If you are visiting Cluj-Napoca in Romania it’s highly likely you’ve heard of or seen photos of the Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda). Found just outside of Cluj-Napoca, the Turda Salt Mine is incredibly impressive and a very unique experience. In fact, Turda Salt Mine has even been listed as one of 35 unbelievable travel destinations by Business Insider and is still one of those real ‘hidden gems’ that hasn’t been discovered by Instagram yet. Ready to know more? Read on to learn how to get to Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) from Cluj-Napoca in Romania.
What is the Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda)?
Turda Salt Mine (or Salina Turda in Romania) was once exactly as the name suggests – a salt mine in Turda. Operational as a salt mine for an extensive period of time, the Turda Salt Mine ceased mining operations in the 1930s. Before becoming the tourist attraction known today it was used as a bomb shelter in World War II and storage space. In the 1990s the mine was transformed and turned into the underground theme park/amusement park attracting visitors each year.
Where is the Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda)?
The Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) is found about 6km outside of Turda and about 35km outside of Cluj-Napoca in the Cluj Country region of Romania. You can find the exact spot of Salina Turda on Google Maps here. Due to its proximity to Cluj-Napoca (which is also home to an international airport), it is relatively easy to get to.
How to get to the Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) from Cluj-Napoca?
There are multiple options available to you to get to Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) from Cluj-Napoca. You can visit Turda Salt Mine by day tour (see a few options here), by your own car/hire car, by taking a taxi or by the bus. If you don’t have your own car, the bus is a very easy, convenient and well-priced option to take you from Cluj-Napoca to the Turda Salt Mine and back again. This is the way that I visited Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) from Cluj-Napoca and based on my experience, would recommend this way.
Cluj-Napoca to Turda bus timetable
The Cluj-Napoca to Turda bus route is served by Alis Grup buses. Their website is in Romanian but your computer should translate it for you. The bus timetable is very frequent, which is a real plus as you don’t have to overly plan your day to fit a specific bus schedule. When I visited, the bus travelled between Cluj-Napoca and Turda every 20 minutes with the journey taking approximately 35-40 minutes. On weekends, the bus travels every 30 minutes. You can find the most up to date schedule here and please do check the schedule before travelling in case anything has changed.
Where is the bus stop in Cluj-Napoca
The bus stop to get to Turda from Cluj-Napoca is found here: Piața Mihai Viteazu 9-10, Cluj-Napoca 400036 (or you can click on this Google Maps link for its exact location). When I visited I contacted the Cluj-Napoca tourism board via email as the Alis Grup website only has the general area of the bus stop not its exact point (which is confusing as it’s slightly around the corner from where it’s advertised on the Alis Grup website!). It is not where the regular Cluj-Napoca buses depart from but around the corner from this spot. I arrived in Cluj-Napoca the day before I visited Turda Salt Mine so I was sure to suss out the bus stop location ahead of time.
Cluj-Napoca to Turda Bus Tickets
Buy your bus tickets directly from the driver with cash. Due to rising inflation bus tickets are increasing quite a lot so this pricing may already change by the time you visit, but when I visited in September 2022 it was 16 lei (about $4.80AUD) each way (32 lei for a return trip). It is a mini bus that takes you to and from Turda and was very clean. When I visited there weren’t too many people on the bus and no one had to stand or miss the bus – although, if you do get a busy day you only have to wait 20 minutes for the next bus which is great.
How to get to Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda) from Turda
The Cluj-Napoca to Turda bus takes approximately 35-40 minutes. You will be dropped off in a main area of Turda. The bus stop for the returning bus to Cluj-Napoca is directly across the road. The approximate location is found on Google Maps here.
I had read different blogs online about how you can get a local bus to Turda Salt Mine or catch a taxi but i found a better option in the end (keep reading). For those who want to get a taxi there were a lot of taxis waiting near the bus stops when I arrived in September; however, in fear of getting ripped off and wanting to pay by card I opted to try and get an Uber as online Uber had said that they service Turda. However, in practice I found that they did not as I couldn’t get an Uber ride (it just kept looking for a driver but not finding one). In hindsight, I am glad because in my opinion an Uber, taxi or bus is not required to get from Turda to Turda Salt Mine as one of the entrances is not very far away from Turda at all.
If you look on Google Maps it will show you the main entrance to Turda Salt Mine as this here. However, Turda Salt Mine actually has two entrances – a ‘new’ entrance and an ‘old’ entrance. The new entrance is further away from Turda town (and is the one that is pictured on Google Maps) and the old entrance is much closer to the Turda town (you can see its location on Google Maps here). The old entrance is also the best spot to enter Turda Salt Mine for those with accessibility needs (you can read about the two entrances on the Turda Salt Mine official website). It is a lot easier to get to Turda Salt Mine ‘old’ entrance from Turda (which is about a 15 minute walk) than to get to Turda Salt Mine ‘new’ entrance from Turda (which is about an hour walk)
As mentioned above, from where the Alis Grup bus drops you at Turda to the Turda Salt Mine old entrance is an approximately 15 minute walk (Google Maps directions here). This walk is flat, mostly a straight line and is through the Turda suburbs.
The old entrance to the Turda Salt Mine includes bathrooms, a shop and a small cafe to get a drink.
It is important to note that this entrance will take you into an approximately 1km tunnel to the main section of the Turda Salt Mine so you do still need to do some walking when you arrive; however, I found this a much more enjoyable and faster alternative than it would have been walking to the Salina Turda new entrance.
How to get to Cluj-Napoca?
Cluj-Napoca is found in the Transylvanian region in northwest Romania. It is highly accessible by bus, car, train and airport serving both domestic and international flights. Popular routes include flying in from across Europe (Wizz Air for your budget airline needs!) and driving or catching the train or bus from Brasov, Bucharest and Budapest. Personally, I caught the train from Brasov to Cluj-Napoca and bought my tickets online here (you can change the website language to English).
To note about visiting the Turda Salt Mine
The Turda Salt Mine has often uneven floors and is quite slippery with salt and a little bit of water on the floor. The stairs are quite small however, there are elevators available.
The extra attractions (such as the ferris wheel and boat rides) cost more than your entry ticket. The attractions all look fun but don’t expect a full on theme park like we get above ground. You can find out more about the attractions on offer here. The attractions in Turda Salt Mine only accept cash (I can’t image they can get eftpos signal down there!); however, the cafe at the Turda Salt Mine old entrance did accept card.
I didn’t partake in the extra attractions (although the ferris wheel and boat ride both looked great!) and I spent about 70 minutes at Turda Salt Mine. While the Turda Salt Mine is quite expansive it is a relatively small area to explore. I would say that it is unlikely you’ll spend more than 2.5 hours there in total so if you visit in the morning, it’s unlikely you will be there for the whole day.
A working phone will be your saving grace. This is both for Google Maps (just a lot easier to ensure you’re heading the right way and when to know when to get off the bus!) and Google Translate. I found that English was relatively rare in Romania and Google Translate really helped even if it was asking bus drivers where the return bus stop was or making sure you’re on the right bus. My overall impression of Romanians have been that most will try their best to help you even if they don’t speak English, which is great – so if you’re lost, just ask!
Enjoy your visit to the Salina Turda – Turda Salt Mine!
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