Free Things To Do In Bucharest
When you find yourself in Bucharest, the vibrant capital of Romania, there’s no shortage of activities that can be enjoyed without spending a penny. Embark on a historical journey through the charming cobbled streets of the Old Town, a place brimming with life and history.
Discover layers of history and enjoy the bohemian vibe, with no cost attached.
An oasis of calm in the heart of the city, perfect for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.
Abundant greenery makes for a refreshing walk along its lakeside paths.
Stand in awe at the exterior of this historical concert hall.
National Museum of Art
Certain days grant free access to Romania’s artistic treasures.
Arch of Triumph
Take in the architecture reminiscent of its more famous Parisian counterpart.
Explore the open space and historical monuments scattered throughout.
Reflect on the pivotal moments in Romania’s history that took place here.
Witness grandiose buildings on this iconic avenue.
Admire the glass-covered arcade, an architectural marvel in the city center.
Bucharest’s Prettiest Parks
Spend time in green havens like Tineretului Park, a favorite among families.
|The Old Town
|Historical exploration, cultural vibe
|Nature walks, outdoor activities
|Romanian Athenaeum (exterior)
|National Museum of Art
|Cultural & artistic exhibitions (free on certain days)
|Check official schedule
|Arch of Triumph
|Viewing & photography
|Historical monuments & nature
|Site of historical importance
|Architectural appreciation, shopping
|National Theatre Bucharest
|The grandeur of performing arts (exterior)
|Free Walking Tour
|Guided exploration of Bucharest (tips appreciated)
Bold places, such as the National Theatre Bucharest, offer not only a glimpse into cultural enrichment but also manifest as iconic structures that shape the city’s skyline. Free walking tours, often led by enthusiastic local guides, provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the city’s history and culture.
If your visit happens to coincide with the first Saturday of the month, seize the opportunity to indulge in the visual arts at the National Museum of Art or other participating museums that offer free admission.
Lastly, be part of the local scene by wandering through Bucharest’s markets, a true taste of local life, or take a moment to relax in some of the city’s beautiful parks, which were even visited by celebrities like Michael Jackson.
Visit the Palace of Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) (Guided Tour Is Not Free)
When visiting Bucharest, the Palace of Parliament commands your attention with its colossal presence. Although admittance to the building isn’t free, viewing its exterior doesn’t cost anything. The palace, known for being the second largest administrative building in the world, offers a glimpse into Romania’s historical narrative during Nicolae Ceauşescu’s era. To really understand the interior, however, you’ll need to partake in a paid guided tour.
|Tours are operated March to October from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and November to February from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
|Starts 30 minutes before the closing time, so plan your visit accordingly.
|You can buy tickets at the ticket office on the day of your visit, but keep in mind that waits can be long.
|Tickets can be paid for with cash or credit card on-site.
|Approximately 1.5 hours; includes detailed explanations of the building’s history and architecture.
Gaining entry, your tour begins at the “Constantin Brancusi” Exhibition Hall at 2-4 Izvor Street. Bear in mind that the vast size and security protocols may lead to considerable wait times, particularly for purchasing same-day tickets. The guided tour provides access not only to various halls and chambers but also allows you to appreciate the imposing Communist-era architecture and opulent decorations that define the palace.
Explore the Old Town (Centrul Vechi)
The Old Town, also known as Centrul Vechi, is a vibrant historical center in Bucharest, where you can immerse yourself in the city’s rich heritage without spending a dime. Stroll through cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old buildings that have been restored to their original grandeur.
Landmarks and Streets:
- Stavropoleos Church: A stunning example of Brâncovenesc style, known for its detailed carvings and peaceful courtyard.
- Caru’ cu Bere: Witness the elaborate neo-Gothic architecture of this legendary beer hall.
- Calea Victoriei: One of the oldest and most fashionable streets, perfect for a leisurely walk.
- Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse: A glass-covered arcaded street filled with cafes and shops, offering you a picturesque environment.
- CEC Palace: Admire the exterior of this historical monument, recognized for its elegant dome and beautiful facade.
- Curtea Veche (Old Princely Court): Discover the remains of the medieval court established by Vlad the Impaler.
Walking Tours: Engage with the city’s history and architecture through various walking tours that often start in or pass through the Old Town area. Be sure to check for free walking tour schedules.
Table: Old Town Highlights
|Stavropoleos Church, Caru’ cu Bere, CEC Palace
|Curtea Veche, Calea Victoriei
|Calea Victoriei, Manuc’s Inn, Str. Lipscani
Taking your time to explore these sites will give you a deeper appreciation of Bucharest’s history and culture. The Old Town is an open-air museum, a glimpse into the Romanian capital’s past and a testimony to its rejuvenation.
Relax in Cișmigiu Gardens (Grădinile Cișmigiu)
When you’re in the heart of Bucharest, seeking a tranquil space to unwind, make your way to Cișmigiu Gardens. Established in the mid-19th century, these historic gardens offer a serene escape with over 30 hectares of green space. As Bucharest’s oldest park, Cișmigiu features a variety of attractions that cater to relaxation and leisure without any cost.
Lose yourself in the winding paths, surrounded by the lush greenery that changes with the seasons. Strolls through the garden are a chance to admire the symphony of flowers and to spot over 30 species of birds that make this park their home. The Great Lake and the Small Lake are focal points of the park, where you can enjoy the reflection of the trees on the water’s surface. In favorable weather, you may partake in pedal boating, which, while not free, offers a leisurely way to enjoy the lakes.
A playground is available for younger visitors, and various statues and monuments dotted throughout the park pay homage to Romanian history and culture. Here’s a breakdown of some of the key features in Cișmigiu Gardens:
|Diverse plant life with paths for strolling and benches for sitting.
|The Great Lake and the Small Lake with options for boating.
|A dedicated space with safe equipment for children’s play.
|Statues and historic monuments depicting cultural figures.
|Springtime blossoms and vibrant fall foliage to enjoy.
