Cluj-Napoca is a city located in northwest Romania in the historical region of Transylvania. It has a long history dating back to Roman times when it was founded as the city of Napoca. Cluj-Napoca has been part of the Kingdom of Hungary, the Austrian Empire and modern Romania. It is the second most populous city in Romania after Bucharest, with a population of 324,576 as of 2023.
Cluj-Napoca is an important economic, academic and cultural hub. The city has a thriving university scene with over ten institutions of higher education. Major IT and technology companies have offices in Cluj-Napoca, earning it the nickname “Silicon Valley of Transylvania”.
Cluj-Napoca attractions feature the Gothic St. Michael's Church, the medieval Tailors' Tower, the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania and the expansive Central Park. The city has a lively cafes, restaurants and a nightlife scene concentrated in the historic city center. Cluj-Napoca is known for its music and arts festivals like Untold and Electric Castle. Cluj-Napoca lies within the Eastern European Time zone, which is 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+2) and switches to Eastern European Summer Time (UTC+3) during summer.
Listed below are the things to do in Cluj-Napoca.
- “Saint Michael” Church (Biserica Sfântul Mihail). “Saint Michael” Church (Biserica Sfântul Mihail) is a Romanian Orthodox church located in Unirii Square, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The 80m high tower is the tallest church tower in Romania. The church has undergone renovations over the centuries, with the second phase of construction occurring from 1410-1487. The statue of King Matthias Corvinus stands in front of the church.
- Unirii Square (Piața Unirii). Unirii Square is the largest and most important square in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. It is located in the city center and has dimensions of 220m by 160m. The square is surrounded by beautiful 18th and 19th-century buildings in various architectural styles like Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical. Points of interest include the Roman Catholic Cathedral, Baroque Palace, Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Hotel Continental and a statue of King Matthias Corvinus.
- Tailors' Tower (Turnul Croitorilor). The Tailors' Tower is a medieval tower located in Unirii Square, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The tower gets its name from the tailors' guild, which owned the building in the Middle Ages. The tower has seven floors and is approximately 35 meters high. It has Gothic windows and loopholes. The tower has served as a fire lookout, housed a pharmacy and been used as student housing.
- Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania (Muzeul Etnografic al Transilvaniei). The Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania is located in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The museum is housed in an 18th-century Baroque palace. Exhibits showcase folk art, costumes, ceramics, icons, furniture, tools and other traditional objects. There are both permanent and temporary themed exhibitions. The museum has a library and photo archive, hosts cultural events and a souvenir shop.
- Central Park Simion Bărnuțiu (Parcul Central Simion Bărnuțiu). Central Park Simion Bărnuți in downtown Cluj-Napoca covers 13 hectares along the Someșul Mic River, offering visitors walks, sports, events, pedal boats and relaxation in one of the city's main public green spaces since the 1830s. It provides an urban oasis for tourists and locals.
- Alexandru Borza Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică Alexandru Borza). The Alexandru Borza Botanical Garden in Cluj-Napoca was established in 1872 and contains over 10,000 global plant species across 14 hectares, making it one of southeast Europe's richest gardens. Key highlights include the Japanese Garden, palm house, systematic plant family beds and a 39,000-item botanical museum.
- Central Park Simion Bărnuțiu (Parcul Central Simion Bărnuțiu). Cetățuia Park sits on the site of an 18th-century Habsburg fortress that gives the park its name. Key highlights include remains of the fortress walls and buildings, the Heroes of the Nation Monument, outdoor fitness equipment, children's playground, walking paths and panoramic views over Cluj-Napoca from the top of Cetățuia Hill.
- Assumption Cathedral (Catedrala Adormirea Maicii Domnului). The ornate Assumption Cathedral, located in Avram Iancu Square, is Cluj-Napoca’s most famous Romanian Orthodox church. Its distinctive Romanian Brâncovenesc architectural style combines Renaissance and Byzantine elements to create one of the city's landmarks open to visitors.
- Avram Iancu Square (Piața Avram Iancu). Avram Iancu Square features prominent landmarks like the Assumption Cathedral, Palace of Justice, National Theater and statues commemorating Romanian revolutionary Avram Iancu and medieval king Matthias Corvinus. The central square serves as a popular gathering place.
- John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Cluj-Napoca. The Byzantine-style John the Baptist Orthodox Church, built between 1923 and 1933, stands out for its five domes, decorated interior with iconostasis and wall icons and serene atmosphere. Visitors can light candles, view the architecture and paintings and attend services at the centrally-located church.
1. “Saint Michael” Church (Biserica Sfântul Mihail)
St. Michael's Church (Biserica Sfântul Mihail) is a Romanian Orthodox church located in Unirii Square, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The address is Piața Unirii 2, Cluj-Napoca 400001. It was built between 1316 and 1390 in the Gothic style and is one of the oldest churches in Transylvania. The 80m high tower is the tallest church tower in Romania. The church has undergone renovations over the centuries, with the second phase of construction occurring from 1410-1487. The statue of King Matthias Corvinus stands in front of the church.
Visitors can admire the Gothic architecture and 80m tall tower. The church holds regular Orthodox services that visitors are welcome to attend. The church is easily accessible by foot, bus or car, located centrally in Unirii Square. There is no admission fee to enter the church.
