Retiring in Cluj-Napoca, Romania | Local Spotlight

Retiring in Cluj-Napoca

Are you thinking of retiring in Romania, but don’t know which city to pick? Cluj-Napoca (pronounced kloozh nah po ka) might be an amazing choice. As the fourth largest city in the country, it’s the kind of place where you’ll always find something to do. With a large population and many places to spend your free time, making friends and finding entertainment is a piece of cake.

Well, if you want to retire, you need to know what the city has to offer before you make the decision. Here’s what Cluj-Napoca has in store from the perspective of a local.

Cluj-Napoca Location Map

Cluj-Napoca is located in the North-Western side of Romania

What Are the Top 3 Best Things About Cluj-Napoca?

  • People - There are many things to love about the city, one of them being the people. Locals are used to people coming from all over the country and not only, and because of that, diversity is no stranger to them. As such, they tend to be more open-minded and accepting compared to people in smaller cities.
  • Rich Culture - The city has many spots that take you back to older times in Transylvania. You can see old houses and churches, as well as multiple green spaces that are perfect for a day out in nature.
  • Entertainment - Cluj-Napoca is also very entertainment-friendly, and there’s always something to do. Events take place all the time and they’re organized for different categories of people.

What Are the Least Favorite Things About Cluj-Napoca?

Probably one of the bad things regarding Cluj-Napoca is how crowded it can be. If you don’t fancy crowds, get ready to go down your list of profanities when you’re in a rush to get somewhere. Some areas of the city, such as the center and nearby areas, tend to get crowded at times, which can be quite annoying when you’re late on your way to certain places. 

The expensive rent is another thing on the list of least favorite aspects about Cluj-Napoca. This city has some of the most expensive rents in the country (sometimes, more expensive than the capital itself). However, for someone retiring in Cluj-Napoca from abroad, the rents may seem quite inexpensive. 

Fun Fact

Cluj-Napoca is an ancient city. It traces its roots to 'Napoca', a Roman citadel founded approximately 2000 years ago.

Getting Around Cluj-Napoca

The city is pretty much walkable, and you have multiple means of public transportation, too. Navigating by foot is very easy due to the squares and landmarks being within walking distance. 

In terms of public transportation, you have multiple buses taking you to different parts of the city. A ticket costs 5 lei ($1.22 or €1.03). Aside from the buses, you can take the tram too, depending on where you want to go. 

Other than that, you can catch a taxi, or simply use Uber or Clever Taxi. Ordering from your smartphone will be easy through an app. Another thing that locals love for transportation is to rent public bikes. 

How Is the Traffic?

The traffic can be pretty crazy at times, depending on where you go. On main roads and especially in the heart of the city, expect the traffic to be killer in the morning and at noon. With so many cars, buses and trams, it’s only to be expected.

What Is the Weather Like in Cluj-Napoca?

Weather changes depending on the season. Winters can be cold and dry, so get your winter coat and boots ready. As for summers, they can be comfortable, but it can also get extremely hot pretty easily.

Is Cluj-Napoca Dog Friendly?

Lots of locals own dogs, so it’s important to make things as convenient as possible for them. Cluj-Napoca can be dog friendly.

  • Is It Easy to Rent a Flat if You Have a Dog?
    Some renters may not accept dogs, but you could easily find offers with dogs allowed, too. You may just need to look more to find a place that will also welcome your dog.
  • Are Dogs Allowed on Public Transportation?
    Dogs are allowed in buses and trams, but you have to buy a ticket for them, too.
  • Are Dogs Allowed in Restaurants and Shops?
    Not every shop or restaurant allows dogs, but you can find some that do. Places such as L’Atelier Café or Studio 26 will allow you to bring your furry friend, too.

What Are the Top 5 Fun Things to Do?

