Exploring Bucharest: Finding the best areas and neighbourhoods in Bucharest

June 6, 2024

For expatriates, each area presents unique advantages and experiences, ensuring everyone can find the perfect spot in Romania’s dynamic capital.

Bucharest, Romania’s vibrant capital, is a mosaic of history, culture, and modernity, making it an increasingly popular destination for expats from around the world. Each neighbourhood in Bucharest tells its own story, from the echoes of history in its cobblestone streets to the serene expanses of its suburban greenery. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of the arts, or a family seeking a quiet retreat, Bucharest offers a neighbourhood that can cater to your lifestyle.


Central Neighbourhoods in Bucharest

Bucharest Central Neighbourhoods

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The heart of Bucharest is a bustling hub where the past meets the present. The central neighbourhoods, such as Piata Romana and Piata Unirii, offer vibrant in-town living with various cafes, restaurants, and cultural attractions. There are lots of fascinating attractions to visit and do, from the iconic Romanian Athenaeum, a symbol of the city’s artistic heritage, to the fascinating exhibits at the “Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History or the National Romanian Peasant Museum, residents of these neighbourhoods have a wealth of cultural experiences right at their doorsteps.

Accommodation in the city centre predominantly consists of apartments, offering a range of options to suit different tastes and budgets. New apartment complexes provide modern amenities and contemporary designs, appealing to those who prefer a sleek, urban lifestyle. In contrast, older apartment blocks offer a sense of history and character, often featuring spacious interiors and charming architectural details. Whether you’re seeking the latest in modern living or a home with a bit of historical charm, city centre accommodation in Bucharest caters to a variety of preferences.



Lipscani, named after the main street that runs through the area, is known for its lively atmosphere, eclectic shops, and vibrant street life. It is a historic district, containing a dynamic blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy in the heart of Bucharest. The cobblestone streets and beautiful 19th-century buildings provide a picturesque backdrop for the area’s bustling activity.

Thanks to its diverse attractions, the neighbourhood is a favourite among young professionals and tourists alike. Lipscani is home to various boutique shops offering unique fashion, artisanal goods, and antiques, making it a shopper’s paradise. The area also holds many cafes, bars, and restaurants that cater to every taste, from traditional Romanian cuisine to international delicacies.

In addition to its commercial offerings, Lipscani is also a cultural hotspot. The district is dotted with art galleries, theatres, and live-music venues, ensuring that something is always happening, day or night. Street performers and pop-up markets add to the lively ambiance, creating an exciting and inviting atmosphere.

The mix of historical architecture and contemporary culture makes Lipscani a unique destination.
Landmarks such as the Stavropoleos Monastery and the National Bank of Romania add historical depth to the area, while modern establishments like rooftop bars and trendy nightclubs keep the energy high.

Overall, Lipscani is a microcosm of Bucharest’s spirit—where history meets modernity, and tradition blends seamlessly with innovation. This enchanting area continues to draw locals and visitors who are eager to experience its dynamic and eclectic charm.


Old Town (Centrul Vechi)

Old Town, or Centrul Vechi, is the historical core of Bucharest, renowned for its beautifully restored architecture and pedestrian-friendly streets. This area serves as a spirited hub for nightlife and dining, seamlessly blending traditional Romanian charm with contemporary flair.

Old Town is filled with narrow cobblestone streets lined with charming buildings that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The architecture is a captivating mix of styles, reflecting the city’s rich history and cultural influences. From ornate Baroque facades to grand neoclassical structures, the aesthetic appeal of Centrul Vechi is undeniable.
One of the main draws of Old Town is its bustling nightlife. As the sun sets, the streets come alive with energy. Bars, pubs, and nightclubs cater to every taste, from laid-back, cosy spots perfect for a quiet experience, or a lively venue where you can dance the night away. Live music is a staple in many establishments, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated restaurant or a traditional Romanian tavern, Old Town has something for everyone.