Pack a picnic to enjoy on one of the many lawns, and remember that while the park is open 24 hours, the experiences can differ vastly between day and night. Indulge in the simple pleasure of people-watching or find a secluded spot to read a book. In winter months, the park’s charm persists, with frosted trees and calm quietude, albeit with a brisker atmosphere.
Cișmigiu Gardens stands as a testament to Bucharest’s commitment to green spaces and public leisure. Its central location makes it easily accessible, so whether you’re lounging beside the lake or meandering under the shade of age-old trees, you’re engaging with a piece of the city’s living history.
Stroll through Herăstrău Park (Parcul Herăstrău)
Herăstrău Park, known officially as King Michael I Park, is a verdant oasis located in the northern part of Bucharest, surrounding Lake Herăstrău. You can immerse yourself in nature and enjoy a variety of free activities.
Exploration: The park’s expansive grounds offer a perfect setting for long, leisurely strolls or energizing runs. You will find walking paths that trace the lake’s perimeter, providing picturesque views and the opportunity to observe various bird species.
Recreational Activities: Recreational options abound with children’s playgrounds, open-air cafes, and boat rentals. The boat rentals, however, may incur a charge, so a walk alongside the lake is an enjoyable free alternative.
Cultural Sites: Within the park, you’ll come across the open-air Village Museum, displaying traditional Romanian rural architecture. There’s an entrance fee for the museum, but the external view itself provides a glimpse into Romania’s historical dwellings.
Sports and Relaxation: For those interested in sports, there are freely accessible tennis courts, football pitches, and an outdoor gym. Those seeking relaxation can simply find a quiet spot on the grass or benches to read a book or people-watch.
Features of Herăstrău Park
|Free to Access?
|Large green spaces, Lake Herăstrău, diverse plant species, birdwatching.
|Walking and Jogging Paths
|Extensive routes around the lake and throughout the park.
|Multiple areas equipped with swings, slides, and climbing structures.
|Places to sit and enjoy the scenery; purchases required for food/beverages.
|No (viewing Yes)
|Options for rowboats and pedal boats on the lake; fee applies.
|Open-air museum showcasing traditional Romanian houses.
|No (external view Yes)
|Tennis courts, football pitches, and outdoor gym equipment.
As you wander through the park, be sure to appreciate the harmonious blend of nature and recreational facilities that make Herăstrău Park a beloved destination for both locals and tourists.
See the Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Român)
The Romanian Athenaeum, a grand concert hall in the heart of Bucharest, stands as a beacon of Romanian culture and arts. Architecturally impressive, it is not only a venue for exceptional acoustics but also a historical landmark. When visiting Bucharest, you have the opportunity to view its majestic facade and, occasionally, the interior without cost.
The Athenaeum’s exterior features a blend of neoclassical design with echoes of ancient Greek temples, displaying intricate friezes and a dome that crowns the structure. Walking through its lush gardens, you get to appreciate the serene environment that surrounds this edifice of culture.
|Neoclassical with Greek elements
|Free visitation for disabled persons
|Frescoes, grand staircase, circular hall
|Renowned for high-quality sound
|Cultural symbol since late 19th century
Inside, the concert hall bedazzles visitors with an ornate interior adorned with golden frescoes and a resonant circular hall, which has been home to numerous significant performances throughout the decades. In the event of open doors to the public, you can witness the interior’s splendor firsthand. For precise visitation times, it is advised to check current schedules as they may vary or change.
While tickets to performances come with a cost, there are moments throughout the year when entrance is complimentary, such as certain European heritage days or other cultural events.
Upon your visit to Bucharest, you are encouraged to pass by the Romanian Athenaeum. Even if just admiring from the outside, its presence enriches your experience of the city’s cultural landscape.
Check out the Carturesti Carusel Bookstore (librăria Cărturești Carusel)
When you’re exploring Bucharest, make sure to visit the Cărturești Carusel Bookstore, a historical and architectural gem situated in the Old Town. This bookstore is a cultural landmark known for its stunning interior, which features a variety of reading materials across six floors. The venue is more than just a place to buy books; it’s an experience.
As you step in, you’re greeted by the elegant design known as the “Carousel of Light”, showcasing spiraling staircases, balconies adorned with intricate railings, and a skylight that bathes the interior in a warm glow. The bookstore is not only a celebration of literature but also of art and architecture.
Cărturești Carusel includes a teahouse where you can enjoy a drink with a panoramic view of the Old Town. This allows for a relaxing break within your day, surrounded by the tranquil ambience of books and the charm of historical Bucharest. Check the local schedule as the bookstore often hosts cultural events, exhibitions, and book launches that you might find interesting.
Entry to the Cărturești Carusel is free, and it’s open for visitors most days from morning until late evening, giving you ample flexibility to plan your visit.
Here’s what you need to know at a glance:
|Old Town, Bucharest
|Over ten thousand books
|Teahouse offering drinks and views
|Typically 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (Check for specific day schedules)
|Cultural events, exhibitions, book launches
Spend time perusing the shelves, attend an event, or simply admire the interior architecture as you explore one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
See the Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf)
The Arch of Triumph, known in Romanian as Arcul de Triumf, stands as a historical symbol in Bucharest. The current structure, completed in 1936, was designed by the architect Petru Antonescu. It honors Romania’s World War I soldiers and celebrates the nation’s victories and independence.
Height: 27 meters tall
Design: A design typical of triumphal arches, reminiscent of the Roman influence on architecture.
You can visit the interior stairs that lead up to a terrace, offering a panoramic view of the city—this is a rare opportunity, as the terrace is not always open to the public. Visiting times may be restricted, generally accessible only on National Day or during certain events. Check in advance if it is possible to climb to the viewing platform during your visit.
When you cannot access the top, you can still marvel at the arch’s intricate exterior decor, including bas-reliefs and sculptures. These artistic details represent significant moments in Romanian history, depicting scenes and figures from World War I and the Great Union.
|Roman triumphal arches
|Original Construction Date
|First wooden version in 1878
|Current Structure Date
|1922, renovated in 1936 and reopened with improvements since 2014
|Access to Terrace
|Limited, usually around national celebrations
|Bas-reliefs, sculptures of historical significance
|Free, outdoor viewing available at all times
Please remember that the area around the arch is often heavily trafficked, so take care while crossing streets, and it’s best to view the monument during daylight hours for both safety and visibility.
