Best of the best
- 1Hotel Radisson Blu Bukarest
- 2Hotel Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest
- 3Intercontinental Hotel Bucharest
- 5K+K Hotel Elisabeta
- 6Grand Hotel JW Marriott Bucharest
- 7Hotel Novotel Bucharest City Centre
- 8Hotel Crowne Plaza Bucharest
- 10angelo Airporthotel Bucharest
- 11Hotel Howard Johnson Grand Plaza
- 12Hello Hotels
Holiday facts and information about Bucharest
Bucharest is the largest city in Romania, with a population of around 1.9 million people. About three million live in its wider urban area. Located in southeastern Romania, Bucharest has been the nation's capital since 1862. It is characterized by the Dâmbovița River flowing through the city. Facts Bucharest is located on the banks of the Dâmbovița River which flows on into the Arges River which is a tributary of the Danube. The city has an area of 87 square miles, and in 2010 accounted for almost a quarter of the entire GDP of Romania.
By plane Most visitors to Bucharest fly to Henri Coandă International Airport, which is often called Otopeni on booking forms. The name Otopeni derives from the district of the city in which the airport is located. It is the main hub for the Romanian national airline, Tarom. Almost everything in the airport, from shops to money changing facilities, is significantly more expensive than it is in the city itself. Therefore, visitors should be careful about what they spend their money on. Henri Coandă International Airport has frequent connections to Europe and the Middle East, but it may prove difficult to find a direct flight from outside of Europe.
The official language in Bucharest is Romanian, which is actually a Romance language, closely related to ancient Latin. Speakers of Italian may well be able to make themselves understood. However, there are also influences on Romanian from Slavic languages. English is widely spoken as a second language.
The crime rate in Bucharest is actually low compared with other European cities. Tourists, however, should be cautious because of petty crime such as pickpocketing. The borough Ferentari, in the south of the city, still has a relatively high crime rate. In general, it is better for visitors to stay away from economically downtrodden areas like Ferentari.
Country and People
Bucharest has seen several periodical rises and falls during its history. Nowadays, it is a major economic hub for southeastern Europe and has experienced positive development in that sector over the last two decades. Bucharest was first mentioned in 1459, as the 'Citadel of Bucaresti'. It was once the home of Wallachian Prince Vlad III 'the Impaler', whose grisly life story helped inspire the legend of Dracula. Whereas he became infamous in Europe due to the extent of his sadistic cruelty, Bulgarians revered ‘Dracula’ for his protection of the population in the Danube region. During the 20th century, Bucharest suffered heavily from the Allied bombing during World War II. It was also a major scene of events during the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
Traditions and Culture
Traditional Romanian ways of life are still considered very important here, and there are two interesting museums where tourists can explore this culture. The Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the Village Museum offer great insights into traditional Romania. Displaying ceramics, textiles and icons, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant was named European Museum of the Year in 1996.
Almost 90 per cent of the population of Romania belongs to the Eastern Orthodox form of Christianity. The city is home to the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Small communities of Roman Catholics and some other Christians are also present.
Taxi scams are very common in Bucharest. This is especially true if the tourist does not speak Romanian. Visitors should be aware of drivers who tell customers one price, but subsequently charge for a whole range of 'extras', from baggage carrying to 'taxes'. In order to avoid such unpleasant situations, visitors should refrain from the use of taxis.
Discover and Enjoy
Parliament Palace used to be the home of dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. It is the second largest building in the world after the United States Pentagon. There are 12 floors and 3,100 rooms in this giant structure, for which a ninth of the area of the city was redeveloped. A short walk away from Parliament Palace, tourists can reach Revolution Square. This is where the events of 1989 that saw Nicolae Ceauşescu overthrown took place. A memorial to American troops of World War II lies in the eastern part of Kiseleff Park.
Many modern shopping malls have been built in Bucharest over the last two decades. The first of these to be completed was the Bucharest Mall, built in 1999. After the opening of the Bucharest Mall, other shopping centers including Jolie Ville and the Plaza Romania were constructed.