Bucharest: An unconventional weekend getaway

When you plan a trip in advance and know exactly what you want to see and do, you can squeeze a lot into a three-to-five-day holiday and still manage to enjoy some relaxation time.

My girlfriend and I spent five days in Romania with Bucharest as our base. We had planned how we might spent the five days and, in this article, I will go through some of the places we saw and things we did in the capital, giving some personal thoughts in each case. There will be a separate article detailing the other places in Romania we explored.

Bucharest siteseeing

On the second day of our trip we decided to walk around the city of Bucharest at a steady pace and just take in some of the sites the city has to offer.

A photo from our Airbnb showing Unirii Square

We were staying very close to the Unirii Square so it was less than a five-minute walk to the Unirea Shopping Centre. We had a brief browse but did not venture far into the centre as we felt shopping was not one of the best ways to spend our time there, although, the Mega Image supermarket was very handy to have close by.

On our walkabout we saw many interesting and beautiful places such as: The Palace of Parliament where the Romanian parliament sits, the second largest administrative building in the world behind only The Pentagon in the U.S.

The stretch of road that leads to The Palace of Parliament

The Arcul de Triumf, which was originally built with wood to commemorate Romanian independence and then rebuilt with concrete to represent Romania’s part in the first World War. Like the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, the Arcul de Triumf sits in the centre of a roundabout on the Kiseleff Road.

The Arcul de Triumf. Source: David Stanley Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidstanleytravel/24396923048

The Stavropoleos Monastery, which we knew nothing about but decided to check out after spotting some other tourists having a look. It’s a small monastery with a small garden but it is a well-designed patch of land in the middle of the city, which was quite a surprise given there are shops and restaurants all around, but it was something off the tourist grid that was interesting to see.

The Stavropoleos Monastery courtyard

Herastrau Park and National Village Museum

Our last full day in Bucharest was spent exploring Herastrau Park and the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum. The park surrounds Herastrau Lake and there are many restaurants and ice cream/snack stalls that fill the park. The greenery and architecture is something to behold and there is something magical about dining beside a still lake engulfed by flowers and trees.

The park has many fascinating features to it and if you walk around long enough you might be able to see all of them. There is of course the lake, as well as many statues including the eye-catching European Union Founders’ Monument. The park has a quiet aura and is a nice way to wind down and take things slow as we did on the day we flew home.

European Union Founders’ Monument

The Village Museum that lies within the park is a different and interesting way to see the history of how Romanian people lived.

The village has replicas of houses from different centuries and as you walk through the village and enter the houses you can see how houses were built and the evolution throughout the years of the lives of Romanians and immigrants. It doesn’t just include houses but wells, windmills, watermills and a church among other things.

It actually takes a lot of time to explore each and every thing so we started to pick and choose what we wanted to see after a while. Nonetheless, it was a fun way to see history as opposed to looking it up online or seeing it in a book.

An example of a 16th century Romanian home at The Village Museum


Therme is the biggest wellness, relaxation and entertainment centre in Europe. There are choices of relaxation pools both indoor and outdoor that you can walk around in comfortably without having to swim if you don’t want to.

The pools are surrounded by green plants and there is a tropical feel to the place that remains even on rainy days. Another attractive feature is their pool bars that you can swim up to and order an alcoholic drink and then go back to chilling in the pool.

There is a separate kids’ section to the adults’ section which definitely adds to the relaxation for the adults. Patrons have an option to go to the top floor of Therme where there is a wide variety of saunas that you can try out and find which ones you like. My girlfriend and I spent three hours there and we felt so relaxed when we got home. To be frank, I could have spent a lot more time there.

One of Therme’s outdoor pools. Source: Therme Bucaresti Facebook

Wrap Up

Bucharest is a cool place to visit. It’s unlike any other capital city I have been to as it seems as though the place is still in the awkward phase of developing. The streets are rather pleasant to walk through and there is a lot you can see on a short trip. Personally I’m not sure if I would stay there for much longer than we did because I’m not regretting not being able to see something due to a lack of time. I would happily go back for a weekend to experience the vibe again and relax in Therme more for maybe one, two or eight hours.

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