It has only been in the last few years that I started to discover the main attractions in Sibiu. I used to associate the area more with the summer holidays, with running through the gardens, and with people dear to me, and less with the city’s landmarks and attractions. Since I had grandparents from close to Sibiu and cousins that were spread out through the beautiful villages in Marginime, I used to spend part of my summer holidays visiting them, but avoiding the city.
Later, when I started to visit the area on my own, I also stopped by the city center and discovered an old, well-maintained Sibiu city, which made me feel like I was somewhere in Western Europe. Since then the place has developed substantially and has become an important center for tourism in Transylvania. For me, it remains the most beautiful city in Romania. There are many things to do in Sibiu which have also convinced others to unofficially give it this title.
How to get to Sibiu?
You probably think that landing at Sibiu airport is the best option to arrive here. And it is, but unfortunately flights to Sibiu are not so often. Another option is to land in Bucharest and come from Bucharest to Sibiu by train. It can take a lot of hours, so probably it is better to come by car. There is also a daily flight from Bucharest to Sibiu if you prefer flying. From Sibiu airport to the city center it is better to go by bus or you can order a taxi.
Hotels in Sibiu Romania
If you want to stay for a few days, some good hotels in Sibiu that will host you overnight are:
You can find even more hotels and B&B in Sibiu here:
Top things to do in Sibiu Romania:
Walk on Nicolae Balcescu Pedestrian Street
Nicolae Balcescu connects the main Boulevard that runs through Sibiu (the road which comes from Bucharest and continues to Alba Iulia) with the old city. On each side of the pedestrian street, in front of the houses from the olden days, restaurants’ terraces invite guests to delicious lunches or at least for a drink to cool down. Sprinkled between the terraces, a few well-known shops (Zara, H&M) are designed in such a way as to not ruin the urban landscape and its medieval look. I may not have made it to the other Sibiu attractions each time I was there, but I never once missed a stroll along this street whenever we stopped in the area.
What to do in Sibiu: Explore Piata Mare (Big Square)
The pedestrian street opens onto the Piata Mare (Big Square), the place where all the best-known events in Sibiu take place, a true tourist magnet. (The Sibiu Theater Festival, the Christmas Market). In the center of the cobblestone square lies the grilled fountain, a copy of the one from the 15th century which was demolished in the communist period. If you go right up to the fountain and take a look around the entire square, you will see, in the following order, the Brukenthal Palace, the City Hall, the Roman Catholic Church, the Council Tower, and the historic houses which now house shops, banks, pharmacies. If you feel like you are being looked at too, know that the sensation comes from the windows built into these houses’ roofs, narrow windows known as ‘Sibiu’s eyes’.
Visit Sibiu & enjoy art in Brukenthal Museum
Romania’s first art museum, the Brukenthal Museum houses a collection of art pieces in the palace with the same name. The palace was built by Baron Samuel Brukenthal in the 18th century in baroque style. He was the man who signed a testament, declaring that the building would become a public museum, since he was an art lover. Sculptures, paintings, and rooms with old furniture can be admired there. Those who are unsure about whether or not to go inside can take a virtual tour of the Brukenthal Museum on the official website. Under the patronage of the Brukenthal Museum, you not only find the art collection of the Brukenthal Palace, but also other museums in Sibiu: the Natural History Museum, the Pharmacy Museum, etc. More information about them can also be found on the official website.
Go up in the Council Tower
One of the best places to visit in Sibiu is the Council Tower for the view of Piata Mare (Big Square). The climb up into the tower starts through a narrow door opening onto the Piata Mica Square and once you reach the top floor you have a 360 degree view over the entire city: old houses with red-tiled roofs at the foot of the tower, tall apartment buildings towards the city’s outskirts, and further still, the green of the fields and the white of the Carpathian Mountain crests. Thankfully, the Council Tower is not the only one in the city to offer such views.
Eat local in Piata Mica (Small square) of Sibiu and step on the Bridge of Lies
Once you come down from the tower, and even if you have no idea what it is, you will automatically be drawn to the bridge with wrought iron rails and decorated with blooming geraniums. It’s the Bridge of Lies, a symbol of the city of Sibiu. It’s the oldest wrought iron bridge in Romania and according to one of the legends its name comes from the lovers that used to come here and make each other promises, many of which were lies.
However, on your way to the bridge you will walk through the Piata Mica (Small Square) surrounded by colourful houses, historic buildings (the Luxembourg House), and restaurants with local and international cuisine. Here you will find some of the best restaurants in Sibiu. From here, if you go to the left, you can arrive at the Evangelic Church and further still, at Huet Square.
What to see in Sibiu: Admire the Evangelic Church of Sibiu
The Evangelic Church of Sibiu, completed in the 16th century, is a gothic-style construction. The Sibiu Cathedral can be visited on the inside, but for those who want a real adventure, the Evangelic Church’s tower is worth a climb. I only climbed the tower once and it was the first time in my life when I immediately got sore muscles from how tense I was. The wooden staircase was not very stable, its handrail was dirty with pigeon excrements, and through the stairs you could see the floor below, three stories below. So, I used all my energy to control my legs in order to keep my balance. Once above, the ringing of the church bells was deafening, but the view of the city at our feet was worth the effort.
See a famous house in Huet Square
All around the Evangelic Cathedral a small and very stylish square, the Huet Square, is surrounded by the Brukenthal School on one side and on the other side by a café overlooking the red roofs of the houses. Directly next to the café is another famous house: the Craftmen’s House (Casa Calfelor). They are independent craftsmen on a journey of at least two years in order to become specialized in their trade. They have shelters in four cities in Europe (Sibiu, Rügen, Neustadt, and Leipzig). Their typical clothing helps to identify them in a crowd, while the purpose of their trip is to perfect their skills in their craft.
Get lost on the Stairs Passage
Passing the Journeymen’s House you can descend through the Stairs Tower down to the Stairs Street. From the bottom of the stairs towards the left, you reach another Sibiu attraction: the Stair Passage. It’s one of my favourite places in the city thanks to the medieval atmosphere and the excellent photos you can take here.
Follow the Fortification System
On the southeastern side of the old town, in the Fortress Park, you can see a part of the defense system of the city of Sibiu: the Fat Tower, the Potters’ Tower, the Harquebusier Tower. Walking along the wall you can feel a part of the history of this medieval city. Remnants of the fortification system can also be found on the other side of the old town. In fact, they include the Stairs Passage and Tower.
Go back in time in the Astra Museum of Sibiu
Only a few kilometers from the city center, on the road that takes you up to Paltinis, you can visit the largest open-air museum in Europe: the ASTRA National Museum Complex. It houses an impressive collection of traditional houses, wooden objects, and even windmills. It is like a huge park that we spent half a day walking through without getting bored. The visit can be made (depending on Sibiu weather) with a horse and carriage or in the winter with a horse-drawn sleigh, but we enjoyed the stroll.
There are probably many other things to see in Sibiu, but these are the ones we visit almost every time. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like Sibiu. It suffices to come here once and you will want to return. Sibiu touches your heart and does not let go. You can’t get enough of it no matter how many times you come to visit!
But once you’ve seen it, you will realize it is a good base to explore other cities in Transylvania as day trips from Sibiu (Alba Iulia, Cluj Napoca, Sighisoara or Targu Mures). You read more about what to do in Targu Mures here. Or you can just visit the places around Sibiu(Cisnadioara, Calnic, Sibiel, etc). There you can understand why everybody is mesmerized by Transylvania.
If you want to enjoy Sibiu to the fullest, choose one of our private tours or ask for a custom made offer here.
Private tours to Sibiu: