Bucharest is a vibrant, modern city which – while it has its problems – is increasingly like any other European capital. The young (and the not so young) enjoy going out in its cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants, clubs and live music venues as much as anyone else in the developed world.
So it is disconcerting when journalists from liberal newspapers in Western Europe describe Bucharest's rejuvenated Old Town – the buzzing entertainment area increasingly serving as the heart of Romania’s capital – as ‘all a bit homogenous and uninteresting.’
The presence of designer stores is seen as further evidence of Bucharest’s soullessness.
We have always been stunned by how some travellers (not just to Romania) can be genuinely disappointed to find that people in traditionally poorer countries actually have the same aspirations (and a desire to enjoy the same kind of nightlife) as they do. For they are missing the point.
The fact that Bucharest is increasingly affluent, increasingly modern and increasingly just like every other European capital is something to be celebrated. Compare Bucharest now with the Bucharest of 25 years ago.
Bucharest In Your Pocket has been publishing the complete insider's guide to this unique city for sixteen years. Amid libel battles and law suits, we continue to bring you the best (and sometimes the worst) of this unique city. If you know of a place we have not featured, or think we have been unfair in our assessment, please contact us at bucharest (at) inyourpocket.com.
If you want to get your hands on our print guide, you can generally find one at any Bucharest hotel. Alternatively, download the full guide in PDF, for free, right here, before you leave home.
And if you're planning on tripping elsewhere in the country, check out our guides to Sibiu, Brasov or Poiana Brasov.
For an alternative look at the city there's the Editor's Bucharest Life Blog here. You can also now follow the Editor's adventures in Bucharest via Twitter, and while you are there sign up to follow the main In Your Pocket account too.