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ABOUT BUCHAREST - THE CITY OF CONTRASTS

Posted by ICEP HOTEL SCHOOL on

Why choose our city for your next MasterClass destination. About Bucharest, the beautiful capital of Romania

The ‘new Berlin’. The ‘little Paris of the East’. Or, simply, Bucharest.
It’s a fascinating city of contrasts, combining over 500+ years of history with a relatively modern identity, glorious Belle Époque architecture with dour communist-era blocks, endless impressive parks with soulless public squares, and amazingly progressive locals alongside a select pragmatic few.  
  
 

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING BUCHAREST

#1 TRAVELLING TO BUCHAREST

Bucharest has only 1 airport called Otopeni Airport. 

From Europe:

Romanian airline company - TAROM, operates flights from many countries and cities like:Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria,Cyprus,Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany,Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Letonia,Liban, Lithuania,Netherlands,Russia (Moscow),Serbia, Spain,Sweden, Turkey, UK, USA.
Another Romanian low-cost airline - BLUE AIR, operates flights from countries like: Albania, Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, UK, Spain and Sweden.
With WIZZ AIR you can fly to Bucharest, from: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, UK.
 

#2 THE CURRENCY IS THE ROMANIAN LEI (DESPITE BEING IN THE EUROPEAN UNION)

Romania joined the EU in 2007, however it’s not currently part of the Eurozone.
As a result, it's not really possible to use Euro’s here. Instead, you’ll be changing your currency to the Romanian Lei (RON).
The exchange rate is currently $1 USD - 4 RON or 1 EUR = 4.8 RON
In most of the locations (restaurants, bar, hotels, supermarkets, etc.) you can pay with your credit card.

#3 BUCHAREST IS SUPER AFFORDABLE

What makes Bucharest stand out as an up-and-coming tourist destination is the fact that it’s very affordable when compared to its storied counterparts in western Europe.

Our school is located in city centre (Gramont Street No 38):

  • 2 min walking distance to Carol Park;
  • 15 min walking distance to Unirii Square and Old Town.

Accommodation, whether it’s a hostel, hotel, or AirBnB, is affordable, ranging from 25 EUR to 200 EUR depending on your budget. 

You can choose accommodation at walking distance to our school, we recommend a few options:

You can book accommodation via Booking.com 
Food and drink is where you make most of your savings though - two course meal is about 20-25 EUR. 
Attractions and entertainment are also very cheap; entry to main attractions in Bucharest will cost no more than $10, while a 10 journey pass on the city’s extensive public transport network costs around $5 EUR.
 

#4 BUCHAREST IS THE CAPITAL OF CONTRASTS

Fortunately, Bucharest has far more to it than a few pretty buildings.

It has heart, and soul.

And the locals are some of the friendliest in Europe, the expansive parks equal to any you’ve seen, and the hipster garden bars so cool they make Budapest’s famous ruin bars look claustrophobic.
Bucharest, like Berlin, is home to a thriving creative scene, with cool coffee shops, restaurants, festivals, markets, and street art.
 

#5 BUCHAREST IS SAFE

We feel incredibly safe in Bucharest, no terrorism, low violent crime, and low petty crime (no pesky pickpockets!).
You can walk the city through day and night, and without feeling unsafe.
As always, take precautions as a tourist. Don’t flaunt your valuables, watch your pockets, and be wary of touts. We always recommend taking out travel insurance.
 

#6 BUCHAREST IS HIP (AND FEELS A LITTLE LIKE BERLIN)

 

Cool, creative, gritty, underground, hip, progressive. Sounds like Berlin, right? Except these are the words we use to describe Bucharest.
Cool cafes, amazing bars and clubs, a thriving music scene, excellent street art, and creative cool kids and make Bucharest seriously hip.

#7 UBER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND, AS IS THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

We recommend taking Uber . On top of being cheap, efficient and easy, Uber drivers can be your go-to source for any information on the city - what to see, know and do. 
Pro tip | Grab an Uber to/from the airport - it costs about 15 - 20 EUR and is so much quicker than the airport bus.
In Bucharest the Uber service is exceptional. Sign up to Uber and get your first ride free by using this code! 
Depending on who you talk to, Bucharest's public transport is both great and awful. From our own experiences, it as easy to navigate, cheap and generally clean. The city operates buses, trolley buses, trams, and the Metro.
Tickets can be bought at booths around town, which are generally found next to bus stops, or at Metro stations, with different multiple-journey options available.
Try travelling outside of peak hour as the network can be very busy!
Find all you need to know about Bucharest's public transport with this guide.

#8 THE FOOD IS PREDOMINANTLY MEAT BASED

The food in Romania is delicious, but it is predominantly meat based. Indeed, Romania’s national dish is Sarmale; ground meat wrapped in cabbage.
Still, most restaurants have a large range of vegetarian options, so those of you who are vegetarians will not go hungry.
Couple of restaurants we recommend:
  1. THE ARTIST - voted No 1 Fine Dining Restaurant of Bucharest, run by a cute couple and our friends: the Dutch Chef, Paul Oppenkamp and his lovely wife, Mihaela. We recommend booking 1-2 weeks before.
2. NOUA - Romanian cuisine reinvented by a young Romanian Chef Alexandru Petricean
3. AUBERGINE - a lovely restaurant in the Old Town, with very tasty vegan options;
4. LINEA - CLOSER TO THE MOON - Restaurant and Sky Bar, offers a simple, but tasty food, amazing cocktails and a beautiful roof-top open restaurant in the summer and Igloo experience during the winter.
5. CARUL CU BERE - a 130 years old Romanian traditional restaurant hosted in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building in the Old Town.
More resources:
About Bucharest - The Common Wanderer

We hope you will enjoy your time in Bucharest!