Absorb its history: Stop by the city’s historic centre, Piaţa Unirii, a large square overlooked by a tall church tower. From there, wander to the well-curated Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, where you can see the region’s past laid out in artefacts. The museum also has a good gift shop for souvenirs.
Rock out at a music festival: EDM fans shouldn’t miss Cluj’s three electronic music festivals held each year – old-standby Delahoya, with a focus on local DJs; the established Electric Castle, where big names perform in a magnificent castle; and massive newbie Untold, with musical giants like David Guetta, Tiësto and Avicii.
Appreciate the art: Cluj has a vibrant art scene. Start with the National Art Museum, housed in a baroque palace and filled with 19th and 20th century Romanian art. Then venture to Fabrica de Pensule, a paintbrush factory turned contemporary art hub. Attend an event or book a free tour of the gallery-cum-studio.
Try Hungarian cuisine: With its long history as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Cluj’s population is roughly twenty per cent Hungarian. Get a taste of Hungary at popular spots like Café Bulgakov or Tamas Bistro, where you can try classic dishes like stuffed cabbage rolls and sip on pálinka, a strong fruit brandy.
Escape the city pace: It’s an odd place for one of the city’s most scenic spots, but Hajongard Cemetery is a peaceful green space with several outdoor sculptures. Fortress Hill is another romantic spot, known for its panoramic views of the city.
Go to the theatre: Housed in a faded but elegant 19th century building, Cluj’s National Theatre presents classical and contemporary theatre and opera. If you’ve got children in tow, visit Puck Puppet Theatre for inventive, highly visual shows.
Visit a haunted forest: Nicknamed Romania’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’ because of reported paranormal activity, Hoia Forest is not somewhere you’d want to get lost overnight. If you’re brave enough to enter, you can do paintballing and archery.
Catch a film: Cluj is mainly known for its music festivals, but it’s got great international film ones as well. Cinephiles can check out feature length films at Transilvania International Film Festival and short films at ClujShorts.
Chill in a café: With its large student population, Cluj is full of affordable, bohemian cafés. Try L’Atelier Café, where all the furniture is made of cardboard, the moody Casa Jazz or the hidden Yolka Bar, which serves the best coffee in town.
Horror fans should visit Sighişoara, birthplace of vicious Vlad the Impaler who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. With a rich trade history, fairy tale cobblestone streets and a UNESCO-protected medieval citadel, it’s worth the two-and-a-half-hour drive.
Locals and tourists alike love the Apuseni Mountains, southwest of Cluj. Their unique geological formation means lots of caves and forested trails to explore. Expect to see foxes, wild goats and the occasional bear.
Enigma Café is a kinetic steampunk-themed café in Cluj’s centre. The food doesn’t have a great reputation, but having a drink here is like being inside a mechanical machine – turning cogs, moving cranks and rotating wheels line the walls and ceiling. There’s even a robot riding a bicycle.