Discover some of the best hidden gems in Bucharest Romania

12 Hidden Gems of Bucharest That Most Tourists Never See

In Europe, Romania by Jurga31 Comments

In my previous article you could read all about the main highlights of Bucharest. And while it’s an absolute must to visit the Palace of Parliament and the Revolution Square, you should also see the other side of Bucharest in order to truly appreciate the city as it is today. So in this post I’m sharing some different things to do in Bucharest, some less-known places, the hidden gems of Bucharest. From street art to abandoned buildings, and from trendy bookstores to some of the hip rooftop bars that only locals know about… Find out!

12 hidden gems of Bucharest that are not on your list

I was extremely lucky to explore Bucharest with the local guides and discover not only the most known landmarks, but also some of the best less known places of Bucharest that most tourists never see. I want to share some of these hidden gems with you, so that you too can experience Bucharest as a local. Some of these places you can easily visit on your own. However, several others can only be visited with a guided tour, as you not only need to know the location, but also have permission to enter.

In no specific order, here are some of the best hidden gems of Bucharest:

1. Pasajul Vilacrosse and Pasajul Macca

Bucharest is sometimes called the Little Paris. No other place in Bucharest reminded me of Paris more than these two tiny passages hidden right in the middle of the city centre – Vilacrosse passage and Macca passage. Even the tables and the chairs looked like they came straight from a Parisian café.

Location: Pasajul Vilacrosse

Pasajul Vilacrosse and Pasajul Macca in Bucharest Romania

Pasajul Vilacrosse and Pasajul Macca

Macca - Vilacrosse Passage in Bucharest Romania

Vilacrosse Passage cafés

 

2. Pura Vida Sky Bar

You’ll probably never think of climbing five flights of stairs of a hostel in order to get to a bar. But if you are fit enough, I strongly recommend that you check this place out. The views from Pura Vida Sky Bar are incredible and they make the best cocktails in Bucharest.

Tip: go in the evening and enjoy beautiful sunset views over the Old Town.

Location: Strada Smârdan 7

Pura Vida Sky Bar is a hidden gem in the Old Town of Bucharest Romania

Pura Vida Sky Bar

 

3. Carturesti Carusel

This beautiful bookstore is a true gem right in the Old Town of Bucharest. Carturesti Carusel is one of those Instagram-perfect places that probably get a lot of visitors thanks to social media. Nevertheless, it’s not something you’ll probably find if you are not specifcally looking for it, so keep in mind when exploring the Old Town.

Tip: on the top floor you will find a café that serves some really good home-made lemonade.

Location: Strada Lipscani 55

Carturesti Carusel bookstore in Bucharest Romania

Carturesti Carusel

 

4. Carturesti Verona

Less known, but just as interesting to visit is another bookshop in the centre of Buchrest – Carturesti Verona. It’s actually an old house with many rooms, each with different design and a variety of gifts and books classified per genre. It’s a great place to just walk around and discover something new in every room you venture. We saw several people sitting in different rooms and reading books from the store. One of the biggest rooms has a café as well.

Tip: don’t miss the mural of the cat reading a book on the front side of the building.

Location: Strada Pictor Arthur Verona 13-15

Carturesti Verona book shop in Bucharest

Carturesti Verona

Carturesti Verona bookstore in Bucharest Romania

Carturesti Verona

 

5. Abandoned buildings of Bucharest

Bucharest has incredible architecture, but also many abandoned buildings that still have so much charm. Two of my favourites were the 120-year old Macca House and The Truth newspaper Trust (1898). These places cannot be visited individually, so you will need to book a tour.

Tip: If you like photography and history I can highly recommend the Beautiful Decay tour of Bucharest. This tour was one of the absolute highlights of the trip for me!

Abandoned building of The Truth newspaper Trust (1898) in Bucharest Romania is just one of the hidden gems we found when exploring Bucharest with a local guided tour

The Truth Newspaper Trust

Old palace in Bucharest - read all about where you can find this and other hidden gems of Bucharest

Macca House Entrance Hall Ceiling

The 19th century Macca house - one of the best finds off the beaten path in Bucharest

The 19th century Macca house

 

6. The English Passage

The English passage leads you straight through a building that was first built as a brothel in 1900. Since WWII it’s being used as social accommodation.The architecture is really worth seeing.

