Last weekend we went to Cluj and on Saturday we had a road trip in the Cluj and Salaj districts in search of some beautiful places, 100% authentic Romanian culture and nature. Our first stop was the Banffy Castle, in the Bontida village, 30 km far from Cluj, in the direction of Dej.

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The Banffy Castle, built in 1543 is called the Versailles of Transylvania and belongs to the Banffy family, an old Hungarian family that lived in the area. It is one of the most important castles in Romania from the baroque style. Since it was in a very precarious condition, restoration work has started in 1999. So far there isn’t too much change from the way it originally looked, but things are looking quite promising. The former kitchen block was first restored and now it is a café open for all the visitors.

Before entering the gate of the castle I wasn’t expecting too much of the visit, but when I passed the gated and had a quick glance at everything that was there, I understood why it’s called the Versailles of Transylvania.

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The castle is huge, I am trying to imagine who it would look when it will be fully restored, but I can’t. Green grass all around, a small terrace to enjoy a coffee, a lake somewhere in the back… we kept saying ‘Wow’ at every step we took.

We only spent about half an hour to see the castle, but we enjoyed it, as it seemed that we were the only visitors. The entry fee is 3 RON (~0.8 EUR) and it is open every day from 9.00 to 20.00. Occasionally there are concerts (this Saturday there was a piano concert), movie projections and soon there will be an electronic music festival going on  in the lovely garden of the castle.

From Cluj Napoca go on road E576 in the direction of Dej and turn right on road DJ161 when entering the village Bontida. From there you will have signs telling you the directions to the castle.

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