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    Car hire in Bucharest – Explore Romania’s Capital by car

    Discover a vibrant mix of old and new with your car hire in Bucharest. Cruise through the historical streets, visit the famous museums, check out the nightlife and explore popular sites such as the Palace of Parliament, which is the second-largest building in the world, and the Cismigiu Gardens. The best time to visit the garden is in spring or summer as you find an abundance of colourful flora and wildlife, many cafes, a lake where you can take boat rides and, even live music. Don’t forget the astonishing 17th and 18th-centuries Orthodox Churches and graceful belle époque villas. If you prefer an adventure, visit the region of Transylvania which is undoubtedly known for its history, mountainous landscapes, castles and blood-thirsty vampire tales! Head three hours north from Bucharest and be sure to visit Brams Castle which influenced the famous Bram Stoker novel, Dracula.

    Auto Europe is one of the leading car rental brokers on the market today and can offer competitively priced rentals across the globe. We work with global, national and local suppliers to ensure that you get flexibility and a wide choice of pick-up locations and vehicles to tailor your trip to your needs when your rent a car with us in Bucharest or elsewhere in Romania. Our reservations team is on hand per telephone and email to help you with your reservation and any questions you might have. Consider reading our car hire reviews in Bucharest to see what past uses of our service have thought.

    How is the traffic in Bucharest?

    Most major attractions are easily accessible by public transportation, but travel by car is the best way to discover the surrounding area or any nearby cities, or to take you on a road trip. In some areas, the traffic can move slower and common road courtesies may be different from what you are familiar with. During peak hours the city centre can get quite congested and, drivers might have a more competitive driving style with improper passing, cutting past or tailgating. It is advised that visitors should try and travel outside of busy hours if possible with their car hire in Bucharest. Many main roads will have between six to ten lanes. Drivers should be careful on roads in rural areas as they may be in poorer condition than those in the main cities. Don't forget that the numerous photo opportunities might make you stop more often and, driving to your destination can take longer. To learn more about driving regulations in Bucharest, please visit our Romania driving information page which can provide further details.

    Where can I park my car hire in Bucharest?

    It may be difficult to find parking spaces on main roads and, it is advised to look for available parking spaces on smaller streets. Car parks are scattered throughout Bucharest, with some of these lots being free but many of them will charge a fee depending on how long you are parked there. Some hotels will also offer parking so be sure to check with the hotel you are staying with.

    There are a few multi-storey parks, but they are not located at the larger sightseeing spots, meaning you might need to get public transportation to get there. The City hall assigns many parking spots to a private company called Dalli, and you will see their staff dressed in blue and charging a fee per hour. Shopping centres can also offer convenient parking at their larger parking houses but these usually have a fee.

    Bucharest Airport

    Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport is located in Otopeni just 11 miles away from downtown Bucharest, and can be reached in roughly 25-minute by car. From the UK flight are available with Blue Air, British Airways, Ryanair and Wizz Air from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Stansted, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Southend, Edinburgh and Manchester.

    The car hire desks are located inside the airport, in the passageway between the departures and arrivals area and can easily be reached on foot when you decide to rent a car in Bucharest.

    Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport (OTP)
    Address: Calea Bucurestilor 224E, Otopeni 075150, Romania
    Website: Bucharest Airport
    Telephone: +40 212 041 000

    What to do in Bucharest

    Bucharest is energetic, dynamic and full of life, and you should allow for at least a few days to get to know its excellent museums, castles and parks, and relax and soak up its atmosphere at trendy cafes and drinking gardens. You'll find that the centre is very modern; however, its churches and villas can take you back to the 17th or 18th-century. To help discover all of its nook and crannies to the fullest, we have selected the top things not to miss on your trip to Bucharest.

    • The Old Town: Known as Centru Vechi to the locals, and once the main commercial street, this historic part of the city is all that is left of pre-World War II Bucharest. Today you will find plenty of historic attractions, small shops, theatres, restaurants and bars and we highly recommend a visit to Curtea Veche, an open-air museum built on the site of the Old Princely Court, once home to Vlad the Impaler, and the National Museum of Romanian History with fine collections of religious and royal treasures.

    • Curtea Veche: Located in the Old Town, the Old Princely Court was home of Wallachian princes. Its best-known occupant was Vlad Tepes, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler. A statue of the infamous Romanian prince stands among the Court walls, arches and columns that remained from the past. After Vlad the Impaler ruled, Mircea Ciobanul, a 16th-century prince repaired the palace and grew Lipscani area around it. If you are looking for the statue of Dracula, this is the place to be. However, Romanians will tell you how Vlad the Impaler had nothing to do with the character in the Dracula novel.

    • National Museum of Romanian History: Settled in a stunning neoclassical building that was once home to the Romanian postal service, this museum has 60 rooms that show historical exhibits dating from pre-historical to modern times. Thousands of gold items and Neolithic artefacts can be found in the Romanian Treasury. Some of the permanent displays are the Romanian Crown jewels, gold artefacts from the 4th-century Pietroasele Treasures and a huge replica of the 2nd-century Trajan's Column. It was once considered the most valuable treasure collection in the world before Tutankhamen's tomb was unearthed.