Dining in Centrul Vechi is a delightful experience, offering a mix of traditional Romanian cuisine and international flavours. Restaurants and eateries serve everything from classic dishes like sarmale (cabbage rolls) and mici (grilled sausages) to gourmet international fare. Many restaurants feature outdoor seating, allowing diners to enjoy their meals while soaking in the lively street scenes. The area’s diverse culinary offerings make it a popular destination for food enthusiasts.

In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Old Town hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. From street performances to seasonal markets, there is always something happening in this dynamic part of Bucharest. The pedestrian-friendly streets make it easy to explore, and the welcoming atmosphere invites visitors to linger and immerse themselves in the local culture.

Overall, Old Town is a captivating blend of the old and the new, where history meets modernity and tradition harmonises with innovation. This enchanting area continues to draw both locals and tourists, eager to experience its unique charm and vibrant energy.



Cotroceni is a distinguished neighbourhood in Bucharest, known for its quiet, tree-lined streets adorned with beautiful, historic houses. This area exudes an air of tranquillity and elegance, making it one of the most sought-after residential districts in the city. The architectural landscape of Cotroceni is a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication, with well-preserved villas and mansions that date back to the early 20th century.
One of the most notable landmarks in Cotroceni is the Presidential Palace, also known as Cotroceni Palace. This grand building serves as the official residence of the President of Romania and is a symbol of the nation’s political heritage.

Adjacent to the palace is the lush and expansive Cotroceni Botanical Garden, a serene oasis in the heart of the city. Established in 1860, the garden spans over 17 hectares and features a diverse array of plant species from around the world. It is a popular spot for both locals and visitors, providing a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle and bustle. The Botanical Garden is not only a place for relaxation and recreation but also serves as an important centre for botanical research and education.

Cotroceni is particularly favoured by academics and medical professionals due to its proximity to several prestigious universities and hospitals. The neighbourhood is home to the University of Bucharest’s Faculty of Law and the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, both of which are highly regarded institutions. Additionally, major hospitals such as the University Emergency Hospital Bucharest and the Elias Hospital are located nearby, making Cotroceni a convenient and desirable area for those in the medical field.



Dorobanti is a sophisticated area in Bucharest, filled with upscale restaurants, chic boutiques, and art galleries. This neighbourhood exudes an air of elegance and exclusivity, attracting both locals and expatriates who appreciate a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Dorobanti offers a seamless blend of tranquillity and urban convenience, making it an appealing choice for families and professionals alike.

The dining scene in Dorobanti is exceptional, featuring a wide array of upscale restaurants that cater to diverse culinary tastes. From gourmet Romanian cuisine to international delicacies, the neighbourhood’s eateries are known for their high-quality offerings and sophisticated ambiance. Whether it’s a cosy brunch spot, a trendy café, or a fine dining establishment, Dorobanti provides an array of options for food enthusiasts. Many of these restaurants also offer al fresco dining, allowing patrons to enjoy their meals in the pleasant outdoor atmosphere.

In addition to its commercial attractions, Dorobanti is characterised by its peaceful residential streets and well-maintained parks. The area’s green spaces provide a serene environment for relaxation and recreation, making it a desirable location for families. The neighbourhood’s proximity to top-rated schools, healthcare facilities, and other essential services further enhances its appeal to residents seeking a balanced and convenient lifestyle.

The cosmopolitan charm of this neighbourhood is complemented by its excellent connectivity to other parts of Bucharest. Well-served by public transportation, the neighbourhood ensures that residents can easily access the city’s business districts, cultural landmarks, and entertainment hubs.


Piata Unirii

Piata Unirii is situated in the heart of the city and is one of Bucharest’s most iconic and bustling squares. It showcases a fascinating mix of modern and historical architecture. This vibrant area serves as a commercial hub, offering residents and visitors easy access to a multitude of shopping options around Unirii Boulevard.

