Are you traveling to Romania and looking for the best things to do in Sibiu?
You’re in luck! Sibiu is my Romanian love and it was totally unexpected.
After arriving on a train from Brasov to Sibiu, a taxi dropped my backpack and me in Sibiu’s Upper Town. As I wandered around trying to orient myself and find my hotel, I gazed up at the imposing Gothic Cathedral and the colorful houses in beautiful decay lining the tiny streets.
In this guide, you’ll find:
- what to do in Sibiu,
- how to get to Sibiu, and
- where to stay in Sibiu, Romania.
15 Splendid Things to Do in Sibiu Romania
I didn’t know at the time all the things to do in Sibiu or that it had been voted the 8th most idyllic place to live in Europe in 2008 by Forbes. It was just a sense as a traveler that I’d landed in a place I was going to have a hard time leaving.
Sibiu has grown outward since it’s 12-century beginnings, and luckily, its charm and appeal has only increased, as well. The heart of the city is its medieval center complete with open squares, stone wall defenses, towers, and centuries-old buildings and churches.
Staircases separate the Lower Town from the Upper Town, and historically, the wealthier Saxons lived in the city center while the peasants lived in Sibiu old town, down the steps in small, colorful houses.
There are quite a few historical and touristic things to do in Sibiu. But, stay longer in town to stroll (with an ice cream, of course!) and soak up the ambiance of this medieval gem in the heart of Transylvania.
1. Begin in Piata Mare (a.k.a. Big Square).
Sibiu’s Upper Town is a logical starting place.
You won’t be able to help but make your way into the wide-open expanse of Piata Mare. The square has been Sibiu’s center since the 15th Century. Today, Piata Mare is home to several Sibiu attractions, restaurants, and cultural events like concerts and festivals.
Since Sibiu is not as well-known as other European destinations, a guided Sibiu walk will help you learn more about the city’s highlights and history.
Or, if the Medieval vibe of Sibiu has sparked your curiosity, set off on a self-guided quest to discover the city’s 7 towers. You’ll get clues that’ll reveal the location of your next stop!
ProTip: La Taifas is a restaurant in Piata Mare with outdoor seating. I loved(!) their polenta with cow’s milk cheese paired with an eggplant salad side.
2. Learn about Romanian art at the Brukenthal Museum.
Located in the Piata Mare, the Brukenthal National Museum is an art museum within the palace of Samuel von Brukenthal, a former Transylvanian Governor.
The museum displays work by Romanian artists and European artists, but the architecture and furnishings of the palace itself are as much the draw as the paintings.
I loved getting a close-up look at the Anatolian carpets and learning more about the style of Romanian artists throughout history.
3. Visit one of Sibiu’s 3 religious landmarks.
The Catholic Basilica, also located in Piata Mare, is deceiving for its simple outside appearance.
Take time to look at the beautiful inside of this historic landmark. You’ll appreciate the historical context of the different groups of people who settled in Sibiu, the Saxons, the Hungarians, and the Romanians, and their respective places of worship all within walking distance from one another.
4. Stroll down Strada Nicolae Balcescu.
The main pedestrian thoroughfare leading away from the Piata Mare is Strada Nicolae Balcescu. It’s lined with ornate pastel buildings vying for your attention and competing with the cascading flower displays in full bloom on the windows and balconies.
5. Taste a local Romanian treat.
As you stroll, grab a Romanian pretzel called a Covrigi. You’ll notice locals and visitors alike seem almost worry-free as they walk with a small treat in hand enjoying Sibiu’s peaceful atmosphere.
They’re also perfect to take as snacks as you travel around Romania whether you’re catching a train, driving into the countryside, or hiking into the mountains.
6. Stop to admire the art in the Orthodox Cathedral.
The Orthodox Cathedral is a can’t miss while in Sibiu.
If you visited the smaller Orthodox monastery in Sinaia, you’ll recognize the characteristic murals and frescoes covering the walls, but on a much grander scale.
7. Climb the Council Tower for pretty views.
Retrace your steps back through the Piata Mare to the white Council Tower.
The Council Tower dates back to the late 1500s and sits in the passageway between the Piata Mare (Big Square) and Piata Mica (Small Square).
Climb the stairs for fantastic views overlooking the city. You can and should also climb to the top of Sibiu’s Lutheran Cathedral (see below), but the view from the Council Tower lets you admire and photograph the Cathedral’s glistening tiled rooftop.
8. Walk around the Piata Mica (a.k.a. Small Square).
After descending the Council Tower steps, Piata Mica and the Bridge of Lies await. With the steeple of the Lutheran Cathedral hovering overhead, a view into Sibiu’s Lower Town, and the beautiful decay of the colorful buildings, this is one of the prettiest spots in Sibiu.
On certain days, look for a local craft fair.
9. Make a short visit to the Pharmacy Museum.
Sibiu’s Pharmacy Museum, located in the Piata Mica, has 2 rooms packed with pharmaceutical artifacts.
If you like to visit quirky sights on your travels, this is the place. Your short visit will surely leave you feeling grateful to have escaped medieval pharmaceutical instruments and procedures.
10. Cross the Bridge of Lies.
Legend has it the Bridge of Lies has ears and knows when someone standing on it is being untruthful. Tales of creaking and noises when someone is lying have survived centuries of history.
Today, it’s the perfect spot for a photo-op…and 100% honesty, just in case!
11. Visit and climb Sibiu’s Gothic Lutheran Cathedral.
Continue into Huet Square with the imposing Cathedral filling the square. Take a circular path around the square to discover historic houses before rounding to the entrance of the stunning Cathedral.
Sibiu’s Lutheran Cathedral dominates the cityscape with its steeple reaching over 200 feet into the air. If you’ve visited Brasov prior to Sibiu, you’ll probably know the 4 turrets around the steeple were a sign to medieval visitors about the town’s right to sentence you to death should you step out of line.
The gothic Cathedral was built in the 14th-century and is really well-preserved. After touring the cathedral, climb the tower for gorgeous views of Sibiu.
12. Wander through Sibiu’s Lower Town.
As pretty as Upper Town is, look for stairways and passageways leading you to Lower Town, like the Stairs Tower in Huet’s Square…
Or the stairs passageway, accessed by walking out of Piata Mare toward the Lutheran Cathedral, where you can see some of the Sibiu’s old fortifications. You won’t have truly seen Sibiu without a visit to Lower Town.
Once in Lower Town, you’re in the oldest areas of Sibiu. Explore the tiny streets with their two-story medieval buildings painted in all shades of the color wheel. Be sure to bring your camera!
In Lower Town, look for small squares, hidden alleyways, and scenes of daily life, like kids playing in the street or an older woman sweeping a step while a scrappy dog struts past.
13. Stare back at the houses with eyes.
By now, you’ll have spent enough time in Sibiu to notice the houses with eyes.
Structurally speaking, they’re ventilation windows to air out attic heat. However, throughout periods of political strife and oppression, locals believed they were being watched by the “eyes” to ensure they were not acting out or causing trouble.
14. Laze away a late afternoon in one of Sibiu’s cafes.
I loved the outdoor cafe just on the side of the Bridge of Lies. It was a great spot to people watch, listen to live music, and take in my surroundings.
The outdoor courtyards at Max and also at Jules make for perfect spots to eat and tuck yourself away into Sibiu’s hidden nooks.
15. Go beyond Sibiu.
Sibiu is perfectly situated at the doorstep of the Carpathian Mountains and the untouched countryside of Romania. You can hike and truly go back in time seeing villages that haven’t changed for hundreds of years.
Pro Tip – If you do plan some hiking, make sure you’re prepared on what to wear and what to bring on a hike!
It’s also easy to plan day trips to a medieval castle, like Corvin Castle. Of course, if you haven’t seen Brasov and Dracula’s Castle yet, you can plan this day trip from Sibiu, as well.
Whichever you choose, make sure your visit to Sibiu includes time to explore the natural beauty just outside of town. What’s even better, you can take part even without renting a car.
Transylvania Cycling offers one-day and multi-day cycling excursions that depart from Sibiu. You can also get help and equipment for a self-guided ride if you prefer. Mihai is a friendly and knowledgeable guide who loves to help visitors experience traditional life in Romania.
Whether you’re a skilled cyclist or just someone like me who likes to go on occasional bike rides, the team at Transylvania Cycling can put together the right experience for you.
I met Mihai at a park in Sibiu and from there we went into the countryside and past fields of wildflowers.
