Sibiu Travel Guide

Why I’m in Love with Sibiu

I remember the morning I arrived in Sibiu for the first time, a city I lived and worked in for nearly a year. I was instantly captivated by the city’s elegance and architectural style; the buildings have eyes stalk you in the streets.

The city is of a distinctly medieval design that makes you feel trapped in another time. Tall brick walls encompass the fortified center and archer towers and lookout points loom all around. In the summertime, blacksmiths come from around Europe to work in Sibiu’s cobblestone streets and one feels as though they are in the land of King Arthur, not an ex-socialist republic.

For visitors looking to discover Romania’s charming side, look no further than Sibiu. This Saxon gem, which is largely untraveled by foreign tourists, offers a glimpse of traditional Romanian prosperity and culture unavailable in Romania’s grandiose capital.

In this guide, I’ll give you all of the information you need to plan a day trip or even a stay of a few days in Sibiu. I will rely mostly on my experience of living and working in Sibiu to give you the most relevant, locals-only information about this destination.

Things to do and See in Sibiu

Architectural Sites

Sibiu’s most distinctive features are its beautiful buildings and medieval design. The city is organized around a historic district, which consists of fortified squares and passages built between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. Unsurprisingly, much of the city’s interesting architecture is within or near the fortified center.

Take on Piata Mare– Sibiu’s Grand Square

The most popular tourist area in Sibiu is its Grand Square, known as “Piata Mare.” The open square, complete with a fountain and benches, has served as a hub for daily life in the city since the square was constructed in the mid thirteen-hundreds. During the middle ages, the square was used as a grain market, but it also hosted important public events, such as executions (“Hey, you guys going to the execution tonight?”–people in the middle ages).

Though you probably won’t see an execution when you visit, the Grand Square remains a must-see attraction for anyone visiting this city. Some of Sibiu’s most important buildings adorn this square; following is a list of must-see buildings on Piata Mare:

(Insider tip: in the Winter, Piata mare hosts a fantastic Christmas market which sells authentic holiday handicrafts and sweets out of wooden booths. Don’t miss it!)

  • Brukenthal Palace: The former residence of Samuel Von Brukenthal, ruler of Transylvania. Today the palace houses the Brukenthal Museum.
  • Church of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church: A remarkable catholic church erected in the 1700’s and designed in a baroque-Venetian style. Known for its impressive bell tower and lavish interior.

People Watch in Piata Mica– Sibiu’s Lesser Square

From Piata Mare, take a stroll toward the clock tower (Council Tower) and follow the passageway under the tower and into Piata Mica– Sibiu’s Lesser Square. Dating back to at least the 1300’s, Piata Mica originally served as a hub for the city’s craftsmen and their tools. Many of the buildings on this square initially housed the guilds of the goldsmiths, mercers, blacksmiths, and others who worked in Sibiu and formed the backbone of its economy.

Today, many of the buildings in this part of the city have been converted into restaurants and other attractions. Piata Mica is one of my favorite spots in town to grab a bite to eat and people watch for awhile. Unlike Piata Mare, which gets crowded with tourists, Piata Mica typically feels more cozy and less crowded. Here are the best things to do in Piata Mica:

  • Casa Artelor (House of Arts): Originally the site of the mercer’s guild, this building played a significant role in the city’s early economy. Today the building houses travelling exhibits and is known for its beautiful loggia.
  • Podul Minciunilor (Bridge of Lies): Built in 1859, this rod iron pedestrian bridge connects the two sides of the lesser square over Strada Ocnei. A local legend posits that telling a lie on the bridge will cause it to collapse, killing the liar in the rubble.
  • Scara Aurarilor (Goldsmith Stairway): The original site of the goldsmiths’ guild, this stairway is known for its distinctly medieval feel and brick archways.

Chill out in Piata Huet– Huet Square

Constructed in the 1100’s, Huet Square is the oldest of Sibiu’s three squares. Many of the Saxon institutions that served Sibiu’s initial settlers, who were primarily Saxons, once operated in this square. In fact, the Sächsische Nationsuniversität (Saxon University), which governed the affairs of Transylvanian Saxon settlements all across the Habsburg Empire, operated out of this location until the 1800’s.

While the region’s Saxon population mostly repatriated to Germany following WWII, Huet Square still remains a hub for the small German-speaking community that presently makes up 2% of the city’s population. Piata Huet is a great spot to relax on a bench or take a nap in the shade while enjoying some peace and quiet. Here are the must-see sites in Piata Huet:

  • German Evangelical Church: An impressive protestant church built in the fourteenth century in the Gothic style. One of the most prominent Gothic structures in all of Transylvania.
  • Pasajul Scarilor (Stairway Passage): An interesting brick walkway which runs parallel to the city’s old fortified walls and features marvelous flying buttresses overhead.
  • Turnul Scarilor (Stairway Tower): This tower is the last remaining original guard tower that leads into the second rung of the city’s fortification system. The tower was constructed during the twelfth century.

Scale to the top of Turnul Sfatului– Council Tower

One of Sibiu’s most recognizable landmarks is Council Tower, or Turnul Sfatului. The tower was originally constructed as an entry point to the city’s third ring of fortification, the most protected part of the city. For less than $1 USD, you can scale the narrow (like super narrow, as in claustrophobia-inducing-ly narrow) brick staircase to the top chamber of the tower. From the top chamber, you’ll be treated to some of the most spectacular views of Sibiu’s old town and the Carpathian Mountains in the distance.

As a bonus, the tower consistently hosts exhibits about the city of Sibiu in the top chamber and on the ground level. At such an affordable price point, it’s a tremendous opportunity to visit an original landmark, take in views of the city, and learn more about the history of Sibiu.

To visit the tower, enter through the small door at the tower’s base from Piata Mica (Lesser Square). Pay the ticket price of 2 Lei and then begin your ascent to the top of the tower by climbing the small staircase.


Visit the Best Museum in Romania: Muzeul ASTRA

In general, I’m not the biggest fan of museums. I can appreciate art, but too much of a good thing is never good and I typically struggle to stay alert throughout an arduous museum tour (with some notable exceptions).

That said, the ASTRA National Museum Complex in Sibiu is the best museum in Romania; I am obsessed with it. The ASTRA National Museum Complex is a government-funded project that seeks to preserve Romanian culture through the installation of open-air exhibits that demonstrate traditional peasant life in Europe.

The complex is located on a huge, forested nature preserve, complete with a giant pond. The exhibits are installed at various points throughout the preserve and demonstrate traditional handicrafts, agriculture methods, and building practices. My favorite exhibits at this museum are the dozens of traditional wooden houses and churches, many of which are furnished with traditional wooden furniture.

To visit the ASTRA Museum, you’ll probably need to take a Taxi, as the museum is located just outside the Sibiu. From the city center, catch a taxi near Astra Park in front of Super Mama. Entrance for adults is 17 Lei, or roughly $4 USD.

Enjoy Romanian Art at the Brukenthal Museum

If you’re passionate about art, then you’ll really enjoy the Brukenthal Museum. Housed in the former palace of Samuel Von Brukenthal, former ruler of Transylvania, the Brukenthal Museum hosts interesting exhibits related to Transylvania and European art, generally.

The museum is broken up into a few different galleries, including the European Art Gallery, Romanian Art Gallery, Brukenthal Library, and others. The most comprehensive galleries are the European Art Gallery and the Romanian Art Gallery. Admission to each gallery requires a separate ticket, so you can decide to visit just a couple of the galleries if you’re low on time.

The most expensive gallery to visit, at 20 Lei ($5 USD) per person is the European Art Gallery. My favorite gallery at this museum is the Romanian Art Gallery, which features Romanian artists and motifs. Visiting the Romanian Art Gallery costs just 17 Lei ($4 USD) per person.


