Come ride Ferris wheels. Or maybe paddle around the lake. Oh, and did I also mention this is all happening 400 feet underground?
Life in Romania means castles, gorgeous waterfalls, WWII history and pretzels filled with raspberries and chocolate. It’s pretty dreamy, right? But it’s also full of hidden gems like this underground amusement park. Oh yeah, you read that right.
Thinking about living abroad or even volunteering in Eastern Europe in places like Romania? Do just that as an ILP volunteer — come fill out an application!
Yep, when you’re on vacation as an ILP volunteer at a Romanian Orphanage, you’ll be able to vacation to Turda and see something you’ll never be able to see anywhere else: An enormous salt mine (hundreds of feet underground) with an amusement park at the very bottom, AKA the coolest weekend adventure.
Want to see it for yourself? Here’s what you need to know:
- Things To Do In The Mine
- How Much Does It Cost?
- Where Is It? + Tips On Getting There
- Stay At This Hostel
Things To Do In The Mine
Ride The Ferris Wheel
Like we said, this is a theme park, just in a salt mine. The mine was officially used for about 400 years to mine salt, but scholars thing it’s been around since 1271 or so. It was also used to store cheese and as a bomb shelter during WWII but now you can ride a Ferris wheel at the bottom of this historic mine!
And Rent Some Paddle Boats
Yep, there’s also an underground lake, where you can rent paddle boats and explore the caverns on your own. If that doesn’t quite sound like you’re cup of tea, try out the golf course, the ping pong tables, a bowling alley, the play ground or the sports field.
Before you take the elevator down to have all that fun, you'll need to get a view like this from the very top — This place is unreal.
How Much Does It Cost?
This place is open year round and will cost you about 15 lei (or around $4) for students or 30 lei for regular price. That’s it! Not a bad price to see something you’ll only see once in your life, right?
The other attractions (like the mini golf, bowling, ferris wheel, etc) will have a small fee associated; if you're on a budget, it's still worth going into the salt mine and just not riding all of the rides.
Where Is It?
You’ll need to travel to Turda, Romania which is in the northwest part of the country. Basically that’s boring talk to say it’s about a 6 hour drive from Iasi (which is also a cool city with lots to do ... where our ILP volunteers live!)
Get To Cluj Napoca
From Iasi, volunteers typically take a bus to Cluj Napoca (which takes about 8-9 hours); Volunteers usually spend a day in Cluj, then take the 20 minute mini bus from Cluj to Turda, then spend the rest of their time in Cluj before going back to Iasi.
See bus routes and average prices from Iasi to Cluj here. (Tickets are around 20 Euro)
The Turda Salt Mine makes for a really fun day trip, so it's nice to also have a fun city like Cluj nearby to spend most of your time in, since it takes a while to get there via bus.
Take a bus from Cluj to Turda
Your hostel in Cluj should be able to help you out, but if not, there is a mini bus (a FANY bus) that picks up passengers here: the corner of Piaţa cel Ştefan Mare and Strada Ion I. C. Brătianu. It's an unmarked bus stop, so be sure you're on a bus to Turda.
As the driver "Turda" and pay a 7 Lei fee. The ride is short (around 25 minute) then you'll need to head to the mine; you should see white signs pointing your way, or feel free to ask around.
Stay At This Hostel
ILP volunteers in the past recommend staying at The Helga Hotel in Turda. It's hard to find so have an address and there's nosign (it’s in someone's apartment) so be sure to look closely at the house numbers to make sure you're in the right place.
Been thinking about volunteering in the Romanian orphanage? Come volunteer with ILP! You’ll be helping in an orphanage and apartments to help give kids that one-on-one attention they need — you’ll be making a difference in more ways than one, that’s for sure.
Click that green button to find out a little more: