Bucharest Before Christmas. Photos from a Walk in Central Bucharest Ending at a Christmas Gift Fair

by Mira

Herastrau Park in Winter, Romana Square, the Italian Church on Magheru Blvd, the Christmas Gift Fair at Dalles, and more, with lots of photos.

This article is about downtown Bucharest on one of the days leading up to Christmas. It will take you on a long walk in Herastrau Park, where the trees were covered in hoary frost, and will continue down Dorobanti Street to Romana Square, and from there to the Christmas Gift Fair at Dalles, close to University Square and metro station.

I took a lot of photographs as I walked through downtown Bucharest to give you a sense of what preparations for Christmas feel like in central Bucharest.

The malls are also interesting this time of the year. There are lots of stalls with handmade products, from jewelry to clothes and accessories (hats, scarves, bags, etc.), vases and other glassware, etc. Then there are music CDs (one company this year showcases their music on a touchscreen for visitors to sample any CD available), lots of sweets, Romanian, Lebanese, etc., Christmas baskets, wine, etc.

Christmas Fair at Dalles Hall
Christmas Fair at Dalles Hall
© Mira at Wizzley

Herastrau Park in Winter

Herastrau Park is the largest park in Bucharest. It spreads over 110 hectares. A 6 km (3.7 miles) alley winds around a beautiful lake. There are many beautiful trees, and their spots around the park are rather inspired. This well-kept park is an oasis of beauty and freedom in a crowded capital city. It's also home to the Village Museum, which is also one of the favorite recreational spots in the city for Bucharesters.

I wrote about this place in the past. Here are two articles with more information and photos (if you click on the links, the pages will open in new tabs):

Photos of Herastrau Park in Spring

Photos of Herastrau Park in Summer

Herastrau Park A Few Days Before Christmas 2013

The main entrance to the park
The main entrance to the park
© Mira at Wizzley
Trees covered in hoary frost
Trees covered in hoary frost
© Mira at Wizzley
More hoary frost
More hoary frost
© Mira at Wizzley
The beauty of winter
The beauty of winter
© Mira at Wizzley
Fun to photograph
Fun to photograph
© Mira at Wizzley
The quiet of a park in winter
The quiet of a park in winter
© Mira at Wizzley
Statue of Brancusi the sculptor
Statue of Brancusi the sculptor
© Mira at Wizzley
Fresh air
Fresh air
© Mira at Wizzley
The barely frozen lake
The barely frozen lake
© Mira at Wizzley
Trees by the lakeside
Trees by the lakeside
© Mira at Wizzley

Like These Photos?

They were taken with an old version of the Canon Rebel T5i camera shown to the left. I'm very happy with Canon myself. I also have a Canon S110, which I carry around in my purse. The images below are taken with the S110. This latter camera does everything I want: ISO up to 12800 (much higher than my six-years-old Canon 350D camera), Full HD videos, photos of up to 12.1 MP. It's also small and light -- perfect for travel. The only thing I'm having trouble with is converting its RAW files, so I'm using my Canon DSLR camera in RAW mode when I want many gradations of white.

Canon Rebel T5i

Released in 2013

Canon PowerShot S110

Released in 2012

Walking Down Dorobanti St. to Romana Square

The distance between the main entrance to Herastrau Park (Parcul Herăstrău) and Romana Square (Piața Romană) if you take the Dorobanti St. (Calea Dorobanților) route is some 2 km. It makes for a pleasant walk. There are some expensive stores along the way, including a Christian Dior concept store and a nice wine shop. There is also a well-known flower shop called Iris. At this time of the year it was selling Christmas wreaths, mini Christmas trees, and waxed apples.

Dorobanti Street in Bucharest

Iris Flower Shop
Iris Flower Shop
© Mira at Wizzley
Iris Flower Shop
Iris Flower Shop
© Mira at Wizzley
Christian Dior Concept Store
Christian Dior Concept Store
© Mira at Wizzley
Christian Dior Concept Store
Christian Dior Concept Store
© Mira at Wizzley

The Italian Church on Magheru Blvd

The Most Holy Redeemer (Roman Catholic) Church in Bucharest, on Magheru Blvd, is commonly known as the Italian Church. There was a service there as I was passing by.

