Not sure what to do in Sibiu, Romania? Don’t worry, we were in your shoes once.
Ever since Sibiu became the European Capital of Culture in 2007, tourism has started rapidly increasing. What was once one of the best hidden gems of Romania is now becoming a top tourist destination in Europe.
With such sophisticated history and interesting architecture, exploring Sibiu without a guide can be difficult.
That is why we have written this blog post on the 17 best things to do in Sibiu Romania, especially if you are visiting for the first time!
What To Do In Sibiu: 17 Best Things To Do In Sibiu, Romania
1. Visit Piata Mare, The Large Square Of Sibiu
The Large Square (or Piata Mare in Romanian) is the most important landmark in Sibiu. Inside every medieval town is a huge space where gatherings occurred, executions are held, and among other important occasions.
Fortunately, nowadays you won’t find any executions, but a massive square surrounded by some of the most important historical buildings in Sibiu, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, the Brukenthal Palace, and the Council Tower.
The Large Square of Sibiu is one of my favorite places to people-watch. Grab a cup of coffee from a local roastery and get comfortable on one of the numerous benches, and watch as Romanian daily lives unfold in front of your eyes.
Strike up a conversation with the friendly locals, and learn about what it is like to live in an idyllic city like Sibiu. Sibiu is filled with history that can only be told by the ones that live there!
2. Check Out Piata Mica, The Little Square Of Sibiu
Adjacent to the Large Square of Sibiu is the Small Square (A+ for creatively right?), an area where trade was historically conducted. Though given the name “Small Square”, it is not small by any means.
Nowadays this area has become one of the best areas of food, featuring numerous top-notch bars and restaurants serving a diverse selection of cuisines.
One of our favorite things to do in Sibiu is sipping chilled wine in the outdoor seating of a restaurant, admiring the stunning baroque architecture and creepy eyes on the roof of these buildings. It is no wonder why Sibiu is also called “Seebiu” and “The City With Eyes”.
Strada Ocnei (Ocnei Street) starts in the Little Square and connects the Lower Town of Sibiu with the Upper Town, perfect for anyone that wants to go for a stroll after a meal!
3. Visit The Transfagarasan Highway, The Best Driving Road In The World
Though not located inside the city of Sibiu, a trip to the Transfagarasan Highway is a must on any Romania itinerary.
Known as the best driving road in the entire world, the Transfagarasan Road was made famous after a popular Top Gear episode filmed in Romania. The sharp twists and turns that slope along the southern parts of the Carpathian Mountains are not only fun for driving, but they also make for the perfect photo.
If you are doing a Romania road trip (which we highly recommend), then the Tranfsgarasan Highway is only a 1.5-hour drive away. Out of the other popular places to visit in Romania (Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj, and etc), Sibiu is the closest city to the Transfagarasan Highway.
If you decide to rent a car, make sure you have the proper documentation to drive in Romania. Though renting a car in Romania is usually cheap, you can’t drive it if you don’t have the proper documents.
The Transfagarasan Highway measures a total of 90 kilometers, and not every section of the road is stunning. The most beautiful place to see this marvelous man-made structure is the Balea Lake, a stunning glacier lake at the top of the Carpathian Mountains.
Here you will also find the famous Ice Hotel as well as many local street vendors selling traditional Romanian food and handicrafts!
Day tours to the Transfagarsan Highway can be found in Sibiu. Just ask your accommodation they should be able to set you up! Alternatively, if you do decide to visit Bucharest, the day tours from Bucharest tend to be more popular (though it is farther away).
4. The Council Tower, Best Place For Sightseeing In Sibiu
The ~45-meter tall Council Tower is one of the most important buildings in Sibiu. Nestled in between the Large Square and Small Square of Sibiu, the Council Tower served as a defense tower in historic times. Nowadays, it is a tourist attraction in Sibiu that offers stunning views of the Old Town.
Though it was originally built in the 12th century, the tower has been rebuilt many times, each time with a slightly different look than the previous. The current model was constructed in the 19th century.
The entrance fee is 2 lei (less than 1 Euro), but the catch is the over 100 steps of stairs you need to reach the observation deck at the top. Since we were dying to do some hiking in Romania (after the stunning hike in Rimetea), it was a nice warm-up for us. If you have mobility issues, then the spiral staircase might be a bit cramped.
From time to time, art exhibitions also happen in the Council Tower. Anyone who has paid for the entrance can get an outstanding view and enjoy an art exhibition!
