears the beauty and nostalgia of the old days when everyone knew it as “Little Paris”. And besides its monumental Soviet architecture with communist influences, there are still many things that remind us of its past. Its flea markets are the perfect opportunity for walking down memories lane and for discovering a retro chic souvenir that preserves the charm of old Bucharest.

The Antiquities Collectors Market

The most important antiques flea market in the Old Town area is The Antiquities Collectors Market that takes place every second and fourth week of the month near University Square, in the front yard of the neogothic Sutu Palace. Even though the market is rather small, there are many hidden treasures here sold by 25-30 exhibitors. The products available include vintage photographs, postcards, old coins, antique jewelry, furniture, vinyl, books and ceramics. Some of these items are hidden gems that are simply waiting to be discovered.

The Memories Bazaar

One of the largest flea markets in Bucharest is called Memories Bazaar and as the name suggests it is filled with antiques offered by over 500 sellers and displayed over a surface of 5,000 square meters. The flea market is located on BD Timisoara no 101 and takes place three times a week on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, from 6 AM to 1 PM. Here you will find a lovely mix of vintage and new stuff. For antiques hunters it is a great place to find things like old furniture, jewelry, clocks, ceramics, coins and collectibles. But if you are looking to get new products at a great price then you will love its selection of shoes, clothing, mobile phones, home appliances and scooters.

The Vitan Market

This is without a doubt the largest market in Bucharest and it takes place every Sunday between 7 AM and 2 PM on Splaiul Unirii  no 450. There are over 5,000 sellers and roughly 30,000 visitors that choose to come here for trading antiques, vintage products and new items. It is impossible to not find something you like as the selection includes jewelry, musical instruments, home décor, furniture, gadgets, mobile phones, home appliances, car parts, clothing, shoes, bags and much more.

Decathlon, affordable shopping for ski gear

Decathlon is world renowned for selling a wide range of sports equipment and sportswear of very good quality at prices that are incredibly convenient. Bucharest has 3 Decathlon shops located in Iulia Maniu, Berceni and Pallady areas. Just like all the other stores that bear this brand name, the ones in Romania’s Capital are a great place for shopping sports equipment especially sky gear. The really amazing thing about Bucharest it that it is at a couple hours’ drive or train fare from one of the nicest Sky destination in Eastern Europe. So if you are travelling to Bucharest in the cold season and the forecast says snow then my advice to you is to take advantage of this opportunity and head to Poiana Brasov or Predeal for an unforgettable skiing session in a winter wonderland setting.

When it comes to shopping, Bucharest is a surprisingly generous city. It has a wonderful selection of shopping centers, charming flea markets, charismatic boutiques with souvenirs, clothing, perfumes and jewelry, and many large sportswear stores for edgy, outgoing tourists. Visiting Bucharest it a lovely experience, a chance to discover the energy and beauty of a dynamic European Capital that bursts of social, artistic, cultural and social life.

Schools in Bucharest for Expats

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main building of international Bucharest school

Studying in Romania does not necessary mean that your kids have to learn Romanian.  Financially speaking, Romania is a cheap country to live in compared to other similar countries in Europe and that means that it is a great country to send your child to receive an education. Add the fact that in the Romanian capital, you can find some of the best English and French schools in the world.

Economic Reasoning

When it comes to the economic situation of Romania, it is worth noting that it is one of the cheapest countries in the European Union. Considering the low wages, with the average being somewhere around 400 euros a month, one can imagine that the cost of life is much lower in Romania than in other European countries, such as Spain or the United Kingdom. At the same time, while some food items may cost the same in Romania as in the rest of Europe, going out is much cheaper. From an economical point of view, Romania is the perfect destination for young people who want to study in a European country without having to save thousands of dollars to cover all expenses.

Schools

There are lots of schools in Bucharest where you can send your children to, that offer great programs. There are some that bear the sigil of famed educational institutions, where your child is bound to participate in programs that will enrich his knowledge in various subjects. Below are some examples of prestigious schools that exist in Bucharest and where you can send your child:

  1. Cambridge School Bucharest

Probably one of the most famous names when it comes to English educational institutions, the Cambridge School in Bucharest offers various programs for young people all over the world that are bound to support and encourage them to follow their dreams. The Cambridge School focuses on helping the students develop individual beliefs and not indoctrinate them into following ideologies or a specific set of beliefs. The school’s history goes back hundreds of years, therefore entrusting your child with them is one of the best decisions you can possibly make!

