A weekend escape in Pitesti - The city of tulips
May 7, 2019
Pitesti is only 100 km away from Bucharest, one hour and a half by train and it’s one of the hidden jams of Romania. If you want to get away from the crowds of tourists, this is exactly where you should go. Pitesti has a chilled and relaxed vibe, people are taking things easy and the pace of life seems less fast than what you should expect when going to the capital. The best thing here is that the city is relatively small, having a population of only 164.000 people, so you won’t waste too much time going from one place to another. Everything is close to everything.
Good to know
Public transportation is accessible and easy. Public buses come regularly (at intervals of 10 minutes). You can buy tickets from most of the stops. Make sure you have change with you, as in some of them you can only find ticket machines and they do not give change. Taxis are also an affordable option, you’ll pay between 2 and 5 Euros for a fare, depending on the final destination. It’s advisable to leave a small tip (1-2 lei) to the taxi driver. To find one, unless you’re close to a taxi station, you can simply stop them in the street. Both buses and taxis are safe. You can also rent a bike and that would be actually the most convenient option if you want to see more of what the city has to offer.
Prices are very cheap in Pitesti, so that’s also another good reason to consider visiting Pitesti. You can buy a beer in a pub for 1.2 Euros, a pizza for 4 Euros and a dessert for 3 Euros. A bus ticket would cost 0.5 Euros for a one-way ride. If you want to buy food from the grocery store, you’ll find tomatoes priced at 0.3 Euros/kilo, cheese at 4 Euros/kilo, chicken (uncooked) at 2 Euros/kilo, etc.
Pitesti has a few food markets and several hypermarkets to choose from. The most popular food market is Piata Ceair, which opens at 8 am and closes at 6 pm, excepting on the weekend days, when they keep it open only until the afternoon. What I absolutely recommend is the corner pastry shops that are located in the city center. They sell fresh Romanian pies (try Branzoaica or Merdenea) and also the dessert shops (named Cofetarie) where you can find delicious desserts at very reasonable prices (1-2 Euros/each). Otherwise, you have plenty of restaurants and pubs to choose from, depending on your preferences, from pizza bars to traditional Romanian restaurants which serve authentic food.
If you like history, you might want to check the Pitesti Prison Museum and the Museum Judetean Arges. You can find here interesting facts and the good part is that they are usually not crowded at all. For sunny days, I’d recommend the Zoo, it’s a good place to visit and also a great spot for taking pictures. For a rainy day, you can always hide at the Planetarium and watch the stars. It’s a pleasant activity for couples or for single travelers. And it’s crazy cheap! You’ll only pay 0.8 Euros for the ticket.
If there’s a dominant thing in Pitesti, that’s art. Every weekend there are all kind of events, from Iranian music shows to opera concerts, from street dance shows to painting expositions. There are also several thematic markets, such as the autumn market or the winter market. You can buy here Romanian traditional souvenirs, including traditional clothes and toys.
1. Explore the city center
If you go to Pitesti you simply can’t miss the city center. Pitesti is a city full of color, you’ll find here lots of flowers and colorful buildings. You definitely need to check the big singing fountain, which is located close to the city hall. The next stop should be the St.George church (Biserica Domneasca Sfantul Gheorghe). Last but not least, enjoy an ice cream or a coffee in Vasile Milea square.
2. Take a relaxing walk in the park
There are many parks in Pitesti, but my favorite ones are Trivale, Lunca Argesului, and Strand. You can see all of them on the same day if you wake up early. Each of them has its own charm, so don’t be deceived thinking that if you see one of them it’s like you saw them all. Trivale is actually a forest and has a majestic vibe. You can enjoy a glass of wine in nature, at one of the two restaurants located there. Strand has lots of cute little bridges and it’s a favorite for skaters. It also has a nice lake with white swans. Lunca Argesului is a family friendly park and it’s close to Arges River.
3. Enjoy the festival of tulips
Every year, the most important event happening in Pitesti is the festival of tulips. The entire city becomes a huge tulips exposition, where florists from all over the country come to sell their tulips. You’ll also have music and street food, beautiful statues made of flowers and it’s the only time when the city gets crowded. You will find here tulips in all the colors and shapes and every year they try to make it better and better. It’s an event that you can just not miss! The first edition of the festival dates from 1979.
4. Take a break for a coffee with a view
If I’d have to choose one place to stop and take a little break before continuing my visit to the city, that would be at the coffee shop located at the second floor of Trivale Shopping Center. You’ll have a beautiful view of the city and it’s not one of those places where you need a reservation as for some reason, the locals mostly come here at night. But the best view is definitely during the day.