17 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Cluj-Napoca, Romania!

If you’re not super-familiar with Romanian cities, you can be forgiven for not having heard about Cluj-Napoca – after all, its tourism scene is still developing. But don’t worry: it’s a thoroughly lovely, charming place in which to spend a few days, and you’ll soon fall in love with its non-touristy charms and awesome locals, not to mention its epic music festivals! You’ll soon discover that there’s plenty of things to do in Cluj!

In fact, I had three days in Cluj, and could’ve happily stayed for longer. The capital of Transylvania is pretty, relaxed, and refreshingly free of crowds, and the local people genuinely welcome visitors. What’s not to love about that? Nothing, say I!

So, I’m going to let you in on all the top things to do in Cluj-Napoca, and inspire you to visit Romania! Think of this as your personal travel shopping list; the places that you really can’t leave Cluj without seeing.

Otherwise the vampires will get ya.

A photo of the canal flowing through the centre of Cluj-Napoca, one of Romania's hidden gems and the capital of Transylvania

How to get to Cluj-Napoca

By air

Cluj is a vivacious university town, and tourism is steadily growing, so you’ll find an increasing number of direct flights into Cluj-Napoca Airport from the rest of Europe. The UK, Germany, and Spain are particularly well-served, so if you’re coming from further afield, you’re probably best off transferring in one of those countries (check Momondo for the best deals).

The airport isn’t especially big (which is a great thing for all of us who get endlessly lost in massive airport terminals), so you’ll be through passport control and baggage pickup in next to no time!

It’s also extremely easy to get to the city from Cluj Airport: those keeping to a strict budget can catch the train, which takes about twenty minutes and costs the equivalent of one US dollar. Alternatively, catch one of the taxis outside the terminal for the 10 minute drive – this should cost about 26 Romanian leu. Recommended taxi firms are NOVA, Diesel, Clima and Activ.

By train

Alternatively, you can reach Cluj-Napoca by train, thanks to the city’s railway station, and trains which come from as far away as Vienna (the IR 143 service is direct). Get yourself a first class ticket if you fancy one of the comfy private compartments, which have ample legroom; you could even make two journeys of it, and spend a few days in Budapest, which is en route!

The inside of the train from Cluj to Budapest, featuring a private compartment

The best things to do in Cluj!

Okay, you’ve arrived in Cluj – isn’t it lovely? Once you’ve dropped off your bags at your chosen Cluj hotel – more on which later – it’s time to hit the town and check out some cool and unusual things to do in Cluj. Of which there are many, I assure you!

So here’s what to do in Cluj, in order to ensure a fang-tastic Transylvanian trip! Sorry, I just had to make that pun somewhere in this article. I mean c’mon.

A view of Cluj in Romania. Walking up the hill is one of the best things to do in Cluj

Take in the views from Parcul Cetátuia

Whenever I travel, I always like to climb up to a vantage point – or a flippin’ big hill, at the least – and take in the sights.

Luckily, Cluj has you covered on all fronts, as it’s a flippin’ big hill with a vantage point on top, from which you can get a lovely vista of the whole city! It’s also very easy to get to – there’s a road running along the bottom of the hill, and a flight of steps takes you up a path flanked by trees, from which you can turn around and soak in the views.

That’s not all, though! There’s a few monuments to check out, as well as the rather fascinating tower which juts up from the back of the hill – it’s the property of the Romanian Aeroclub, and they use it for practicing their parachuting, of all things. If throwing yourself from a large metal structure doesn’t float your boat, you can instead relax at the hillside cafe of Pergola, and enjoy the view whilst you sip your coffee!

The Romanian National Opera in Cluj. Going to see the opera or a ballet is one of the best things to do in Cluj!

Admire the National Opera House

Grabbing the title of “fanciest building in Cluj” with both hands is the National Opera House, a glittering jewel in the Cluj-Napoca crown!

This lovely building, constructed in 1919 by a couple of Austrian architects who made darned sure that their baby was just as ornate as anything in Vienna, has been the on-off home of the Romanian National Opera all the way through its history. Changes in Transylvania’s political status meant that Cluj occasionally ended up being part of Hungarian territory, meaning that the Romanian opera needed to change their HQ sharpish, but it’s now fully settled in its spiritual home. The neo-baroque exterior is absolutely gorgeous, and fully matched by the interior, with everything that you’ve ever imagined an opera house to have. I’m talking columns, gold decoration and crimson red seats: the works.

If you’re suitably impressed by all this culture and want to take in a show, then you’re in luck: the building houses not only opera, but ballet and the occasional spot of Shakespeare too! Have a look at the Romanian National Opera’s website for more details!

The outside of the historic St. Michael's Church in Piata Unirii Square in Cluj. When deciding what to do in Cluj, this should definitely be on your list.

 

People-watch in Piata Unirii Square

Piata Unirii Square is one of the nicest places in Cluj, and certainly the best for putting your feet up and watching the town’s residents go about their business!

The piazza – proof that the local town planners learnt well from their former occupiers from the Roman Empire – is an open space at the side of St. Michael’s Church, and it’s a perfect sun-trap. I spent a very nice afternoon just sitting at one of the outside cafe tables, and watching the locals go by, whether they were walking their dogs, or browsing the market stalls. It’s also something of a public performance area; there was a stage set up on the weekends hosting a traditional Romanian dance group – perfect for watching as the sun goes down.

Piata Unirii Square has a selection of cafes on one side – as well as one of the few souvenir kiosks in town – and my favourite was Toulouse. The prices were reasonable, and the food excellent – check out the very generous, and very tasty, pasta dishes!

The mounted statue of Matthias Corvinus in Cluj. The Transylvanian capital is the birthplace of Matthias Corvinus.

Visit St. Michael’s Church and the statue of Matthias Corvinus

Get two bits of awesomeness for the price of one, by pairing up the splendor of St. Michael’s Church with the statue of Cluj’s most famous former resident! (unless you count the Cheeky Girls.)

St. Michael’s Church is the second-biggest church in Transylvania, outdone by the magnificently-named Black Church of Brasov, and was completed in 1487. It’s a gloriously Gothic church, with the sharp angular looks of the exterior paired with a gorgeous vaulted ceiling and intricate wood carvings on the inside. It’s also slap-bang in the city centre, and very much the heart of the city, both spiritually and physically. It also holds the distinction of having changed its denomination an impressive five times, due to political issues – it’s now settled firmly in Roman Catholicism!

Pop outside, and you’ll see Cluj’s most notable statue: the huge monument celebrating Matthias Corvinus, who was born in Cluj, and eventually became the king of Hungary and Croatia in 1464. If you’ve visited Budapest, you’ll undoubtedly have seen the beautiful Matthias Church, where he got married. This monument is no less impressive!

The Orthodox Cathedral in Cluj, based on the Hagia Sophia. It may not be an obvious choice of things to do in Cluj, but it well worth the trip.

Check out the stunning Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral

Located just opposite the National Opera House, this cathedral is yet another hidden Romanian gem!

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Making your way past the fountain in front (with its flock of pigeons who seem determined to perch on the fountain’s jets), and pausing to check out the statues of broody-looking figures, you’ll enter the cathedral and be greeted by a beautifully-decorated Orthodox church. The frescoes on the walls really are something: they stretch all the way up, representing the celestial beings watching over you, and they give the interior a really solemn, humble atmosphere. It’s well worth going in purely to stand to one side, and watch the steady stream of people offering up their prayers with obvious devotion.

The outside is just as spectacular, thanks to being inspired by the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul – you can certainly see the influence in the cathedral’s dome! Be aware that you do get the occasional beggar outside; a firm “no” (or “nu” in Romanian) should be enough if you don’t want their company.

Central Park in Cluj during the Jazz in the Park festival is a delight!

Relax at Central Park

Cluj’s Central Park is a beauty – it might not be big, but it provides a lovely walk!

Cluj isn’t exactly a smog-filled metropolis – on the contrary, it actually has the best air quality in Europe – but Central Park is the lungs of the city. It’s a narrow strip of green, tree-filled land between the city and the main canal passing through Cluj, and it can be a wonderfully shady refuge on a hot summer’s day. It’s also the home of a lot of Cluj’s events! When I visited, I happened to take a shortcut through the park, purely because it was a quicker route back to my hotel. To my amazement, when I entered the park, I realized that it was hosting the city’s Jazz in the Park festival. There were fairy lights and hammocks stretched between the trees, live music being played on stages, stalls selling street food and drink, and an endless sea of happy residents enjoying the evening with friends and family. It was absolutely wonderful!

