The walled historic center of Sighisoara Romania with its 14th-century clock tower was finally visible in the distance as the train neared the station.
A few hours earlier, I’d departed from Sibiu on a local Soviet-era train covered in an array of spray paint. The train had chugged through the unspoiled green Romanian countryside.
It squealed to a stop in people’s gardens and at seemingly random gravel road intersections where horse and carriages waited to pass. I’d enjoyed seeing such rural daily life scenes, but now, I was anxious to arrive.
When I saw the fortified medieval city of Sighisoara appear on the hilltop, it energized my excitement all over again for having decided to visit incredible Romania.
How 1 Fairytale Day Will Make You Love Sighisoara Romania Forever
Sighisoara is one of Romania’s 7 citadel cities built by the Saxons in the 12th-century.
Located in Transylvania, Sighisoara is remarkably well-preserved and earned a UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction. The Clock Tower and the Church on the Hill are among the sights to explore in Sighisoara.
Yet, the true experience comes as you wander the cobblestone streets. Stroll past the brightly colored houses and soak up Sighisoara’s ambiance. In doing so, you’ll have stepped back in time and landed in a medieval fairytale.
You’ll swoon from the moment you arrive in Sighisoara.
The Piata Cetatii, or main fortress square, sits at Sighisoara’s historic center. The square is popular with visitors, and (yes), displays the typical Dracula souvenir stands seen in Brasov and Bran.
After all, Vlad the Impaler was born in a house just steps from the Clock Tower!
Still, Sighisoara’s picturesque setting helps you see past these touristy distractions. Medieval charm flows from the fortified walls. You can just imagine a carpenter busy at work in his shop. Or a butcher selling his fresh meats at the local market.
Sit on a bench in the square or at one of the cafes along the perimeter. Wonder over the public trials and executions attended by Sighisoara’s medieval residents. Or listen for the music coming from a bustling a street fair overflowing from the main square.
After this, walk to the centrally-located Clock Tower, next to the main square. It was built in the late 1300s and is 1 of the 9 towers still standing today. The original citadel had 14 towers built by trade guilds to protect against attacks and invasions.
Hundreds of years ago the Clock Tower was a meeting hall for important business and government matters.
Today, it houses the history museum with artifacts detailing Sighisoara’s past. The tower also gives a birds-eye view over Sighisoara’s colorful houses and tiny streets along an open-air observation deck just above the clock.
I was fascinated with the colorful Baroque roof tiles on the Clock Tower. They replaced the original roof after a fire and explosion from a nearby tower a few hundred years ago.
After climbing the Clock Tower, walk through its arched base and view the tower from the other side. If you visited Rasnov Fortress near Brasov, you’re sure to notice architectural similarities in the stonework.
With only the cobblestones underfoot and the stone archways in sight, you might begin to wonder what century you’re in and just who might be waiting around the corner!
Head back to the front of the tower and stop in the Monastery Church.
It’s a Lutheran congregation next to the Clock Tower. For a nominal fee, you can glimpse the church’s gothic interior. Inside, you’ll see a collection of Anatolian carpets and a Baroque altarpiece dating back to the 16oo’s.
The charm of Sighisoara, though, lies in wandering away from the Clock Tower and main square. A day in Sighisoara is not complete until you’ve discovered the quiet surrounding streets.
Just when you think the scene before you can’t be any more picturesque, a few more steps reveal another incredible photo-op!
And, while many of the people-free Clock Tower photos were taken in the early morning, these were taken on an afternoon stroll. Be sure to leave the busy main square and truly appreciate Sighisoara’s beauty.
Away from the hustle and bustle, you may just stumble upon a darling cafe….
Best of all, if you visit Romania in the summer, you’ll see endless displays of colorful flowers.
Whether it’s a small flower box in between 2 brightly colored shutters in Sinaia or a garden spied from over the top of a wall in Sighisoara, you’ll start to wonder if this is the national Romanian pastime with everyone competing!
And, while it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the gorgeous big picture, don’t forget to look for the little things…
As you explore, you’ll likely come across the 175-step wooden staircase at the end of Strada Scolii.
The stairway leads up to the Church on the Hill. It has been used by Saxon churchgoers and students, as well as current Sighisoara residents and visitors since it was built in 1642!
Visit the School and the Church on the Hill. The church became the main Lutheran parish of the Saxons long ago. You’ll get to see recently restored 15th-century murals which were painted over back in the 1700s.
The grounds surrounding the church are home to a peaceful cemetery and the Goldsmiths’ Tower. The tower is now home to the cemetery keeper and appears to be in remarkable condition for its age.
On the way back down the hill, skip the wooden staircase. Instead, walk along the winding road to capture Sighisoara and its towers from above.
You’ll see how the present-day Sighisoara has grown beyond its fortified walls outward towards the countryside and Carpathian mountains.
Nevertheless, Sighisoara’s fortified center remains the focal point of history, culture, and medieval ambiance.
How Much Time in Sighisoara Romania
If you’re driving from another nearby town, Sighisoara makes for a perfect day’s outing. Plan to arrive in the morning and spend a full day. This’ll allow you plenty of time to see Sighisoara’s sights and explore at a comfortable pace.
To make the most of your time in Sighisoara, you could also opt for guided day tour departing by bus from a nearby city, such as Sibiu.
For travelers taking the train like I did (see more info below), you’ll probably want to spend 1 night. Most trains won’t arrive into Sighisoara until late morning or even in the afternoon.
You could spend 24 hours total by leaving the next morning or afternoon.
How to Get to Sighisoara Romania
Trains run to Sighisoara from several popular Romanian cities, like Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, and Cluj. I took a direct train from Sibiu and, at 3 hours, is a bit longer than taking the train for a day trip from Bucharest to Busteni.
Navigating Romania by train is doable, but my recommendation is to take direct trains (when possible) to avoid any mishaps with connections. Check the Romanian Train Website for schedules and fares.
Save all the details for the train you want to take just in case the agent at the station doesn’t speak any English. A screenshot can go a long way in helping you end up in the right place.
Once you arrive at the Sighisoara Train Station, you can walk the 3/4 of a mile to the citadel or take a taxi to the main square.
Where to Stay in Sighisoara Romania
Sighisoara is just 3 square miles but has a range of hotels and guest houses to satisfy everyone’s style and budget. Be sure to book a hotel within the citadel for the most convenient location and access to Sighisoara’s sights.
Research and book Sighisoara hotels on and book Sighisoara hotels on TripAdvisor or Booking.com.
After traveling solo and staying in budget-friendly accommodations for several weeks, Sighisoara was my 1-night splurge! I stayed at the historic and elegant Fronius Hotel. Wouldn’t you agree that my room was spectacular?
The rooms are spacious and the historic building and decor complete the “back-in-time” feel of the Sighisoara experience. Breakfast is included in the nightly rate. It can be enjoyed in the dining area or the outdoor terrace. Afterward, find the Clock Tower or the wooden staircase to the Church on the Hill just steps away.
So, are you swooning over Sighisoara Romania? Would you like to visit?
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34 thoughts on “How 1 Fairytale Day Will Make You Love Sighisoara Romania Forever”
It is like reliving my trip. I say outside that very yellow cafe on the square. I was wondering whether you raised a fire alarm or something to clear the square until you mentioned the early morning aspect. I totally agree that Sighisoara is the stuff of dreams though!
Ha! I love taking people free shots in the morning, Anne. My hotel was right off the main square so it was easy to pop out for a morning stroll. Then, I can relax and enjoy later on instead of worrying about pics. 🙂 Glad you came back down memory lane with me.
OMGGGGG like a fairytale!! I love your photos, so gorgeous!
Thanks, Tamara. Add Romania and the town of Sighisoara to your travel-musts! 🙂
I don’t know much about Romania but looks such a pretty place to visit and what a cute little kitty Kat. I must learn how to pronounce the names of the places first though lol
Pretty indeed, Jenni. The way you say the town’s name is (See-gee-shwar-uh). Now you’re all set! 🙂
I now want to sit on that bench!
Love those old lanes. You have captured the charm there so well in your pics..
Cats are in plenty there like in Athens. 🙂
Thanks so much, Indrani. I hope you can visit Romania soon! That bench will be waiting for you! 🙂
I had no idea there was such beauty in this part of the world! I love the Baroque roof tiles on the Clock Tower, what a nice way to replace a roof after a fire.
Romania is a hidden gem in plain sight, Annie. Add it to your travel list for sure!
This all looks so colourful and pretty – no wonder you fell in love!
It’s certainly easy to do, Fiona!
What a fantastic article. You whisked me away to a Gothic village and immersed me in the experience. Thank you for sharing. I liked so much about this article that I am bringing in Jenn right now to read it with me.
