At the end of August, I set out to discover Bucharest together with my sister. It was a trip between two sisters that lasted five days due to extremely high temperatures. It promptly reminded me why I never travel during July or August! But despite the heat, we managed to uncover many magical places in Bucharest. A city with a complicated history that most people aren’t aware of, I let Bucharest enthrall me with its remnants of stunning architecture and historical places. I hope these places inspire you to visit this often-overlooked city!

Carturesti Carusel

Strada Lipscani 55, București 030033

Strada Pictor Arthur Verona 13-15, București 030167

Let’s start off with the most obvious recommendation, the famous Carturesti Carusel. By far the most instagrammable spot in Bucharest, this bookstore is more than worth visiting. If nothing more than to marvel at the architecture and sinuous staircases. I could’ve spent hours admiring the 19th-century interior that spans over six levels!

Aside from that gorgeous bookstore, you’ll find a few others from the same branch. Namely, the cozy-looking Carturesti Verona. The high ceilings and grand old doors immediately won me over. What’s more, this bookstore is even bigger than Carturesti Carusel, offering an impressive selection of books in English.

Triumphal Arch

Piața Arcul de Triumf, București 011453

Bucharest is a city that found inspiration in Paris throughout the 19th century and Arcul de Triumf is the most obvious representation of that. Closely modeled on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, it commemorates Romania’s win in WWI and the King’s coronation. Situated outside of the city center, on a big avenue that turns into a roundabout around the arch. Despite the chaotic traffic, it looked perfect at sunset and even more so at dusk. In short, the best detour from central Bucharest that you can do!

magical places bucharest arch of triumph at night

Little Paris Museum

Strada Lipscani 41, București 030167

One of the most magical places in Bucharest has got to be the Little Paris Museum. Also known as Muzeul Micul Paris, it’s a small museum nestled inside an old house. It’ll make you feel like you traveled back in time to the golden age of Romania. More precisely, to the 19th and early 20th century when the heavy French influence shaped the life and culture in Bucharest. Visiting the museum feels like walking through someone’s historical house filled with endless antique knick-knacks. It’s maximalism at its best and I loved every moment of my visit!

magical places bucharest muzeul micul paris

Romanian Atheneum

Strada Benjamin Franklin 1-3, București 030167

One of my favorite places in Bucharest has got to be the magical Romanian Atheneum. A concert hall from 1888, it’s hard to miss this striking circular building! My one regret was that I was in Bucharest at the end of summer, which meant that the Atheneum was closed all week long. To be honest, merely seeing its interior would be a good enough reason to bring me back to Bucharest!

Central University Library Carol I

Strada Boteanu 1, București 010292

Not just one of the most magical places in Bucharest but a true hidden gem, the Central University Library Carol I is a must-see. It’s one of Bucharest’s best-kept secrets and merely finding it took asking one too many people for directions! One thing you should know before visiting is that you need to call in advance and set up an appointment. Furthermore, you visit the library with a guide and you can only take photos with your phone. Unfortunately for us, a movie was being shot in the main reading room. We still got a little sneak peek but I would have loved to spend more time inside. On the whole, it’s a captivating place and you need to discover this gem for yourself!

central university library carol I in bucharest

Church of the Stavropoleos Monastery

Strada Stavropoleos 4, București 030167

One of my favorite places in the city is by far the Stavropoleos Monastery. This small monastery and church date back to the 18th century. Free to visit and open every day, it’s in fact an Eastern Orthodox monastery for nuns. This tiny place is a genuine architectural masterpiece and I could’ve spent hours in the garden. The church itself is minuscule but with an interior that is nonetheless ornate. All in all, it’s another must-see place in Bucharest!

Macca-Vilacrosse Passage

Pasajul Macca, București 03016

Also known as Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse, I think it’s fair to see why this arcaded street is on the list of magical places in Bucharest. It was even more enchanting early in the morning when I peeked inside. The sun coming in through the glass roof coupled with fairy lights made for a lovely sight. Dating back to 1891, this covered passage has an unusual forked shape because it had to be built around an existing inn. The passage got its name after the old owners of the two different branches. Another dash of Paris in Bucharest, it’s an amazing place to stroll through or sit down for a refreshing drink.

Kretzulescu Palace

Strada Știrbei Vodă, București, 010102

One of the most imposing buildings in the city, I think it’s fairly obvious why I included Kretzulescu Palace among the most magical places in Bucharest. Also known as Crețulescu Palace, it dates back to 1904. At the time when all of Europe was mad about Art Nouveau, Romania found inspiration only in France and its classical architecture. Originally the private residence of the Kretzulescu family, the building served as headquarters for a handful of organizations. Located right next to Cismigiu Park, it’s one of Bucharest’s most impressive landmarks today.

magical places bucharest kretzulescu palace

Caru’ cu bere

Strada Stavropoleos 5, București 030081

Quite possibly the most popular restaurant in Bucharest, I knew I had to drop by Caru’ cu bere. Situated inside a building dating back to 1879, this was my kind of place. With neo-Gothic elements present on both the facade and the interior, it’s a stunning place. The name translates to beer wagon because a brewery opened its doors here back in 1879. My favorite part of the restaurant was the gorgeous bar area. The stained glass windows coupled with beautiful woodwork are a true marvel!

I’m going to be fully transparent and say that my veggie burger was nothing memorable. On the other hand, my sister was thrilled by sărmăluțe, a local specialty featuring minced pork inside cabbage rolls. In fact, we have our own version of that in Croatia! I guess you’ll fare better if you choose traditional Romanian food. At the end of the day, I would repeat my visit despite everything!

Cotroceni neighborhood

This quiet residential area of Bucharest hides lots of architectural gems. The Cotroceni neighborhood is one that most people probably don’t step into during their visit to Bucharest. Brimming with 19th-century villas, this historic district is quite beautiful. I found it to be the perfect place for an early morning stroll, with the trees providing much-needed shade. Often called the most elegant and bohemian area of Bucharest, I think it’s clear why I was drawn to it. Granted, I didn’t see all of it during those three hours but I certainly loved what I found!

Le Dôme

Strada Ion Ghica 4, București 030044

Lastly, I wanted to present you to Le Dôme, a chic restaurant situated inside the former Stock Exchange Palace. A beautiful example of Belle Epoque in Bucharest, I knew I had to sneak a peek of this building’s interior. What better excuse than escaping the midday heat with a prolonged lunch in such a place! The building dates back to 1911 and had a colorful history before housing a restaurant and a brasserie today. I must add that the food was great which meant the overall visit was amazing. I was glad to get a few glimpses of the grand old architecture in Bucharest.

magical places bucharest le dome restaurant
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Brigita Soldo

Travel Photographer · Creative Content Creator · Vintage & Sustainable Fashion Advocate

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