Things to do in Bucharest + Largest Parliament Building

Bucharest is the capital city of Romania and home of the largest parliament building in the world.  Things to do in Bucharest;

  • Palace of the Parliament
  • Arcul de Triumf
  • Herastrau Park
  • Romanian Athenaeum
  • Museums of Bucharest
  • Palace of the National Military Circle
  • Bucharest Km 0
  • Tineretului Park

Hotels in Bucharest are good value as are most hotels in Eastern European cities.   Additionally, most of the things to do in Bucharest are together so choose a location close the center.

Palace of the Parliament

Things to do in Bucharest - Palace of the Parliament

The Palace of the Parliament is the 2nd largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon in USA.  Furthermore, if you could pick buildings up it would be the heaviest building in the world.  An interesting fact about the palace is that by volume it’s larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza.  Finally, it’s the largest parliament building in the world.  As well as being home to the Romanian Parliament there are also 3 museums located in the Palace.  The most popular of the museums being National Museum of Contemporary Art.  The building is only 30% occupied meaning 70 % of this massive palace remains empty.

 

Palace of the Parliament Inside

Ceausescu's Palace interior, Bucharest, Romania

The palace was made for the former Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.  For this reason, it’s often referred to as Ceausescu’s Palace.  After an earthquake in Bucharest in 1979 he decided to redesign the city.  He decided that the palace would be the new center of Bucharest.  In 1984, after removing buildings together with people that were in the way, work started on the Palace.  It was made by soldiers under forced labor conditions.  It’s amazing there was so much poverty in the country at this time but Ceausescu had the funds to build this palace.  In 1989 however, before the Palace was complete Ceausescu was killed during a violent revolution in his country.  The palace was finally completed in 1997.

Arcul de Triumf

Things to do in Bucharest - Triumphal Arch

Bucharest has its very own Triumphal Arch.  It was built to celebrate Romanian independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1896.  However, it was rebuilt in 1922 to celebrate the end of World War 1.  The Arcul De Triumf you see today was made in 1936.  Did you know, there’s also a triumphal arch in Pyongyang, North Korea?


Herastrau Park

Adjacent to the Arcul De Triumf is Herastrau Park.  Lake Herastrau is in the center of the park which is perfect for reflection photography.  You can take reflection shots of the surrounding greenery and buildings.  In addition, the park features a Japanese Garden therefore you don’t have to go all the way to Japan for cherry blossom season.

Romanian Athenaeum

Things to do in Bucharest - Romanian Athenaeum

In the center of the Bucharest is the Romanian Athenaeum.  This concert hall is one of the most famous landmarks of Bucharest.  Although not a UNESCO world heritage site, it has been awarded the European Heritage Label.  You’re welcome to walk around the grounds and take photos.  The best place to photograph it from is the front with the gardens.


Michael Jackson in Bucharest

I also went to the National Stadium where Michael Jackson televised his first concert of the Dangerous World Tour in 1992.  Unfortunately the National Stadium has been demolished.  In fact, it’s been replaced with the National Arena which hosts the Romanian football team as well as the national cup final.

Museums of Bucharest

Things to do in Bucharest - Palace of the National Military Circle,

Museum lovers have plenty of museums to visit in Bucharest;

  • National Museum of Art of Romania
  • National Museum of Romanian History
  • Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History
  • Romanian Peasant Museum
  • Jewish Museum

The Palace of the National Military Circle is one of the most stunning buildings in Bucharest.  Although not a museum you can visit the grounds and there is a restaurant on the terrace


Tineretului Park

If you are traveling to Bucharest with kids there’s a kid friendly park called Tineretului Park.  However, the park is not in the center of the city but you can reach it easily by metro.  There is a section of the park called Kids Mini-town which has rides and areas for kids of all ages.  Lastly, you’ll also find a lake which is perfect for reflection photography of the surrounding landscapes.

Bucharest Km 0

Things to do in Bucharest - Bucharest Km 0

To mark the center of Bucharest is a monument called Kilometer Zero.  I have seen similar monuments in Minsk, Belarus, as well as Melaka, Malaysia.  An interesting fact is that the distances to other towns and cities are measured from this point.

