Souvenir Shopping (Self Guided), Bucharest

It would be a pity to leave Bucharest without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Bucharest, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Romania » Bucharest (See other walking tours in Bucharest)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.8 Km or 4.8 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Rapsodia Musical Instruments Shop
  • Vinexpert Experience
  • Carrefour Unirii
  • Carturesti Book Shop
  • Nic Supermarket
  • Ki-Life Natural Store
  • The Traditional Popular Art Gallery
  • La Chambre aux bons vins
Rapsodia Musical Instruments Shop

1) Rapsodia Musical Instruments Shop

What to buy here: Reghin musical instruments. Price range for violins $83-790, guitars $68-334 and cobza $300.

“The City of Violins”. This is the nickname of Reghin, the Transylvanian town famous for its musical instruments tradition and for the quality of the violins, guitars or cellos produced here. The most famous Romanian industrial producer of musical instruments is Hora, the factory where all contemporary lute makers of Reghin have cut their teeth in the complex craft of making unique and quality musical instruments. At Reghin, the lute making traditions have gone hand in hand with the production of massive wood furniture, hence the insider approach and the special techniques employed in wood treatment. David Oistrach, one of the world’s most acclaimed violin players of all times, noted that the violins created at Reghin have a “rich sound, with a quite dynamic tenure” . So, on your tour in Bucharest, you must by all means visit Hora’s store, Rapsodia, where, alongside violins, cellos, guitars and a varied range of international music instruments, you will find a unique and one hundred per cent Romanian lute: the cobza. Related to the family of mandolins and balalaikas, every specimen of this instrument has to be hand-made, due to the specific shape and technical requirements of its sound box (the body). Almost all Hora’s production is exported, their musical instruments being considered appropriate for study as well as for and hobby practicing. So, don’t think twice if you’re in Bucharest and you need a brand new violin or guitar. You now know where to get it from.

Operation hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00-17:00.
Vinexpert Experience

2) Vinexpert Experience

What to buy here: Romanian Wines.

They have an enviable tradition dating almost 2000 years back, before the formation of the Romanian people, to the time where Romanians’ ancestors, the Dacians, cultivated grapes and produced fine wines, known throughout the region. Contemporary Romanian wines extract their force and variety from the masterful use of the soil, of the sun and of the various species of grapes cultivated all over Romania’s territory. If mainstream brands such as Murfatlar need no further introduction for Romanians, recent developments in wine trends have led to the emergence of high-class, state of the art wine production, based on the remarkable experience and knowledge of Romanian wine experts such as Aurelia Visinoiu. Together with a business partner, Visinoiu has set up a very successful wine business and a wine house called Domeniile Sahateni. Their three ranges of wine are often the spoiled children of international wine festivals and competitions, gathering coveted prices and awards for their quality. Wine is a heavy business in Romania and everybody takes wine seriously, because only wine has the ability to let the truth come out and change a blue state of spirit making the sun shine even over the deepest frowns. Since this truth became evident 2000 years ago to Romanians’ foregoers, no one, throughout Romanian history was not willing to let that truth be forgotten. That is why, Romanian wines are known throughout the world for their quality and high spirit.

Price range varies considerably according to several criteria (year of fabrication, producer, type). A low average value would be $20-30 per bottle. Please refer to the shop’s vendors for specific details before purchasing. Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 9:30 am - 9:00 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am- 7:00 pm; Sunday: 10:00 am- 2:00 pm.
Carrefour Unirii

3) Carrefour Unirii

What to buy here: Nasal Cheese. Price around $17-20. This Romanian delicacy has a story of its own. And as any delicacy, it is unique in its own right. This type of ripened white mould cheese is produced in the Transylvanian county of Cluj, at Taga. But if you imagine tiny shops where people make this cheese, you’d be wrong. This cheese is produced in a cave nearby Nasal, in Taga, and the legend has it that once upon a time, a handful of the local count’s not exactly loyal servants stole some fresh cheese from the count’s castle and hid it in the Taga cave, for fear of not being caught. They left the cheese there and returned after a while. And what they found became a legendary culinary delicacy Romanians like to enjoy at elegant dinners and social gatherings. The Nasal cheese resembles Camembert or Brie cheeses and is best savored in the company of a rich red wine. Its special taste is due to the bacteria found in the cave mould and to the temperature conditions of the Taga cave. Experts consider that this microclimate responsible for the creation of the Nasal cheese is impossible to replicate in other parts of the world. And that makes the taste of this national delicacy absolutely one of a kind. Literally. Although it is unique, it is not difficult to be found, since one of the top market producers of dairy products, Napolact, is in charge with its production and distributes Nasal cheese on a national level, in large retail chains.
Carturesti Book Shop

4) Carturesti Book Shop

What to buy here: Romanian New Cinema DVDs. Price range: $15-100.

Cristi Puiu, Ciprian Porumboiu, Cristian Mungiu are the Romanian heroes of the New Cinema Wave that put Romania on the international map of major film festivals and contemporary cinema, at the beginning of the 2000’s. They are the architects of Romanian Minimalism, a movie trend that had direct impact on the regional Eastern European cinema, they way it appears nowadays and the way it is screened in film festivals such as Cannes and the Berlin Film Festival. But the most important thing, the Romanian New Wave movies connected their audiences to ardent issues in Romanian society. Political issues, cultural issues, social issues, corruption, poverty, high-level demagogy, the communist legacy and civic passiveness constitute the blend and the thread of contemporary Romanian movies. The directors of the New Wave pride themselves with the ability of looking into the heart of the society, without embellishing it, and refraining from visual pleasantries, offering their audiences chunks of forceful life depictions that haunt the viewers’ memory long time after a first screening. Cinematographic masterpieces such as “Aurora”, “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”, by Cristi Puiu, or “4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days”, by Cristian Mungiu received high critical acclaim and are widely regarded as a treasured addition to the already vibrant European cinema environment. DVD standard and special editions of short and feature films from the Romanian New Wave are available and can be purchased in selected book stores. Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Nic Supermarket

5) Nic Supermarket

What to buy here: Romanian Jams. Price: around $5.

