Cluj-Napoca is the informal capital and the largest city of the historical province of Transylvania, located in the northwestern part of Romania. The city has a long history; the Roman settlement Napoca, capital of Dacia Porolissensis gained, in the 2nd century AD, the status of a colonia as Colonia Aurelia Napoca. Between 1790 and 1848 and between 1861 and 1867, Cluj was the official capital of the Grand Principality of Transylvania. Visiting the city, you’ll encounter remains of its entire historical developments.
Cluj Napoca is the second most populous city in Romania, with a population of nearly 400,000 people in metropolitan area and it is roughly equidistant from Bucharest (324 km / 201 mi), Budapest (351 km / 218 mi) and Belgrade (322 km / 200 mi).
City’s spectacular geography is due to location at the confluence of the Apuseni Mountains, the Someş plateau and the Transylvanian plain: Cluj is surrounded by forests and grasslands, with two botanical reservations, beautiful summer and winter resorts/spas.
Cluj-Napoca is an important economic centre in Romania and also an important regional commercial center, with many street malls and hypermarkets. Cluj-Napoca is the most important center for Transylvanian mass media, since it is the headquarters of all regional television networks, newspapers and radio stations.
Cluj-Napoca has a diverse and growing cultural scene, including the visual arts or performing arts: the city contains a number of galleries featuring both classical and contemporary Romanian art, as well as selected international works (The National Museum of Art, Gallery of the Union of Plastic Artists); also the city has a number of renowned facilities and institutions involving performing arts (Lucian Blaga National Theatre, Romanian National Opera, The Transylvania Philarmonic, the Hungarian Theatre and Opera, the Puck Theatre). Contemporary cultural manifestations cross ethnic boundaries, being aimed at students, cinema-goers, arts and science lovers.
In 2015, the city will be the European Youth Capital.
Getting to Cluj-Napoca is easy due to its position and its status as a major Romanian city.
As with many other European cities, train is one easy way to travel and explore.
There are train connections to Budapest (~8 hours travel time; price starting from 19 Euros).
Planning a train trip in Romania – think 2 hours for each hundred of kilometres planned.
The International Airport of Cluj-Napoca is offering flights to all the major European and Romanian cities , provided by WizzAir, TAROM, Austrian, Lufthansa, Iberia, Alitalia.
For European travellers, a budget alternative is to fly to Budapest Ferihegy Airport with a low-cost company, 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 RON (25 EUR).
Car rental by Avis, Budget, Europcar and several local providers is available, as well as on request by Hertz.
The Airport of Cluj-Napoca has transport connections to downtown Cluj-Napoca. To get there, travelers can choose between car rentals, taxi, limo service and public transport (bus line 8 running from 5:30 AM till midnight, bus number 5, 4 RON for two travels). For the public bus, you need to buy a ticket from the booth in front of either the Arrivals or Departures terminals. You are not allowed to buy tickets from the driver. You can pick up the bus by exiting the airport, turning right, and walking about 50 meters.
A regular taxi fare from the airport to the city center (about 10 km) is around 15-25 RON (4-6 EUR) – the current tarrif is about 1,8 RON/km. Look only for company taxis and clearly ask the driver for the price! The airport is within Cluj-Napoca city limits and extra-urban charges should not be applied. In Romania the taxi (cab) should have a valid badge, and taximeter. Do not look for bargains, it’s not worth it, the official rates are low!
Cluj-Napoca has a relatively efficient public transportation system, which operates from 5.00 to 23.00 (5.00 – 22.00 on weekends). A 2-trips ticket (valid for buses, trolley buses and trams) costs 4 LEI and can only be bought from the RATUC ticket stands in the bus stations, which are located on the main thoroughfares in the city.
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). Complete routes can be found on the company’s website (http://www.ratuc.ro/eindex.php). Schedules are available online. For most lines servicing the city center you won’t need to wait more than 15 minutes. The tariff is 4 RON (about 85 eurocents) 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. More information about the transportation to and from the metropolitan area is available online.
Average price is 1,79 lei – 2,25 lei/ km +1,79 – 2,25 lei start fee. Please note that the price changes to 3,00 lei/km after 22:00 o’ clock.
