Romania Sibiu Transylvania

How to Spend a Day in Sibiu, Romania

Last Updated on March 23, 2018.

It’s been nearly four years since I first found myself lost in Transylvania and like many first time visitors to the region, I have to admit I was half expecting to find a creepy, wacky place where Halloween is celebrated year-round and the chances of running into Dracula or werewolves on the street are pretty high, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Kind of.

Dracula in Sighisoara Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Dracula sighting. Sighisoara, Romania. 2011.


Though some kitsch definitely exists, especially in Bran and Sighisoara, in general what I found instead of a living horror story was some of the most colorful towns and villages I’ve ever seen, and Medieval history so rich that it would make even the Green Knight jealous (Medieval Times humor, anyone?). This part and heart of Romania is home to some of the best-preserved, fortified city centers in Europe and some seriously beautiful countryside, so not surprisingly I was delighted to receive an invitation to return this past October and give another part of Transylvania a go. This time in and around Sibiu.


As a former European Capital of Culture (2007) and the second largest of Transylvania’s fortified Saxon towns behind Brasov, Sibiu (or Hermannstadt as it’s called in German and Nagyszeben in Hungarian) is probably one of the most “happening” spots to base yourself while exploring the region, but still relatively quiet unless a festival or big event is taking place which is pretty often so make sure you check their calendar of events. Spending one or two days hanging around there is more than enough time to get to know the city and here are just a few suggestions how.

Wander around the fortifications and colorful alleyways

Rustic, colorful Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Rainbow colored alleyway Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Colorful houses Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde GypsyPassageway to Piata Mica Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

No matter where you are in the world, one of the best introductions to a place always comes in the form of a good wander around without a map (or at least not pulling one out until there is a desperate situation on your hands), and Sibiu is pleasantly perfect for this. It’s not too big or confusing for those who are a little more directionally challenged and many parts of it will seem more like a scene from a storybook, a real colorful one, rather than one of largest cities in a region more often than not synonymous with macabre. As the main city of Saxon Transylvania, it was populated primarily by German speakers until World War II which gives it a really charming Western European feel that you might not have anticipated out in “the East”.

Lower Town Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Colorful street near Piata Huet Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Turnul Dulgherilor - The Carpenter's Towers Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy


Have a stare down – with a roof

This may sound totally random but I’m pretty sure once you catch a glimpse of some of the many sets of “eyes” that watch you as you wander around the city, you’ll feel me on this one.

Eyes of Sibiu Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

A style of dormer windows that are quite specific to Sibiu and in many ways one of its trademarks, these “eyes of the city” may creep you out at first and make you feel uncomfortable, but don’t let them win. Just give a bold stare back to remind them who is boss and from there forward, you won’t have any problems. In fact, you might even find them slightly adorable.

Piata Mare Houses Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy


Square it up

A few places you want to find yourself chilling at one point or another during your time in Sibiu are in the Upper Town’s three main squares: Piata Mare (Great Square), Piata Mica (Little Square), and Piata Huet (Huet Square).

Gheorghe Lazar statue in Piata Mare Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Piata Mare (above) is the largest of these squares and where you will find the Town Hall, Tourist Information Center, Catholic Church, Brukenthal Museum, and big events. It’s almost too big though I do imagine the Christmas Market that goes down there is pretty awesome if it’s anything like the ones held in some of Europe’s other big squares.

Piata Mica Panorama Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Piata Mica from Liars' Bridge Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

The much more quaint and cozy Piata Mica around the corner is where you will find most of the good cafes and restaurants. A great view of it can be see walking up from the infamous Liars’ Bridge (first wrought iron bridge in Romania) where underneath it’s said the town’s gossipmongers used to congregate back in the day and if you tell a lie while on it, it will collapse beneath your feet. Or something like that.

Liars' Bridge Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Sort of in between both Piata Mare and Piata Mica is Piata Huet which really doesn’t have all that much going on except for some awesome buildings like the gorgeously gothic Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary from the 14th Century and Brukenthal Gymnasium, the oldest school in Romania.

Evangelical Cathedral and Cafe Wien Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy


Museum it up

To be honest, I was not in a museum mood whatsoever the entire time I was in Sibiu so therefore didn’t visit any at all. This is a shame considering a couple of the best in the country are found here, but since Sibiu itself is essentially a living museum and I was shown around it by one of the most culturally knowledgeable people in the city (shout out to Razvan Pop), I didn’t feel too bad missing out this time around.