2. Unirii Square (Piața Unirii)
Unirii Square (Piața Unirii) is Cluj-Napoca, Romania's largest and most important square. It is located in the city center. The square has dimensions of 220m by 160m and is surrounded by beautiful 18th and 19th-century buildings in various architectural styles like Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical. Points of interest include the Roman Catholic Cathedral, Baroque Palace, Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, Hotel Continental and a statue of King Matthias Corvinus. The square is a lively area with shops, restaurants and pedestrians.
Visitors can admire the architecture and enjoy the view or dine at one of the restaurants on the square. Unirii Square is accessible by public transportation or car. There is no admission fee to enter the square.
3. Tailors' Tower (Turnul Croitorilor)
The Tailors' Tower (Turnul Croitorilor) is a medieval tower located in Unirii Square, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The address is Piața Unirii 27, Cluj-Napoca 400001. It was built in the 15th century as part of the city's fortifications. The tower gets its name from the tailors' guild, which owned the building in the Middle Ages. The tower has seven floors and is approximately 35 meters high. It has Gothic windows and loopholes. The tower has served as a fire lookout, housed a pharmacy and been used as student housing. It underwent restoration in the 1970s.
Visitors can admire the medieval Gothic architecture of the tower. The Tailors' Tower is located in Unirii Square and can be accessed on foot or by local transportation. There is no admission fee to view the tower exterior.
4. Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania (Muzeul Etnografic al Transilvaniei)
The Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania (Muzeul Etnografic al Transilvaniei) is located at 21 Memorandumului St, Cluj-Napoca 400020, Romania. The museum was established in 1922 and has over 40,000 artifacts related to Romanian peasant culture and life in Transylvania. The museum is housed in an 18th-century Baroque palace. Exhibits showcase folk art, costumes, ceramics, icons, furniture, tools and other traditional objects. There are both permanent and temporary themed exhibitions. The museum has a library and photo archive and hosts cultural events. There is a souvenir shop on site.
Visitors can view the exhibits to learn about Romanian culture in Transylvania. The museum can be reached by public transportation and has paid admission. It is suitable for adults and older children interested in cultural history.
5. Central Park Simion Bărnuțiu (Parcul Central Simion Bărnuțiu)
Central Park Simion Bărnuțiu, known as Parcul Central Simion Bărnuțiu or Parcul Mare, is a large urban park located in downtown Cluj-Napoca, Romania, along the southern banks of the Someșul Mic River. Central Park is one of the main green spaces in Cluj-Napoca's city center. It covers approximately 13 hectares. The park has a history dating back over 185 years, with the land being rented in 1827 to create a recreational area. It opened to the public in the 1830s.
Visitors to the park can go for walks, relax on benches, rent pedal boats, play sports, attend events or enjoy the natural scenery. It provides an oasis from the bustling city. Central Park is open 24 hours a day year-round and admission is free. It's a popular spot for both tourists and locals in Cluj-Napoca. The park sees the most foot traffic during warm weather months when its paths, lake and beer garden are most utilized.
6. Alexandru Borza Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică Alexandru Borza)
The Alexandru Borza Botanical Garden is located in Cluj-Napoca, Romania at 42 Republicii Street. It was established in 1872 by the Transylvanian Society for Natural Sciences as the Botanical Garden of the University of Cluj. The garden is named after the Romanian botanist Alexandru Borza, who was the garden director in the early 20th century. The botanical garden covers over 14 hectares and contains over 10,000 plant species from around the world, making it one of the richest botanical gardens in southeast Europe. It has a systematic department organized by plant family, an ecological department displaying plants by habitat, a medicinal plant section and a Japanese garden in the traditional gyo-no-niwa style. The garden houses a botanical museum with over 39,000 items related to botany.
Some key attractions in the garden include the Japanese Garden with its artificial lake and traditional Japanese elements, the systematic department showcasing diverse plant families and the palm house containing tropical and subtropical species. Visitors can stroll through the various themed gardens, visit the museum or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty. The garden provides an oasis of greenery and tranquility within the city. The botanical garden is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm in summer and 10 am to 5 pm in winter.
7. Cetățuia Park (Parcul Cetățuia)
Cetățuia Park is located in Cluj-Napoca, Romania on Cetățuia Hill at 1 Calea Moților. The park sits on the site of an 18th-century Habsburg fortress, built between 1715 and 1735, that gave the hill and park their name. The fortress was designed by architect Giovanni Morando Visconti in a star shape with surrounding bastions; today, only parts of the original fortress walls, four buildings and two entrance gates remain. The hilltop offers panoramic views over Cluj-Napoca and is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Two years after the death of Empress Elisabeth (Sissi), the hill was turned into a public park.
Key features of the park include the remains of the old fortress walls and buildings, the Heroes of the Nation Monument honoring martyrs of the 1848 revolution, outdoor fitness equipment, a children's playground, walking paths and the Belvedere Hotel's panoramic terrace. The park offers opportunities for walking, admiring the views, letting children play and accessing the hotel's restaurant and bar. It attracts families, tourists and anyone wanting to enjoy the outdoors with a beautiful vista of the Someșul Mic Valley. The park can be reached via a winding walking path with 300 steps leading up the hill. There is no admission fee to enter Cetățuia Park itself, though the hotel's facilities are privately owned. The park is open daily from 7 am to midnight and is easily accessible by car, public transport or on foot from Cluj-Napoca's city center.
