Last-minute escapes from the UK

Get to know the many sides of Bucharest

Deck bar in Bucharest RomaniaThe city of Bucharest is so alive with modern while still wearing its past for all to see — Shutterstock

So, you like concrete, eh? That’s many peoples’ first thought when they think of Bucharest, a monochrome museum of crushingly socialist monoliths and thumping great statues. And, in a way, that’s not far from the truth. But in another way, that does Bucharest a huge disservice. For while it is true, the fact that the city is so alive with modern spirit while still wearing its past for all to see is a testament to the love and liveliness instilled by its people.

It’s a city of many faces, with Ceauşescu’s more modern city the one that has all the concrete. It’s a paean to ego, madness, and faith in a system that its leaders thought would last a thousand years. To the south of Piaţa Universităţii, a scene of many historic events, lies the nicely atmospheric Old Town, with its plethora of bars and restaurants. It’s not all urban sprawl, however: check out the lovely Cişmigiu Gardens, also in the city center, or perhaps the vast Herăstrău Park, situated on the lake for which it’s named. The one thing you must know is that you can’t judge Bucharest before you’ve been.