Gay Bucharest: guide to the best bars, clubs, hotels and more

Stefan Arestis

Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, is one of Europe's hidden gems. It's a fantastic city to explore – safe, with a rich history, many excellent bars, restaurants, a bustling Old Town and even a (small) gay scene. This is a big deal for an Eastern European country like Romania where LGBTQ rights are sadly lagging behind the rest of Europe.

Bucharest is also very inexpensive compared to other European capitals, and easy to reach with all major budget airlines across Europe. Score!

We used Bucharest as our base to explore Romania – a stunning country, with some impressive mountain scenery in Transylvania in the north and even a beach in the Black Sea at Constantia in the south. Bucharest is located right in the middle of the country with the best connections to all other parts of Romania. It's also a super fun place to go out, whether in the vibrant nightlife of the Old Town or to one of the many gay and gay friendly places we set out in this guide.

This is our comprehensive gay guide to Bucharest from our personal experience and recommendations from friends with our favourite gay friendly hotels to stay, the gay bars/clubs, events, things to do and more.

Discover the gay nightlife of Bucharest with a gaily tour

Explore Bucharest on a gay tour

Join a “Gaily” tour of Bucharest with a local guide if you want to discover the best LGBTQ hangouts in the city. You can join a daytime tour to see the main sights or a nighttime one if you want to explore the gay scene!

Find out more

Is Bucharest safe for LGBTQ travellers?

Romania is generally not regarded as a gay-friendly country, but that is changing! As with much of East Europe, homosexuality is a massive taboo in society, which can get you into a lot of trouble if you shout out loud about it. On the plus side, however, as part of its ascension to the EU in 2007, Romania was forced to adopt an array of anti-discrimination laws, particularly in relation to hate crime and hate speech. Laws to recognise civil unions are being discussed and the right to change legal gender was introduced as far back as 1996. And thankfully, in a 2018 referendum, Romanians voted against banning same-sex marriage!

Bucharest is the most cosmopolitan and accepting city in Romania, with a large LGBTQ community, a few gay places to hang out and even an annual Pride taking place each June. Obviously don't come here expecting a gay scene like those in Fort Lauderdale or Barcelona, but as long as you're not too outlandish about your sexuality in public, you'll be absolutely fine and will have an awesome time.

Gay neighbourhood in Bucharest

Whilst there is no official gay neighbourhood in Bucharest, there are a few gay or gay friendly places to check out, mainly based in and around the Old Town, like Thor's Hammer, Q Club and the queer-friendly Control Club.

There are also a number of mixed gay friendly places we've listed in this guide, which are popular hangouts for the local LGBTQ community and where we felt comfortable with PDAs. However, for a city with a large gay community (no seriously, you'll be super busy on your Grindr in Bucharest!) we felt that the city is lacking somewhat in LGBTQ hangouts.

Despite this, watch this space! We found a massive discrepancy between young and old: the older more Orthodox Romanians are extremely religious, stuck in old fashioned ways, whereas the younger Millennial Romanians are very progressive, tolerant and super savvy about LGBTQ issues. We think that it's only a matter of time until Bucharest evolves into an LGBTQ mecca of East Europe.

Arriving in Bucharest soon?

The last thing you want to do when arriving in a new city is try to figure out public transport, juggle your luggage and avoid scams. We love to use Welcome Pickups for private airport transfers, so we can relax knowing an English-speaking guide will be waiting at the airport ready to whisk us away to our hotel.

Bucharest is a fun gay friendly city, with some gay bars and clubs - not to mention some pretty gay statues at Peles Castle...
Stefan posing with the gayest statues ever at Peles Castle!

Where to stay in Bucharest

We struggled to find gay friendly hotels in Romania. Most places we contacted seemed to be under the impression we are two perverts who want to abuse children and fornicate in public. That's Romania for you sadly.

The listings below are places we have first-hand experience with and can confidently say they welcome LGBTQ travellers. But remember, things change, especially in relation to management and staff. For example, when researching, the Rembrandt Hotel was frequently listed by various sources online, but when we approached them, they were one of the places who dismissed us as perverts wanting to fornicate in public. So for peace of mind, we recommend calling ahead to make sure hotel staff are cool with two guys sharing a bed.

