Romania’s second largest city has transformed over the last decade into one of the most influential cultural hot-spots of Eastern Europe. From cafes set on cobblestone streets to hip bars and beautiful parks, this once-sleepy Transylvanian city is now a hub for music, film, tech, and art in the region. For festival fans, Cluj offers a wide array of programming over the summer and fall that’s sure to spark your imagination.
Where to Stay
While most Cluj festivals offer camping, some festies may want some additional creature comforts like warm showers, comfy beds, and the option to sleep in past sunrise. The city of Cluj offers up a wide variety of accommodations sure to make all travelers happy.
Best For Budget: Transylvania Hostel
Close to the city center, supremely affordable, and with the best showers we’ve ever seen in a hostel, our budget choice is the Transylvania Hostel. The property offers dorms and private rooms at a reasonable rate and there’s a kitchen in you need to make a quick meal before the fest. The shady courtyard is a perfect spot to recuperate over a hard night out.
Best for Location: Grand Hotel Napoca
This full service hotel is a short walk across the river to both the Untold Festival and the shuttle to Electric Castle. It’s also right in between the beautiful Central Park of Cluj and the small Centrauil Hill which provides some nice vistas of the city. The hotel itself is fairly basic, but is usually sold out and filled with fellow festies during events.
Best for Luxury: Hotel Platinia
This brand new addition to Cluj on the site of the former Ursus Brewery is an informal all-suite hotel attached to a shopping center. We like it for its close proximity to the festivals and the spacious suites along with the elegant design.
Where to Recover
There is no shortage of cafes, bars, and coffee shops where you can fuel up with energy before another night out in Transylvania. Here’s a few of our recommendations:
Enigma Cafe & Secret Garden
Packed during this evening, this theme-punk restaurant is much quieter during the afternoon where you can easily lose a couple hours sipping on coffee drinks or cocktail in the secret garden patio.
After strolling the main drag in the morning, make sure to swing by Narcoffee. It’s a comfortable, hip, hip spot with well versed baristas ready to make your caffeine dreams come true.
Just a bit outside the city center, you’ll lose track of time in this haven of psychedelic chill. Each of the three rooms has a different theme, complete with hookas and cushions for lounging on the floor. If it’s a nice day, the garden out back is a comfortable and cozy spot.
Where to Eat
Located all across the city, this local chain features toppings like melted Gorgonzola and chopped prosciutto grilled to perfection. It’s affordable, quick, and filling with plenty of options for vegetarians.
Not content with just tea and chilling, Samsara also has this casual restaurant closer to town that serves vegetarian, vegan, and raw-vegan, and after five days of Electric Castle your body needs a healthy meal.
On the opposite end of healthy is Mama Manu. I’m not going to tell this is the best late night spot in town, but when it’s 5am and your body craves shawarma, you’ll be happy that this joint is open twenty-four hours.
Where to Festival
Electric Castle Festival 2023
July 19-23, 2023
In just a few years years, Electric Castle has already become one of Romania’s most successful fests. Held under the shadow of the five century old Banffy Castle and surrounded by the rolling green hills of the Romanian countryside, EC still maintains the semblance of a much smaller fest. The lineup is designed to please, with artists performing mainstream EDM, hip-hop, reggae, drum & bass, metal, and indie rock. -100 Nights of Summer
Featured Artists: Eats Everything, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, George Ezra, Iggy Pop, Nothing But Thieves, Peggy Gou, Pendulum, Rezz, Tash Sultana, The Chemical Brothers
Untold Festival 2023
August 3-5, 2023
The Untold Festival of Romania unfolds another chapter this summer in the charming city of Cluj. The heart of Untold is the open air Cluj Arena where international superstar electronic headliners play sets until the sun comes up. The soul of the festival lives in Central Park, a shady expanse of trees and grass filled with hammocks, small stages, and art.
Featured Artists: Alesso, Amelie Lens, Armin Van Buuren, Boris Brejcha, David Guetta, Dixon, Imagine Dragons, Kshmr, Marco Carola, Martin Garrix