But even if you’re not lucky enough to see the festival, there’s still plenty going on, including a quite gorgeous fountain and the stunning tree-lined Chios Lake. And swan pedalos, because no lake in Europe is complete without swan pedalos!

The inside of a traditional Romanian house in the Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park in Cluj, with traditional fabrics.

Learn about Transylvanian History at Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park

Ready to travel back in time? Well you can put that TARDIS back where you found it: you’ll genuinely feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a storybook at the Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park!

Located a slight way out of town (you can easily walk it down Strada Romulus Vuia, which starts near the train station, or catch a taxi), this is the star of all of Cluj’s attractions. You’ll see why as soon as you set foot over the threshold: beyond the ticket office, you’ll walk past wooden cabins which look straight out of a Robin Hood movie, whilst a stream trickles past and red squirrels scamper in the trees. It’s simply idyllic.

The park was established in 1922 by Romulus Vuia (what a name!), and is a collection of buildings and objects which have been transplanted from their original location and put in the park for safekeeping. They come from all over Transylvania, and really do reflect the buildings and lifestyle of Romania’s rural past. At time of writing, there’s 13 traditional farms, which are all decorated inside and extremely cozy – I could happily move into one – a myriad of rural buildings such as mills and workshops, and most impressively, 3 wooden churches. These are absolutely wonderful, and so ornate both inside and out (if the door is locked when you get to a building, wait a moment and one of the seemingly-omnipotent guardians will come along and unlock it with a huge key).

There’s also a few goats and donkeys wandering around, adding to the pastoral bliss. Even if you’re not remotely interested in history (hisssss), you should definitely visit the Romulus Vuia Ethnographic Park: it’s a fantastic place just to wander, and see some genuinely interesting buildings. If it’s a sunny day, it’s even more perfect!

Check out their website before you go for opening hours – the park is also generally closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Papanasi. Romanian doughnuts, are a must when deciding where to eat in Cluj!

Sample a Papanași

Don’t leave this sweet treat off your list of what to do in Cluj! It needs to be experienced!

Papanași are essentially Romanian doughnuts. Except that they’re doughnuts on crack; expect more calories than you’ve ever had in your life, but an absolute taste sensation! They look like round doughnuts with a small baby doughnut on top, but when you cut into them, you’ll find them absolutely packed to the rafters with sweet, gooey filling. Mine was nutella and cream (omnom!), but you get them with soft cheese, jam, sour cream, fruits, and seemingly anything the chef can get their hands on.

I also can’t emphasize enough how big these things are. They. Are. Huge! You’re definitely better off getting one to share between two of you! If you’ve completely fallen in love with them, you can find a recipe for papanași here.

I was told by my hotel owner that Restaurant Fair Play has the best papanași in Cluj, and that’s where I tried them; I can certainly vouch for this recommendation!

A trip to see CFR Cluj is an unusual things to do in Cluj, but a lot of fun!

See a CFR Cluj game

Celtic fans, look away now.

The mighty CFR Cluj are often Romanian football champions (or soccer, if you’re in the US), and although they can’t quite compare to European giants such as Barcelona or Juventus, they’re certainly capable of pulling off a shock. In the 2019 Champion’s League qualifiers, they were drawn against Celtic – the biggest and most successful team in Scotland. Everyone expected Celtic to win the tie. It should’ve been no contest. Everyone assumed that Celtic were practically through already.

Guess what happened? Spoiler: watch this if you want to see some very happy Romanians.

So if you want to take part in the local passion, how about going and sitting with the locals at a CFR Cluj game? Their stadium is almost in the city center on Strada Romulus Vuia, and you can buy tickets for CFR Cluj games through their website. For anyone who’s used to paying through the nose for games in other European leagues, you’ll be delighted to see that tickets cost the equivalent of €10 – that’s an utter bargain!

A scenic street in Cluj-Napoca, with colourful walls and graffiti.

Take some walking tours

More than anything, Cluj is just a lovely place to take a stroll. Its famously clean air and attractive buildings mean that you can easily while away a few hours just ambling around, and taking in the sights. But what if you want to go a bit deeper?

Unsurprisingly, Cluj has an interesting history – after all, it’s the capital of Transylvania, and in a position that the city has had to change nationality various times. So it’s easy to go around and spot a historical monument here and a pretty building there, but it can be difficult to interpret what it all means. Cluj isn’t fully geared up for tourists, so it’s not like you’re going to find a vast information board outside of these places.

