Romania is a great under-the-radar destination to consider for your next family holiday. Known as Land of Dracula, the country has much to offer and is relatively cheap compared to the rest of Europe. Here you will find the Carpathian Mountains, the Danube Delta and the Black Sea, numerous castles, delicious food, and the famous countryside of Transylvania. Bucharest is the capital of Romania and likely the first place you’ll arrive in the country. You’ll be happy to know there are plenty of things to do in Bucharest with kids.
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What to Do in Bucharest with Kids
Bucharest is a mix of communist remnants and Parisian vibes. At the turn of the 20th century, many French architects were involved in the city’s development. Beaux Arts buildings are found throughout the city, and cafe culture is a real thing.
At one time, the city was dubbed the “Paris of the East” and it’s easy to see why with its spacious parks, grand boulevards, and some of the most beautiful buildings outside of Paris.
Families shouldn’t be intimidated by the art and architecture of Bucharest, they should embrace it. So grab the kids and head to Bucharest, we’re sure you’re going to love it.
1. Carturesti Carusel Bookstore
Located in the Old Town area on Lipscani Street, the Carturesti Carusel is a great option when visiting Bucharest with children.
Part of the Romanian bookstore chain of the same name, the bookstore’s current location makes it arguably the most well-known throughout Romania.
The building hosting the Carturesti Carusel was built in 1903 by the Chrissloveni aristocratic family, who established the first Romanian bank.
After the first few decades of operating as the headquarters for a bank, the building fell into disrepair during the 1990s and 2000s but was rehabilitated by 2015. Since then, the bookstore has attracted countless locals and tourists alike.
There are three floors, holding over 10,000 square feet of books. If you’ve been looking for a way to inspire your kids to read, this spectacular place will certainly spike their interest.
The spectacular interior design features winding stairs, dainty balconies, and lofty columns with stucco detailing. On the top floor, there’s a teahouse that offers a great panoramic view of the entire Carturesti Carusel.
To avoid the large crowds, visit during the morning hours. Carturesti Carusel opens at 10 a.m. every day.
2. Spend time exploring the city’s parks
Although Bucharest might seem like a concrete jungle for those visiting for the first time, it is home to many beautiful parks.
Herăstrău Park, also known as King Michael I Park, is one of Bucharest’s largest parks. It surrounds a lake with the same name. Located in the Northern part of the capital, you can quickly reach the park by metro.
There are two main areas, an active one used for recreation and relaxation and another that is more natural and rustic. Kids will love the Adventure Park where they can navigate a ropes course and climb in the trees. If your children haven’t been on a boat yet, this can be the perfect opportunity to try. Why not rent one and take a boat ride around the lake?
Given that the park is so large, your children can see several species of animals, including squirrels, blackbirds, black swans, and turtles. There’s a Japanese garden that includes cherry trees and a species unique to the area known as Sophora japonica Bucuresti.
If you want to spend the day at the park, we recommend renting bicycles to explore the winding paths. Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing lunch by the water. Kids will love the opportunity to explore and burn off some energy. During the summer months, don’t miss the pedal boats shaped like swans – they’re a hit with kids of all ages!
Cismigiu Gardens (Cismigiu Park)
Back in the city center, Cismigiu Gardens surrounding an artificial lake, hosts over 5,000 visitors on an average weekend day. It features a landmark referred to as the “Romanian Round”, an alley containing the stone busts of twelve noteworthy Romanian authors.
There’s also a sculpture of Maica Smara, a poet, women’s rights activist, and educator, and a monument dedicated to French soldiers who died fighting in the Romanian campaign in World War I.
Kids will love the endless plant displays, flower carpets, numerous bridges, and endless green space. You can also hop in a rowboat and visit the park this way.
Parcul Tineretului, South of Unirii Square, was created as a relaxation area for the southern part of Bucharest in the 1960s and 70s.
In the Southeast part of the park, there’s a huge playground for children known as the Children’s Town. This fantastic playground complete with slides, swings, and climbing structures will keep children entertained for hours. There are also small roller coasters and other fairground rides that are open to visitors.
The park is also easily accessible via two metro stations, the Constantin Brancoveanu and Tineretului.
3. Visit the best museums in Bucharest for kids
Since Bucharest is Romania’s largest city, it is naturally home to some of its most exciting museums. If you want to teach your children about Romanian history, we highly recommend a visit.
Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum (Bucharest Village Museum)
The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum is located in King Michael I Park. This is an open-air museum that offers a glimpse into the traditional life of Romanian villages.
