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Best Tourist Attractions Next to Victoriei Square in Bucharest

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government building at Victoriei square at night

Right in the center of the city you will find the Victoriei Square, a place which hides numerous cultural, historical and very beautiful treasures. The Victoriei Square is connected with other important areas of the city, which makes it a place of interest for the tourists and also for the locals who still want to let themselves be amazed by the buildings’ architecture and history.

The museums next to Victoriei Square are some of the Bucharest’s main attractions. One of the most important museums of Romania, founded in 1834, is “Grigore Antipa” Museum of Natural History. Some of the exhibits you will find there have been donated hundreds of years ago by important people of this country and throughout many centuries have been admired by tourists from all over the world. There are also artificial caves, skeletons and 3D films. The permanent exhibitions consist of natural sceneries from Romania, such as the Danube’s Delta, the alpine bioregion and the forest-steppe, while the temporary exhibitions are diverse, informative and enjoyed by all, including children. The museum also organizes educational programs and events about interesting subjects, such as robotics, the chemistry between art, science and psychology and chess marathons.

Another place you have to visit is the Cantacuzino Palace which is part of the European Heritage since 2007. It hosts paintings and sculptures of great value and the Belle-Epoque atmosphere,which still can be felt by the guests who want to go back in time, remained a defining element of the palace. Behind the main building you will find The National Museum “George Enescu”, a place which is a tribute to the artist but also to the Romanian music and art. The exhibition of the museum holds photographs, manuscripts, furniture, decorative art, personal objects and other valuable pieces of the artist.
The Romanian Peasant Museum is a national museum, dedicated to history and the people who were part of it. It is part of the European family of Museums of Popular Art and Traditions and it presents numerous exhibits which belonged to Romanian ancestors.
Near Victoriei Square you can also find the Filipescu-Cesianu House, which holds an important cultural and historical value. The building hosts the Museum of Ages whose exhibition explores the human evolution from multiple perspectives, their history and relationships. Another memorial house which can be visited is the house of Henri Coandă, the Romanian aviation pioneer, physicist, inventor of the jet engine. The house is a great example of the French neo-Renaissance Romantic Architecture.

At first glance, the Victoriei Square might seem too crowded and not thoughtfully organized from an architectural point of view because the buildings are very different and of various colors and styles, but you can always find interesting places to explore.

Best Attractions in the Cismigiu Area

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flowers and vintage watch at the entrance of cismigiu park

If you ask Bucharest residents about their favorite hangout, many will direct you towards the Cismigiu Garden area, a park that goes back over 200 years, and offers you a breath of fresh air right in the center of the city. Take a walk through its picturesque alleys, pleasantly shaded by hundred-year old oaks and chestnuts and dotted by graceful statues, or let your senses be overwhelmed by the colors and sweet fragrances of its Rose Garden. Or you can hire a boat and row around the lake to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet.

Whatever you do, you simply must visit the Writers’ Rotunda, an isolated corner where you can find the statues of the most important personalities in Romanian literature.

As you head out of the green oasis that is the Cismigiu Park, you can go east towards the Elisabeta Boulevard and make your way to the University Square, a popular landmark in Bucharest.

The University of Bucharest was established in 1864 by Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza and it’s Romania’s main academic center. As you walk down the street, on your right, do not miss the huge bronze statue of Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) on horseback, unveiled in 1873 and the first of its kind in Bucharest.

If you’re interested in more modern art, right across the street from the University building there’s the National Theatre `Ion Luca Caragiale`, which underwent complete reconstruction works in recent years. With its four performance halls, it is the biggest theatre in Europe. Do take a moment to admire the amazing bronze statues in front of the theatre. Some of the statues are four-meter high and represent famous characters in the plays of Romania’s most prolific playwright Ion Luca Caragiale, whose statue is a bit to the side, the guy sitting on a chair smoking.

Also in the Cismigiu area, if you take the western exist and head out on the Stirbei Voda street you can admire the Kretzulescu Palace, or Cretulescu by the Romanian spelling. Built at the beginning of the 20th century in the French Renaissance architectural style, the palace of the noble Cretulescu family today houses the UNESCO Center for Higher Learning.

Just a short walk will take you to the St.Joseph Catholic Cathedral, built between 1875 and 1883, with Romanesque architecture features and elements of Gothic influence. It is the biggest Catholic Church in Bucharest.

