Explore Romantic Sibiu | Full City Guide


Maybe Sibiu’s German name – Hermannstadt –  doesn’t sound romantic, this cute Romanian city could be easily listed as a place to spend your anniversary in. Whether you wander the lower town, with its pink, pastel walls and romantic, medieval arches, or you soak up some sun on one of the dynamic squares in upper town, Sibiu is good livin’!

 

Sibiu was founded in the 12th century by the Saxons and lies in the heart of Transylvania. Just like Brasov and other important Romanian cities in this region at the time, Sibiu was owned by these German immigrants and only some Romanians could live there under strict circumstances. Contrary to the tight laws on religion in other cities, the people of Sibiu were considered to be quite liberal and tolerant towards other religions. The town stayed mostly German until the end of the second World War, when most Germans moved out or because of deportations. Nowadays the German schools and shops still exist, although they are mostly run by Romanian citizens.

Fun fact: Romanian president Klaus Iohannis is from Sibiu. He was the city mayor for 4 terms and people admired him for reestablishing the economy for German and Austrian companies in Romania.

I came to Sibiu thinking I had already seen the important cities of Transylvania. I was wrong and I ended up staying longer than I had prepared for. The city has the allure of a modern day tourist attraction, yet I found it to be very quiet in mid-July. With a popular beach volley tournament going on, I often found myself almost alone sipping on a cocktail at one of the main terraces.

Being recently renovated Sibiu has everything a culture lover could ask for. Many museums and historic buildings, without the crowds and overpriced entrance fees. Below I’ve made a list for you to explore – and love – Sibiu as I did. Enjoy!
sibiu

What to do in Sibiu

Although I would advise you just to get lost and explore Sibiu yourself, I’ve put together a list of must-see attractions in the city. Do yourself a favor and schedule in some wandering-around-time, the charm of Sibiu lies not in everything you can do there but life and the city itself.

 

Locomotive museum

The fun starts the moment you step off the train. A lot of train stations in Romania have open air train museum and almost every time it’s worth to pay it a short visit. This one on Sibiu station is no difference. Suitable for children and adults who like to explore old locomotives.

 

Tunnels, tunnels, tunnels

It’s easy to get lost in Sibiu. Especially when you take one of the many tunnels leading to squares or hidden streets. No problem, as the city is small enough to get back where you need to be in no time! Remember that famous saying? ‘Not all of those who wander are lost.’ So wander away!

sibiu

Main square (Piata Mare)

Every medieval city has one: a large council square. Sit down at one of the many terraces for a refreshing lemonade or admire the beautiful buildings up close by walking all around it. In summer many activities are organized here, such as concerts, festivals and even sporting events.

 

The Astra Museum

A little outside of the town, but nonetheless very much worth visiting! The Astra museum – or village museum – hosts an incredible amount of old buildings where you can see how life was lived the in old days. The museum has an impressive amount of windmills and is located on a beautiful piece of land, forest included!

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The small square (Piata Mica)

According to many locals, this is the place to be for great food and events! When I was there, I got a glimpse of Sibiu Sands, a beach volley tournament. I sat down at one of the many restaurants and enjoyed a morning of fresh coffee and sweaty men. Delicious!

Tip: Use the tunnels to get to the main square. Some might go to hidden places 😉

 

The Lower Town

The thing I love most about Sibiu is its romantic lower town where you can wander around for ages without seeing the same thing twice. And if you do, you just marvel at it from a different perspective. Photographers will love the arched paths around the citadel and the old wooden doors and windows of the narrow streets. The Lower Town is probably the best way to spend your evening, watching kids playing soccer or getting lost in a maze of historic houses.

sibiu
sibiu

 

The Bridge of Lies

A visit to Sibiu cannot be done without crossing the bridge of lies. The bridge connects the two sides of the small square and makes it possible to go from the lower side to the upper side of town. It’s also one of the most romantic places of Sibiu.

 

Pharmacy museum

Different than the other museums in Sibiu and hosting a smaller exhibition, nonetheless it’s worth paying the pharmacy museum a visit! The first pharmacy was opened in Sibiu with many, many more to come.

 

Climb up the Council Tower

It takes you 141 steps to walk up the Council Tower but the view is worth it! From here you can see all over Sibiu and its surroundings. The tower itself was built in the 14th century and was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1585 to be rebuild in the years following.

sibiu
sibiu
The arches in the lower town.

 

Brukentahl museum

Named after the man responsible for bringing his huge collection of paintings – Samuel von Brukentahl – this museum now hosts an incredible collection of art. Brukentahl’s collection consists of many works from famous European painters, such as some of the Dutch and Flemish masters from the 15th to the 18th century. The museum also has a stamp cabinet, a Romanian art gallery and the Brukentahl library.

 

Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary

The most famous Gothic-style church in Sibiu and with its 73 meters, the tallest tower in Transylvania. The church was built in the 14th century, on the location of another, wooden church, built in the 12th century. This church is definitely one of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu. The little square around it hosts little farmers markets, perfect to buy regional products or chat with the friendly locals.

 

Citadel Park

A simple, yet beautiful park in central Sibiu. Walk along the old walls and marvel at the historic towers you’ll pass on your route. Romanians love the park so be sure to relax on a bench and watch life go by.

sibiu
Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary.

Where to eat in Sibiu

 

In Sibiu it’s all about location. Dine outside at the Atrium Classic Café, located on top of the Liars Bridge. Atrium has it all: excellent food, great staff and that romantic atmosphere you were looking for. This restaurant fills up completely during the evening, so be sure to claim your spot in time.

Piata Mica 16

Tango, located on top of the small square (Piata Mica), is the best way to overlook the entire square while nibbling on their delicious bruschetta.

Piata Mica 23

Hidden in the streets of the lower town you’ll find Old Lisbon, a great place for fresh seafood and everything you love from the Portuguese kitchen.

Strada Targul Pestelui 4

sibiu

 

Dinner at Max is modern and very Romanian at the same time. They have everything a great grill restaurant should have, yet people are still smoking inside.

Strada Ocnei 22

Crama Sibiul Vechi is typically a restaurant to visit when craving ‘traditional’ Romanian food and they do it well! The portions are huge, so keep that in mind when ordering.

A.Papiu Ilarian 3

 

Where to sleep in Sibiu

Smart Hostel

€€ Casa Rothenberg

€€€ Pensiunea Chic

€€€€ The Council*

sibiu
I loved the garden at Pensiunea Chic.

How to get to Sibiu

By plane

Sibiu has its own airport, which is great when you have money to spend. Depending on the location of your departure (Germany would be great!), it’s not exactly cheap to fly there. But it is possible!

Check out your flights to Sibiu on Skyscanner.

 

By train

Daily trains go from Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca (although no direct train available) and other cities in Romania. Not all trains are as comfortable. Especially the R-trains – which take ages and are very cheap – can get hot, hot, hot!

Estimated travel times

Brasov – Sibiu                   2,5h (IR) to 4 (R)

Bucharest – Sibiu            5,5h (IR) to 8 (R)

Check out the timetables here.

train to sibiu

 

By car

Brasov – Sibiu                   2,5 hours

Bucharest – Sibiu            4,5 hours

Cluj-Napoca – Sibiu        3 hours*

*estimated times are calculated by Google Maps. You should always check the current traffic situation.

 

By bus

Sibiu has great bus connections with Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. From Cluj buses depart hourly and bus travel in Romania is usually comfortable and cheap.

 

Day trips from Sibiu

Although it will be hard at first, leaving Sibiu – for a short – while is one of the best things you can do! Here’s some inspiration for day trips and other kind of excursions.

 

transfagarasan sibiu

Transfagarasan

The Transfagarasan highway is named the best road in the world by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson. Last year I was lucky enough to see twice and since then I have been talking nonstop about it. A must go when you like mountains, spectacular views and scary heights!

Read: Driving the Transfagarasan

fagaras sibiu

Fagaras

On the way from Brasov to Sibiu, you’ll pass the town of Fagaras. Here you can explore the old citadel or admire the newer – bright golden – church located right next door. Hop back on the train when you’re done exploring, it’s that simple.