 

Bucharest to Suceava by Train

The train from Bucharest to Suceava takes around 7 hours.  There are many direct trains to Suceava and even a night train.  The night train leaves Bucharest close to midnight and arrives in Suceava at 6am.  The train I went for was the early morning train which arrived in Suceava mid afternoon.  Taxis in Bucharest have a bad reputation but the taxi which took me to the train station early morning used the meter and didn’t talk which was perfect.

Suceava to Brasov

2019-01-02T18:22:18+00:00August 19th, 2017|Eastern Europe, Romania|33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Jean August 21, 2017 at 6:59 am - Reply

    Bucharest looks like a beautiful city to explore by foot. The size of the Palace of the Parliament is incredible, the heaviest building in the world! I love it when taxi drivers don’t talk to me first thing in the morning it makes the drive that little bit easier!

  2. Jen Horsfall August 21, 2017 at 8:32 am - Reply

    I would love to visit the museums of Bucharest. The Palace of the National Military Circle building actually reminds me of the military museum in Rome, which is also the most beautiful (in my opinion!) in the city.

  3. Amelie August 21, 2017 at 9:01 am - Reply

    I never really thought of visiting Bucharest but it seems like worth a travel. Especially the museums seem really interesting.
    Thanks and greetings
    Amelie

  4. Brooke August 21, 2017 at 9:04 am - Reply

    What are your plans in Suceava? I haven’t heard of this location before so am curious as to what your interest is in the region!

    • James Smith August 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Suceava has a UNESCO world heritage site called The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina, which I’ll be writing about next.

  5. Una-Minh August 21, 2017 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Herastrau Park sounds great and the perfect spot for budding photographers or for those looking to update some Instagram snaps 😉 Would love to go to Romania someday!

  6. Abigail Sinsona August 21, 2017 at 11:12 am - Reply

    I love that the city is walkable as it seems like there are plenty to see in the city center. As usual, your photos are amazing James. The Palace of Parliament looks so awe-inspiring with its architectural grandeur!

  7. Tracey Kifford August 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    I’d love to explore Bucharest – it’s on my list for a city trip. There’s always lots of interesting sights to take in.

  8. yukti August 21, 2017 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Bucharest looks like a place with beautiful, architectural buildings. When I saw the picture of Arcul De Triumph, I got it confused with Arc De Triumph of Paris. They both look similar. Great to know that Romanian Parliament is heaviest in world and covers more volume than Giza’s Pyramids. Beautiful photos!

  9. Marcie August 21, 2017 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I had no idea Bucharest had the Arcul De Triumf! Can you climb up it like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris? We primarily travel with our little kids so Tineretului Park sounds like something up our alley. You’ve made Bucharest look so intriguing!

  10. Bhusha August 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Bucharest looks beautiful! I hope I’ll get a chance to explore Romania in future! Let’s see!
    Bucharest Km 0 looks interesting. Chennai in India too has a similar milestone that says Chennai 0 km!
    Visiting the Arc de Triumph of all the countries could be a thing to do! I’ve seen 3 so far!

  11. Lisa August 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    I love that you had a good experience with the taxis in Bucharest! I’ve heard many unfortunate stories so you were lucky! The Parliament building is that big you can’t photograph it all?? That just makes me want to see it for myself. So interesting about 70% of the palace remaining empty – such a shame they can’t find more uses for a beautiful building.

  12. Bee August 21, 2017 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Bucharest is definitely an interesting city to explore. I was the Palace of Parliament and it was huge and interesting especially in its origins and purpose. I wish I got to see some of those museums.

  13. REBMINLU August 21, 2017 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    The architecture is so beautiful and stunning. What was the night train like? Are they like sleeper trains with beds?

  14. Fiona Mai August 22, 2017 at 6:56 am - Reply

    The Palace of the Parliament looks gorgeous! It’s surprising to me that despite being the 2nd largest administrative building in the world, only 30% of this building is occupied. I’d love to visit this building and its 3 museums inside, too.Bucharest is such a nice city!

  15. Suzanne August 22, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I like a good value-for-money destination and it looks like Bucharest fits the bill. Travel in Europe can get expensive but if you go to more off the tourist trail countries in Eastern Europe, you’re bound to explore equally fascinating places and cultures with less money. Thank you for sharing this informative post. I would have never thought about Bucharest otherwise.