01

The Mansion Boutique Hotel

The Mansion Boutique Hotel in Bucharest is a gay friendly and cool hotel with uniquely designed rooms

Why we love it


  • Adults-only boutique hotel
  • Really cool, uniquely designed rooms
  • Complimentary buffet breakfast
  • Excellent location in Bucharest Old Town

For all the kiddy-phobes out there, this place will be your gay friendly paradise! The Mansion Boutique is strictly adults only. You heard us right…there are no children allowed.

It is ideal for those with a slightly higher budget. The Mansion Boutique oozes luxury and is the perfect place for a honeymoon or anniversary getaway.

After all, if you're going to splurge, you may as well go the whole hog!

From the outside, the gay friendly hotel is extremely impressive. We immediately saw why they called themselves ‘mansion' – the place is huge! Inside, you'll find high ceilings, shiny floors, crystals and fabulous art. The lobby feels like a snapshot of Heaven with sleek furniture and bright natural light spilling in from the glass roof.

There are also different room types to choose from. From the Art Deco room for the Modernist obsessed geek to the Provence room for the refined minimalist. A delicious breakfast is provided for guests in the cafe/restaurant on the ground floor, while you're very close to the vibrant and exciting life of the Old Town area.

STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.

02

Hotel Trianon Bucharest

Gay travellers to Bucharest will love the purple accents at Hotel Trianon, a gay friendly and cosy mid-range hotel

Why we love it


  • Lovely mid-range option
  • On-site restaurant
  • Complimentary buffet breakfast
  • Walking distance to many attractions

Hotel Trianon is a gay friendly accommodation a bit more affordable than some of the others on this list, yet is still very comfortable and stylish. Despite the low cost, the hotel doesn't relinquish the luxury factor. We especially love all that purple, it is the colour of royalty after all!

With a chillout zone that feels like a snapshot from a Mediterranean poolside, palm trees, loungers made from bamboo and sun coloured walls, you'll definitely feel like you're in paradise.

You can choose from standard or superior rooms and even apartments if you're travelling in a group. There are also a host of sights to see close by, from the Parliament Palace to the Cismigiu Gardens, Hotel Trianon thrusts you right into the heart of the city. The hotel is right next to the beautiful Cismigiu Park, perfect for a romantic stroll.

There's a restaurant on site that serves traditional Romanian and international cuisine, as well as a free buffet breakfast for guests. If you don't want to stay in a hostel but also don't feel the need to spend lots of money on a room that you won't be spending much time in any way, then Hotel Trianon is a wonderful gay friendly choice.

03

Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel

Gay travellers on a budget will love the bright and fun Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel

Why we love it


  • Excellent budget option
  • Bright and colourful design
  • Incredible city views from all bedrooms
  • Free walking tour of Bucharest for guests

For when you are on a budget, yet still itching to explore the Romanian capital, Little Bucharest Old Town Hostel sure hits the sweet spot.

The gay friendly hostel may not be as glamorous as other choices, but you can't beat its central location and incredible city views.

The hostel promises that every room has an amazing view of the Old Town, with lots of historical sights visible.

As part of your accommodation fee, Little Bucharest even offers a free walking tour! The common room is also a great space to meet fellow travellers, play board games and relax. We love the use of bright colours throughout the hostel plus the quirky little design details, especially the wall art and cushions.

Little Bucharest is a good budget option for LGBTQ travellers but remember, it's located right in the middle of the Old Town, which gets super noisy at night. If you're looking to party and be close to the gay scene then you couldn't find a more ideal location! But if you want peace and quiet, then this is not the place you want to be staying in Bucharest!

