As you already may know, Cluj-Napoca is the 2nd biggest city in Romania. One of Romania’s most notable destinations is Salina Turda, an underground amusement park that was converted from a decommissioned salt mine.
Guide To Visiting Salina Turda Romania
To get to Salina Turda Romania, the closest airport is Cluj-Napoca. From there, it’s a 40-minute drive to get to the underground amusement park.
I only spent two nights in Cluj so I didn’t get to completely see the city. It was difficult to find tours in English and activities within the city were limited. This was because the Turda Salina area has very little tourism from people outside of Romania. My main objective to visiting Cluj-Napoca was to see Salina Turda Romania.
The adventure was inspired a few months before I got to the Salina Turda amusement park when I saw a picture of the place on a Twitter post. After a little bit of research, I found out Romania was a very budget friendly place for a frugal traveler like me.
In the summer, I found myself in Malta and found from there, a super cheap flight from Malta was available.
When going through immigration in Cluj-Napoca, the immigration officer asked:
- IO: “How long are you staying?”
- Dan: “2 nights in Cluj, 4 nights in Constanta and 4 nights in Bucharest.”
- IO: “Reason for visiting?”
- Dan: “Salina Turda amusement park.”
- IO: *Looks Confused*
Followed by an intimidating stare and a moment of hesitation, he stamped my passport and I left the airport. I guess the immigration officer wasn’t that impressed by my answer. It’s like:
- IO: “Reason for visiting America?”
- Dan: “Denny’s American Cuisine.”
Definitely be ready for those questions. This just happened to me in Ireland and I wasn’t very prepared so I told them “Guinness Beer.”
Turda Salina Back Story
In 2009, the Romanian government decided to create an underground amusement park and health facility from an unused salt mine. That place is Salina Turda Romania, located 40 minutes outside of Cluj, Romania.
How To Get to Salina Turda Amusement Park
If you’re looking for how to get to Salina Turda, You have several options: You can take a public bus from Cluj. It might be a little difficult because the public transportation system isn’t very straightforward and it’s not in English. Uber is available in the city if you’d like to just be driven there and taxis are also an option. The price each way was estimated at $30USD at the time I was there (July 2018). BUT, I had a better solution!
To get to Salina Turda Romania, You have several options:
- You can take a public bus from Cluj. It might be a little difficult because the public transportation system isn’t very straightforward and it’s not in English.
- Uber is available in the city if you’d like to just be driven there and taxis are also an option. The price each way was estimated at $30USD at the time I was there (July 2018).
- Private tour and car for $92.50USD which included going all the way to Alba Iulia
I went with the private tour because they were able to cater a tour specifically for my schedule. It was especially awesome because we got to the Salina Turda Amusement Park right when they opened and it wasn’t filled with other tourists yet!
Booking A Private Tour In Cluj Napoca, RomaniaT
Tour Price: I booked a private tour for 370RON ($92.50) to Salina Turda and Alba Iulia which worked out perfectly for my schedule. I was flying to Constanta at 6:30pm and they catered to my schedule to start the tour at 8am and end by 4pm.
I booked via Cluj Guided Tours. You just have to contact them about the type of tour and they can get back to you with a price. This was the first private tour I’ve done and it was the best experience since everything was at my pace (fast!). Lorena was my guide and it was like traveling with a friendly local showing you all the best sites.
Tips For Visiting Salina Turda Amusement Park
Most critical tip: Bring a jacket! It’s very cold in the underground amusement park at about 50F (10C). I went during summer and didn’t expect it to be cold, but my guide insisted that I would need one. I’m glad I took that advice.
Food/Beverages: Drinks and snacks are not available for purchase in the underground amusement park to prevent any trash build up. You can find stalls that sell food, drinks and souvenirs around the parking lot on the ground level.
Restrooms: Restrooms are available at ground level and waaaayyyy below ground. Real restrooms too!
Entrance Fee: 30RON ($7.50USD) for a day pass to turda salina underground theme park.
Timing is Everything: How To Avoid The Large Tour Groups
Salina Turda theme park is probably the biggest tourist spot in Cluj. Locals also show up for the natural healing properties of the salty air. This causes the place to be very crowded. They open at 9am and with my private tour, we arrived at the entrance at 9:05am with no line to get in to the underground theme park.
