Romania’s capital gets a bad rap, but in fact it's dynamic, energetic and more than a little bit funky. It’s where still-unreconstructed communism meets unbridled capitalism; where the soporific forces of the EU meet the passions of the Balkans and Middle East. Many travellers give the city just a night or two before heading off to Transylvania, but we think that’s not enough. Budget at least a few days to take in the good museums, stroll the parks and hang out at trendy cafes. While much of the centre is modern and garish, you will find some splendid 17th- and 18th-century Orthodox churches tucked away in quiet corners and graceful art nouveau villas. Communism changed the face of the city for good, and nowhere is this more evident than at the gargantuan Palace of Parliament, the craziest and arguably crassest tribute to dictatorial megalomania you’ll ever see.