by Cris Puscas of LooknWalk
The unofficial capital of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca, commonly known as Cluj, is a vibrant city, with excellent nightlife and stunning landmarks dating to the Saxon and Hungarian rule. Very well connected to other cities in Europe by air and land, there are a lot of interesting things to do in Cluj.
St. Michael’s Church
In Piata Unirii, there’s St. Michael’s Church, a Gothic-style Roman Catholic church. It is the second largest in the region, after Brasov’s Black Church. Its 76-meter tower is the highest in Transylvania. The church can be visited for free. The best time to get up in the tower is during the Long Night of Museums when the entrance is free (and Cluj is stunning by night).
It is a large public park in central Cluj-Napoca, founded in the 19th century. Standing by the shores of the Somesul Mic River, it offers a lot of interesting things to do. The old casino has been renovated, there is a pond where you can see ducks and swans, and there’s even a workout area which can be used for free. Or you can just stroll on the alleys and relax. One of the essential things to do in Cluj!
The Fortress Hill (Cetatuia)
Few tourists know about this gem and take the time to climb the Fortress Hill. It offers one of the best panoramas of Cluj-Napoca, all the way to the surrounding hills and mountains. Standing at 495 m from the sea level and 60m from the city’s altitude, it used to be home to an Austrian fortress built in the 18th century. Only a few of the buildings remain. The hill is dominated by Transylvania Hotel. Nearby, there’s a 26m cross.
Unfortunately, not much remains of the Old Town walls and structures. To see a well-preserved section of the wall, stroll on Potaissa Street. The entire area is picture perfect. A bit further from here, there’s The Tailors’ Tower, very well preserved and currently home to an exhibition hall.
I like to joke and call it the “watering hole” of Cluj. During summer, the cafes and bars make sure their tables are outside and everyone loves to come here for drinks and chats. There are also interesting buildings: The Franciscan Church, the History Museum of Transylvania, and Carolina Obelisk.
Turda Salt Mine
Located at about 40 km from Cluj-Napoca, you can find the stunning Turda Salt Mine. It has been opened to tourists only since 1992 and has been placed by Business Insider at the top of their list of the ten “coolest underground places in the world“. The mine dates back to the 13th century and now has been converted into a museum and amusement park. There is a lake you can boat on, a ferris wheel, mini golf courses, pool tables, and children’s play area.
Have some more ideas on things to do in Cluj? Write them in the comments below!
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