If you haven’t visited Cluj-Napoca in Romania, then it’s time to start planning your next trip! I visited Cluj for the first time and loved everything about it. The city is easy to navigate with beautiful architecture, the cafes and restaurants have well thought-out décor, and the surrounding landscape is stunning. But most of all, the people are so friendly and welcoming!
Traveling to Cluj is easy and here are a few things to know to make the trip even smoother.
Getting to Cluj
Cluj international airport is not big, but it flies to several major European hubs like Frankfurt and London. Once you land in Cluj, you can rent a car or take a taxi or Uber to downtown. It’s about a 20-minute drive with moderate traffic, but can be longer during rush hour.
Getting Around Cluj
Within downtown, everything is walkable. Union Square (Piata Unirii) is at the center and most things are within a 5-minute walk. There are also taxis and Ubers that you can take to go places further away.
To visit attractions outside of Cluj, it’s most convenient to rent a car. There are public buses too, but having a car gives you the freedom of stopping on the roadside to take photos. Note that there may be unpaved dirt roads but I didn’t have any issues.
Where to Stay
I recommend Airbnbs because they feel the coziest and the host can share tips on what to do around Cluj. My Airbnb studio was only $20 per night in a great location.
The city is extremely safe. The people are friendly to tourists and never at one point did I feel unsafe. At dinner one day, I saw someone leave their luggage unattended at the restaurant lobby and enjoyed dinner a few tables away. Obviously still be cautious when traveling, but generally Cluj is safe.
Cluj has the lowest cost of living in Europe and things are inexpensive compared to US standards. A typical meal is about 10 leis (~$2.50 USD) and a fancy meal will run about 40 leis (~$10 USD). Coming from the US, this was a shocker to me! One thing I did find surprising was that coffee and ice cream still cost about $2-3 USD despite everything else being so cheap.
The food is amaaazing! There are a ton of highly-rated restaurants serving anything from Italian food to local Romanian cuisine. Cabbage is big in Romanian cuisine so you’ll find cabbage on almost any menu – Cabbage a la Cluj, stuffed cabbage, cabbage soup, cabbage everything! Mici, Romanian sausages, are also delicious.
Clujians, as they call it, are extremely welcoming and friendly to tourists. People at restaurants and bars are always curious where visitors come from and open to have a conversation. Most of them also speak English which makes communication a lot easier.
I had a great time in Cluj and hopefully this will inspire more people to visit!