Not very far from St.Joseph’s there’s the Romanian Athenaeum, the country’s main concert hall and home of the George Enescu Philarmonic. Inaugurated in 1888, the Athenaeum is an impressive piece of neoclassical architecture with romantic influences. In the park in front of the building, there’s a great statue of Mihai Eminescu, the country’s national poet. If you’re lucky enough to visit Bucharest in the fall, you could go to one of the many concerts taking place during the George Enescu Festival. You should, however, book your tickets in advance, as they are in great demand.

Last, but not least, opposite the Athenaeum there’s the Royal Palace. The monumental building you’ll see was built in 1936-1937, after the old palace was destroyed by fire. Romania’s Royal family did not get to use the palace much, as monarchy was abolished in 1947. For many decades after that, the Throne Hall was used by the Communist regime for various state functions. It might interest you to know that the Romanian Revolution of 1989 started in this square, where Nicolae Ceausescu chose to make his last speech to the nation, which is why to this day the place is called Revolution Square.

The Royal Palace now houses the National Museum of Art, a must see if you’re in Bucharest. The museum boasts an international collection of paintings by Old Masters, such as El Greco, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Jan van Eyck, Jan Brueghel the Elder or Rubens, as well as a national gallery with works of famous sculptors Constantin Brancusi and Dimitrie Paciurea and paintings by Theodor Aman and Nicolae Grigorescu.

Best Parks in Bucharest

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park with a lake in autumn

Bucharest might not be the greenest European capital on an area per capita basis, but it is still has a fair amount of parks and public gardens. Open day and night, they offer an escape from the daily hassle, clean air, and the chance to rewind.

Herastrau Park

While the park was recently renamed to honor the last Romania king, Mihai I, who passed away recently, locals still refer to it as Herastrau. Located in the northern part of the city, Herastrau is developed around the lake baring the same name. The park stands apart because it is located in area of Bucharest which is posher than the rest. It is enough to look at the premium clubs and restaurants that flank its eastern side. A round trip of Herastrau starting and finishing in Charles de Gaulle Square is approximately 8 km long. Leisure activities include open air cinema festivals, bike rentals, and boat cruises on the lake.

Cismigiu Park

Cismigiu is the oldest and probably best-known park of Bucharest. Established in 1847 in an attempt to copy the style of contemporary English gardens, it is now classified as a historical monument. Testimony to that is the impressive number of sculptures and monuments that ornate the alleys and provide even the most casual of strolls with a bit of history. Cismigiu is the traditional place for first dates, wedding photoshoots, and is packed throughout the warm season.

Tineretului Park

Tineretului (Youth’s Park) has the largest area of all Bucharest’s parks and the history behind the name is intriguing. The communist authorities wanted to quickly repurpose an old landfill and they resorted to a practice common for the time – patriotic voluntary labor. It took just 8 months to the work and the landscape is pretty much the same since then. A central lake with a circumference of 3 km is the focal point of Tineretului. Bucharest is a flat city here is one of the few places where one can actually find high ground to admire the panorama and enjoy a sunset.

Carol Park

Carol Park is built around the Mausoleum dedicated to the Unknown Soldier, an impressive homage paid to the fallen soldiers of World War I. However, the park was first created as grounds to host the National Exhibition of 1906, honoring the 40 years of reign of King Carol I, the first monarch of modern Romania. The stairs leading up to the monument offer a great view overview of Bucharest and the park is typically less crowded than others throughout the week-ends.

Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park

Located in Sector 3, it is generally viewed as the most stylish and well-maintained park of the city, with upkeeping being carried out almost on a daily basis. Although officially named after Romanian ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza, this is another case where locals refer to it according to the older names (IOR Park or Titan Park). Like most parks of Bucharest, it also has a lake in the middle. Throughout the summer months hydro bikes and kayaks are up for renting. Because it is literally the only oasis of green in a sea of 10-story blocks, this park is one of the busiest when the weather is fair.

Circului Park

Although small when compared to others on the list, this park stands apart for having a natural lake at its center, packed with water lilies and aquatic birds. In its proximity one can also admire the unique architecture of the National Circus.

Izvor Park

Izvor is another park located in the center of Bucharest, nor far from Unirii Square. Because it was recently opened, most of its trees are young, and its alleys are not quite as shady as one would need to escape the scorching summers of Bucharest. From Izvor, tourists have a great panorama of the imposing People’s House (the seat of the Romanian Parliament and one of the largest buildings in the world).

