Have you ever watched a movie, marveled at the splendid settings and wished you were right there, surrounded by the picturesque scenery? It means your wanderlust may have been triggered and you may feel the need to start looking for such a destination.
If so, you’ll want to find out we prepared a piece just for you – a Sibiu city guide for your next visit to Romania.
Why Sibiu? There are more than a dozen reasons in its favor. But for now, let’s just say: apart from its drop-dead gorgeous movie set city center, it is one of the places you could get a taste of Romanian history, refinement and multiculturalism.
Listed as Romania’s second most attractive destination by touropia.com at the end of 2016, Sibiu is a many-faced cultural jewel sporting noble aristocratic vibes. Just the right ingredients you might want in an ideal city break.
Sibiu is one of those places travelers love to discover – less known than popular European destinations, which projects a distinct vibe.
Ready to immerse yourself in discovering it as well?
As with every other choice we make, we first need to know a bit of context. Even more so in the case of places we visit.
That said, our Sibiu city guide is just about to get under way with a display of the city’s history.
After being settled by Saxons, the first documented historical reference to Sibiu is recorded in the 12th century. This makes for a 900-year attested history.
Since then, we know:
- Sibiu is the first Romanian city to have a hospital, a school and a pharmacy
- the city has been capital of Transylvanian when the region was a Habsburg principality.
As you can see, Sibiu is a pioneering town posting many other firsts for the Eastern-European country:
- the first mountain resort
- the first bookstore
- the first beer factory
- the first Museum of Natural History
- the first archives.
By now, it’s pretty clear Sibiu breathes culture and is a hub of innovation within the region.
Speaking of culture, a particularly refreshing sight on your walks through the historical center could be the encounter with craftsmen dressed up in traditional attire. They are representative for the craftsmen who, in the 14th century, were part of the nineteen craft guilds.
Sibiu is among the leading Romanian cities when it comes to historical preservations. The buildings have been recently restored, so you’ll be able to notice the art nouveau and baroque flair in its full display.
Located in the meeting place of the Transylvanian hilly lands and the Carpathian peaks, Sibiu is an architectural and cultural jewel Romanians take pride in.
Where to Sleep. What to Eat. What to See
A city tourists recommend for ‘captivating architecture’ and ‘modest charm’ is sure to be an inviting place for a night in.
Let’s start with the latter – the ideal fit for those who want to be surrounded by the picturesque vibe of Sibiu all day long. These boarding houses retain the architecture of traditional German houses – you’ll find them particularly cozy and welcoming.
- Pensiunea Ela – not far from the historical center, this boarding house got raving reviews for its affordability. Among the pluses, you can count free parking space, helpful host and a double room for around €25/night.
- Casa Baciu – a 2-minute walk from the main areas of the city, this option has strong points like affordability (€37 for a double room) and atmosphere by its side. The decor is ensured by dated furniture to complete the typical old-time Sibiu house ambiance.
- Casa Salzburg – yet another top pick for travelers who enjoy cozy places which also offer a bit of a cultural experience. Less than 500 meters away from the main squares, Casa Salzburg offers large clean rooms decorated stylishly. Tourists assess it in accolades like ‘full of character’ or ‘well equipped’ for the price (€51 double room).
If, however, you prefer the full services of a hotel, here are some recommendations:
- Hotel Casa Luxemburg – the go-to location for the best accessibility to Sibiu points of interest. Besides being a historical building with spacious rooms, this hotel grants its guests the quaintest views over Sibiu for €83 a double room.
- Welt Hostel – with €35, you can enjoy a quiet stay right in the middle of the square area. The hostel is a neat and utilitarian space that also offers 6-person dorms and a recreation room full of books.
- Huet Residence – this is a place for the history aficionados out there. The 14th century building hosts 4 rooms and is accessible both from the ‘upper’ and the ‘lower’ parts of the town. The refined decor and complete facilities are accessible for €52/ night/2 persons.
Some are already being booked, so make sure you get the proper place for your preference and finances. Contact us for any bit of information or suggestion needed.
