Bucharest, a city torn apart by revolution less than two decades ago has something to teach us all: a little heart can go a long way. All the scratches, bumps, and bruises of its infrastructure have miraculously managed, along with a thriving student population, to add charm to a city that was once considered by travelers to be just the loud and seedy capital of Romania.
But much has happened in recent years. We agree with our friends at Lonely Planet, and added Bucharest as one of the Up-And-Coming European Travel Destinations in 2014. The tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque architecture, and interesting mix of Romanian and other Eastern European cultures in the old historical center?have all made this place one of our favorite underdogs of European travel!
Here are some of Bucharests Best Kept Secrets:
(Make sure to swap there this year to learn them all!)
1. Its one of the only places in the world where you can see a 300-year old church next to a modern office building next to a Communist-era apartment block. The historical perspective you can get just by walking around the city is priceless.
2. Bucharests Lipscani District, is the most interesting part of the old center (and perhaps the city itself!) Along its mostly renovated cobblestoned streets you can find a funky mix of ancient and new, including ruins of the Wallachian princes medieval court, restaurants, art galleries, museums, and more!
3. Bucharest was once known as "Little Paris," and for this reason you can find some slightly forced but effective french touches that give Bucharest a certain je ne sais quoi. One such example is the impressive Romanian Athenaeum, which was designed by the famous French architect Albert Galleron.
4. The traditional beer halls of Bucharest rival those of Europes more well-known drinking cities (i.e. Munich, Germany). We highly recommend checking out Carul cu Bere or Crama Domneasca to wet your palate.
5. Its no mystery that people of Bucharest speak Romanian, but surprisingly enough, this Romance language is considered to be the closest currently-spoken relative to Ancient Latin! Besides Romanian, be ready to hear and be understood in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.
There are many more secrets and mysteries to be found in Bucharest, but we dont want to give away all the surprises! We hope this little sampling of its uniqueness has inspired you to add Bucharest to your swapping bucket list this year!
Have you ever been to Bucharest? Have we missed something obvious? Let us know...we love to share the travel goods!