Things to see in Bucharest

Tourist offices

National Authority for Tourism

Address: Bulevardul Dinicu Golescu, Bucharest, Romania
Tel: +40 372 144 079
Opening Hours:

Mon-Thurs 0830-1700, Fri 0830-1430.

www.romania.travel

Palatul Primaverii (Spring Palace)

Down an unassuming boulevard in the wealthy Dorobanti district of Bucharest, Palatul Primaverii (Spring Palace) is the former home of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena, who lived there for the last 25 years of their lives, before their execution in 1989. Opened to the public in March 2016, the house shows the opulent surroundings the couple lived in while much of the country subsisted on rations. Carpets given by the last Shah of Iran, paintings taken from the country’s former royal palaces, and rooms done up in the style of Versailles hardly attest to a couple in touch with the lives of the common man. The palace remains largely untouched since the 1989 revolution, even down to the couple’s wardrobes and pyjamas lying on their bed, enabling visitors to get a real glimpse into the lives of the former first couple.

Opening Times: Wed-Sun 1000-1800 (by appointment)
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No
Address: Bulevardul Primaverii 50, Bucharest, Romania
Telephone: +40 21 318 0989
Muzeul National de Arta (National Art Museum)

Although tragically vandalised and looted during the 1989 uprising, the museum (inside the one-time Royal Palace, built in 1812) has now been lovingly restored. The best of three separate collections, the Gallery of European Art is an absolute treasure, containing many rarely seen masterworks. Highlights include Von Eyck's Crucifixion and a Rembrandt, 16th and 17th-century Spanish works, including several El Grecos, Flemish art including a Rubens and four rooms contain French sculpture and art up to the 20th century. Of the two other collections, the best is the Gallery of Romanian Art, which features works by the country's most famous painters, including Nicolae Grigorescu who often depicted Romanian peasants, as well as sculptures by renowned artist Constantin Brancusi. The small third collection is the Treasures of Roman Art.

Opening Times: Wed-Sun 1100-1900 (May - Sept); Wed-Sun 1000-1800 (Oct-Apr).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No
Address: Calea Victoriei 49-53, Bucharest, Romania
Telephone: +40 21 313 3030
Muzeul Satului (Village Museum)

Over a hundred peasant homes, barns, churches and mills, representing vernacular rural architecture, were transported from all over Romania to a park on the west side of Herastrau Lake in north Bucharest. Built to show the pride of Romanian peasants in their work and homes, the open-air museum is recovering from past fires, with relocated homes and pieces - many from the 19th century - replacing fire-damaged ones. Among them are rustic wooden churches and tall-roofed Transylvanian houses with beautifully crafted shingles containing everyday accessories such as tools, butter-churns, hay forks, beer kegs and clothes.

Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No
Address: 28-30 Kiseleff Blvd., 1st District, Bucharest, Romania
Telephone: +40 21 317 9103
Patriarhia Romana (Romanian Patriarchal Cathedral)

Nearly obscured by 1970s housing blocks, this ornate 17th-century cathedral, situated on a small hill overlooking the grey communist-built Piata Unirii, is the headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Church. A fabulous fresco of the blessed and the damned, ascending to heaven or tumbling into hell, adorns the entrance, as well as the oldest icon on the site, depicting patron saints Constantin and Helen (1665). Inside, expressive and beautifully painted icons, embedded in an exquisite gilded altarpiece, dazzle the eye in the sombre darkness. St Dumitru, Bucharest's patron saint, lies entombed in the left-hand corner and worshippers constantly climb the small staircase to his shrine to pay their respects.

Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No
Address: Strada Dealul Mitropoliei, Bucharest, Romania
Telephone: +40 21 337 0830.
Zambaccian Museum

The Armenian collector, Krikor Zambaccian, bequeathed his intimate collection of mostly impressionist paintings (including one of Constantin Brancusi's earliest sculptures) to the Romanian state in 1946, along with his beautiful residence. The Romanian collection is small, but selective, with great works by some of the country's best-known masters. By the time you leave, names like Nicolae Grigorescu and Stefan Luchian seem slightly less foreign. The small collection of works by Picasso, Cezanne, Bonnard and Renoir is situated on the top floor. The museum is now part of the National Art Museum.

Opening Times: Wed-Sun 1100-1900 (May-Sept); Wed-Sun 1000-1800 (Oct-Apr).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No
Address: Strada Muzeul Zambaccian 21A, Bucharest, Romania
Telephone: +40 21 230 1920
Historic Centre

The cobblestone streets between Calea Victoriei, Bulevardul Bratianu, Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta and the River Dimbovita still comprise Bucharest's most atmospheric area and are home to an alternative culture of clubs, bars, trendy coffee houses and restaurants - most lively when they spill onto the cobbled streets (or overtake empty lots) during summer. At its heart is the 15th-century Curtea Veche (Old Court), attributed to Vlad Tepes, which contains a few walls, arches, tombstones and one restored Corinthian column.

Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes
Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.