The Italian Church in Central Bucharest

The Italian Church in Downtown Bucharest
The Italian Church in Downtown Bucharest
© Mira at Wizzley
The interior of the Italian Church
The interior of the Italian Church
© Mira at Wizzley

Dalles Hall (Sala Dalles) close to University Square

Dalles Hall (Sala Dalles) is a central haunt in Bucharest where you can find a bookstore with Romanian and foreign titles and an exhibition center. While on various other traditional holidays you can find large fairs in various places in the city (The Romanian Peasant Museum, The Village Museum, The Geology Museum, Sala Dalles, etc.), in recent years there has been only one major Christmas fair downtown, and that’s the one at Sala Dalles. True, you can find gifts at another favorite bookstore downtown, Carturesti, and handmade gifts at various malls. But Sala Dalles has a wide range of gifts, including some that are Christmas-themed: wreaths, all kinds of ornaments for the Christmas tree, candy to hang on it, Santa chocolates, and so on.  

From a flier I received on my walk downtown I learned that this year we also have an (open-air) Bucharest Christmas Market next to Universitate Square. I should have looked at that flier while I was in the area instead of stuffing it in my purse. There have been Christmas stalls in parks in the past (Cismigiu Park downtown and others), but not a Christmas market.

Christmas Gift Fair at Sala Dalles

Stores in the Christmas gift fair
Stores in the Christmas gift fair
© Mira at Wizzley
Christmas candles
Christmas candles
© Mira at Wizzley
Indian shawls
Indian shawls
© Mira at Wizzley
Ethnic jewelry
Ethnic jewelry
© Mira at Wizzley
Painted Christmas tree ornaments
Painted Christmas tree ornaments
© Mira at Wizzley
Whittard's tea
Whittard's tea
© Mira at Wizzley
Christmas tree ornaments
Christmas tree ornaments
© Mira at Wizzley
Santa ornaments
Santa ornaments
© Mira at Wizzley
Fragrant Christmas tea
Fragrant Christmas tea
© Mira at Wizzley
Coffee
Coffee
© Mira at Wizzley
Bead jewelry
Bead jewelry
© Mira at Wizzley
Santa chocolates
Santa chocolates
© Mira at Wizzley
Almond pastry
Almond pastry
© Mira at Wizzley
Books in Dalles bookstore
Books in Dalles bookstore
© Mira at Wizzley

Thinking of visiting Romania?

First of all, remember to get a good camera. There will be lots of things to photograph: picturesque scenes in the villages, city life and museum exhibits in a place like Bucharest, great landscapes, and whatever else strikes your personal fancy.

Again, if you want to travel light, I recommend the Canon PowerShot S110 camera.

And now here are some books about Romania to help you prepare your trip.

Canon PowerShot S110

Released in 2012

Blue Guide Romania. The Best for Arts and Culture

Written by Caroline Juler, a British Art Historian and Artist

One of the Best General Travel Guides to Romania

Taste of Romania

My favorite book in English about Romanian cooking. And it's more than just a recipe book: it includes bits about Romanian culture, some info on wines, and more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Eastern and Central Europe

Another great travel book from DK
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Updated: 10/10/2014, Mira
 
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Mira on 01/01/2015

Thank you for your visit. Christmas is a beautiful time of the year.

DerdriuMarriner on 12/29/2014

Mira, I came back to visit this lovely tour in season. Thank you for sharing this charming vignette.

Mira on 02/11/2014

Thank you, Derdriu. What can I say, I love taking photos :). And people at crafts fairs always worry I do it to steal their ideas, believe it or not.

DerdriuMarriner on 02/10/2014

Mira, Thank you for this colorful, lovely tour, which is enchanting even outside of the Christmas season.

Mira on 12/26/2013

If you come to Bucharest, I hope you'll have time for a few days around Bucharest as well. You could take the train to Sinaia, for instance, and then to Brasov. You'll be in Brasov in 3 hours. It's a beautiful town to visit. I'll have to dig up some photos and post them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Tolovaj on 12/23/2013

I was invited to Bucharest this summer but couldn't make it. I hope I'll get another chance in next years. Looking at these photos I believe winter can be pretty good time for a visit too.

Mira on 12/23/2013

Thank you, ologsinquito!

ologsinquito on 12/22/2013

What lovely pictures. It makes you want to visit Bucharest.

Mira on 12/22/2013

Thank you, Abby. I think it is beautiful, yes. And there's so much I haven't seen!

AbbyFitz on 12/22/2013

Romania looks so beautiful, especially in the snow. I'd like to see it if I ever get to Europe

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