My latest trip to the Romanian capital was everything but worthy. It started with the best intentions and great excitement from my side but every attempt to like it miraculously failed! You’ll rarely hear me say that I absolutely dislike a destination and I would never ever want to return there, but Bucharest is a first.
I always want to be honest with you guys and I don’t try and beautify every destination just to make me sound cooler. When something is bad, you have to call it by its name, even if that means that certain people won’t like what you have to say.
There are several reasons why Bucharest is a no-no, but I’ll just name a few and give some examples:
Taxi drivers are the worst I’ve ever encountered
They tried to rob us X times (I lost count). They didn’t want to put on the taximeter – they preferred to charge as they wish; they kicked us out twice when we asked them to turn on the meter! They drive like mad men; we almost crashed 3 times. The only solution was to enter a hotel and politely ask to call for a taxi. The driving was the same, but at least we could pay the normal fee and not 3 times more. Avoid them at all costs.
Low English level
This is always a con. I mean, I can understand it until a certain point, but when you are at a shopping mall or at your hotel’s lobby, you expect to use the universal language which, hello? It’s English!
Service at restaurants beyond bad
The waiters act like they are doing you a favor to serve you. One even asked us for a specific amount of tips. Well, I only tip if I’m satisfied with the service. This is the point of tipping. Rude service = NO TIP. Oh, note that we got scammed at Beraria H twice. One was when we ordered pork ribs but received pork shank instead, even if we made the waiter repeat our order once we placed it, specifically to avoid that. But no… shank was more expensive so we were getting that no matter what. And instead of an apology – even after we accepted the plate and said to hell with it, we got “you probably don’t know what you ordered”. NICE!
Meat full of fat, bad salad quality etc. The worst was what was supposed to be a “safe” Italian restaurant we picked for a normal Aglio Oglio spaghetti in a plate full of soupy sauce. Thank God for KFC and McDonald’s, we honored them 3 times!
Depressing – gray – screams communism
Bucharest just felt wrong. It was a very gray and quite unfriendly city – too cold (not temperature-wise) and with quite poor architecture (apart from 4 churches and 3 important buildings). I just expected more. After visiting almost the whole Balkan area. I can definitely say that it is my least favorite place. All those blocks and the dull lack of color helped me say so.
Gypsy beggars all over
The legend has it that Roma people come from that part of Europe. So I expected something of cultural value. Instead I saw the same thing I’m used to: young gypsy children asking for money in parking lots instead of being at school. Adults knocking at your car’s window demanding for cash. Teenagers following us and waiting for us outside restaurants & cafes asking for some change in every language possible – even in Greek. Ew.
(very) Dangerous drivers
Well, apart from the crazy taxi drivers, even normal people drive dangerously. The moment they see the green light, the race for life or death (literally) begins. We drove all the way up to Bucharest from Athens, and it was probably the worst idea I ever had. We got the middle finger countless times for just being legal and respecting their speed limit and traffic lights.
Even if I try hard, I can’t seem to find anything good to say about this city. I disliked it so much that I wanted to leave a day earlier, before I even made it to Transylvania that was one of my dreams to visit. Now I’m not even sure that I want to go back there ever again. Not even for Dracula’s castle – at least not anytime soon.
Every trip I’ve ever taken has offered me something positive. Not this one.
The only thing that made my stay tolerable was the treatment from the staff at Hotel Ambiance that was exactly the opposite from what I’ve described above. They were kind, helpful and generous. And they didn’t even know I’m a blogger, they were just genuine. So if you must visit Bucharest (I’d avoid it if I were you), I recommend them.
My advice to its people?
Not sure that my opinion will matter to most of them and they will probably hate me for trashing their city. BUT! If you want to avoid public opinions like mine, try and change your city for the best! Be kinder. Be friendlier with tourists. Put some color in this colorless place. Put a smile in your face!
The Romanians I have met outside this city while traveling, have nothing to do with what I experienced there. Such a shame!