If you are planning a trip to Romania soon, you probably already know that Romania is significantly cheaper than many other European countries. Still, Romania is not free, and it is possible to spend a lot of money without even fully realizing it until it is too late. If you are traveling to Bucharest soon, we have a whole list of free things to do and see in the city!
1. Free Museums
A lot of museums have some kind of fee, but there are a handful of museums that have certain days where entry is free.
The National Museum of Art of Romania is free the first Wednesday of every month. This museum is located within the Royal Palace in Revolution square, which is in the heart of Bucharest. This museum houses Romanian art from medieval to modern, but also displays art from other European artists and from artists around the world.
The Zambaccian Museum is also free the first Wednesday of every month. This is the home of Krikor Zambaccian, who was a Romanian businessman and art collector who lived from 1889-1962. The museum was opened during Zambaccian’s lifetime in 1947, but the communist regime closed its doors in 1977. The museums was not reopened again until 1992.
The George Enescu National Museum is free the 26th day of every month. This museum celebrates the life eand work of musician George Enescu. The museum is located within the Cantacuzino palace, which is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Bucharest. This building is over 100 years old and was built in French Baroque / Art Nouveau style.
The Museum of the Romanian Peasant is free the 26th day of every month. This is one of Europe’s most famous museums for arts and traditions and even won the “European Museum of the Year” in 1996. It features textiles, icons, ceramics and other types of artifacts of the Romanian peasant life.
The Bucharest Municipality Museum is free the first Sunday of every month. Also known more simply as the Museum of Bucharest. It is housed in the Neo-Gothic Sutu Palace, which was built in 1834 for the aristocrat Costache Sutu. The main staircase is particularly elegant and almost reminiscent of a Harry Potter film. The museum was opened in 1956. Probably the coolest part of this museum is the exihibt of the history of Bucharest, given in reverse. The is even a clock that was custom made for this museum that turns its hands in reverse, and all the numbers are backwards.
2. Take a Walk along the Calea Victoriei
You can’t really say you have been to Bucharest if you don’t stroll down this classic street. This is as classic as Lombard Street in San Francisco or the Champs d’Elysee in Paris – truly something you do not want to miss! This is a great scenic walk in the middle of Bucharest and a perfect spot to stop and take pictures. The northern end of the street is filled with beautiful houses and palaces, while the southern end of the street has hotels and fancy shops. The street was originally created in 1825, but it was named Calea Victoriei in 1878 when the Romanians won independence. Bucharest’s nickname is “Little Paris” and you will see why when walking down this street – it truly feels like you are walking down a Parisian street, mostly due to the architecture.
3. Decompress at the Cismigiu Gardens
There are so many public parks (read: free!) in Bucharest, but one of the best has to be the Cismigiu Gardens. It is a whopping 42-acre park in the middle of the city. It is open 24 hours a day and is a great place to picnic, by many of the shaded alleys and benches. There is a lake in the park, which makes it a great place year-round because you can cool down during the summer and skate on the lake during the winter when the water freezes over. There is also a Writers’ Ring, which contains busts of some of Romania’s most prominent writers.
4. Stroll down Revolution Square
This has been an historic site for the city of Bucharest, and indeed the entire country of Romania, for the past 200 years. The coolest building to see here is probably the Romanian Athenaeum, which is a concert hall that opened all the way back in 1888. This goes into the not-so-free realm of things, but if you are able to see a music show in this building, we would definitely recommend going – this is a bucket list worthy item! The Romanian Athenaeum also hosts the George Enescu International Music Festival, which is an annual festival that honors the Romanian classical music composer, George Enescu.
5. Check out the Street Art at The Garajul Ciclop
In the 1920s the affluent of Bucharest started buying cars. The need arose to store these cars, and so the Garajul Ciclop was built as a garage and car depot. Currently, this building is filled with graffiti by local artists and has even been recognized by the Romanian government as an historical building. If you want to admire street art for free, this is the place to be!
6. See the Stavropoleos Church
This is also known as the Stavropoleos Monastery, this is an Eastern Orthodox Monastery for nuns in the middle of Bucharest. The church was originally built in 1724, before Romania was a country. It was built in Brancovanesc style, also known as Wallachian Renaissance, or Romanian Renaissance style. It is a small but absolutely beautiful church!
There you have six great things to do in Bucharest if you are traveling on a budget! There are so many beautiful sites to visit in the capital city of Bucharest, and even more places that are free! If you are traveling to Bucharest soon and you are a student, we would highly recommend bringing your student ID – many places offer students or people under the age of 26 a discount, so be on the lookout for those!