Shopping in Bucharest
Bucharest has no shortage of big malls that you can enjoy a shopping spree, while flea markets are the best places to look for old Romanian banknotes and stamps.
The section between metro stations Piața Unirii and Piața Romană has thousands of shops for every budget. Walking from north to south, high-end fashion chains cluster around the Athenaeum concert hall, while trendy shops can be round around the university. Near to the metro stop Piata Unirii, Unirea Shopping Centre is a decent mall with a wide range of shops.
Romanians love getting their fresh produce from the markets. Piaţa Obor (Strada Ziduri Moși 4), Piaţa Matache (Strada Cameliei) and Piaţa Amzei (Strada Piaţa Amzei) are great places to shop for meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables.
On every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, from 6am to 1pm, Memories Bazaar (Bd. Timișoara 101/Valea Cascadelor) has several hundred stores selling bric-a-brac of faded pictures and old coins, as well as new products. Visitors need to pay a small entrance fee (2 Lei). It's a 20-minute walk from the metro station Păcii.
Shopping centres are springing up across Bucharest, bringing the usual mix of local franchises and international brands. Popular options for downtown shoppers include Unirea (Piaţa Unirii), Banaesa Shopping City (Şoseaua Bucharest-Ploieşti) and the Bucharest Mall (Calea Vitan).
Elsewhere, the modern AFI Palace Cotroceni (Bulevardul Vasile Milea 4) is one of the most popular malls with 300 stores, a cinema complex, an ice rink and plenty of restaurants. Take trams 1, 11 and 35 or the nearest metro is Politehnica.
Shops generally open Monday to Saturday 0900-1800, while bigger department stores tend to stay open to 2100 or 2200. Many shops close during the afternoon on Sundays.
Folk crafts, such as embroidered clothing and linen, painted eggs, pottery, woodcarvings are popular purchases. The best place to get them is at the Village Museum.
VAT currently stands at 19% in Romania and is included in all bills and transactions. Tax-free shopping is available for purchases over 250 Lei. To get tax back, visitors must get a legal invoice (receipt) and full out a form (formular de restituire TVA), and the purchases were made in less than 90 days before your departure date.