Cărturești Carusel, Papanași, & Moondance cocktail – Three things to Savor in Bucharest

November 27, 2023 || views

by Linda Baleta
Communications Expert who loves to travel

May is the right time to visit Bucharest. As soon as my travel buddy Morena and I left the airport, we noticed the greenery. For both of us, Bucharest is one of the greenest and tranquil cities we have visited. The old and the new interlacing in the buildings of Bucharest infuse it with a somewhat different character, beyond the mere charm of “old towns” that appear as major touristic attractions in most European cities.

We decided to explore Bucharest on foot, as it is a really walkable city, even when the distances covered are quite far. As typical tourists, we walked through the so-called Romanian Champs towards the Arch of Triumph, through the Calea Victorei, considered as one the oldest street in the city, and around the square of the same name. We saw the Athenaeum, the Stavropoleos Church, the Revolution Square, the cobbled-stone alleys of the old town, the Romanian Central Bank building, to mention a few.

During our three-day tour, these three things “stole” our hearts.

Cărturești Carusel
For booklovers, Cărturești Carusel – which means the “Carousel of Light” is a place one must visit at least once in a lifetime. Located in the heart of the old town, its over 1,000 sqm and six levels inside a 19th century building display the magic of books and arts. Shelves overflow with books, it is said there are over 10,000 such in Romanian and other languages. More than just a library, it is considered a cultural space. In the basement level there is the multimedia space, there is also an arts gallery for contemporary exhibitions, a cafeteria where visitors can socialize, and a souvenir section. Hours pass by without notice there. Cărturești Carusel is part of the tourist quest “The Fellowship of the Bookshops” along with three others: Cărturești Verona, Cărturești & friends and Modul Cărturești, considered to be the four most beautiful bookshops in Romania.


The traditional dessert that every Romanian you meet recommends you try. We savored it at a 140-years old restaurant of the neo-Gothic style, which preserves in every detail of its interior, menu and artistic performances the old soul of Bucharest. The visitors are welcomed by a mini-statue of the old guy Ghiţă, who used to receive clients at the beginnings of this restaurant. The classic papanași tastes similar to Albanian doughnut. The dessert is made of a large doughnut at the base, with a smaller round doughnut on top, covered in thick cream and sour-cherry or blackberry jam. The cream is not too sweet, the jam is kind of sour, thus creating a harmony of tastes with the fried doughnut that is made of flour, eggs, sugar and fresh cottage cheese.


Moondance cocktail
Golden hour with a Moondance cocktail
In Lipscani Street, one of the oldest and most famous streets of Bucharest, we discovered the perfect spot for a “selfie” and to take pictures of the city from above, at the most gorgeous time of the day, just before the sunset. “Linea – Closer to the Moon” is one of the most popular “rooftop” bars in Bucharest, not only because the breathtaking view of the old town expands before your eyes but also for the special ambience it offers. We decided to celebrate our first visit in Bucharest with a Moondance cocktail, to fully immerse ourselves in the “moon” theme of this bar, which also comprises of the concept store “The Moon Store” where local artists present handmade objects of unique designs, dedicated to the Moon. Still under the impression of the Ioanid Gang that our guide told us during the city’s “communist tour” we decided to watch the movie “Closer to the Moon” that is said to have been inspired by this unusual story of communist Romania.