The 10 best attractions in Cluj Napoca? If you are the explorer that we know you are, and you happen to want to check out the fairyland that is Transylvania, a pit stop in Cluj Napoca is a definite must. Home to some of Europe’s most famous festivals, be it music or film, Cluj Napoca is a vivid place, one that will fill you up with good energy.
We have put together the 10 best attractions in Cluj Napoca. Either if you want to see the tourist attractions in Cluj Napoca, or want to see it as a local, you are in for a treat. Here are the best places in Cluj Napoca.
Explore the 10 best attractions in Cluj Napoca
What you should know, before anything else when you decide to visit Cluj Napoca (often called Cluj) you should know that, like most cities in Europe, Cluj Napoca is a combination of historical landmarks, modern architecture, and future like hotspots.
So, to be honest, deciding to name 10 best attractions in Cluj Napoca was not an easy task, but we managed to narrow it down to the following:
1. Union Square – Saint Michael’s Church and the Statue
Situated in the center of Cluj Napoca, Union Square is one of those meeting points, everyone knows where it is! Why is it one of the best attractions in Cluj Napoca? Well, it’s rather great to grab a pretzel and a coffee, and lay in the sunshine.
Union Square is home to open-air events in Cluj Napoca, such as the well-known TIFF Festival. Saint Michael’s Church is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Cluj Napoca, and it’s situated in Union Square. It now serves as a catholic church hosting multiple gatherings throughout the week.
Saint Michael’s Church is over 600 years old, impressive by size, architecture, and inside details, and one of the top tourist attractions in Transylvania.
Right by Saint Michael’s church, you can see the impressive statue of horseback Matthias Corvinus, a famous Hungarian king of the 15th century. Going to Cluj Napoca’s Union Square makes to cut off your list three of the best attractions in Cluj Napoca.
2. Museum Square
This top attraction in Cluj Napoca is a favorite of ours, for good reasons. But let us starts with the beginning, shall we? The Museum Square, located in the center of the city, is one of the oldest markets in the city. It gets its name after the Transylvania History Museum located within the square.
Although it is not a huge area, it is one of the top attractions in Cluj Napoca because of the density of historical landmarks and buildings. Also, plenty of restaurants and cafes- the perfect place to spend a day. Have we mentioned it’s 100% pedestrian? It is loved equally by locals and tourists as it is a top tourist attraction in Cluj Napoca.
Within the square you will find the Franciscan monastery church building- is one of the oldest buildings of the city. Read more about it here.
Here are a few amazing restaurants that you should check out when in Museum Square:
1. Charlie Pub & Restaurant
- Address: No.3 Museum Square, Cluj Napoca
- Contact: +40 741 055 821
- Email: charliepub.ro
Marty Restaurants Muzeului
- Address: No.2 Museum Square, Cluj Napoca
- Contact: +40 736 368 791
Muura Steak House
- Address: No.2 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Street, Cluj-Napoca
- Contact: +40 733 051 562
3. Avram Iancu Square
Avram Iancu Square is situated in the western part of the old city walls and it was initially a market. It is one of the best attractions in Cluj Napoca because of the rich history of the place, and the special meaning that it has today.
The square is guarded by three bastions and gates. At the end of the 19th century, the walls and gates were demolished, and a small park was arranged in the square.
Today, some of the top tourist attractions in Cluj Napoca are located in the Avram Iancu Square area: National Theater, the Orthodox Cathedral, the office of the Cluj Prefecture, or The Palace of Justice.
4. Botanical Garden
Are you a fan of the wonder that is Mother Nature? Brace yourself for an absolute must on our best attraction of Cluj Napoca list.
The Botanical Garden is located in the south of Cluj Napoca. It covers an area of 14 hectares, and it is home to over 10000 species from all around the world. So yes, you can easily spend an entire day in this top attraction in Cluj Napoca.
Inside the garden, there is a Botanical Museum- over 635 000 species of plants can be examined and admired here. Besides the museum and the garden itself, you will find glasshouses, which ensure a proper environment for exotic plants. Interesting fact: it is believed that smokers cough a lot when they enter the glasshouses.
- Opening hours: 15 May-15 Sept, from 9.00-20.00; glasshouses: 9.00-18.00
- Opening hours: 16 Sept-14 May, from 9.00-17.00; glasshouses: 9.00-16.00
- Contact: +40-264-592-152
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Cetățuia Hill and Park
Cetățuia Hill is definitely one the most popular attraction in Cluj Napoca. And it’s not just because of the view, which is, by the way, an absolute delight for the eyes and soul during sunset. The perfect view over the city center, an out-of-the-box way to admire the city’s architecture.