5. Learn About Romanian Heritage at ASTRA National Museum Complex
If you want to learn more about the heritage or culture of Romania, ASTRA National Museum Complex is a place you must visit in Sibiu.
Located 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) south of Sibiu, the ASTRA National Museum Complex is easily accessible by walking, car, tram, or buses. The museum occupies a total area of 0.96 square kilometers (0.37 square miles) and is the biggest outdoor museum in Romania and one of the biggest in the world.
Pre-industrial traditional folklore houses are showcased in this complex. With over 300 buildings and two artificial lakes, the informational museum is pristine for learning about the Romanian traditional ways of life.
The rural setting of the museum sets the perfect tone for historical Romania, and even a stroll there is pleasant. Don’t miss the antiquated windmills on the western side of the museum. They are seriously cool!
Because the museum is huge, you can easily spend a few hours or even a day here. Inside the museums are several eateries and a bar ready to replenish you to keep you going.
6. Visit The Lutheran Cathedral Of Saint Mary And Climb The Watchtower
If you are looking for a panoramic view of Sibiu, you might think about going to the Council Tower.
Here is an insider tip: The watchtower at the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary offers a much better view at a higher vantage point than the Council Tower.
At close to 70 meters above the ground, the beautiful buildings of Sibiu dominate the landscape and create one of the most impressive views I have seen in Romania.
To get to the lookout tower, you must take a guided tour of the place. When we visited, the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary was under renovation, and only parts of it were open to the public. We could’ve imagined how amazing it would’ve been to see the main hall.
The guided tour is run by a member of the church, and he or she will first tell you the interesting history and significance of the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary.
Afterward, the guide will lead you to the top of the lookout tower. The path to the top was interesting, as there were parts of the wooden structure that had steel reinforcement because it was too weak. It is impressive how some parts of the church are so well-preserved!
7. The Bridge Of Lies, An Iconic Place To Visit In Sibiu
As the first cast-iron bridge built in Romania (second in Europe), the Bridge of Lies is a symbol of Sibiu. The 10-meter pedestrian street was rebuilt in 1859 by Friedrich Hütte to replace an old wooden bridge. Since this was the first bridge not built on pillars, it was called the lying bridge, or the bridge that lies.
Legends have it that is how the bridge has received its modern name, the Bridge of Lies.
Another popular legend on the origin of the name is that the bridge would creak and make a noise whenever someone is telling a lie on it. There are plenty of interesting legends surrounding this beautiful rustic bridge in the middle of the Little Square, and anyone visiting Sibiu must not miss this place of interest!
8. Take A Photo At The Picturesque Stairs Passage
Sibiu is not short of charming cobblestone streets, well-preserved historical buildings, and eye-catching architecture. If there is one place that exemplifies the beauty of Sibiu, it is the Stairs Passage.
The Stairs Passage is a short passage filled with historical fortification walls and arches. On one side of the passage is the 1st fortification wall built around Huet Square and the Upper Town, on the other side are charming buildings where you the deteriorating walls tell their own stories.
It is no wonder why this is one of the top places to visit in Sibiu.
Without a tour guide, you won’t get to fully appreciate the Stairs Passage. To be honest, we had to research what was its significance after we had seen it. Nevertheless, the Stairs Passage is a great spot to stroll by and take some photos!
9. Learn About Romanian Culture At Brukenthal National Museum
In the Large Square (Piata Mare) is one of the most stunning baroque-style buildings in Sibiu. This important landmark in Sibiu is the Brukenthal National Museum, the first public museum in Romania established by Samuel von Brukenthal in the late 18th century.
The Brukenthal National Museum is known as one of the best art galleries in Romania.
Featuring a variety of authentic medieval Transylvanian artwork, visitors can get a glimpse of medieval Romanian life through the over 1200 paintings from the 15th to 18th centuries. Flemish, Dutch, and Italian paints are also displayed here.
Because the Brukenthal National Museum is 6 museums put into one, there are varying prices for admission. For example, admission to the Romanian Art Gallery costs 12 lei and the European Gallery costs 20 lei. You can find more information about the admission costs and the different museums here.
Unfortunately, taking photos is not allowed inside the property.
10. The Goldsmith’s Stairway Tower, A Beautiful Tower & Passage In Sibiu
If you are looking to get away from the crowd, look no further. The Goldsmith’s Stairway Tower is one of the best hidden attractions in Sibiu.
