Since Bucharest is such a large city – and the biggest tourist attraction in Romania – I’ve decided to share with you the best areas to stay in Bucharest. I believe that the recommendations in this article will be perfect both for those looking to move to Bucharest and those planning to visit for a shorter or longer period of time.
If you’re just passing through Bucharest and proximity to the airport is more important than exploring the city itself, I already have you covered with an article on the best Bucharest hotels near the airport. If not, you’ll want to be in the city!
Finally, before getting to actually check out my recommended places to stay when in Bucharest, I have another important advice for you: choose your location based on what you need to do. If you visit, stay close to the attractions (see my top recommendation below). If you’re there with work, it’s best to choose an area that’s closer to work.
Bucharest is a very large city and even the metros can keep you on the commute for tons of time. You don’t want to spend your life stuck in traffic or underground! So make your choice based on your goals: all areas in Bucharest will offer entertainment options and restaurants and shops and most of them can be considered extremely safe.
Best Area to Stay in Bucharest
1. Old Town / Unirii Square
You can rarely go wrong by choosing the central area of any city. In Bucharest’s case, this is definitely the place I would recommend everybody to stay in. The Old Town is the place where you can find great restaurants and pubs, all sorts of shops and night life as well.
In terms of accommodation options, you’ve got everything from luxury hotels to budget friendly ones and hostels. This is clearly the touristic area of the city and most of the hotels are here.
However, despite the fact that the area is touristy, prices at restaurants, attractions and entertainment places are still low compared to other countries, since this is also the area that many students visit. If you’re looking to rent, though, you’ll find some of the biggest prices in the city, but you always have to pay extra for living in a premium area!
Here is a map of the area that I consider to be the best to live in or stay in when in Bucharest, via Google Maps:
2. Primaverii neighborhood
Situated near the Herastrau park in a premium location, this is an exclusive area of the city with prices matching its legacy. There are mostly villas built in the area and chances are you’ll have some of Romania’s richest and most important people as neighbors if you decide to choose the Primaverii neighborhood as your home base.
This is a residential area, though and definitely better suited for those with both a high monthly budget and those looking at longer term stays in the city. This means that there are very few hotels in the area. I actually believe the Hotel Helvetia is the only and best bet there for shorter term stays.
Here’s the area on the map:
Other good areas in Bucharest
If you want to keep costs under control or you simply want to move away from the hustle and bustle of the central areas, there are a few other places that we can consider good options to live in, especially if we’re talking about more of a long-term stay.
This is a great area, not far away from the city center but very close to two very important things, in my opinion: public transportation and the huge (and pretty amazing) Tineretului park. The small neighborhood in the 4th District is becoming more and more popular every day with more and more stores and restaurants opening regularly. A great option!
Here is the small neighborhood on a map:
I might be a little bit biased here because most of the time I spent living in Bucharest was in this area. However, I still consider it a great option as it offers many options in terms of public transportation, there are shopping malls and restaurants within walking distance.
Plus, you only have three metro stations from Dristor to Unirii where the Old Town awaits. And there’s the beautiful Titan Park nearby for some fresh air an enjoying nature – so you have all the options covered here, in my opinion.
And here is a map of the area I consider the best choice for living in Dristor or Titan:
You’re still in a central location here, but not quite in the Old Town. Prices will therefore be slightly lower (but still pretty high). You’re close to metro stations, parks, tons of restaurants and museums. A beautiful area to live in, although just as crowded as the rest of the city:
All in all, chances are that, no matter where you will live in Bucharest, you will always have supermarkets, shops, bars and restaurants nearby, even though their quality and quantity differs based on the area you chose.
This is why I believe that the central areas are the best for most expats or travelers, but those who want a more authentic “living in Romania” experience have other options as well.
Best place to stay in Bucharest
If you’re not looking for a more long-term type of accommodation, where you’ll have to rent a place in order to keep the costs low, you will have to choose one of the best hotels in Bucharest for this. I have already written an in-depth guide on the best cheap hotels in the city center, but I’m listing a few other options below to cover more areas.
I am only listing 3-star hotels below, since I consider them to deliver great quality for very solid prices. If you want more luxury, Bucharest has 4 and 5 star hotels available, but they’re pretty expensive.
Volo Hotel – city center, close to the metro and two parks, within walking distance to many of Bucharest’s attractions, including the Old Town. A really good option
Hotel Horoscop – it’s a bit away from the hustle and bustle, but still within walking distance to the Old Town and all its nearby attractions. Not the classiest hotel around, but it does work!
Bucur Accommodation – one of the highest rated hotels in the area, this is an amazing choice if you’re looking for a high quality stay.
Hotel Duke Armeneasca – located a bit away from the city center, but still in a good area, the hotel is appreciated by its guest for its fair pricing and proximity to Theater and University.
Parliament Square – as the name suggests, this one’s close to one of Bucharest largest attractions (literally): The Parliament Building. However, it’s a bit off the beaten track and you’re not within walking distance to most attractions in the city center (unless you like walking a bit more than the average).
Understanding Bucharest’s districts
Romania’s capital is divided into six different districts, numbered from 1 to 6. However, whoever decided to “create” these districts definitely had some very poor ideas.
I am saying this because all of Bucharest’s districts start from the center of the city and expand towards the outskirts. Therefore, there is not a district that can be considered central – since all of them meet in the center of the city.
This makes it difficult to say that living in district 2 is better than living in district 5, because they all have central areas and areas that are not so good. Therefore, it’s better to look at the neighborhoods instead and use my list above.
Areas it’s best to stay away from
Although most areas and districts in Bucharest can be considered safe, there are some areas in the city that even Romanians looking for a new home try to stay away from: Ferentari and Rahova. These neighboring districts have a really bad reputation and it’s better to be safe than sorry – especially since there are so many options available.
I also think that staying away from the Drumul Taberei district is a good idea because you have fewer public transport options, as the inauguration of the metro lines there gets delayed year after year. Things might change when the metro station becomes operational, but until then know that you’ll only have to rely on very crowded buses and trams to get around the area.
In the end, the outskirts of the city can usually be considered areas to stay away from, not necessarily because they are dangerous – since most of them are not – but because of the huge distances to the city center and things of interest.
On the other hand, it’s usually the outskirts of the city where new buildings are being built, offering better options than the small communist apartments you can normally find in the city. So if you don’t mind commuting and spending a lot of time on the road (be it in a personal car or public transportation), you will have the chance to live in some really nice, recently built homes or apartments.
Now that you know what the best areas in Bucharest are, why not plan your next move by checking out my article on the top things to see and do in the city? There’s a lot more, of course, but ticking these off the list is definitely a must!
Update notice: This article was originally published back in 2017, but I have rewritten it in 2019, with new recommendations and some additional text.