I have always been drawn to places that are slightly off the tourist trail and Romania was one such destination on my travel list. When my brother and I decided to go on a spontaneous festive trip, we thought it would be a good opportunity to visit Bucharest (the capital city).
There is so much more to Romania than what’s normally attributed to it, such as being home to Dracula and infamous pickup guru, Andrew Tate. Thankfully we didn’t bump into either during our visit.
As a city, Bucharest is a city unlike any that I’d been to previously. Though swathes of the city are in a state of tiredness and disrepair, what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in history and backstory. There are some fantastic museums and Orthodox churches to explore, Art Deco and Art Art Nouveau architecture, not to mention a great cafe and bar scene. It’s safe to say that you won’t be short of things to do if you’re spending a few days in the city.
There are often misconceptions about Bucharest being unsafe when this could not be further from the truth. Though it is probably a good idea to avoid wearing anything overtly flashy and keep your wits about you, I felt very safe throughout. From what I observed, Romanian people are a little on the reserved side but incredibly friendly and helpful.
Romanian National Museum of Art
For your dose of culture in Bucharest, then the Romanian National Museum of Art is not to be missed. Comprising three main museums, showcasing Romanian, European and Oriental artwork, there’s plenty to see. What’s more, some of the architecture within the buildings is utterly breathtaking.
Located in Bucharest’s Old Town, Cărturești Carusel is an exceedingly Instagrammable bookshop. There are several floors packed with interesting page-turners, gadgets, trinkets and gifts. It’s well worth spending an hour or so having a look around.
Bucharest has a pretty robust coffee culture with a really lovely selection of cafes to choose from. Some of our favourites included Etche (a really cute cafe-come-gallery space), Bob Coffee Lab and Otto.
Palace of the Deposits and Consignments.
National Museum of Romanian History.
French Revolution Eclairs
I happened across French Revolution’s spectrum of jewel-like eclairs on social media and couldn’t resist but swing by and give them a try. There’s a wide array of tempting flavours to choose from – selecting one can be difficult when you’re so overwhelmed with choice. I picked pistachio, which was divine.
Palace of Parliament
This eye-wateringly opulent building is one of the largest administrative buildings in the world, second only to The Pentagon. Impressive though it is, the building is symbolic of Bucharest’s communist past. An astronomical amount of money was ploughed into the project, with more marble and chandeliers than you’d believe. It gives Dubai-level grandeur, which is jarring given how stark it contrasts with the rest of the city.
The Vault at The Marmorosch
The Vault at The Marmorosch is a unique setting for cocktails. The intimate speakeasy bar set within a real bank vault, featuring floor-to-ceiling depositories. It’s definitely up there when it comes to the coolest bars I’ve been to.
Festive display at The Marmorosch.
Caru’ cu Bere
Sometimes, nothing beats a cosy pub and Caru’ cu Bere is about as cosy as they come. We had a great time here sipping on mulled wine and watching the traditionally-dressed dancers keep everyone entertained.
From what I saw, Romanian cuisine is largely very meat-heavy. As I am not a big meat eater, it wasn’t something that I indulged in on this trip. That said, there were some pretty lovely Romanian sweet treats that we did try, such as ‘papanași’, traditional fried doughnuts with generous helpings of cream and blueberry jam on top. They are utterly delicious and a real winter warmer – I’d highly recommend trying it for yourself.
Grand Café Van Gogh.
Mace by Joseph Hadad.
The Museum of the Moon
We were incredibly lucky that the Museum of the Moon installation was taking residence in Bucharest at Parcul Ioanid for a few days during our visit. This impressive interstellar installation, by Luke Jerram, has been displayed across the world.
Cornwall drinking and dining favourites – UK
There are countless good reasons to visit Cornwall. It’s my favourite place in the world so I could easily spend all day extolling its virtues. But let’s get right to the good stuff. The food. If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed when in Cornwall, it’s that you’ll...
North Wales favourites
As I grew up in Cornwall, I’ve always had a soft spot for Celtic destinations. Among the famous Celtic lineup is Wales, a land of castles, rugged coastline and stunning mountainous national parks. During my time living up North, North Wales was one of my favourite...
A weekend at Thornbury Castle
I had the privilege of spending the weekend at Thornbury Castle in Bristol during the summer months. Staying in a castle was definitely something to cross off the bucket list, especially as I am someone who adores historic architecture. Dating back to the 1500s,...