Explore Carol Park (Parcul Carol)
Carol Park, known in Romanian as Parcul Carol, is a historical garden in the heart of Bucharest where you can enjoy the tranquil scenery without any cost. Nestled in the southern-central area of the city, sometimes on the Filaret hill, it provides a blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage.
- The Giants Statues: Discover statues known as ‘The Giants’, crafted by notable artists Frederic Stork and Dimitrie Paciurea.
- The Anonymous Hero Monument: A 48m high red granite monument that dominates the landscape.
- French Garden: Stroll through the meticulously designed French garden layout.
Your journey through Carol Park might begin with the striking visual of ‘The Giants’ statues. Alternatively, absorb the panoramic views from the top of Filaret hill, where the park partly resides. As you walk, encounter the imposing Anonymous Hero Monument, a reminder of Romania’s past.
Occasionally, on the first Sunday of the month, various cultural sites in Bucharest open their doors for free, and although not specified for Carol Park, it could be part of this city-wide initiative.
Here’s a summary of what you’ll find:
|Statues part of an initial “Sleeping Beauty” theme
|The Anonymous Hero Monument
|Tribute to unidentified soldiers from WWI
|Well-structured garden and natural beauty
Enjoy the art installations and historical monuments scattered throughout Carol Park, and perhaps include the nearby destinations in your itinerary, should they be freely accessible.
See the Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției)
When you find yourself in Bucharest, Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției) is a significant landmark you won’t want to miss. It’s a place rich in history and central to the story of modern Romania. It was here, in December 1989, that the Romanian Revolution took a decisive turn, leading to the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s regime.
Landmarks and Monuments:
- Romanian Athenaeum: This concert hall is an architectural gem and a cultural hotspot.
- National Art Museum: Formerly the Royal Palace, the museum houses Romanian and European art.
- Memorial of Rebirth: A monument commemorating the victims of the 1989 Revolution.
|An elegant concert hall and cultural venue
|Architecture, Culture, Music
|National Art Museum
|Exhibits Romanian and European art
|Memorial of Rebirth
|Honors the 1989 Revolution victims
|Historical Orthodox church
|Statue of King Carol I
|Tribute to Romania’s first king
|History, Public Art
|Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel
As you move through the square, the stark contrast between the grandeur of historic buildings and the bustling modernity of city life is evident. Traffic weaves through avenues that frame monuments speaking silently of past tumults and triumphs. Taking in the square’s various sculptures and statues enriches your understanding of Romania’s past.
In the heart of the square, the Memorial of Rebirth pierces the skyline, prompting reflection on the dramatic changes that have unfolded in this public space. It stands not just as an artwork, but as a testament to resilience and change. Peer closer at the Cretulescu Church to admire its exquisite façade and frescoes.
Spending time in Revolution Square is absolutely free and provides you with an immersive history lesson, draped in the architectural beauty of the city. It allows you to step back into the pivotal moments of Romania’s past while experiencing the vibrant life of contemporary Bucharest.
Stroll on Calea Victoriei
Calea Victoriei, an iconic boulevard, offers you an immersive cultural experience without any cost. Rich in history and architecture, a leisurely walk along this avenue presents a variety of landmarks. On certain days, namely the 26th of each month, access to attractions such as Cantacuzino Palace is free, adding an enriching dimension to your stroll.
As you meander down the street, observe the mix of Neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture that lines the route. This area is home to several prominent churches, including Kretzulescu Church, characterized by its bricked facade and historical significance. While these buildings are striking from the outside, many waive entrance fees, allowing for a deeper exploration of Bucharest’s spiritual heritage and artistry.
Other key points on Calea Victoriei are the grandiose Revolution Square and the vibrant Old Town. While enjoying the ambiance of these sites, you can access public spaces like bookstores and fashion stores. The street also hosts a number of free events, performances, and exhibitions, depending on the time of year.
Of note is the buzz of cultural activity often found at the street level, where local artists and performers share their talents. These spontaneous performances provide a lively soundtrack to your stroll and a glimpse into the city’s contemporary artistic scene.
Notable Landmarks on Calea Victoriei
|Free entry on the 26th, Neoclassical architecture
|Open to public, historical site
|Scene of historical events, public gatherings
|Nearby, cobblestone charm, cafes
|Bookstores and fashion stores
|Culture and shopping combined into the stroll
Remember to look out for plaques and markers that narrate the story of Calea Victoriei, enhancing your walk with historical context.
Visit the Macca-Villacrosse Passage (Pasajul Macca-Villacrosse)
Step into the historic Macca-Villacrosse Passage, a remarkable architectural landmark located in the heart of Bucharest. As you meander through the fork-shaped arcade, notice the striking yellow glass canopy that bathes the interior in a warm, natural glow. The passage was constructed towards the end of the 19th century, originally to facilitate commerce and connect important city areas like Calea Victoriei and the vicinity of the National Bank.
Nowadays, the Passage serves as a quaint escape from the bustling city, housing an array of charming cafes, boutiques, and exquisite hookah bars. Whether seeking respite with a cup of coffee or exploring unique shops, this covered arcade offers a serene atmosphere reminiscent of Parisian streets.
Embrace the ambiance of the little Paris of Bucharest, where history intertwines with modern vibrancy. Wander along the corridor and absorb the architectural beauty without spending a dime.
|Fork-shaped passage with a yellow glass canopy
|19th-century construction connecting key points of Bucharest
|Location and Accessibility
|Central Bucharest, easily accessible on foot
|Activities and Offerings
|Cafes, boutiques, and hookah bars
|Illustrative of Bucharest’s moniker, “Little Paris”
|Free entry and exploration
Remember to capture the essence of Bucharest’s culture as you walk, with the Passage’s architectural design and ambiance representing the city’s historical charm merged seamlessly with present-day leisure facilities.
