Cluj Napoca is a western city in Cluj, Transylvania which is now in Romania. It is a historic city that dates back to the 2nd century AD. Up until WW I, Transylvania was a part of Hungary and Cluj had been the official capital of Transylvania on and off before that. Even today, it is still considered as the unofficial de-facto capital of the historic province. Therein lays the story for tourists, because it makes Cluj Napoca with its international airport a good base for Count Dracula tours and attractions in Transylvania. Coming and going, Dracula-crazy tourists usually spend a day or two here looking at the unique landmarks and historic churches. If you intend to follow this script, you will need to rent a car in Cluj Napoca.
If you have not yet had time to get a car for hire in Cluj Napoca, do it right now because you will need to move around quite a lot. Your first stop on this tour should be the Cluj tourist information center, located at Blvd. Eroilor 6-8. The main Unini Square is just two minutes from here, and the first thing you see is the 15th century St. Michael's Church, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in all of Romania. Also on Unini Square is Banffy Palace and the old Hotel Continental. There are quite a few other Churches in Cluj, for those interested. There is the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania and a couple of other museums, and the Alexandru Borza Botanical Garden. Those who love gardens and parks may find the 180 year old Parcul Central or Central Park quite interesting with a small lake for boating and lakeshore walks.
The Transylvania tours that take tourists in the footsteps of Jonathan Hawker as described in Bram Stoker's Count Dracula begin at Cluj Napoca. From here, you drive the 68 odd miles to Bistrata on the E576, going past Gherla, Dej and Beclean. In the book, Hawker stays overnight in Bistrata before heading up the Borgo Pass east of Bistrata. Tourists do not need to stay overnight, and can head straight up the Borgo Pass and end up at the Hotel Castle Dracula for dinner. The rest of the tour will be purely about visiting nearby villages and tourist attractions, before heading back to Cluj-Napoca.
Obviously, Bistrata is the ideal spot for a day trip from Cluj Napoca. Apart from Bistrata, visitors might also enjoy the Apuseni Nature Park with a network of over 400 limestone caves, about 45 miles southwest from Cluj Napoca. You will enjoy this scenic drive to Campeni and Scarisoara Cave. Another ideal destination for a day-trip is Targu Mures located about 60 miles southeast of Cluj Napoca, where you will find another set of ancient churches, palaces, museums and even a fortress.
There are seven agencies offering a car rental in Cluj Napoca for travelers, with depots at Cluj Napoca International Airport (CLJ) and more offices located en-route from the airport to the downtown area on and near Strada Traian Vuia. To make it easier, compare the agencies online, find the deal you like and book your car right now.
19 November 2019
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20 November 2019
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