Hej! I am an American grad student studying and living in Sweden. Being a grad student, I have perfected the act of budget traveling. I have a fierce passion for cute dogs, film festivals, coffee and traveling. Join me as I work towards my personal goal of visiting all 28 EU countries before I graduate in June 2019! Feel free to pop over to my personal blog, Little Mouse. Big World, to read more about my travels while balancing grad school life.
25 years old
Things to do in Cluj-Napoca
Things to See & Do
This great small town with a big city vibe is a wonderful place to enjoy the beauty that is Romania. Cluj-Napoca is relatively flat and compact, so you can easily walk the city and see the highlights in a day or take your time and spread the sightseeing over a weekend. The National Theater Lucian Blaga is one of the more impressive buildings in the city. The multicolored and intensely decorated front will draw you towards it. Sometimes you can find cheap tickets to an opera or concert if you go the day of, the box office is located across the street and don't be afraid to ask! The interior of the opera house is just as impressive as the exterior. The opposite side of the square split by a street lies the Assumption Cathedral, a beautiful Russian Orthodox church. If you think the outside is ornate, then just wait until you see the inside. From the tiled floors to its high ceilings, the entire church is a masterpiece. Since this is still a functioning church, be respectful with your clothing choices. Outside the church, you will notice a large statue of Avram Iancu complete with a fountain. Iancu was a lawyer turned politician during the Austrian Empire Revolutions and is sometimes called “the Hero of the Romanian Nation”. If the weather is nice, there is usually a crafts market set up around the statue. Here you will be able to find hand-painted pottery and products with Romanian lavender to help remember your time in Cluj-Napoca. If you walk away from the Assumption Cathedral towards the city center you will eventually reach Piata Unirii, the main square, with St. Michael’s Church in the center. This grand Catholic church is a great juxtaposition to the Russian Orthodox style. Both churches are gorgeous but are amazing to see such stark differences in a small area. Outside of the church is another large statue this time of King Matthias Corvinus, a Hungarian King. If the weather is nice, take a stroll in Simon Barnutiu Central Park. This park is long and shaded which is perfect during summertime trips. Enjoy a picnic on one of the benches, rent a paddle boat or take a jog to stay healthy while you travel. Cluj-Napoca is home to one of Romania’s largest universities, Babes-Bolyai. The university has buildings spread out all over the city that ranges from old to new with all types of architectural styles. During the school year, walk through some of the buildings and pretend to be a student for a day.
Food to Try
Cluj-Napoca is a haven of good food as well as good coffee. Every corner in the city seems to have a bakery or coffee shop. So, if you are a coffee freak, you will be happy to know that cafes like Meron and Narcoffee Roasters will deliver high-quality coffee at a reasonable price. Koffer is another café to put on your radar. This cozy little place acts as a bookstore in addition to a coffee shop. There are numerous different restaurants that serve up traditional dishes no matter your budget. Polenta a fluffy porridge made from corn is a staple of Romanian food and can be paired with either meat or vegetarian main dishes. Romania also is very big in soups that they enjoy all year round. Don’t worry if you are a vegetarian, you will easily find dishes to enjoy. The Romanian cuisine can be very cheese heavy which can be a surprise and a joy for cheese-lovers everywhere.
If time allows a day trip from Cluj-Napoca may be enjoyable and be a good change of pace. A visit to Turda Salt Mine is something fun and completely different from some of the other mines you’ve toured. This salt mine has been turned into an amusement park and spa. It is thought to be good for your health to breathe in salt so there are tennis courts and swimming pools located far underground in the salt mine. Note that tickets for attractions like the Ferris wheel are separate from the entrance ticket. The salt mine does offer student discounts on most tickets. A student entrance ticket will cost about $4. The area surrounding Cluj-Napoca is rich in natural beauty. Take a day trip to get out and enjoy the Romanian nature at one of the nature reserves around the city. Take in gorgeous places like Bride Veil waterfall, Grotto trail, Aries River Valley and Coltesti Fortress. It’s amazing how different and gorgeous the landscape will be by driving only an hour outside of the city. The easiest national park to reach from Cluj-Napoca is Cheile Turzii or Tudra Gorge. There are about 60 caves if you enjoy plunging into the dark, but there are also many places to explore above ground in the canyon.
Your Bus Stop in Cluj-Napoca
Strada Bruno Giordano nr. 1-3
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