Cismigiu park is with 17 ha the largest park in downtown Bucharest. It’s also the oldest, having been built in 1847 to replace a lake used for fishing since the 17th century.
It keeps a large artificial pond in the middle, making it great for row boating, a great way I love to spend a lazy summer afternoon. The boats can be rented on the spot and sometimes, if the handler is there after hours, you can (unofficially) even do it by night.
When December comes, after the lake freezes, a skating rink is built and you can use it throughout the winter.
The park has a rich history, some of the landmarks being Writers’ Rotunda, a circular alley which has stone busts of twelve important Romanian writers, The Monument of French Heroes or The Monument of American Heroes.
It can get crowded during summer days, but it’s vast and if you walk enough you’ll get to some peace and quiet. During the winter, you can almost always find a small fair in the open space vis-a-vis from the Mayor’s office.
Another nice feature is the Northern end, guarded by the Kretzulescu Palace, which since 1972 houses the headquarters of UNESCO’s European Centre for Higher Education UNESCO-CEPES. Initially, the palace had some of the most beautiful gardens in the city, but since their creation, most of them were included in Cismigiu.