Your session has expired, please log in again.
Please choose a location
Please choose a check-in date
Please choose a check-out date
World > Romania > Bucharest
City Guide Bucharest
General Information
Bucharest is the capital of Romania, as well as the country’s biggest city and most important commercial centre. It is located on the Dambovita River and in a region full of many lakes. According to legend, the city was named after a shepherd boy called Bucur who founded a church here and enchanted people with his beautiful flute playing. There are at least 2 million people now living in Bucharest, with another half a million more in the greater urban area. Bucharest has changed a lot over the course of its history, and was once known as “The Little Paris,” full of grand French-style 18th and 19th century buildings, elegant boulevards, and charming historic churches. Now, it is characterized by a big mix of old and new styles, with the Communist influence of recent decades apparent everywhere in the big, modern, functional buildings alongside the centuries-old architecture. Bucharest is a city of contrasts and change, and is now prospering again and becoming a fast-paced metropolis to be reckoned with. The city is well-known for its excellent cultural performances and events, its museums, lovely parks and gardens, interesting monuments and unexpected nooks and crannies of historical beauty.
Bucharest has a temperate continental climate with distinct seasons and a wide range of temperatures over the course of the year. The summers are hot and dry and the winters are usually quite cold with a fair amount of snow. The temperatures in the summer generally range from 25¢ªC - 40¢ªC, and winter temperatures usually stay between -10¢ªC -12¢ªC, though temperatures as cold as -20¢ªC are not unusual. Spring is brief yet pleasant, and is usually over by the beginning of May. Fall is mild and occasionally rainy, with average temperatures between 18¢ªC - 22¢ªC.
The official language of Romania is Romanian. This language is the closest to ancient Latin of all the languages spoken today. The Roma people, also known as Gypsies, speak their own language, Romany, as well. Many people have also learned French, English, and/or Italian as a second language.
There is no national religion of Romania, though the majority of the population belongs to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Approximately 85% of the people in Romania identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox. Other main religions in the country are Roman Catholicism (about 5%), Protestantism (about 4%), and the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church (about 1%). There are also a number of Muslims, Jews and atheists.
The currency used in Romania is the New Leu (pronounced lay), the plural of which is New Lei. One leu is made up of 100 bani. Notes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 lei, and coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 50 bani.
There are several situations in Romania in which tipping is appropriate, such as in restaurants, hair salons, hotels, and taxis. Employees in restaurants earn very little in their wages, so you should always tip them if the service has been good, but should not feel obligated to tip if the service was unsatisfactory. Tips of between 5 - 10 % are normal in restaurants. It is also nice to leave a tip for the hotel maids, and leaving a tip of about 4 lei a day will likely make your stay more pleasant. Also, if the hotel concierge or porters go out of their way to help you, a tip is appropriate, of between 2 -15 lei, depending on what they do for you. Tips for hairdressers, masseurs, etc. are usually between 10 - 15 % of the bill. As a rule, taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped, but if they are courteous and professional, a tip of 5 % is normal, or more if they do something extra to help you. When paying for a taxi, wait for the driver to give you your change, even if you plan to tip, and then pay him his tip. Strangely, it is also expected to tip nurses and doctors in hospitals. Often you will need to tip a nurse before you can get anyone to treat you.
The value added tax, or VAT , in Romania is 19%. It is usually included in the prices in stores, hotels, and restaurants. Some hotels charge an additional tax of up to 5%, especially if they are fancy hotels. It is possible for foreigners to claim a tax refund on items purchased in Romania when they leave, subject to several conditions. The items you bought must total at least 250 Lei, and you must have purchased them in a store that issues the required factura fiscala, or legal invoice/receipt. Whenever you make a significant purchase, you should inquire whether you can get such a receipt. Additionally, in order to get a tax refund, you must leave the country within 90 days of buying your items, and have all your receipts and refund forms validated at the airport Customs Office. Refunds are only made in Romanian lei.
There are plenty of public telephones in Bucharest, which require a Romtelcom phone card. These cost upwards of 10 lei and can be bought from post offices, newsstands and telecom shops. The country code of Romania is +40 and the local area code for Bucharest in 021. To dial Bucharest from abroad, dial any country exit codes plus 00 40 21, follwed by the 7-digit local number. To call abroad from Romania, just dial 00, the country code, and the full local number.
There are many internet cafés in Bucharest, most of which are in the centre on the main shopping streets. These cafés range from cozy cafés where you can enjoy drinks and snacks while you check your email, to practical business centres also offering photocopying, fax, long distance phone calls, printing, and other services. Many regular cafés in the city also offer free wi-fi.
Emergency Numbers
Police: 955 Ambulance and Fire: 961
Public Holidays
Normal shopping hours in Bucharest are Mon - Sat from 9 am - 6 pm, though large stores such as supermarkets and department stores stay open later, and some stores may open a bit later on Saturday. Banks are open Mon - Fri from 9 am - 1 pm.
There is very little violent crime in Bucharest, and crimes against tourists are infrequent, though not nonexistent. You should take common-sense precautions in this city, as in any other, and make sure that your valuables are in a secure place, you don’t change money on the street, and don’t walk alone at night through some of the more dodgy areas. It is best to leave your passport in your hotel and not to carry too much money around with you.
The National Art Museum
Has a collection of 70,000 works divided into two major sections. Its "National Gallery" features the work of major Romanian artists, including Brancusi, Grigorescu, Amman and Andrescu, while its "World Gallery" presents works by Western masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, El Greco, Renoir and Cezanne.
Bucharest's Village Museum of
A fascinating outdoor museum that displays more than 300 wooden and stone buildings that reflect the history and diversity of Romania's rural architecture and design from all regions of the country.
The History Museum of Romania
It is housed in what was once Bucharest''s main post office, presents a collection of artifacts and jewelry that date from prehistoric to modern times.
Romanian Peasant Museum
Has a collection of folkloric agricultural tools, household appliances, fabrics and apparel.
The Museum of Art Collections
It presents major works by Romanian and foreign artists from a number of private collections.
The George Enescu Museum
It is in memory of the famed Romanian composer (1881-1995), and the Astronomic Observatory.
Public Transportation
Bucharest’s public transport contains buses, trolleybuses, trams and subways. The transit system covers virtually all areas of the city. There are five Maxi-Taxi routes connecting downtown with the main tourist attractions. Maxi-Taxis are 8 to 10 seats (white) vans that can be hailed like regular taxis. Tickets cost the equivalent of $0.40 and can be bought on board. For more information on public transportation in Bucharest visit
By air
The main airport is Otoppeni International Airport ( It is 12 miles from downtown. Public transportation from Otopeni airport to downtown can be realized by bus, shuttle bus and sky services. The second airport is Baneasa Airport. This is 6 miles from downtown. Also for Domestic and International flights. Public transportation from Otopeni airport to downtown by Bus #131 and 205 to the main train station (Gara de Nord)
By train
Main train stations are North Train Station (Gara de Nord) and Piata Garii de Nord (3 miles from downtown). There are daily connections to / from Romania''''s main cities and to / from Europe''''s main cities.