Read: A day in Fagaras

medias sibiu

Mediaş

Another Saxon town, yet a lot smaller than Sibiu. Definitely fun for a day trip as it is wonderfully quiet and clean. The church area is especially interesting to see, even at night.

Read: A day in Mediaş

alba iulia sibiu
Source: Horia Varlan

Alba Iulia

A great historic town located in the depths of Transylvania. Alba Iulia isn’t usually a town you’d end up – there’s simply too much to see in Romania – but I’d advise to go and take a look when in the neighborhood. It’s not less beautiful than cities as Brasov or Mediaş.

sighisoara sibiu

Sighisoara

Loved by many as it is one of the oldest towns in Transylvania, Sighisoara is definitely a must on your Romania travel itinerary!

Read: Sighisoara – A tourist hotspot on the rise

 

Have you visited Sibiu? Would you revisit? Let me know what you thought of this city! Also, when you have any questions, let me know by leaving a comment below.

Top image source: Andrew Colin

*This page might contain affiliate links. I use these to fund my travels. Booking accommodation through these links will cost you nothing extra.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    chrissy
    August 21, 2016 at 15:23

    so beautiful! put it on the list!

  • Reply
    Sych
    September 21, 2016 at 06:24

    I made my first trip to Europe earlier this year, and I loved Sibiu, already planning a return trip!

  • Reply
    H*
    September 24, 2016 at 19:00

    Went here this summer and Sibiu surprised me. It has such an historic and a modern vibe at the same time. Great place to just wonder around, relax and enjoy the nice views and tiny streets. Felt a little like Leiden to me: not too big, but pretty and enjoyable.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      October 2, 2016 at 12:03

      Funny you should say so, I had the same vibe! I wish Leiden had a upper and lower town, too. That would make it even more perfect!

  • Reply
    Dragomir Valentin
    August 4, 2017 at 16:53

    Hello, again, as i was invited to post comment also here, here i am 🙂 , I am from Sibiu, and i like to travel, as i sad before i love my city with all of my heart. This article is very well documented, but is only a small part of what Sibiu and Sibiu county can offer. Not only down town offer good time, also the periferic neighbourhoods, offers festivals, arhitectures, partys…and stuff. Around Sibiu the areea is called “:Marginimea Sibiului”, transllated more or less “Arround Sibiu” (My english is not ok). In Marginimea Sibiului you can find good landscapes, traditional guest houses, traditional food and customs, you can do horse trails and other stuf, for more information google : Sibiel (landscpaes, traditional guest houses), Rasinari (cheese and palinca), Cristian (german arhitecture), Saliste(german arhitecture), Jina (traditional cheese, and the start of the famous road Trasnsalpina, for bike lovers), Biertan (faimous church)…etc this villages and a lot more others have a lot to offer from our traditional culture, and they offten organize Brunch-es. We also have a ski station called Paltinis, in the summer is a good destination for cool down. There is a lot to write and tell about Sibiu and suroundings. If someone needs further informations do not hesitate to write me on valentin.dragomir@airo-pneumatics.ro, i will be very happy to assist you, not to lose what is important in our areea. I do this because in al my travels in Italy (mostly), UK, Denmark, Ungary, Slovenia, Spain, Poland Czech republic, i found good hearted people, who helped me. Best Regards: Valentin, Sibiu, Romania P.S. Excuse my english

  • Reply
    Letitia
    September 7, 2017 at 15:08

    I am so glad I found this blog! My husband and I are going to Romania for 2 weeks for our honeymoon, leaving on October 7, 2017. I just wanted to say thank you for compiling all of this information on Romania, this will be extremely helpful for our travels!

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      September 7, 2017 at 16:43

      Hey Letitia! I hope you have tons of fun on your trip. If you have any questions, let me know! 🙂

  • Reply
    Wilbur
    October 9, 2017 at 14:30

    Sibiu looks absolutely fabulous and I can’t wait to go. Romania really does have some gems, I loved my recent visit to Timisoara and cannot wait to visit the country again. Thanks for your excellent post, some great tips. Wilbur.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      October 10, 2017 at 12:18

      Thank you! 🙂 I’d love to visit Timisoara, never got that far.

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