One of the fastest-growing cities in Romania, Cluj-Napoca is the capital of the Transylvania region. Despite being home to over 300,000 people, Cluj-Napoca is a fairly laidback city with plenty of reminders of its long and rich history in every corner. From its origins as a Roman settlement, Cluj-Napoca has an array of architectural styles contributing to an amazing cityscape. In the city, you can take a trip to the theatre, visit an art gallery, explore some of the local landmarks including statues of famous Transylvanians and even watch football. Cluj-Napoca’s culture has been given a boost by improved transport links and a significant student population, while only Bucharest attracts more visitors to the city.
Many of the roads in Cluj-Napoca are in good condition, although it’s advisable to travel with winter tyres just in case you choose to drive up some of the more mountainous roads leading out of the city.
Driving in Cluj Napoca
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Important things to note
Cluj-Napoca is well-connected to other major cities including Brasov, Bucharest and Budapest, although some roads in the suburbs aren’t that well signposted.
Most street names in Cluj-Napoca begin with ‘Strada’, which can be confusing to some drivers new to the city, or indeed Romania.
Much of the city centre is pedestrianized, which makes parking there a little problematic. If possible, leave the car in a parking lot on the edge of the centre.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania is the first ever made in Romania. It is home to a variety of local artefacts including crafts, tools, ceramics and clothes. The museum also offers a fascinating insight into life in this part of the world.
If sightseeing is your thing, then a trip to Unirii Square in the city centre is a must. The centrepiece is a statue of Matthias Corvinus, the former King of Hungary, while St Michael’s Church, one of the most beautiful in Romania, sits in the background.
Also in the city centre, the National Museum of Art is the best possible place to see an exhibition by a world-renowned artist. In the grounds of a former palace, the museum has works from many Romanian artists including Nicolae Grigorescu.
The city’s Botanical Garden is a must for anyone who wants to see local and global plants alongside one another. There’s a small Japanese garden on site, while you’re also able to see the garden from up high courtesy of a tower offering panoramic views.
Cluj Avram Iancu International Airport is 5.6 miles east of the city centre. It has one main terminal for passengers and serves cities across Europe. The airport is a hub for a regional low-cost airline offering flights to cities such as Munich and London.
The airport can be accessed from the E576 European Route, which will take you directly westwards into the city centre, although traffic can increase journey times.