I love Romania. I love Romanian culture, the Romanian language, and Romanian history. Sadly, I have a very complicated relationship with Romanian food. Unlike American food, which is very savory, Romanian food has a sour, pickled flavor. Sour cream, pickled cabbage, fermented wheat juice, and even pickled watermelon are all common foods in Romania (ok, but did they really have to pickle the watermelon??). They even make their savory foods sour by adding exorbitant amounts of dill!

While I enjoy many traditional Romanian dishes, it’s not food I could eat every day. Still, I highly recommend that you try Romanian food on your visit to this part of the world and, lucky for you, Sibiu has a lot of great options to choose from.

Eat Traditional Romanian Food at Crama Sibiul Vechi

Along with Caru’ cu Bere in Bucuresti, I consider Sibiu’s Crama Sibiul Vechi to be one of the best traditional Romanian restaurants in all of Romania. What’s great about this restaurant is its eclectic and spooky ambiance, perfect for a sleepy Transylvanian city like Sibiu. Crama Sibiul Vechi is housed in an old, damp, dark, brick wine cellar. The cellar has a semi-cylindrical shape and you feel like you are eating in some sort of medieval dungeon. It’s as though Vlad Dracul could pop out at any moment to suck the blood of unsuspecting diners– broohaha.

Besides the great ambiance, Crama Sibiul Vechi also offers tremendous, flavorful Romanian food. If this is your first time eating Romanian food, then you most certainly need to try the national dish– sarmale. Sarmale are cabbage rolls stuffed with pork; though, it isn’t uncommon to eat sarmale wrapped in grape leaves instead of cabbage during the summertime. For the full Romanian experience, you’ll also need to order soup– ciorba— which is ubiquitous in Romania. Romanians eat ciorba at most meals, even in the summertime. My favorite ciorba is ciorba de perisoare (sour meatball soup). To top it all of, order a side of mamaliga (polenta) with crumbled cheese and sour cream.

The Tastiest Fast Food in Romania: Super Mama

Ok, so perhaps you’ve reached the conclusion I have– Romanian food isn’t bad, it’s just not great. Before you call an Uber and head to the nearest McDonalds, check out the menu at Super Mama, the delicious transylvania-only fast-food chain. Super Mama offers cafeteria style dining in a modern and clean atmosphere. Their menu includes flavorful soups, sandwiches, mashed potatoes, lasagna, shawarma, and more.

If you decide to try Super Mama, I recommend their kebab plate with french fries. One quirk you’ll notice in Romania is that Romanians like to eat their french fries with mayonnaise (they also eat their pizza with ketchup… lol). If you don’t like mayonnaise, then make sure you order it on the side, otherwise you will receive your french fries lathered in mayonnaise.

Super Mama has locations all across Sibiu. The location closest to the city center is at the entrance of the old town on Strada Nicolae Balcescu in Astra Park.

Indulge Yourself with Romanian Crepes (clatite)

What Romanian food lacks in the main dish category, it certainly makes up for in the dessert category. Romanian desserts are sweet and delicious. One of the most popular desserts in Romania is Romanian clatite, or crepes. Like their French counterpart, Romanian clatite are thin pancakes served with jam or nutella and sprinkled in powder sugar.

My favorite clatite shop in Romania, which has no business name and is identified only by a sign above the window that reads “clatite,” is located near the entrance to the old town on Strada Nicolae Balcescu. The shop is located on the southeast side of the street between Orange Shop and Vodafone. When I lived in Sibiu, I would visit the shop almost daily just for the banana-Nutella clatite. This is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Sibiu!


Transylvania’s defining feature is the abundant nature and pristine forests that dominate its landscape. The best places to experience Transylvania’s natural beauty firsthand are located outside of Sibiu; however, there are a couple of places within the city limits that offer a glimpse of this region’s renowned beauty.