Piata Mare and Brukenthal Museum Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

Two of the most popular that you should know about though in the event that you’d like to squeeze a bit more culture in and Razvan is not available are the Brukenthal National Museum and the ASTRA National Museum Complex. The Brukenthal Museum is located in Piata Mare – the oldest in Romania (imagine that) housing paintings from the likes of Ruebens, Teniers and Van Dyck – while the ASTRA Open Air Museum is in the middle of a forest and next to a lake three kilometers outside the city. It’s one of the largest open air, ethno-museums in Europe at 250 acres that features over 300 buildings displaying a variety of architecture from villages around Romania.

Pit stop at Cafe Wien

Coffee at Cafe Wien Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

If you’re looking for a Viennese inspired pit stop with a view and cosy atmosphere, Cafe Wien is your spot. Right on Huet Square and with an excellent view of the Lower Town from its terrace(s), it’s a great place for everything from coffee and some cake to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

View of Lower Town from Cafe Wien Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy


Climb to the top of Turnul Sfatului (Council Tower)

Council Tower - Turnul Sfatului - Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

For the best view of Sibiu from above and its surroundings, a climb up to the 13th Century Turnul Sfatului (Council Tower) is mandatory for every visitor – and recommended towards the end of the day/magic hour when the Old Town’s colors are looking their prettiest. It’s located right in between Piata Mare and Piata Mica, and another unmistakable landmark of the city.

View of Piata Mica from Turnul Sfatului - Council Tower - Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

View of Piata Mare from Turnul Sfatului - Council Tower - Sibiu, Romania Transylvania © The Blonde Gypsy

As mentioned before, this trip was the result of an invitation as a blogger to explore Sibiu from #MySibiu. #MySibiu is a project implemented by AIOS ( and and is financed by Sibiu Town Hall ( Again, special thanks to Razvan Pop as well as Tudor St. Popa for being great hosts. 


  • Reply
    Karisa @ Flirting with the Globe
    May 28, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    What a gorgeous city! Romania is high on my list – I hope to make it there soon!

    • Reply
      June 2, 2015 at 2:19 am

      It should be, it’s a very cool country. And so much to see!

  • Reply
    Mike Wolk
    May 29, 2015 at 1:13 am

    What a lovely place – next time I’m in Romania, I’ll be sure not to miss it.

    • Reply
      June 2, 2015 at 2:20 am

      Yes it is and smack dab in the center so relatively easy to get anywhere else in the country that you want to do. Hope you make it :)

  • Reply
    June 4, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Hi an thanks for paying a visit to Sb (short for Sibiu) ;)
    As a local, here for generations, an almost obsessed by this city’s architecture, history an past development/evolution i must disagree on one subject: ”…and the second largest of Transylvania’s fortified Saxon towns behind Brasov”. Sibiu, or Hermannstadt, was actually the largest of Transylvania’s fortified cities ! It’s 74-80 hectares (with fortifications), while Brasov is nearly 39 hectares, 40 with fortification. True, Brasov had, quite early-14th century, larger suburbs outside the city walls, while Sibiu was, till the 17-18th centuries, without considerable suburbs (all fortified). The city was since the 15th century the capital of the transylvanian saxons (a organisation close to a saxon parliament had it’s seat in Sibiu ”Universitas Saxonum”) and twice official capital of Transylvania (1692-1791, 1849-1865).

    • Reply
      June 4, 2015 at 1:21 am

      Hello! Thanks a lot for sharing this info. Sorry I wasn’t more clear here but I was referring to current population when I said second largest town, but cool to know about the size of the actual fortified area.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you (!) for accepting my geek comment, no problem, i love sharing :) Today the cities are not fortified anymore and saxons…almost extinct (sadly), looks like you’re referring to the past, creates confusion, but got it ;) HATE to do this but…Cluj-Napoca (another historical capital) is the largest in Transylvania, Brasov second, Sibiu third. Other major cities in the west & north, such as Timisoara, Oradea, Baia-Mare fall in other historical regions, i know, complicated country :))
    I would be interested, if i’m not asking too much, in two things: What you hated about Sibiu (be honest, i can take it :)) ), and what you loved.
    Have fun travelling, great thing to do, i do it also, & stay safe

    • Reply
      June 4, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Hey again – no problem, the more info, the better. You’re right Cluj is the largest by population in Transylvania and I’ve never been there, but I was under the impression it was not considered one of the fortified towns. At least it wasn’t listed on Wikipedia (what I linked to) and we all know what a reliable source that is so if it’s something to be corrected, would be honored to have the news broken here first.

