Want a cheap city break in Europe this summer? This Romanian city is perfect for an affordable weekend away – discover the best things to do when you’re spending a weekend in Bucharest...
It all happened pretty quickly, really. When our WhatsApp group discovered some super cheap flights to Bucharest, Romania, credit cards were flying – and a few months later, so were we. It’s the first time I’d been on a proper girls trip away (read more of my thoughts on travelling with friends), and seven of us in total bundled into a cute little apartment, ready to explore a new city. And take lots of photos, obviously.
Bucharest wasn’t a place I’d had on my travel wishlist at all – but for a (very) cheap, fun time with some of my besties, it turned out to be pretty perfect. Maybe not the kind of place you’d go to for a whole week, but for a European weekend city break on a budget, it fits the bill. Wanna check out some cool things to do in Bucharest on a weekend break? Read on…
Take a self-guided walking tour of Bucharest Old Town
We’d initially planned to do a guided free walking tour, but when we arrived to crowds of people so deep we could barely hear the guides, we decided to go it alone. Turns out there’s this little old thing called the internet, where we looked up some key sights as we made our way through the cobbled streets.
Although I enjoy a walking tour (probably too much), it was actually great fun doing it ourselves. We could stop when we wanted to take pictures, look up anything we wanted to learn more about and stop off at a pub along the way.
Just watch out for the potholes along the way…!
Go street art spotting in Bucharest Old Town
The streets of Bucharest’s ‘old town’ area are an interesting paradox. We walked along plenty of streets that had formerly ornate-looking buildings, now fallen into disrepair, and covered with street art and tagging.
I mentioned this in my post about a weekend in Hamburg, but I actually love the contrast. I find abandoned and derelict buildings interesting as it is, and I loved the colourful words and pictures adorning the streets of Bucharest.
Get your coffee fix (but not brunch) at The Urbanist
On our first night, we’d walked past a highly Instagrammable cafe, The Urbanist, advertising brunch. YAY BRUNCH. So obviously, we got ourselves straight through the door like the true blue bloggers we are. Unfortunately, Bucharest’s version of brunch was less avo toast, more sandwiches and snacks. Er. Oops.
But as the place was so darn cute, we decided to stay for coffee. Well, in my case, a tasty fruit smoothie. The plants, hip decor and swinging wooden egg chairs makes it the perfect city spot to relax in. Just don’t expect poached eggs…
Explore the most awesome bookshop
I’m not sure whether this is a book store, or actually a little slice of heaven. As a bunch of book lovers, we were recommended a visit to Carturesti Carusel – one of our very first stop-offs when we’d wandered into town. And it’s pretty damn beautiful. From winding spiral staircases to shelves packed with books and wine, the store is homely, welcoming, and has pretty much everything you could want to buy.
And y’know, anywhere that unlocks the many things you can do with a pickle is probably a pretty special place indeed.
Shopping in Bucharest: Pick up some bargains
I managed to stay away from shopping during my trip as all I had with me for my weekend in Bucharest was an already tightly-packed rucksack. However, some of the girls discovered some fantastic outlet shops selling Zara and the like for pounds. I was pretty jealous of their bargains, Bucharest is definitely a bit of a gem if you fancy a spot of bargain hunting.
Get a three course meal for under £20 at one of Bucharest’s oldest restaurants
One amazing thing about the city of Bucharest is that it’s just. So. Damn. Cheap. Seriously, even going all in with a three course meal and wine on the last night, we mostly spent under £100 each on our weekend away, including flights and accommodation.
We ended our weekend in Bucharest with a booking at Hanul Lui Manuc, one of the city’s oldest restaurants. Set in a lovely courtyard, we tucked into a three course meal packed with traditional Romanian dishes, drank lots of wine and enjoyed the cosy ambience – all at bargain prices!
See what’s on at University Square
As part of our self guided exploring, we found ourselves in University Square, which was packed with stalls and entertainment – including a stage with live music. Surrounded by impressive architecture and interesting statues, it’s definitely worth adding to your sightseeing itinerary.
Bucharest was a really fun, cheap trip with plenty of things to see and do – and for those intrigued by architecture or just cheap wine, it’s definitely worth a weekend visit!
Bucharest: Useful Information
- Country: Romania.
- Currency: Leu (1RON – 0.19GBP, as of 4/7/19).
- Language: Romanian – most people working in shops and restaurants had a good grasp of at least basic English. Learn some useful Romanian phrases here.
How to get to Bucharest
Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport is the main hub for visiting the city. Multiple flights to Bucharest from London airports are scheduled daily, and the average flight time is around 3hrs-3.5hrs.
The 780 bus route from the airport to city centre costs 7 Romanian Leu (around €2), and takes between 40-60 minutes.
A taxi will cost around €15, and takes around 20 minutes.
Where to stay for a weekend in Bucharest
Hotels in Bucharest are relatively affordable: for £50-70 per night, you can usually find yourself a decent 4* hotel.
Hostels in Bucharest are very cheap – with beds in dorm rooms averaging at around £10 per night, and private rooms easily found in the range of £20-30 per night.
We actually stayed at an AirBnB apartment with three bedrooms and another bed in the living room, which cost us about £10 each for the night.