Vacaresti Delta

Although not technically a park, this is a great location for nature enthusiasts. Vacaresti was for a long time a huge abandoned area, with no development plan whatsoever, after the communists failed to create a lake. Because vegetation developed and wild animals found refuge here (more than 90 species of birds), authorities decided to call it a protected area. Still in its infancy, Vacaresti Delta has the potential of becoming Bucharest’s most important green lung.

Best Fitness Clubs in Bucharest

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worldclass fitness club interior

When it comes to amenities, Bucharest successfully rises to the level of any European capital, and sports and fitness clubs do not disappoint either. From small borough centers to huge arenas, you name it, there are places for all taste. Of course, prices range depending on various factors such as location, other facilities (like swimming pools, saunas, massage) and fitness trainers fame.

World Class

is a sports club with no less than 27 locations in Bucharest, quite convenient, as you can choose one next to your home or work and, therefore, save up precious time.

They offer various sports programs, one of them exclusively created by Les Mills and World Class experts, and their fitness facilities are top notch. One of the best things they have to offer is their personal trainer package: fit package – for people who did not trained for a long period of time/beginners, the perform package – for the ones who started to love fitness and want to take their training to the next level and the transform package – for experienced people that have a performance goal. Your trainer will personalize all your sessions and they do have high-qualified trainers that know their business.

Pescariu Sports&Spa

(District 3, Glodeni St.) started as a tennis club and has now become one of the most appreciated fitness clubs in the capital. They have Technogym equipment, a couple of fitness areas and a wide range of fitness and aerobic classes. Experienced fitness coaches will propose complex fitness sessions and lifestyle changes (nutrition plan, etc.) in order to achieve the best results. They have special areas and sports activities for kids. In addition, you can swim there, dine or have a relaxing massage.

Arena Sports

(District 6, Rusetu St.) also has a Technogym equipment, personal trainers that you can hire for as long as you want and family subscription packages that include fitness sessions for yourself and all sorts of activities for the kids + free sauna. Moreover, they offer kinetotherapy sessions, very helpful in case of several medical issues.

With 5 locations all around Bucharest (Vitan, Pantelimon, Tei, Cocor and Titulescu neighbourhoods) you can check out Stay Fit Gym. They have H.I.T.T, metabolic training, circuit sessions, and pump training. Also, a team of professionals can personalize your fitness sessions. They have a great subscription offer these days as for each 3 months subscription you’ll get one month free.

Fitness Zone

is located in Bucurestii Noi and has 2 fitness and bodybuilding areas, with last generation fitness and cardio equipment. It has a more intimate and cozy feeling, with long-term clients and dedicated employees.

Of course, besides the fitness clubs mentioned above, there are others to discover and try in Bucharest, it all depends on what’s your idea of a perfect fitness club and on how much time and money are you willing to spend on it.

Antiques & Handmade Market in Bucharest Old City

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entrance to antiques market in bucharest

Have you ever stumbled across an antiques shop selling both antique objects and handmade objects? If you haven’t, then the next time you are in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, you should definitely make sure you visit the one on Strada Doamnei 11. You can not only find presents for the loved ones back home, but you can also have fun while looking through the thousands of objects and find a unique souvenir from the Eastern European country.

antiques stand in the market with vintage products

 Why antiques shop in Romania?

As you probably know by now, antique shops are shops that specialize in selling vintage objects. These objects are usually interesting to say the least. You can learn a lot of new things about a location based on the objects that make up its history and Romania is no different. The objects that you can find here can help you learn more about the culture of Romania, its history and many more.

The shop located on Strada Doamnei 11 is not only an antique shop, it is also a handmade one. Handmade objects are highly sought after as souvenirs and gifts for friends and family so by going to this shop in the Old City part of Bucharest, the capital of Romania, you can hit two rabbits with one bullet! There are dozens of sellers at this market offering all kind of products: old army medals, vinyl discs, Rolex replica watches, jewelry , vintage photo cameras …etc. You can choose from the thousands of antique and handmade objects the perfect gift for your loved ones.

watches and jewelry store

The Old City

The shop this article focuses on is located in one of the most beautiful locations in Bucharest, the Old City. You will probably say that all cities have an Old Town part where most of the remnants of the old city can still be found, where the buildings are hundreds of years old and where you can learn so many things about the history. What makes the Old City location in Bucharest exceptional is that it is a special blend of old buildings and modern ones. Most of the businesses here take advantage of the historical location to present themselves in a unique fashion and the antiques and handmade shops on Strada Doamnei 11 is no different.