But this is not the only reason why Cetățuia Hill is one of the best attractions in Cluj Napoca. This is the place where a majestic fortress was built by the Habsburgs. You can still see some of the old gates of the fortress. Even if you are not a history fan, you would still thank yourself for coming here and escaping the noise of the city.
6. The Pharmacy History Museum
Here is a different kind of a museum- not hard to understand that it wasn’t hard to introduce it on our best attractions in Cluj Napoca list.
The Pharmacy Museum or The Pharmacy History Collection is today located in the oldest pharma building in Cluj Napoca, built-in 1573. The collection of over 1,800 pieces is a display of pharma activity in Transylvania between the 16th and 20th centuries. In order to keep the pharmacy rooms as close to the original settings as possible, the furniture inside dates back to the 17th century as well.
Such a delight for both locals and visitors. Convinced that the Museum of Pharmacy is a top tourist attraction in Cluj Napoca yet?
7. Central Park
Home to Untold Festival, to Sunday walks and brunches. Central Park is a sanctuary for locals and a top tourist attraction in Cluj Napoca. It was founded in 1827 and it’s the main green oasis in Cluj-Napoca.
Yet another great thing about Central Park is that it has a lake right in the center. If you feel like exercising, you can rent a boat. Enjoy a virtual walk in the park by clicking here.
8. Turda Salt Mine
Without any doubt, one of the best attractions in Cluj. The Salt Mine is located close to the city of Turda, which is about 30 km from Cluj Napoca.
Turda Salt Mine has a history of over 2000 years, well-preserved galleries, and a futuristic attraction deep underground. It is the largest salt mine museum in the world, and, needless to say, incredible.
We are not the only ones to say that, Business Insider ranked Turda Salt Mine as the most beautiful underground place in the world. There is no place for boredom! Amongst the things you can find there, we would like to mention: an amphitheater, an underground lake that anyone can explore with paddles, a Ferris wheel, bowling alley, table tennis, pool tables, spa treatment rooms with natural aerosols.
So if it’s considered one of the coolest places on Earth, who are we not to consider it a top tourist attraction in Cluj. We have written an entire article about Turda Salt Mine, you can read it here.
9. Hoia Baciu Forest
For the fans of the supernatural, or for those who are just curious, Hoia Baciu Forest occupies a leading position in our list of best attractions in Cluj Napoca. Called The Creepiest Forest in Europe by indepent.co.uk,
Hoia Baciu Forest became famous after, legend has it, a Shepard went missing with his 200 sheep, never to return.
Later on, in 1968, the forest gained international attention after a military technician stated he saw a UFO above a part of the forest. The zig-zag shaped trees that no scientist was able to explain, the strange noises, feeling of nausea, fatigue, and failure of electronic devices is what makes Hoia Baciu Forest a top tourist attraction in Cluj.
If you decide to check it out, you should know that there are tours around the forest, and you can even camp overnight. Are you in?
10. Ethnographic Park Romulus Vuia
The ethnographic park was the first open-air museum in Romania and it was established in 1929, by the ethnologist Romulus Vuia. There were outlined 4 thematic sectors: one with regional types of farmsteads and with monuments of architecture, one with peasant workshops, a botanic sector, and a zoological sector with animals of local breed.
A perfect place to learn more about Transylvanian culture and customs, which is why we believe it’s one of the best attractions in Cluj Napoca.
You might be interested to learn more about the top things to visit in Cluj county, Transylvania.
Best places to taste traditional Transylvanian food in Cluj Napoca
Of course, you cannot make a list of the best attraction in Cluj Napoca and not include food and places to eat. A warm recommendation is to try Panemar– they are specialized in bread and pastry products.
Almost every local buy their daily bread from a Panemar kiosk. There are dozens of Panemars all around Cluj Napoca, so it would be rather hard not to find one. We heartwarmingly recommend their bread, sandwiches, and croissants. Now let us have a look at a few restaurants:
1. Rod Restaurant
- Specialty: Fish Soup (Storceag de peste)
- Address: No.160 Calea Turzii, Cluj Napoca
- Phone: 0737 732 425
2. Roata Restaurant
- Specialty: mititei and ciorba de burta
- Address: No.6 Alexandru Ciurea Street, Cluj Napoca
- Phone: 0264 592 022
3. Valachia Restaurant
- Specialty: beef belly steak
- Address: No.27 Govora Street, Cluj Napoca
- Phone: 0264 427 588
4. Varzarie Restaurant
- Specialty: varza a la Cluj (Cluj-Style cabbage)
- Address: No.37 Eroilor Blv., Cluj Napoca
- Phone: 0264 595 064
5. Zama Restaurant
- Specialty: Transylvanian potato salad/ Transylvanian omelette + elderflower beverage
- Address: No.16 Napoca street, Cluj Napoca
- Phone: 0755 080 777
All of the above-mentioned restaurants have takeaway options. Nonetheless, we highly recommend going there. All of them have traditional Transylvanian decor, for a genuine experience.