We saw plenty of traditional Romanian haystacks…
…and rode our bikes along dirt roads with horses and wooden carriages.
We stopped in an Orthodox Church in a small village nearby…
…and even met a local woman who tried to explain what some of the paintings on the outside of the church symbolized.
By the end, my legs were tired. But, Mihai was more than happy to accommodate my need to walk alongside my bicycle for a while. More than anything, though, I was so grateful for the day with Mihai and his local insight.
The Astra National Museum Complex is a living open-air museum just a short city bus ride outside of Sibiu.
In fact, it’s the largest museum of its kind in all of Europe. The museum has more than 400 monuments, including mills, wooden churches, and traditional homesteads to preserve and educate visitors about the Romanian culture.
As you walk along the museum’s pathways, you’ll see people in traditional dress working in the fields and at the homesteads using scythes and other manual farming tools.
If you don’t have enough time or transportation to explore the Romanian countryside, this gem of a museum will transport you back in time and give you a glimpse of daily life in Romania.
As with so many areas of Romania, the museum was quiet and gave the impression of a new discovery. Spend the day exploring Astra’s expansive collection spread out over 98 acres at your own pace.
You’ll undoubtedly come away with a deeper appreciation for the local culture.
Where to Stay in Sibiu
Sibiu hotels are well-equipped to make visitors of all travel styles comfortable. The medieval city center is an ideal location for getting around on foot. You’ll easy access to all of the things to do in Sibiu and excellent food choices nearby.
I stayed at the Pensiunea Chic Hotel and loved everything about it. The location was just down the steps from the Lutheran Cathedral and the Liar’s Bridge. The rooms were clean and modern. The hotel had a quaint outdoor courtyard and the staff was friendly and helpful! Check latest prices in Sibiu.
Apartment rentals in Sibiu are also a great option whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly stay, enough room for a group, or just prefer local digs. 🙂
How to Get to Sibiu
You can take the train from Bucharest. A direct journey will take about 5 1/2 hours. There are several direct trains daily from Brasov taking about 2 1/2 hours. Local trains connect Sighisoara and Cluj to Sibiu as well.
There is also a small airport that connects Sibiu with other European cities, like Rome, Munich, and Vienna, on carriers TAROM, Lufthansa, and Blue Air.
So, have you fallen in love with Sibiu? Which things to do in Sibiu would like to do?
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52 thoughts on “15 Splendid Things to Do in Sibiu Romania”
I loved Sibiu, but didn’t get to spend enough time there. I can’t wait to go back.
The current President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, taught physics at the German language high school (also named for Brukenthal) just off the Piata Mare.
Thanks so much for reading, Jack. I’m so glad you’ve made it to Sibiu and hope you get to go back soon! Love the fun fact about the President, too. 🙂
I haven’t heard of Sibiu before. It looks like a very picturesque town with many things to do. I am planning a trip to Romania so I think I should include it on my itinerary. I would certainly love to climb the Council tower for the views. I love to climb to high points in each new place I visit.
Definitely include Sibiu, Chrysoula. It’s just a short train ride from Brasov and even more charming.
You may also want to visit Sigișoara, another beautiful old medieval city, and Alba Iulia, which has a great combination of Roman, medieval, Hapsburg, and modern influence.
Sighisoara is great, too! Thanks for the tips, Jack. 🙂
When I go back to Romania, Sibiu is on my list. A lot of people have told me how pretty this town is, your photos have confirmed this. Great post 🙂
Thanks so much for reading, Danik. Hope you make it to Sibiu soon! 🙂
Oh, wow! I love everything you’ve shown us about Sibiu. For some reason, my impression of Romania does not involve such vivid color. It’s gorgeous! I’d love to just walk around the Upper Town square, explore the Bridge of Lies and, of course, sample some of that incredible looking pizza in a cafe. And, of course, I want to explore the cathedrals and the small square. Ha! I guess I just want to see it all!
Thanks so much for reading, Patricia. That’s how easy it is to fall in love with Sibiu! Glad you’ve added it to your travel list. 🙂
What a charming town. I’ve never heard of Sibiu but I will certainly love to visit. The staircase between the upper and lower parts of town is so picturesque.