Northern dining and nightlife favourites – UK
Having lived up North (many moons ago), over the years I have been lucky enough to get a taste of what the region has to offer in the culinary department. Whether you are fortunate enough to call the North your home or are simply planning a trip there in the future, I...
Top 10 unmissable attractions in Cornwall
My favourite place in the world will always be Cornwall. Admittedly, I am somewhat biassed having grown up there but even so, I am convinced this would be the case regardless. Cornwall brings a combination of coast, countryside and culture giving it unmissable...
Up and away in a hot air balloon
We were up and out the door at the ungodly hour of 4am to head over to Ragland in South East Wales to cross something big off the bucket list, to fly in a hot air balloon. I have my brother to thank for this truly unforgettable experience as he had initially...
6 top-tier gardens in Cornwall
Cornwall is home to some of the country’s finest historically and horticulturally significant gardens. Who needs a holiday when Cornish gardens often bring New Zealand, Mediterranean and South African vibes to the fore, instantly transporting you to far-flung climes....
Salcombe, Devon – UK
Though I grew up in Cornwall, the neighbouring county of Devon is very much uncharted territory for me and up until recently, I had yet to explore it in any meaningful detail. Though there has been a long-standing (albeit friendly) rivalry between the two counties,...
Life lately #4
I feel like I am well and truly settled back in the UK now. It feels good to be immersed in greenery and nature once again having been away from these things for so long whilst out in Dubai. During the entirety of my time out there, I never got the chance to visit...
Clifton, Bristol – UK
Bristol has got to be one of my favourite UK cities. Having spent a stint of time there in my early 20s, I have fond memories of it. Bristol is the largest city in the South West so it was always seen as a place of fascination and excitement for us small-village folk...
Brecon Beacons National Park – UK
South Wales is one of the areas of the UK that I have yet to explore in any real detail. Now I am very much in the process of remedying that and loving what I have seen so far. Said to be one of the UK's most beautiful national parks, the Brecon Beacons are an...
Castle Combe, the Cotswolds – UK
Charicertised by its beautiful honey-coloured stone chocolate-box cottages and leafy surroundings, there is little wonder why Castle Combe has been dubbed ‘the prettiest village in England’. The overwhelmingly beautiful Cotswold village is nothing short of...
Northumberland National Park – UK
We had been so lucky with the weather on our recent visit to Scotland that it was decided that we would extend the trip a bit longer and head over to Northumberland National Park. I find that it is very often the case that the best memories are...
Edinburgh, Scotland – UK
When it comes to my favourite UK cities, I am sure I am not alone in considering Edinburgh right up there at the top of the list. As a city, Edinburgh has all of the makings of a top-notch destination. It's sizable, has a rich history with picture-perfect historic...
South Downs National Park – UK
Since visiting the South Downs National Park for the first time, it has become one of my favourite destinations in the UK. I was lucky enough to have my brother (who lives in the area) to show me around and it did not take me long to absolutely fall in love with it....
Chipping Campden, the Cotswolds – UK
I have to admit that I only visited the Cotswolds for the first time relatively recently. It had always been on the list for me, especially as without exception, you always hear great things about it as a destination. Largely prompted by the pandemic like many others,...
London dining favourites
When it comes to drinking and dining in London, it’s safe to say that you are spoilt for choice. It’s a city that I have spent a lot of time in, yet have hardly scratched the surface when it comes to its culinary offerings. That said, I thought I’d share some of my...
SAME Forum – House Of Commons
I had the pleasure of attending another SAME Forum session, hosted at the House of Commons by friend and chairman Khalid Nadeem, who kindly invited me. As you enter the House of Commons, you come through St Stephen’s Hall, which is incredibly impressive and has some...
Harrogate – UK
Situated in the heart of Yorkshire, Harrogate is a little gem that offers all of the makings of a wonderful day out. Because of its modest size, you can make your way around most of what it has to offer in a day, without having to rush.Royal Pump Museum No trip to...
York – UK
The walled city of York has been on my travel list for too long and thankfully I was recently lucky enough to visit it. York was just as wonderful as I’d hoped it would be. Read on to discover it for yourself. York Minster York is a picturesque place and what better...