Best time to visit Cluj Napoca, Transylvania
Now, we know you want to make the most out of your trip. And let’s face it, in order to really enjoy the best attractions in Cluj Napoca, the weather has to be on your side.
Romania’s climate is temperate-continental, with four seasons- you can read an entire article about the weather in Romania here. Here is something to keep in mind when visiting Cluj Napoca, and Cluj county in general. The location is central-northern, near Apuseni mountains in the west. This means that temperatures would be a little bit lower than in the southern part of the country, for example.
So, to make the most out of the top tourist attractions in Cluj Napoca, we recommend visiting:
- March to May- spring season, if you want to take hikes, walks in the forest (Hoia Baciu Forest or Turda Gorges, for instance)
- June to August- summer season, if you are into music festivals (such as Untold or Electric Castle), film festivals (such as TIFF), or open-air shows and museums.
- September to November- autumn season, if you want to focus your visit on museums, castles, and art galleries
- December to February- winter season, if you are a fan of winter sports.
Free walking tour in Cluj Napoca
To be honest, there is no better way to learn about a place than by discovering it with a local. And if you feel more comfortable not having to look up places to see in Cluj Napoca, we have some good news.
Cluj Guided Tours offers free walking tours for anyone who is interested. The team is all local, passionate, and super nice- something typical for Transylvanian people. They also have other types of tours:
- Day tours
- Thematic tours
- City tours
All you have to do is to fill in this form, enjoy your free walking tour and some of the best attraction in Cluj Napoca.
Specialty coffee shops in Cluj Napoca
Specialty coffee is a rather young concept in Romania, but gaining speed fast.
Cluj Napoca was the first city in Transylvania, and 3rd in Romania to have a specialty coffee roastery. Today the number increased by a dozen, and specialty coffee shops are in high demand. Coffee is the fuel humans run on, so we had to include it on our list of best attractions in Cluj Napoca.
1. Meron Coffee
- Address: multiple locations across Cluj Napoca and Romania. This is one: No.19 Ștefan cel Mare Square, Cluj Napoca
- Contact: https://www.meron.coffee
- Origins: Brazil, Ethiopia, Panama.
2. YUME Coffee
- Address: No.21 Victor Babeș Street, Cluj Napoca
- Contact: https://yume.coffee
- Origins: Brazil, Guatemala, Rwanda, Ecuador, Columbia, El Salvador.
3. Tucano Coffee Puerto Rico
- Address: No.19 Eroilor Blv., Cluj Napoca
- Contact: https://www.tucanocoffee.com/en/
- Origins: Ethiopia, Kenya, Honduras
4. The Green Specialty Coffee
- Address: No.2 Matei Corvin Street, Cluj Napoca
- Contact: https://www.facebook.com/thegreenspecialtycoffee/
- Origins: Kenya, India, Ecuador.
Shopping in Cluj Napoca
Either we like to admit it or not, the truth is we all love shopping. It just is something about buying things when traveling, isn’t it? And not just souvenirs… everything and anything. If you agree with us, these are best attractions in Cluj Napoca when talking about shopping:
1. Iulius Mall Cluj Napoca
- Shopping: over 60, amongst which ZARA, The Body Shop, Sephora, Massimo Dutti, Guess
- Dining: over 30, amongst which Dashi Japanese, Cartofiserie, Salad Box, Chopsticks
- Entertainment: Carturesti Bookstore, Cinema City, Air Hokey, F1 Simulator
- Address: No.53B Alexandru Vaida Voievod street, Cluj Napoca
- Website: http://iuliusmall.com/cluj/?lang=en
2. Vivo Mall Cluj Napoca
- Shopping: 110, amongst which Aldo, Tom Tailor, Oysho, Pandora, H&M, LEGO, Lacoste
- Dining: over 40, amongst which Wasabi Running Bar, Pep&Pepper, Marty, Ciao Ragazzi, KFC
- Entertainment: Dino Land, Thron Games, Zoo Karting, Cinema City
- Address: No.500 Avram Iancu Street, Floresti, Cluj
- Website: https://vivo-shopping.com/en/cluj-napoca
That’s a wrap for best attractions in Cluj Napoca. In hope that you found this article useful, we really do want you to fully enjoy your trip to Cluj Napoca.
If you are interested in top things to do and see in Transylvania read more about it in this article.
Feel free to let us know if there is any additional information you might need. Contact us and we will answer as soon as we can.