11 Beautiful Buildings That Will Make You Fall For Bucharest

My Dad always told me to “look up” when I’m in an unfamiliar city and I guess his advice has influenced how I experience new destinations because I’m always gazing at the rooftops instead of watching my step. One of the things that struck me when I was in Bucharest for a weekend recently was that the city is filled with drop-dead gorgeous buildings. Ok, so they’re usually overshadowed by ugly communist tenant blocks, but that’s what makes Bucharest so intriguing. Its eclectic architecture stopped me in my tracks throughout my stay and I found myself reaching for my camera constantly as I walked from place to place.

These buildings remain despite the communist totalitarian regime’s efforts to destroy anything of historical significance in Romania, proud relics of the eras before the regime.

Because of my inability to appreciate a good piece of architecture without taking a photo of it, I have a ton of pictures of Bucharest’s best buildings. I figured I’d share them here, in case you too are a little bit of a bricks and mortar geek.

The most beautiful buildings in Bucharest

Bucharest's most beautiful buildings

Macca Villacrosse Passage

Macca Villacrosse Passage

Macca Villacrosse Passage is a horse-shoe shaped, glass-covered arcade filled with hookah cafes and cool boutiques. I stumbled upon it quite by accident and wouldn’t have minded spending my entire day here people-watching! Strolling through this iconic passage, you could easily be in the Paris of days gone by.

 

Mogosoaia Palace

Mogosoaia Palace

Located outside the city, Mogosoaia Palace was the summer residence of a prince called Constantin Brâncoveanu. It was confiscated during the Ottoman Empire and left to ruin, then switched hands a few times before it was restored by Princess Martha. Now, its a tranquil haven where you can spend a few hours relaxing.

 

Grand Hotel du Boulevard

Grand Hotel du Boulevard

Grand Hotel du Boulevard is one of the oldest hotels in Bucharest – and an expensive one at that. Once the central hub of Bucharest highlife, it’s undergone a massive refurbishment.

 

Cercul Militar National

Cercul Militar National

The Palace of the National Military Circle was built on the site of an old monastery in 1911 and its interior was ruined during WW1. Our local guide told us that eligible young ladies used to be sent to walk around the building in the hope they’d catch the eye of a military officer!

 

Biserica Mănăstirii Stavropoleos

Biserica Mănăstirii Stavropoleos

This Orthodox church is a place of absolute quiet and reflection  in the centre of Bucharest. Its tiny courtyard is really picturesque too!

 

The CEC Palace

The CEC Palace

Built in 1900, the headquarters of Romania’s oldest bank is still used today. It’s worth walking past if you’re exploring the old town.

 

The Romanian Athenaeum

The Romanian Athenaeum

The most instagrammed building in Bucharest is even more beautiful on the inside. It opened in 1888 and was dedicated to art and science. This building is responsible for the saying, “Daţi un leu pentru Ateneu” (Give a leu for the Athenaeum) because Constantin Esarcu made a public appeal for funding. Today, it’s mainly used for concerts.

 

Inside The Romanian Athenaeum

Inside The Romanian Athenaeum

 

Paucescu House

old secret police h.q. of Ceaușescu

Not far from Revolution Square, this fusion of 19th Century facade in the French Renaissance style and modern architecture divides opinion. During the communist period, this building served as the headquarters of the communist Security’s 5th Directorate. In the 1989 Revolution, the house was destroyed because people believed it hid terrorists, and only the exterior remained. It now belongs to the Union of Romanian Architects, who reconstructed the insides with steel and glass.

Whether you think it’s beautiful or ugly, you have to admit that it’s symbolic of the city itself.

 

Grand Hotel Continental Bucharest

Grand Hotel Continental Bucharest

This five star boutique hotel is a reason to look up when you walk around Bucharest. Once upon a time this was Grand Hotel Broft, where men in top hats held Osman Pasa, the leader of the Ottoman army in room 104 before he was deported to Russia at the end of the Russo-Romanian-Turkish war.

