During a city break, one of our favorite activities is to take walks through its gardens and parks. And Cluj-Napoca has some beautifully landscaped ones. We have not seen all of them, but we liked the three we have visited.

Fortress Hill (Dealul Cetăţuia)

My favorite one because it is not just a park, but also offers the best views of the city. Once place of an Austrian medieval fortress, now the hill is dominated by a four star hotel (Belvedere Hotel) and a big cross dedicated to romanian martyrs of communism.

National heroes monument
National heroes monument

How to get there

The most used and shortest way to get there is by climbing the over 200 stairs on the Alee of Stairs (Aleea Scarilor). We got on the Fortress Hill in the evening after we visited the Salt Mine in Turda, therefore were motorised so quickly decided to go for a drive to the top of the hill. Of course the route is longer, but as soon as you use a car it’s a different story. The drive was less than 15 minutes from city center and it took so long because we got a ‘little, lost. There are a few routes and I can not tell you exactly which one we finally used, but we found a free parking place and decided that was the best one.

What I liked

Before getting into the park we admired the nice neighbourhood. I guess all wealthy people of Cluj-Napoca lives on a hill, Los Angeles style. Who wouldn’t?

Green is happiness, don't you think?
Green is happiness, don’t you think?

As soon as we entered the park we were surrounded by luxuriant vegetation. It was very quiet and peaceful and the air felt very pure. The park reminded me more of a wild place, than an urban environment. And it is just in the city.

Then it came the view of the city. While the city center had the same look as Vienna, at least to my eyes, the view from the Fortress Hill suggests Prague. I found it comparable with the view of Prague from Petrin Gardens, which is also on a hill. Just As Prague, with its Vltava, Cluj-Napoca has its river flowing through the city, Someşul Mic.

Central Park Simion Bărnuţiu

During our walk from the city center to the Pirate House restaurant (Casa Piraţilor in Romanian) we also passed through the central park of Cluj-Napoca, one of the most popular recreation places in the city.

How to get there

The park is situated on the southern river shore, very close to old city going west. It’s really hatd to miss, as it stretches to the imposing city stadium.

What I liked

It is a wonderful oasis of green in the middle of the city, where you can have a nice walk, bike, boat on the lake or just sit on a bench or on the grass and relax. It was quite crowded when we got there, especially in front of the casino where it looked like everybody gathered to cherish the beautiful afternoon.

What I really enjoy was the London ice cream we bought for less than two bucks for two cones from an ice cream truck parked on a street that crossed the park. I am a big fan of ice cream so I couldn’t miss the opportunity.

Botanical Garden Alexandru Borza

When I told my friend that I am going to visit Cluj-Napoca she told me that she remembered the Botanical Garden being very nice. Thus I decided to visit it. So there we were after we came back from our trip to Turda Gorge. The ticket was cheap  – only $1.5 per adult – and includes access to both the garden and the glasshouses.  Although it was a little late in the evening, we still had two hours to enjoy the lovely garden. We couldn’t visit the glasshouses though, which was closed for renovation. Maybe next time.

How to get there

It was very convenient for us to get to the Botanical Garden, as it was on our way from the hotel to the city center, on Republicii street. It is pretty close to the old city, only ten minutes by walk approximately, but mind the fact that the street is going up. Yes, the garden is on a hill too.

What I liked

All the time I was in the garden I had the feeling that I was actually in a forest. A landscaped one, but a forest. The noise of city was barely distinguishable and there were a lot of big, tall trees, just like in a forest. A forest in the middle of the city. And like in a forest the trill of birds was the peculiar sound.

As I told you before we visited Cluj – Napoca at the beginning of May. As a result we still found the tulips blooming. I will let the pictures talk instead because I think they do a better job than my words.

Then it was the beautifully landscaped, small Japanese garden with its brook and traditional house.

In the other part of the garden we found the Roman garden dominated by the statue of Ceres – goddess of cereals and bread and two coffins from the Roman colony of Napoca.

Even if we couldn’t visit the Botanical Museum and the hothouses with the tropical and aquatic plants, I still liked our walk there. And we took a bunch of photos of which I selected a few in the gallery below.

All in all Cluj-Napoca surprised me with its nice balance between modern urban landscapes, old buildings and lots of green areas, a huge contrast when compared to Bucharest, our city of residence.

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