Subarini Park

Jetting into the southwest end of the city is Subarini Park, a long, narrow park that leads into the much larger Parc Natural Dumbrava Sibiului— Forest of Sibiu Natural Park. The section of the park that is within city limits is teeming with bike trails, benches, and locals looking to escape the heat.

Subarini Park is most beautiful during Spring and Summer, when locals flock to hang out and forage for berries and wild flowers on the park’s lush banks. If you’re looking to unwind outside of the bustling city center, then Subarini Park offers a nice change of pace in a distincly local atmosphere.

Sibiu Zoo

Sibiu Zoo is located just beyond Subarini Park, within Sibiu’s larger natural preserve. While the zoo isn’t as spectacular as, say, the San Diego Zoo, it’s still an interesting place to explore. The park boasts typical zoo animals like lions, bears, and tigers.

During the zoo’s less-busy times of year, you are permitted to enter the zoo on your bike. From Subarini Park, rent a bike at Rent-a-Bike Sibiu and then head southward until you get to the zoo. Browsing the cache of animal exhibits from your bike is a unique experience and an entertaining way to spend the afternoon. Best of all, the zoo charges a mere 3 Lei, or $1 USD, entrance fee (hello Sibiu Zoo).

Where to Stay

Nicest Budget Hotel in Sibiu: Hotel Ibis

If you like to save money, but you don’t like sleeping in a room full of strangers, then I highly recommend the Ibis hotel in Sibiu. This business hotel is great for travelers who are on a budget. A room for one costs just $50 USD per night and the hotel is located just across the street from the historical center.

Best Hostel in Sibiu: B13 Hostel

Location, location, location. B13 Hostel in Sibiu is located right in the heart of Sibiu’s old town, a mere seconds from dozens of shops restaurants, and landmarks. What’s more, the hostel is located next-door to Billa, a Romanian grocery chain, so going out for groceries could not be easier. Best of all, staying here will run you a smooth $12 USD per night, less than the cost of a meal in the US.

Swankiest Hotel in Sibiu: Ramada Sibiu

If you’ve got some extra cash and you’re looking to splurge, then the Ramada Sibiu is your best option (after you’ve donated to this website, of course). The Ramada Sibiu is a four-star hotel that offers incredible views of Sibiu from the top floor and is located just a short walk from the city center. Even though it is considered pretty swanky for Sibiu, staying at this hotel will only run you $90 USD per night, less than the cost of a Motel 6 in Los Angeles.

(Honorable Mention: the Hilton in Sibiu is also very nice, but it’s located in the city’s wilderness, so it’s a bit convenient if you plan on traveling Romania without a vehicle. It’s also more expensive at $150 USD per night.)

Is Sibiu Worth the Visit?

If you’ve made it all the way to Romania, then Sibiu must be on your itinerary. The city’s diverse history, cultural offerings, and dining options make this one of my favorite destinations to visit in all of Europe. Wandering the cobblestone streets of the old town or walking along walls that once fended off Ottoman invasions are experiences that can only be had in this small nook of Transylvania.

Not only is Sibiu an interesting place to visit, it is also insanely beautiful. The baroque architecture and eye-shaped dormers unique to this city (they are called Sibiu eyes) give it a distinct charm unlike any other city in Europe. The pastel alleyways and narrow passages that weave in and out of the old town will make you feel like you wandering the streets of a fairy tale town.

Finally, Sibiu is home to some of the kindest and most diverse people in all of Romania. Many of the city’s residents have German or Hungarian backgrounds and you can still hear these languages being spoke in the street today. The people of this small town, true to their Saxon heritage, believe in being correct and honest; Sibiu has prospered even when the rest of Romania has teetered on the brink of collapsing.

I hope this guide has been helpful to you and that, perhaps, I have convinced you to visit this overlooked city in one of Europe’s most scenic places.

Looking for more Sibiu Inspiration? View my guide: 10 Unique Things to do in Sibiu


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