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Best 15 buildings of Bucharest and their stories in a nutshell

Bucharest has its share of good and bad.

Of tradition and modern. Concrete and steel. Refinement and kitsch.

This post wants to be an exploration of the old revisited, elegance updated and history understood.

I’m a traveller just like you. I looove exploring. During my walks in Bucharest, I noticed lots of drop-dead gorgeous buildings any capital could envy!

So, ta-daaa, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the most beautiful buildings of Bucharest that I have seen! (This is a subjective top, of course!) And their history made short.

Calea Victoriei and Grand Hotel Continental; photo: @christiandumitru

If you want to find out more about other buildings of Bucharest, click here. If you are interested in the Palace of Parliament, there’s more info here. To understand more about the history of the Romanian capital, check here, or if you want to chill in Bucharest and find a good eating spot, click here.

The good part about these fabulous buildings is that most of them are placed close to one another, so you can tick them during a simple walk. The bad part is that some of them are closed for visitors.

Bucharest Telephone Palace and Hotel Novotel, a modern phoenix risen from its own ashes; photo: @glpsu

So here you have the best 15 buildings of Bucharest in no particular order.

Show contents

Hotel Marmorosch
Casa Mița biciclista
Spitalul Colțea
Palatul CEC
Palatul Kretzulescu
Muzeul George Enescu
Ateneul român
Palatul Șuțu
Muzeul Național Cotroceni
Palatul Parlamentului
Caru’ cu bere
Carturesti Carusel
Universitatea de arhitectura Ion Mincu
Sediul Uniunii Arhitectilor
Casa Ceaușescu
A final thought + recommendations
Interactive map

Macca-Vilacrosse passage, an emblem for little Paris

1. Hotel Marmorosch, luxury and accommodation under one roof

Location: 2-6, strada Doamnei
Year: 1923

This former bank was founded by two Jewish gentlemen, Marmorosch and Blank. As all good things have an ending, the bank is put down by the crisis from 1930, declared bankrupt, and nationalized. Close to our days, some smart investors have the idea of making it profitable again by turning it into a luxury hotel.

It is fabulous that Marmorosch still preserves the grandeur of old times, thanks to the architects. For instance, the former safe deposit location is a bar today. If you want the full experience, you can accommodate in the former apartment of the bank president!

Insider tip:! Spend a few hours in the bar and enjoy a drink living like a bourgeois from the Belle Epoque!

This 5-star hotel is a former bank shining back in splendour today

2. Casa Mița biciclista (Mița the cyclist house), or the story of the cyclist courtesan

Location: Strada Biserica Amzei 9, Strada Christian Tell 11
Year: 1910

The beautiful courtesan who stole many hearts in interwar Bucharest was a woman who knew exactly what she wanted, so she’d go for wealthy men. She was the first woman to ride a bike in the 1920s to maintain her silhouette. She had a carriage and a coupé car and lived like a lady.

The green-eyed beauty charmed a lot of famous men, such as the king of Portugal or King Ferdinand, who allegedly gave her the impressive building as a gift. Her life is nothing but a movie script.

The recently renovated building features neo baroque style with Art Nouveau influences, has 28 rooms and 15 bathrooms.

Unfortunately, it cannot be visited, but is free for purchase!!

The house of Mita biciclista; photo: wikimedia.orgwikipediacommon
Lace-like details on Mita biciclista’s house

3. Spitalul Colțea, (Colțea Hospital) medicine and grandiose architecture

Location: Bd. I. C. Brătianu 1
Year: 1887

Colțea Hospital, (pronounced Coltzea) is the first hospital from Bucharest, and follows the model of a Venetian hospital. Completed in 1887, the hospital has always been faithful to its purpose.

The foundation stone was laid in 1704 and the hospital started with 24 beds; but the initial building was devastated by a fire. Started as a mixture between shelter for the poor and empirical evidence, it turns into the cradle of Romanian medicine, being shaped by famous names, such as: Nicolae Kretzulescu, Carol Davilla or Victor Babeș.  

