Travel Guide To Cluj: Top Things To Do In Cluj Napoca
Cluj Napoca is the second-largest city in Romania, right after Bucharest. It’s located in the north of the country, quite close to the border with Hungary. This capital of Transylvania has a lot to offer for everyone. Actually, it’s a great place not only to travel but also to live. No wonder why so many expats chose Cluj as their base. The prices are low, the infrastructure is great, and the people are awesome. There are many things to do in Cluj, so you won’t get bored, no matter if you stay in the city for a few days or a month.
We spent 2 weeks in Cluj Napoca, and we will definitely come back there one day. This guide includes the best restaurants in Cluj, the best attractions in the city, top places to stay, the best day trips from Cluj Napoca, and more. I’ve written a separate post for the things to do in Cluj Napoca with kids. It may be helpful if you are looking for family-friendly places only.
What To Do In Cluj Napoca?
This park is one of the top places to visit in Cluj Napoca. Everyone will find something for themselves there. You may rent a boat to swim around the lake, you may exercise at the outdoor gym. And if you get tired, you may lie down on one of the hammocks. There are plenty of events going on in Parcul Central, one of the most famous is the summer Jazz in The Park.
Even though the Old Town of Cluj Napoca is nice, there is nothing about it that is outstanding (if you compare it to other major European cities like Krakow, or Budapest). It’s worth to go there, wander around, sit in one of the cafes, take a photo of Matthias Corvinus Monument, and go back to your hotel. There are many other awesome things to do in Cluj.
This awesome farm if full of animals that you can hand-feed. It takes about 30 minutes to drive there from Cluj.
It’s a rural area, so it may be hard to get there by public transport. You can take a taxi though. It’s definitely a place worth visiting! The farm is different than a standard zoo, the animals have lots of space there to run.
Whether you are looking for a place to relax or simply want to go for a stroll, head to Botanical Garden in Cluj. It has a pretty impressive collection of plants and flowers.
The Garden has indoor and outdoor exhibitions that’s why it’s great to visit all year long.
If you are into art, then this museum is a must-visit for you. However, if you don’t really see anything special about the paintings (just like me!), at least see the Art Museum from the outside. It’s located in the beautiful Banffy Palace, that’s why it’s definitely worth adding to your Cluj Napoca bucket list.
National Museum of Transylvanian History
To be honest, it’s one of the worst Cluj Napoca attractions. The museum is not interactive so far. In fact, it’s quite outdated. If you are a history lover, then you will enjoy a visit there for sure. However, those who don’t know much about Transylvania may be quite disappointed with a visit to this museum. There are many exhibits with little information in English about them.
National Ethnographic Park
Visiting this park is one of the best things to do in Cluj Romania. It’s a place where you can travel back in time to see how people in Europe have been living in the past. You will see traditional houses. Even though it’s an outdoor museum, you can get inside the homes to see the old beds, furniture, and tools.
Best Restaurants In Cluj Napoca
The traditional food in Romania is really delicious! However, there are many restaurants in Cluj that serve different cuisine including Asian, European, and vegan.
Here are the top restaurants Cluj:
It’s one of the best places to eat in Cluj Napoca if you want to try traditional food from Romania. Not only this restaurant serves delicious meals but it’s also decorated in a Romanian folk style.
The prices are pretty low. You will pay about $10 for a rich lunch with drinks.
The best vegetarian restaurant in Cluj Napoca. They serve Italian and Asian food in a version with no meat. This place is quite expensive but the quality of the meals is high.
In the summer, there is an outdoor playground for kids and a nanny which is great! You can have your lunch peacefully while someone else is taking care of your child.
There is no better place to try traditional Romanian snacks such as covrigi than Gigi bakery (more about Romanian food here).
The warm pastry they serve is not only mouthwatering but it’s also crazy cheap. You will pay just $0.50 for one snack. There is no place to sit there, so it’s a place for a quick bite on the go.
Best Day Trips From Cluj Napoca
It’s a lovely town located just half-hour driving from Cluj Napoca. Turda is famous for the salt mine (more about it here) however be sure to visit the town center as well. It’s really beautiful.
If you decide to visit Cluj Napoca be sure to go on a day trip to Turda, especially if you are with kids. They will have lots of fun in the salt mine playing minigolf, table tennis, or even taking a ride on a Ferris wheel.
The Merry Cemetry
One of the most famous cemeteries in the world, the merry cemetery is located in the north part of Romania, close to the border with Ukraine. It takes about 5 hours to get there from Cluj.
Every grave on this cemetery is different – it tells the story about the person who is resting there.
PRO TIP: If you decide to travel from Cluj to Sapanta by car, stop by in Ocna Sugatag. You will find the thermal pools with salty water there.
Sibiu & Clay Castle
Clay Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Romania. It’s made of only from the natural timbers, such as clay, hay, or wood.
While in the neighborhood be sure to visit Sibiu which is one of the most beautiful cities of Transylvania (with Brasov and Sighisoara).
Located less than 3 hours driving from Cluj, Sighisoara is one of the best places to visit in Romania. The town is unique on a global scale. It is the last inhabited medieval citadel in Europe.
Skip the lines and book a day trip from Cluj to Sighisoara here. If you want to see the famous Dracula castle as well, check out this tour.
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