There are nearly 300 households and farms that have been relocated. These are built in the time-honored Romanian style, with local materials and building techniques.
The houses come from all over the country and include 19th-century homes from traditional regions such as Maramures, Olt, Alba, Neamt, Suceava, and Brasov, as well as mills, inns, wells, shrines, churches, fisheries, summer kitchens, ovens, and dovecotes. Your kids will learn what life in the countryside is like and see “rural technology.”
National Museum of Art
The National Museum of Art is located in Revolution Square. It features work created by both local and international artists. The art collection gathered by the Romanian royal family is also on display.
Among the artists whose works you can admire in the museum are Constantin Brancusi, Nicolae Grigorescu, El Greco, Jan van Eyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Claude Monet, and Rembrandt. Cecilia Cutescu-Storck, who strongly influenced Romanian cultural life during the interwar period, is also featured in the Modern Section.
Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History (Antipa Museum)
The Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History is a favorite among Romanian kids due to the over two million specimens exhibited from all over the world. The variety has earned it the designation of one of the most important museums of natural history worldwide.
The most impressive exhibit is arguably the Deinotherium Gigantissimum, a prehistoric elephant-like animal and one of the biggest mammals to have ever lived. The skeleton is the only one that’s intact in the whole world and will surely impress your kids!
Museum of Senses
Kids go crazy for the Museum of Senses. This museum is filled with optical illusions and mind-boggling rooms that are sure to confuse everyone. Get ready to question what you see and experience a world of wonder together.
House of Experiments
If your kids love science museums, they won’t want to miss this one! This interactive science center is all about hands-on exploration, making it a perfect destination for young minds. The experiments combine science with play. It’s fun for the entire family!
Finally, we have Ferestroika, a fascinating time-capsule museum. It’s actually an apartment located in a typical workers’ neighborhood. It is almost completely intact from the 1970s. You and your kids will step back in time and see how a family with a little girl lived during the communist regime.
4. Explore the palaces of Bucharest
In addition to the museums, there are also several palaces you can visit in Bucharest to learn more about the country’s tumultuous history.
Palace of the Parliament
Let’s start with Bucharest’s landmark: the Palace of Parliament. This is the heaviest building in the world and the second-largest administrative center worldwide. It houses the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
Considered to be the most expensive building in the world, on a guided tour you’ll see what communist opulence looks like – and the heavy price Romanians paid for it.
Dating back to the 17th century, this palace is located right outside the city in the small village of Mogosoaia. It features a lake, orchard, and garden. It’s a favorite for locals who like to picnic here on weekends.
Elisabeta Palace, on Kiseleff Road, home to the park of the same name, is the official residence of Margareta, Custodian of the Crown of Romania, and the eldest daughter of King Michael I.
It has been open to the public since 2020, but only on Fridays and the weekend, between April and November. You can join a guided tour that will take you through the grounds, gardens, and public rooms.
The Cantacuzino Palace on Calea Victoriei 141 is home to the George Enescu Museum. The rooms are designed in the Rococo Revival and Beaux Arts style, with an ornate design of stuccos, decorated ceilings, carved ornaments, and gorgeous gates and entrances.
Cotroceni Palace is both the residence of the President of Romania, as well as the home of the National Cotroceni Museum. It offers insights into the country’s rich history, including a hunting room, library, apartments, the royal dining room, and a Hall of Honor built in the Napoleon III style.
5. Therme Bucharest
For a unique experience, head to Therme Bucharest for a day of water fun. This sprawling complex is Europe’s largest indoor water park and spa. Kids will love the wave pool, beach, and 16 different water slides, and adults can enjoy the relaxation zones and thermal pools.
Little ones will love the water playground, complete with smaller slides and water games. Therme Bucharest is the perfect place for water fun and we promise the kids will be impressed!
Note: All ages are allowed, but there are certain areas of the water park where young children are not permitted.
6. Bucharest food tour
If your kids are adventurous eaters, why not try a Bucharest food tour? You’ll be able to sample everything from traditional Romanian dishes to international flavors.
Stroll through the bustling food markets or try a street food tour. Don’t forget to savor the deliciously sweet papanasi (Wallachian doughnuts) and indulge in the famous mici (grilled sausages). A food tour is the perfect opportunity for kids to learn about the diverse world of cuisine.
