Bucharest’s contrasting visitor experiences come together in Sector 3, a central district that incorporates the Lipscani Old Town, Downtown Bucharest and many of the city’s most important landmarks. It’s a place where modern glass-fronted shopping malls juxtaposed with concrete communist architecture, cobbled medieval lanes are lined with designer stores, and vibrant nightclubs stand beside historic monuments. Bucharest has many different sides and styles. Sector 3 embodies them all, leading visitors through the charms and enthusiasm of a city on the up.
Sector 3 has seven distinctive districts, each with their own flavour and atmosphere. Downtown is undergoing massive regeneration with modern financial buildings and shops replacing the once ubiquitous blocks of flats. Lipscani is also known as Old Town and is fabulous to explore on foot, with cobbled pedestrian streets revealing the city’s best preserved historic buildings. In the south-east of Sector 3, Dristor and Didesti are residential districts that also serve as transport hubs. The districts of Vacaresti, Titan and Vitan provide an authentic look at local Bucharest life and are within walking distance of Downtown and Lipscani. At the heart of Sector 3 is Kilometre Zero, the landmark to which distances to all other Romanian cities are measured.
Bucharest’s public transport converges on Sector 3, and the district has 13 metro stations. Union Square is the most central and connects different metro lines. A complex network of buses and trams criss-cross through Sector 3, forming an intricate web that can take visitors anywhere in the district. Using any of these services requires a prepaid Activ card, which can be topped up with credit at any of the metro stations.
Lipscani, or Old Town, was at the heart of everything in Bucharest in the 17th and 18th centuries. After falling into neglect and decline, it was revitalised as a pedestrianised area in the 21st century. It’s now the most visited part of Bucharest, home to a huge collection of shops, cafes and restaurants.