As a commercial hub, Piata Unirii is a magnet for shoppers. Unirii Shopping Centre, is home to numerous retail outlets, ranging from high-end fashion boutiques to budget-friendly stores, catering to all tastes and budgets. Additionally, the nearby streets are lined with various shops, including electronics stores, bookshops, and specialty stores, making it a convenient destination for all shopping needs.

Beyond shopping, Piata Unirii is also a central point for business and finance. Numerous office buildings and banks are located in the vicinity, making it a bustling area during weekdays. The square’s strategic location ensures that it is well-connected to other parts of the city, with excellent public transportation options including buses, trams, and the Bucharest Metro.

The lively atmosphere of Piata Unirii extends to its dining and entertainment options. A variety of restaurants and cafes are scattered throughout the area, offering everything from traditional Romanian cuisine to international delicacies.


Bohemian Quarters in Bucharest

Bucharest’s bohemian quarters are based in the city centre, and includes much of Old Town, Lipscani, Piata Romana, and Piata Universitate. These are famous for its 19th-century Neo-Romanian architecture that defines much of the national style. Within the Bohemian Quarters, you’ll discover a youthful energy and a passion for the arts that permeate the area. These districts are alive with creativity and are popular among young professionals, artists, and students who enjoy a dynamic and inspiring environment.

The streets of these bohemian neighbourhoods are lined with a variety of cafes, each with its unique ambiance and character. Whether you’re looking for a cosy corner to enjoy a cup of artisanal coffee or a lively spot to socialise with friends, there’s a cafe or terrace to suit every mood. There is a vibrant cultural scene that is both engaging and accessible. Street festivals, pop-up markets, and outdoor art installations add to the dynamic atmosphere, making these neighbourhoods some of the most vibrant and desirable places to live in the city.

Accommodation in Bucharest’s bohemian districts often comes in the form of charming historical apartments. These older buildings have not changed much since the Romanian Revolution, preserving their architectural heritage. As these areas are in touristic areas, there are many boutique hotels and guesthouses scattered within the heart of the city.

Living in these bohemian districts means being at the heart of Bucharest’s cultural life. The close proximity to theatres, art galleries, and music venues ensures that there is always something exciting happening just around the corner.



Adjacent to Bucharest’s oldest park, Cismigiu Gardens, this neighbourhood offers a peaceful retreat from the urban pace. Known for its tranquil atmosphere and scenic beauty, the area is a haven for those seeking respite from the bustling city life. The neighbourhood is filled with historic buildings, charming cafes, and lush green spaces, making it a popular spot among creatives and professionals who are drawn to its serene and inspiring environment.

Cismigiu Gardens, a historic park dating back to the mid-19th century, serves as the heart of this neighbourhood. Alongside these historic structures, you will find a selection of charming cafes and bistros that provide cosy spots for relaxation and socialising. These cafes often double as cultural venues, hosting poetry readings, art exhibitions, and live music performances, further enriching the neighbourhood’s artistic vibe.

The apartments range from beautifully restored units in historic buildings to modern flats with contemporary amenities. These residences offer a unique blend of old-world charm and modern comfort. For those seeking more space and privacy, there are also houses available, often featuring private gardens and spacious interiors. These homes are perfect for families who wish to enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of this picturesque neighbourhood.

The area is also family friendly, with numerous play areas and activities for children. In addition to Cismigiu Gardens, there are several smaller parks and playgrounds scattered throughout the neighbourhood, providing safe and enjoyable spaces for children to play. The parks host various events and activities geared toward families, such as puppet shows, outdoor concerts, and seasonal festivals.



Situated around the largest park in central Bucharest, Herastrau Park, this neighbourhood offers luxurious residences and is known for its leisure activities, picturesque scenery, and upscale dining spots alongside the lake. Herastrau Park provides a stunning backdrop for this affluent area, making it one of the most desirable places to live in the city.

The neighbourhood around Herastrau Park is characterised by a mix of new and old apartments, luxury accommodations, and elegant houses. The newer apartment complexes offer state-of-the-art amenities and modern designs, catering to those who prefer contemporary living spaces. Meanwhile, older apartments often feature spacious layouts and charming architectural details, appealing to those who appreciate a blend of history and modern comfort. Additionally, luxury residences, including high-end penthouses and exclusive villas, provide opulent living options for those seeking the utmost in comfort and style.

One of the highlights of living in this area is the abundance of leisure activities available. Herastrau Park itself is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering vast lawns, scenic walking paths, and recreational facilities. Residents can enjoy jogging, cycling, and boating on the park’s large lake. The park also hosts various cultural events, concerts, and festivals throughout the year, adding to the vibrant community atmosphere. For families with children, there are numerous playgrounds and open spaces where kids can play and explore safely.

From gourmet international cuisine to refined Romanian dishes, dining by the lake provides a unique and enjoyable experience. Many of these establishments offer outdoor seating with picturesque views of the park and lake, enhancing the dining experience.

Transport access is another significant advantage of this neighbourhood. It is well-connected to the rest of the city, with efficient public transportation options including buses and metro lines. This makes commuting to various parts of Bucharest convenient and straightforward. Additionally, the proximity to major international schools makes it an ideal location for expatriate families.

Herastrau Park Bucharest

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Residential Enclaves in Bucharest

Bucharest’s residential enclaves provide an ideal living environment for those seeking a blend of urban and suburban lifestyles. These areas offer a diverse range of accommodation options, including houses and villas, ample green spaces, and convenient access to educational institutions, making them perfect for families, professionals, and expatriates alike.



Floreasca stands out as a prime residential neighbourhood in Bucharest, offering a unique combination of green spaces, modern living, and high-end amenities. Its mix of contemporary apartment complexes and traditional housing options, along with a wealth of dining and recreational facilities, make it an ideal choice for families and young professionals alike. Facilities such as fitness centres, swimming pools, and private parking add to the convenience and comfort of living in Floreasca. The presence of offices and business centres adds to its appeal, making Floreasca a well-rounded and highly desirable area to live in.

Floreasca also features traditional housing options. Historic houses and older apartment buildings with unique architectural details provide a charming contrast to the sleek, new constructions.

The neighbourhood is home to Floreasca Park, a beautifully landscaped area ideal for leisurely walks, jogging, and family picnics. The park features playgrounds, sports facilities, and serene lakes, making it a favourite spot for both children and adults. Additionally, the proximity to other parks such as Verdi Park further enhances the neighbourhood’s appeal for nature lovers.

Floreasca is a culinary hotspot with a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars. From upscale dining establishments offering gourmet international cuisine to cafes serving delicious Romanian dishes, the neighbourhood caters to all palates.

This area is not just a residential haven but also a thriving business hub. Floreasca hosts several offices and business centres, making it a convenient location for professionals working in the area.



Aviatorilor is one of the most prestigious areas in Bucharest, renowned for its business centres, skyscrapers, and luxurious properties. This neighbourhood features wide boulevards, beautiful architecture, and proximity to the expansive Herastrau Park, making it a highly sought-after location for both professionals and families.

Aviatorilor is a thriving business hub, home to numerous modern business centres and towering skyscrapers. The presence of these commercial buildings makes it a prime location for multinational corporations and local enterprises alike. The area’s robust business environment contributes to its bustling atmosphere during the day, with professionals frequenting the numerous office buildings and co-working spaces.
The neighbourhood offers a wide range of luxurious properties, including both modern and traditional housing options.

Residents of Aviatorilor enjoy convenient access to Promenada Mall, a shopping destination featuring a wide range of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. The mall’s upscale offerings ensure that residents have everything they need within a short distance.

Aviatorilor is strategically located near some of the major private hospitals in Bucharest, providing residents with top-tier medical care.

The neighbourhood is exceptionally well connected, with easy access to the city centre via the metro. This makes commuting straightforward and efficient for residents working in other parts of Bucharest. The area’s strategic location also provides convenient access to major roadways, facilitating travel to various parts of the city and beyond.

