If you come to Romania you cannot say you have visited Transylvania unless spend at least one day exploring the main attractions in Sibiu. Lately, the place has developed substantially and has become an important centre for tourism in Transylvania.
I consider it to be the most beautiful city in Romania. Here you will find the complete list of cities to visit in Romania.
And now, let’s see what are the most important things to do in Sibiu. After you read this list and visit the city I hope you will have the same opinion and even if you don’t, I can guarantee that you won’t feel sorry for stopping by.
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, by car or by bus. By train it can take a lot of time, 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 centre it is better to go by bus or you can order a taxi.
Top things to do in Sibiu Romania:
Once you reach the beautiful city, you will need at least half a day to explore it. But it is also a good idea to choose it as a base camp and do some day trips in Transylvania from here. In the city here are some things you cannot miss:
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.
Explore Piata Mare (Large Square)
The pedestrian street ends in the Large Square (Piata Mare), one of the best-known attractions in Sibiu and the place where all the large events in town take place (The Sibiu Theater Festival, the Christmas Market).
In the centre 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 oldest museum in Romania that host today impressive art collections), the City Hall (the yellow building on the corner), the Roman Catholic Church, the Council Tower (the white tower with clock), and the historic houses (now they house shops, banks, pharmacies and some of them have rooms to rent). 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 the baron Samuel von Brukenthal in the 18th century in baroque style. He signed his testament, declaring that the building would become a public museum after his death 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 the city. The climb up into the tower starts through a narrow door opening onto the Small Square (Piata Mica) 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 the Small Square (Piata Mica) 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 Small Square(Piata Mica) 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. If it’s lunchtime, you can stop to enjoy the traditional Romanian dishes and desserts. You don’t know what to order? Check here a list of traditional desserts. From here, if you go to the left, you can arrive at the Evangelic Church and further still, in Huet Square.
Admire the Evangelic Church of Sibiu
One of the things you must see in Sibiu is the Evangelic Church, a gothic-style construction completed in the 16th century. The Sibiu Cathedral can be visited on the inside, but the Evangelic Church’s tower is worth a climb for those who want a real adventure. I remember climbing the tower the first time and the experience was so intense that I immediately got sore muscles from how tense I was. You can see the floor below through the stairs, so it can be quite challenging to get to the top. Once above, the ringing of the church bells is deafening, but the view of the city at your feet is worth the effort.
See a famous house in Huet Square
Huet Square is the oldest square in Sibiu and the around it was built the first fortification system of the city. The Evangelic Cathedral stands right in the centre of this square. On the sides of the square you can see the Brukenthal college, a stylish café overlooking the red roofs of the houses, Wien café and old, colourful houses remaining from medieval times. Next to the café is another famous house of Sibiu: the Craftmen’s House (Casa Calfelor).
The craftsmen are independent disciples who left their homes to become specialized in their trade. Their journey lasts 3 years and one day and their tradition are famous since medieval times, being kept in countries like Germany and Austria. They have shelters in four cities in Europe (Sibiu, Rügen, Neustadt, and Leipzig). Usually, they come to Sibiu during summer and you can easily recognize them by their typical clothing: large trousers, vest and coat.
Get lost on the Stairs Passage
Passing the Craftmen’s House you can descend through the Stairs Tower down to Stairs Street. You reach another Sibiu attraction from the bottom of the stairs towards the left: the Stair Passage. This is one of the most beautiful places in the town and it is especially visited by those looking for instagrammable places in Sibiu. It has a medieval charm and you can take excellent photos here.
Follow the Fortification System
Remnants of the fortification system of Sibiu can be found around the old town: towers and brick walls from medieval times that once defended the city. In Fortress Park, on the most beautiful street in Sibiu, Cetatii street, you can see a part of the defence system of the old Sibiu: the Fat Tower, the Potters’ Tower, the Harquebusier Tower and a standing wall that connects them. Walking along the wall you can feel a part of the history of this medieval city.
On the other side of the old town, you will find other fortification remains: the Stairs Passage and other towers.
Go back in time to the Astra Museum of Sibiu
Only a few kilometres away from the city centre, 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 where you can spend 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. The museum’s opening hours and entrance fees can be found on the museum’s official website.
There are other things to do in Sibiu and places to visit (museums, old houses and beautiful parks), but the ones on this list are the most popular ones. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Sibiu. It is enough 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!
And as I mentioned, it is also a good base to explore other cities in Transylvania as day trips from Sibiu (Alba Iulia, Cluj Napoca, Sighisoara or Targu Mures). Or you can just visit the traditional villages and important landmarks around Sibiu (Cisnadioara, Calnic, Sibiel, etc). There you can understand why everybody is mesmerized by Transylvania