  1. American International School of Bucharest

While Cambridge is known to be a British educational institution, where the academics run things following the British rule, the American International School of Bucharest brings forth a new approach when it comes to academia. The school promotes social inclusion and international understanding, while at the same time focusing on the environment and it teaches the students how to think in an international context. If you want your child to learn how to think critically and how to adapt to an ever changing global society, this is the school for you.

  1. Lycée Français

The only school taught and supported by the French government in this list, Lycée Français is specialized in middle school and kindergarten levels of educations. Following the French educational model, this school focuses on exposing the children to many activities from which they can learn how to properly behave in life. The activities focus on the cognitive, sensory and social development of the child, while also improving self-esteem and guiding the child towards positive purposes in life. They also emphasize written and spoken French, grammar classes and reading classes which aim to bring the students close to the native level. Weekly ‘Councils’, as they are called, are meetings with the students which amount to more than 30+ hours a week, where the students are encouraged to state their own opinion regarding the courses and the teachers are able to follow up on how they are developing in order to see which areas require improvement and which need encouragement to move further.

  1. International School of Bucharest

Like most of the schools on this list, the International School of Bucharest is taught in English mainly and it focuses on the students’ role in a global context. Creativity is encouraged here and the teachers emphasize the importance of living peacefully in a complex and diverse global society. The school also takes security very seriously, having many policies that revolve around campus security and safety in the online environment.

  1. Mark Twain International School

The Mark Twain International School in Bucharest focuses primarily on the idea that every student is unique and has his or her own needs, which is why most of the programs are tailored individually to each student’s needs. Presenting an intercultural platform, the school focuses on teaching the students to value their own culture, while also respecting others’. The programs are taught in English, but combined with other cultural and language studies on international languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew and many others. The main mission of the school is to help all students understand that they are part of an international community and that although people are diverse in terms of culture, language, religion and others, all of us can live happily and without conflict.

Bucharest Old City

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picture of cec palace and bucharest old city center at night

Every city has an ‘old center’. This is usually a part of the city itself where the architecture has been preserved as it was tens of years ago and which people are trying to advertise as the ‘heart and soul’ of it. The ‘old city’ in Bucharest is much more than that: it looks and feels like a mini version of Romania.

The Old City in Bucharest is a marvelous rather small place crammed up between buildings with ancient looking architecture where you can find anything in terms of pubs and bars. And I do mean, anything. There are pubs dedicated to Irish drinks, ones that focus on Dracula, who became like a trademark of Romania, ones that concentrate on offering their guests the typical East European atmosphere and many more. There is a pub for every taste in the old city and each one of them is unique.

When you first enter the old city, a totally different sight envelops you. On the outside, you have the typical Romanian capital: a mass of people in a concrete jungle with cars honking everywhere. It’s not that bad, but at the same time, you need to breathe once in a while. Once you enter the old city, you are welcomed by old buildings that sent you back hundreds of years in the past. A certain smell envelops you and draws you further in the Old City. As you walk in, hostesses smile at you and try to convince you to enter their restaurant or pub. You walk further in, more hostesses try to draw your in. However, choosing one restaurant is not easy. The selection is so wide, if this is your first time in the Old City, you will either have a very hard time choosing only one pub or you will go from pub to pub for the whole night!

The Old City in Bucharest is known more for the fun it provides and not for the architecture however. There are lots of things to do here, even if you are not the drinking type. There are restaurants, clubs for all types and many more. The Romanian people are very outgoing, so if you ever happen to find yourself in the Old City, you are guaranteed to have a good time!

In terms of prices, when compared to the prices of other major cities in Europe, Bucharest is actually pretty cheap and the Old City is no different. You can enjoy dinner and several drinks for much less than you would in, say, London, Paris, Berlin or any of the Scandinavian cities. This is a major advantage of the Old City and one which you will certainly enjoy.

In terms of pubs, restaurants or coffee shops that you can find in the Old Town, here are some examples:

  1. Grand Café Van Gogh

As the name suggests, this coffee shop focuses on style, elegance and on providing high quality service to all customers. If you want to amaze your friends and enjoy your coffee in a marvelous coffee shop, try Grand Café Van Gogh. You won’t be disappointed!

