Chill and relax in Bucharest: 4 parks to discover
Although Bucharest is one of the densest cities in Europe, it is not a city of concrete and cement as some could think. The city offers amazing green spaces, almost 4000 acres spread across the city. They offer lush green spaces perfect for picnics, shadowy alleys for strolls, plenty of lakes you can row on…
I fell in love with two of the cities more popular urban green spaces. Both of them stunned me with their size, beauty and vast park amenities: Herastrau Park and Tineretului Park. They are the biggest parks in Bucharest and offer a lovely place to cut from the noise and the bustle of the city.
The Herastrau Park
One of the largest and most relaxing park of Bucharest, as it spreads over 187 hectares around Herastrau lake. In fact, the lake was the center around which the park was later built, the lake shore being the favorite promenade of Bucharest high society since the beginning of the 19th century.
Today, this popular park has something for everyone. Due to its size, it is a favorite spot for running and cycling, in any season. While nature lovers can discover the park by rowing boat, culture vultures can visit the city’s only open-air museum, the Village Museum. For party goers, a large number of lively terraces and restaurants offering great views of the lake have built a buzz that makes the area a serious contender for Bucharest’s Old Center.
Although it seems to be the favourite spot of the hundred of people during the summer’s afternoons, Herastrau never gives the impression of being crowded, and even on the busiest of days you will always be able to find a quiet, shady corner somewhere.
The park is located in the North part of the city. Take the metro ‘till Aviatorilor station.
You can visit it by bike (you can rent one near the entrances) or boat to have a relaxing tour from the lake.
Tineretului Park is Bucharest’s largest and was designed by Romanian architect Valentin Donose. Opened in 1965, it was meant to serve the southern part of the city, where a lot of new blocks of flats were being constructed for the city’s new workforce.
The park’s lake, which takes its water from three natural springs, is a great spot for wildlife. Its three islands are home to numerous species of birds.
The park is divided in two parts: The main section (closest to the Tinteretului Metro) has playgrounds for kids, miles of tree lined avenues and a big lake perfect for a walk, riding a bike or just relaxing.
The second part of the park is where you will find the Parcul Copiilor. This part of the park is newest and features fun like the largest and most awesome kids parks in the city, bounce houses, a skate park, football pitches, volleyball courts, basketball and tennis courts, motocross and go-cart tracks! There is also barbecues and a picnic area for people to use.
I loved this park because it is easy to find an empty spot to chill near the lake and read a good book. You can see turtles and ducks in the water and grab an ice cream in one of the many stallholder spread across the park. Also I felt like the Tineretului Park is full of locals as there are a lot of families coming there!
The park is located in the southern part of the city, take the metro till Tineretului station.
Also I would like to talk about two other green lungs in Bucharest that I loved to visit!
The Circus Park
Although not as well known as his colleagues, this park is nonetheless very charming. In the shadow of the State Circus, the inhabitants of sector 2 spend their evenings there. Groomed alleys, a fresh lawn, a wide variety of trees including magnolias, but the park are especially famous for its lake fed by underground springs where grows a rare plant: the Egyptian lotus. In spring, it blooms and covers the lake in beautiful pink hues. Another curiosity is the fact that one finds there the marsh turtle, which one does not know how it and arrived here. Do not miss the sculptures made in the trunks of the dried trees.
The State Circus Park was built in the 1960s to surround and to highlight the architectural profile and qualities of the State Circus.
The Vacaresti Park
Also known as "the Delta of Bucharest", Vacaresti lake is a strange, intriguing raw nature island between communist blocks of flats in a southern district of Bucharest, covering around 200 hectares, including some 80 hectares of water.
Văcărești was originally a neighbourhood of Bucharest, built under communist rule on land reclaimed from swamps to make room for several grand architectural projects, including new buildings for the Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court, and an artificial basin, Lake Văcărești – part of an ambitious hydrological infrastructure plan to connect Bucharest to the river Danube. None of these projects would be completed as in 1989 the Romanian revolution removed President Nicolae Ceaușescu from power and the project abandoned. While the lake was at an advanced stage of completion, a major engineering defect made it almost useless. And that is how Văcărești remained: an empty lake, hidden behind high dykes, in the middle of one of Europe’s densest cities.
The nature has, little by little, regained its rights, to become an oasis of greenery, populated by many species of animals and plants specific to wetlands. Thus, between the concrete walls of the Vacaresti pit, life appeared in the form of a wet ecosystem spanning 190 hectares, composed of marshes, water peaks, reeds, willows, poplars and other delta plants. In this habitat, many species of birds coexist (herons, cormorants ...), some of which are very rare. There are also reptiles, insects, frogs and even mammals (European otters, foxes ...). Since 2016, the park is a protected natural area.
Today, you can explore the delta, by bike or on foot, following two routes: the "belvedere" that goes around the park and those "between the swamps" that runs through the park.
It is easy to get to: bus no 123 from the Unirii Square to the end of the line. It takes around 20 minutes to get there.
Of course you will find plenty of other parks spread in Bucharestworth visiting as Cişmigiu Park, Bucharest Botanical Garden, Parcul Carol, Icoanei Park …