This Bucharest tour is like no other, because you’re seeing the streets with those who live on them. Join a formerly homeless local on this tour of Bucharest’s main sites and through the cobbled streets of Old Town. Along the way, learn about the challenges that come with street life in Bucharest, and help to make a difference by supporting a local NGO.
Your Bucharest tour will start in front of the National Theatre, a historic space that opened in 1852 and has hosted famous plays such as Macbeth, The Dinner Game, and All My Sons. But it’s also in this area where many homeless kids have lived for the last 25 years, sleeping on park benches or underground in the sewers or in the stations of the metro. Your guide will share the local stories of these people as you walk you through the neighbourhood.
This Bucharest tour is run in partnership with the Parada Foundation, a Romanian NGO and member of the Federation of Child Protection NGOs. The aim of the foundation is to support homeless children, youth, and families through its social and educational services. All guides who lead this tour have been placed through this collaboration with the foundation, with the goal of helping them to secure a regular income. As leaders for travellers, your guide will provide you with an accurate picture of homeless life and show you how they are gaining social and professional experience through tourism, all while showing you Bucharest’s main attractions in an unusual way.
Take Sergiu, for example. He is a great success story and one of our guides. With the help of the Parada Foundation, he gave up drug use, found a temporary merchandiser job, and is now finishing high school. He is well travelled, fluent in English and Spanish, tons of fun to be around, and a true connoisseur of the streets and their secrets.
Sergiu underwent a guide training program and now leads tours of Bucharest’s historical and cultural quirks in an unusual and entertaining way. Issues of homelessness are also covered, and Sergiu shares his experiences with those he leads.
It is important to note that this is not 'Poverty Tourism' (superficially looking at poor areas and people), but rather a joint initiative with the homeless themselves. As well as gaining sustainable employment through this program, the guides are empowered with the chance to tell their own stories with authority and authenticity.
On this Bucharest tour, we’ll pass the University Passage and go toward the Russian Church and the National Bank of Romania. We’ll also see University Square, which, in the 15th century, was the northern limit of the city and, in the 1990s a site of student protest against the Romanian government.
As we explore Old Town, a place with plenty of stories and history, your guide will tell you some of the modern secrets, like where illegal parties are still held in squatted buildings, and how those living on the streets get food from the nearby restaurants for free.
After crossing Old Town and stopping for a refreshing coffee break (your own expense), we will them move toward Unirii Square, where you’ll learn more historic tales, like the private subway line that Ceaușescu wanted to build in case he needed to escape the wrath of the people.
We’ll make our final stop at the Parada Foundation headquarters, the organisation behind this Outcast Bucharest tour.