How to Visit Bucharest the Smart Way


Bucharest is a city with many beautiful places to visit. The eclectic mixture of history, architecture, and culture are dating back to 500 BC. As I have been reading lately, foreigners spend here a day at most because they are in a rush to reach other more popular destinations in the country side. If they stay for longer they don’t seem to be impressed with what they see and opt instead for restaurants and entertainment to feel that they get their time and money worth.

For someone like me who was born, raised, and educated in Bucharest this is disappointing news. However, I would feel the same if I got to spend an entire day visiting only a small part of the city and getting bombarded with scattered information from different time periods that after a while they would stop making sense especially if I was visiting Bucharest for the first time.

In Bucharest, old meets new and modern. You will find traffic, pollution, crowds, and higher prices just like in any European capital. I believe that one of the mistakes visitors make is that they rely heavily on the convenience of the tourism agencies and believe that they are the “experts”. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that they are paying for something they could do themselves just as well.

Educated travelers that want to get the most for their buck research places before they get there. It will take more than one day to visit Bucharest, connect the loose ends of history, and understand why and how this city got to be where it is now. Do some reading, plan ahead, and do things like a “Bucharester”. If you are looking for the fastest and most complete experience in the city consider using the Metrou or the subway system as a way of getting around. It is like they say In England: why would you need a car in London when you had the Underground?

For most Bucharesters the subway is a good way to commute to work. If you want to avoid taxi scams and the nonsense conversations that the taxis drivers are trying to have with people from out of town and hopping on and off the buses that don’t respect their schedule you can easily take the subway, create your own schedule, and enjoy Bucharest the way you want. The subway is the safest, most reliable, and cheapest mode of transportation in Bucharest.

metrou-1
Piata Victoriei Station

I used the subway a lot when I lived in Bucharest. It was an easy and comfortable way to get anywhere in the city. I was in the middle school when I visited the subway for the first time with my friend and her dad. He was an engineer and part of the crew that designed the first line. For the first couple of months, people were visiting the subway like they were visiting a museum. Very shortly after that, the public transport in Bucharest had become dominated by the Metrou or subway.

In the past few years, the subway system has improved a lot as far as efficiency and design especially with the import of new trains made by Bombardier. The opening of the new lines help connect all the important areas of Bucharest. By 2020 all lines will be open. You will be able to get to and from the airport by subway very fast whereas you could only do this now by private car or taxis that charge exaggerated fares. Can you tell I am not a taxis fan?

You can probably get from end of the city to another in about an hour. The best time to travel is during working hours from about 10:00 A.M. to around 4 P.M. to beat the crowds. A ten – trip pass cost less than $5. I could not find a time schedule. The regular interval of time between trains can’t be more than five minutes.

Move cursor over pictures to see description.

The subway map is very easy to understand. Do not worry about the pronunciation. People of Bucharest are very helpful and most of them speak or understand English. You will get the most valuable information from the locals. Although some Bucharesters don’t like their city they still show a sense of pride. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you get stuck. I assure you that you won’t get lost. I was a teenager when I used the subways in Budapest and Prague for the first time and found my way around just fine. Below you can see the most recent map of the subway system that I found at http://www.metrorex.ro/map_p1345-2

I recommend checking the website for the most updated information.map-bucharest-subway-official-2

The link on Wikipedia that you will find below

offers very good information on what attractions you will find around each station (look at column “Obiective turistice apropiate”). Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes because you will need to do some walking once you get to the desired station and fully explore all the sights that interest you.

Featured Image: www.pexels.com

Photo# 1: Piata Victoriei Station – Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons) by Cristi2555 at English Wikipedia

Photos# 2 and 3: www.metrorex.com

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