Aviatorilor is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, with numerous parks, recreational facilities, and activities designed for children. The neighbourhood’s safe and tranquil environment, coupled with its excellent amenities, makes it a perfect place for families to thrive.



Baneasa is known for its residential zones that provide residents with access to top international schools (including Cambridge School of Bucharest), shopping centres, and the serene Baneasa Forest. Additionally, its proximity to Bucharest’s city centre and excellent public transport options make it a highly convenient location.

Baneasa holds a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and lifestyles. Traditional apartment blocks offer a sense of community, while modern apartments provide contemporary living spaces with state-of-the-art amenities. For those seeking more spacious and luxurious living, the area is also home to elegant houses and villas. These properties often come with large gardens and private amenities, catering to families and individuals who appreciate privacy and luxury.

One of the key attractions of Baneasa is its proximity to some of the top international schools in Bucharest. This makes Baneasa an ideal choice for expatriate families and local residents who prioritise excellent educational opportunities for their children.

Baneasa is well-equipped with modern amenities, ensuring that residents have everything they need close at hand. The neighbourhood is home to several major shopping centres, including the Baneasa Shopping City, which features a wide range of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. From high-end boutiques to everyday essentials, the shopping centres cater to all needs and preferences. Additionally, the area offers various supermarkets, specialty shops, and healthcare facilities, making daily life convenient and comfortable.

The Baneasa Forest is a significant highlight of the neighbourhood, offering residents a peaceful retreat amidst nature. The forest is ideal for outdoor activities such as jogging, cycling, hiking, and picnicking. Its lush greenery and tranquil environment provide a perfect escape from the urban hustle and bustle, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Baneasa is strategically located close to Bucharest’s two main airports, Henri Coanda International Airport and Aurel Vlaicu International Airport. This proximity is particularly beneficial for frequent travellers and expatriates. Additionally, the area is well-served by public transport, including buses and metro lines, providing easy access to the city centre and other parts of Bucharest. Major roadways also connect Baneasa to the city, ensuring smooth and convenient commutes.

The neighbourhood’s serene and family-friendly atmosphere makes it an attractive choice for families. There are many outdoor attractions to enjoy within the area, such as the Baneasa Zoo. Numerous parks and playgrounds are scattered throughout Baneasa, offering safe and enjoyable spaces for children to play and explore.

Residential Enclaves in Bucharest

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Suburban Gems Inside and Outside of Bucharest

For those looking for peace and nature, Bucharest’s suburbs provide a pleasant escape.


Snagov is a picturesque locale renowned for its beautiful lake and surrounding forest, making it a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Located just outside of Bucharest, Snagov offers a serene retreat with a variety of recreational activities such as boating and fishing, while still being within a commutable distance to the city.

Snagov is most famous for its stunning lake, which provides a perfect setting for a range of water-based activities. Boating, fishing, and kayaking are popular pastimes among residents and visitors, offering a tranquil way to enjoy the natural surroundings. The lake is also ideal for leisurely walks and picnics along its shores. The surrounding Snagov Forest adds to the area’s natural charm, with dense woodlands perfect for hiking, bird-watching, and exploring the great outdoors. This rich natural environment makes Snagov an idyllic spot for those who cherish peace and nature.

The housing market in Snagov caters to those seeking modern, comfortable living spaces amidst nature. The area offers a variety of contemporary homes, from sleek apartments to spacious villas. These properties often feature large windows and open floor plans, designed to maximise views of the lake and forest. Many homes come with private gardens, swimming pools, and other luxury amenities, providing a high standard of living in a beautiful, natural setting.

Families living in Snagov benefit from the area’s proximity to several top international schools located in the northern part of Bucharest, like Cambridge School of Bucharest.