Book your stay at the Grand Hotel Continental Bucharest

 

National Museum of Art of Romania

The neo-classical facade of the former Royal Palace

This building was once the winter palace of Romania’s royal family and is now used as an art gallery, exhibiting the European painting collection that once belonged to King Carol I.

 

Central University Library of Bucharest

The Central University Library of Bucharest

Opened in 1895, this was built on the land bought by King Carol I of Romania for the “Carol I University Foundation” (Fundaţia Universitară Carol I) and designed by French architect Paul Gottereau. During the Romanian Revolution of 1989, a fire was started in the building and over 500,000 books were destroyed. The repaired building was opened in 2001.

 

You can’t go far in Bucharest without finding yourself presented with a stunning piece of architecture. It may not be conventionally aesthetically pleasing, but this city’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder – if you just look!

Find hotels in Bucharest

All photographs were taken on my Olympus Pen E-PL7.

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16 Comments

  1. June 14, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    Bucharest is, indeed, filled with beautiful buildings! When I see these buildings I always think about the architect who designed them, and how they reflect the era in which they were built. Beautiful photos!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2017 / 11:01 am

      Aren’t they just amazing? I think being an architect would be the coolest job!

  2. June 14, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    Seeing architecture of the old buildings, churches/cathedrals, and theaters is one of the reasons why I love traveling in Europe. You found some interesting details and grand buildings in Bucharest. There is so much history in those buildings, too. Beautiful photos, Dannielle!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2017 / 11:01 am

      Thank you!

  3. June 14, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    Bucharest is on my travel bucket list. I was in Budapest last year and I can relate to this post…gorgeous places around ugly ones. I really like the Orthodox church. Really great photos!

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Bucharest actually really reminded me of Budapest at times! Can’t wait to hear what you think when you do visit.

  4. June 15, 2017 / 12:03 am

    Wow! Who knew? The Macca Villacrosse Passage was my favorite. So cool! Many of the buildings were amazing. I have always wanted to visit Bucharest’s library, too.

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2017 / 11:03 am

      I think everyone on the trip fell in love with that Passage a little bit!

  5. June 15, 2017 / 7:59 am

    nice collection of landmarks! once you go deeper into the city you’ll start finding really hidden gems, old & new, beautiful & decaying. a good reason for a 2nd visit 🙂

    • Dannielle Lily
      June 15, 2017 / 11:03 am

      I actually did a ‘Beautiful Decay’ tour of the city’s abandoned buildings, it was fascinating!

  6. June 16, 2017 / 8:16 am

    Thanks to your love for brick and mortar today we have this incredible post and fantastic photos. Oh who wouldn’t love a horse shoe shaped arcade! I am sad to know in the past ladies were made to walk to impress some officers. So glad things have changed since then.

  7. June 17, 2017 / 11:34 am

    Gorgeous. Macca Villacrosse Passage reminds me of that shopping centre in Milan, but without the annoying crowds. Bucharest is high on my to-do list. I feel like it’s going to get really popular soon so I need to go!

  8. June 19, 2017 / 5:16 am

    We always feel that the buildings of a city are the best places to head to, to understand its history and culture. The stones of the buildings have umpteen and fascinating stories to mention. I am sure each of these building of Bucharest have a slice of history which they will reveal to the interested!

  9. June 19, 2017 / 10:26 am

    The buildings in Bucharest are really amazing. Each one looks better than the other. And each one has a tale of its own. Lovely to see and capture these. While each one is prettier than the other, I found Mogosoaia Palace quite interesting. I am not sure if it was the tale or just the whole layout. I loved it.

  10. June 21, 2017 / 8:00 am

    I am really not a brick and mortar lover but your post and pictures of Bucharest’s have actually made me say wow! Amazing. These are real architectural marvels and each one of theses is beautiful in its own way. I really cant decide which one is my favorite but still The Romanian Athenaeum and Mogosoaia Palace have fascinated me most.

  11. June 21, 2017 / 9:21 am

    This place seems to be full of architectural wonders. Mogosoaia Palace seems so grand. The blossoms add to the beauty of the place subtly. I checked out your Dubai blog as well. Nice work!