  • Visiting the Botanical Garden
    Cluj-Napoca has a nice botanical garden, minutes away from the Old Town. If you want to see 11,000 different species of plants here and maybe take some pictures too, it’s a great place, and the entrance ticket is cheap too. 
  • Going to the Central Park
    The Central Park is another beautiful spot for a relaxing day or taking some pictures. Lots of people go to this park when they have some free time. The park is also a historic monument, so you definitely have some things to see there. 
  • Enjoying a Panoramic View of the City
    The Cetatuia Hill allows you to have a nice overview of Cluj-Napoca, which is why many locals enjoy this spot. You have to climb some stairs, but once you get on top, it will all be worth it. 
  • Going to Bars
    Due to the young population, Cluj-Napoca has no shortage of bars. You can easily find a place to spend your time in, and everyone is friendly and welcoming, too. 
  • Having a Paranormal Experience
    The Hoia Baciu Forest is located near Cluj-Napoca, and many people think there is some paranormal activity going on here. There’s a reason why it’s called the Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania. If you want to experience something unique, then this is the place to go to. 

Fun Fact

When in the city, you'll see 3 names: Cluj (most locals use the shortened version), Kolozsvár (Hungarian) and Klausenburg (Austrian). These names represent Cluj's history of being a part of the Hungarian Kingdom (prior to 1918) and then the
Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

What Are the Top 3 Romanian Dishes a Visitor Should Try?

  • If you go to Cluj-Napoca, you should definitely try some Kürtőskalács. It is a simple cake sweetened with sugar and you can get various topping on it: ground walnuts, cinnamon, coconut flakes, etc. 
  • Sarmale is also something that you should experience, as it’s a traditional food in Romania. The meat and rice rolled in pickled cabbage will make you fall in love with them.
  • Tripe soup is another popular Romanian dish that you can get at many restaurants. Bricks (M)eating Point serves it, so don’t hesitate to try it out.

What Are Some Great Restaurants that Locals Go to but Tourists Don’t?

Samsara Food House is one of the local spots people enjoy for vegetarian meals. It serves lots of delicious foods. It’s a little hard to find which is maybe why there are fewer tourists than locals.

For international food, lots of people in the city go to Big Belly Cluj. It offers a lot of types of food, and the diversity of meals gives its charm. 

What Are the Primarily Languages Spoken? Can Someone Get by with English Only?

Most people in the city speak Romanian, and there is also a group of people that speak Hungarian. These are usually the main languages you are going to hear in Cluj-Napoca.

Luckily, if you’re a foreigner, you can easily get by with English. Because of the big number of students living in the city, bumping into someone who speaks English is more likely than you think. It’s easy to ask for directions, and people are willing to help. Additionally, a lot of people working in bars and restaurants speak English themselves, so getting something to eat or drink is not difficult.

Top Tips from a Cluj-Napoca Local

Make sure to always have a ticket when using the bus or tram. Ticket collectors can appear when you least expect them to. If you don’t have your ticket or season ticket, you will get fined. You should also validate your tickets at the machines dotted around the vehicles.

If you have to get to work or just anywhere else, leave your house earlier, especially if you know you’ll go through crowded areas. Otherwise, you risk being late.

What Are Some Non-Touristy Activities that Locals Enjoy?

Many locals enjoy spending time in front of St Michael’s Church. Located in the center of the city on Unirii Square, it is a nice place for relaxation. There are benches where you could sit and enjoy the view of the Gothic church.

Lots of people also enjoy going to the mall. You have Lulius Mall and Vivo!, which are great spots for enjoying some food or shopping. 

Cluj-Napoca Cost of Living Chart

Data from Numbeo



Cost of Living Rank

386th out of 560
#1 is most expensive

1 Bdr Apartment in City

$485 per month

1 Bdr Apartment Outside City

$350 per month

Meal for Two, Mid-Range


Bottom Line

Retiring in Cluj-Napoca can be a great option. The city is constantly expanding and has historical roots for those who appreciate ancient history. One thing is sure: you will never get bored here. 

If you're wanting an affordable European city but would like warmer weather, check out Malaga, Spain

Quick Facts about Retiring in Cluj-Napoca, Romania






1115 ft


Comfortable summers but very cold, cloudy and dry winters. Average temps are from 21°F and 78°F

Flight time to U.S.

12 hours by plane to New York


Romanian Leu

Retirement Programs


Retirement Visa

No - More Info 

Public Transportation

Buses, trains and trams.

About the Author Guest Blogger

Our guest bloggers are retirees or residents living in cities around the world. They're giving insider perspective to what it's like to live and retire in various places.