Bohemian Bucharest: Markets & Mahallas

Discover Bucharest neighborhoods and taste traditional peasant foods that define Romanian cuisine

Highlights

    Explore the neighborhoods and flavors of Bucharest, from the grand old center to the cultural mahallas
    Taste traditional Romanian food, including the best local cheeses, the beloved mici street snack, and a doughnut only found in this part of the country
    Browse through the biggest and liveliest peasant market in Bucharest
    Sample local beers, from craft/microbrews to everyday big-name beers, and brave a shot of homemade Romanian brandy
    Hop aboard a tram and ride through the city alongside locals

What's included?

    Local English-speaking guide
    Food and drink samples, including a ‘peasant platter’
    Street snack, 2 mici (includes bread and mustard)
    1 Wallachian doughnut
    3 beers, and a shot of palinca

What's excluded?

    Additional food and drinks
    Souvenirs and personal shopping from the market
    Tips/gratuities for your guide

Trip details

Description

Your Bucharest tour begins in University Square, the geographical and administrative heart of the city, and the scene of titanic street battles between miners and students immediately after the Romanian Revolution. Absorb all that sociopolitical history before taking a short walk to Strada Batistei, formerly known as the 'St Germain' of Bucharest and the site of the old American embassy, now an overgrown testament to different times. This area is famed for its 19th-century Neo Romanian architecture that defines much of the national style.

Our first stop will be an exquisite turn-of-the-century townhouse, lovingly restored but with the sense of elegant decay so typical of Bucharest. Under trees and vines, with grapes dangling overhead, you’ll sample a selection of Romanian entrees (gustari), including goat cheese, cured meat, spring onions, homemade bread, and locally brewed craft beers, and you can relax and absorb the atmosphere of this recherché little hideaway. It is said that while Romanians love the culture and sophistication of urban life, when it comes to food their taste is always for the peasant food (cucina povera) of the countryside, so this peasant platter will be the perfect introduction to Romanian flavours.

To help us digest all those treats, we’ll then make our way to the Armenian quarter. The Armenians were a vibrant and successful merchant community in the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks to their valuable role as 'middlemen' for the Ottomans. Based around the Armenian church, their mahalla (neighbourhood) features a spectacular variety of architectural styles from all over Europe and the Ottoman empire, as the wealthy merchants strove to out-do each other in taste and elegance. Classical, Belle Époque, Modernist, New-Romanian, Balkanic, eclectic — this quarter boasts all these styles, including the oldest documented house in Bucharest, which you will visit.
Crossing into the old Jewish quarter, we’ll then stop for the most famous street-food, covrigi, before heading on further on our Bucharest tour to discover one of the most beautiful and peaceful areas of the city: Mantuleasa.

After exploring 19th-century and inter-war Bucharest, we’ll stop for an ice-cold Romanian weissbier, in a space that can only be described as art-gallery-meets-bookstore-meets-summer garden, before experiencing the quintessential Bucharest public transport: a short ride on a tram. Rattling along the famous Mosilor Street, you’ll enter into Communist Bucharest, with its regimented blocks and housing projects, as you make your way to the famous Obor Market. This market is the largest and most famous of all the peasant markets in Bucharest, offering every kind of item, food, or service you could imagine, and even some that you couldn’t!

Since you’ll be on the trail of the sights, scents, and tastes of Romanian cuisine, we’ll stop for a drink of traditional Romanian palinca (brandy) to prepare the palate. Next, we’ll enter the indoor market to sample a range of Romanian cheeses: cow, sheep, and goat. After that, it’s on to the vegetable market, amid a riot of colours and textures, to taste and photograph the fresh local produce.
Probably the most famous and typical of Romanian foods — at least for Romanians — is called mici, which translates as 'little.' A kind of skinless sausage, these are served with mustard and cold beer, and every Romanian has their own opinion about where and how the best ones are made. But certainly the stall in Obor Market has been known for more than 50 years as one of the temples of mici, and here you will get to try them for yourself!

And finally, because your gastronomic adventure would not be complete without a dessert, we’ll grab a sweet Wallachian doughnut, served piping hot, before sending you happily on your way home.

Additional info

Small group of a maximum of 12 people
We can cater to dietary needs, such as vegetarian/vegan and gluten intolerant. Please notify us at least 24 hours in advance as to whether you have any allergies or sensitivities
Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour

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