How to experience Bucharest on a low budget

Iulia Condrea | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you’ve read the comprehensive guide for visiting Romania, then you know that my country isn’t too pricey to visit. Yes, our four-star hotels are as expensive as the hotels in the other more developed countries, and we do have fancy restaurants, but a trip to Romania doesn’t have to empty your pockets completely, should you choose a less costly path. If you’re searching for ways to experience Bucharest on a low budget, then let me tell you how

Getting from one place to another

© istock/Icva2

To some, visiting the capital of a country can seem a little stressful when looking at the extensive map of the transportation system. This is why many choose to purchase tickets for the Hop-On, Hop-Off buses; to make sure that they don’t get lost and that they get to visit everything on their list. Often, these types of buses are expensive and have the same stops as other regular buses in the city. This is the case for Bucharest. The express line from the airport, bus 783, halts at many of the main attractions of the city. On its list of stops are Herastrau Park, the Village Museum (Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum), the Arch of Triumph, the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, and Unirii Square. A one-way ticket with this bus costs 0.70 EUR. You should know that during the summertime, there are many festivals taking place in Herastrau Park. These music and food festivals have no entry fee, and the organizers often add workshops, not only for children but also for adults

© istock/RADsan

Another option that doesn’t include the express lines is to buy a day pass. This pass costs 1.70 EUR,*  can be purchased at ticket counters or through SMS**, and will allow you to board any bus, trolley, or tram* in the city. The app Moovit is top-rated in Bucharest and will tell you exactly which bus to take to the destination of your choice. 

Lodge with friendly Romanians

© istock/EricLatt

While Booking can offer you a significant diversity of hotels, consider renting a room through Airbnb instead. Romanians are very friendly and enjoy having tourists spend the night in their homes. They usually give the best tips as to where their favorite restaurants are in the area or where the most captivating sightseeing spots are in the city. A private room with your own bathroom close to the city center can cost as little as 100 Ron per night (around 20 EUR) for two people. 

Food and drinks

© istock/niromaks

The best way to eat on a budget in Romania is to look up the words “meniul zilei” in the restaurant’s menu. What it means is that preselected dishes (a soup and a second course) can be bought at a lower price than other meals. This daily menu changes in some places quite often throughout the week, offering something new and delicious at a small cost. The truth is that even if you don’t want to eat on a budget, the prices of food, in general, aren’t that high. For ten euros, you can enjoy a three-course traditional Romanian lunch in Bucharest, and then have something to brag about to your friends once you are back home. I can guarantee that you will have a mouth-watering lunch. If you wish to dine in one of the capital’s more traditional restaurants and get the full Romanian experience, then Manuc’s Inn, the oldest traditional inn in Europe, is the place to be. 

When it comes to clubbing, you’re in luck. Several clubs have low prices for their beers, cocktails, and shots. At Control Club, close to University Square, all drinks are half off after 11 pm on Tuesday. And besides the small prices, you should also know that the club hires many international bands and artists per month for a ton of good vibes. Also, if you don’t want to pay more than one euro for a beer or a shot, then the nearby Kulturhaus Club is perfect for you. This establishment recently opened a cheap hostel above their club, so you can party where you sleep if that is your thing. 

Bucharest was called Little Paris between the two world wars. This is because many people went to France to study and brought back ideas that turned into architectural gems, mimicking the French style. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your trip, take into account that most of Bucharest’s old streets contain building structures that will make you stop in your tracks to admire them. How you wish to spend your days in Bucharest depends on you. Visit a combo of afternoon delights, make yourself a priority at Therme Wellness Spa, or experience Bucharest in a crafty way, while keeping your trip on a low budget. All options are yours to choose from. 

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