Visit the Kretzulescu Church (Biserica Kretzulescu)
The Kretzulescu Church boasts a profound historical significance and a captivating architectural style. Built between 1720-1722 by the Creţulescu family, this landmark stands proudly in Revolution Square, a place also steeped in Romania’s history. You can admire the Brâncovenesc style, distinctive for its traditional Romanian motifs and flourishes evident in the church’s structure and intricate façade.
Accessibility: Located in central Bucharest, the church is very accessible. It is a stone’s throw away from major attractions and easily reached on foot or by public transport.
The interior of the church is equally impressive, housing exquisite frescoes painted by Gheorghe Tatarescu, showcasing religious themes that exhibit historical and artistic value. These artworks exemplify the depth of Romanian religious artistry and invite quiet contemplation.
Opening Hours: Bear in mind that the church is an active place of worship and opening times may vary. Saturdays and Sundays are the best days to plan your visit.
|Revolution Square, Bucharest
|Interior frescoes by Gheorghe Tatarescu
|Easily accessible from major points in the city
|Best Time to Visit
|Weekends for guaranteed access
When you visit Kretzulescu Church, you are stepping into a piece of Romanian history that has witnessed the evolution of Bucharest. This experience offers both a spiritual journey and a cultural exploration without the need for tickets or fees.
Check out the Bucharest Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică din București)
Located in Bucharest’s Cotroceni neighborhood, the Bucharest Botanical Garden, formally named Dr. Dimitrie Brândză Bucharest Botanical Garden, is a verdant expanse rich in plant diversity and history. As you stroll through the 18.2 hectares of meticulously curated gardens, you’re not just sightseeing; you’re embarking on a botanical adventure featuring over 10,000 species of plants.
|18.2 hectares (45.0 acres)
|4,000 square meters (1 acre)
|More than 10,000 species
|Mar 14 – Oct 16: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Oct 17 – Mar 13: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
|Approx. 3 euro/adult
The garden is not only a place where botany enthusiasts can indulge in the vast collection but also serves as an oasis of tranquility for those looking to escape the city’s hustle. The greenhouse complex is a highlight, presenting a range of climates from arid to tropical, housing exotic plants that flourish under glass.
Among the things you might notice is the juxtaposition of nature and industry, with the garden’s serene setting contrasting the nearby urban backdrop. Whether you’re keen on studying diverse plant life, capturing the beauty of flowers on camera, or simply seeking solace in nature, the Bucharest Botanical Garden offers you an enriching experience without any expense besides the nominal entry fee.
See the Cotroceni Palace (Palatul Cotroceni)
When you visit Bucharest, explore the historical and architectural charm of the Cotroceni Palace. This exquisite establishment is not just a palace but also serves as the Cotroceni National Museum. The foundation of the Palace dates back to the end of the 17th century when Prince Serban Cantacuzino built a monastery on the site. Over time, the site has evolved, reflecting varied architectural styles across different rooms.
Admission: While not all activities associated with the Palace are free, you can often enjoy parts of its exterior architecture and the surrounding gardens at no cost.
Tours: To fully experience the interior, join a paid tour that often provides comprehensive information in English, especially captivating on a Saturday afternoon.
|Learn about the site’s transformation from a monastery to a national museum with over three centuries of history.
|Observe eclectic styles within the Palace’s interiors during a tour.
|Engage with the Palace’s significance as both a historical monument and a political institution, as it houses the Romanian Presidential residence.
As you stroll through Cotroceni neighborhood, take in the serenity of the area and the majestic presence of the Cotroceni Palace. The neighborhood’s quiet charm and the Palace’s historical significance offer a respite from the more bustling parts of Bucharest. Moreover, Cotroceni opens a window into the rich tapestry of Romania’s past, embodied in the diverse architectural designs of the Palace.
Visit the George Enescu National Museum (Muzeul Național Enescu)
Housed within the stunning Cantacuzino Palace, the George Enescu National Museum is a tribute to Romania’s preeminent composer, violinist, pianist, and conductor. When you step into this historical monument adorned with Art Nouveau details, you are enveloped by the luxury and refinement from a bygone era. Your cultural experience in Bucharest is enriched as you come face to face with George Enescu’s legacy through documents and personal artefacts that chronicle his life and achievements.
The museum’s residence, the Cantacuzino Palace, is itself an attraction, deemed one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest. It is recognized with the European Heritage Label, assuring you are visiting a site of significance.
While exploring the museum, your engagement with musical history is deepened by viewing:
- Manuscripts of Enescu’s compositions
- Photographs capturing moments from his life
- Musical instruments that once echoed with his talent
Admission is free, providing an accessible opportunity to appreciate Romania’s rich cultural heritage.
|Cantacuzino Palace, Bucharest
|Established in honor of George Enescu
|Manuscripts, photographs, personal items, instruments
|A historic monument with the European Heritage Label
Explore the Palace of the Deposits and Consignments (Palatul Depozitelor și Consemnațiunilor)
Built at the brink of the 20th century, the Palace of the Deposits and Consignments, also known as the CEC Palace, stands as an architectural gem in the heart of Bucharest. This grand building, constructed between 1897 and 1900, was the brainchild of King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth of Romania. Its neoclassical design features a prominent central dome, accompanied by smaller side domes and monumental columns, giving it a distinctive and stately appearance.
Although primarily serving as the headquarters for CEC Bank, the palace is a visual delight for tourists and locals alike. Its strong edifice withstood the severe 1977 earthquake with minimal damage, showcasing its robust construction — only the glass dome sustained harm, underscoring the building’s resilience amid surrounding devastation.
While it is unclear if the CEC Palace welcomes visitors for interior tours, you can indulge in its exterior splendor. It is adorned with intricate details that tell tales of its rich history and significance to Romania’s financial landscape. The building’s location on Victory Avenue makes it a hard-to-miss attraction while exploring Bucharest.
|Neoclassical with a central dome and columns
|A symbol of architectural resilience and historical value
|Exterior views recommended; Unclear entry policies for interior
Surrounded by other historic structures, a visit to the CEC Palace offers you the chance to step back in time and appreciate the grandeur of Romania’s past, while being a perfect backdrop for memorable photographs. It is a must-see landmark that captures the essence of Bucharest’s storied architecture.