8. Assumption Cathedral (Catedrala Adormirea Maicii Domnului)
The Assumption Cathedral is Cluj-Napoca, Romania's most famous Romanian Orthodox church. It was built in a Romanian Brâncovenesc architectural style, combining Renaissance and Byzantine elements and is located in Avram Iancu Square. The Assumption Cathedral is considered a landmark of Cluj-Napoca and is known for its Romanian Brâncovenesc architectural style, which synthesizes Renaissance and Byzantine elements. Its prominent location and architecture make it one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.
Visitors can admire the cathedral's ornate interior and exterior architecture, attend religious services, light candles and view the cathedral's collection of religious art, icons, manuscripts and objects. The cathedral is suitable for visitors of all ages and backgrounds who want to view the architecture and art or attend religious services. Entrance to the Assumption Cathedral is free and open to the public during visiting hours.
9. Avram Iancu Square (Piața Avram Iancu)
Avram Iancu Square is a central plaza located in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. It is named after the 19th-century Transylvanian Romanian lawyer and revolutionary Avram Iancu. The square features prominent landmarks like the Assumption Cathedral, Palace of Justice, Lucian Blaga National Theater and statues of Avram Iancu and Matthias Corvinus. Its central location makes it a popular gathering place.
Visitors can relax in the square, view the surrounding landmarks and architecture, visit the adjacent museums and attractions, attend cultural events or dine at one of the many nearby cafes and restaurants. The square appeals to all types of visitors interested in architecture, culture, history or just experiencing the atmosphere of the city center. It is suitable for both adults and families. There is no admission cost to enter Avram Iancu Square.
10. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Cluj-Napoca
The John the Baptist Orthodox Church is located in the central area of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. It was built between 1923 and 1933 in the Byzantine architectural style. The church has a rectangular shape and five domes. The interior is beautifully decorated with Byzantine-style paintings and icons. Notable features include the ornate iconostasis separating the nave from the sanctuary and the many icons displayed on the walls.
The church regularly holds Orthodox services and is open to visitors outside of service times. Visitors can light candles, pray quietly or admire the beautiful architecture and paintings. Guided tours may be available upon request. Visitors can light candles, pray, attend a service, admire the icons and paintings and take photos. There is no admission fee to enter. The serene atmosphere makes it a nice spot for anyone interested in Orthodox architecture, art and culture.
11. Romanian National Opera (Opera Națională Română)
The Romanian National Opera in Cluj-Napoca was founded on September 18, 1919, simultaneously with the National Theater and the Music Academy. It is housed in an ornate building constructed 1904-1906 in a Baroque-Secessionist style by the Viennese architects Fellner & Helmer.
The opera hall seats 928 and has excellent acoustics. The opera has staged over 200 titles from the international repertoire as well as over 40 Romanian works. It has a reputation as an important training ground for young singers, many of whom have gone on to international careers like Angela Gheorghiu. Visitors can attend performances or arrange guided backstage tours on non-performance days to view the sets and costumes and learn about the opera's history.
12. Matthias Corvinus House (Casa Matei Corvin)
The Matthias Corvinus House is a 15th-century Gothic building with Renaissance elements located in the city center of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, at Matei Corvin Street No. 4. It was built between 1474-1480 as a residence for King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary during his visits to the city. The interior of the Matthias Corvinus House contains various lavishly decorated rooms like the Knights' Hall, Music Room and Summer Dining Room with ornate chandeliers, carved wooden furniture and frescoed walls. Today, the building operates as a history museum displaying artifacts from medieval Transylvania.
Visitors can take guided tours to see the well-preserved interior and learn about King Matthias Corvinus's life. Temporary exhibitions and cultural events are held at the house. The Matthias Corvinus House is accessible by public transportation, located a short walk from central Lucian Blaga Square. It is an ideal activity for adults and older children interested in medieval history, architecture and art. Admission is 10 RON for adults and 5 RON for students.
13. Turda Salt Mine
The Turda Salt Mine is an impressive underground labyrinth of tunnels stretching over 249 km beneath Turda, Romania, around 30 km from Cluj-Napoca. Mining activity at the site dates back to the 12th century. The salt mine opened as a tourist attraction in 1992. Visitors descend over 400 feet on a wooden elevator into the Unirea section of the mine. Attractions include an underground amusement park, mini-golf course, Ferris wheel, rowboat rides on an underground lake and a spa.
There are museums with interactive exhibits on the history of salt mining. Guided tours are available to see the Great Collapse Chamber, Iosif Mine and Rudolf Mine. The constant 50°F temperature and purified air provide natural relief for respiratory illnesses. Over 1 million tourists visit the Turda Salt Mine annually.
14. Steampunk Transylvania
Steampunk Transylvania is a steampunk and fantasy museum located in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. It is a unique museum that combines elements of 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery with science fiction and fantasy. The museum spans two floors and features steampunk art installations, sculptures and gadgets created by artists. Some highlights include a time machine, steampunk weapons like a flamethrower and lightsaber, an alchemy lab, a steampunk x-ray machine and more. Visitors can interact with many of the exhibits.
Visitors can view and interact with the steampunk art installations and gadgets, walk through fantasy environments like an enchanted forest, see a secret library and hidden room, play retro video games, try on steampunk costumes and more. Guests can chat with the museum staff to learn the stories behind the exhibits. Steampunk Transylvania appeals to both kids and adults interested in science fiction, fantasy, art, imagination and interactive museums. Families, tourists, artists and steampunk fans will enjoy a visit.
Muzeon is an open-air sculpture park and museum located in Moscow, Russia along the Moskva River. It covers 60 hectares and features over 700 sculptures dating from the early 20th century to today. The park contains works by renowned Russian artists like Vera Mukhina, Ernst Neizvestny, Dmitry Shorin and many others. Visitors can take a stroll and view a variety of sculpture styles, from Soviet realism to contemporary abstract pieces. Notable sculptures include Mukhina's iconic Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, Neizvestny's The Tree of Life and Shorin's sculptural chess set. In addition to the outdoor collection, Muzeon has indoor gallery spaces that house temporary exhibitions focused on 20th-century Russian art. Special programs like lectures, film screenings and festivals are held at the venue throughout the year.
Visitors can explore the sculpture park on foot, view over 700 works of art spanning styles and eras, relax in the garden areas, attend cultural events hosted at the venue and visit the indoor gallery spaces to see temporary exhibitions. Guided walking tours are available as well. The sculpture park and museum appeal to adults and kids interested in art, Russian culture and history. It is educational for school groups and enjoyable for families, tourists and residents.
Entry to the Muzeon Sculpture Park is free. There may be admission fees for special exhibitions inside the gallery spaces.
16. Pharmacy History Collection
The Pharmacy History Collection is in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, inside the historic Hintz House at 9 Eroilor Street near the Tailors' Bastion. This museum lies within the oldest operating pharmacy in Cluj, tracing its roots back over 500 years. The collection originated from objects gathered by Professor Iulius Orient and contains antique laboratory equipment, medicinal ingredients, original furnishings and documents chronicling the evolution of pharmacy practices. The museum's highlights include 16th-century albarellos, 19th-century measuring tools, the old wooden pharmacy counter and Orient’s library.
Visitors can take a free guided tour to view the historic interiors and learn about traditional healing methods. Some unusual remedies and ingredients on display include “crab eyes”, skulls and powdered mummies. The museum is best suited to pharmacy students and professionals interested in the evolution of pharmacy practices and medicinal history and general visitors interested in medical artifacts, traditional healing methods and Cluj's history. The Pharmacy History Collection offers a glimpse into Cluj’s medical past and early pharmacology.
17. The Ethnographic Park (Parcul Etnografic National “Romulus Vuia”
The Ethnographic Park “Romulus Vuia” is an expansive open-air museum at 432-434 Memorandumului Street in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. It was the first ethnographic park in Romania with the aim of preserving traditional Romanian village architecture and culture from the 18th to 20th centuries. The park contains over 300 structures that provide an immersive look into rural life, including houses, barns, wells, technical installations, mills and workshops. Many of the buildings were transplanted from villages around the Transylvania region and reconstructed onsite. Highlights include the 18th-century Lenchic House, the 19th-century Ruges House and the old wooden church from Silivas village.
Visitors can also view exhibits of folk art, ceramics, costumes, tools and other artifacts. The sprawling park covers 50 acres, with walkways connecting the different areas. Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to learn about the diverse structures and past ways of life. The museum offers additional workshops, fairs and events to showcase Romanian folk crafts and traditions. Ethnographic Park is best for people of different ages and interests, especially families, students and cultural heritage tourists. It provides an engaging and educational way to explore Romania's past lifeways. The Ethnographic Park provides an immersive introduction to Romania's cultural heritage and history with its expansive collection of buildings, artifacts and activities.
What are the best museums to visit in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the best museums to visit in Cluj-Napoca.
- National Museum of Transylvanian History. The National Museum of Transylvanian History is located in the center of Cluj-Napoca. It houses artifacts and treasures that showcase the history and culture of Transylvania, with collections covering archaeology, medieval history, modern history and ethnography. Visitors can see Thracian gold treasures, medieval weapons, folk costumes and more. The museum building itself features a modern glass facade integrated into a historic building.
- Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania. The Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca displays the Romanian people's traditional culture and folk art in Transylvania. It has over 40,000 artifacts related to agriculture, fishing, hunting, traditional costumes, ceramics, icons and religious art. The exhibits are spread throughout two buildings, the Reduta Palace in the city center and the Romulus Vuia Park on the outskirts.
- Pharmacy History Collection. Pharmacy History Collection in Cluj-Napoca's oldest pharmacy building from 1573. The museum showcases the history of pharmacy through tools, laboratory gear and old medicinal products. It provides a glimpse into early pharmaceutical practices and medical treatments.
- Museum of Art Cluj-Napoca. The Museum of Art Cluj-Napoca houses over 12,000 works by Romanian and international artists. It has a broad collection of paintings, sculptures, graphic art, decorative art and photography from the 15th century onwards. The exhibits are displayed in a historic palace in the city center.
- Aviation Museum. The Aviation Museum in Cluj-Napoca displays Romanian aircraft models from the early 20th century onwards. Highlights include replicas of the first planes to fly in Romania, as well as models actually used in World War II. There are exhibits on aviation history, rocket engineering and astronomy.
What are the best things to do in Cluj-Napoca with kids?
Listed below are the best things to do in Cluj-Napoca with kids.
- The Central Park (Parcul Central Simion Bărnuțiu). Central Park is located in the city center of Cluj-Napoca at Strada Cardinal Iuliu Hossu. It is a large public park founded in 1827 that serves as a recreational space for residents and visitors. Kids can enjoy playgrounds, paddle boats to ride around the small island on the lake, outdoor gym equipment to play on, areas to play sports like basketball or just walking around surrounded by nature. Admission is free.
- The Ethnographic Park (Parcul Etnografic National “Romulus Vuia”). The Ethnographic Park is an open-air museum located at Strada Taietura Turcului in Cluj-Napoca, about a 10-minute drive or 40-minute walk from the city center. It features traditional Romanian village houses, workshops like pottery and blacksmith facilities, wooden churches and more that kids can explore to learn about Romanian rural life.
- The Cluj-Napoca Botanical Garden (Grădina Botanică “Alexandru Borza”). The Cluj-Napoca Botanical Garden spans 14 hectares in central Cluj-Napoca at Strada Republicii. It houses around 10,000 species of plants from around the world for kids to discover. Notable attractions include the Japanese Garden, greenhouse with tropical plants, rosarium and Roman Garden with a statue of the goddess Ceres.
- The Tailors' Bastion (Bastionul Croitorilor). The Tailors' Bastion in Cluj-Napoca serves as a cultural center with interactive exhibits for kids to enjoy. Kids can explore and learn about medieval history. General admission is free and special programs or events may have fees.
What are the best activities for a business traveler in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the best activities for a business traveler in Cluj-Napoca.
- Attend a business event at the Cluj Arena. The Cluj Arena is the largest event venue in Cluj-Napoca, hosting conferences, exhibitions and other business events. With a capacity of over 30,000 people, major companies often utilize the arena for product launches, corporate meetings and networking events. It has excellent facilities for large-scale business gatherings.
- Work remotely from Impact Hub. Impact Hub is a popular co-working space located right in the heart of Cluj-Napoca. It offers private offices, meeting rooms, event spaces and hot desks in a modern environment. Business travelers can easily get work done here, with fast WiFi, printing services, free coffee and tea and opportunities to connect with the local startup community.
- Take a factory tour at Emerson or Bosch. Cluj-Napoca has attracted major international companies like Emerson and Bosch to open factories and operations centers locally. Many of these companies offer pre-arranged factory and office tours for visiting business professionals to showcase their operations. It is an interesting look into the city's business landscape.
- Attend a business networking event. Cluj-Napoca has an emerging startup and tech community. Frequent professional networking events, like those organized by ClujHub and Cluj IT Cluster, bring together entrepreneurs, investors and more. Attending these events allows business visitors to connect with potential partners.
- Enjoy the business facilities at a luxury hotel. Top hotels like Grand Hotel Italia Cluj and Hotel Napoleon offer excellent business amenities like meeting rooms, printing services, conference calls, translation services and more. Booking a room at one of these luxury hotels ensures easy access to support business needs.
Where is Cluj-Napoca?
Cluj-Napoca is located in the Someșul Mic River valley in northwest Romania, 323 kilometers (201 miles) from Cluj-Napoca, 350 kilometers (218 miles) from Budapest, Hungary and 321 (200 miles) from Belgrade, Serbia. It sits roughly equidistant from those three major cities in the historical region of Transylvania.
What is the history of Cluj-Napoca?
Cluj-Napoca has a long history, having been part of many empires and kingdoms over time, including the Roman Empire, the Hunnic Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Austrian Empire and modern Romania. The area was settled in antiquity and was home to the Dacian settlement of Napoca. The Romans conquered Dacia in 106 CE and founded the city of Napoca. It was an important Roman outpost for centuries. The area changed hands many times before becoming part of the Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages. Cluj served as the capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania from 1790 to 1848 and from 1861 to 1867. Cluj continues to be an important economic, academic and cultural center in Romania.
What language is spoken in Cluj-Napoca?
The primary languages spoken in Cluj-Napoca are Romanian and Hungarian. Romanian is the official language of Romania and the native language of most residents. Cluj-Napoca sits in a historical Transylvania with a large ethnic Hungarian minority population. Many residents of Cluj-Napoca speak Hungarian as their first language. The city has a small German-speaking population. Romanian, Hungarian and German are the main languages used in the city.
What time zone is Cluj-Napoca in?
Cluj-Napoca and all of Romania are located within the Eastern European Time Zone. Cluj-Napoca falls under Eastern European Time, 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Cluj-Napoca uses EEST (UTC/GMT +3 hours) in the summer months and EET (UTC/GMT +2 hours) in the winter months each year.
How many people live in Cluj-Napoca?
Cluj-Napoca has a population of 324,576 people as of 2023, with 156,238 men and 168,338 women living in the city. There are 53,000 children under the age of 18, making up 16% of the population. The majority of residents are of working age, between 18-65 years old, numbering around 217,000 people or 67% of the total. There are 54,000 elderly over the age of 65, comprising 17% of Cluj-Napoca's inhabitants.
What are the most interesting facts about Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the most interesting facts about Cluj-Napoca.
- Currency. The currency used in Cluj-Napoca and all of Romania is the Romanian Leu (plural form is Lei). Romania is not part of the Eurozone, so Euros are generally not accepted except at some tourist-oriented businesses. Local currency is needed for most transactions.
- Time Zone. Cluj-Napoca is located in the Eastern European Time Zone, which is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2) and 7 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Daylight Savings Time is observed from the end of March to the end of October, temporarily putting Cluj-Napoca 1 hour ahead (GMT+3) during summer.
- Language. The official language is Romanian, which belongs to the Romance language family (as a descendant of Latin) and is the native language of over 90% of Cluj-Napoca's residents. English and German have a strong prevalence as second languages in Cluj-Napoca, especially in central areas. Some basic Romanian phrases are still helpful to know.
- Power Plugs. Power sockets in Cluj-Napoca and all of Romania are Type F, which have two round pins, similar to most European countries. The standard voltage is 230 V. Travelers from America will need power converters and adapters for U.S. plug types. Many modern devices have built-in voltage converters, but power adapters are still needed to fit Romanian outlets. Checking devices' input voltage/frequency compatibility is recommended.
How many days are needed to see Cluj-Napoca?
It is recommended to stay for three days, which is enough time to see the highlights of Cluj-Napoca. Spending three days allows visitors to explore the top sights like Central Park, St. Michael's Church, the museums, Old Town, etc., as well as have time for day trips to nearby places like Turda Salt Mine. Three days provide enough time to get a good sense of what Cluj-Napoca has to offer without feeling rushed.
Is Cluj-Napoca worth visiting?
Yes, Cluj-Napoca is worth visiting. Cluj-Napoca offers medieval Old Town architecture, lively cafes and restaurants, museums and a thriving cultural scene with concerts, theaters and festivals. The Gothic St. Michael's Church and stately Banffy Palace are two of the architectural highlights of Cluj-Napoca. Cluj has a youthful, energetic vibe. The city is surrounded by hills and forests, providing a nice base for outdoor activities.
Is Cluj-Napoca expensive to visit?
No, a trip to Cluj-Napoca can be very affordable compared to most other European destinations. Budget hotels, hostels and apartments provide cheaper accommodation than other Romanian or Western European cities. Public transportation, taxis, food and entertainment are reasonably priced. Museums, churches, parks and wandering the old town can keep costs low while sightseeing. Budget-conscious travelers have no trouble finding bargains in dining, lodging, attractions and shopping around Cluj-Napoca.
Is Cluj-Napoca safe to visit?
Yes, Cluj-Napoca is very safe to visit. It is one of Romania’s most popular tourist destinations. The city has low crime rates and is considered safe for travelers. Violent crime is rare in Cluj-Napoca. Tourist areas like the historic Lipscani district and Old Town are heavily frequented and considered safe. Cluj-Napoca's city center and attractions are well-lit and have a visible police presence. Basic precautions like being aware of your surroundings, not leaving belongings unattended and avoiding poorly lit areas at night will ensure your visit to Cluj-Napoca is trouble-free. Cluj-Napoca is safer than most European cities of its size and tourists will feel comfortable visiting.
Is Cluj-Napoca easy to visit with kids?
Yes, Cluj-Napoca is easy to visit with kids. Cluj-Napoca is a family-friendly city to visit with children. Many hotels allow kids to stay for free or at discounted rates. Attractions like the Botanical Garden, open-air Village Museum and Zoo are big hits with little ones. Bakeries and cafes typically welcome children. The pedestrian streets in the old town allow for casual strolling without traffic worries. Cluj-Napoca is generally a safe, low-crime environment, which means parents can relax while enjoying the views.
What is Cluj-Napoca famous for?
Cluj-Napoca is famous for its lively festival scene, thriving nightlife dominated by bars and clubs and gothic architecture exemplified by St. Michael's Church in the historic center. Secondly, Cluj-Napoca is an important educational hub, home to over ten universities and a large student population. Many major IT and technology companies have offices in the city, earning it the nickname “Silicon Valley of Transylvania”. Lastly, Cluj is famous as it has hosted concerts by international stars like Metallica and Elton John.
What are the most important people born in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the most important people born in Cluj-Napoca.
- Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490). King of Hungary and Croatia, who expanded the kingdom through military campaigns. He was born to John Hunyadi on Saturday, February 23, 1443, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He promoted Renaissance culture and humanism and created one of Europe's largest libraries, the Bibliotheca Corviniana. He died on Wednesday, April 6, 1490.
- George Emil Palade (1912-2008). George Emil Palade is a cell biologist who won the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries on ribosomes and organelles in cells. His work formed the basis of modern molecular cell biology. He was born in Cluj-Napoca on Friday, November 19, 1912 and died on Tuesday, October 7, 2008.
- Ion Luca Caragiale (1852-1912). Ion Luca Caragiale was an Influential playwright and author considered the father of Romanian national theater. His satirical plays criticized social issues in Romania and remain classics of Romanian literature. He was born on Monday, January 30, 1852, in Haimanale, near Cluj-Napoca and died on Sunday, June 9, 1912.
- Emil Racovita (1868-1947). Emil Racovita is a biologist and polar explorer who led expeditions to Antarctica. He made important contributions to biology and zoology through studies of Antarctic fauna and cave organisms. He was born in Cluj-Napoca on Friday, November 15, 1868 and died on Tuesday, November 17, 1947.
What to eat in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are what you can eat in Cluj-Napoca.
- Varza a la Cluj (Cluj Cabbage). Varza a la Cluj is a cabbage dish with minced meat, sour cream and herbs. It is a specialty food of the Cluj-Napoca region, popular across Romania. It dates back to the 17th century and is considered one of the most iconic dishes to try when visiting the city. This cabbage is one of the best food to eat in Romania.
- Mici. Mici is called “mititei” in Romanian. Mici are grilled skinless sausages normally made from a zesty blend of ground pork, beef and lamb before being served alongside spicy mustard, crusty bread or crispy fries. Mici is a popular food and is served at most markets in Cluj-Napoca.
- Plăcintă. Plăcintă is a crispy, flaky Romanian pastry that encases fillings like tangy cheese, savory minced meat, fresh fruit or sweetened cocoa paste before being baked or fried to golden perfection. Plăcintă is a delicacy for visitors to try in Cluj-Napoca.
- Ciorba. Ciorba refers to sour Romanian soups like silky tripe stew, hearty bean and smoked meat soup, always paired with vinegar or lemon wedges, cooling sour cream and crusty bread on the side. Ciorba is a popular soup served at restaurants in Cluj-Napoca.
- Papanasi. Papanasi are sweet, fried Romanian doughnuts stuffed with fresh white cheese, fruit jam and lightly sweetened sour cream. Papanasi is a popular finger food in Cluj-Napoca markets.
What are the best places to eat in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the best places to eat in Cluj-Napoca. restaurants to eat in Cluj-Napoca.
- Casa Dacilor. Casa Dacilor serves very large portions of hearty traditional Romanian dishes meant for sharing, like grilled meats with polenta. The restaurant is known for extremely generous dishes and authentic cuisine. The decor encapsulates the traditional Romanian style with rustic wooden furniture and local cultural motifs. Many describe the food as very good and one of the best restaurants to eat in Cluj-Napoca.
- Zama. Zama offers modern interpretations of classic Romanian fare, like soups, stuffed cabbage rolls and grilled meats. Zama provides a contemporary dining atmosphere in the heart of the city. Their stylish interior design and friendly service give a relaxed yet lively ambiance while you enjoy creative updates to traditional dishes.
- Roata. Roata specializes specifically in Transylvanian and greater Romanian cuisine. This restaurant is beloved for staples like cabbage dishes, bean soups, grilled meats and fried sweet cheese pastries. The cozy, rustic interior and fair prices provide a comfortable, unpretentious place to sample authentic local flavors.
- Tokyo. Tokyo is considered the top sushi restaurant in Cluj-Napoca. It serves exceptionally authentic Edomae-style sushi and Japanese cuisine with white-glove service in an elegant dining room. The refined cuisine and polished hospitality make it a destination for fine Japanese dining in the city.
- Samsara Foodhouse. Samsara Foodhouese offers a diverse and creative vegetarian and vegan menu with globally inspired dishes like soups, curries, pasta and more. The relaxing, chic ambiance and lovely patio create a sophisticated yet welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy their meatless cuisine.
What are the best areas to stay in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the best places to stay in Cluj-Napoca.
- City Center. The city center neighborhood is located right in the center of Cluj-Napoca. It is perfect for tourists who want to be close to the main attractions like St. Michael's Church, Union Square and museums. The area has a lively atmosphere with shops, restaurants and nightlife. This neighborhood is safe for solo travelers.
- Grigorescu. Grigorescu is a quiet, upscale residential neighborhood west of the city center. It is perceived as one of the safest and greenest areas in Cluj-Napoca, with lots of trees and parks. The area has great access to public transportation for exploring other parts of the city. It offers a mix of hotels, hostels and Airbnbs, perfect for any budget.
- Zorilor. Zorilor is located northwest of the city center and is home to many universities. The area is very lively and perfect for solo travelers. It is close to major attractions like St. Michael's Cathedral, National Theater and museums. Zorilor has affordable accommodation options for students and tourists.
- Manastur. Manastur is a residential area west of the city center, close to the Somesul Mic River. It is perceived as calm, green and ideal for families. The area is very safe for solo travelers. Manastur offers a range of hotels and apartment rentals suitable for any budget.
- Marasti. Marasti is a central neighborhood just south of the city center. It is a well-developed area with modern office buildings, shops, restaurants and cafes. There are nice hotels and apartment rentals in Marasti at affordable prices. The area is considered very safe for solo travelers.
