No wonder Cluj-Napoca is one of the most visited Romanian cities. Each year, more and more travelers come to Cluj to experience Transylvanian life at its best. This bustling university city offers a variety of cultural activities, amazing culinary experiences and fiery nightlife. Although one day in Cluj-Napoca isn’t much, it’s still enough time to feel the city’s relaxed atmosphere, explore its amazing architecture, taste the delicious Romanian cuisine and even make a day excursion to the world-famous Turda salt mine.
What’s the best time to visit Cluj-Napoca?
Cluj-Napoca can be visited all year round. Every season has its own charm and its reasons why to visit this Transylvanian city. However, due to the many beautiful parks, gardens and outdoor activities, warmer months can be just be a bit more exciting to visit. If you can choose, visit on weekends.
One Day in Cluj-Napoca Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Cluj-Napoca.
Start your morning at Olivio Caffe
Located in the very center of the city, Olivio Caffe is the best place to start your morning in Cluj-Napoca. The place offers a very pleasant atmosphere and amazingly good coffee with a variety of coffee flavors and blends to choose from. They also serve breakfast, so make sure to try some delicious omelets or other tasty bites they offer on the menu.
Stroll around the city center and visit the Cathedral
Take a walk around the city center. Start with the Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral, a Romanian Orthodox church built in a Romanian Brâncovenesc style, a synthesis of Byzantine and Renaissance architecture. Walk the Avram lancu Square and visit the National Theatre just across the street.
Visit the Union square and the Saint Michael Church
A few minutes’ walk west and you’ll find the Union Square, the central square with the stunning Saint Michael Church and the King Matthias Corvin statue in front of it. The stunning Gothic church is the second largest church of that style with an impressive neo-Gothic clock tower 80m high. Make sure to visit the interior for its beautiful decorative work, especially frescoes and rib vaults. Climb up the bell tower for a panoramic view.
Finally, check out the Matthias Corvinus House, one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to the 15th century. Over the years, it used to serve as a guest house, hospital, jail, museum and nowadays it’s one of the departments of the University of Art and Design.
Visit the Museum Square
Once you go back to the city, it’s time for some lunch. The Museum Square is lined with beautiful Gothic houses with nice boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses. During the summer the whole square is a lively place, lined with cafe terraces.
Camino is the restaurant you need to visit if you want to eat something delicious yet affordable in the beautiful vintage ambient. They offer a variety of pastas, well done tapas and some traditional dishes. Try their traditional duck soup – it’s amazing. After lunch, head up to the National Museum of Transylvanian History if you want to learn a bit more about the Transylvania region.
Visit the world-famous Turda salt mine
Although it’s located outside the city and it takes 45 minutes to reach the salt mine, it’s an attraction definitely worth a visit even if you only have one day in Cluj-Napoca. This salt mine is both a halotherapy center and a popular tourist attraction that attracts especially young people.
The beautiful salt structures are accompanied by impressive architectural structures. The underground area is one of the coolest in the world since it offers a wide range of activities and games to choose from: Ferris wheel, mini golf, boat rides and many others. Make sure to come before 2PM since the place is open only until 4PM.
Relax in the Central Park
After a long and exhausting day, Central Park is a perfect place to relax and refresh yourself a bit. The park is quite big and, during the warmer months, packed with people.
There are several festivals that are held in the park in the summer. Jazz in the Park and Untold Festivals in the Cluj arena are definitely the most visited ones so make sure to check out for the dates if you’re into it. There are several places to grab some drinks and food along the park, as well as the central casino building.
Have a dinner at Muura steakhouse
If meat is your thing, you need to check out Muura steakhouse. Not only do they serve the best burgers and steaks in the city, but they also have a wide selection of wines. The interior is beautiful and cozy and the atmosphere nice and lovely. It’s not the cheapest place in Cluj, but it’s worth every penny.
Have a cocktail at the Soviet bar
The Soviet bar is a great place to spend an evening at. It’s decorated to evoke the communist era and the Soviet past. They have a wide range of beverages, especially cocktails. Besides the classic ones, they also serve their own cocktails whose names will definitely make you laugh. On weekends it can get a bit crowded, so make sure to make a reservation.
Where to stay in Cluj-Napoca?
2 Calea Mănăștur, 400372 Cluj-Napoca
Hotel Platinia is an exceptional 5 star hotel, located only a 10-minutes’ walk from Central Park. The hotel is set next to the Platinia shopping center where a variety of nice restaurants, cafes, stores and a supermarket can be found. The modern rooms with amazing attention to details feel super stylish, still provide home-like comfort to guests. This hotel is a great pick for both business and leisure travelers.
Lol et Lola Hotel
Neagra Str. 9, 400011 Cluj-Napoca
Lol et Lola Hotel is a cozy hotel with a cool flair and unique appearance located in a quiet and green courtyard in the center of the city. Each of the lovely rooms is decorated differently with youthful, happy tones and pretty cool details.
Republicii St. no 74, 400015 Cluj-Napoca
Youthink Hostel is an amazing hostel with a great vibe located only a short walk from the botanical garden and a 10-minute walk from the Unirii Square. The hostel features a garden with hammocks among trees, a terrace with a barbecue, a common lounge area with rustic designs and beautifully decorated rooms. If you prefer the hostel stay, you shouldn’t miss this one for the world!
Extra tips for visiting Cluj-Napoca
– All the most interesting sights are located very central, so to maximize your time there, better pick the accommodation close to the city center.
– Although Romania is part of the EU, their official currency is Leu. Make sure to change your money upon arrival.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).