    • Palace of Parliament: With a surface of 3.930.000 square feet and more than 3.000 rooms it is the third largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon and Long'ao Building. Don't let the astonishing facade fool you, visiting inside is completely different from the outside. This architectural colossus is made of marble and steel, awarding it the heaviest building in the world. It was originally called the People's House by its visionary and dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who used it as residence and seat of his government. More than 20.000 workers and 700 architects worked on this opulent Neoclassical-style palace over 13 years, from 1985 to 1997.

    • Bucharest Therme: Located just 10 minutes away from the centre, it is the closest to the sea you can get at a short distance. It covers 323.000 square feet and offers swimming pools with a constant 33ºC/91ºF water and one of the biggest urban beaches in Europe in summer, the Sands of Therme. With ten pools, six saunas, four wet saunas and 16 water slides it has something for every taste. Here nature will meet you in the most gorgeous set up with a botanical garden with over 80.000 plants, including 1.500 palm trees, countless orchids and many more unique species.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Bucharest

    Bucharest is the perfect starting point to discover Romania and by booking a rental car you get the flexibility to discover at your own pace and tailor the trip to your needs. Why not away from the lively and thrilling city with an exciting road trip where you are free to explore the Romanian countryside where life moves slower, the air is crisp and, hospitality overflows. Below are a few suggestions for the best day trips with a car rental from Bucharest.

    Bran Castle: This Gothic masterpiece rises from the hills in the heart of Transylvania and filled with legends associating it to Bram Stoker's Dracula. Built on the site of a Teutonic Knights dating from 1212, Bran Castle gave the Saxons of Kronstadt the privilege to build the Citadel, in 1377. From 1920 to 1948, Bran served as a royal residence to Queen Marie of Romania. Nowadays it is a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by the Queen. Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foot high rock, for sure you will find resemblances to the Dracula Castle too.

    Poenari Castle: The Poenari Castle was built in the 13th-century and abandoned by the 15th-century. Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) choose this location for its inaccessibility as there are 1482 well-tended steps to reach the top and, no roads or escalators, so prepare yourself for the climb ahead of your visit. Closer to the top, you see a modern-day Romanian flag, then a small entrance booth. Locals will say that it is this castle that should be known as Dracula's Castle, because Vlad, the character's inspiration, has more connection to Poenari Castle than to Bran Castle.

    Brasov: Close to Bran Castle, and about a two-hour drive from Bucharest, the city of Brasov is one of the finest cities Transylvania has to offer. Fringed by the peaks of the Southern Carpathian Mountains and breathing Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, this lovely city is sure to leave you breathless. You can walk around the old Townhall Square; take a peek inside the Black Church named after the great fire of 1689, and drive around the impressive Brasov's Defensive Fortifications.

    Slanic Salt Mine: For an unusual excursion this is perfect. An hour North you reach Slanic. Its cavernous chambers below ground have been hollowed by workers over decades from a surreal network of chambers. Mining activity is closed since 1970 when it started to be recognized as a balneal and touristic activity. There are 14 underground rooms with an opening of 33 ft to the ceiling, 105 ft wide and 178 ft height, making it the largest salt mine in Europe. The indoor has a constant microclimate, with a constant temperature of 13ºC/55ºF; a humidity of 60% and its saline aerosols with therapeutic effects has led to the mine being used for recreation purposes, as well as for treatment of respiratory diseases.

    Constanta: As a getaway to the Black Sea, Constanta is full of crystal clear water beaches, restaurants and bars, and resorts in case you want to stay a day or two during the summer. Several museums, an old casino with a magnificent look to the waterfront and the title of the oldest city in Romania makes it perfect for a visit all year round.

    How to get around Bucharest

    Bucharest is home to an extensive system of trains, buses, trams and trolleybuses, all operated by RATB. Although there are stations nearly everywhere throughout the city, the system can be a little confusing at first glance due to its vast network of stations and lines. It is good to note that buses and trolleys often get stuck in traffic, sometimes even using the lanes reserved for the tram lines, meaning that the trams get stuck in traffic too. Despite being cheap to use the hassle of ending up stuck in traffic might be best avoided and we therefore advise you to stick with the options below for a smooth ride.

    Taxi

    There are many official licensed taxi companies and, their cars are yellow with the name of the company. Fares and rates are calculated per km and the cost of rides should not be negotiated as fares are written on both sides of the car and displayed on the meter before and during the ride. Our best advice is to use an app to order taxis online. They are easy to use, tracked based on location and drivers have individual profiles and reviews.

    Uber

    Working in Bucharest since 2015, it is a cheap and reliable app with great drivers and clean cars. Due to the high quality, there is usually a fare surcharge.

    Taxify

    Identical to Uber in its features and functionalities. As they are trying to acquire market share, the fares tend to be cheaper than Uber. Some drivers might even use both apps.

    Metro

    It may be crowded during morning and afternoon peak hours, but it is still the best way to travel after the use of taxis. There are four lines, but the most important ones are M1 (yellow) and M2 (blue). All stations are underground and marked with an M on a white square. The city centre is served by 4 stops and trains run every 3-5 minutes during rush hours and 5-10 minutes during off-peak hours and weekends. Tickets are paper-printed and, you must validate them to enter the station.

    Useful links

    Official Bucharest Tourism Website

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