Gay bars in Bucharest

Bucharest has a small gay scene with a handful of gay bars and several really trendy queer friendly places to check out, most of which are located in and around the Old Town. If you don't want to head out alone you could join one of Gaily's nighttime tours of Bucharest's gay scene. These are some of our favourites places to hang out which we think you need to check out:

Thor's Hammer

Can you pick up Thor's Hammer? Thor's Hammer is the only official gay bar of Bucharest, located right in the heart of the Old Town. We love the outdoor terrace here. Weather permitting, it's a fun place to hang out. You'll quickly make friends with both locals and foreigners. Later in the evening, they also have some hilarious drag shows. Thor's Hammer is located at 12 Strada Blănari. It is open daily until 2am, and until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Control Club

No, it's not named after the incredible Janet Jackson song. Yet you definitely feel like you've stumbled into the middle of one of her music videos when you step into this club. From pumping, industrial type music to a truly energetic mix of patrons, Control Club is a night out not for the faint-hearted. Our favourite gay-friendly bar in Bucharest, it always attracts a large LGBTQ crowd, especially on Tuesday evenings when drinks are half price. Weekends are also busy, with the dance floor inside in full swing. The food here is delicious too, with a very mixed menu. Control Club is located at Strada Constantin Mille 4 and is open daily until around 6am.

Linea/Closer to the Moon

Linea/Closer to the Moon is a gorgeous rooftop bar in the Old Town serving some delicious cocktails, with a very cool ‘man on the moon' mural. In winter they set up amazing cosmic igloos to sit in and stay cosy. It's quite a romantic spot to bring a date, attracting a very mixed and open-minded crowd. We had a few date nights here and felt comfortable kissing and holding hands. No one gave a damn or looked twice. Now THAT shows major progress! Linea is located at 17 Strada Lipscani and is open daily until around 2am.

Apollo111

Is there life on Mars? The US may have used Apollo 11 to put a man on the moon, but Bucharest is going one step further and using Apollo111 to give the gays a good time. Apollo111 is a gay-friendly hipster bar, popular with a very Bohemian crowd. It's centrally located in an old industrial building, which used to be a printing house. With intergalactic style design, such as light fixtures in the shapes of globes, the bar creates an atmosphere that feels otherworldly. Apollo111 is located at 23-25 Ion Brezoianu Street and is open daily until 1am.

Thor's Hammer is Bucharest's only official gay club, with a lovely terrace and a fun vibe
Stefan flouncing about outside Thor's Hammer gay bar

Gay clubs in Bucharest

As with the bars, there's only one official gay club in Bucharest, located just outside the main town – Q Club. We've also set out a few other gay friendly ones we found based on recommendations from gay locals. There's also a gay night tour available for you to discover the best spots with a friendly local guide.

Q Club

The only official gay club of Bucharest, this is one very fun night out! Weekends are the best time to come when it gets busy with guys of all ages, both locals and foreigners. It's also quite large, with a dancing area downstairs and cute outdoor chill-out lounge upstairs. Great music, fun crowd and delicious cocktails, one of which is included with the price of your entry. What's not to love? Q Club is located at 61 Bulevardul Carol I and is open on Friday and Saturdays from 11pm until 5am.

Club Eden

Step into the garden of Club Eden! You may spot a few Adam and Adams, plus Eve and Eves…but one thing you won't find in this paradise is a snake (well, not a real one anyway)! Everyone we met here was genuinely lovely and the staff were super helpful. Located at the base of the Stirbei Palace, this gay friendly gem has some of the best electro parties in all of Bucharest. It's a mixed club, yet attracts a large queer crowd. The diverse mix of people allows for an electrifying atmosphere. Club Eden is located at Palatul Știrbei, 107 Calea Victoriei and is open every day until around 2am.

Gaia Boutique Club

Gaia Boutique is a popular mixed fashionista club. This is where you come dressed to impress in Bucharest! The club oozes the energy expected from the cosmopolitan bars in New York, with young crowds, delicious drinks and smooth dance beats. Gaia Boutique is only open on Saturday evenings when parties go on until around 5am. It's located at 39 Strada Banul Antonache.

Bucharest's only gay club is Q Club, a fun place to party on weekends!
Mesmerising lights at Q Club in Bucharest

Gay events in Bucharest

The main gay event in Bucharest is Pride in May/June. Other cities around Romania have their own Pride events, especially in Cluj. We've also set out other gay-friendly events you should check out in Bucharest:

Bucharest Gay Pride (May/June)

Attracting around 5,000 to 10,000 people each year, Bucharest's Pride just keeps getting bigger and better. This is a week-long festival of talks, film screenings, parties and, of course, a fabulous parade through the city centre.