Built in the 13th century as a pedestrian gate ower inside the second fortified precinct, the Goldensmth’s Stairway Passage is one small street with a lot of history. The date 1567 can be seen inside the archway when the tower was modified.
Sadly, besides strolling down the passageway and seeing the tower, there really isn’t much to do at the Goldsmith’s Stairway Tower. Its narrow passage gives off a very medieval vibe and makes for a great photo-taking opportunity.
11. Dine At One Of The Best Restaurants In Sibiu
If you are not sure of what to do in Sibiu, dining at one of Sibiu’s finest restaurants can never go wrong! With such a rich history and international influence, you can find any type of cuisines in Sibiu with amazing quality.
However, when you are in Sibiu, you must try one of the traditional Romanian restaurants, and there is no better place to do that than Crama Sibiul Vechi.
Crama Sibiul Vechi takes your dining experience to the next level. The moment you step in, you are greeted by a friendly staff who will lead you to your seat in a rustic traditional Romanian setting.
Though the prices can seem a bit high for Romania, the food is absolutely delicious. The polenta is a Romanian dish you must try here.
If you are lucky, you might get to enjoy a live performance of Romanian folk music. Combined with the mouth-watering meal, it is an experience you won’t forget!
12. Sibiu Christmas Market, One Of The Best Attractions In Sibiu
If you are planning on visiting Sibiu during Christmas, you cannot miss the world-famous Sibiu Christmas Market.
Starting in October, the entire Large Square (Piata Mare) prepares for the yearly Christmas Market. Starting with the fairy lights that span from the center of the square to the perimeter, Sibiu slowly transforms into a Christmas wonderland.
Hundred of local merchants set up shop in their traditional wooden cottages. Visitors will find traditional elements of a German Christmas market (because of the Transylvania Saxon influence) fused with Romanian touches.
Selling a wide variety of products such as mulled wine, local traditional cheese, popular native sweets such as the kurtoskalacs, wooden toys and decorations, and much more, the Sibiu Christmas Market is nothing but joy and excitement!
Though the Christmas Market occurs at a slightly different time every year, you can expect it to at full bloom from the middle of November to early January of next year!
13. Check Out The Old Fortifications In Sibiu
As one of the largest and wealthiest seven walled citadels built by the Transylvanian Saxons, it is not surprising that some of these old fortifications are still in place. In fact, parts of the medieval walls are still standing, and visitors can see that at the Citadel Park (Parcul Cetății).
Out of the 39 towers, five bulwarks, four gates, and five artillery batteries in Sibiu’s original fortification, four towers remain to this present day. They are the Harquebusiers Tower (Turnul Archebuzierilor), Potters Tower (Turnul Olarilor), Carpenters Tower (Turnul Dulgherilor), and the Thick Tower (Turnul Gros).
Since they are located on the City Wall, it is easy to reach all of them if you are not sure what to see in Sibiu.
14. Stroll Around The Lower Town Of Sibiu
Though most of the things to see in Sibiu are located in the Upper Town of Sibiu, you cannot miss the Lower Town of Sibiu as well. Where the Upper Town contains most of the landmarks, the Lower Town is home to well-preserved cobblestone streets and medieval houses.
Stroll down the Lower Town of Sibiu and you will inevitably fall in love with its rustic charm: The narrow streets, the exposed bricks in the buildings, locals going about their own business, the markets, and more.
Don’t forget to bring your travel camera!
Day Trips From Sibiu, Romania
1. Sighisoara, The Well-Preserved Walled Old Town
Similar to Sibiu, Sighisoara is one of the seven walled citadels built by the Saxons. Its well-preserved Old Town is a famous UNESCO Heritage Site, and visiting it is like stepping into a time machine.
The Transylvania Saxons had tremendous influence in Sighisoara when they settled here, bring with them valuable knowledge and skills. Sighisoara quickly thrived and became a popular trading post, giving the Saxon craftsmen more riches than they could imagine.
The craftsmen created as many as 15 craft guilds, and each guild was responsible for creating its own fortification to protect their riches. Many of those guild towers still remain in Sighisoara.
If you are visiting Sighisoara on a day trip, the one place you must not miss is the 13th century built Clock Tower (Turnul cu Ceas), a 64-meter high tower that served as the main tower in the fortification.
Looming over the medieval town, its presence can be felt as you walk down the old streets of Sighisoara. Nowadays, it is a museum and the most recognized landmark in Sighisoara.
2. Corvin Castle, One Of the Seven Wonders Of Romania
Located in Hunedoara in the western part of Romania, many travelers don’t visit Corvin Castle. Known as one of the Seven Wonders of Romania, Corvin Castle is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Romania.