  1. Mojo

Mojo is the place to be when it comes to music or sport. The place is built on three stories, the top one focusing on karaoke and the ground one focusing on football and sports matches and packed with all the necessary equipment so you can enjoy a football match as if you were right there on the stadium!

  1. Rembrandt

This is another great place for those who want to be amazed by the architecture and the 1920s like interior. The Rembrandt hotel, coupled with the coffee shop across from it, was renovated with one thought in mind: to keep all the pieces and build on them, not demolish them. The hotel is truly a representation of the old times of Bucharest set in, not surprising, the Old Town.

  1. Corks Cozy Bar

Wine. This is exactly what you need to know about this bar. It offers a great range of wines for all tastes and the atmosphere is a nice and cozy one, as the name suggests. They also offer great snacks if you are feeling hungry. This is a great place to have a drink with a couple of friends before going out to visit the Romanian capital.

  1. Gilda

Transformed from an old theater into a new restaurant / club, Gilda seems to have reborn from its ashes, like a Phoenix bird. Years back, this was a theater known to many as Muse. Now, it is a place with great music, a live DJ and food worthy of a restaurant. It is advertised as a place where you can both spend the day, relaxing and tasting the most wonderful dishes of Romania, as well as the night, where you can enjoy great music and a spot to dance in.

The Old Town of Bucharest is a mix of places that offer everything you need to spend a great day or night. The pubs, restaurants and hotels are there to satisfy all tastes and you will definitely find the perfect spot to have fun, regardless whether you have refined tastes or whether you’re just out to have a good time in the Romanian capital.

Image Credit: Eu Aleg Romania

Andrea Bocelli Concert in Bucharest

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Picture of singer Andrea Bocelli

One of the most popular singers in the world, Andrea Bocelli, is finally coming to Romania! The beloved Italian tenor, who lost his sight after a football accident, decided to organize two main concerts in the Romanian capital and in the second most important cultural city in the same country, Cluj. The concerts are part of Bocelli’s World Tour 2017, which focuses on the 20-year anniversary of his album ‘Romanza’. It will be launched in a special version following the concerts.

The concert will be divided into two parts. During the first part of his concert, Andrea Bocelli will sing famous opera songs with his own unique voice. The second part of the concert will focus on Bocelli’s most famous songs from his last albums, ‘Cinema’ and ‘Romanza’, the 20-year anniversary version.

The concert goers will see and listen to Andrea Bocelli singing some of the songs that made him famous, songs from famous musicals such as West Side Story, as well as songs from movies such as The Godfather, The Postman, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and many more. Most of the songs are part of the Romanza album, which is Bocelli’s most successful album of all time, having been sold in more copies than any other Italian album ever.

Bocelli’s World Tour 2017 takes place in 18 countries all around the world and in cities such as Miami, Oslo, Atlanta, Copenhagen, Budapest, Helsinki and many more. The concerts in Cluj and Bucharest have been advertised as concerts that bring people together. Andrea Bocelli’s songs, known for their sensibility and the emotional attachment each of them has, have the possibility to bring people together. His unique voice which cannot be matched by anyone in the world, combined with the fact that he is blind truly makes his concerts a blessing and an event that anyone must participate in.

The ‘Romanza’ album is by far Andrea Bocelli’s most popular album, containing famous songs such as Vivo Per Lei, Miserere, Vivere and of course, Romanza, the song that lends its name to the album. It was sold in 20 million copies worldwide, which makes it the most popular Italian album of all time. Together with ‘Romanza’, Andrea Bocelli has released 16 studio albums, generally one every two years. After gaining international attention, he began collaborating with famous names from the international pop scene such as Celine Dion and lately, Ariana Grande.

Andrea Bocelli’s singing style has been described by many opera connoisseurs as unique. Although there are plenty of tenors all around the world, his voice is much warmer and its beauty ‘touches the listener’, as the Puerto Rican soprano Ana Maria Martinez stated once about the man she often collaborates with. The great tenor Luciano Pavarotti, after hearing him sing, supported him and pushed him to record a song with a famous rock star, Zucchero, a song that would eventually catapult him to international fame. After this collaboration, his career began going up and it has not started ever since. He also has his own star on Los Angeles’ Hollywood Boulevard which he received in 2013.

