Bohemian Bucharest: Markets & Mahallas

Historical, Architectural, and Culinary Adventure!

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From the heart of the city to the tastes of the country, this tour takes you on a historical, architectural, and culinary adventure through the many faces (and tastes) of Bucharest! Journey deep into the neighbourhoods of La Belle Époque Bucharest, while sampling the traditional peasant foods that define Romanian cuisine.

Bucharest Food Tour Highlights

  • Explore the neighbourhoods and flavours of Bucharest, from the grand old centre 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

Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, food and drink samples, including a ‘peasant platter’ (local cheese and meats, plus seasonal vegetables, and homemade bread), street snack, two mici (includes bread and mustard), a platter of local cheeses, one Wallachian doughnut, three beers, and a shot of palinca.

Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping from the market, and tips/gratuities for your guide.

Schedule details

  • Duration: 4.5 hours
  • Meeting point: On the stairs of the National Theatre in front of the main entrance. View on Google Maps.
  • Starting time: 10 AM
  • Ending point: Saint George Square/ Unirea Square
  • Chevron down Full Itinerary
  • 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 is 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 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 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 visit.

    Crossing into the old Jewish quarter, we 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 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 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’re on the trail of the sights, scents, and tastes of Romanian cuisine, we stop for a drink of traditional Romanian palinca (brandy) to prepare the palate. Next, we 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 get to try them for yourself!

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

    Additional information

    Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, food and drink samples, including a ‘peasant platter’ (local cheese and meats, plus seasonal vegetables and homemade bread), street snack, 2 mici (includes bread and mustard), a platter of local cheeses, 1 Wallachian doughnut, 3 beers, and a shot of palinca.

    Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping from the market, and tips/gratuities for your guide.

    Your Trip: For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

    Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.

    Child Policy: Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.

    Dietary Notes

    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. You can do so in the “Additional Information” box at checkout.

    Local contact

    Office phone number: +40 722 629 540
    Email address: [email protected]

  • Chevron down Reviews
  • Ms. Thelma T. from USA travelled on 23 Jun 2018:

    Very interesting and informative, behind the scenes view (when you’ve already done the ‘main’ sites). Great food tastings and plenty of it, great wines and beers.
    Excellent guide. Most enjoyable way to spend an extra day in Bucharest.

    Mr. Paul M. from Canada travelled on 05 Apr 2018:

    We had a group of 9 for our trip and to two guides and it was a lot of fun. We went to places we never would have found or visited on our own. The local market and foods we got to try were very good. Definitely recommend this tour for anyone coming to Bucharest.

    Ms. Regina D. from United Kingdom travelled on 11 Jan 2018:

    Great enthusiasm and genuine interest in sharing his personal experience. Thank you!

    Mr. Steven M. from Australia travelled on 16 Nov 2017:

    Elena was very very good, knowledgeable and a pleasure to spend the tour with.

    Mr. Nicala H. from Australia travelled on 24 Sep 2017:

    If you enjoy learning about the history and culture of a country whilst enjoying delicious local food and drink then this tour is for you. Just don’t eat breakfast before you the tour. Believe me your not going to need it.

    Ms. Michelle E. from USA travelled on 09 Aug 2017:

    This tour was truly the highlight of our visit to Bucharest. Mircea was extremely knowledgeable about his city, its history, and the architecture. He identified the various styles of architecture that could be found in homes of each Mahalla and gave interesting descriptions of the history of each. The food was amazing. Everything from great beer to fresh vegetables, cheeses, and meats.

    Mr. Monika W. from Canada travelled on 27 Apr 2017:

    It was brilliant. The guide was articulate, interesting and diverse in his knowledge. I loved seeing some of the back streets. An absolutely fabulous way to get a feel for a city with very little time.

    Mr. Andrew D. from United Kingdom travelled on 07 Apr 2017:

    This was a fantastic tour – a really unique way to see the city. Our guide knew exactly what he was talking about — so many cool details and a real personal perspective on the communist regime he grew up under. The best way to see the city is with Urban Adventures!

    Mrs. Penny D. from Australia travelled on 15 Mar 2017:

    I really enjoyed this tour and loved walking around the quieter side streets and learning more about Bucharest – both its history and present day issues. The tour is well paced and very interesting. Our guide (Mircea) was very knowledgeable, friendly and had a great sense of humour. I am so glad I booked a place on this tour.

    Ms. Karishma P. from United Kingdom travelled on 31 Jan 2017:

    I took the Markets & Mahallas tour with Doru. There were 2 other tourist with us on this trip. So we were a nice small group, which made it easy to walk and talk at the same time.
    Doru was extremely well informed and we chatted about everything from food, to local traditions and culture.
    We got to eat some really interesting things too, that I may not have otherwise tried as a tourist. We wandered around some beautiful old neighborhoods between markets and food stalls.
    I unfortunately had a flight to catch and could not complete the entire tour, but he was very accommodating and has asked me to contact him the next time I am in Bucharest to see if we can schedule a completion of the tour. That was an amazing gesture and I am truly touched.
    I cannot recommend this tour enough. You get to a speak with a well informed local who understands the nuances and can discuss them with you in detail. That is always a priceless experience when visiting a new country.

    Ms. Christina S. from USA travelled on 28 Jan 2017:

    Doru was a wonderful tour guide and his colleagues added much to the tour. We visited two great pubs and then went to the market to sample cheese, mici, mulled wine — fantastic!
    This tour is definitely worth the price!

    Mrs. Irit A. from Israel travelled on 31 Oct 2016:

    It was very interesting, enjoytable, tasty experience, and I learned a lot about Bucharest from our Knowledgable guide – Anita

    Ms. Lauren C. from USA travelled on 02 Oct 2016:

    It was amazing. We visited parts of the city that I never would have known about, or had the guts to go by myself. We had a wide variety of experiences, from visiting the market to riding on an old school tram to relaxing with a beer in a courtyard. A great resource for a solo traveler with a super friendly and knowledgeable guide.

    Ms. Celinne D. from USA travelled on 03 Aug 2016:

    My food tour was led by Doru, who was knowledgeable and friendly. He was a perfect mix of a conversationalist and a rich information source. I loved listening to his stories, as well as being in his company. Also I must say, the places he took us too were so authentic and delicious that I went back the next day to visit!