Finding this antiques shops in the Old City of Bucharest is not very difficult. All you have to do is look for the special building where it is located. The building is greyish in color and Gothic looking and the door is huge and black. On the upper part of the door you will see a big sign that says “Antiques & Handmade” and voila, you found it!

russian army vintage items

The second you will step into the Old City to look for this shops you will see the contrast between the new terraces and bars and the old buildings and streets. This small antiques and handmade shops fits perfectly here and if you had a long day of shopping, before or after going to visit this small shop, you can always stop and have a drink in one of the terraces you will find on the way.

Advantages of antiques shop

You are probably wondering, why go to an antiques shop in Romania after all? If you were looking for gifts for your loved ones, why buy something old and probably dusty that will break in time?

First of all, a handmade object is unique and will stand out among the other gadgets or keychains you will probably purchase from Romania. At the same time, a handmade object can have a sentimental value. Imagine purchasing a specific candle holder that once belonged to a church. You can’t find that anywhere else other than in Romania and this will always remind you of that.

What about old jewelry from Romania? It most definitely won’t match what Tiffany’s has in store, but you will definitely stand out amongst your friends for wearing that. At the same time, considering the exchange rate and depending on your country of origin, all the handmade and antique objects you will find here are probably very cheap compared to new things you can buy from other regular shops. Why spend a fortune on an object your friends probably already have like a keychain or a bracelet when you can get them something unique that will always remind them of Romania?

Last but not the least, you can always purchase unique objects here and resell them in your country, especially if you also have an antique shop. Nothing matches candle holders and jewelry from a country like Romania, trust us. You can buy them cheap here and resell them and at the same time, show others what the Romanian culture is all about. It’s a win-win situation for everybody!

So, in conclusion, the antiques shop on Strada Doamnei 11 should definitely be on your list of places to buy souvenirs from the next time you visit Romania. Do you want to be unique and impress your friends and family? Then come down here and choose a unique gift for them, they have everything you need and more!

Advantages of Dental Tourism in Romania

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dental cabinet with doctor and patient

Besides other Eastern European countries, Romania has emerged during the last years as a top dental tourism destination, attracting patients from the UK, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, etc. If the myth of Dracula appeals to some of its visitors, there are also those who come to visit the famous vampire’s country for totally different reasons – undergoing dental treatment procedures at a lot lower costs than they would have to pay in their own countries. Here are some of the advantages Romania offers on the steadily growing dental tourism market.

Modern facilities using the latest technology

Romania’s capital city, Bucharest is dotted with modern clinics performing complex dental procedures at the same standards as in Western Europe. Actually, once you stepped inside these clinics, you will forget on the spot that you are in an Eastern country. Modern looking interiors, top notch medical equipment and high quality materials are just few of those clinics’ advantages.

Half sliced dental treatment price

Given the high standard facilities, you might think the prices would be sky rocketing. However, this is far from being the truth. Just ask for a quote on a dental implant procedure from your clinic in the UK or Germany and you will see that Romanian prices are just half of it.

Friendly personnel and quality services

When entering those clinics, you will be welcomed with a smiley, but this is not all. The quality of service you get in Romania’s clinics is compliant with any Western standards.

Many Romanian dentists are trained in Western Europe

A member of the European community, Romania is part of students exchange programs that allow the future doctors to benefit from a few months or even a year or two of training in Western European universities.

Many Romanian dentists work abroad

Given the shortage of medical personnel, many Romanian doctors receive offers to work in Western European countries. This comes as recognition of their quality as professionals of the medical field.

You won’t meet any language barrier

Learning foreign languages has been a constant trend in Romania during the last two decades. The vast majority of the young generation speaks English, but you will find also people with French, Italian and German speaking skills. Clinics specializing in dental tourism make sure their personnel are able to respond to your linguistic needs.

You can discover Dracula’s country

As an extra, but at no extra cost, you will become acquainted with Dracula’s country. Although you won’t be able to meet the vampire in person, you can explore the country’s rich history through its landmarks and admire the breathtaking scenery the mountainous regions offer.

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.

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

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.

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