The concerts that will be organized in Bucharest and Cluj aim to give the people an unforgettable experience. They will be able to listen to Andrea Bocelli’s greatest hits, together with new songs from his last two albums, which in itself is a great experience. However, this tour focuses on creating a magical atmosphere which, coupled with Bocelli’s stunning voice, will be worth every penny.

The concerts will also have special props that will enhance the experience of the audience. Bocelli will sing opera songs, as well as popular pop songs loved by millions, mixed with opera elements that made him famous. All in all, this will be a great experience. There are many discounts for the tickets offered by phone companies, particularly Telekom, who is a major sponsor of these concerts. Hurry up and get your own ticket! Losing this great opportunity is not worth anything in the world!

Date: 22 June 2017

Location: Piața Constituției, București

Tourist Attractions in And Near Brasov

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city center at night

Among Romania’s best known travel destinations, Brasov and the area surrounding it offer plenty of tourist attractions to cater to all tastes and types of travelers. For history enthusiasts, there are lots of landmarks telling stories from the country’s past both inside the city and in its neighborhoods. Outdoors lovers are spoiled with choices no matter the season they visit Brasov. Those looking for some traces that will confirm Dracula’s existence will be happy to visit the vampire’s castle, located a few kilometers away from Brasov. Indeed the list of tourist attractions in and near Brasov is almost infinite.

Brasov’s Old Center

city central square in Brasov

Also known as Piata Sfatului (Council Square), Brasov’s historical center is probably the city’s best tourist attraction and its most visited place. This is where the visitors go to admire Brasov’s iconic landmarks; this is where the locals get out for a walk, where they meet up and have fun; this is where cultural and artistic events, outdoor concerts and theme fairs are organized  on a regular basis.

A great spot where to start your discovery of Dracula’s country, Council Square is the departure point for most of Brasov’s attractions such as the Black Church, the White Tower, the Black Tower, the old citadel’s bastions, the old walls of Tampa citadel, etc. The most impressive building in Brasov’s old town is the Town Hall. Located right in the center of the square, this edifice erected in 1420 houses nowadays the History Museum. At no.16, you will find the first drugstore in the city.

The Black Church

black church in Brasov

An impressive Gothic Evangelical church located in Brasov’s old center, the Black Church is an architectural gem, whose construction started in 1384 and was completed in 1477. Formerly known as the Church of St. Mary, the religious landmark was partially destroyed by the great fire of 1689. This is when the building received its current name. Severely damaged by fire, the Black Church was rebuilt with the help of craftsmen from the Hanseatic city of Danzig, because locals didn’t know how to close big sized vaults. The new vaults are, however, are Baroque, not Gothic as the original architecture of the building would require.

Measuring 89 meters in length and 38 meters in width and able to accommodate about 5,000 people, the Black Church is the largest Gothic style religious edifice of South-Eastern Europe. However, the Black church is famous not only for its size: it houses the largest church bell in the Romania, weighing six tons, and largest organ in South- Eastern Europe, equipped with over 4,000 pipes.  Actually, the Black Church organizes an organ concert on a weekly basis. The carpets collection inside this religious landmark if the richest of this kind in the country.

Bran Castle

Medieval castle in Transilvania with forrest

Many times included among the top 10 most beautiful castles in the world, Bran Castle (also known among international tourists as Dracula’s Castle) is located in the village Bran, situated less than 10 kilometers away from the city of Brasov. The locals would disagree that the castle had anything to do with the legendary vampire made famous by the Irish novelist Bram Stoker. Nevertheless, the castle is worth visiting if you want to understand a bit Romanian history, but also for the great views on the Moeciu region that you can get from its balcony.

The fortified churches

The Romanian region of Transylvania is home to about 300 fortified churches, and some of them are located in Brasov’s proximity. The fortified churches of Viscri, Prejmer and Biertan with their thick walls and impressive architectural details will provide you with a more comprehensive perspective upon the country’s history.

Poiana Brasov

Skying Slopes Map at Poiana Brasov

The most popular ski resort in Romania, Poiana Brasov offers 12 ski slopes of different degrees of difficulty. Poiana Brasov is also the place where you can do some snowboarding, but it can be suitable also for just soaking the winter atmosphere during the cold season. During the summer, Poiana can be a starting point for exploring Romania’s mountains. If you are not really a hiker, just take the cable car up Postavaru Mountain. You will certainly enjoy the view. Although it cannot be compared to the Alps’ chocolate villages, Poiana Brasov is a modern mountain resort, nice to visit at any time of the year.

