Include in your itinerary some of the most famous parks in Bucharest, along with other tourist attractions in the Romanian capital. This way you will have a complete image of the city. Every visit to a city also needs moments of pause and meeting with nature. A stop in a park can charge you with energy and give you a moment to breathe. After, you can continue visiting tourist sites.
Below are 8 of the most beautiful parks in Bucharest, a brief history of them and what you can do there.
Herastrau Park Bucharest (today King Mihai I Park)
Mihai I Royal Park, known among Bucharest residents as Herastrau park, is the largest park in Bucharest and, moreover, the largest in a European city. It is often frequented for its many outdoor activities: numerous promenade areas with rich vegetation, water activities, sports and events, summer theatre, exhibition pavilions, cafes, clubs and restaurants.
Since the end of 2017, Herăstrău Park is called King Mihai I Park, in memory of the king.
There are several well-known areas in this park. Rose Island is a brightly coloured island of rose garlands. Two bridges connect it to the rest of the park. Exotic birds were brought on it: peacocks and swans.
The picture of the island of Roses is completed by the Monument of the Founding Fathers of the European Union. Those who come to the park can admire the 12 bronze busts of some European politicians. They had an essential contribution to the formation of the European Union.
Another splendid place in the park is the Japanese Garden. It was arranged in 1998 with the support of the Embassy of Japan in Romania and the Memorial Foundation of the Japanese World’s Fair. In spring you can admire here the most beautiful cherry blossoms in the whole city.
In Herăstrău Park there is also a residential area, represented by the Elisabeta Palace and the Village Museum.
Elisabeta Palace, built by the architect Corneliu M. Marcu is the residence of the Romanian royal family. It cannot be visited but can be seen in a secluded corner among the greenery.
The Village Museum was born at the initiative of the well-known sociologist Dimitrie Gusti. It was inaugurated on May 10, 1936, in the presence of King Carol II of Romania.
To build this museum, the houses were disassembled, piece by piece, transported by train, cart or boat to Bucharest where they were reassembled on the surface of today’s museum.
The oldest house was built in the 17th century, and the newest one dates from the 19th century.
The museum often hosts popular themed events and exhibitions and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bucharest.
Carol Park Bucharest
Carol Park in Bucharest was inaugurated in 1906, on the occasion of the celebration of the 40th reign of King Carol I and 25 years since the proclamation of the Kingdom of Romania.
At the same time, a jubilee exhibition was organized here. The most famous and imposing monument in Carol Park is the Mausoleum, inaugurated in 1963. It houses the bones of soldiers who fell in World War II and was dedicated to the memory of the Unknown Hero.
Besides the richness of trees and plants, you can admire various statues and historical monuments here.
In front of the main entrance is the “Zodiac Fountain”, the only one that was not moved from its place during communism.
On the left side after the entrance is the Dimitrie Leonida National Technical Museum. Here you can admire objects from different branches of technology: optics, mechanics, magnetism and electricity.
Vlad Tepeș’s tower, a reproduction of the Poenari Fortress erected by the same voivode, is in fact a water tower. It can be visited only twice a year and currently the castle is the headquarters of the National Office for the Cult of Heroes.
Another attraction of the park is represented by the Roman Arenas, an open-air performance hall, Roman amphitheatre type with a capacity of 5 thousand seats. Various concerts and shows are organized here.
A walk through the park will make you discover, in addition to those listed above, 2 fountains of rare beauty and statues with beautiful love stories.
See how the Carol park looks in winter.
Cismigiu Gardens Bucharest
Because drinking water was difficult to procure in the 17th century Bucharest, a fountain with a water tap(cismea in Romanian) is located on the edge of the current Cismigiu park.
Due to the water flowing from it, the area was transformed into a swamp. In 1830 the order was given for the arrangement of the Cismigiu garden, on the site of this swamp. The area is dry, the lake is formed in the middle of it and landscape artists are called to arrange the current Cismigiu Garden.
Explore the old town on this free walking tour in Bucharest
The lake in the centre of the park is the perfect place for boating in the heat of summer or for arranging an ice rink in winter when everything freezes. The alleys are bordered by old trees and exotic plants, and from time to time interesting monuments can be admired.
“Rotonda scriitorilor”, arranged in 1943, includes the busts of the most important Romanian artists: from Mihai Eminescu and Titu Maiorescu to Ion Luca Caragiale and Vasile Alecsandri. “La Cetate” is the ruins of a monastery built in 1756 is another interesting place in the park.