Once you’ve settled for a place to spend the night, it’s time you chose some dining places to get the taste of the local cuisine. Our picks are:
- Crama Sibiul Vechi – friendly waiter, inviting traditional decor and traditional Romanian music to accompany the experience
- Benjamin Steakhouse&Bar – advantageous price range for meat lovers in a modern chic interior
- Kulinarium – typical Sibiu interior with a touch of gourmet
- Mojo by Our Coffeeshop – more than 30 coffee specialties
- Espressee – diverse, pet-friendly coffee shop.
Now that you got an idea on food and accommodation, you can finally start making up your mind on what places you can and want to visit. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here’s what tourists shouldn’t miss in Sibiu:
- the Town Citadel – it feels great to take a stroll within the best fortified European citadel during the Middle Ages
- Huet Square – the main city square
- the Bruckenthal museum
- Radu Stanca State Theater with Romanian and German plays
- the Sibiu History Museum
- the Orthodox Cathedral
- the Bridge of Lies.
Plus, you can relish in the city’s cultural life, which is abundant in festivals, fairs and events:
- the Sibiu Jazz Festival (27th-29th October)
- Sibiu International Theater Festival (9th-18th June)
- Astra Film Festival (16th-22nd October).
Sibiu City Guide Tips & Tricks
Being located on a hilly land, Sibiu provides a great setting for photographers, so make sure you’re ready to admire the many perspectives you’ll get over the city.
Despite retaining that medieval touch, Sibiu is a vibrantly colored – both pastels and bold colors combine for a kaleidoscopic overall impression. You’ll get some stunning photos there, we can vouch for that.
Now that we’ve been singing the praises of Sibiu scenery, let’s outline some useful tips and tricks to let you know what to expect:
- Food: get your stomach ready for a treat, as Romanian meals are known for being particularly satiable and low priced at the same time. And Sibiu eating points make no exception. On average, you’ll pay 3,5 – 7,5 € for a dish or 8 – 12 € for a mid-range dinner. We recommend you try local soups or ‘ciorbă’ – a sour tasted soup with meat and vegetable which can in itself be considered a very nutritious and cost-saving meal.
- Transportation: the recommended form of transportation across Sibiu is on foot, as the town is fairly walkable to all its main touristic sites. You can get a bus ticket at 0,3 € a day pass for 1 € or taxis starting from 0,4 €/km.
- Daily budget: on average, put aside 30 to 50 € for daily expenses covering food, transportation and entrance fees. Being able to cook your own meals and to walk the city are some finance hacks to decrease said expenses.
If there is one thing Romanians associate Sibiu with, which must be the ASTRA open-air village museum.
It is an astounding display of Romanian civilization and craftsmanship, as well as a legitimate time machine you can visit Monday to Sunday 9-17 for 3,3 €.
Situated in Dumbrava, at 4 km away from the city, the museum has been designed onto a splendid natural location which replicates the main Romanian countryside. You’ll wander by a lake, through a mountain forest slopes or plain fields. This way, you’ll discover households pertaining to each Romanian region – Transylvania, Moldova, Muntenia and Dobrogea. You’ll peer at windmills and water mills, churches or 2-storey houses.
If the surroundings of Sibiu trigger your wanderlust, you might want to know more about our 2-day Travel Maker Transfăgărășan tour.
And when you hear Transfăgărășan, you have to know it has been hailed as ‘the best road in the world’ by Top Gear.
You’ll reach this much-lauded road during the first day of our tour which starts in Bucharest. On the road, you’ll also get to see:
- Curtea de Argeș monastery, an epitome of Romanian 16th century architecture and the originating place for one of the most important legends within the Romanian folk culture
- the Vidraru Dam
- the Făgăraș Mountains
Once you cross the Transfăgărășan, you’ll get to Sibiu, where you’ll also spend the first part of the second tour day. On your way back to Bucharest, you’ll get to stop by Cozia Monastery for another encounter with Romanian Orthodox spirituality.
The tour is priced at 209€/person with a double room accommodation. Additionally, you can opt for extra single rooms – here are more details on the whole range of options.
Regardless of the manner you choose to discover Sibiu – either by yourself or by a guided tour – you’ll most likely find this city a proper retreat and battery recharger.
We hope our Sibiu city guide provided the basic information you need to make up your mind and start packing for this Eastern European hidden treasure.