Image Credit wikimedia.org, wikiwand.com

Best Free Tours for Tourists in Bucharest

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calea victoriei square palace

Visiting a European capital is something everybody wants, but most of the time, the thing that stops them from doing this is money. Transportation, hotels, food, everything can amount to a large sum of money that not everybody can afford. On top of that, in order to make sure that you visit all the greatest places, you also need a guide, which amounts to extra money.

In Bucharest, you can enjoy a tour of the greatest places to visit without spending any money. There are free tours organized all around the city which you can use to visit the greatest tourist attractions in the Romanian capital. Here are some you should consider if you want to make the most out of your trip to Bucharest.

Bucharest Center 100+ Free Tours

These are tours that last 120-180 minutes and they cover the central part of Bucharest with the most important monuments here. Usually, the tours begin in the morning, after breakfast and all those who wish to participate have to present themselves at The Old Court entrance, also known as Dracula’s Fortress. They are designed for families or small groups, as well as independent people. The tours can also be organized in the afternoon, provided that you call and ask about the guides’ availability for that particular time of the day.

Here are some of the tours they provide:

  1. Old Town free tour

The Old Town of Bucharest is one of the most beautiful places one can visit in the capital. The tour focuses on displaying the huge differences in terms of architecture between the Old Town and the newer part of the city. The guides can present the tour in multiple languages, including English, Romanian, Italian, French and Spanish. If you would like someone who speaks a particular language, make sure you message the agency and book a tour ahead of time.

The tour is designed to be a walking tour and can include up to twenty people, although larger groups are also accepted. For additional information, contact the agency at http://bestofromania.eu/bucharest-free-tours/

  1. Calea Victoriei free tour

This tour is designed specifically for the palaces on Calea Victoriei. The departure point is Victoria Square, at the metro station exit near the Victoria Palace. As the name suggests, this tour focuses on presenting the palaces that can be found on Calea Victoriei.

The tour usually starts at 9 AM in the morning and finishes at 12. For afternoon tours, you will have to call the agency ahead of time. The groups accepted for this tour include up to 20 people, but larger groups are also accepted. For additional information, contact the agency at http://bestofromania.eu/cvtour/

  1. Bucharest Squares free tour

This tour focuses on the Bucharest Squares and it takes about 120-180 minutes to complete. The guides speak multiple languages and like the other ones, it typically starts in the morning, after breakfast. The departure point for everybody is Unirea Shopping Center. From there, the guide will take you to visit some of the most impressive monuments that Bucharest has to offer.

Although the official page states that this tour is in English and Romanian only, if you call ahead, the agency can book you a guide who speaks your native language.

Why choose a free tour?

  • They are free, obviously. The only thing the agency asks from the participants is promotion. You are free to tip the guides for a job well done, but other than that, there are no expenses involved.
  • You can meet other likeminded tourists who are also in the process of discovering Bucharest and you can hang out together.
  • The tours are short and the guides speak multiple languages. You can call the agency a couple of days in advance and you will be able to book a guide who speaks your native language. This will make the tour much more enjoyable and much more interesting.
  • The guides are regular people who want to help you uncover the hidden beauties of Bucharest. These tours will not be rigid and professional, but will seem more like a trip among friends. You can enjoy them much more than you would if you would pay an agency to show you around the town.
  • You can save the money you would normally spend on a tour for something else – a cocktail, a beer in the Old Town or a traditional dish cooked at a restaurant in Bucharest.

In conclusion, the Bucharest free tours are the best option if you want to visit the Romanian capital, but you don’t feel like spending a ton of money on guides and tourist agencies. You can also have a lot of fun, enjoy the inner beauty of Bucharest, all without having to spend an entire month’s salary.

The Most Expensive Apartment in Bucharest

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contemporary design of penthouse main room

Although most investors perceive Bucharest as cheap, the city does have its luxury properties. The current most expensive apartment in Bucharest costs a whopping $3,800,000 and can make even the most exuberant buyer blink.

