The manicured gardens and orchards of this 17th-century fortress once gave it the nickname ‘Transylvania’s Versailles’. The aristocratic Bánffy family once resided between these thick walls; but where once stood ornate windows and stucco, today you see only exposed brick and cracked stone awaiting restoration. There’s a pleasant cafe tucked into the back of the complex. In summer, it hosts Electric Castle festival.
WWII was cruel to the castle: the long-resident Bánffy family had fled, and the castle’s renowned library and archive was lost when the retreating German army set fire to its main buildings. Locals looted what remained, and the buildings assumed less glamorous uses (such as storage) thereafter. Slow, painstaking restoration works have been in motion since 1999.
There are buses from Cluj-Napoca to Bonţida (6 lei, one hour, three daily), while trains reach the station 3km north of the castle (4.50 lei, 45 minutes, five daily).