Having started back in 2004, the festival initially attracted some negative attention – with public debates being held as to whether the event should go ahead. Today, it is more popular than ever before.

For a country that continues to lag behind in equal rights for LGBTQ citizens, Pride events are vital to continuing the conversation. Seeing queer citizens being celebrated is truly beautiful, and we hope the event will help increase the visibility of the gay community and increase tolerance.

Dulce Sweet Streetfood Festival (June/July)

Calling all the sweet tooths! This festival is a confectionary enthusiasts dream. With stalls filled with chocolates, jellies, cakes and ice-cream, it feels like a Willy Wonka factory and a Katy Perry music video had a baby and then exploded!

We particularly love how it includes treats from all across the globe. There are so many different kinds of candies (from the likes of Asia and Africa) that we never would have otherwise tried. Then, of course, there were the traditional British and American snacks, like pancakes that we couldn't help but gorge over.

If you ever happen to be in Bucharest in late June, check and see if this festival is happening. Just be sure to prebook a visit to the dentist when you come home!

BalKaniK! Festival (Sept)

Summer may be over, but in Bucharest, they are determined to keep the party going! BalKaniK is an outdoor festival of world music, drawing top acts and singers to Bucharest at the beginning of autumn.

Spanning across three days, the festival is an electrifying and exotic experience, with lots of alternative musical acts. As well as music there are traditional handicrafts, designer objects, workshops, hay couches, hammocks, circus shows and art exhibitions to enjoy.

Art Safari (Sept/Oct)

In what is the biggest annual art exhibition in Romania, Art Safari attracts over 125,000 art lovers each year from all around the world.

Showcasing both old and new art from Romania, the event is usually broken down into multiple exhibitions, each one with a different theme. There is even something for the kids, with guided tours and classes to help children fall in love with art!

It also gives artists the chance to meet with the public and share their latest works. Discussions on what inspires them often ensue, and it's just an all-out arty geek fest.

Bucharest Dance Festival (November)

Dance baby dance!

Fusing together ballet, hip-hop, urban and classical, as well as some more traditional dance forms, this festival is a true celebration of movement.

Dance groups from all over the country compete in a competition for special awards and recognition. With judges sharing expert advice, the festival has become increasingly renowned. You can purchase tickets to see the different shows as well, just no saying that you can dance just as well ok?

Bucharest International Film Festival (December)

Every city has one. Every city needs one. We wouldn't know how to gauge a place without one. We're talking about an international film festival, of course.

Bucharest's film festival allows visitors and locals to see the kind of art the city is making. It allows for social discussion to open up, and a sense of pride to be had. With plenty of genres to choose from, panel discussions and stories to experience, the festival showcases the best of Romanian and worldwide cinema!

Bucharest's Pride event is getting bigger and better every year
Locals marching in Bucharest Pride

Best gay friendly restaurants in Bucharest

While a few years ago Bucharest was mostly only home to traditional Romanian cuisine, nowadays the number of trendy and more international places have multiplied. These are our favourite restaurants in Bucharest where gay travellers can go out for a delicious meal.

Caru' cu bere

Caru cu bere restaurant is an incredible restaurant and brewery in Bucharest that you will love

Oh, we're sorry, we thought this was a restaurant, not a church… Wait, it is a restaurant? Well, how about that! With its wooden furnishings, stained-glass windows and chandeliers, Caru' cu bere has to be the most unusual setup we've ever seen. It's the best place to come for traditional Romanian food like sarmale and papanasi as well as excellent Romanian beer since its also one of the oldest breweries in Bucharest. The inside is so impressive we recommend coming here just to get a snap for your Instagram feed. You'll definitely be in good company since the likes of The Rolling Stones and Nicholas Cage have also eaten here!


Cismigiu Bistro La Etaj

If you like pink then you'll love the gay friendly Cismigiu Bistro in Bucharest

Cismigiu Bistro La Etaj is such a goooorgeous place! Everything about it is perfect. The decor is super quirky, bright pink everywhere, plush seating and even a pink flower wall. Look out for Instagram husbands everywhere here. The views over the surrounding rooftops are also incredible, even more so from the outdoor terrace. The staff are super sweet and super sexy too. The food is delicious, we recommend the burgers with truly succulent meat! Another highlight, the frappes. If like us you're used to the Greek frappe coffee drink then you're in for a huge shock. This is one opulent bad boy you'll never forget.


Stadio

Stadio Restaurant in Bucharest is famous for its delicious papanasi, which we loved

Delicious food, yummy Romanian wines and the most famous of all, the papanasi. Ask any local where to get the best papanasi in Bucharest, and they will always say Stadio! These Romanian doughnut desserts are delicious, particularly the ones they serve up at Stadio. As well as traditional Romanian meals the menu includes other types of cuisine from around the world with an emphasis on Italian dishes like bruschetta, pasta and pizzas. There are mouth-watering Argentine steaks as well as Turkish kebabs from the grill. Not only is the food excellent, but Stadio has really cool decor, with brick walls and a vintage Italian restaurant vibe.


Origo

Origo Cafe has the best coffee in Bucharest, as well as delicious cocktails at nighttime

Origo is the best coffee shop in Bucharest! They offer tasting sessions and an array of speciality caffeine-based drinks. The staff are super passionate about coffee and it shows since it's so delicious. We've included this cafe because it's well worth the trip. They also serve cold brew and a variety of tea, as well as some very pretty lemonade. At night time you can enjoy epic tea and coffee-based cocktails as well as classics like the mojito. The atmosphere is very chilled with friendly staff. But they take their coffee so seriously, they almost spat at me when I asked for some sugar…!


Pasajul Macca Vilacrosse

The cool covered passageway of Pasajul Macca Vilacrosse is filled with great cafes and restaurants
Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse” by Francisco Anzola is licensed under CC BY 2.0 | cropped from original

This is not so much one restaurant, but a glass-roofed passageway full of the best shisha restaurants in Bucharest. Remember that Bucharest was very much part of the Ottoman Empire once upon a time, and you can still see the influence of this dotted around the city. Also called “Valley of the Kings”, Macca Villacrosee Passage is a vibrant place to check out, meet some friends, smoke some shisha and order a few shawarmas. There's also an Egyptian-themed bar/restaurant here, as well as a Blues Cafe, a bistro, a Chinese restaurant and a wine bar, but you can always just wander along to enjoy the stunning architecture.


Best things to do in Bucharest

Sometimes dubbed “Little Paris” for its Beaux-Arts-style palaces, municipal buildings and museums, Bucharest is a surprising destination with beautiful streets to explore. Gay travellers will find a wide variety of fun activities to do. These were our favourite things to do in Bucharest:

Gay tour of Bucharest

You can find out more about Bucharest's gay nightlife by joining a gay tour which will take you to all the best gay bars and clubs

If it's your first time visiting the city or you don't feel confident going out alone, then you'll be happy to know you can join an awesome nighttime “Gaily Tour” of Bucharest with a local guide. Not only will you be hanging out with a friendly gay local, but you'll also get to find out all the best queer bars and clubs to have a good time. This is the perfect way to get a feel for the city's magical gay scene! If you're not really a party person there's also a gaily tour during the day, which will show you all the main tourist sights of the city with a gay tour guide to give you extra insight.


Exploring the old town

Get to see the main sights as well as local gems with a free walking tour of Bucharest with Walkabout Tours

We also recommend doing a free tour with Walkabout Free Tours. Although officially free, these tours rely on tips. We love this concept and always support them in every city we visit. They are always run by a young, passionate local who takes you around, showing you the sights and giving you a fascinating insight into all aspects of the local culture, history, best things to eat and more. Just remember to tip as generously as you can! On the Bucharest tour, you'll get to see some famous sights like the Stavropoleos Convent, Manuc’s Inn, the Romanian Atheneum and Victory Boulevard, as well as lesser-known spots.


Parliament Palace

Parliament Palace in Bucharest is the second-largest building in the world, and a must-see when visiting the city

Officially the second-largest building in the world after the Pentagon in the US. It has a very sad history: the communist dictator Ceausescu who wanted it built made a lot of people in the area homeless as he cleared away their homes to create this. He never got to see it completed due to the revolution that got rid of him. But Michael Jackson did. MJ stood at this spot waving to his adoring fans below before blurting out, “Hello Budapest!” Make sure you arrange your tour to the Palace beforehand – they're quite funny about this. But at least you'll also have a guide to tell you more about this incredible building.


Triumphal Arch

Bucharest's Triumphal Arch is very reminiscent of the one in Paris, and you can go inside it for views over the city

One of many reasons why Bucharest is nicknamed “Little Paris”, is for having its own Arc de Triomphe (Arcul de Triumf in Romanian). Originally built from wood after Romania gained its independence, today's structure is made from stone and was closely modelled on Paris's own Arch. At 27 metres high it's worth visiting for the views across the city from the terrace, plus there's usually a fascinating art display inside, which they change every few months. The arch is a bit out of the main city centre area, but you can see it and many other of Bucharest's most beautiful sights on a sightseeing tour of the city.


Piata Unirii Park

Make sure you stop off at Bucharest's Piata Unirii Park at night to see the incredible fountain, light and music show!

Also known as Unification or Union Square in English, this large central square is surrounded by a park and features huge water features with fountains in the centre. Come here at around 8.30-9pm on weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights) for the music and light fountain displays. It's absolutely magical, one of the best and most romantic things we experienced in Bucharest – like something from Disneyland! The show is completely free and goes on for a good hour. It's usually functioning every weekend during spring, summer and autumn, barring any bad weather.


MARe

MARe is Bucharest's modern art museum and it's a fascinating spot for lovers of art, design and history

Bucharest's MARe (Museum of Recent Art) is quite small in size but doesn't disappoint. The museum houses a mix of weird yet fascinating modern artwork. The permanent collection houses lots of Romanian art, but there are also many pieces by artists from around the world and regular temporary exhibitions. Spread out over five levels the museum also has an auditorium, a library, a cafeteria and a garden. It's very lovely to sit in the hip cafe or outside in the garden with a coffee and cake after enjoying some art.


Regele Mihai I Park

Bucharest's Regele Mihai I Park is home to a bug beer hall where you can also snack on some pretty yummy Romanian sausage...

Regele Mihai I Park, or King Michael I Park in English, is a large park in the northern part of Bucharest surrounding Lake Herastru. Note that while the park is named Parcule Regele Mihai I on Google Maps locals usually call it by its former name of “Herãstrãu”. We love this park. There's always something going on, especially in the evening around the Beer Hall Berăria H, with lots of BBQ meats, locals and students gathering to snack and drink together. The current residence of the Romanian royal family, Elisabeta Palace is located in the park, as well as many gorgeous garden areas, sculptures and lots of cute wildlife.


National History Museum

Bucharest's National History Museum is worth a look just from the outside since it's housed in a gorgeous former palace

The National Museum of Romanian History contains (not surprisingly) Romanian historical artefacts from prehistoric times up to modern times. Ok, we'll be honest, the museum itself inside is, well, not great! It's rather random and lacking in anything mildly engaging. However, come here just to marvel at the grand stunning building. The museum is housed in the former Postal Services Palace, with many beautiful sculptural details on the exterior. This is what Bucharest is all about – large, grandiose and impressive palace-like buildings like this one, and another reason why many refer to the city as “Little Paris”.


Food and drink tour

Join a market and food walking tour of Bucharest to discover the flavours of the city

We've said it before and we'll say it again, but we love exploring the culinary scene whenever we're in a new city! Joining a Bohemian food tour of Bucharest is a truly unique way to get a feel for the culture, history and cuisine of this vibrant city. While traditional Romanian food is often described as ‘peasant fare' the city's Jewish and Armenian influences have also led to many tasty delights. Even if you don't feel like joining a food tour you should definitely stop by the famous Obor Market, the largest in Bucharest offering up every kind of fruit, vegetable, dairy, meat and fish you can imagine, as well as lots of food stalls.


