Cluj-Napoca

The Union Square with the Saint Michael Church

Cluj-Napoca (Romanian), Kolozsvár (Hungarian) or Klausenburg (German) is the capital of Cluj county and the unofficial capital of the historical region of Transylvania . The city, with 310,243 people, is very pleasant, and it is certainly a great experience for those who want to see urban Transylvanian life at its best. Along with fine dining, excellent cultural activities, a wonderful historical legacy and a great atmosphere, the city will certainly not disappoint those who add it to their travel itinerary. What's more is the fact that Cluj (as it's called for short) is so easy to access and get around.

Talk

The official language is Romanian, a Romance language. Most educated people born after about 1970 will speak reasonably good English and will likely be proficient in one or more second Romance languages; most educated people born before about 1970 will speak reasonably good French and Italian. Hungarian is a common language, spoken by the relatively large Hungarian minority. The Roma people (Gypsies) speak their native Romany, as well as Romanian. Beyond that, as in any major city, there will be a smattering of other languages.

Get in

Getting to Cluj-Napoca is easy due to its position and its status as a major Transylvanian city.

By train

Cluj-Napoca Central Train Station
International trains at the Cluj-Napoca Railway station.

As with many other Transylvanian cities, the train is the easiest way to reach Cluj. (Because it is an important Romanian railway hub.) There are 4 trains daily to Bucharest and 4 trains daily to Budapest (via Oradea). There are train connections to most Romanian or Transylvanian cities, including fast InterCity connections to Oradea, Arad, Timisoara, Brasov, Sighisoara, Ploiesti and Bucharest.

On a few routes like Cluj-Napoca - Oradea or Cluj-Napoca - Târgu Mures, you can find private companies like Transferoviar grup, which offer cheaper tickets.

Important to know, that in Romania there are three kind of trains.

By plane

Cluj-Napoca International Airport

Another alternative is to fly to Budapest Ferihegy Airport and then shuttle to Cluj-Napoca. The shuttle takes six to eight hours to make the travel. Many companies travel this route. You can find shuttles from early morning till late night. Reservations have to be made in advance, make sure you leave at least two hours between your flight arrival and the departure of the shuttle, to account for any flight delays. Prices are around 60 to 80 lei (€25).

Car rental by Avis, Budget, Europcar and several local providers (PHP rent a car, Go Rent a car Cluj, 321 Rent a car Cluj, rodna Trans, Hermin, Eco rentacar - Inchirieri auto Cluj) is available, as well as on request by Hertz.

City transfer

By car

A3 Motorway near Cluj

Cluj-Napoca has good road connections. European road E60 links it to Bucharest and Brasov to the south, Oradea and Budapest to the west, through Bors customs. E81 leads to Zalau and Satu Mare to the north, Brasov and Bucharest to the south. E58 links Cluj-Napoca to Dej, Bistrita, Baia Mare and Vatra Dornei.

By bus

Cluj-Napoca can be reached by bus from Bucharest, major cities in Romania, most cities in Transylvania, and a number of major cities in Europe.

OrangeWays has modern buses that circulate between Budapest and Cluj-Napoca. You can catch a bus to Cluj-Napoca from the Nepliget bus station in Budapest.

On demand bus to Cluj Napoca from Budapest by Eurobusways

Get around

By public transport

Cluj route map

Public transport in the city is possible by means of 25 bus lines, 7 trolleybus lines, and 3 tram lines, all operated by the RATUC company (Regia Autonomă de Transport Urban de Călători). For most lines servicing the city center you won't need to wait more than 15 minutes. The tariff is 4.0 lei (about €0.85, or US$1.20) for two travels. Tickets can be bought for cash only at special booths at most stops, identifiable by the RATUC logo and possibly the text "Bilete si Abonamente" (meaning "short and long-term tickets"). Be careful to correctly punch an unused half of your ticket once in the vehicle, ticket control is relatively common and the fines are sizable.

Transport in the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area is covered by many private bus companies, one of the most important is FANY which provides numerous daily connections to neighboring towns and villages.

By taxi

Taxis are relatively more expensive than in other parts of Romania, but still cheap, and very convenient. The tariff is around 2.25 lei (€0.50/US$0.70) per kilometer, and the same is applied as start fee. All the respectable companies charge the same price. Typically you won't pay more than 13 lei (€3) for a travel between the city center and some point in the suburbs. Payment is always done in cash, and paying by credit card is not possible. It is customary, though not mandatory, that the sum is rounded up to 0.5 lei multiples (e.g., if the meter shows 3.2 lei you will probably be expected to pay 3.5 lei, leaving the extra 0.3 lei as a tip). If you do not have exact change, the driver might keep this tip himself when paying back the change. If he tries to keep too much (like rounding from 3.5 to 5 lei, for example), do ask for the change.

