WHEN TO GO
- Climatology: Bucharest is not an especially rainy capital; The most abundant rainfall occurs in the months of May, June and July even though they are the sunniest months, as they often happen in stormy way. The most pleasant temperatures are in the months at the end of spring and beginning of autumn. In the middle of summer it can reach 40ºC and in the middle of winter the minimum temperatures under 0ºC are not infrequent. We were at the beginning of October; the first day was fantastic, with a great temperature and sunny, but the second was stormy, windy and extremely unpleasant. It is worth bearing in mind that many visitors who spend more than a day in Bucharest usually visit the castles in Transylvania, a much colder region, to take into account when planning our trip.
- As for the number of tourists, logically July and August are the busiest months, but in Romania in general, although it is a country on the rise and it is becoming fashionable, it is still a good time to go, as for now there are no many visitors (around 10 million a year, only one million are foreigners) and the infrastructures are well developed. It is not advisable to wait long, since the improvement in the economic situation is increasing the number of national tourists, and the international ones are increasing at a rate of 5% per year.
- Events: some of the most outstanding are:
- Art Safari: the largest art exhibition in the country, in spring, with no fixed date.
- The Jazz Competition: more than 30 bands perform concerts throughout the city, in mid-May. It costs 40 Lei per person per day.
- Street music festival: free, a week of concerts and shows in the historic center. June.
Official currency in Romania is Leu, which is often abbreviated simply as Leu, whose plural is Lei, and whose international symbol is RON. There is hardly any demand in other countries, so it is recommended to change when arriving (do not get RON in your country), and before leaving the country it is important to get rid of any left that we have.
- The best deal is to change in banks or exchange houses in the center. The latter abound in tourist areas such as Piata Unirii and Piata Universitate and tend to have more flexible hours than banks. We will barely lose 1%, making it one of the best countries in this regard. They will ask us for a passport and a receipt will be given to us. It is advisable to check the return before leaving the office, especially at the exchange offices. It is not advisable to change at the airport, since commission can be up to 10 times higher.
- In case of not wanting to change money:
- There are ATMs everywhere. Most will charge us a commission to take out money, plus what our bank of origin applies to us.
- Credit cards are widely accepted. Usually our bank will charge us 3% when using them for changing currency.
- Some major hotels, restaurants and travel agencies accept euros, but normallypaying in RON is cheaper.
WHERE TO STAY
Considering that the most interesting nucleus is the historical center, the ideal zone is around Piata Universitate. There are many accommodations and restaurants, and it is lively day and night.
I do not recommend staying south of Unirii Square, which is what we did. It is a residential neighborhood, which must be very safe, since our apartment was a ground floor that barely had a door with a glass window and a simple lock, anyone could break the glass and open the door by removing the latch, and yet almost all the houses were like that, so it should be enough; but at night, as far as there are neither shops nor restaurants, it is extremely lonely.
WHERE TO EAT
Romanian gastronomy has a lot of influence from that of the surrounding countries, and there are some pretty tasty dishes that are worth trying:
- Sarmals: cabbage leaves that wrap a filling, of different types, exquisite. They are usually accompanied by mamaliga, a corn-based puree that is very reminiscent of Italian polenta.
- Soups (ciorba), strong and varied, as in any place of cold winter weather. We recommend trying the Fasole cu Ciolan (beans with pork) because they serve it inside a hollow bread, although this last one is also typical in neighboring countries, especially in Bulgaria.
- The mici or miti are small grilled pieces of spicy meat and that many will remember what they call meatballs in Turkey.
The first thing is to go mentalized that waiters in Romania are unkind by default (see the post PROBLEMS AND ANNOYANCES). Seldom have I encountered such hostility and reluctance as a rule. I can not recommend any particular restaurant in Bucharest:
- The first day we had lunch in the Medieval Excalibur Restaurant, next to Piata Revolutiei. It is very well decorated and the waiters were not nasty, but the food was cold and expensive.
- We had snack at The Harp Bakery, in the southeast corner of Piata Unirii, it was expensive and the waiter was rude and chucky. Needless to say, we bought in a supermarket and ate dinner at home.
- The second day we had lunch at the Horoscop Italian Restaurant. We knew it was a bit expensive, but it was the closest to our apartment, and considering the horrible day of rain and wind, we did not want to go any further. The waiter was not particularly rude, but serious, aloof and attentive to our table.
We recommend renting an apartment, buying food at a supermarket and cooking. The best option are those of the company Mega Image, which not only have a strange name for a supermarket, but also a strange symbol, a kind of square shield in red and white with the silhouette of a lion in black color heraldic-medieval type. They are everywhere, they have good products and their prices are reasonable, we will see many locals buying there.