Despite being outside the city, Snagov is well-connected to Bucharest via a highway, making commuting straightforward and efficient. The drive to Bucharest’s city centre is relatively short, allowing residents to enjoy the tranquillity of suburban living without sacrificing the conveniences of urban life. This easy accessibility ensures that residents can commute for work, school, and leisure activities with minimal hassle.


Voluntari (Pipera)

Pipera is a rapidly developing area in Bucharest that has become increasingly popular with expatriates, thanks to its modern housing, international schools, and excellent facilities. Known for its large international community and wealth of amenities, Pipera is an ideal location for families and professionals seeking a high standard of living in a vibrant and well-connected neighbourhood.

Pipera offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and lifestyles. From modern apartments to luxurious villas, the neighbourhood ensures that residents can find their ideal home.

The proximity of many housing complexes to international schools adds to the convenience for families.

The area is home to several top-tier educational institutions, including CSB, that cater to the needs of expatriate families and local residents alike. This access to high-quality education is a significant draw for families considering a move to Pipera.

Pipera boasts of a large and vibrant international community, creating a welcoming and dynamic atmosphere for newcomers. The neighbourhood is well equipped with a variety of amenities, including shopping centres, supermarkets, healthcare facilities, and recreational areas. Residents can enjoy numerous dining options, ranging from casual cafes to fine-dining restaurants, offering a diverse culinary experience.

In addition to its urban conveniences, Pipera is surrounded by several green spaces and family-friendly activities. The nearby Baneasa Forest provides a perfect spot for outdoor adventures, such as hiking, cycling, and picnicking. The Bucharest Zoo, located a short walk away, offers a fun and educational outing for children. Edenland, an adventure park, provides various outdoor activities like zip-lining, climbing, and horseback riding, ensuring that families can enjoy active weekends together.

Therme, a luxurious wellness and spa complex, is also within easy reach of Pipera. It offers thermal pools, saunas, and relaxation areas, making it a popular destination for both relaxation and family fun. These attractions ensure that there is always something exciting and enjoyable to do in and around Pipera.

Pipera is well connected to the rest of Bucharest, with excellent transport links that make commuting easy. Major roadways and public transport options provide quick and convenient access to the city centre and other parts of the capital. This connectivity is a significant advantage for professionals working in Bucharest and for families accessing various parts of the city.


Expat Considerations

Choosing the right neighbourhood is crucial for expatriates moving to Bucharest. Several factors must be taken into account to ensure a comfortable and convenient lifestyle:
Proximity to Work: Selecting a neighbourhood close to your workplace can significantly reduce commuting time and stress. Areas like Pipera and Aviatorilor are popular choices for professionals due to their proximity to business centres and offices.

International Schools: Access to high-quality education is a top priority for expatriate families. Neighbourhoods such as Pipera, Baneasa, Herastrau, and Floreasca are favoured for their closeness to renowned international schools, including Cambridge School of Bucharest (CSB).

Cultural Integration Opportunities: Living in areas with vibrant international communities and cultural amenities can enhance the expat experience. Neighbourhoods such as Pipera, Baneasa and Snagov offer complex housing options, which is favourable among the international community with families.

Public Transportation Availability: Efficient public transportation is essential for easy navigation of the city. Areas like Piata Romana and Piata Unirii are well connected by metro, buses, and trams, making it easy to reach different parts of Bucharest.

Safety: Ensuring the safety of your family is paramount. Neighbourhoods that are known for their safe and tranquil environments make them ideal for families.
Local Amenities: Proximity to supermarkets, healthcare facilities, recreational areas, and shopping centres is vital for day-to-day convenience. Neighbourhoods like Baneasa and Pipera are equipped with modern amenities, ensuring all your needs are met.



Exploring Bucharest’s neighbourhoods offers a glimpse into the city’s rich tapestry. For expatriates, each area presents unique advantages and experiences, ensuring everyone can find the perfect spot in Romania’s dynamic capital. Whether you seek the tranquillity of green spaces, the vibrancy of cultural hubs, or the convenience of modern amenities, Bucharest has something to offer everyone. Learn more here.