Bucharest is not one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, and when people do go there they tend to do so in the summer which is the perfect season to enjoy the beautiful parks in the city. But what to do in Bucharest when it’s cold?
Outdoors Activities in Bucharest When It’s Cold
First of all, you should still visit some of the parks in Bucharest even when it’s cold as they are really typical of the city. Cișmigiu Park is the most central of the many parks and gardens in the Romanian capital and also the oldest. It surrounds the artificially created Cișmigiu lake and is the perfect location for a walk in Bucharest even when it’s cold. If it’s cold enough you can even go ice skating on the frozen lake.
As you leave Cișmigiu Park from the north you will pass by the beautiful Kretzulescu Palace. Bucharest’s architecture is a mismatch of stunning historic buildings, such as Kretzulescu Palace, and the unsightly structures that were built during the Communist era. The charming neoclassical buildings create a strong contrast with the Communist architectural style, but it is this contrast which makes Bucharest so unique.
You will also want to go to Herăstrău Park in the north. It’s Bucharest’s biggest park and is an absolute must-see. However, when it’s cold you will need to plan your stay here efficiently in order not to get too cold. I suggest walking around the main park for a bit and then heading to the Village Museum inside the park. The Village Museum exhibits traditional houses from different Romanian regions which means that even if you only visit Bucharest you get a glimpse into the rural areas of Romania as well.
Indoors Activities in Bucharest When It’s Cold
You will need to spend a significant amount of time indoors if you travel to Bucharest when it’s cold. Therme Bucharest, the largest wellness center in Europe, is a great way of staying warm. Inside, you will completely forget that it’s cold, unless you choose to relax in one of the outdoor pools. Therme Bucharest has many different options matching different interests; there are pools, saunas, and a fun area with slides. I’d suggest going there during the week as it will be less busy and more relaxing.
Another thing you can do to keep warm in Bucharest when it’s cold is to head to one of the many malls in the city. I went to Băneasa mall in the north of Bucharest. Like any Canadian mall I am used to, Băneasa mall has a large food court with Western fast food chains, movie theaters showing movies in their original language with Romanian subtitles, and tons of stores for the shopaholics.
One must-see when you visit Bucharest, but infinitely more delightful when it’s cold than in the summer, is Cărturești Carusel. It is a bookstore located in a 19th-century building in the Old Town and carries a decent collection of foreign-language books as well as household decorations and tea pots. The bookstore is absolutely worth a visit for anyone who loves books. If you’re in Bucharest when it’s cold you might spend several hours browsing through books and having tea in the cafe on the top floor where you can read any book you may have purchased.
Finally, Bucharest has a lot of quaint little restaurants and cafes you could go to warm up between sightseeing. Here are just two tips for you:
- Bohemia Tea House near Cișmigiu Park offers a big selection of teas as well as snacks. It’s really comfortable and has different rooms upstairs and downstairs. You can sit on floor pillows and even playboard games.
- My second tip is a restaurant called Aubergine in the Old Town of the city. It’s the perfect place for warming up after a walk though said charming Old Town. The décor is absolutely delightful with its many vintage wooden doors.
To sum up, Bucharest, which is known as the “Paris of the East” for its many grand boulevards and Arch of Triumph has a lot to offer to tourists even when it’s cold. There are the typical sights you will read about in guide books. These grand constructions contrast harshly with the general atmosphere in the city which is somewhat dull and hopeless. Romania is struggling with corruption scandals and a high unemployment rate, and sometimes it feels as though the huge buildings and roads exist solely to mock the people’s lack of opportunities. The atmosphere in the summer might be more hopeful but somehow it feels like you will get to see the real Bucharest when it’s cold.
Nina Ahmedow is an expat living in Athens, Greece. Half Bulgarian Turk, half German, she always lived between different cultures and therefore developed a passion for seeing the world. Nina is interested in living consciously and cares deeply about ethical fashion, veganism, minimalism, feminism, and environmentalism. Her passions include traveling, languages, progressive Islam, and Hip Hop, all of which she blogs about at Lemons and Luggage.
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