Tip: In the far corner of the passage you will see a little hat shop – Palaraii la mesterul Nicu. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner. Nicu is almost 90 and he has been making hats since he was 14. It’s really worth taking a look inside his little shop. And who knows, maybe you will find a perfect hat for you.

Location: Pasajul Englez

The English Passage in Bucharest Romania

The English Passage

Palaraii la mesterul Nicu - an old hat maker in Bucharest Romania

Palaraii la mesterul Nicu

 

7. Bucharest street art

Bucharest has a lot of street art and you will probably be able to find at least a couple really interesting murals on your own. However, Romanian street art often goes deeper than just a painting on the wall. There is so much history, so much social involvement and political protest behind these paintings, that to truly appreciate what you see you should better take a guided tour with a local.

Here is a small selection of really nice tours that will show you the alternative side of Bucharest:

Bucharest street artHow to find some interesting less known places and true hidden gems in Bucharest RomaniaBucharest street art is easiest to find by taking a tour with a localColorful street art in Bucharest Romania

 

8. Pasajul Victoria – colorful umbrellas and a hidden bar

The first day I arrived in Bucharest I stumbled upon this little passage – Pasajul Victoria – just next door to my hotel. I posted a picture on Twitter and before I knew it the hundred other bloggers that were attending #ExperienceBucharest had found the street as well. So thanks to Instagram and other social media this little hidden passage is now probably the most popular street in Bucharest. I assume I wasn’t the first one there, so please don’t blame it on me… 🙂 Anyway, just take a look, and have a drink or a pizza at the restaurant under these colourful umbrellas.

And once you are there, don’t miss the hidden underground bar as well.

Location: Pasajul Victoria

Colourful umbrellas of Pasajul Victoria in Bucharest

Colourful umbrellas of Pasajul Victoria

Hidden underground cafe on Pasajul Victoria in Bucharest

Hidden underground cafe on Victoria Passage

 

9. Antiquities market at Bazar

If you like flee markets and looking for some old hidden treasures, then don’t miss this antiquities market located inside an old semi-abandoned building in the centre of Bucharest. Even if you don’t buy anything, the beautiful interior is worth a short stop.

Location: Strada Doamnei 11

Antiquities market at Bazar in the center of Bucharest

Antiquities market – Bazar

 

10. Largest Corkscrew Collection and The Pressing Iron Collection in the World

Bucharest is full of surprises. The privately-owned corkscrew collection that comprises of more than 30,000 individual pieces and the pressing iron collection with over 35,000 pieces is a true hidden gem in Bucharest.

The collection is curated by the Museum of Romanian Records. It is not open to the public at the moment (although they said that there are such plans for the future). It can be visited if agreed in advance, usually for corporate events and group trips. You can find more information here.

Location: Strada Parfumului 25-27

Largest corkscrew collection in the world in Bucharest Romania

Largest corkscrew collection in the world

Largest pressing iron collection in the world - Bucharest Romania

Largest pressing iron collection in the world

 

11. Hanul lui Manuc

Manuc’s Inn is the oldest operating hotel building in Bucharest (built in 1806). Now you will find a beautifully restored medieval tavern, the wine cellar, and the summer garden that is well worth a stop. I don’t know how the food is, but you can see the Inn even if you are not a customer at the restaurant.

Location: Strada Franceză 62-64

Hanul lui Manuc 19th century Inn in the Centre of Bucharest Romania

Hanul lui Manuc 19th century Inn

 

12. Simbio restaurant

If you are looking for a good meal, I can highly recommend Simbio restaurant. Great atmosphere and the best meal of my 5-day trip in Bucharest. Just prepare to walk a bit in order to get there. The place is literally a hidden gem and is outside the main tourist areas.

Location: Strada Negustori 26

Delicious Romanian food at Simbio restaurant in Bucharest

Lunch at Simbio restaurant

 

So, these are some of my favourite hidden gems of Bucharest. Bucharest is truly a city of contrasts and if you only see the landmarks, you’ll be missing a great deal.

Have you been to Bucharest? Please leave a comment and share your favourite places in the city!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

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12 incredible hidden gems off the beaten path in Bucharest Romania

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12 Hidden Gems of Bucharest That Most Tourists Never See was last modified: June 9th, 2017 by Jurga

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Comments

  1. Can’t stop repeating that I love your photos, Jurga! Btw I didn’t see the passage in the 1st point, it looks amazing!

    1. Author

      Really?! Now you’ll need to go to Bucharest for the 3rd time, Liza ;). It was right in the old town, I took a couple of other bloggers there since they didn’t know about it either. I guess it just confirms what I thought – some of these places are really not widely known to tourists, even though they are so easily accessible.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Ari. Appreciate it! I’m hoping to show other travellers that there is so much more to Bucharest than most people (myself included) could have imagined before the visit.

  2. Bucharest has changed a lot since I went there and for the better. Glad to see that it is now clean and pretty. Your post has definitely may me rethink going again in a good way. Lovely pictures.

    1. Author

      I hear that a lot, Melissa. Bucharest has undergone a complete makeover in the last couple of years and it’s just a matter of time before tourists discover the city.

  3. If I ever go I will definitely be booking a decay tour – that’s right up my street, or should I say hidden alley way!
    Beautiful pictures Jurga. Which lense did you use for your photos of the staircase and ceiling?

    1. Author

      I certainly did, Ana! And I want to inspire others to open up to new experiences and travel deeper, because no matter where yo go, there are incredible hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

  4. Great photos and list. Bucharest is beautiful and often underrated. Thanks for showing the great side of this wonderful city.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Allison. I think many places are unloved because they are unknown, Bucharest definitely proves all the sceptics wrong!

  5. Great stuff Jurga – wait till you start exploring the country, you’ll be blown away (and take awesome pics!)

    your Romanian Friend 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you, Marius. I really loved Bucharest and would love to explore Romania more.
      It was great meeting you and hearing about those wonderful off-the-beaten-path trips you organise in Romania. You have sold me with that bear watching experience ;).

      1. happy to hear that, Jurga!! I also know someone doing donkey trails in the Transylvanian hills, perfect for a family trip with kids 🙂

  6. Not quite so! Almost all the places you listed are in or near the Old City, which is the premier touristic destination in Bucharest. They are anything but “hidden”..
    The only place I wasn’t aware of is the corkscrew museum, which sounds totally boring.

    1. Author

      Of course, Nicu! They might not be ‘hidden’ for a local like you, but very few tourists will know about them since most are not mentioned in the usual travel guides. On top of that, some of these places are not even accessible to the public without permission. So to a tourist like myself they were all a very nice find and made the whole Bucharest experience more unique.
      And as far as museums go, everyone has different tastes. 🙂 Normally I wouldn’t go out of my way for corkscrews either, but I have to admit that it was a truly enjoyable visit, more fascinating than I would have thought it to be (did I mention they had a nice wine tasting and a beautiful rooftop terrace there as well? ;)).

    1. Author

      Thanks Mike. Appreciate it! If you go, try to make the time for at least one tour with a local. It makes a huge difference!

  7. THANK YOU very very much Jurga for your kind words and lovely description of my birth town! There are some places in BUCHAREST that I never was till now…but after reading your impressions I shall go there!! Kisses lovely lady! Come again here & ENJOY!

    1. Author

      Thank you very much, Mikaella. We will definitely try to visit again! Glad to hear that even a local still found some inspiration in this post! We don’t always take the time to explore places where we live neither. We are still discovering many new things here at home in Belgium too.

  8. Just my first hour on Bucuresti and I read the post while eating at Zexe in old town (great Romanian food as a recovered tradition) and I really enjoyed your post and will visit those gems next. My first impression of the city you expressed in the right words: “a city of constrats”. Great post!!!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jorge. Hope you’ll be able to find all these places and enjoy discovering Bucharest as much as I did!

  9. Lovely cover of my home town.
    My hat goes off to you for mentioning the passages on Calea Victoriei, especially the English one. It smells awful, but if I have friends from abroad visiting, I take them there, and they like it, though the stay is always short 🙂

    1. Author

      That’s strange you say that, Mirela. It didn’t smell bad at all when I visited. I passed there several times a day for four days in a row and never noticed any bad smell. Bucharest has left a very good impression on me – really clean, green, and safe.

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