7. Wandering Bucharest Old Town
Step back in time with a visit to Bucharest’s charming Old Town. The architecture is quintessential French style with cobblestone streets, historical buildings, and lively cafés modeled after their Parisian counterparts. Wander through the pedestrian-friendly zone where you’ll find hidden courtyards, street performers, and plenty of shopping.
Kids will love running free in the open squares without worrying about cars. It’s the perfect place for families to grab a meal as kids can explore nearby while parents finish.
8. Day trip to Transylvania
There are plenty of interesting Romanian castles to visit, including the famous Dracula Castle, but for that, you’ll need to go on a day trip. We recommend using Ride2Ro as a local guide. They offer a tour that explores Peles Castle, the town of Brasov, and Bran Castle. This is a long day trip, but since it is a private tour you can go at your own pace. We think this is the best option for families.
No visit to Romania is complete without a journey to Transylvania! Imagine your kids’ excitement as you leave Romania’s capital for an adventure to this mystical region. It’s a beautiful drive through the Carpathian Mountains to the stunning Peles Castle.
Built in the 19th century, it’s imposing and magical at the same time. The moment you set foot inside, you’re transported to a world of opulence and elegance. This was built for King Carol I to be used as his summer residence but it was turned over to the state when he was forced to abdicate the throne.
Next up is Brasov, a charming medieval town. There are cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and a town square where kids can burn off some energy while chasing pigeons.
This is a great stop for lunch as the pedestrian area has plenty of cafes and restaurants serving traditional dishes. Don’t miss La Ceaun, a restaurant that serves delicious ham and bean soup and cabbage rolls.
The final stop is Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. While the connection to Vlad the Impaler (the historical figure who inspired the Dracula legend) is a bit of a stretch, the castle’s eerie charm is undeniable.
Kids will love exploring the dark corridors and hidden nooks of Bran Castle and taking in the panoramic views from the castle’s towers. Admiring the surrounding Transylvanian countryside is the perfect end to your day out.
Where to Stay in Bucharest with Kids
You can choose from many accommodation options in Bucharest, depending on whether you want something relaxed or more luxurious.
Epoque Hotel – Close to Cismigiu and far from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is the only Relais & Chateaux property in Romania, and it is quite luxurious. The property has a spa, swimming pool, and fitness center. Families can enjoy spacious suites and many rooms have balconies with a view.
Radisson Blu Hotel – Close to the Romanian Athenaeum (the city’s concert hall) and the National Museum of Art, this property is within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Rooms are spacious and comfortable and there’s even an executive apartment if you need extra space.
JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel – This is another excellent option for families located close to the Parliament Palace and Piata Unirii. The property is massive with six restaurants, a fitness center, a swimming pool, and a casino. There’s a family suite with two bedrooms that sleeps 4.
Novotel Bucharest City Centre – This 4-star hotel is located on Victoriei Boulevard, close to the University of Bucharest and Cismigiu Park. Amenities include an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, and airport shuttle. Families can stay in one of the double rooms with a sofa bed that sleeps up to 3 adults and 2 children.
Best Restaurants in Bucharest for Families
Bucharest has a wealth of dining options that kids are going to love. We thought the restaurants in Bucharest had something for everyone. The city is a mix of traditional Romanian meals and international cuisine. We didn’t have a single bad meal.
Haute Pepper is a popular Italian restaurant for visiting families on Bd. Unirii 2. There are vegan and gluten-free options available for those who need them, as well as a wide array of seafood and Mediterranean dishes.
The Trickshot Mega Mall, on the second floor of the shopping center of the same name, brings premium organic ingredients and immaculate services. The price range can be as low as 15 RON, a little over three euros. You can sample traditional Romanian dishes here, as well as barbecue and European fare.
Noa Restoclub is a steakhouse on Calea Victoriei 26, serving dishes such as rib eye and burgers.
The Ginger Sushi Bar & Lounge at 63-81 on the same avenue is an ideal location to sample well-known Japanese foods such as sushi and tempura.
Ice cream is also quite popular in Bucharest and you may see a handful of shops on any given street. Some of the favorites are Gelateria La Romana, Velocita, and Gioelia Cremeria.
Conclusion: Bucharest with Kids
Bucharest is full of outdoor adventures, indoor exploration, and historical riches. A visit to the city is sure to leave the entire family impressed and eager to return.
About the authors: This article was co-written by Kirsten Maxwell and Marius Iliescu, the founder of Romanian Friend, a one-stop shop website with travel inspiration, tour ideas, and practical info for those planning to visit Romania. You can find Marius on Instagram.