Tour buses of people started arriving at 10am. Lots of people! Getting to freely walk around the underground theme park was an absolute pleasure since there were no crowds. The pathways underground can be difficult to walk around when there are too many people.
Entering The Underground Theme Park
After purchasing your ticket, your journey begins by walking down a staircase to the top level of the salt mine. From there, you can see from a very far distance the bottom of the salt mine and you can play with the echos in a sound chamber.
Along the way, you’ll see remnants turda salina salt extraction tools. Taking the salt to ground level was a very sophisticated process.
The salt blocks were huge and heavy!
From that floor, you walk down several flights of stairs to get to the observatory deck. Here you can get a good look of the theme park. There’s an elevator to take you down if you don’t want to take the long journey of steps to the underground theme park level.
I descended to the theme park level by taking the staircase. It was probably 10 minutes of going down a narrow staircase. It can be a little dangerous since some steps are very steep and slippery. Be very careful! There’s no hospital at the bottom.
Salina Turda Theme Park Activities
Congratulations! Hopefully you have made it to the ground level. As you’ll immediately notice, it’s cold! I hope you’re not tired from the hike because there is no food or drinks available for purchase.
Most people come here just to hang out and take in the salty air for the health benefits. But you can also have fun:
- Ferris wheel
- Mini Golf
- Table Tennis
- Sports Field
- Your band could play at Salina Turda theme park for 300RON ($75 USD). Or you could spend an hour workshopping your Romanian stand-up comedy.
All the prices for the Salina Turda theme park activities are very affordable.
The Lake in the Underground Amusement Park
Just one level below the amusement park is a small lake! Here you can rent boats or just hang out. It’s extremely dark down there so they’ve lit it up with a very interesting sculptures.
The boats require paddles and a life vest. Don’t drink the water.
Salina Turda Theme Park Dangers
If you take a look at the ceiling, you’ll see stalactites, spears made of salt, hanging above you. This can be very dangerous so they’ve cleared up the stalactites above all the walking paths in Salina Turda theme park. They have restricted the areas that have not been cleared up so you don’t get hurt.
Turda Salina Health Benefits
You’ll want to hang out at turda salina for a few hours due to the salty air health benefits. The activities are designed to keep you having fun and engaged with something as time passes. Since I was on a time crunch, I kept the visit to 90 minutes.
From Organic Spa Magazine:
The benefits of salt therapy are wide-ranging. Salt levels affect our cell activity, energy and blood sugar levels. A natural disinfectant, salt is antimicrobial, and antibacterial. Salt comes in empty processed forms or healthier pure sea salt (Himalayan and Dead Sea salt) that contain 84 elements and trace elements found in the human body. Dry salt air is more powerful than moist air.
The negatively charged ions in salt improve our health and mood. Inhaling particles may reduce inflammation and mucus in the lungs, improving respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinus congestion and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Scientific studies show that people with asthma and other ailments breath easier after halotherapy.
Turda Town: The Town Next To Salina Turda
The closest town to Salina Turda underground amusement park is Turda. From the official website, they have a resort associated to the theme park, but it’s not in the same location. The resort has a spa, pool and wellness center.
I skipped Turda town and stayed in the main city of Cluj. Turda is a very small town and I thought I’d get bored too quickly. It’s a great place to escape from the big city to experience that small town life.
The fastest way to get to turda salina is fly in to Cluj-Napoca, Romania then drive 40 minutes away from the city and take a 20 minute hike underground. It’s a long journey to go to an underground theme park and it might not be for everyone, but I’m glad I did.
There’s 3 ways to get to Salina Turda theme park from Cluj: Bus, Uber or Private tour. Bus is definitely the cheapest option, but the least convenient. I went with a private tour but that included Alba Iulia and a few other stops which were 2 hours away from Cluj.
Even if it’s hot outside, it’s going to be 50F (10C) in the underground amusement park. Bring a jacket! They don’t sell jackets around there, but they do sell snacks and souvenirs.
I found the Romanian people to be very friendly and the country felt pretty safe. It’s an affordable place to visit, but I found that traditional Romanian food isn’t very good. That led me to eating at KFC in Romania for some flavor.
Salina Turda Underground Theme Park Location
Address: Aleea Durgăului 7, Turda 401106, Romania
Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 Daily