Budget-Friendly Bucharest: Exploring the Romanian Capital on a Shore Excursion - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!
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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Budget-Friendly Bucharest: Exploring the Romanian Capital on a Shore Excursion

Aerial view of Bucharest, Romania

If you are cruising to the Mediterranean in 2024 and want to experience something different, something truly off the beaten path, then Bucharest, the vibrant capital of Romania might be the answer. This unheralded but excellent city is rich in history and culture and has an edgy, alternative charm that makes it a brilliant choice for travellers looking for a change from the more popular spots.

Cismigiu gardens, Bucharest, Romania

Best of all, thanks to its status as a hidden gem, it remains incredibly affordable, meaning that you can plan a wonderful day trip or shore excursion without breaking the bank! So if you want something different from your next European excursion, here’s how to explore the wonderful capital of Romania on a budget.

Efficient and Affordable Transport

Central University Library, Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest’s public transport system is efficient and incredibly affordable. From buses and trams to an extensive metro network, getting into and around the city centre is a breeze. The metro is particularly useful, with tickets costing as little as 5 Romanian lei (1 dollar) for a round trip. It is worth checking with your cruise operator to plan a shuttle bus from your port to the city itself.

Historical and Cultural Attractions


Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest

Bucharest is full of amazing historical sites and interesting cultural attractions that will fill your day without emptying your wallet.

Start off with the bombastic magnificence of the Palace of the Parliament, a hubristic monument created by the dictator Ceacescu to be one of the largest buildings in the world. It is both impressive and extremely over-the-top, and a testament to the complex history of both Romania and Eastern Europe more generally. Entry isn’t free, but guided tours are available for extremely reasonable prices, and it is a great way to discover more about Romania’s history and politics.

Liscani Street, Bucharest Old Town, Romania

Next up, take a few hours to wander around the cobbled streets of Bucharest’s Old Town, with its combination of charming architecture, pretty churches, and excellent cafes and restaurants. Many of the most impressive sights, including Stavropoleos Church and Manuc’s Inn, are free to enter, and a great way to spend an afternoon is with a stroll through Cismigiu Gardens, Bucharest’s oldest and most charming park.

Inexpensive Culinary Delights


If hunger strikes, you can satisfy your cravings easily, deliciously, and inexpensively in the Romanian capital. There is a huge variety of budget-friendly local eateries to try, as well as some amazing street food options. Don’t miss out on traditional Romanian dishes like “mici” (grilled minced meat rolls), “sarmale” (cabbage rolls), and “ciorbă” (sour soup) at the sit-down restaurants, or grab a quick bite of “covrigi” (pretzels), “plăcinte” (savory or sweet pies), or “kürtőskalács” (chimney cake).

Free and Low-Cost Activities

Traditional wooden church at Village Museum, Bucharest, Romania

There are plenty of great activities in Bucharest that are either free or extremely low-cost and it is easy to dive deep into the history, heritage, and culture of the city without spending a fortune.

Free walking tours are one of the best ways to explore Bucharest, with expert local guides taking you on a deep dive into its amazing hidden gems and rich history. Of course, tipping the guides at the end is appreciated, but not mandatory.

Curtea Veche Church, Romanian Orthodox church at Bucharest, Romania

Museums and galleries in Bucharest are often free or heavily discounted on certain days, so check their websites and plan in advance if you want to save. The National Museum of Romanian History and the National Museum of Art of Romania are must-visits.

While many shore excursions in Europe are pricey, Bucharest is a wonderful option for a budget-friendly day trip and a true hidden gem. It is interesting, unusual, and affordable, making it a great addition to any European cruise itinerary.

Note: The photographs in this article are courtesy of wikipedia.org and have been borrowed under the Creative Commons License. Each photograph has been linked to its host page on wikipedia.org.


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