The statue in front of the building, as well as the church belong to boyar Cantacuzino, the founder of the hospital.

Coltea Hospital and statue
I.C. Bratianu boulevard with Coltea hospital on the left; photo: @danmihaibalanescu

4. Palatul CEC (CEC Palace), simply a piece of art

Location: Calea Victoriei 13
Year: 1900

The palace of the savings bank is representative for little Paris, a nickname for interwar Bucharest’s elegance. Architecturally, the palace is eclectic, an umbrella term for various styles. Unfortunately, it cannot be visited on a regular basis, but it looks fabulous on the inside also. Besides, it preserves some of the original elements, adding to the charm of a monetary institution (which, to be honest, are not too charming, generally).

CEC Palace has proved long-lived as no earthquake or war affected it.  Ever since I first saw it, I knew it would be one of my favourites.

Insider tip:! It is really close to Caru cu Bere and Manastirea Stavropoleos (Stavropoleos Monastery). Don’t miss out on them!

CEC Palace looks lovely on the outside; photo: @anamariamnc
and inside; photo:

5. Palatul Kretzulescu (Kretzulescu Palace), the birth of Cismigiu park

Location: str Știrbei Vodă 39
Year: 1904

Wealthy lady, Elena Kretzulescu asks architect Petre Antonescu to design a palace for her.

The palace is built mainly in Romantic style. Nature lover, the owner asks for a greenhouse also which will be built as an appendix to the house. But, Elena Kretzulescu wants more green space, so she arranges a large surface with fountains, bridges and ponds, which later on becomes Cismigiu park, an oasis of relaxation in the centre of Bucharest.

The palace is very photogenic and charming. Today it belongs to the Ministry of Education and cannot be visited.

Kretzulescu Palace, right at the entrance of Cismigiu
Kretzulescu’s greenhouse; photo: @24ciprian

6. Muzeul George Enescu (George Enescu Museum), tribute to a music genius

Location: Calea Victoriei 141
Year: 1902

The museum was home to the greatest Romanian composer, George Enescu. He was also famous for his big heart and generosity.

The building of Bucharest is also known as Cantacuzino Palace, after the rich and affluent personality of the capital. The impressive residence features an Art Nouveau entrance with imposing lions, giving it a princely look.

The genius composer and his wife lived in the house from the backyard between 1945-1946. Although there are few rooms dedicated to the composer, I was impressed by the splendid architecture, on the inside and outside.

Insider tip:! The museum comprises the Cantacuzino Palace and the memorial house, both of them closed for restoration until 2023.

Entrance to George Enescu Museum, or Cantacuzino Palace, one of the best buildings in Bucharest

7. Ateneul român (The Athenaeum), a Romanian landmark

Location: Strada Benjamin Franklin 1-3
Year: 1888

This is a serious visiting recommendation!

Home to the city’s philharmonic and the main concert venue for classical music, the building is an architectural jewellery. Completed in 1888, the Athenaeum was designed as a circus, hence the shape. Not many people know that the construction of the Athenaeum required a lot of financial effort, so, it was made by money collected publicly, following a national lottery.

The combination between neoclassic and eclectic styles is amazing. The outside is spectacular, but even more the inside. The floor is room to a splendid auditorium whose highlights are the red-golden ceiling and the huge fresco that depicts the most important moments of Romanian history.

Insider tip:! As rehearsals may occur, you cannot book ahead. Still, you may walk by at different hours, and you’ll find the right time to visit! Or in the meanwhile, just go across to French Revolution and indulge in one of their eclairs!

The Romanian Athenaeum, a national symbol, not only one of the best buildings in Bucharest
Professional pic of the Athenaeum; photo: @romania.landscapes

8. Palatul Șuțu (Șuțu palace), the ballroom of Bucharest

Location: Bd I C Bratianu 2
Year: 1835

The most important ballroom from the second half of the 19th century started in a poor and muddy capital.

In this background, Șuțu, a wealthy boyar, decides to build a palace according to his social status. But it is only during the time of his son that the palace rises to fame by getting an elegant touch. Soon, Șuțu Palace becomes Bucharest’s ballroom where the entire high society wants to be seen. Access wasn’t for everyone, only carriages were allowed to park.

Visiting it, you can only imagine yourself as prince or princess coming down on the monumental staircase or reflect your studied outfit in the huge Murano glass mirror.

The famous staircase; photo:

9. Muzeul Național Cotroceni (Cotroceni National Museum), a symbiosis of history and architecture

Location: Bd Geniului 1
Year: 1681

This museum had been on my Bucharest list for some time, but only during my last visit, could we find time to visit it. The full tour comprises besides the royal salons and apartments, also the church and cellars, but unfortunately, they couldn’t be visited because of the pandemic.

History of the palace starts in the late 17th century. After being inhabited and shaped by royals, the palace is taken over by communists. I was truly shocked to find out that the place was remodelled during communism to function as a children’s club. Fortunately, it looks in good shape. I loved visiting this museum that looks a lot like Peles Castle, another royal residence.

Insider tip!: Because Romania’s presidency is also at Cotroceni, security level at entrance is high. Make sure to reserve ahead and have an ID on you.

Entrance staircase at National Museum Cotroceni, a top building in Bucharest

10. Palatul Parlamentului (Palace of the Parliament), Bucharest’s most communist landmark

Location: Strada Izvor 2-4
Year: 1997

Highly controversial Bucharest building, the Palace of the Parliament cannot stay aside. Some say it’s gorgeous, while others call it a monster, but no one can deny that it is the second largest administrative building in the whole world after the Pentagon.

Built at Ceausescu’s orders, this colossus was meant to host all the central administration. It gave a hard time to the builders and architects as Ceausescu was rapidly shifting ideas. Moreover, dreaming big, he demolished an entire neighborhood and relocated people.

The construction started in 1984 and is still not completely finished. Just to make an idea, it houses the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate, three museums and an international conference centre. However, almost 70% of the Palace is still unoccupied!

Fore more interesting info, check here!

Insider tip!: Being Bucharest’s number one attraction, it is best to reserve ahead! Because it is the HQ of the Romanian parliament, security level at entrance is high. Make sure to have an ID on you.

A picture that makes you understand (maybe) the colossal dimension the Palace of Parliament has; photo: @christiandumitru

11. Caru cu bere (The beer cart): tradition, history and good beer

Location: Strada Stavropoleos 5
Year: 1899

Caru cu bere is a fabulous restaurant. And I’m not talking about food, which is not at all bad itself, but about the venue. When you enter, you have the feeling of a medieval monastery with lots of good mood and fine music. Yes, I can imagine how strange it sounds, but the Beer place has a stunning architecture, wooden staircase, oak panelling, mosaics, or stained-glass windows.

Then, the food is traditional and fulfills even the pickiest visitor. And last, but not least, it is rich with the stories it heard in over 130 years of existence and the famous people that sat at the tables!

Insider tip!: It is best to book ahead a table for the weekend. Thus, you make sure you’re part of the entire experience: delicious food, marvellous inside and traditional live music!

Caru’ cu bere looks stunning; photo: @1000placestoseebeforeyoudie

12. Carturesti Carusel, the fanciest bookshop ever

Location: Strada Lipscani 55
Year: 2015

Carturesti is a place you’ll simply love. Everybody does. Because it looks like a book museum. Classy and elegant. Another former bank, the current bookshop turned into a clothing store during communism. Getting it back from the Romanian state meant a long fight for the owners. But it was worth the wait.

Now, Carturesti is the place to read a good book, socialize, have a tea, or enjoy the view, as this concept store is the biggest bookstore in Romania placed on 5 storeys!!!

