Anyone fancy a weekend in Cluj-Napoca?
Ok so if you are planning a stag or hen weekend, the chances are Cluj-Napoca is probably not currently top of your list. Chances are, you have never even heard of it and have your heart set on Riga, Prague, or Budapest already.
Admittedly, these cities are great contenders for a weekend of drunken debauchery, but here’s why I think you would be wise to consider Cluj as an alternative.
Wizz Air flies to Cluj-Napoca from London Luton and Doncaster Sheffield in the UK and from over twenty destinations throughout continental Europe. The journey is around three hours with prices starting at £20.99 each way. This includes a small cabin bag but no hold luggage. You will need to be wary of size with your cabin bag as anything exceeding 42 x 32 x 25 cm will be subject to an extra charge.
That probably doesn’t worry you boys as you will likely not have much need for spare clothing once you start partying. Girls be warned however, the check in staff are very keen on checking the size of your luggage. Don’t be surprised if you end up paying if you decide to chance it.
Flights leave from Doncaster on a Friday morning and return Monday morning, starting from £24.99 one way. From Luton, you can take your pick from daily departures starting from £20.99 one way. Once you make your mind up to go, don’t delay booking as prices increase nearer departure and you are unlikely to grab these prices if you book the week before. That said, even after adding in bags the price comes out very reasonable.
You can also book with other low-cost carriers from Manchester and Liverpool for similiar prices and Skypicker is a great site to find your deal.
Furthermore once you arrive, it is just a short fifteen minute transfer to the centre of town so you will be out shaking your stuff in no time! This comes in particularly handy when you have to rise, bleary-eyed early in the morning to catch your flight home!
Now I will be honest and say that unless you really love museums, there isn’t a ton of things to see in Cluj-Napoca itself, but let’s face it, the chances of you doing lots of cultural things are probably quite slim on your hen or stag weekend. Besides, there’s a GOOD reason I am recommending Cluj for hen and stag parties!
Of course if you fancy something a little tamer than constantly attempting to pickle your liver, you may wish to get out of town for a night and visit the Sun Garden Resort, where you can enjoy a round of golf or be pampered in the spa.
If you really are desperate to get some proper sightseeing under your belt, you can visit the Salina Turda salt mine and whilst you may not be brimming with enthusiasm at the prospect of a salt mine, you have to trust me. It is soooo worth it!
My husband and I both absolutely loved this place – just check out some more Salina Turda photos here to see how incredible it is. Let’s face it, how often do you find a salt mine with an amusement park inside it?
Of course, you will get plentiful opportunity to explore the superb, medieval city as you make the most of the throbbing night scene during your stay.
The Euro has not yet landed here meaning cheap beer, food and accommodation. It hasn’t yet become mega trendy and so has not witnessed rampant inflation. It’s pretty easy to find restaurants where you can dine for between £10 and £15 for two. Even our most expensive meal came to less than £20 including drinks and we were not particularly penny-pinching.
As for drinking, cocktails cost around £3, spirits are cheaper still and beers cost between £1 and £2. If it is your hen do, take note a few places offering free drinks to ladies on a Friday evening could make your weekend cheaper still.
Which brings me onto the main reason that this city is the next best thing for stag and hen does. The nightlife of course!
Cluj is the second largest city in Romania and has a large student population making this is a very vibrant city where you can party until late. Better still, for the hens in their high heels, there are tons of bars packed into a compact area around the medieval centre.
You can go on a pub crawl here without walking more than two hundred metres!
My Top Five picks
Given the vast array of choices, here are my top five picks to visit. These offer a good selection of drinking options to suit most tastes but don’t worry there are plenty more besides these! This city packs a punch in more ways than one.
Che Guevara – Piatra Unirii 10
Walking across the square underneath the façade of the magnificent cathedral, you may catch a tantalising glimpse of a secret courtyard where fairylights twinkle above flickering choir candles. Che Guevara is a cool cavern of a place which makes a great venue for your first drinks of the night.
It has an extensive selection of cocktails for around £3 and is a place to chat with friends before the night hots up.
Toulouse – Piatra Unirii
Toulouse is a great place to pass a few hours drinking gin. This small bar houses a few tables and seating at the bar where you can be entertained by Alex, the bartender. He will fascinate you with his knowledge of gin and the artistry involved in mixing the various spices and ingredients to create different brands.
Your G & T here is served in a giant fishbowl resplendent with juniper berries and orange peel, it’s a little different to what we are accustomed to but divine in flavour and it looks pretty darn good too!
Diesel – Piatra Unirii 17
A few doors down, Diesel, another small bar tempts you with a secret lair. Upstairs is for chatting and drinking whilst downstairs there’s a pumping nightclub spewing out pop tunes at high decibels. This is just one of many places housing a cool cellar bar.
O’Peters – Strada Vasile Goldis No. 4
Heading away from the cathedral and into the cobbles of the old town, you will find O’Peters spilling into the alleyway. Seats line the path in summer and inside, you descend a steep staircase to find little nooks and crannies packed into quaint little archways. It is a typical Irish bar with good solid food, whiskeys a plenty and Guinness on tap.
The music is a great selection of Irish and rock music and the service quick and friendly.
Charlie – Muzeului 3
Around the corner from O’Peters on Museum Square, is the most upmarket option of our five awesome bars in Cluj. Charlie is a sophisticated, raffles like interior with more seating outside.
Paying homage to Charlie Chaplin, old black and white photos adorn the walls and bartenders play the part of master mixologists to perfection. Concocting endless cocktails in showy style, they are fascinating to watch and you may find yourself lingering for longer than you planned.
Here’s a handy map to help you find my picks.
So whilst Cluj may lack plentiful tourist attractions by day, by night it comes into its own with hundreds of options in and around the city. We could have spent three or four nights sampling options in the old town alone!
Maybe you have visited and have your own suggestions in which case I’d love to hear from you. If you do decide to head to Cluj-Napoca be sure to check back in and let me know how you got on afterwards. You could even share your embarrassing pictures with me on Twitter or Facebook.
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