Summer in Romania - Bucharest Travel Guide
June 20, 2019
by Ada Popescu
Romania, that country that looks like a fish when you glimpse at the map, on the Eastern European side, is a good destination for summer. Bucharest is the capital of this EU country (you can check if you need a visa here), different than Budapest – which is another capital of a nearby country. If you ever wondered what to do when in Bucharest, here is a guide to help, suitable for traveling with kids too. The weather can be hot as a pan during the summer months, luckily, Bucharest has a lot of public gardens and refreshing places where the temperature is pleasant. It is also packed with cultural events and summer sports venues to keep you entertained.
Parks in Bucharest
In Romania the heat can easily go above 30-35० C starting with May-June and the public gardens in and around Bucharest are not just an oasis of refreshing microclimate, but also places to learn more about the architecture and culture of the country, places that become the scene for contemporary art display, music concerts and other cultural manifestations.
There are over 45 parks in Bucharest and if you want to lay in the grass taking in the scenery, eating an ice cream, reading a few pages by the lake or further planning your trip, you should look for King Mihai 1 Park (called Herăstrău until recently), Cișmigiu Park – the oldest public garden in town, Tineretului – the biggest park of the capital. You might also like to consider Carol I Park, not far from Tineretului park and the State Circus Park with its pink and blue lotus flowers.
Mogoșoaia Palace, with its surrounding domain, is a good place to spend an entire day (15 km away from the center of the town). You can find out more about one of the most significant national architectural styles, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries that the palace is built in. You can visit the exhibitions in and around the palace, you can roam the wide, green, picturesque spaces and eat something tasty when you get tired and hungry. You can also rent a canoe or kayak to have a different perspective of the palace from the lake.
Știrbey Domain is another historically significant place that is open to the public and where you can spend a pleasant afternoon or entire day. There’s an entrance fee but you can use it as a voucher for the restaurant on the property. If you go there in August, you can enjoy a tune or two at the Summer Well music festival.
Snagov Palace is the royal estate built in the ’30s and located 40 km north of Bucharest, along the banks of Sagov Lake, which is still partially surrounded by old oak forest. Together with the protected Snagov Natural Complex Reserve and the Snagov Monastery, the area is worth exploring. You can book a night or two at a local resort to have a fresh start in the morning to go hiking in the woods or to rent a SUP (Stand Up Paddle), a wakeboard or a wakesurf to make the most of the lake.
If you want a taste of what the traditional, rural life in Romania used to be (and in some remote areas still is) you should visit The Village Museum. You can admire the charming wooden architecture of the houses from different regions of the country while you walk along quaint alleys. You won’t be surprised by now, there’s a lake nearby too – and King Mihai I Park is just next door.
For further cultural immersion, you can choose from the network of smaller museums and memorial houses of the Bucharest municipality, that usually come with a petite or medium-sized, endearing garden to shelter locals and visitors alike from the scorching sun of Bucharest summer. Painters, writers, musicians, physicians, diplomats, scientists – they all lived and worked in Bucharest and their houses now tell the stories of their lives and those of the capital at that time. Visiting these tall ceiling houses, beautifully decorated and full of wonders can be a delightful way to know more about Bucharest while taking a break from the heat.
Wild Protected Area Right out of the Metro
You might be surprised, but you can even find an urban delta in Bucharest. The wetlands around Lake Văcărești, 2-3 metro stations from the city center, and a little further to the south-eat from Tineretului Park became Văcărești Nature Park in 2016 and ”officially one of the biggest urban nature parks in Europe”. The protected area is an abandoned hydro technical project started in 1986 and now home to many species of plants, birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish and mammals. You can ride a bike on the dirt trails, watch the birds from the pavilion and take close-up shots of flora and fauna. You can also enjoy a spectacular overview of the park from the administrative headquarter on the top floor of one of the neighboring buildings.
Adventure Parks Within 40min Drive
For a more physically challenging kind of adventure in nature, near Bucharest, also kid-friendly, you should visit Edenland Park (not far from Snagov), Parc Aventura Comana or Extreme Park Cernica.
Zip-lining, archery, wall climbing, bike renting, horse riding, paintball are among the activities available for an engaging day outside, immersed in the soothing shade of the trees.
Garden Cafes in the City
Back in the city, you can end the day sipping from a straw or having a bite at one of the many cozy cafes and terraces. Verona Garden, Dorobanţi Garden, Modelier, Eden Garden, J’ai Bistro to name a few, are some of the places where you can enjoy not only food and drinks but also that sweet holiday feel, with casual seats and even comfortable hammocks, soft music in the background, wood or sand alleys and a little bit of green to match the blue sky.
There’s a lot to see in Bucharest. Make the most of summer and you will definitely want to go back in spring, autumn or winter, too, for a change of colors, temperatures and flavors.