The best way to walk around Cluj, and really appreciate what you’re seeing, is to take a walking tour. The local guides really know their stuff, and are happy to guide you around the city and give you a full explanation of what you’re seeing – it avoids that shallow, “I don’t really understand what I’m seeing” feeling, which can be so frustrating for travelers.

Cluj walking tours are a great way to see the city, and learn more about the people and the place you’re staying in!

The vast cathedral under construction in Cluj-Napoca is well worth seeing. Large cranes help to build it.

Take a walk to the Tailor’s Bastion and the Greco-Catholic Cathedral

Slightly to the southeast of the Old Town is the Tailor’s Bastion. It’s a scenic old structure, and well worth the short walk!

Back in ye olde medieval times, the walls of castles weren’t only guarded by soldiers. Local guilds of craftsmen would also take up their tools or weapons and guard the city, as they were equally keen as anyone else to protect their families and livelihoods. So stretches of city wall were assigned to particular guilds; that was the case for Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, and so it goes for the Tailor’s Bastion in Cluj. I’ll leave it to you to imagine tailors guarding the walls with very large needles and some natty armor.

These days, it’s something of a community center: it holds an exhibition detailing the history of the tailors guild, a cafe, and occasionally hosts local events. Pop in and say hello!

Whilst you’re there, you can also have a look at the Graco-Catholic Cathedral which is under construction on the other side of the main road. It’s been under construction for many years and isn’t the most photogenic building in town – it’s certainly proving to be controversial with the locals. It’ll probably be quite impressive if it ever gets finished, because it’s already ginormous!

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The birthplace of Matthias Corvinus in Cluj is a white building with many windows and a tiled roof

Visit the home of a medieval king

Remember our good friend Matthias Corvinus, he of the impressive statue outside St. Michael’s Church? He of the illustrious royal career over in neighboring Hungary?

Well, he’s a local boy done good, as Matthias Corvinus was actually born in Cluj. And you can go and visit his house!

If you’re standing right outside the entrance to St. Michael’s Church, turn right, and you’ll spot a small pedestrian street on the other side of the road. It’s a particularly lovely one, with hundreds of light bulbs strung above you: go straight down here, and you’ll see a white and brown building straight in front of you. This is the Matthias Corvinus birthplace, and it’s now owned by the local Art and Design University.

So you may not be able to go in, but take a look around you – what a lovely square, right? This whole area is one of Cluj’s loveliest spots: in summer there’s plenty of outside dining in front of the cafes, and in winter the trees are strung with lights, while Christmas markets take place below them.

If you want to see somewhere else with a connection to Matthias Corvinus’ family, check out a day trip to the stunning Corvin Castle. This storybook castle was supposedly where Vlad the Impaler was held prisoner, and was featured in Halloween specials for both Ghost Adventures and Most Haunted. You’ve been warned…

A ferris wheel in the Turda Salt Mine. A day trip to Turda Salt Mine is one of the best day trips from Cluj, and one of the best things to do in Romania

Take a day trip to the Turda Salt Mine

Never mind the best things to do in Cluj Napoca – the Turda Salt Mine is one of the best things to do in Romania!

You really owe it to yourself to go on a day trip to the Turda Salt Mine. Once you’ve stopped giggling at the name (yeah okay, I bought a postcard from the mine because of the name. Sue me), you’ll soon realize that this is one of the most extraordinary places you’ll ever visit in your life. It’s genuinely one of the world’s hidden gems.

You’ll descend into the mine, which has been on this site since antiquity, down a long and rather chilly tunnel. After a few more descents down salt-encrusted staircases, you’ll emerge into the Rudolf mine – and it is insane. Stalactites of salt hang from the ceiling above a vast, vast underground chamber… which contains a Ferris wheel, ping pong tables, ten pin bowling, pool tables, a basketball court, and an underground lake which you can rent pedalos on. And a gift shop, because we might as well throw that in there too. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever visited, and you NEED to see it. If you don’t see anything else on this list, if you ignore my tips completely, just make sure you do this one thing and see Turda Salina. It’s stunning!

If you’re looking for other day trips from Cluj, check out Alba Iulia with its gorgeous citadel (which can also be done on a tour which includes both Alba Iulia and Turda Salt Mine). Alternatively, you can take in both the Turda Salt Mine and the beautiful Apuseni Mountains.

