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12 Fun Things to Do in Cluj Napoca

  • Post last modified:October 25, 2023
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Welcome to the heart and soul of Transylvania. Cluj Napoca is one of the most popular destinations in Romania, and is the perfect place for a weekend getaway.


Whether you want a fun night out, some relaxed sightseeing, or an epic underground salt mine adventure, there is something for everyone in this cute city.


In this guide we're going to share everything you need to know for visiting Cluj Napoca, from how to get there, where to eat, and all of the best things to do in and around the city. Let's jump right in!

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Where is Cluj Napoca?

Cluj Napoca is the third largest city in Romania, and the capital of Cluj County. This area of Romania is the northwestern part of Transylvania, making it a great home base for exploring some of the cool castles, caves, and mountains of Romania's most beautiful region.

where is Cluj Napoca

Cluj Napoca is the capital of Transylvania.


How to Get to Cluj Napoca

Cluj Napoca can be reached in a number of ways. Here are the different options for how to get there.


Flying to Cluj Napoca

Cluj Napoca has both domestic and international flights serving its airport. Cities within Romania that fly to Cluj Napoca include Bucharest and Timisoara. Other European cities that fly direct to Cluj Napoca include Aalborg, Barcelona, Bologna, Budapest, Cologne, Debrecen, Dortmund, Doncaster, Frankfurt, Larnaca, Leicester, London, Lyon, Madrid, Manises (Valencia), Memmingen, Milan, Munich, Nuremberg, Rome, Warsaw, and Zaragoza.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Romania". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for Cluj Napoca!

Search for a flight to Cluj Napoca:

Taking the Train to Cluj Napoca

If you already are in Romania, then another option to get to Cluj Napoca is by train. The main station is right in the center, and connects to a few different domestic destinations. The train is a bit of a longer option, but more comfortable than going by bus. The average train ride from Bucharest to Cluj Napoca is anywhere from 8 1/2 to 12 hours.


Driving to Cluj Napoca

When we did our three month road trip through the Balkans we actually rented our car in Bucharest, and this is how we got to Cluj Napoca. We found that driving around Romania was pretty seamless, with so many awesome things to see along the way from Bucharest to Cluj Napoca. So if you are planning on visiting from Bucharest or other surrounding large cities, it could definitely be worth it to drive. We especially love this as you can explore tons of great spots  along the way.


Rent a car in Bucharest:

Other Options for Visiting Cluj Napoca

If you're not into renting a car, and also can't find a super cheap flight or train ticket to Cluj Napoca, then there are plenty of other options! One of them is to take a bus. This is definitely the most affordable way to travel in Romania, and there are plenty of bus routes that connect to Cluj Napoca from the surrounding major cities.


Another awesome option for visiting Cluj Napoca is to take a Bla Bla Car. This is a popular carpooling app which is used widely throughout Europe. It's amazing because you can search for your route and see which drivers are doing the trip, and at which times throughout the day. Often times Bla Bla Car is even cheaper than traveling by bus, it's more comfortable, and can be a fun opportunity to make friends along the way. Additionally, you're also helping someone pay for the gas used on their trip- so it's a win-win!

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Entry Requirements for Romania

When it comes to traveling to a new place, it's important to make sure you know the requirements of entry. Here's everything you need to know for visiting Romania.


Visa Requirements for Romania

For traveling in Europe, it can get a little tricky with the Schengen Zone, European Union, Etc. Luckily, Romania falls outside the Schengen Zone, so its an awesome place to visit if you've already expired your time in the other European countries. Plenty of countries can enter Romania visa free, for up to 90 day. The majority of these are those from the Americas and Europe. However, there are some countries that need to obtain a visa to enter Romania, if they don't have a Schengen Visa. Most of these are citizens from countries of Africa or Asia. The full list of these countries can be found by on the official website.


Covid Entry Requirements for Romania

Luckily, Covid is now a thing of the past in most European countries, especially in the Balkans. You now no longer need a Covid test or vaccination card to enter Romania. It is important to carry a mask with you though, as they still require them to be worn on public transportation.


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Local Adjustments

While traveling there are things that may be different from the place you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Cluj Napoca, Romania.


Language

The official language in Cluj Napoca is Romanian. Unlike the nearby Balkan countries, this is the only country in Eastern Europe that has a Latin-based language. 


Romanian has a lot of similarities with languages such as Spanish and Italian. This means that if you speak one of these, then you'll probably be able to pick up a bit of Romanian, as well as understand some of signs and menus.


There are plenty of people in Cluj Napoca that do speak English. However, if you are from a country that speaks one of the latin-based languages, then you may want to try to communicate in your own language over English.


Currency

The currency used in Romania is the Romanian Lei. Currently (March 2023) 1 USD or 1 Euro is equal to about 4.86 Romanian Lei. 


In Cluj Napoca you can use your credit card for most restaurants, as well as many hotels. However, we do suggest taking out some cash at an ATM for smaller mom and pop shops, tips, street vendors, and if you're staying at a budget hostel.


Outlets

Romania uses the same plug types as the rest of Europe, which are types C & F. The standard voltage in Romania is 230 V with a standard frequency of 50 Hz.