Insider tip! There’s another Carturesti on Verona street, less famous, but more intimate. It is placed in an old house with many rooms. Very nice as well.

Carturesti Carusel is for many a fave in the top of best Bucharest buildings

13. Universitatea de arhitectura Ion Mincu (Ion Mincu University of Architecture), a purely Romanian building

Location: Strada Academiei 18-20
Year: 1952

Placed at the Universitate area, right at the essence of Bucharest, the University of Architecture slowly made its way to the biggest university of the kind in the country and South-Eastern Europe.

The majestic edifice was built in brâncovenesc style (late Romanian Renaissance) and borrowed a loggia that replicates Mogosoaia Palace. The façade abounds in lots of sculpted decorations. It bears the name of architect Ion Mincu as a recognition for his exceptional work.

During my visit in Bucharest, the University of Architecture was part of our daily routine. And I asked myself every time what such a wonderful building looks like on the inside.

Ion Mincu University of Architecture facade; photo:

14. Sediul Uniunii Arhitectilor, (Union of Romanian Architects HQ), the striking combination of brick and glass

Location: Strada Demetru I. Dobrescu 5
Year: 2003

It is the ultimate building which combines old and modern, brick, glass and steel, the change happening abruptly from one floor to the other. The building gradually becomes a landmark which attracts the attention of the visitor who cannot remain indifferent.

The reason for this modern look is pure unaltered history. The original part built in French Renaissance style was destroyed by fire in December 1989 because people believed it hid terrorists. After, it was let alone to deteriorate until the Union of Architects laid hands on it and remodelled it just as architects can do.

Although many people think the result neglects a historical monument, I personally love seeing challenging constructions.

Union of Romanian architects in the background and reflected in water; photo: @adinacrimu

15. Casa Ceaușescu (Ceaușescu House), the private residence of the Ceaușescu family

Location: Bd Primaverii 50
Year: 1965

The house where Romania’s dictator lived with his family for 25 years is not an architectural gem. Instead, it is a piece of Romanian history that’ll help you better understand the mentality of the one nicknamed by the propaganda the Genius of the Carpathians.

The home is in Primaverii quarter, one of the main residential areas. Lavishly decorated and featuring a garden with peacocks, the palace, like most buildings born under the dictator, is an homage to his origins.  Everything in the residence is Romanian. However, everything is high standard and opulence, things people were deprived of.  

Insider tip:! I highly advise you to pay a visit to Ceaușescu House, a mansion that will reveal a lot about his personality cult.

Elena Ceausescu’s private resting room
The golden bathroom of the Ceausescu couple

A final thought + recommendations

To conclude, Bucharest is filled with lots of amazing buildings, most of them concentrated in some areas. If you do not have enough time to make a complete tour, here are some hints regarding the clusters of remarkable buildings.

It is best to walk on Calea Victoriei and raise your eyes to admire the architecture of little Paris. Here you’ll find: the National Museum of History, Zlatari Church, Doamnei Church, Grand Hotel du Boulevard, Casa Capsa, National Military Circle, Grand Hotel Continental, Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse or the Athenaeum, among others.

Carol I National Library is right in the middle of the action; photo:
Casa Macca looks very inviting; photo:@24ciprian

Bucharest Old Town is another area where you’ll find scattered beautiful architecture. Here you can admire: Hotel Marmorosch, Carturesti Carusel, CEC Palace and Stavropoleos Church.

Sutu Palace and Coltea Hospital are across the road, one on one side, the other on the other side of the large I. C. Bratianu boulevard. Piata Romana is another quarter packed with charming houses.

The inner court of the beautiful Stavropoleos monastery

Interactive map

This is a map with the most beautiful buildings of Bucharest. The ones described in this post are blue, while the orange ones are suggestions.

Have fun exploring!

Recommended by TTF:

  • Photogenic and elegant houses with a history to share;
  • The ones that can be visited are incredible on the inside as well;
  • Admire the true spirit of Little Paris.

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