Check out the National Theatre Bucharest (Teatrul Național București)
The National Theatre Bucharest, known in Romanian as Teatrul Național “Ion Luca Caragiale” București, represents a cultural landmark in the heart of Romania’s capital. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the rich tradition of Romanian performing arts. The theatre offers a variety of performances, often even for free, such as open rehearsals or public events, especially during certain cultural festivals or city events.
The theater’s design pays homage to Romania’s monastic architectural style and stands as an iconic structure at the kilometer zero of Bucharest. It was founded in 1852 and has since become a pillar of Romania’s cultural scene, staging classic and contemporary plays, including the works of renowned playwright Henrik Ibsen.
When planning your visit, always check the current schedule of events and performances, which might include free shows. Each year, there are festivities marking the theater’s anniversary, offering a unique opportunity to engage with stage arts without a fee.
|Kilometer zero of Bucharest, central area
|1852 as Grand Theatre of Bucharest
|Inspired by Moldova’s monastic styles
|Annual anniversary with potential free cultural events
|Potential Free Offerings
|Open rehearsals, public events, certain performances
|Advised for updated events and potential free offerings
Your experience with Romanian culture would be genuinely enriched by attending any event hosted at this historic venue. Keep an eye on the theatre’s announcements for a chance to witness performances without a charge.
Explore the Carol I Central University Library (Biblioteca Centrală Universitară Carol I)
When you visit Bucharest, one of the culturally rich and cost-free experiences available is exploring the Carol I Central University Library, also known as Biblioteca Centrală Universitară Carol I. This architectural gem was designed by French architect Paul Gottereau and serves as an intellectual hub in the heart of Romania’s capital. As a visitor, you have access to the library’s vast collections and can admire its beautiful interior and exterior design which speaks volumes of its historical significance.
Established as a Royal Foundation in 1895, this iconic library not only holds over 2 million volumes but also integrates the elegance of its historical roots with the modernity of a virtual tour. The library provides a dynamic continuity to the cultural and educational traditions established over a century ago.
|1895 as Royal Foundation
|Central Bucharest, opposite the National Museum of Art
|Over 2 million volumes, diverse topics
|Access to Information
|Free (includes e-books and databases)
|Headquarters, Pedagogical Section, 16 branch libraries
Make sure to spend time in the reading rooms which are lined with historical books and periodicals. The library is not merely about reading; it is a journey through Romania’s academic and cultural landscape. Here, you can access free e-books, bibliographic references, and approximately 65,000 titles from scientific databases.
Remember that while the main unit is open to visitors, there are also 16 branch libraries associated with the Central University Library. These branches are part of the library’s complex organizational structure and expand the reach of its services throughout the University of Bucharest campus.
Free Walking Tour Bucharest
Exploring Bucharest, Romania’s vibrant capital, can be both enriching and cost-effective if you opt for a free walking tour. These tours are a fantastic way to become acquainted with the city’s rich history, diverse architecture, and lively culture.
Key Features of Free Walking Tours in Bucharest:
|No upfront fees – Tips based, pay what you think it’s worth
|Daily tours available
|Approximately 2-3 hours
|Old Town, Parliament, and other landmarks
|Advisable – to secure a spot
|Flexibility with free cancellation up to 24 hours before
When you join a walking tour, you’re often guided by enthusiastic locals who offer insights into hidden gems and anecdotes about the city’s past that you wouldn’t easily discover on your own. Tours typically showcase the Old Town (Centrul Vechi), an area brimming with cafes and history, as well as iconic sights like the massive Parliament Palace.
Free walking tours operate on a pay-what-you-want basis. While there’s no charge for the tour itself, it’s customary to offer a tip to your guide based on your satisfaction and budget—this incentivizes the high quality and ensures the guides are motivated to provide an engaging experience.
Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes, as tours can cover a fair amount of ground, and be prepared for the variable Bucharest weather. It’s important to note that while the tour is free, some sites along the tour route may have entrance fees if you choose to explore them further.
You can book these tours online, with most companies offering easy booking processes and options for free cancellation and refund if your plans change. Check the latest reviews and ratings when selecting your tour to ensure a memorable experience.
Bucharest’s Prettiest Parks
Herăstrău Park, known locally as King Michael I Park, offers a generous expanse of green landscape, encircling a large lake where you can rent a boat and enjoy the tranquility. The park is also home to the Village Museum, an open-air ethnographic museum which showcases traditional Romanian village life.
Cișmigiu Gardens is the city’s oldest park and a picturesque haven in the heart of Bucharest. You’ll find beautifully manicured gardens, an enchanting lake with rowboats for hire, and winding paths that invite leisurely strolls.
Carol I Park is another historical gem, featuring the Monument of the Heroes for the Liberation of the People and the Motherland, the National Technical Museum, and scenic walking paths surrounded by diverse plant life and open spaces perfect for picnics or restful pauses.
Tineretului Park, a favorite among families and sports enthusiasts, includes a large children’s playground, an amusement park, and sports facilities. It offers ample space for jogging, cycling, and outdoor relaxation.
Last but not least, the Bucharest Botanical Garden is a living library of plant species, both local and exotic. Beyond its educational value, the gardens serve as a peaceful retreat for those who appreciate the serenity of natural surroundings.
|Lake, Village Museum
|Boating, Museum Visits
|Historic Landmark, Manicured Gardens
|Carol I Park
|Monuments, Technical Museum
|Picnicking, Museum Tours
|Amusement Park, Sports Facilities
|Family Activities, Sports
|Wide Variety of Plant Species, Greenhouses
|Educational Visits, Walks
These parks are not only the green lungs of Bucharest but also social hubs and cultural venues that provide an enriching experience at no cost. Whether you seek leisure, education, or connection with nature, these spaces are yours to explore and enjoy.