All the more reason to plan a trip soon, Christina. Sibiu and many parts of Romania still are waiting for that big tourism push.
This my first impression of Romania as a tourism destination. Sibiu looks like a charming medieval place with lots to offer! Thanks for sharing
Thanks for reading, Cristina. Yes, Romania is a fantastic tourism destination. I hope you can plan a visit to see Sibiu. 🙂
This kinda reminds me of Tallinn. It looks and feels the same but nontheless Romania is still pretty. Love the food and I would definitely climb up for that view. I also like the orthodox cathedral.
I haven’t been to Tallinn yet but would love to visit, Karla. Definitely, put Romania on your travel list. It’s a true gem.
How awesome! One of my besties is from Romania and she was here with me when I was reading this post. She went on and on abotu the places you mentioned that she had grown up with during her first 30 years in Romania. Brought back so many great memories and we loved reading how cool the country is now. 😉 Thanks for sharing.
That is so cool, Melody! So glad the post created such a great sharing experience for you and your bestie. 🙂
Wow, WHAT a medieval gem! Definitely sounds like a hugely underrated part of Europe, I can see why you fell in love. The streets and buildings are so beautiful with their colors, and centuries old architecture, and I love the churches and cathedrals throughout – they’re stunning! I really love visiting places of worship in new parts of the world, even if I don’t subscribe to their particular religious beliefs, these are always the most ornate and interesting buildings. Usually with a fascinating history attached too 🙂
Thanks for introducing me to Sibiu – a new one for the bucketlist 🙂
When you’re there, it’s really interesting to see how close all 3 places of worship are to one another, Meg. Each definitely has its own story to tell. I really hope you can make it to Romania and see Sibiu. 🙂
I’ve never heard of this town in Romania, but it seems like a place to go! I’m hoping to visit Romania for the first time next summer, and Sibiu has to be on that list! The lower town looks absolutely stunning!
Absolutely, Paige! Sibiu is a must if you’re in Romania. 🙂
I will definitely add Sibiu on my Romanian getaway. Such a stunning place to wander around and finding little gems dotted around the area.
Sibiu is so worth it, Anneklien! Enjoy your trip. 🙂
Hi, Jackie! I think you offer some great tips about the most important highlights in Sibiu. It’s definitely a great travel destination for a city break or even for a longer trip. Other great areas to visit near Sibiu are in the “Marginimea Sibiului” – a group of villages with a unique ethnological, cultural and historical heritage.
Thanks for the tip, Luminita! I wish I’d known about those villages. Its always great to have a reason to return. ?
Very interesting read and the photography is visually captivating. One of the most beloved and celebrated gymnast in Olympic history is a native of Romania. Nadia Comaneci earn 7 perfect 10’s at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada. When you mentioned the Carpathian Mountains it brought back memories of Nadia’s birthplace.
Thanks for reading, Ronald. I’m glad you liked reading about Sibiu.
Thanks a lot, eh! Your post was quite useful for me now that I’m planning a trip to Sibiu for next week. I have only one question to ask you: do you know any place where I can have great Covrigi? I know I will be able to get them almost anywhere –as I read on your post–, but do you know any local shop/bakery particularly good for these treats?
Thanks for reading! I didn’t have a favorite shop for covrigi. But, I did go to one bakery a few times on Strada Nicolae Balcescu. It’s on the right-hand side if the Piata Mare is behind you. Hope that helps! Enjoy Sibiu!
I visited Sibiu recently and I managed to do most of the things on the list. There are one or two that I missed, so it’s the perfect excuse to go back again.
The reason for my visit was primarily for the 7 day Saxon Transylvania Tour run by Transylvania Cycling. Tour guides Mihai and Radu are very knowledgeable about their beautiful country and go out of their way to ensure you have the best experience ever.
Thanks for reading, Chris! Going back to Sibiu is definitely a good thing. 😉 Glad you had a great time with Mihai and Radu. I only met Mihai but had a great tour with him.
I found this post only now, but I wanted to thank you for your lovely words! I’m happy to hear that you had a great time here! I have been living in Sibiu for 13 years and I can assure anyone that the locals are very friendly and the city is very rich in history. I also recommend visiting it during one of the festivals that are usually held during the late spring-beginning of summer in the city’s center. The International Theater Festivals is one of the most beautiful and popular. There are also Medieval Festival, Film Festival, Food Festivals, Jazz Festival and many others. In December in the Big Square is the Christmas Fair, a lovely place to buy gifts. I also recommend visiting my birth town, Alba-Iulia, which was at first a fort build by the Romans with the name Apulum and it later became a medieval citadel. I wish you good fortune in your travels and I hope you will visit Romania again soon!
