Cluj-Napoca is one of the largest cities in Romania and is informally considered the capital of the Transylvania region. It is located approximately 150 km from the border with Hungary, 500 km from Bucharest, and 400 km from … Darabani (the northernmost city in Romania). The locals refer to it simply as Cluj (although that is the name of the county). For the sake of efficiency in writing, we will also refer to it as Cluj from here on in the article.
The city is culturally diverse. Around 20% of the residents are of Hungarian descent, but there is a diversity of ethnicities due to its geographic location and reasons for living here.
Cluj is a university city. Students from all over Romania, as well as from other countries, come here to study. We excel in fields such as medicine, technical studies (mechanical or informational), and other disciplines. Babeș-Bolyai University is the largest university in the country.
The city has gained a reputation for hosting various festivals. In addition to Jazz in the Park, Cluj is home to the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), Electric Castle, and Untold. Furthermore, there are numerous events, both big and small, throughout the year that bring life to this city, such as the Sports Festival, Hungarian Cultural Days, Cluj Days, Lights ON, Street Food Festival, and many others.
Cluj has average to high prices compared to Romania, but they are relatively low compared to European standards. The currency here is the Romanian Leu (RON), with an exchange rate of 1 EUR = 4.92 RON.
- 1 bottle of water costs 0.5 EUR (in a shop) or 1.5 – 2 EUR (in a bar)
- 1 beer costs 0.5 – 1.5 EUR (in a shop) or 2 – 3 EUR (in a bar)
- A meal in a restaurant can range in 10-20 EUR (of course, it can be more expensive)
- Event tickets can range from 10-100 EUR
There are many excellent restaurants and bars in Cluj, but we recommend the following:
- Visuin: a cocktail bar and restaurant located in the heart of the city. They have a splendid terrace and offer great products. They run the bars at Jazz in the Park.
- Bruto: one of our favorite restaurants, with excellent decor and a very daring menu.
- Tortelli: if you want good pasta, this is the place. Period.
- Samsara: for our friends who have chosen not to eat meat.
- Cimbru: It started as a food truck and has now opened fine dining restaurants. Highly recommended.
- Marty: Marty has the most diverse menu in the city. If you’re in a large group, you can’t go wrong here.
- Olivo/Narcoffee: In Cluj, you won’t find bad coffee. It’s impossible. But if you see their advertisement, know that this is where you’ll find the best.
- Studio 26: An honest bar in Cluj. You will love it.
- Additionally, for convenience stores, we recommend Mega Image. They’re everywhere!
Cluj has heavy traffic, but there are many good alternatives to using a car. Here are our recommendations:
- Bus: a bus ride costs 3 lei (0.65 euro cents)
- Taxi: 4 lei per kilometer (0.8 euro cents)
- Rent a scooter: variable cost (but low)
- Rent a bicycle: variable cost (but low)
Walk! It’s a very pedestrian-friendly city.
Cluj offers a wide range of accommodation options, including many hotels, as well as numerous Airbnb and hostel choices to suit all budgets. You can find accommodation starting from 15 EUR/night, and prices can go up to 150-200 EUR for a 5-star establishment.
Our recommendations (in proximity to our festivals) are:
Things to see in Cluj:
Central Park, Ethnographic Park, Ethnographic Museum, Art Museum, Salina Turda (30 km from the city), Gilău and Tarnița Lakes (approximately 30-40 km from the city).
For more information, you can visit the Visit Cluj website.
If you want a guided city tour, we recommend contacting Cluj Guided Tours.