The tariff is around 2.00 RON (50 euro-cents) per kilometre, and the same is applied as start fee. All the companies charge the same price. Typically you won’t pay more than 12 RON (~3,5 EUR) for a travel between the city centre 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 RON multiples (e.g., if the meter shows 3.2 RON you will probably be expected to pay 3.5 RON, leaving the extra 0.3 RON as a tip
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 Diesel Rapid, Diesel Taxi, Pritax, Nova, Terra & Fan, Pro Rapid.
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.
Some of the taxi companies in Cluj-Napoca:
- Nova Taxi – (+40264) 949, +40-745 151000
- Diesel Rapid – (+40264) 946
- Diesel Taxi – (+40264) 953, +40-744 646663, +40-745 381532, +40-722 859093
- Pritax – (+40264) 942, +40-744 159720, +40-788 550000
- Pro Rapid – (+40264) 948
- Terra Fan – (+40264) 944
- Clima&Confort Taxi – (+40264) 943, +40-742 012280, +40-723 012280, +40-768 347379, +40-264 422224, +40-364 310673
Currency and exchange
– Romanian currency is LEU (plural “LEI”).
– Exchanging rates are: 1 EUR = 4,5 LEI;
– The exchange offices (CASA DE SCHIMB VALUTAR) offer almost the same rates as banks and usually show their rates on a board outside in the street. Make sure that the exchange office operates with 0% commission fees, otherwise you could be the victim of an unfair exchange. Simply ask how many lei you will get for your money and check if it is the right amount considering the exchange rate valid all over the city.
– An ID is required when changing money!
– Please note that if you have a bank card you can simply cash money from ATMs, which can be easily found close to banks or major shops.
– Major credit cards, including MasterCard, Visa and American Express are accepted in large hotels and shops in the main Romanian cities.
Volksbank – 18 Regele Ferdinand st, http://www.volksbank.ro
Banca Comerciala Romana – 10-12 George Baritiu St http://www.bcr.ro
Banca Transilvania – 36 Eroilor Boulevard http://www.bancatransilvania.ro
BRD – Groupe Société Générale – 81 – 83 “21 Decembrie 1989” St http://www.brd.ro
ING Bank – 9 Eroilor Blvd, http://www.ing.ro
The main post office is located at 33 Regele Ferdinand Street, right across Central Shopping Center. Open 7.00-20.00 (Mo-Fr), 8.00-13.00 (Sat); Closed on Sundays.
Iulius Mall 53-55 Alex. Vaida Voievod St. 10.00 – 22.00 http://www.iuliusmall.com/cluj
Polus Center Floresti, 492 – 500, Avram Iancu Street 10.00 – 22.00 http://www.poluscentercluj.ro/en/index.php
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).
You will find budget fixed menus as well as a-la-carte menus in almost each part of the city. The breakfast (typical continental or English) is around 10-15 RON (3-4 EUR) and a fixed lunch is 10-20 RON (2.5-5 EUR); A regular pizza (350-500 gr) or pasta costs between 12 to 30 RON (3-7 EUR); A soup (very usual in Romania as the first dish) you will find in sweet (supa) or sour (ciorba) variants for 8-15 RON(2-4 EUR); A main course (nothing fancy, meat + side dish) between 12 – 30 RON(3,5-7 EUR).
A large variety of other cuisines is available, but you may like to try the local flavours (Varza a la Cluj – sour cabbage with pork chops, mamaliga cu smantana – corn polenta with cream, goulasch – which you can find in Cluj in various variants – from soup to main dish – and ingredients – beans, potato, pork, veal, chicken, more or less spicy etc.).
ClujShorts headquarters will be situated at Victoria Cinema 51 Eroilor Boulevard, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (http://www.cinemavictoria.ro/cinematografulvictoria.html; https://www.facebook.com/CinemaVictoria).
All the screenings will be held there.
*Some of the information listed above were taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluj-Napoca.
1. View from the Fortress Hill 2. „Simion Barnutiu” Central Park 3. Cluj Arena 4. Avram Iancu Square 5. The Tailors’ Tower 6. Museum Square 7. The Roman Catholic „Saint Michael” Church and Matia Corvin’s Equestrian Statue 8. The Old Casino 9. The Union Square 10. The National Theater