mai 29, 2015
Bucharest Independent City Walks
The following walks are designed to guide you around the four main areas of Bucharest, pointing out several unique sights. Stray from the routes as you wish, as you’re sure to find other interesting places along the way that are not mentioned here. Allow approximately three hours for each walk.
Walk # 1 North of Center
This beautiful walk takes you through the quiet area north of the city center. Begin at Piata Victoriei with the government’s Victoria Palace(Palatul Victoria) on its east side. Cross the square and walk north along tree-lined Soseaua Kiseleff. On your left are the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum and the Museum of the Romanian Peasant; a little farther up on the right is the National Geological Museum. After passing through Kiseleff Park, stroll northward along the grand old mansions that line the shaded avenue all the way up to the Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf). There begins Herestrau Park with its lake, gardens and outdoor restaurants. You will also pass the entrance to the wonderful open-air Muzeul Satului (Village Museum); take time to stop in and admire the numerous traditional rural architectural styles. Ending at the north end of the park, off Piata Presei Libere you’ll find the RomExpo exhibit center and the World Trade Center Plaza at Pullman (former Sofitel) Hotel. There’s a fancy shopping arcade inside and a very nice coffee shop in the hotel where you can get a bite to eat. Catch bus # 335 back to Piata Charles de Gaulle for the Aviatorilorsubway station (Metrou) or bus #331 to Piata Romana.
Walk # 2 West – Central
This walk follows the route of Bucharest’s most famous historic avenue, Calea Victoriei, Beginning at Piata Victoriei, walk south along Calea Victoriei passing Casa Vernescu, the George Enescu Museum, housed in the beautiful Cantacuzino Palace, and the Art Collections Museum. Two blocks south of Bulevardul Dacia, detour left onto Strada Piata Amzei where you’ll come upon the colorful open-air produce market(Piata Amzei). Return to Calea Victoriei and turn left to resume the walk south, stopping in the shops along the way. Upon reaching Piata Revolutiei you will find the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel, the Romanian Athenaeum (Atheneul Roman) concert house (ask for an inside tour), the National Art Museum, housed in the former Royal Palace, the beautiful University Library, the former Communist Party Central Committee building, and finally, the Kretulescu Church built in 1725. Continuing south on Calea Victoriei, you’ll pass more shops and hotels; note the Odeon Theater, sitting back from the street on the left. On the right you’ll come to The Military Club which has an outdoor café and an art gallery. Turn west (right) at the corner onto Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta and follow it to Cismigiu Garden, the last stop on this walk. Stroll around the lake or just relax watching the rowboats. The boathouse café offers snacks and refreshments.
Walk # 3 East – Central
This walk takes you along Bucharest’s busiest commercial and shopping area. The boulevard changes names five times, but here you will cover the length of only three of its five sections: General Magheru, Nicolae Balcescu and I.C. Bratianu. Starting from Piata Romana, you might first walk east on Bulevardul Dacia for a look at some of the embassy mansions; then return to Piata Romana. Next, head south on Bulevardul General Magheru. The street is filled with clothing stores, sidewalk vendors, pastry shops, cinemas, stationary stores (papeterie), and crystal shops. On the east side of the Bulevardul Balcescu section you will find the Libraria Noi bookstore which has a good selection of American picture books and English novels. There are several art galleries along here, including two in the National Theater which is next to the high-rise Intercontinental Hotel. Behind the hotel are the American Consulate and the American Library. Reaching Piata Universitatii, on the west side of the street you will see Bucharest University and the sidewalk book and flower vendors; sit a moment at the fountain in the adjoining plaza and watch the activity. The underground subway (Metrou) concourse has shops, newsstands with American magazines, and several fast food eateries, including a pastry shop and pizzeria. This underground passage is the easiest place to cross the boulevards, rather than deal with street traffic. South of Piata Universitatii the street name changes to Bulevardul I.C. Bratianu. On your right is the Bucharest History & Art Museum, housed in the neoclassical Sutu Palace, built in 1835. Farther down, across the boulevard will be Sfantul Gheorghe cel Nou Church, built in 1701. The eastern end of Strada Lipscani meets the boulevard on the west side. Continuing south, you will end this walk at Piata Unirii where you will find department stores, a large grassy square with park benches to rest on and its enormous complex of fountains. Piata Unirii’s two subway (Metrou) lines link with all other subway stops.