It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly why I became so obsessed with Bucharest as quickly as I did. I’ve liked every place I’ve traveled so far – I’m pretty easy to please at this stage in my travels because I just expect to love everything. After a little time, I could easily see myself calling each new place home.
I had a hard time leaving behind snowy, picturesque Edinburgh and the saucy fries of Belgium and my new friends and the bread in Germany.
I have a feeling leaving Bucharest will be difficult too.
Maybe it’s the fact that the people are just so dang cool.
Like “wait they’re talking to me why are they talking to me they’re so cool” cool.
And they’re friendly. They talk to the girl reading a kindle alone in a cafe on a Saturday night.
It could be the nightlife, which is absolutely out of this world.
That’s coming from a girl who went to UGA during its reign as “number one party school in the country” so trust me when I say that “let’s just grab one drink” will turn into you walking home at sunrise, arm-in-arm with new friends, holding a falafel.
And that’s all good – that’s how things go in Bucharest. The city is just alive at night. At 1:00 am, you can walk through the old town and people are just sitting down to dinner. Cafes are open and crepe wagons have lines a block long. The streets are brightly lit and always busy, great for us solo travel girls who like to walk home without fear of creepers.
The architecture is outstanding.
At least I think so. My local friends thought it was less spectacular. “You like Bucharest? You think it’s beautiful? Why?” They would ask every time I jump up and down and point out a graffitied building. They tell me how much better it is in Rome, or Istanbul, or Paris.
But here’s the thing about Bucharest. As you walk through the city, you see bits of Rome, and Istanbul, and Paris all within a few blocks. There is so much diversity in the scenery and style.
Somehow, Bucharest feels familiar, with nods to dozens of other destinations, and totally unique, unlike any place I’ve ever been. All at the same time.
One afternoon, I sat on the balcony in my fourth-floor apartment which I get to by climbing a tight spiral staircase made of stone. My little concrete balcony was overlooking a happy preschool shaded by trees, two mega-hotels, a totally geometric square building with square windows, an unfinished office complex, and two apartment buildings that could have been straight off the Champs-Élysées.
The graffiti here just adds to the coolness of the city. It feels rebellious but in like, a beautiful way. As if the artist said, “Let’s stick it to the man,” then painted flowers and messages of love.
The weather was perfect for exploring the many parks of Bucharest.
My love for the city could have to do with the fact that I arrived in Bucharest at the exact same time as Spring, to the day.
For the first time since I arrived in Europe, I can go out in the evening without a jacket and not be too cold. I live with the windows thrown open, working from the balcony by day and dining only at restaurants with street seating by night.
Park-going is a popular evening activity for everyone. Kids run around and play on the playground, parents and friends sit on blankets and enjoy a bottle of wine or a can of Romanian Ciuc.
Bucharest is a great city for digital nomads.
The internet here is fast and everywhere.
Almost every coffee shop and restaurant has WiFi. And the cafe culture is strong here, so you could probably try a new spot every day for a year and not run out of options.
Bucharest is very affordable compared to other cities in Europe.
So affordable, in fact, that when I couldn’t find a house sit, my usual go-to for accommodation, I didn’t even panic.
Since Romania is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe, it was easy to find an awesome city-center Airbnb for less than $30/night.
A nice pizza and local beer at the trendy place across the street cost about $5.50 USD. A ride on the metro costs about $0.65 USD (the metros in Belgium and Germany cost closer to $2.50 USD). An uber from the city center to the airport runs around $10.00 USD if it’s not surging too bad.
Where in the entire world can you get an Uber to an airport for ten bucks? Bucharest, that’s where.
Speaking of airports, Bucharest has dozens of affordable flights to other European cities.
I met a couple from Berlin who flew down to Bucharest for the day. They arrived at 8:00 am and left at 10:00 pm because the tickets were such a good deal. In the airport, I saw flights advertised for less than 40 Euros all across the continent. For a digital nomad who wants to travel around Europe, Bucharest makes a great home base.
But you don’t have to go far to see a lot because you’re already in Romania.
Bucharest has cheap and convenient train tickets around the country and so much to experience.
Hop on a train and in a few hours, you could be at the Black Sea, the Carpathian Mountains, Dracula’s castle, volcanic mudflats, Vacaresti Nature Park, the hauntingly beautiful Merry Cemetary, or Salina Turda, an enormous underground salt mine turned into an amusement park. That’s a real thing!
“It’s strange, but I’m into it.” An expat friend from Ireland said when describing Bucharest. Considering that I’ve been described that way on a first date on more than one occasion, perhaps my affections or the city is a kind of camaraderie.
I could go on and on about Bucharest, but for now, I’ll enjoy some Rum Koko’s – Romanian chocolate coconut candy with an actual shot of rum inside – and some much-appreciated sun.
If you want to read about more things to do in this amazing city, you can check out this Bucharest guide!
Where to stay in Bucharest
Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest – Right in the heart of old town, easy access to the metro and all the downtown nightlife. Booking.com gives this hotel excellent ratings for value, solo-traveler experience, and free WiFi!
Ambiance Hotel Bucharest – Stylish option located right on the river, walking distance to old town, restaurants, and attractions. Grab a room for less than $60/night!
Podstel Hostel – One of the highest rated hostels in Bucharest and super easy on the budget at less than $20/night. Only a 5-minute walk to the metro but you might not want to leave since they have their own cafe and garden area.
Airbnb – An awesome option for long-term travelers. Check out Airbnb for rooms in shared apartments and entire flats for long-term lease. If you’re new to Airbnb, click this link for $40 off your first stay costing $70 or more!