Thanks so much, Ed. The both of you should add Romania to your travel list. 🙂
This place looks absolutely amazing! I’m hoping to head to Romania at the end of next year so I’m def gonna keep this place in mind. Thanks so much for sharing this
Oh, lucky you, Claire! I hope you make it to Romania next year. You’re sure to love it. 🙂
SUd this too as your photos are so beautiful! I definitely need to include Romania in future Euro trip soon. Thanks!
Thanks, Carla! I so appreciate that. Romania is a definite must!
I was just talking to my husband about a trip to Romania! We both love walled cities like Dubrovnik, Croatia and Toledo, Spain (to name a few) and we adore UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This town looks like a fairytale and I would love to see it in person. Your photos are absolutely beautiful but I’m sure seeing it in person is unreal!
There’s nothing quite like the real thing, Mia! If you love UNESCO Heritage Sites, add Sighisoara to your list. I hope you and your husband make it to Romania soon! It’s a true gem!
You took some really great photos while you were there. They really capture the spirit and history of this place, which looks like a village suspended in time.
Thank you, Laura. A village suspended in time is the perfect description! 🙂
Ahhhh this is GORGEOUS!!! Thus begins a long read of all your Romania articles!! 😀 My husband and I are heading to Romania in late November for 3 months. We’re still deciding where to go. It needs to be a place we can get a long term rental with WiFi, but I’m not a huge fan of big cities (so maybe no to Bucharest) and really would prefer a beautiful scenic location like this. Any recommendations?! I’ll be reading your Romania articles for the next hour!! Thanks for writing such comprehensive stuff!! 😀
Thank you for reading and I’m so jealous you get 3 whole months in Romania! So, Brasov is really central and east to navigate, but there’s one place I haven’t written about yet (upcoming very soon, so check back!) that I love even more. Check out Sibiu. If I was going to stay someplace extended in Romania, that would be it. It’s still central enough but has a lot more charm and hidden nooks to explore. I’d love to know what you decide, so keep in touch! 🙂 If you have any Sibiu questions, feel free to contact me.
Oooh, that’s exciting!! Since I wrote, we had tentatively settled on Sibiu, but I think this confirms it!! It looks like a good size without being massive, and as you said, while still having charm and nooks and crannies! Really looking forward to it! Not gonna lie, we Googled photos of “Romanian Christmas markets” and Sibiu’s is so lovely, it kind of sealed the deal haha. Christmas should be fun there!
Any suggestions for finding long term rentals? Seems like you just have to get there and then pound the pavement a bit. There are some options on AirBnB, but I think we can get cheaper once we’re there. Thoughts?
Omg, Amy! You have me googling Sibiu Christmas Market and yearning to go back!! I’m not sure, but I will FB message 2 contacts I have there and email you know if they can be of any help. I’d look for something in or within comfortable walking distance to the historic center. I stayed at the bottom of the stairs passageway and I felt like I could be anywhere in Sibiu so easily.
Looks like a dream!
Totally is, Jen. Thanks for reading and I hope you can plan a trip to stroll through Sighisoara soon. 🙂
Hi! I’m from Romania and i just wanted to say thank you for writing such beautiful articles about my country. You are always welcome here!
Thanks for reading and your kind words, Christian. I look forward to visiting Romania again! 🙂
I am from The Netherlands and fell in love about 15 years ago with this wonderfull small medieval city! 5 years ago I bought a small apartment close to the Citadel, 5 minutes walk with a view on it from the stairway. Unfortunately I have to sell my renovated nice place and I would like it very much if the next owner will enjoy it and love Sighisoara the way I do.
If you are interested please don’t hesitate to contact me, I am monthly in Romania.
Thanks for reading, Jos. How fantastic you get to visit Romania so often and have your very own place to stay. Unfortunately, a move from the US is not in the cards right now but I’m sure you’ll find someone who just loves Sighisoara! Good luck. 🙂
We will be touring Brasov and Sighisoara one day in May. If you had to chose between spending the night in one of these two towns, which would you recommend?
Thanks for reading, Suzanne. Love that you’re heading to Romania! The most practical answer to your question is Brasov. It’s more central, with more train connections, things to do, and more restaurants/activity in the evening. But, I will add, Sighisoara gets a lot of day visitors depending on the time of year, and it was nice to “have the town to myself” from late afternoon to mid-morning the following day. Hope that helps! 🙂