      I really didn’t hate anything in Sibiu, but perhaps if I wasn’t looking for a more quiet getaway – which I was – I might have been frustrated with the lack of good night life. Seemed like I could count the amount of bar options on one hand but then again I wasn’t looking. Also frustrating but not necessarily just with Sibiu was how difficult it was to reach some of the fortified churches around. By chance I met a random person in Medias willing to drive me to Biertan for a few bucks, but in general I’d day without a car or wanting to pay for a tour, it’s pretty impossible to explore the smaller villages on a budget and only using public transportation.

      Think I covered what I loved – just the beautiful architecture and colors. Always a sucker for candy colored towns :)

      • Reply
        June 5, 2015 at 9:31 am

        You’re right, Sibiu is not big on night life, as far as i know, they are some-6-8 clubs, but we are big (kinda – for our size) on bars, pubs & restaurants, largest concentration of them is in Small Sq. Also most non stop venues & clubs are outside the historic center, scattered across town, especially to the south & west (more densely populated areas). Lots of stuff, from clubs to architecture is hidden here, not the very flashy kind of town, everything concentrated on the high street shouting ”i’m here”, you must discover it. I guess the city’s problem on this is that it has not (yet) created definite areas of bars, clubs…or red light district :))
        What you loved yes, you summed up ADMIRABLY on your page (one of the best, down to earth blog opinions i’ve ever read – no joke !), that’s why i decided to write…
        Like i said previous, i travel too (with a good friend) in the county & Transylvania mostly, during summer 2013 we managed to see all of the villages in the county (& around), everywhere where there’s a fortified church, manor/inn, fortification, ruin we went…stunning areas, especially those with fortified churches and yes, you’re right, hard to reach some…we found ourselves on some roads (rather shortcuts) that were not even fit for carts, we had to turn back. Thank you Bucharest & your ”efficient” administration for the ”excellent” road conditions across the country :)). Few saxon churches are opened for public and host a museum, a ”secret” here: in most of the villages the key to the church is in possession of the last saxon alive, we searched for those too, in two of the cases the ”key holders” were 90+ years and deaf …we didn’t get in (do’h). Bus routes, they are, to most locations, but are slow and rather expensive. You’re right about the budget too. Most villages, some remote, like the bloody road to Nowhere, and almost unpopulated, do not offer a place to spend the night. Biertan, been there several times, has some inn’s, hostels, it’s a happier situation (PS there’s an annual horror movie festival held there in July-if ever here again, i recommend it).

        And last, the Honour ! :))
        Cluj is/was definitely a fortified city. First a roman castra (& town), later a small medieval fortified area (12-13th centuries) upon the previous, and later (15th century) fortifications extended, reaching the present day historic center size(some 56 hectares). Fortified cities/towns of Transylvania: Sibiu, Cluj, Brasov, Bistrita, Medias, Sebes, Alba-Iulia, Sighisoara.
        Here’s a link (hope it works) with some historical representations, Cluj is images 5,6 on right column:
        Thank you for the answer, oh boy, have i written a lot, sorry about that – hard to sum ideas in few words, and if interested in whatever…please ask.
        Good luck with the blog !

  • Reply
    Steven alex
    July 8, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Such beautiful photography you have done Larissa, i must say you have shown the real beauty of Romania to everyone. Glad to read your blog :)

    • Reply
      August 12, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Thank you so much, glad you read it too :)

  • Reply
    June 7, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Great article! Sibiu is just a magical, charming, little town. Really proud of it to be my home town. I’ll be traveling Romania in autumn this year, you can find my stories on my blog: (currently stories from Nomad living in Tenerife).
    Blessings and to many more adventures :D gypsies unite! hehe

  • Reply
    August 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Sibiu, like many Romanian cities have beautiful old towns. However, outside the historical centres one is faced with ugly, crumbling and depressing Stalinist monstrosities. A big con for Sibiu is the inadequate public transportation. It lacks an efficient tram system of cities like Arad.

    • Reply
      August 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      I am considering retiring in Romania, mainly because I find Romanian people the friendliest in central Europe and because of the relatively low cost of living. Can someone please suggest a city/town which is least ruined by Stalinist town planning/architecture? Can someone comment on Arad? It seems to have pleasant architecture and an excellent tram system (I wouldn’t want to own a car, I’m tired of having to drive everywhere in my country, Cyprus). Arad was suggested by a Romanian neighbour although she had never actually been there. Thank you.

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