Water Potability

The tap water in Cluj Napoca is completely safe to drink. Many restaurants will give you bottled water when you order water, but this is typical throughout most of Europe. You can ask for tap water, and we also suggest bringing a refillable water bottle to take with you while exploring the city.

Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in Romania varies depending on the service. We suggest tipping 10% on meals for good service, and a bit more for really great service . This is because servers don't make high salaries, and tipping is very typical in restaurants. For service oriented businesses such as salons, we suggest 10-15%, and for taxis and hotel staff you can leave 5-10 lei to appreciate their service.

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Things to Do in Cluj Napoca, Romania

Now that you know the basics of visiting Cluj Napoca, and Romania in general, let's get to the fun stuff. Here are some of the best things to do in Cluj Napoca.


Explore Piata Unirii Square

If it's your first time in Cluj Napoca, then this is the first place you'll want to go. Translated to "the people's square" this is the main plaza in the city. Full of restaurants and shops, this large open area if the heart of Cluj Napoca, and where the action happens.

Unirii Square, things to do in Cluj Napoca
Unirii Square, things to do in Cluj Napoca

Piața Unirii îs the center of the city, and one of the best things to do in Cluj Napoca.

Stop by the National Opera House

Cluj Napoca doesn't have a very long list of sightseeing, but if you're going to check out one building then this should be it. The National Opera House is just down the road from Piata Unirii, and has stunning architecture to admire.

Opra house, things to do in Cluj Napoca

The Opera House is one of the most beautiful buildings in Cluj Napoca.

Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral

Right across the national opera house is another beautiful building to check out, Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral. If you happen to visit on the weekend, then make sure to check out the small market in front with handmade crafts and local goods.


Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral, things to do in Cluj Napoca
Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral, things to do in Cluj Napoca
market, things to do in Cluj Napoca

This cathedral also has a market on the weekends in front of it.

Check Out St Michaels Church

What would be a visit to Europe without seeing a million churches? Well, we don't feel the need to check out every single one while we're traveling, but we do like to mention the most important ones. St Michaels Church is a gothic style church that is the second largest in all of Transylvania, and definitely one of the top sites in Cluj Napoca.

St Michaels Church, things to do in Cluj Napoca

St Michael's church is one of the top things to see in Cluj Napoca.

Take a Boat Ride at Central Park

Central Park is a large park in the center of Cluj Napoca. It may not be as big or impressive as the one in New York, but it definitely is a great place to enjoy some greenery and relax. Our favorite part of Central Park was the swan shaped boats that you can rent and row up and down the lake in the middle of the park.


Central Park, things to do in Cluj Napoca
Central Park, things to do in Cluj Napoca
Central Park, things to do in Cluj Napoca

You can rent boats to sail around the lake at Central Park.

Take in the Views From Parcul Cetățuia

Right around the corner from Central Park lies another park that is worth the visit. We think this is one of the best things to do in Cluj Napoca because of the hill in the middle offering stunning views of the city below. The climb up is short, scenic, rewarding. and is completely free of charge.


Want to take a walking tour to see the best spots in Cluj Napoca? Here are a few we've found for you:

Visit the Botanical Gardens

Another great green area to visit in the city is the Botanical Gardens of Cluj Napoca. They are part of Alexandru Borda Cluj Napoca University, and has a beautiful arrays of exotic flowers and plants. It's open from 8 am to 8 pm, and costs around 2 euros to enter.


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Bar Hop on Strada Piezisa

Looking for a fun night out? Well the student section of the city is lined with bars to choose from. So get dressed up and hop from one to another and get a feel of Romanian nightlife.


Browse the Local Markets

If you happen to be visiting Cluj Napoca on the weekend, then don't miss out on the Saturday farmers market. You can find everything from local honeys and jams, to handmade souvenirs and clothing. On the rest of the days of the week you can also check out the Central Market, with fresh produce, crafts, and more.

market, things to do in Cluj Napoca
market, things to do in Cluj Napoca

Head to the local markets to buy local products and handmade crafts.

Explore Salina Turda

This was one of our favorite places in all of Romania, and definitely a must for things to do in Cluj Napoca. 

Salina Turda, things to do in Cluj Napoca
Salina Turda, things to do in Cluj Napoca

Salina Turda is an underground salt mine that is about a half hour outside the city. When we first arrived we were impressed by the long halls underground. But little did we know that this place is so much more than that!

Salina Turda, things to do in Cluj Napoca

The salt mine hosts an entire underground amusement park with games, a Ferris wheel, and even boats rides! We suggest getting there early, as you could easily spend hours here. It opens at 9 am and closes at 5, so the activities start ending around 4. Tickets are 50 lei for adults on the weekdays, and 60 lei on the weekends. Senior tickets are 30 lei, as well as children and student tickets.


Salina Turda, things to do in Cluj Napoca
Salina Turda, things to do in Cluj Napoca
Salina Turda, things to do in Cluj Napoca

Salina Turda has a complete underground amusement park inside.