Sighet Memorial Exhibition (Expoziția Memorial Sighet)
In Bucharest, you can visit the ‘Memory as a Form of Justice’ exhibition space, an extension of the Sighet Memorial. Located at 66 Jean Louis Calderon Street, this exhibition offers you a sample of the original memorial established in Sighet.
- Themes: The exhibition provides valuable insights into eight key themes from Romania’s communist past. These themes serve as invitations to further explore the full Sighet Memorial.
- Purpose: It serves as a poignant reminder and educational tool, ensuring that the lessons from these historical tragedies continue contributing to collective memory.
- Witness Accounts: Perspective into the lived experiences during the communist regime.
- Authentic Artifacts: A collection of objects that mark the era.
- Research Findings: Display of significant historical research.
|66 Jean Louis Calderon Street, Bucharest
|Yes, an ambassador for the Sighet Memorial in Sighetu Marmației
|8 key themes depicting the history and impact of communism
|Open to the public; focused on residents and visitors of Bucharest
|“When justice fails to be a form of memory, memory alone can be a form of justice.”
This exhibition space gives you a reflective understanding of Romania’s past and its resistance under communist rule. The displays encourage you to ponder on the significance of memory as a form of justice. It also nudges you gently towards visiting the main Sighet Memorial to experience the full breadth of what is curated there, encapsulating important chapters of Romanian history.
By exploring these exhibits, you engage with the past’s lingering influences on the present, and how through collective memory, society can aim to prevent the repetition of such tragedies.
Michael Jackson Spotting (Places Visited By Michael Jackson)
When exploring Bucharest, you have the unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. On his visit, Jackson made several appearances, offering fans sites that hold memories of his presence.
The InterContinental Bucharest: One of the city’s premium hotels, where celebrities often stay, it’s documented that Michael Jackson greeted fans from his hotel balcony. Locate the exact balcony and visualize the moment.
Constitution Square (Piata Constitutiei): This is a significant site where Jackson’s famous phrase “I love you” was mistakenly addressed to Budapest instead of Bucharest during his visit. It’s a spot tinged with humor and humility from a global icon.
Palatul Parlamentului (The Palace of the Parliament): Although there’s no formal record of Michael Jackson visiting the impressive building itself, his presence in Piata Constitutiei places him in the vicinity of this grand architecture. The proximity allows you to imagine the pop icon against the backdrop of one of the city’s landmarks.
|Address / Location Notes
|Hotel where MJ greeted fans
|Balcony facing the main square
|Site of “I love you” mix-up
|Public square, accessible at any time
|Palace of the Parliament
|Proximity to MJ’s acknowledged presence in the city
|Exterior visit recommended for MJ fans
When you’re in Bucharest, consider visiting these sites to pay homage to the late Michael Jackson and to relive moments of his visit to the city. Each location provides a different perspective on the pop icon’s connection to Bucharest.
Unirii Square Fountain Show (Spectacolul Fântânilor din Piața Unirii)
In the heart of Bucharest, you’ll find the Unirii Square Fountain Show, a free, enthralling experience combining water, music, and light. This show, known as the Water Symphony, takes your casual evening strolls to a new height with its impressive display. Reopened in 2018 after a significant refurbishment, the fountains have since become a significant point of attraction within the city.
The fountain show operates on weekends, providing a captivating performance for both locals and travelers. You can immerse yourself in this sensory experience every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until the beginning of October. As you take in the display, enjoy the musical accompaniment which ranges from classical to contemporary genres, complementing the rhythmic dance of water and light.
Schedule and Accessibility: Visiting the fountain show is effortless, as it’s positioned between Alba Iulia Square and Constitution Square. The linear arrangement of the fountains along a 1.4-km stretch makes it a spectacular view, easily accessible from multiple points in the city.
|Unirii Square, Bucharest
|Friday, Saturday, Sunday
|From spring through the beginning of October
|Evenings (varies based on sunset times)
|Number of Fountains
|Various, from classical to modern music selections
|Unique Selling Point
|First urban fountains in Bucharest with high-tech equipment
Whether you’re looking for a serene escape or a lively night out, the Unirii Square Fountain Show is sure to provide an unforgettable experience. Remember to check the starting times as they might vary with sunset, ensuring you don’t miss this exquisite display of hydrotechnics.
Things To Do In Bucharest For Couples
Stroll through Bucharest’s Old Town
Embark on an enchanting exploration of Centrul Vechi, where history echoes through the cobblestoned streets. Here, you can marvel at the Stavropoleos Monastery and unwind in buzz-filled venues ideal for dinner or a drink, like the vibrant Olde Merchant Streets.
Discover Serenity at Cismigiu Gardens
Roam the landscaped beauty of Cismigiu Gardens, where romantic boat rides and idyllic strolls await. Find seclusion for a picnic or capture moments near historical monuments, all creating the perfect couple’s getaway within the city.
Experience a Dynamic Pub Crawl
Dive into a night of fun with a curated Bucharest pub crawl. Navigate through a selection of bars and clubs in Old Town, each offering a unique flair to the evening. Enjoy shots, social games, and create memorable moments together, all while indulging in the city’s dynamic atmosphere.
Savor Culinary Excellence
Delight in a romantic dinner at renowned restaurants like The ARTIST or the cozy Poesia, Italian Restaurant. Revel in the perfect blend of creativity and taste, making every meal shared a cherished experience.
Be Enchanted by the Romanian Athenaeum
Elevate your night with an opulent visit to the Romanian Athenaeum. This cultural jewel offers a grand stage for classical music that harmonizes beautifully with the essence of a romantic outing.
Unwind at Carol I Park and Unirii Square
Carol I Park is an urban sanctuary where you can stroll around the lake and discover history-laden monuments. In the evening, the Unirii Square Fountain Show lights up with a dazzling display, crafting a vibrant end to your day.
|Romantic Activity Venue
|Sightseeing, dining, live music
|Walks, boating, picnics, photography, cultural sites
|Bucharest Pub Crawl
|Bar-hopping, welcome shots, social games, photography
|The ARTIST / Poesia
|Fine dining, Italian cuisine
|Classical music performances
|Carol I Park
|Strolls, historical monuments, relaxation
|Unirii Square Fountain Show
|Evening light and water display, urban charm
For more about coupling adventures in this vibrant city, discover additional things to do in Bucharest for couples.