Sitting on a rocky outcrop with only a wooden connecting bridge, the castle looks magical. The elegant orange and red hues of the castle coat the outer walls and the soaring turrets, and for a second you have to remind yourself that you are not in a fairytale.
As one of the biggest castles in Europe, exploring it can take a few hours. Wonder around the corridor and learn about the history and legends that surround this medieval Gothic-Renaissance architecture.
Because it is a 1.5-hour away from Sibiu, visiting Corvin Castle is at least a half-day activity. We recommend that you combine a visit to the Corvin Castle with Citadel Alba-Carolina, which we will talk about next.
3. Citadel Alba-Carolina, The Biggest Medieval Citadel in Romania
Many travelers visiting Romania do not know much about the Alba-Carolina Citadel.
That is a shame.
As the largest medieval citadel in Romania, the Alba-Carolina Citadel is a marvelous attraction in Romania. Prince Eugene of Savoy built the star-shaped fortress in the 18th century to fortify the defense of the newly conquered parts of the Habsburg Empire.
About an hour away, travelers can easily visit Alba-Carolina Citadel in Alba Iulia with a day trip from Sibiu. The admission to this giant fortress is free. However, there are museums inside the citadel that require an entrance fee.
To properly explore the historical place, the city has installed QR code at each point of interest in the citadel. By scanning the code, visitors can gain interesting historical information about the places they are seeing.
Bars, restaurants, gardens, and fountains are located inside the citadel, making it feel like a city inside a city!
Best Time To Visit Sibiu
The best time to visit Sibiu depends on what you are traveling for. Obviously, if you want to see the famous Sibiu Christmas Market, you should come in the winter. However, the weather will be much cooler and some of Sibiu attractions might be covered in snow, preventing you from fully indulging in their beauty.
Summer months (June to August) are the busiest times in Sibiu. The city is filled with tourists and a new sense of liveliness takes over. It is a great time to visit Sibiu, but keep in mind that lodging and food will also be the priciest of the year. There also tends to be more rainfall in the summer in Sibiu.
Fall and spring are great times to visit, as the overall cost of visiting Sibiu will be lower. However, the temperature might still be a little too chilly for some travelers, especially if you are not used to the cold. Occasional snowfall is also to be expected.
How To Get To Sibiu, Romania
Located in Translyvania, getting to Sibiu is not difficult at all. However, finding the cheapest way to get to Sibiu might be more challenging.
Sometimes the cheaper option to get to Sibiu is from Bucharest. As the capital city of Romania, flights to Bucharest are cheap. From Bucharest, you can take one of the many trains departing for Sibiu.
Not only will you save money, but you can also spend a few days in Bucharest, exploring the so-called “Paris of The East”.
Where To Stay In Sibiu, Romania
Best Hostel In Sibiu, Romania – B13 Hostel
B13 Hostel is the one-and-only hostel in Sibiu that will exceed your expectations. Located a 1-minute walk from the Large Square, sightseeing in Sibiu just got a whole lot easier. The hostel features spacious rooms and comfortable beds, so sharing a room with other travelers isn’t too bad.
Featuring large common areas, guests can properly just relax and/or meet other travelers after a day of exploring Sibiu.
Best Airbnb In Sibiu – Shagy’s Central Oasis
(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)
If you are looking for a coy stay in one of the most beautiful homes in Sibiu, then consider Shagy’s Central Oasis. Featuring a large bedroom with a fireplace to endure the tough Romanian winters, a welcoming living room, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a bathroom with a hot tub, there is just too much to love about this Airbnb.
When you are not enjoying this Sibiu Airbnb’s best amenities, exploring Sibiu cannot be easy due to this apartment’s prime location in the historic center. Most of the best Sibiu attractions are located no more than a 15-minute walk away.
Though only 1 bedroom, a maximum of 6 guests can stay in this apartment because of the sofa beds!
Best Hotel In Sibiu, Romania – Rabbit Hole
Located in the Large Square, Rabbit Hole’s location is one of the best in Sibiu. With large windows facing the Large Square, guests can enjoy splendid views of one of the best Sibiu tourist attractions. Though breakfast s not included in the price, guests can pay a little extra to enjoy some of the best breakfast in town!
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This is the end of our guide on the top things to do in Sibiu, Romania. Hopefully, this has given you an idea of what to do on your Sibiu trip!
Any question? Leave them in the comments!
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