George Enescu in Budapest, via Euronews

I am once again accumulating articles in "Draft" and have very little time for blogging. But watching the news I just came across this abomination and I just have to tell you about the latest Bucharest/Budapest confusion.
YouTube screenshot arata titlul Festivalul George Enescu incepe in Budapesta

The George Enescu festival is starting in Romania’s (Bucharest) and Euronews jumps at the opportunity to present Romania’s capital city as the similarly sounding neighbour’s, (i.e., Hungary’s capital, Budapest). You can read more about that on their website (en-gef).

The composer lending his name to this festival has his own Wikipedia page, but that’s not what bugs me. It’s this often made confusion. Also, the festival is less important to me than this news about people dead at LPG explosion, from the same outfit (en-lpg), or Lagarde’s 3 shifts, or what’s going on in Ukraine and Russia. Alas, I cannot.

This stuck to my mind because a few months ago a friend of mine suggested that we coordinate our holidays so that I show her Budapest. I thought she made “the confusion” and sent her the TripAdvisor forum link (ta-budvbuc), but she insisted that she wasn’t interested in Bucharest, it’s just that she’s going to Prague and she wouldn’t go that far east. As I was searching for comparisons between the two cities, I also found several other articles, all agreeing that Budapest is a better destination (re-bdvbc, vs-vdvbc).

This seeming consensus (even among Romanians) does not reflect my view. I just think that Romania’s capital (BUCHAREST or Bucuresti, to be clear), is a better destination for that side of me that’s free of any bias, because it’s a far more of a “frontier” destination and it’s off the beaten path. It’s the idea that came out of that roadtrip interview. It’s also why Numbeo (nmb-budvbuc) shows Bucharest to be so much cheaper than Budapest:

Consumer Prices in Bucharest are 11.4% lower than in Budapest (without rent)

Consumer Prices Including Rent in Bucharest are 12.4% lower than in Budapest

Rent Prices in Bucharest are 16.0% lower than in Budapest

Restaurant Prices in Bucharest are 4.3% lower than in Budapest

Groceries Prices in Bucharest are 11.0% lower than in Budapest

Local Purchasing Power in Bucharest is 1.2% lower than in Budapest

Bucharest has made serious strides in the past few decades in “look & feel” and apart from the cost of living comparison, which makes it a cheaper destination, it’s also a safer destination (nmb-crbdvbc). Budapest is worse than Bucharest on every measure, apart from a very small lead by the Romanian city on insults and a larger lead on corruption and bribery.

For me, the biggest part of Bucharest’s attraction is that it’s less known, it’s more of a little gem that’s known by me and few others; while the crowds go to Dubrovnik and Paris, those who know and expect a premium for inside knowledge, will always go to Bucharest and similarly less well advertised/known destinations.

If you’re the kind of person who prefers Burma or Laos to Thailand, you owe it to yourself to visit Bucharest!

Sources / More info: en-gef, en-lpg, ta-budvbuc, nmb-budvbuc, re-bdvbc, re-bdvbc, ww-bdvbc, nmb-crbdvbc


  1. here's a travel site looking at safety:

    1. Bucharest is 10th, after Budapest 7th, mostly b/c of issues beyond safety


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