Top Things to Do in Sibiu: Romania’s City with Eyes
Sibiu is a fortified medieval city in Transylvania, with similarities to that of Sighisoara and Brasov. Sibiu, however, has an airport with direct flights from the UK and other European destinations, which makes it a much easier destination to pop over to for a weekend. The city is best known for its classic old town with cobbled streets lined with colourful buildings, historic towers and hidden passageways.
The upper part of town has had restorations, but the lower part where the medieval peasants used to live, has not. This is where you’ll find real life: wonky doorways, flaking paint revealing brickwork underneath, well-worn house facades.
A strong courtyard culture is still present in the lower town; huge wooden doors off the main street open up into shared areas with buildings split into apartments and communal balconies (a similar but smaller version of that found in Tbilisi, Georgia). Sibiu has so much charm and character, and you’ll end up wanting to explore every nook and cranny of this medieval old town. Get your camera at the ready. Keep reading to find all our top things to do in Sibiu.
Top Things to Do in Sibiu: Romania’s City with Eyes
How to Get to Sibiu
Sibiu airport (SBZ) is largely serviced by budget airline, Wizz Air, which flies to cities all around Europe. You will likely be able to find very cheap flights on Skyscanner.
The trains that we got in and out of Sibiu are below:
Cluj-Napoca to Sibiu: cost 55.4 RON and took four hours, leaving Cluj at 10am. This requires a changeover at Copsa Mica station, which I was concerned about because the time for us to switch between trains was only five minutes! I was convinced that this was a risky move but the woman at the ticket desk said it would be fine. 10:00 – 12:44 into Copsa Mica, 12:49 – 14:00 into Sibiu. Squeaky bum time. I was stressed the entire first journey, especially as I could see our first train becoming further and further behind schedule. We ended up getting into Copsa Mica about ten minutes late, but the train to Sibiu had waited for our train! They knew we were coming and so waited for us and a few other passengers doing the same route. You’d never get that back home.
Sibiu to Bucharest: cost 82.9 RON and took six hours, leaving Sibiu at the awful time of 3:55am.
Things to Do
Watch Out for the Houses with Eyes
Walk down the streets of Sibiu (particularly the lower town) and you will see all the houses staring back at you. Sibiu’s unique architecture means that the small ventilation windows in the rooftops look like shifty eyes spying on you.
Keep an eye out
Carefully Cross the Bridge of Lies
Legend has it that the bridge will collapse if someone standing on it tells a lie, so be careful, folks! There are some interesting buildings around here, but the real reason to come here is because of the legend.
Marvel at Holy Trinity Cathedral, and the Hidden Painted Archway across the Road
A beautiful building with intricate artwork and stained glass windows, and some really fancy doors. (I love a good door.) Cross the street from the church and you will see an arched entrance way, almost like a tunnel. The painting inside is so bright and detailed. Don’t miss it.
What a door!
The interior in the archway across the street
Wander through Piața Mare and Piața Mică (Big Square and Small Square)
Both squares are lined with grand buildings and restaurants. Piața Mică has market stalls where you can buy souvenirs, trinkets and food, whereas Piața Mare has benches and water features and tends to be where people congregate. Both are usually bustling with people, so it creates a nice atmosphere to walk around.
Explore the Streets of the Lower Town
Literally, the part of the town that is lower, as in the bottom of the steps. Back in medieval times, the peasants lived in the lower town, and this is really where you can feel and see the history in its atmosphere and architecture. This is where real life happened. It is full of colourful and characterful buildings: well-worn and a bit wonky.
Search for the Medieval Towers
Sibiu has several of them. Much like Sighisoara, the towers were named after a guild (or craftsmen skill) of the townspeople. You will find some dotted throughout the old town, but also several close together along the city wall: carpenters’, potters’, tinsmiths’ etc. Walking along the city wall is really peaceful. Just a little bit back from the main squares and there are benches overlooking the medieval towers. Both times we have visited Sibiu, we have brought either covrigi or gogosi (more on that later) and sat on the benches here for a little picnic.
Our Favourite Vegetarian Food Recommendations
We didn’t eat out too much in Sibiu because we had an apartment where we could cook. These are the few things we did try.
Similar to a filled donut, gogosi is deep-fried dough with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings. Buy them from any of the bakeries in town. Our favourites are the salty cheese filling and the cherry filling.
A soft pretzel that is served plain, topped with seeds etc. or filled with something sweet. Again, you can buy these from any bakeries in town.
Bowl of goodness
Have you been to Sibiu? Is there anything else you would add?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.
Thanks for reading!