Village Museum

Get a taste of traditional Romanian life in the heart of Bucharest at the Village Museum

The Village Museum is an outdoor museum located in the King Michael I Park. This open-air reconstruction of a traditional Romanian village is like walking into a time capsule, right in the middle of the modern, bustling city. Wandering amongst the 300 traditional buildings of peasant homes, thatched barns, log cabins, watermills, churches and oil presses is a fascinating way to get a glimpse into Romanian culture. For a truly Romanian experience, combine your visit to the Village Museum with wine-tasting and eating some delicious traditional snacks!


Best day trips from Bucharest

For LGBTQ travellers wanting to include a bit of Dracula mythology with their trip, there are a lot of options you can do as part of a day trip. The most popular are the day trips to either or all of Bran Castle (aka Dracula Castle), Peles Castle and Brasov. Here's a summary of the best ones to check out:

Bran Castle

While it's associated with Dracula, Bran Castle is also worth a visit for the views alone

Famously nicknamed the “Dracula Castle” but Bran Castle is actually anything but. The Dracula legend is based on Prince Vlad III or “Vlad the Impaler” who liked to stick a large stick up the anus of his victims to give them a very slow death. Vlad only visited this castle once, but savvy marketing has latched on to his myth and made this the official castle of Vlad. It's super touristic here, full of big groups and to be honest, nothing special inside. The value in visiting are the views of Transylvania from the castle and the castle exterior which is pretty impressive. We highly recommend you join a day trip to see both Bran and Peles Castle from Bucharest.


Peles Castle

Peles Castle is another one of Romania's most beautiful and famous castles

One of Romania's most beautiful and most visited castles after Bran. It was constructed for King Carol I in the late 1800s and was designed to be the official royal residence, kind of like Romania's equivalent of Buckingham Palace. It's grand, opulent and quite simply stunning. The gardens surrounding it are also impressive with some pretty dramatic statues. Like Bran, however, it gets super busy and crowded, so the earlier in the day you come, the better. We definitely think that a visit to Peles Castle and the museum inside is a must when you're staying in Bucharest though.


Brasov

We think Brasov is the prettiest town in Romania and definitely worth at least a day trip from Bucharest

If you can, you should stay here a few nights if your schedule allows for it. Brasov is, in our opinion, the most beautiful city in Romania and incredibly romantic. It's super cute, with narrow cobblestone pedestrianised streets, surrounded by medieval Saxon-style buildings. The lifestyle here is more laid back than busy, bustling Bucharest and people are more friendly. The city is surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains so it's perfect for trekking and hiking. Whether you visit Brasov as part of a day trip or stay a few days, we guarantee you won't regret it!


Rasnov Citadel

Rasov Fortress is a fascinating place to visit in Romania, not to mention those cool Hollywood-like letters!
Romania-1961 – Rasnov” by Dennis Jarvis is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 | cropped from original

A historic landmark to behold in Romania, Rasnov is a fortress which was built to prevent invasion from outsiders. If anything, you should stop by this place to go see the mythical well. It is said that two Turkish prisoners were forced by the inhabitants of the fortress to dig the well to regain their freedom. While it is not known exactly what happened to the prisoners, it is thought they may have taken 17 years digging the well. Today, residents believe 300-year-old treasure lies at the end. The easiest way to visit Rasnov Citadel is via a day trip that goes there as well as Peles and Bran Castles.


Poenari Castle

If you're interested in the Dracula myth, then a visit to Vlad the Impaler's actual castle is a must do when you're in Romania

While Bran Castle is famed for being Dracula's home, Poenari Castle was the actual home of Vlad the Impaler – a national hero of Romania who's often regarded as the inspiration for Count Dracula. After climbing up 1,480 stairs, you'll reach the ruins of Poenari castle. Stunning forest sights can be seen from the castle, making it totally worth the trek up! The citadel was originally constructed in the 13th-century, but apparently Vlad fell in love with it in the 15th-century and fixed up the crumbling structure. You can learn more about the legend and visit the castle for yourself by joining a Dracula's footsteps tour from Bucharest.