If you explore the city centre, don’t forget to visit also the Romanian Athenaeum, a beautiful concert hall.
Tineretului Park Bucharest
The area of this park was once called the Valley of Lamentation due to piles of garbage and wild vegetation. In 1940 it was leased for 25 years to be a landfill. In 1965, the arrangement of a park began with the help of young people, hence the name Tineretului (Youth in Romanian) Park.
Currently, the Tineretului Park hosts the National Children’s Palace, a place where various courses and educational activities for children are organized. The Ioan Kunst Ghermănescu Event Hall next to it, with a capacity of 6000 seats, is the place for events, sports competitions, exhibitions and conferences.
In the ’80s, the Children’s Town was built, the largest and most modern amusement park in Romania at that time, another attraction even today.
Vacaresti Nature Park Bucharest
Văcăreşti Natural Park is the first urban nature park in Romania, with 184 ha of green-blue space, biodiversity and wildlife.
During the communist period, a lake was planned to be arranged here. That is why they demolished some houses and completely destroyed the gardens and fields around.
They built and followed the construction of the canal that should have brought water from Argeș, but the revolution of 1989 stopped these plans.
The lake was only once filled with water from the Dâmbovița river. On this occasion the builders realized that the dam could not hold water, flooding the neighbourhoods.
Since then, nature has taken over and expanded. At this moment it is a protected area and it hosts a rich flora and fauna, being the largest green space in Bucharest.
It has marked trails for walking and bike trails. It is perfect for those searching for some outdoor activities in Bucharest.
Izvor Park Bucharest
Izvor Park in Bucharest is one of the new parks in the city, which came about by chance. The story of the park began in the mid-1980s when on the site of the current park was the Mihai-Vodă hill, on which was built the Mihai Vodă Monastery and an old neighbourhood called Uranus.
The area was destroyed by the communists for the modernization of the capital at that time. The plan involved the construction of the Parliament Palace, the buildings for various surrounding institutions and the Civic Center.
At that time, a conference and reception hall was also planned. That is why the hill was levelled and the monastery and the bell tower were moved and hidden behind blocks of flats, towards the bank of Dâmboviţa.
With the 1989 revolution, the project to build a conference and reception hall was blocked and the area was abandoned.
A few years later, in the 1990s, the area was redeveloped, trees were planted and alleys were built, so that the place looked like a green terrace of the Parliament Palace.
Today it is used for the castle-shaped playground, for alleys suitable for walking and cycling, and for outdoor events and concerts.
It is impossible to miss it, considering that it is located near Parliament Palace, one of Bucharest’s most visited tourist attractions.
Titan Park Bucharest
The park is divided into 2 separate areas by the boulevard: Titan Park and Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park.
Hundreds of years ago there was a poor village in this place, with vegetable gardens and a pond. During the plague of 1813, the corpses of the plagues were thrown into that pond and covered with quicklime.
The rains activated the lime, and huge white puddles formed here. That is why the whole neighbourhood built later was called Balta Alba.
Today it changed its name to Titan, a name taken also by the park.
Lake Titan in the centre of the park is one of the few natural lakes in Bucharest. Initially, the landscape was quite wild with reeds and swampy areas.
After 1990, the arrangement of the place began, with alleys, playgrounds, statues and an amphitheatre.
The park has five islands, of which only four can be visited. Today it is very neat and that is why it can be crowded on weekends, but it remains one of the most appreciated parks in Bucharest.
Gradina Icoanei Park
Being today one of the few parks in Bucharest located in the centre of the capital, the Gradina Icoanei (Garden of the Icon) Park was once on the outskirts of Bucharest and was avoided by the inhabitants of the city.
Being a vacant lot that emitted unpleasant odours, the solution was to set up a public garden to refresh the infected air.
1873 is the year in which the park, now called the Garden of the Icon, is inaugurated.
The whole garden was built according to the plans of the Swiss horticulturist Louis Leyvraz.
Since then it has become a place of promenade and peace for the people of Bucharest. The neighbourhood where this park is located is also a historic one with interesting buildings and street paintings.
You will meet some of these parks in Bucharest, naturally on your route.
For others, it is necessary to deviate, so I would recommend you to visit them only if you have more time available.
So, which one do you plan to include on your trip to Bucharest?