A path winds through the trees of the Hoia Baciu Forest in Cluj-Napoca.

Explore the haunted Hoia Baciu Forest

Imagine, if you will, that I’m turning out the lights and turning on a torch. Because it’s time for a spooky story…

In the countryside, beyond the city limits of Cluj, there lies a forest. Nestled between in a valley between two rivers, overshadowed by the mountains, the forest is dark and brooding, waiting for unsuspecting tourists to fall into its trap. For it is said that the forest is haunted by the restless ghosts of sinners, and that the area is a beacon for supernatural beings. A UFO was photographed right above it in 1968, and it is one of the most notorious areas of paranormal activity in Europe. Even the vegetation is strange, as if manipulated by some otherworldly force. A visit here is a must-do… but will you survive it?!

Okay, enough drama. But it’s all correct: Hoia Baciu Forest really is supposed to be both haunted, and an area touched by paranormal activity. You can even take a tour exploring Hoia Forest at night, with supernatural activity sensors – it makes for a perfect Halloween trip to Transylvania!

If the creepy isn’t your thing, then there’s plenty of things to do in the daytime, from scenic walks to archery and biking. Double it up with a trip to the Ethnographic Museum!

A Japanese Garden in the Botanical Garden in Cluj. A pagoda sits on an island surrounded by water, with a red bridge.

Explore nature, and confuse your friends, at the Botanical Garden

Here’s a fun game to play with your friends. Tell them you’re visiting Cluj, Romania, then send them a photo of yourself in Japan. Then another one of you in a sub-tropical mangrove swamp.

Confused? Not as much as they will be!

The answer is actually pretty simple: you can do all of this mischief-making by visiting the Botanical Garden in Cluj. These gorgeous gardens cover 14 hectares, and like to arrange their displays thematically. So their eastern examples are grouped together in a convincing Japanese Garden, whilst their tropical plants are located in a vast greenhouse, including a large pool full of huge lily pads. They genuinely look like something straight from the Amazon!

The rest of the gardens are equally impressive: there’s a soothing stream and waterfall, a garden filled entirely with cacti, and even a Roman garden which features coffins from Cluj’s former stint as the Roman city of Napoca. It’s just a lovely place to go and take a walk around – I know next to nothing about flowers, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Banffy Palace Art Museum in Cluj, partly hidden by scaffolding

Get artistic at Bánffy Palace Museum of Art

For not very much money (as with everything in Cluj; prices are cheap across the board), you can gain access to Cluj’s renowned Bánffy Palace Museum of Art!

The building used to be the home of the Governor of Cluj, and it’s a grand old pile – take a moment to stand opposite the museum, and drink in the statues of various ancient Greek deities, as well as the Bánffy family emblems. It was turned into an art museum in 1951 (the family who resided there presumably getting the option to leave), and it’s remained so ever since.

You probably won’t be conversant with many of the works held inside unless you’re particularly up on your Romanian and Hungarian artists, but does it really matter when it comes to art? It matters less whether you’ve heard of the artist, and more if you like the art they produce, and you’re bound to find something you’ll fall in love with here. Plus, how often do you get to walk around a Baroque palace? Not every day, that’s for sure!

Check out the museum’s website here, though be advised that there isn’t much in English.

The market in Piata Unirii Square is near many good places where to stay in Cluj

Do some retail therapy and souvenir shopping at the market

Congratulations! You’ve seen Cluj’s highlights! Though you can never do more than scratch the surface of a town in a few days, you’ve navigated this quirky Romanian city and undoubtedly fall in love with it.

So it’s time to do some shopping! Head back to the Piata Unirii Square, and you’ll find a market with a wondrous variety of stalls, many selling traditional dress. These make excellent Cluj souvenirs – my boyfriend bought a traditional Romanian embroidered shirt, and wears it to work! If you’re not sure that you can pull off the style, there’s also stalls selling cute rag dolls wearing traditional dress so that you don’t have to.

Wondering what else to buy in Cluj? There’s plenty of food produce to choose from, from huge loaves of bread to jams and preserves. You can also get yourself some lángos, a fried treat which is a traditional food in Budapest, but which has continued its popularity over the border in Transylvania. You can get them either savory or sweet, but my personal favorite is to have one with cheese on top – heaven!