Want to book a tour to Salina Turda? Check out the tours we found below:

Visit Lake Tarnita

If you really want to explore more of the natural beauty around Cluj Napoca, you can visit Lake Tarnita. We saw tons of photos here, and even attempted to go. Unfortunately Google maps really failed us, and we ended up in the middle of nowhere, almost stuck on a dirt road. We suggest getting info from a local about visiting, and having a 4x4 to do so.

Lake Cluj Napoca
Lake Cluj Napoca

There is some beautiful nature just outside the city of Cluj Napoca.

Explore Nearby Cities in Transylvania

Transylvania is full of quaint cities, and Cluj Napoca is just a short 2 hour drive from two of our favorites.


Sibiu

This colorful and charming town is known for its "houses with eyes". From cobblestone squares to pastel painted buildings, we're sure you'll fall in love with this beautiful city. Make sure to climb the Council tower for amazing views, and stop by the various street vendors lined around the different squares.


Sighisoara

This is another quaint town that is just a couple hours away. Located up winding steps, Sighisoara is also full of colorful buildings, churches, and stunning views at its top. Make sure to get lost in the cobblestone streets, and check out its plenty of local vendors.

Sighisoara, things to do în Cluj Napoca

Sighișoara is a great day trip from Cluj Napoca.

Have a Luxury Getaway

If you want a night outside of city life, you're in luck. There are quite a few stunning luxury getaways just outside of Cluj Napoca. Here are some of the different options to choose from.


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Raven's Nest

This is the perfect mountain hideaway, and is just 45 km west of Cluj Napoca. With cute cabins and jacuzzis surrounded by raw nature, this is the ultimate way to getaway.


Retreat Margau Apuseni

This getaway is nearby Raven's Nest, so is surrounded by similar landscapes. Retreat Margau Apuseni is an adults only luxury stay, and features a large outdoor pool, yoga, a spa, and all things wellness.


Skekelyko Mansion

This is the perfect getaway for those looking for an elegant boutique accommodation. Just an hour south of Cluj Napoca, this is also great for making your day trips to Sighisoara and Sibiu, without having to stay inside one of the cities.


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Want to look for places in the center of Cluj Napoca? Check the map below for the different options:

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Moving Around Cluj Napoca

For checking out the best things to do in Cluj Napoca, things are all pretty much within walking distance. However, if you do want to cross from one end of the city to another, there are plenty of buses to take.


Taxis are also available, and for a ride sharing app (like Uber) you can download Bolt. We had a rental car, and found that it wasn't so easy to find parking. So we suggest if you drive that you should keep your car parked and walk if you can.


If you do want to explore the areas around Cluj Napoca, that's when renting a car surely will come in handy.


Rent a car in Cluj Napoca:


Food & Drink in Cluj Napoca

The cuisine in Romania is so rich and delicious. Transylvania was where we had some of our favorite meals, full of tender meat dishes, hearty soups, and quality breakfasts. 


Some of the dishes we recommend trying include Ciorba (a traditional soup), cabbage rolls, mici (minced meat rolls), and local meats like veal or ram. Another must is trying their amazing traditional dessert papanasi, which is similar to a fried dough doused with sour cream and jam.


When it comes to places to eat, we only had two meals in Cluj Napoca- both which are notably delicious. One of the best restaurants in Cluj Napoca recommended by locals is Roata, which had insanely large and delicious meat platters (super authentic food). We also highly suggest going to Eggcetera, where we had one of the best brunches ever (and get the shakshuka and salmon Benedict!). They had incredible food, large shared tables with pitches of water, and the friendliest staff you'll ever find.

restaurant in Cluj Napoca

Roata îs popular for its great local dishes.


Is Cluj Napoca Safe?

We hear a lot of bad things when it came to safety in Eastern Europe, and are so happy to say that most of those things were not true at all, especially in Romania


We really found Cluj Napoca to be a very safe city, and didn't have any issues walking around solo or at night. This city is also a pretty big student town, so it's full of friendly young people and good vibes.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Cluj Napoca, Romania

Now that you know what to do in Cluj Napoca, how to get around, and the best way to get there, let's discuss some final details! Here are a few other things to know about visiting the Cluj Napoca in Romania.


The Best Time to Visit Cluj Napoca

We personally think that the end of spring and beginning of fall is the best time to visit Cluj Napoca for perfect weather. We went in mid May and it was still pretty cold at night. But June is definitely a great month to visit, as well as September, when the heat isn't as intense. If you plan on visiting the beautiful nature outside of Cluj Napoca, these are also great months, as they aren't quite peak season, but all the snow on the mountains will have melted.


Weather & Packing for a Trip to Cluj Napoca, Romania

Cluj Napoca experiences all 4 seasons, so it gets very hot in the summer, and super cold in the winter. Depending on the time of year, will of course depend on how you should pick for you trip. We definitely suggest having layers as even in May it was cold at night.


Here are a few go-to items we pack when visiting cities:

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Cluj Napoca is a small city, and most of the things to do in Cluj Napoca can actually be done in just a day. We suggest spending one day exploring Salina Turda, with an afternoon in the city center, and spending your other days by exploring the other great cities and nature in Transylvania.


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