Unmistakably, the “sovereign” of jams produced in the country. The fresh green nuts jam is widely regarded by Romanians as the thing to have when the sweet tooth kicks in. Traditionally, the jam sector was reserved for the grannies of every household. The matriarch of the family took immense pride in preparing the most difficult recipes of jams, made of the tastiest fruits and combinations of fruits and flower petals. As such, when visiting for the first time a Romanian family, the tradition stated that the guests should be welcomed with jams prepared by the women in the family, hot coffee and cold refreshing water. The crunchy yet sweetly-mellow taste of the fresh green nuts jam makes this particular variety to be a sough-after desert and a very pleasurable way to enjoy a nice summer afternoon in the company of friends and family. Although the best jams are those home-made, in Romania, the industrial-scale production in this sector has its stars. Raureni is widely regarded as one of the most successful and dedicated companies producing canned goods based on vegetables and fruits (jams, pickles). The company has been around for more than half a century and it is one of the upholders of the natural standards in food production. Therefore, their fresh green nut jam is as good as the one made at home. And while you’re at it, working your way to the end of the jar and not being able to stop eating the green nuts jam, take a moment and think about this: Romanians are also famous for their apricot jam, the rose petal jam, the raspberry one or the peach jam. Enjoy the sweet life!
Ki-Life Natural Store

6) Ki-Life Natural Store

What to buy here: Romanian honey. Price range: $2-6.

Honey has been around in this country long before Romanian was beginning its birth as a language and identity. From Romanians’ historical ancestors, the Dacians, the craftsmanship of beekeeping and honey making was passed on from one generation to another, for more than 2000 years. Yes, that’s right. Over two millennia. During all this time, Dacians and the ensuing Romanians developed sophisticated and trustworthy skills to extract honey. Contemporary beekeeping in Romania focuses on obtaining traditional types of honey, such as the one based on the flowers of acacia, linden tree, or polyfloral. There are also the producers focusing on the very strict and elaborated bio production of honey. And there are those willing to bring novelty in Romania’s honey market, applying new recipes, obtained from the pollination process of the fruit plants such as the raspberry, apricot etc. Romanian honey is well known abroad and it constitutes one of the basic elements of local breakfast. Nowadays, honey production is either standardized, and achieved in superior technological conditions, in dedicated factories, or is still realized the traditional old way, with beekeepers who maintain a certain number of beehives and collect honey from honeycombs. Either way, you are just steps away from a royal treat.

Operation hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm.
The Traditional Popular Art Gallery

7) The Traditional Popular Art Gallery

What to buy here: Hand-painted Horezu Ceramics. Price range: $ 2-7.

It’s more than just something you can buy. It’s a way to another world. A world of simple, pure beauty, crafted by knowledgeable hands, accustomed to do this for hundreds of years. Color, clay, paint, and harmony came together and created the internationally acclaimed Horezul ceramics. During many generations, the craftsmen in the South-Western Romanian region of Horezu have developed their unique stile of painting, their preferred patterns and the heart-warming unmistakable look. Plants, fish, animals and geometrically-interpreted patterns adorn the clay pottery pieces, from cups and bowls, to plates and large trays. Whether using contrasting color backgrounds, like the powerful ultramarine, or the delicate combination of earthy shades and vibrant reds, the Horezu pottery stands for one of the highest symbolic expressions of freedom, love of nature and the never-ending power of imagination Romanian traditional pottery masters shared with their community and with their descendants. Still alive and highly regarded both by Romanians and foreigners alike, the Horezu ceramics craft is currently being transmitted from the elders to the young ones eager to learn this noble trade.

All original Horezu artifacts bear the hand signature or the stamp of the master artisans who made them, usually located on the back side of the objects.

Operation hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00-18:00
La Chambre aux bons vins

8) La Chambre aux bons vins

What to buy here: Romanian Tuica. Price per bottle: around $36.

Cold weather? Have a tuica, it will warm you up. Nice weather? Have a tuica, as appetizer before lunch, and you’ll be suddenly blessed with a equally nice sense of hunger. Dumpy, rainy weather? Have a tuica, it will make your blood flow faster and you’ll feel cozy and dry. Romanians will tell you that this raw and potent spirit makes you feel good regardless of the weather. This must be the reason why it is never absent from their lives, with every occasion (be it a cheerful or a sad one). In time, after hundreds and hundreds of years, it became the national drink, pretty much as whiskey is for Ireland, and uzo for Greece. With its distinctive savor and its slightly yellow hue transparency, Tuica is not easy to make. It requires double distillation, an attentive preparation of the fruit selection, a careful depositing stage and maturation in special wooden barrels that compliment and refine its taste. Traditionally, tuica is made out of fermented plums, but there are also other variations obtained from fruits such as pears, apricots or peaches. One of the most classic images of tuica is the bottle containing inside it a full grown pear, surrounded by the liquor. The pear cannot be eaten unless the bottle is broken. Therefore, when in Bucharest, you’d better put your mind to it, get your spirit high and empty a bottle of tuica, so you that you know why Romanians call it their drink. As a bonus, you also get to eat the inside pear.

Operation hours: Monday-Friday: 11:00 am - 7:30 pm; Saturday: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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