The apartment is located on the 4th floor of a 5-floor building and includes 7 rooms and 5 bathrooms. A total living area of 450 m2 is more than generous given the fact that typical block apartments rarely manage to go past 100 m2. The penthouse is fully furnished with the best materials, and the price reflects that no compromises were made here. The offer also includes 3 parking spaces. Because it was built in 2011, the structure is in line with more recent building codes and offers a guarantee of safety and reliability.

There is no surprise that the most expensive real estate intended for a single family is located in the Primăverii Neighborhood, in the northern part of the city. The area managed to build quite a reputation for itself and accounts for an important percentage of the total price. Primăverii was established as a retreat for the wealthy and privileged since Communist times. Even now, the elite of the Romanian society can be found here. Entrepreneurs, specialists or even showbiz personalities appreciate the advantages offered by the neighborhood. A quick stroll through Primăverii makes most think of prime residential areas from cities like Berlin or Vienna.

Located on a small peninsula that protrudes in Floreasca Lake, the property offers a magnificent view of Bordei Park and is minutes away from Bucharest’s biggest park, Herăstrău. However, a quick tour of the horizon can confuse the ones not familiar with the cityscape. Because all of the adjacent properties have generous green spaces, the building appears to be a “relic” of urban development surrounded by green. Primăverii is an oasis of tranquility that has nothing to do with the noise, pollution, and overall commotion that is characteristic to the vast majority of other areas. The low density of constructions, as well as the small height regime highlights that quality reigned over quantity here.

The apartment is clearly not for those that like to depend on the public transportation system. The 12-minute walk separating it from the nearest metro station and the absence of nearby bus stations come as advantages. The street is closed to non-residents. However, the location offers a quick gateway from the city because of its north position.

Selling the most expensive apartment in Bucharest was a job left at the hands of Coldwell Bankers. As of February 2017, the property is still available for sale, and given the growing demand felt on the market, the price will most likely see a steady rise in the future.

Cotroceni Palace

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Bucharest is not only a modern city, but it is also filled with history. On every street and in every neighborhood you can find a building that tells stories, and one of them is the Cotroceni Palace. While you are in Bucharest, make sure you take a day to visit it; you will not regret.

The Cotroceni Palace is the home of the President of Romania, but even so a part of it is open for visitation since 27 of December 1991 when the National Museum of Cotroceni was opened. The building goes back to 1679, when one of the rules of Romania built a monastery. A church and other small buildings were added in the next two years, but not all of them are still standing today. In 1862, the first ruler or Romanian Principalities, Alexandru Ioan Cuza decided to make the monastery his home during the summer months.

Years later, in 1984, the church that was built near the monastery was demolished following the orders of the former communist ruler of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu. 5 more years and a revolution passed until the monastery became officially the residence of the President of Romania. Today, only the Museum of Cotroceni is open for visitation, but during certain times of the year visitors are allowed to take the tour of the Palace and see the building where the President lives. Yes, sometimes you can even catch a glimpse of the President while he is going in or out of the Palace.

cotroceni-palace-garden

In the Museum of Cotroceni the visitors have the chance to see not only an impressive example of old architecture, but also important art objects from the history of Romania. Dozens of famous paintings made by Romanian artists and not only can be seen there, as well as many objects that used to belong to the Royal Family of Romania. In a wing of the Museum the visitors can see parts of what was left of the old church Cotroceni, as well as religious paintings that were hidden during communism.

In the Museum you can find tour guides that speak many different languages, so you will have the chance to find out the story of the artifacts that are presented here even if you don’t speak the Romanian language.

If you are lucky, you might find one of the many international exhibitions that can be visited here in different times of the year, and you can attend various events like concerts, debates and conferences and book launches.

After you finish visiting the Museum, do not forget to go to the souvenir boutique that is waiting inside the building and get something that will remind you of the beautiful experience you had in Romania.

Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra Vienna Concert

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If you are lucky to be in Bucharest during the month of December, for sure you will be impressed by the transformation of the city. Apart from the special feeling that Romanians have towards winter holidays, you will be happy to see the city coming to life. The streets of the city are decorated with thousand of Christmas lights, the Christmas traditions of Romanians come to life and there are dozens of events that you can attend in the days before Christmas. If you don’t know what to choose, we have a recommendation for you that you can’t neglect.

