While it is not widely known for outward beauty, Bucharest does have a lot of things that really are quite lovely. We were lucky enough to spend three months in Romania’s dynamic capital. That gave us lots of time to explore, see the popular tourist sites, experience local culture, and search out a few hidden gems.
Communism definitely changed the face of the city and nowhere is that fact more evident than the austere architectural style found throughout the city. The most glaring example is the gargantuan Palace of Parliment. When we arrived in February the weather was like some of the architecture, a little dour, cold and grey. We had to wait until April to see Bucharest’s surprisingly stunning side.
When the weather started to warm it was almost like mother nature turned on a light in Bucharest. Springs brilliant sunshine brought perfume scented flowers on trees, multicoloured tulips and daffodils on the ground and smiling people out to enjoy the warm weather.
The entire city looked less stately and more extravagant. People were drawn outside to enjoy the local favourite pastime, spending time relaxing in one of the mind-blowing parks in Bucharest! Bucharest boasts almost 4000 acres of park space and we fell in love with two of the cities more popular urban green spaces. Both of them stunned us with their size, beauty and vast park amenities. The sprawling parks are the number one thing that and have us looking so forward to our next visit to beautiful Bucharest.
We visited Tinteretului Park on my birthday and honestly there was no other place on earth I would have rather been! Cherry blossom trees were in bloom, all of the cafes in the park had their patios open and the park was filled with happy people enjoying blue sky and the sunshine.
The Park covers 200 acres in the southern district of Bucharest offering tons of amenities for visitors. There is so much devoted to children’s entertainment it is also absolute nirvana for kids!
Tineretului is divided into two parts. The main section (closest to the Tinteretului Metro) has smaller playgrounds for kids and miles of tree lined avenues perfect for strolling. In spring and summer, you can rent bikes at I’Velo for 4 RON per hour or 15 RON for a whole day. Kids and seniors can use the bikes free but only for 2 hours at a time.
Along the pathways are an assortment of restaurants and places to sit and enjoy a drink or two. We had planned to spend more time in this area on our way out of the park. Find a nice patio to grab some dinner before heading home.
We were pretty excited to get to the southeast corner to enter Oraselul Copiilor. This part of the park has carnival rides, roller coasters, trampolines, bumper cars, and a whole myriad of family fun! A cool feature is the dancing fountain, it shoots water high in the air to lights and music.
It’s hard for Mak to be still at the best of times forget being smack in the middle of an amusement park! He narrowly escaped getting soaked, dancing on the fountain surface moments before the lights and music began. When the water show began he stood stalk still for 10 minutes mesmerized by the colorful dancing water!
There is so much to enjoy in this park like the navigable lake (people boat on it in the summer), fitness equipment, mini golf, chess tables, bike rentals, a huge network of bike and walking paths, horseback riding, a dog playground, ping pong tables, and the Sala Polivalenta, a popular venue for concerts and sporting events right in the middle of the park.
Then there’s the stuff for kids in Parcul Copiilor! This part of the park is newest and features fun like the largest and most awesome kids parks in the city, bounce houses, a skate park, football pitches, volleyball courts, basketball and tennis courts, motocross and go-cart tracks! There is also barbecues and a picnic area for people to use.
Delicious smells lured us further into the park, there was an outdoor market set up the day we visited. Vendors were selling crafts and tasty local specialties. We tried mici (small sausages with divine seasoning) and sweet, crunchy kürtős kalács. Chimney shaped pastry baked over hot coals then sprinkled with sugar or cinnamon or nuts. We got so full eating at the market we didn’t need to get dinner! We had an awesome day at Tinteretului Park. It was our favorite because of all the fun things for kids, the playgrounds alone were the absolute best.
Cismigiu Garden covers 42 acres in downtown Bucharest. This park was closest to our last Airbnb rental and we spent time there almost every day. While it’s not one of the biggest green spaces in Bucharest, Cismigiu it is amongst the most beautiful. A pretty garden that has a lot for visitors to enjoy. A true urban escape, filled with sprawling lawns, flowers, lakes and trees.
Highlights include the lake, chess tables, a small assortment of cafes and restaurants, a dog park, 3 children’s playgrounds, an aviary, and hundreds of wrought iron benches that just beg you to sit and enjoy the view. We can totally understand why this popular garden is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Our favorite experience in Cismigiu was over Easter weekend. There were an outdoor market and beer garden set up to celebrate the holiday. We spent hours tasting food at the market, relaxing in the beer garden as Mak tore around playing with kids in the park.
We did visit Herăstrău Park, Izvor Park, and other smaller parks in Bucharest and have to say we were impressed with most. Herăstrău Park is Bucharest’s Biggest Park, 272 acres filled with a lake, library, museums, an art expo, awesome kids playgrounds, wide tree-lined walking paths, bike rentals and a network of bike paths, an aquarium, and a terrific assortment of places to eat and drink. It’s a local favorite for good reason. We only visited once and the day was cold and gray, so we didn’t spend a lot of time exploring. We’ll definitely spend more time at Herăstrău Park when we visit Bucharest again. The parks are what we loved most in Bucharest for sure.
Have you been to Bucharest? What were your favorite parts?