Planning your trip to Bucharest

We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Bucharest. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: You can get to Bucharest overland by car, train or bus and there are also two airports providing flights to Bucharest from most major European cities. From the airport, you can reach the city centre via bus or train but be careful of local taxis as taxi scams are one of the most common crimes in Bucharest. We like to organise a private airport transfer when arriving in a new city so that we don't need to worry about scams or navigating public transport with luggage.


Visa requirements: Citizens from most European countries, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don't need a visa to stay in Romania for up to 90 days as a tourist. If you're travelling from another country or just want to make sure, you can check your personal visa requirements for Romania here.


Getting around: Bucharest has one of the largest transport networks in Europe, with buses, trams, trolleybuses and a subway to get around the city. Taking the subway is usually the best way to explore, just be aware of your belongings. Here's some more information about Bucharest's public transport system.


Power Plugs: Romania uses power plug type F, which also works with types C and E. Travellers from most European countries won't have any issues but if you're travelling from the UK, US, Australia and many other countries then you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.


Travel insurance: You just never know when something is going to go wrong on your travels, from missed flights to illness or accidents. Just make sure you're covered for your trip to Romania! We never travel without the security of travel insurance and we always use WorldNomads Travel Insurance. We love their comprehensive and affordable coverage as well as how easy it is to make a claim online.


Safety and Security: Unfortunately, sometimes things happen when you're travelling where you might need immediate help. We use CloseCircle's “virtual bodyguard” app because it provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world at just the touch of your phone. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or terrorist attacks. Find out more about CloseCircle in our guide to staying safe while travelling.


Vaccinations: You should make sure you're up to date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps and chickenpox, as well as getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A before travelling to Bucharest. Some travellers may also need vaccinations for Hepatitis B and rabies, depending on what you'll be doing. Check the CDC website for the most up to date info before you head to Bucharest.


Currency: The currency in Romania is called the Romanian leu, for which the currency code is RON although it's often written as lei in the plural form. $1 US converts to about 4.32 lei, €1 is worth about 4.75 lei and £1 is around 5.47 lei.


Tipping culture: Salaries in Romania are generally low, so it's expected that you would leave a tip for good service at restaurants, hotels or for your taxi driver or tour guide. Generally a tip of 5-10 lei or 10-12% of your bill is acceptable, but you can read more about tipping etiquette in Bucharest here.


Internet access: Free high-speed WiFi is surprisingly easy to access in Bucharest, with connections in most restaurants, cafes, fast food joints, shopping malls and even many parks. If you know you're going to need a lot of bandwidth then you might like to bring a portable WiFi device with you.


Online privacy: Gay dating apps like Scruff and Grindr aren't banned in Romania, so you'll have no problems connecting with gay locals while you're in Bucharest. If you simply prefer to keep your online activities private then we recommend ExpressVPN for affordable and reliable privacy protection.


Accommodation: Bucharest has lots of accommodation options to choose from and we always use Booking.com to find the best prices. They have excellent 24/7 online support, the online booking process is really easy and many places provide free cancellation if needed.


Sightseeing and adventure: Since Bucharest is such a big city with a fascinating history there'll be no shortage of fun things to do and see while you're here. We like to use GetYourGuide to find the best things to do in Bucharest because they have really good online support and an easy to use online booking system.


When to visit: Romania has four distinct seasons, with cold winters and hot summers. Spring and autumn are the best time to visit Bucharest so that you can avoid any extremes in temperature and the tourist crowds. Luckily Bucharest Pride takes place in spring, so why not time your visit for Pride and enjoy the spring blooms at the same time?


Gay map of Bucharest

This is our gay map of Bucharest to show you where everything we've mentioned in this article is located. Use it to find out where all the best gay friendly hotels, bars and activities are for your own visit!

Our gay map of Bucharest showing where the best gay-friendly hotels to stay are, as well as the gay bars/clubs, events and things to do.

For more inspiration:

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Our guide to the best gay bars, clubs, places to stay, places to eat and things to do in Bucharest, Romania!
Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

4 thoughts on “Gay Bucharest: guide to the best bars, clubs, hotels and more”

  1. Wow! it is a long read but worth your time. Thank you for writing this informative post. I really like it and shared it to others.

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