This year, on 23 of December you can attend an incredible concert in Sala Palatului, one of the biggest locations that hold concerts and events from the city. The famous Schoebrunn Orchestra from Viena will impress the heart of anyone who is listening. Well known all over the world for their talented musicians and emotional show, this is a concert that you should not miss.

Although Bucharest is known as “the small Paris”, for sure you will feel like you are walking the historical streets of Vienna while listening to the orchestra. The concert that is being held every year in the Schoebrunn Palace in Vienna is gathering hundreds of people every time, and there is a waiting list for a few years to get tickets. That is yet another reason to take advantage of this occasion and spend the day before the Christmas Eve in a magical atmosphere.

Apart from the Orchestra itself, you will have the chance to see the talented director Guido Mancusi and the incredible soprano, Arkovska Milena. In total, a band of 25 people will open your journey in the world of classical music. No matter if you are passionate about this type of show or not, there’s no one who will not enjoy this powerful, yet delicate and subtle proof of the magic of music.

Why is the Orchestra so famous? They don’t only have an incredible talent, but they also have years and years of tradition in their past. Decades ago the noble people of Vienna were listening to the same songs, and now you have the chance to do it too. From classic Italian songs to modern European ones, there’s nothing they can’t bring to life.

The tickets are for sale already and they will be until they are sold out, and this means that you should hurry and get yours now. Sala Palatului room offers great acoustics as well as great places that will allow you to see the musicians, not only heart them.

Triumphal Arch

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Arcul de Triumf (the Arch of Triumph) is one of Bucharest most representative monuments. It is not just the preferred photo shoot scene of thousands of local brides, but also an important part of Romania’s culture and history. Located in the northern part of Bucharest, on the Kiseleff Road, this monumental arch marks the historical moment when Romania gained its independence, in 1878. The initial “Arc de Triumf” was built of wood and under its magnificent arch the victorious Romanian troops marched proudly. Since then two other arches were built on the same site, each one of them was a symbol of the country’s great triumphs.

The second “Arc de Triumf” was built in 1922, after World War I, and it lasted only 13 years as in 1935 it was demolished and replaced by the current arch. The one that stands to this day was built in September 1936, has a height of 27 meters, its foundation measures 25 x 11.50 meters and follows the plans of the genius architect Petre Antonescu. Ion Jalea and Dimitrie Paciurea are just a few of the famous Romanian sculptors that created the images that decorate the facades of the triumphal arch. Besides local sculptors, about 10 Italian artists contributed to its unique aesthetics. On every 1st of December, when Romania’s National Day is celebrated, a military parade is held under the “Arc de Triumf”.

The “Arch of Triumph” celebrates Romania’s participation in the World War I on the Allied side, as well as the fact that when the war was over all the Romanian lands were reunited in one country. This was called the Great Union and it was marked by replacing the old wooden arch with a permanent one in 1922 when the first Union parade took place under the Arch of Triumph.

The design of the Arch is also monumental. Among the great artists that worked on it we mention  Constantin Baraschi, Alexandru Calinescu, Mac Constantinescu, Ion Jalea, Dimitrie Paciurea si Costin Petrescu. On the south side Mac Constantinescu and Constantin Baraschi sculpted a symbolic image of the Great Victory. Identically located on the north side, there are the Manhood allegories created by Ion Jalea and Faith by Constantin Baraschi, as well as two other Victories created by Cornel Medrea and Dimitrie Onofrei. The pillars which sustain the 27 meters tall monument have interior stairs which lead to the superior terrace. The Romanian architect Victor G. Stefanescu was in charge with the technical review and supervision of the construction works which begun in April 1935 and took about a year and a half to be completed. The Inauguration ceremony was held on 1 December 1936, when the country celebrated 18 years since the Union of Transylvania and Romania took place. The momentum was marked by the participation of King Carol II, his mother Queen Mary, Prince Mihai, members of the Romanian Government and many important local and foreign guests.

Nowadays, the “Arch of Triumph” represents one of Bucharest’s most important symbols. Its interiors host a small museum which can be visited only on special occasions. The visitors can view 4 important exhibitions: the Great War of Reunification of the Nation (photography and film), the Heraldry of the Great Noble Families (bronze effigies, photography), the Arch of Triumph in Images (photography, layouts), the Great Union of 1918 (where there are photography and the 1:1 copies of the crowns and royal scepter) and the superior terrace can be accessed as well.

Imge Credit Abublog

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