5. Bucharest: 3-Hour Walking Tour
If all the world’s a stage, then, for sure, Bucharest deserves its place in the spotlight! It has experienced it all: love, betrayal, Russian tzars, French Vaudeville, merchants of Venetian goods, Greek tragedies, and one or two great fires for good measure. Experience some of the most important sights in Bucharest and learn the stories behind them as you explore Romania’s capital on foot, alongside a local guide with insider knowledge of the city. Your Bucharest tour starts in the political center of the city, Revolution Square. Formerly known as Palace Square, this iconic spot has witnessed some of the most important events in Romanian history. It was from here in 1989 that dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu made his rallying speech to a crowd that quickly turned on him, instigating the Romanian revolution. This is also where you’ll discover several other notable landmarks, including the former Royal Palace, the beautiful Romanian Athenaeum (the city’s main concert hall) and the Athenee Palace Hilton (built in 1914 and formerly a favorite hangout for spies). Leaving the square, head filled with fascinating facts, you’ll go south along Victory Avenue, which was named for the victory of the new Romanian nation in the 1877 War of Independence. Soak up the history and significance of the street, we’ll also be passing by — and getting the stories behind — some other important buildings, including several palaces, museums and the beautiful Kretzulescu Church, one of the most famous churches in Bucharest. Next, explore the many sights of Bucharest’s Old Town. This is the heart of medieval Bucharest, the literal crossroads between East and West, where Ottoman pashas rubbed shoulders with Transylvanian princes. The winding, cobbled streets are filled with bars, cafés, shops and restaurants much-loved by locals and visitors alike. But if you need a dose of peace and quiet, you can find it in the calming courtyard of Stavropoleos Monastery, or the great wooden inn of Hanul Lui Manuc, which offers a captivating glimpse into an earlier time. Along the way, we’ll visit one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, the stunning Carturesti Carusel and snack on traditional covrig (basically a soft pretzel), one of the most popular street foods in Romania. We will finish the tour in front of the ruins of the Old Princely Court, which dates to the 15th century. This is the former residence of one of the most famous individuals in history: Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Dracula.