Thanks so much for reading, Ioana! I appreciate your kind words and local tips. I’d love to come back to Sibiu and spend more time there. The Theater Festivals sound great! You’re lucky to live in such a fantastic city. 🙂
Ioana & Jackie,
I can’t express enough how thankful I am to have found this amazing information about Sibiu. I am traveling to Sibiu with my husband, 2 kids, my sister (Dacia), her husband and 2 kids (all ages 9-12) August 11-14 and this is immensely helping me plan our time there!
We will be traveling to Garbova (where my great-grandparents grew up) for a day to meet family we’ve never met before! But while in Sibiu those days I wonder if you can recommend any festivals or special things that might be happening the days we will be there, or even sights to see along the way from Sibiu to Garbova.
Thank you for any further insights you can offer! I am beyond excited for this travel experience!
Thanks so much for reading, Galen, and I’m so glad the Sibiu guide is helpful! Sibiu is such a special place. I’m sure you and your family will love it. How great to include meeting family, too, while you’re in Romania. As for events, I would recommend checking out the Sibiu Tourism event calendar for the days you’re there. I hope you have a great trip!!
Thanks for this great post! We – myself, husband, seven-year-daughter and two-year-old son- are in Sibiu and today we followed most of your list around the town. What a gorgeous place! Great list, lovely town, many thanks.
Thanks for reading, Floss. I’m so glad you enjoyed Sibiu! It is such a lovely town. Thanks for sharing about your trip. Enjoy the rest of your time in Romania. 🙂
Incredible post about this beautiful city. I currently write a post about day trips from Brasov. Do you mind when I link to this post when I write about Sibiu?
Thanks so much for your kind words, Pia. You can certainly link to my Sibiu post. Appreciate it. 🙂
They really need more info in english. Everything is in German – everything!
It is Hard to understand the history, dispite studying it for 3 years.
Nice city but not a lot of smiles from the locals.
A lot of things to see but not do.
Sorry, you had that experience, Phillip. I had the complete opposite. But I do agree there could be more things in English in the museums. Thanks for reading.
Thanks for a lovely, insightful, accurate and up-to-date post. We’re here now and will be exploring some of your suggestions (should have read your post PRIOR to coming here). Also thanks for your post on Brasov – it was also very helpful. Nicely written and amazing pictures. Let us know when you come to Cape Town 😉
Thanks so much for reading, Jean-Paul. 🙂 I’m so glad the Sibiu and Brasov guides have been helpful. Enjoy your time in Romania. Hopefully, I’m lucky enough to make it to Capetown soon.
Thanks a lot for your article about Sibiu. We arrived here late last night with our two toddlers and are looking forward to explore Sibiu in winter. It just snowed so I guess it will look a bit different than when you visited. I found your blog whilst researching what to do here. Happy travels to you!
Thanks for reading, Sabine. Enjoy Sibiu! I imagine it looks so pretty with a covering of snow. 🙂
‘Been there, done that’ years ago and now it’s looking very likely that I will get to experience Sibiu again this July! Hopefully this time I might take a daytrip to see Bran’s castle. Last time I opted to go on a hike and take a scenic tour of the carpathians in liu of going to Bran’s, and really enjoyed doing so. A few local friends told me Bran’s is kind of boring, but so are the historic things ‘local’ to me, only because I have seen them many times.
Thanks for reading, VW. I hope you enjoy your return trip to Sibiu. 🙂
This was interesting. I am reading about this part of the world in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s “Between the woods and the water”. Think I will have to visit one day!
Thanks for reading, Jane. Romania is a gem. Thanks for the book tip, too!
An amazing medieval walled city – absolutely beautiful, interesting, easily walkable and I can’t wait to return. We went from strolling around in tee shirts in the square to snow in the mountains within a couple of hours. Go visit!
Thanks for reading, David! I’m glad you had a great visit to Sibiu. It is a beautiful place for sure. 🙂