And that’s it! Retire to a pavement cafe of your choice, and watch the sun go down over the square. Your time in Cluj has been well-spent!

 

Cluj Events

Cluj-Napoca is rapidly becoming increasingly known for the quality of its music festivals! These are bringing both artists and visitors from across the world – indeed, when I was staying in Cluj, all the locals assumed that I was there for the jazz festival (which I wasn’t, but I still enjoyed it regardless!).

Fancy mixing some music with your mici? Here’s the rundown of Cluj’s top festivals!

Jazz in the Park – See my entry on Central Park above for my experience, but Jazz in the Park is an undoubtedly lovely event. It might not get the attention of the other festivals, but it gets acts from around the world, and is a lovely excuse to spend the evening in the park. Grab a hammock and some street food, listen to the jazz, and make some new Romanian friends!

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Electric Castle – featuring everything from rock to indie to hip-hop, this is where the big international names are to be found. Previous headliners include Fatboy Slim, Sigur Ros and Florence + The Machine. Usually takes place in July, at Bánffy Castle near Cluj – the ticket proceeds go towards the restoration of the castle. Rightly regarded as one of the top festivals in Europe.

UNTOLD – veering more towards dance music, this has also won a host of European Music Festival awards. Usually taking place in the huge Cluj Arena in August, its central location means that you can stay in accommodation in Cluj rather than having to camp out. If you’re not attending the festival, don’t worry – practically every house in Cluj can hear the music!

A delicious meat platter from Roata in Cluj, the best place to eat in Cluj-Napoca!

Where to eat in Cluj

Cluj has a wide-ranging variety of places to eat – you certainly won’t lack for options! The city offers everything from traditional Romanian food to burgers and sushi, and it’s all of a very high standard. The good news is that thanks to a generous exchange rate, none of them will break the bank.

Here’s my list of favorites!

Toulouse – This cafe on Piata Unirii Square is perfect for people-watching, sipping a beer or a coffee, and eating massive bowls of pasta. Does very tasty sharing platters. The inside is also nicely decorated, should it be a rainy day.

Fair Play – serving the best papanași in Cluj! Looks distinctly no-frills when you enter, and service isn’t super-speedy, but the food is worth the wait. Everything is cooked fresh, so it takes a little longer – be patient. Worth the slight walk out of town.

Roata – recommended to me by my lovely hotel owner as the best Romanian food in town – and she was absolutely right. It’s incredibly popular with locals, so advance bookings are wise. Servings are absolutely huge – my boyfriend and I had a traditional serving platter full of barbecued meat, and we really struggled to get through it due to volume. We wished we could though, because it was all delicious! Slightly hidden down a side street, but sitting outside on a sunny evening, under a terrace with grape vines growing up it, will be a highlight of your trip!

Ursus Brewery – a brewpub, as you might’ve guessed by the name, but one that sells delicious food! Ursus beer is a local, legendary beer, and you can’t go wrong by accompanying it with one of the pub’s meals. The chicken schnitzel with sweet potato fries might not be traditional, but I can give it a personal recommendation!

Farmer’s Market – self catering? Doing Cluj on a budget? Get fresh produce from the farmer’s market on Strada Arges – there’s also a Carrefour supermarket just around the corner, if you can’t find what you’re looking for!

Where to stay in Cluj

Your hotel budget can go a long way in Romania! You can either go budget and get an absolute steal, or look at the luxury hotels which might be out of your reach somewhere else. Either way, Romanian hospitality is incredibly warm and welcoming, and you’re bound to feel right at home.

Budget hotels in Cluj

Garden City Apartment

Want to stay a little further out of town, and save a bundle of money while you’re at it? The Garden City Apartment is quite ridiculously cheap, and you get a lovely, residential apartment in return. This place will charm your socks off, with a quiet garden for relaxing in, and a fresh feel indoors. It’s a perfect choice for backpackers and long-term travelers thanks to a fully-equipped kitchen with a washing machine (great for refreshing those smelly socks stuffed down the bottom of your pack). The host, Ildiko, is absolutely lovely!

Apartment Vintige

If being away from the city center doesn’t appeal, and you’d rather be right in the thick of things, check out the Apartment Vintige – you couldn’t be any closer to the heart of Cluj! St. Michael’s Church, and all the cafes surrounding it, are a mere five minutes walk – and if even that sounds like too long, how about a free bike to ride there? The apartment itself is beautifully decorated and cozy-feeling, and you’ve got the benefit of a full-size fridge and oven!

