We decided to be tourists in Bucharest for a day. And not anyway. We decided to rely only on apps in order to find places to visit and directions to them. Unfortunately technology failed to be the best tour guide.
The pleasant surprise was that one gets quite a lot of results when entering the word „Bucharest” and searching for a Bucharest dedicated application in any app store, may it be Google Play (for Android) or App Store (for iOS). At least three of them are applications designed to help one get direction in the Capital city and find tourist attractions. They are Bucharest City, Bucharest Pocket Guide and Bucharest Live, and the order in which I listed them is not random. The first one is also the most complex; however some minor improvements would be necessary.
Bucharest City is a recently launched application which displays an updated list of events, such as concerts, plays, parties etc; it also shows the nearest museums, restaurants and even pharmacies. The app designers published some short reviews for some of the restaurants, bars or cafés listed here. The application has an intuitive menu and a very pleasant design; the most important thing is that the list of Bucharest events is constantly updated. Moreover, the application is intended as a social network allowing its users to generate their own collections of favourite places which they can share with their friends. When launching this app, the developers announced that it was meant to be a large scale sequel of Travelers of Bucharest Facebook page (also made by them, which presents Bucharest foreign tourists’stories) and of the Bucharest City Guide, which has a printed version as well.
As I said before, Bucharest City is by far the most useful and well structured application among those dedicated to Romanian cities. However I think that events or movies ticket booking could be improved. For example, there are only a few cinemas with the „Ticket” tab, in the „Cinema & Movies” section, redirecting the user to cinemacity.ro, but not the mobile site version, which is definitely a setback when trying to book tickets.
Bucharest Pocket Guide is actually a version of the Pocket Guide app adapted for Bucharest; it is available in over 150 cities. It helps the user find the nearest landmarks (especially museums) or restaurants, bars and cafes, offering some information in English (similar to Bucharest City); it shows the route by using Google map. One can also sort out an itinerary, but these are the only things this app can be used for.
Bucharest Live is an application „provided by the Municipality of Bucharest”, as it is shown; however it is completely useless for foreign tourists, therefore I do not understand where the name „Bucharest Live” comes from. I understand, however, that it is intended as an application designed for Bucharest inhabitants and therefore there is only a Romanian version. It cannot be downloaded on Android devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow (I finally managed to download the 4.3 version); it has the option to login with the Facebook account, but it is useless. There are four categories in the menu: Home Page, Landmarks, Reports and Events. The only category that has content: the Landmarks section lists museums, hospitals, administrative offices, town halls, kindergartens, schools, universities, parks, churches, theaters, libraries, police stations, post offices etc. Only very few have a brief information sheet about the institution. Navigating through the application requires the patience of a saint.
In addition, there are some other applications that can help tourists with specific information when they use public transport, or when they need to find an ATM or to order food. Here are some examples: Transport Urban, which helps the user not to get lost (too much) around the capital, Bucharest Metro Guide, with the subway map; even if there are minor errors, is offers quite correct information on the time the next train reaches the station, Caut ATM – it displays the nearest ATMs, or Henri AppPort, where passengers are informed about the status of each air flight and which is the shortest way to the airport.
Main Photo credit: pixabay.com