Palace of Justice & National Theatre in Avram Iancu Square

Taxi cabs come in all shapes and colors, they are identified by the company logo on the sign on top of the car, which will also be placed somewhere on the car body. Taxis cluster around important locations in the city, and clusters are usually no more than 1 kilometer apart. Take care to always use respectable companies, such as Atlas, Diesel Rapid, Diesel Taxi, Pritax, Nova, Terra & Fan, Pro Rapid. There might be underground, "shark" drivers as they are called, which try to exploit unknowledgeable strangers by overcharging. You should avoid them as they charge at least several times the normal fee. They mostly hang around the train station and the airport. Shark drivers might sometimes "helpfully" offer a ride themselves; you won't see a usual driver do that. Usually shark drivers' cars are marked TAXI and nothing else. Search for name of company on the door of car! Respectable firms typically have several cars parked at each station; that's an easy way to identify them. Elseway, the price per kilometer is sometimes displayed on the cab door. It should be no more than 2.25 lei.

Building in downtown Cluj

Cabs can also be phoned in. You typically need to give a name, and wait for the number of the car to be relayed to you. Cars will arrive after a period on the order of minutes.

It may happen that you will be driven around on a longer route if you don't know the city. This may happen even with respectable firms. You can't do much to help that, unless you are able to read a map very well, especially if you're easy to spot as a foreigner. The best thing to do is to appear confident, jump in the car and state your destination unhesitantly as if you knew exactly where it was.

Some of the taxi companies in Cluj-Napoca:

By car

Cars can be rented from the numerous operators throughout the city. Many small tourism agencies also act as intermediaries for renting cars, and you might be able to get better rates there. You can find such agencies scattered throughout the city centre.

See

The area around the Union Square is a must see for the visitor, with the Teleki and Banffy Palaces (the latter now housing the National Art Museum), the Franciscan Monastery, the first Unitarian Church in the world, the Piarist Church, the Mirror Street (Iuliu Maniu Street - a unique architectural accomplishment dating back to the late 1800s) and Matthias Corvinus' place of birth, a former 15th Century hotel now home to the Visual Arts Academy. Smaller streets around the Square can take you into splendid inner courts, old houses and isolated Churches.

Squares and streets

Churches

Museums

Galleries

Parks

The panorama view of Cluj at night from the Cetatuia Hill.

Notable buildings

Tailors' Bastion

Statues

St. Michael's Church, with the statue of Matthias Corvinus.

Around Cluj

Building in downtown Cluj

Do

Buy

Books

Shopping malls

You can also visit Sora Shopping Center, Central and Galeriile Ferdinand (very expensive). At a lower budget you can find lots of cool clothes in Piata Marasti (shopping center).

Eat

Kurtoskalacs - Transylvanian pastry

Cluj dining is some of the best in Romania. Ranging from traditional Romanian, Hungarian and Transylvanian (a combination of the previous two) to Italian (very good Italian food), Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, American and International Cuisine, the city can offer great dining for all tastes. Fancy restaurants are available as well as local fast food shops and a few international chains (McDonald's, Pizza Hut).

Budget

Mid-range

Franciscan church of Cluj

Splurge

Drink

Art bar in Cluj

Cluj has a vibrant night life, guaranteed by the over 60000 University students living here. There are bars, cafés, clubs for all preferences and budgets.

Sleep

The last three years have seen a boom in the Cluj lodging scene. There are lodging options for all budgets, including a newly opened 5 star hotel. Other than that, you can find something that suits your needs.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

Cluj-Napoca is in general a safe city. Even after dark, it is safe to walk through the city center and some of the other neighbourhoods. To be on the safe side, unless you know exactly where you're going and how to get there, suburbs should be avoided at night, especially the neighbourhoods of Manastur, Marasti, and Iris, and the train and inter-city bus station areas.

You should, as always, take care of your belongings and pockets. In the unfortunate event that your wallet is stolen or lost, it is likely that it will resurface after a while, but without the money and credit cards (so be sure to call your credit card company and lock the credit card as soon as you notice it's missing).

Emergency numbers

As throughout the rest of the European Union, the police, ambulance, and fire department are reachable at the number 112.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.