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- 23 Jan 2020, 3 nights
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The bohemian city of Cluj-Napoca is in the Transylvania region of Romania – an area romanticised by its mystical past. With charming cobblestone streets, terracotta-roofed buildings and a lively student population, it has plenty going on for travellers. Admire its Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and take it easy in the urban oasis of Central Park. Numerous basement pubs, wine bars and all-night clubs give Cluj-Napoca its reputation as one of the best places for nightlife in the country.
Cluj-Napoca hostels are dotted around, or are within walking distance of, the old town. You can stay in a homely Art Nouveau guesthouse, or a restored mansion with an orchard and vegetable patch. There are hostels that offer both private rooms and shared dorms, which usually have free Wi-Fi. A Cluj-Napoca hostel often comes with a communal kitchen, sociable outdoor space and even a sauna – the perfect remedy after a busy day exploring the city.
The Centru area, with its sherbet-hued buildings, is one of Cluj-Napoca's main draws. Its narrow streets and alleys are lined with ancient churches, art galleries and cafés selling tasty Romanian pastries. The southern district of Zorilor is a thriving student hub that's also home to an astronomical observatory. West of the Someșul Mic river lies the residential neighbourhood of Grigorescu, which has a peaceful vibe with plenty of green spaces. Piezisa Street in Hașdeu is popular in the evenings, with many bars and restaurants.
The city spreads out from the main square of Piața Unirii, which is home to major landmarks such as St Michael's Church and Rhédey Palace. Two other public squares to see are Piaţa Mihai Viteazul, with its statue of Michael the Brave, and Piaţa Avram Iancu, where you'll find the Assumption Cathedral. For panoramic views of Cluj-Napoca, hike up Cetățuia Hill, where you'll also spot the ruins of an 18th-century fortress. Eight kilometres from the city lie the woods of Hoia Baciu, often dubbed the creepiest forest in the world!
From Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport, it’s around a 20 to 30-minute drive to downtown Cluj-Napoca. Taxis are outside the arrivals hall, and the Line 8 bus runs right to Piaţa Mihai Viteazul. Once in the city, it's easy to reach the popular attractions on foot, but there's also a good network of buses, trolleybuses and tramlines. The city's main train station is a major rail hub, with connections to other Romanian destinations such as Sighișoara, Oradea and Bucharest.