City trips are fun, but when you don’t have much to spend it can get a bit stressful. In the Romanian capital you don’t have to worry as much about money as you would in let’s say Paris, but you still want to make sure your quick getaway doesn’t suck your money dry. In this guide to Bucharest I will give you some tips on how to travel as cheap as possible, without having to cut into any fun.
Don’t stay in old town
If you don’t come to Bucharest to party, chances are you’ll like it better outside of the party area. Not only will your accommodation be cheaper, you will also get the chance to see more of real life in Bucharest instead of an area designed for tourists. The Lipscani area is such a place, fun but not what you want when trying to stick to the budget.
As you might know, Bucharest is divided into sectors. Sector 1, 3 and 5 contain the most highlights, but because they still are a bit scattered all over the city, you will find many residential areas as well. During the summer I stayed in sector 1, slightly above Cismigiu park, a quiet and relatively safe area. From there it took me 15 minutes to walk to the parliament and 20 minutes to Old Town. Because most of my walk contained walking through the park, I did not mind it at all.
Do a free walking tour
The athenaeum, revolution square, the parliament and many other highlights will be explained to you by the wonderful guides from Guided Bucharest, for free! The tour starts every day at Unirii square, at 10:30 and 15:00. Please be so nice to leave them a tip.
Eat from La Mara
This tiny take-out place is not just a budget tip, it’s a must do when in Bucharest! La Mara is a small family business, located in one of the many residential streets of Sector 1, Strada. Gen. H. M. Berthelot. They serve different, typical Romanian and local, dishes every day. The staff really takes their time to help you pick out something you’ll like. The English speaking owner leads you into the crowded, little space where you can order anything you like, in any size. The food is absolutely delicious, healthy and cheap. For a full dinner I paid around €3.
Instead of going to the art museum (which you should really do because it’s awesome), there are many free art galleries around the city. My favorites are right behind the athenaeum. Artmark (also behind the athenaeum) didn’t really do it for me when it comes to art, but the building is gorgeous! Feel free to step into a gallery when you see one.
Take the metro
Bucharest has a safe and reliable metro network and lucky for us it’s also cheap! You pay around €2,50 for 10 metro rides. The best thing about travelling by metro is once you’ve paid, you can travel anywhere without paying again, as long as you stay underground that is.
Bring a student card
Any student card will do. It saves you a lot of money on museums and other paid highlights. For example you get 50% off a 2,5 tour at the people’s parliament.
Did I miss any? Let me know by leaving a comment!
For other information about Romania, check out the Romania section on my blog or purchase a rough travel guide to this lovely Balkan country: