What to Visit in Cluj-Napoca: Here Are the Most Beautiful Tourist Attractions

What to Visit in Cluj-Napoca: Here Are the Most Beautiful Tourist Attractions

No matter when you decide to visit Cluj-Napoca, you’ll always find something special to see: tourist attractions, festivals, concerts, exhibitions, monuments, museums, history, old and new architecture, nightlife, and the vibrant student life. After touring the city (doable in a weekend), you can explore the surrounding areas.

A short trip to the mountains, about an hour’s drive away, or staying near the city to visit local attractions, both natural and architectural, are great options.

With one of the most dynamic economies in the country and a population of approximately 330,000, Cluj-Napoca is one of the most visited cities in Romania today.

Its six public universities (and five private ones) make Cluj-Napoca a true university city, with the highest percentage of student population in the country. Quite impressive, indeed.

So, here are the tourist attractions in Cluj that you mustn’t miss if you decide to visit this beautiful city.

Enjoy a Pleasant Afternoon in Union Square in Cluj-Napoca

Union Square in Cluj-Napoca
Union Square in Cluj-Napoca
What to Visit in Cluj-Napoca: Union Square

What should you visit in Cluj-Napoca first? You can start with Union Square, which is the main and most beautiful square in Cluj.

It’s where the most interesting things happen in the city.

In fact, Union Square is included in guided tours, which will allow you to learn more about Cluj’s history.

With its buildings in Baroque and Gothic styles, Renaissance or Neoclassical, the square provides direct access to St. Michael’s Church and Banffy Palace.

Nearby, there’s an equestrian statue from 1902 depicting Matthias Corvinus, the ruler of the 15th century.

In the southeast corner of the square, you’ll find the Continental Hotel, built in 1895 in an eclectic style that combines the Renaissance, classicism, and Baroque. During World War II, the hotel served as the military headquarters for Transylvania.

If you cross the square, you can visit Casa Hintz, the first pharmacy in Cluj (1573-1949), which has been transformed into the Pharmacy Museum.

The National Ethnographic Park for a Journey Back in Time

The National Ethnographic Park for a Journey Back in Time
The National Ethnographic Park: Cluj-Napoca

Tourist Attractions in Cluj-Napoca: Romulus Vuia National Ethnographic Park

Also in the heart of Cluj, a bit further to the north, is the Romulus Vuia National Ethnographic Park. This is a true green oasis, covering an area of 75 hectares, and it’s home to Romania’s first open-air museum, established in 1929, the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania.

Even though World War II significantly affected this place, it has been mostly restored, housing areas with cottages, a wooden church, stalls with artisanal products, markets, and much more.

Today, this park is a real time machine that helps you discover a different part of Cluj’s history.

A Return to the Medieval Era at Banffy Palace

A Return to the Medieval Era at Banffy Palace
A Return to the Medieval Era at Banffy Palace


Places to Visit in Cluj: Banffy Palace

In the past, this palace was known as the „Little Versailles” before World War II, thanks to its magnificent gardens and superb architecture.

The owner of Banffy Palace was a well-known general in Hungary’s army during the war. He sacrificed his family’s 500-year-old castle to save the city of Cluj.

After losing the city of Turda, Banffy decided not to move the front line to Cluj and instead went to Oradea to save the city. The German troops, the supposed allies, burned down his castle as a punishment.

Today, Banffy Palace is being entirely reconstructed by volunteers from the Faculty of Architecture in Europe. Thanks to them, you can still see much of the palace’s former grandeur.

Various medieval events are organized in this palace throughout the year, such as reenactments from that era and sword fights.

Lucian Blaga Central University Library

Established in 1872, this impressive building provides access to no fewer than 3 million works.

The building is undoubtedly one of the most impressive in Cluj and is well worth visiting from the inside.

Cetatuia Park

To enjoy the most beautiful view of Cluj, you’ll have to climb up to Cetatuia Park, where old fortifications from the 18th century once stood, of which only a few remnants remain today.

Early in the morning or at sunset, you can admire the city’s most beautiful monuments and the reflections of the Someș River.

Stop in front of the Panoramic Hotel to take some perfect photos before entering a café to enjoy a refreshing drink.

The Pharmacy Museum

Where the city’s first pharmacy was opened in 1573, you can now find the Pharmacy Museum, which allows you to rediscover a truly fascinating era when medicine relied primarily on less-known, even strange, herbal remedies, miraculous powders, and magical potions.

Here, you can find a collection of over 3,000 old objects and recipes, extremely old medical instruments, and even a laboratory in the basement.

Wander the Streets of Cluj at Random

From Union Square and throughout the city center, you’ll come across fragments of medieval and Roman ruins.

If you have time to take a walk through history, you can search for these relics.

The best-preserved ruins like these can be found on Potaissa Street. You’ll also discover splendid churches like St. Peter and Paul Church.

Discover Local Specialties

Cluj-Napoca is synonymous with genuine local culinary specialties. Influenced by various Hungarian, Armenian, Saxon, or Jewish populations, the cuisine in the southern part of Transylvania has cosmopolitan origins.

From cheese to meat, various cabbage dishes, sweets, and, of course, wine, the local cuisine is absolutely delicious, and it would be a shame not to experience it.

Visit Salina Turda

Today, Salina Turda is a true museum of salt mining history. The excellent condition of the mining compartments and the equipment used for salt transportation, as well as the care taken in adapting the mine for tourism, have turned this place into a legend.

The high number of tourists who visit here (approximately 700,000 per year) from various regions of the country and abroad is a testament to its historical and touristic value.

The modernization of the mine has made Salina Turda one of the most beautiful places in Transylvania. During your exploration, don’t miss the Rudolf Mine and Teresa Mine, all just 35 minutes away from Cluj.

Explore Turda Gorge

Explore Turda Gorge
Explore Turda Gorge

One of the locals’ favorite places for picnics and enjoying fresh air is Turda Gorge.

The area is a natural sanctuary with an amazing landscape: steep cliffs, vertical walls (especially appreciated by climbing enthusiasts), wild vegetation, and caves.

The road leading to Turda Gorge is accessible and well maintained. Admire the beauties rising 80 meters above your head and the small streams here.

The place is located 10 kilometers away from Turda, and there are buses or taxis that offer this route.

Tarnita Lake

Located 20 kilometers away from Cluj, Tarnita Lake is a reservoir formed by a dam.

Situated between the mountains, it was built during the communist period to generate electricity and facilitate water distribution in Cluj.

It’s an ideal place for fishing and for summer water skiing, thanks to the picturesque landscape.

In the autumn, when the leaves start turning shades of copper and gold, reflecting in the water, the scenery is absolutely magnificent.

Tarnita Lake offers you, first and foremost, a moment of relaxation in the middle of nature, in a true green oasis.


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