14 Things to do in Cluj Napoca and close by

I am super excited when a reader emails me to ask details about a particular destination I’ve written about or been to. So I was so happy to email back and forth about Cluj Napoca these past days. However, answering the questions I got to thinking that I’ve never written a “what to do” kind of article about Cluj Napoca.

Maybe you’ve already read on the blog – or maybe not – but I do have a very strong relation with the city. My father has been born in Cluj Napoca – which technically makes me “half” from the city as well. Not only that, but during high school, I’ve spent most of my summer vacations visiting my cousins in the city and exploring the area.

While exhausting, it’s been a pleasure to rediscover the city during our 12 (twelve!) trips since last September. We are currently taking a break until July.

Enough with the intro, let’s get into the article.

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Things to do in Cluj Napoca

Enjoy the good (healthy) food

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I have several favorites but only wrote about Samsara, for now. Really close to it, there’s also Marty Boulevard (and by the way, they are also in the two malls, hint hint, good bye food court).

I am not a major fun of Romanian cuisine, so I always look up raw / vegan/ vegetarian or Italian places.

The Botanical Garden

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It is a joy to visit every season. We’ve been during spring and fall.

The old city

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You can spend time checking out the old city , whether you plan to photograph what’s left of the citadel walls or just spend time with friends, enjoying a lemonade and a chat.

The Transylvanian Peasants museum

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It is located a bit “weirdly” but nevertheless there is public transport here. You can spend some hours enjoying the silence, taking photos, learning about the people and what they did. With a bit of luck you can also see some wildlife (the infamous Hoia forest is near-by).

The very many events

There’s always something going on. Whether in the Central Park or at other venues, you won’t get bored. Want to come to music festival? There are plenty! Want to come for a book fest? You go it, they have it! And many other.

>>also read about the FREE things you can do in Cluj-Napoca

Things to do near-by

A day trip to Iara Valley

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It is likely what you need after spending some time in the city. Just rent a car / bike and go. Located about 50km from the city, it is an area where you can hike, relax , have a picnic, spend time in nature.

The fortress of Bologa/ Bologa Citadel

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It is located on the road to Oradea. You can rent a car or just take a train. It is an easy hike up from the road. You can pack a picnic basket but be reminded to bring enough water and make sure you are protected from the sun’s rays as it stands directly in the sun! And the entire walk to it is without any shade.

Hike to the three lakes near Gilau

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We started this hike in Gilau and only did part of it. You can hike all the way to Tarnita and you can start in Cluj. Just take a bus to Gilau , then near the station, go to Republicii Street and follow it to Gilau Lake.

Turda

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And its very famous Salt Mine. Located 50km from the city, you can get there by train, bus or if you rent a car.

We finally made it to the Salt Mine in July 2016. Loved it and it is indeed a very interesting experience. Also in Turda , you can find the historical museum, the Roman site of Potaissa and the Zoo.

Suncuius

My cousin’s favorite place in the area, it is located in Bihor county and with quick access by train, bus or rental car from Cluj, Famous for its natural beauty, you can hike, kayak , visit caves , camp and enjoy nature at its wildest.

Day trip to Vadu Crisului Cave

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Located via a trekking trail which starts in Vadu Crisului, the cave is worth checking out. The whole day trip took us 12 hours ,out of which 5 were spent on the train to/from Vadu Crisului. You can speed up this part by driving.

Drive to Belis – Fantanele

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We set out to drive to Belis but gave up in the superb Marisel village. The road was dotted with potholes and our patience ran out. The drive is scenic and offers a lot of photo opportunities.

Ciucea

It is located 72km from Cluj and is home to Octavian Goga’s memorial house. Can be reached by train, bur or rental car. Pay attention to the signs as we managed to miss where to stop. And yeah, the visiting hours are rather dubious so do your research.

Cojocna Baths

It is another place where you can relax and it’s close by (about 25km). You don’t even need to know how to swim as the salt water in the lake will keep you afloat.

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