  16. Rhiannon August 22, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    At first glance without my glasses on I thought your picture of inside the Palace was something from War of the Worlds! Super interesting fact about it being the 2nd largest administrative building in the world. As much as I’d love to see it in person, buildings which are too big to get in one shot really stress me out!! I suppose that’s where a drone might come in handy? Although an UFO hovering over a government building may be a little suspicious!

  17. Rachelle August 22, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    My best friend lives in Bucharest and I’m actually planning a trip to visit her next fall! I’m definitely going to be adding a few of these places to our “must-visit” list, especially Herastrau Park. I’d love to try to get some awesome reflection shots! Plus, it’s crazy to think that the Parliament building isn’t being utilized. I’d love to see that in person!

  18. Lois Alter Mark August 22, 2017 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    I would love to visit Romania, and your photos just raised it higher on my travel bucket list. I always enjoy taking train rides so I will have to check it out when I finally get there! All the spots you recommend seem super interesting!

  19. Jen August 22, 2017 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    By the looks of it, Bucharest is rich in history and culture. It is perfect for a walking tour. There are so many museums, structures, and parks to choose from!

  20. David August 23, 2017 at 10:41 am - Reply

    I love reading your articles as you always fit soo much in. I am going to Bucharest next year and can’t wait to see some awesome sights. I love how they have there very own arc de triumf as well. Thats pretty cool.

  21. Diana August 23, 2017 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Wow it sounds like Bucharest has a little of everything. The structures there look beautiful as well, the palace sounds huge and I’d love to see it in person. I especially like the building you photographed called Palace of the National Military Circle, stunning. I’d love to visit Bucharest one day.

  22. kathy August 23, 2017 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    I have wanted to go to Romania for quite sometime but have always been lured away by cheap flights to other places. I really need to make sure I get there this year! Bucharest sounds like a lovely city to visit. The Japanese Garden with the cherry blossom sounds perfect

  23. Abhinav Singh August 23, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Wow. I don’t know that The Palace of the Parliament is the second largest admisntrative building in the world. The other facts you shared about the building are amazing as well. However Arcul de Triumf intrigues me the most mainly because of its history. Bucharest is easily one of the most underrated places in the world.

  24. Kim August 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    The Palace of the Parliament is so grand! I wonder what makes it the 2nd largest but heaviest building, the material it’s made of? I think it’s great that it also houses 3 museums, but it’s quite unfortunate that it’s only 30% occupied! I wonder why that is, what an interesting building.

  25. Amy Rebecca Krigsman August 25, 2017 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I could spend days exploring the museums there. It’s so interesting that Romania also has an Arch. I saw the one in Paris, of course, but I didn’t know there was also one in Bucharest.

  26. Miranda August 25, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    I’ve heard about their Parliament building being the 2nd largest, but not that it’s the heaviest! It really is a magnificent building!

  27. Chiera August 27, 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

    I spent last summer in Romania and fell i love with it. Unfortunately didn’t make to Bucharest though. Such a little known fact that their Parliment building is the second biggest, something I didn’t expect of Romania when I found it out!

  28. Sandy N Vyjay August 28, 2017 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Bucharest has so much of rich history, heritage, and some magnificent architecture which makes it really endearing. The Parliament building looks really awe-inspiring with its grandeur. What a pity that 70% of it is unoccupied, could that not be put to some use? What a waste!

  29. Mimi & Mitch August 29, 2017 at 2:12 am - Reply

    I’d never heard of the Palace of the Parliament but loved discovering it with you! It’s so grand and makes us want to go back to Romania. We really loved Romania when we 5 years ago when we went! I’m sad we skipped this and the museums of Bucharest 🙁

  30. Lolo September 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    We fell in LOVE with Romania on our honeymoon! Visiting the inside of the Romanian Athenaeum was absolutely STUNNING!! We were lucky enough to at least see the orchestra practicing while we were there!

  31. Shona @ paraphernalia.co September 12, 2017 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Bucharest is another city with stunning architecture. It is interesting how money can be found to build grand buildings while the country is in socio-economic disaster, but this, sadly, happens in many places. I’m pleased your early morning cabbie was considerate enough not to speak 😉

  32. Tracy September 13, 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Another great place to add to my must visit list. We had only started to explore Eastern Europe last year and I know it will be a part of the world we will see more of in the future!

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