What are the best accommodations to stay in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the best accommodations to stay in Cluj-Napoca.
- Grand Hotel Napoca. The Grand Hotel Napoca is considered one of the top luxury hotels in Cluj-Napoca due to its central location, elegant decor and high-end amenities. Its proximity to attractions like St. Michael's Church and museums in the historic city center makes it one of the best hotels to stay in Cluj-Napoca.
- Hotel Victoria. Hotel Victoria is considered a top accommodation option for its modern amenities and proximity to attractions like Central Park and the Botanical Garden. Its 4-star service, air-conditioned rooms and central location help make it a go-to hotel in Cluj-Napoca.
- Hotel Agape. Hotel Agape is considered one of the best values in Cluj-Napoca for its cozy rooms and quiet location. The hotel's free parking, simple decor and proximity to the Somesul Mic River make it a top choice for tourists.
- Zen Hostel. Zen Hostel is regarded as one of the top hostels in Cluj-Napoca for its perfect location in the lively Zorilor neighborhood. Its affordability, social atmosphere and convenience for exploring the city help make it an ideal hostel option.
- Lol & Nori Boutique Hotel. Lol & Nori Boutique Hotel is considered a top boutique accommodation for its central location and stylish, modern rooms. Its contemporary decor, on-site restaurant and soundproofed rooms help make it a stand-out boutique choice.
How to get from Cluj-Napoca to Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport?
There are a few ways to get to Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport from Cluj-Napoca. These are by bus, car, taxi/rideshare, train and plane. Firstly, Direct bus services are available with multiple companies operating daily routes between the cities; the trip takes 8-9 hours to cover 360 kilometers (223 miles) with frequent departures. Secondly, driving 360 kilometers (223 miles) allows flexibility but can be tiring over 4-5 hours; costs include fuel, small tolls and airport parking fees. Thirdly, services like Uber offer door-to-door rides covering the distance in about 5 hours for a high cost of €91 ($100, £79) and above. Fourthly, direct trains from Cluj-Napoca to Bucharest's main station take 5-6 hours to cover the distance. Lastly, plane flights from Cluj-Napoca Airport to Bucharest take 1 hour to reach Bucharest International Airport.
How to get from Cluj-Napoca to Bucharest?
There are a few ways to get from Cluj-Napoca to Bucharest. These are by bus, train, car and plane. Firstly, buses provide affordable transport between the cities in 8-9 hours and have frequent daily departures. Secondly, the train takes 5-6 hours to cover the 360 kilometers (223 miles) distance between Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest's main station and has 1-2 limited daily departures. Thirdly, driving the distance allows flexibility but takes 4-5 hours; costs include fuel and tolls. Lastly, direct flights are available between the Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest airports, taking 1 hour with multiple daily options.
Where to go shopping in Cluj-Napoca?
There are several great places to go shopping in Cluj-Napoca. These are Iulius Mall, Platinia Shopping Center, Central Shopping Center and VIVO! Cluj-Napoca. Firstly, Iulius Mall opened in 2007, with over 200 shops, a food court, a hypermarket, a cinema complex and a skating rink. The mall features brands like Zara, Massimo Dutti, H&M and more. Secondly, Platinia Shopping Center, which features a modern glass facade, opened in 2017. The mall has shops, supermarkets, restaurants, casinos, international and local brands. Thirdly, the Central Shopping Center is one of the oldest shopping centers in the city. The mall has a variety of stores like clothing, shoes, toys, cosmetics and more. It has restaurants and game centers. Lastly, VIVO! Cluj-Napoca is a large shopping complex with over 160 shops alongside hypermarkets, cinemas, a food court and brands like Zara, C&A and Decathlon.
What festivals or events are taking place in Cluj-Napoca?
Listed below are the festivals or events that are taking place in Cluj-Napoca.
- Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF). The Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in Romania, showcasing international and Romanian films over the course of several days in late spring/early summer. Held annually since 2002, it features film screenings, workshops, panel discussions and networking events for industry professionals and film enthusiasts. The festival takes place at venues across Cluj-Napoca, centered around the National Theatre, Cinema Florin Piersic and outdoor screenings in Union Square. The festival attracts 100,000 attendees flocking to the city each year. TIFF brings an energetic and celebratory atmosphere while highlighting cinematic arts and culture. TIFF is one of the anticipated festivals in Cluj-Napoca.
- Untold Festival. The Untold Festival is a major four-day electronic music festival held annually in early August in Cluj-Napoca. The festival features some of the world’s top DJs and electronic music artists performing on multiple stages at the Cluj Arena stadium and venues throughout the city. Untold incorporates elaborate set designs, eye-catching art installations, dance competitions, gaming areas and other activities into the festive atmosphere.
- Electric Castle Festival. The Electric Castle Festival is a multi-genre music festival held annually at Bánffy Castle, located in Cluj-Napoca, in the village of Bonțida. Electric Castle incorporates art installations, technology-integrated designs and a variety of outdoor activities into the festival atmosphere. The festival offers a unique setting to enjoy music of all genres while taking in Transylvania's history and natural beauty with the medieval Bánffy Castle as a backdrop.
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