Free Things To Do In Bucharest For Families
Bucharest, the vibrant capital of Romania, is filled with activities that cater to families without the need to spend a dime. Embrace the city’s gems, from lush parks to educational museums, ensuring an enriching experience for both you and your children.
Herăstrău Park Take a stroll or a bike ride around Herăstrău Park, a vast expanse of greenery ideal for family picnics, boat rides, and playground fun.
Museum Visits On certain days, museums like the Museum of Art Collections offer complimentary admission, allowing your family to explore a rich cultural tapestry.
Voievodal Palace Witness history up close at the Voievodal Palace—free entry on the first Saturday of each month provides a budget-friendly educational excursion.
Outdoor Performances Seasonal outdoor performances, ranging from concerts to theater shows, often take place in public spaces such as parks and squares. Check local listings for event schedules.
Your family’s adventure in Bucharest can be both enjoyable and cost-effective. Below is a summarized table of free family-friendly activities to help plan your visit:
|Parks & Nature
|Boat rentals & playgrounds
|Museum of Art Collections
|First Wednesday of each month
|Art & history
|First Saturday of each month
|Various outdoor spaces
Remember to verify the exact dates and times before your visit, as these are subject to change. Enjoy making lifelong memories with your family in Bucharest without the financial worry!
Things To Do In Bucharest At Night
In the bustling heart of Bucharest, Centru Vechi, also known as Old Town, is where your night begins. Here the streets come alive with over 100 venues to choose from, offering an atmosphere that ranges from tranquil to heart-pumping. Quiet cobblestone streets by day transform into an exuberant backdrop for nightlife, inviting you to partake in an assortment of activities that cater to every preference.
For a relaxed evening, stroll through the English gardens of Cismigiu Park, maybe even rent a boat for a serene trip around the lake. Alternatively, Herastrau Park’s vast greenery offers a peaceful setting where the nighttime aesthetic of illuminated pathways beckons for leisurely exploration.
Dive into the local culinary scene at cozy establishments such as Lente, with its homey atmosphere and board games, or VacaMuuu for a premium steak experience. Authentically Romanian with a side of international flair can be savored at numerous eateries throughout Old Town.
Nocturnal thrills are aplenty as social hubs dot the Lipscani district. Craft beer lovers and cocktail aficionados alike can find solace in the varied selection of bars. Little Bucharest offers global flavors, craft beers, and events that bring people together. For a chill experience with a twist, The Urbanist doubles as a drinking spot and an edgy space for shopping, tattoos, or even a haircut.
Elevate your night at one of the many rooftop bars. Linea – Closer to the Moon dazzles guests with seasonal access and live music while Skybar entices with its glass roof and delectable cuisine. For a high-altitude, upscale experience, 18 Lounge provides tranquil vibes amidst luxurious surroundings.
Indulge in Bucharest’s vibrant nightlife and let your senses guide you through an evening filled with Romanian culture, cuisine, and entertainment.
|Savor Romanian dishes in cozy or upscale environments.
|Parks & Leisure
|Enjoy the serene night setting of Bucharest’s parks.
|Bars & Pubs
|Sample craft beers, cocktails, and live music in historic Old Town.
|Times Bar, Little Bucharest
|Experience panoramic views with a drink in hand at one of the city’s rooftop bars.
|Linea – Closer to the Moon, 18 Lounge
Things To Do In Bucharest Old Town
In the heart of Romania’s capital, Bucharest Old Town, known as Centru Vechi, offers a glimpse into the area’s vibrant history and architecture. Despite its modest size, the array of activities is surprisingly vast. As you navigate the cobbled streets, you’re walking through a living museum, showcasing a mix of styles and periods reflective of the city’s complex past. Let’s explore some of the must-visit places and experiences in this historic district.
|An example of Wallachian Renaissance architecture, notable for its intricate carvings and peaceful courtyard filled with salvaged historic fragments.
|St. Demetrius Church
|A church with a tragic past, a reminder of the great fire in 1847 that reshaped the city.
|St. Anthony Church
|The oldest church in Bucharest, standing as a symbol of historic preservation in its original form.
|Church of Saint John New Monastery
|Hidden among modern buildings, this church is a testament to the city’s dynamic history, having been relocated during Ceaușescu’s regime.
Bucharest’s numerous churches reflect the city’s resilience and devotion. Stavropoleos Monastery stands out for its striking embellishments and marks the dedication of past residents to preserve their heritage. The enduring St. Anthony Church connects you to the earliest days of Bucharest, withstanding the test of time. Witness the harmony between old and new with a trip to the Church of Saint John New Monastery, juxtaposed against current urban structures.
Inns with History
|This 1808 inn not only offers historically inspired hospitality but also serves traditional Romanian cuisine with live music.
|Hanul cu Tei
|A captivating passageway from 1833, home to bars and art galleries, epitomizing the trade route significance of past Bucharest.
Once bustling with traders and traveling merchants, Old Town’s inns like Manuc’s Inn have transitioned into cultural hubs where you can savor the local flavors and sounds. Explore the charming Hanul cu Tei, a nexus of creativity and nightlife that occupies a storied place in Bucharest’s rich trading history.
Culinary and Brewery Heritage
Caru’ cu Bere, steeped in history, not only quenches your thirst but also immerses you in a legacy interwoven with Bucharest’s social fabric. Standing among significant financial institutions and religious sites, this brewery tells a tale of community and conviviality.
When visiting Old Town, immerarkse yourself in these historic sites, reflecting on the stories they preserve. Each corner tells a tale, each building holds a secret – and you’re invited to uncover them.
Museums In Bucharest
Bucharest is home to a myriad of museums that cater to a wide range of interests, from art and history to unusual collections. Many of these museums offer free admission on certain days, allowing you to immerse yourself in Romania’s rich culture without spending a dime.
“Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum: Here you can explore traditional rural Romanian architecture and culture. Situated in Herăstrău Park, this open-air ethnographic museum showcases life-sized houses, churches, and mills from around the country.
National Museum of Art: Located in the former royal palace, this museum houses Romanian and European art. Look for free access days to view masterpieces spanning medieval to modern times.
National Museum of Romanian History: Discover Romania’s past through a vast collection of artefacts, from ancient times to modern history.
“Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History: Expand your understanding of the natural world with exhibits ranging from biodiversity to paleontology.
The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant: This museum sheds light on traditional Romanian peasant life through an impressive display of costumes, textiles, and other folk arts.
Admission to these cultural hubs offers a glimpse into the rich heritage and artistic accomplishments of Romania. Where costs are concerned, a strategic visit on their free admission days provides an educational and cost-effective outing.
|Free Admission Days
|“Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum
|Rural Romanian architecture
|National Museum of Art
|Romanian and European art
|National Museum of Romanian History
|History from ancient to modern
|“Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History
|Biodiversity and paleontology
|The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant
|Romanian folk arts
To maximize your experience, plan ahead by checking each museum’s website for the specific days when you can visit for free.
Weird Things To Do In Bucharest
Witness the Gargantuan Palace of Parliament
Experience the enigma of one of the most colossal administrative buildings in the world. With 1,100 rooms, this massive structure is a testament to the city’s complex history. Located at Strada Izvor 2-4, it’s a must-visit for its grandeur and the secrets it holds beneath in the form of a nuclear bunker.
|Palace of Parliament
|Strada Izvor 2-4
|World’s second-largest administrative building
Dracula’s Trail in Carol Park
Explore the connection to the infamous Count Dracula in the urban center. The castle in Carol Park is a scaled model of Vlad the Impaler’s actual residence, mixing historical facts with the spine-tingling legend of vampires right in the heart of Bucharest.
|A historical model linked to the Dracula legend
Stroll Through Time in the Village Museum
Step back centuries as you walk among authentic village houses from the 17th to 19th centuries. Situated by Herăstrău Lake, these homes offer a pastoral escape within the bustling city. Don’t miss the iconic “blue house,” a romantic relic that’s easily spotted by its distinct hue.
|Showcase of rural Romanian architecture
Salute to Michael Jackson
In Herăstrău Park, find the monument dedicated to Michael Jackson. It marks his monumental visit and the humorous confusion of greeting Bucharest as “Budapest,” a beloved anecdote among locals.
|Michael Jackson’s Monument
|Remembrance of the pop star’s storied visit
Eerie Bellu Cemetery
This is where history and art intermingle with the macabre. Here lies Romania’s luminaries, and each gravestone narrates a unique, often melancholic, story. Visit the graves of the infamous Ceaușescu couple or discover tragic sculptures that tell tales of love and despair.
|Șoseaua Olteniței 3-5
|Historic graves and striking funerary art
Revolutionary Bullet Holes
Visit Strada Demetru I. Dobrescu 5 to see the preserved aftermath of Romania’s fight for freedom. These bullet holes are stark reminders of the sacrifices made during the 1989 Revolution.
|Architects’ Union Headquarters
|Strada Demetru I. Dobrescu 5
|A physical testament to the 1989 Revolution
Offbeat Culinary Experience
At La Gil, challenge your taste buds by trying ‘Creier pane,’ a traditional dish of breaded fried pork brains. A culinary adventure for the daring.
|La Gil Restaurant
|Bulevardul Aerogării 21
|‘Creier pane’ – fried pork brains
Myths of The Witches’ Pond
Venture to the outskirts to the mysterious Witches’ Pond in Boldu-Crețeasca forest, rumored to have otherworldly qualities and folklore of consuming vast amounts of matter.
|Myths of insatiable depths
Spiritual Relief at Zlătari Church
If you’re feeling bewitched, Zlătari Church might offer a peculiar sort of relief. Touch the hand of St. Cyprian the Mage here and perhaps have any curse lifted, as local lore suggests.
|Calea Victoriei 12D
|Saint’s hand believed to lift spells
Brănești’s Ritual of Cuci
Witness a bizarre pre-Eastern celebration in the village of Brănești, where men disguise themselves in vibrant women’s attire and masks, playfully touching others with sticks for good fortune.
|Village of Brănești
|Pre-Easter ritual for luck
Very Cheap Things To Do In Bucharest
Bucharest stands out as a destination where you can discover rich culture and history without having to spend extravagantly. Wander through the historic Centrul Vechi (Old Town) for a journey back in time and an array of dining choices that won’t break the bank. You’ll find a delightful mix of eateries, from cozy bistros offering traditional Romanian dishes to casual stands serving street food for just a few Romanian lei. Experience the vibrancy of Romanian cuisine by tasting mici, covrigi, and savor authentic pizzas and freshly baked goods from the local bakeries.
Bucharest’s Old Town Cheap Eats
|Price Range (Approx.)
|15-20 RON per slice
|2-5 RON per item
Enjoy nature’s serenity within the city at Herăstrău Park. This sprawling natural space offers an escape with myriad activities and cultural spots, and access is completely free. Rent a boat for a low fee to paddle around Lake Herăstrău or just stroll the paths admiring monuments and the open-air Village Museum, where a modest entrance fee is applied.
Experience grandeur at the Palace of Parliament. As one of the most monumental buildings in the world, tours are available at a low cost that reveal the building’s imposing architecture and historical importance. Be sure to book ahead to secure your spot.
Finally, venture to the National Village Museum. Not only does this open-air museum provide insight into the rural Romanian way of life, but it also does so for a modest entrance fee. See traditional homes and farms, and immerse yourself in a different era of Romanian culture.
Explore more affordable attractions in Bucharest, including these highlights and others, to enhance your journey without stressing your wallet. Each visit is an opportunity to deepen your connection with the city’s pulse while preserving your travel budget.
We visited a few of the best cities in Romania, cities with a wealth of activities to do. Our favorite city is Bucharest because it has a lot of things to do, some very unusual. Bucharest is cheap, very safe, and has also free activities too.