Mid-range hotels in Cluj

Villa-Hotel Escala

Simply put, one of the best, and most feel-at-home places I’ve ever stayed in. The owners welcome you like you’re personal friends, and they’ll have a chat with you about your day when you return after exploring (as well as provide you with some really useful information – it’s like having your own personal travel agent / tourist information officer!). Rooms are large, comfortable, and air-conditioned. There’s a quiet garden with a pool for you to relax in, and it’s really peaceful thanks to being located in a residential area. There’s also a cemetery opposite, so you’re ensured quiet neighbors! (though this is Transylvania…)

Sungarden Golf & Spa Resort

Not too worried about being in the city center? Prefer being out in the countryside, being pampered like a celebrity? Then this is the place for you! Not only do you have an outdoor pool, a sauna, a relaxation room and Turkish bath, but you also get a 9-hole golf course and outdoor bars for relaxing in the sunshine. You get a huge bed, all of the luxury trappings, and your own private terrace. So how much is this setting you back per night? Less than €100 for a premium Queen room – at that price, it would be silly not to.

Luxury hotels in Cluj

Luxury Nook

I love this apartment’s name, because it describes it perfectly! Just do yourself a favor, and click the link – see that tasteful decoration? See that huge apartment, right in the city center, that you can have all to yourself? See that gorgeous bathtub and quality fabrics everywhere? Of course, you can’t see the air-conditioning (a must in summer) and the high-speed wifi, but you can imagine it! This is the luxury city apartment you always dreamed of – and thanks to the exchange rate, it’s extremely affordable!

Hotel Platinia

How about some true luxury? If you’re looking for a five star hotel in Cluj, then look no further than the Hotel Platinia! Located a stone’s throw from the Ursus Brewery – literally – the hotel is also close to Central Park and the Cluj Arena, making it a perfect choice! Rooms come fully equipped with free wifi, the finest hardwood floors and comfiest fabrics, a huge bed, and walk-in showers. Not to mention your own dressing room, and a sofa and television for relaxing and cocktail-sipping. But again, like everywhere else in Cluj, it really isn’t that expensive! If you want that five star luxury, and want to stay in the best hotel in Romania, this is your chance!

Young people walk through a street with lightbulbs hanging above it at sunset in Cluj - a good example of Cluj nightlife

Cluj nightlife

You might think that because Cluj isn’t an international hotspot (yet) that there isn’t a nightlife scene. You may even think that Cluj nightlife refers only to the vampires.

Well, you’d be wrong! Cluj is a rapidly-growing university town, and it has a strong student scene. This has led to a number of bars springing up to serve them, and one street in particular has taken up the baton in order to fufill those poor thirsty students.

So if you’re looking for Cluj nightlife, get yourself to Strada Piezisa! This street, located just west of the old town, is perfect for all your nightly needs. Whether you’re on a Cluj stag do, or if you’re just keen to go out in Cluj and experience the local scene, this is the must-visit – it’s a street which is comprised of nothing but bars. Yup!

Whether it’s trendy Coyote, or the well-regarded Booha, you can have an epic night out here!

 

Share this guide to Cluj-Napoca!

I hope this guide to Cluj has been useful – it’s a town close to my heart! If you’re still deciding whether to visit or not, do it – you really won’t regret it!

If this has indeed helped you, how about returning the favour and sharing it using the buttons below? Or you can go one better, and save the below image to Pinterest – that way, you’ll have this list of things to do in Cluj with you when you need it!

Check out this guide to all the best things to do in Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, Romania! Learn where to find the best restaurant in Cluj, where to stay in Cluj, and how to make the most of Cluj nightlife! Get Halloween vacation ideas, and see photography that'll show you the aesthetic and architecture of this lovely city! #cluj #romania #travel #halloween Check out this guide to all the best things to do in Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, Romania! Learn where to find the best restaurant in Cluj, where to stay in Cluj, and how to make the most of Cluj nightlife! Get Halloween vacation ideas, and see photography that'll show you the aesthetic and architecture of this lovely city! #cluj #romania #travel #halloween

 

By the way! This article may contain affiliate links. These incur zero extra cost to you, but give me a few pennies towards the running of this site. Any extra cash which isn’t spent on my site is spent trying to recreate papanasi at home!

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