After spending 3 weeks exploring Romania, we can officially say that our favorite city is Sibiu! This charming Transylvania town might be slightly overshadowed by Brasov, but Sibiu has an appeal of its own.
The heart of Sibiu’s city center is mostly pedestrian only, making it a really fun city to explore on foot. Squares and streets are lined with colorful buildings, and in the summer time there are countless gelato stands.
In short, the city has a charm that you have to experience in person. If you’re planning a trip to Sibiu, we hope this post helps you figure out what to do in this beautiful Transylvanian city.
17 Amazing Things To Do In Sibiu, Romania
1. Stroll down Strada Nicolae Bălcescu
When visiting Sibiu, it’s easy to assume that Piazza Mare is the best place to walk around. But you’d be mistaken. Our favorite place to walk ended up being Strada Nicolae Bălcescu, a pedestrian walkway lined with shops and restaurants. It’s connected to Piazza Mare (the main square), so it’s very easy to find.
Here, you’ll find everything from modern clothing store chains like Zara to tiny street food vendors selling pizza and corn on the cob. Did we mention there are ice cream and gelato vendors everywhere? It’s almost impossible to resist temptation!
2. Visit the Fortress Walls
Back in the 13th and 14th centuries, a fortification wall was built in Sibiu after a major attack. The wall is still standing to this day, and you can go visit it! The wall might not be as impressive as it once was (it once had close to 40 guard towers!), but it’s still pretty cool to see.
When we visited, we weren’t able to go into any of the towers that we came across. But we have heard that a few of the towers are open to visitors.
3. Have a healthy breakfast at The Refresh
We know it’s not the most exciting breakfast, but it’s always nice to start the day off on a healthy note! We picked The Refresh because we read that they had great smoothies, fresh juice, and yogurt. The smoothies were awesome so we were definitely glad we went.
It’s also awesome because The Refresh located in Piazza Mare. This means it’s surrounded by other restaurants and shops, so the people watching is supreme!
4. Go Shopping In Piata Mica
The aptly named Piata Mica, or “Small Square”, is just a few hundred feet from the main square in Sibiu. In reality, it’s anything but small – nor is it square. There are local vendors selling various trinkets and wares, and there are also plenty of bars and cafes to visit if in need of a drink or a bite to eat.
5. Get a cup of coffee from Geea Caffe
Geea Caffe is without a doubt one of the coolest coffee shops we have been in. Ever. This sprawling coffee shop is definitely a bit bizzare at first glance, but it’s also the perfect place to have a coffee and relax. Take us at our word and check this place out for yourself!
Each room is covered from floor to ceiling in unique paintings and decorations. The furniture all appears to be from another century, but don’t worry, it’s super comfy! We ended up spending two hours in this coffee shop just relaxing because we loved the atmosphere so much.
6. Explore Sibiu’s Old Town
Sibiu’s Old Town is arguably the coolest part of the city. Since the main square is located on a hill, you have to follow steps down from the square to reach the best parts of Old Town. Here, you’ll find the most beautiful cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
If you are trying to figure out which part of town to stay in, you should definitely consider Old Town. Our Airbnb was in this historic area and we loved it. We were walking distance from everything.
7. Watch a traditional Romanian performance
One night as we took a nighttime stroll after dinner, we heard loud music coming from the main square. We decided to go check it out. It turned out that the “Songs of the Mountains” International Folklore Festival was going on. They were even broadcasting live from Sibiu!
Experiences like this are why we travel. To be able to experience a new culture in such an authentic and fun way is a blast. If you’re able to schedule your trip to Sibiu around a festival like this, do it!
8. Visit Dragoner Square
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Dragoner Square is one of the oldest parts of Sibiu. It’s in remarkable condition, considering it’s from the medieval times. During the day, it sits mostly empty, but by the evenings it fills up with people reading, drinking, and enjoying the ambience of Sibiu’s Old Town.
9. Check out the judging eyes on old structures
Romanian folklore says these houses are keeping their eyes on passersby and judging any wrongdoing or transgressions that may be happening. Throughout the city there are plenty of buildings with “eyes” and some certainly look more animated than others. Try making a game out of it; Which building is most lifelike, the most inebriated, or the most judgmental?
10. Take a walk in Citadel Park
After being under siege by the Mongols in 1241 AD, Sibiu started a campaign to shore up its defenses. The next couple hundred years resulted in walls being built and 39 towers constructed. Despite not all of them surviving to present day, there are still plenty to check out in Citadel Park.
In addition to the 700 year old walls and towers, the park is also a quiet place to enjoy a walk, picnic, or reading a book. The paths are well maintained, lit with streetlights, and there are lots of benches to rest on.
11. Try Authentic Romanian food
You can’t leave Sibiu without trying authentic Romanian food at least once! Start with the classics like cabbage rolls and ciorba soup before making your way onto the other delicacies. There are a slew of great Romanian restaurants located right in Piazza Mare where you can grab a bite to eat and people watch.
12. Walk Across the Bridge of Lies
Have you ever wondered if someone is lying to you? Then the Bridge of Lies is the place to go! Rumor has it that this bridge would start creaking with small lies. As the lies get bigger, the bridge might even collapse!
Don’t worry, this charming bridge is very safe to walk across. It’s a popular spot to take pictures since it offers a great view of the town.
13. Explore Piazza Mare (Big Square)
Since the 16th century, the Piazza Mare, or “Big Square”, has been the center of town. During the Middle Ages it was used as a gathering place, but it also had a darker twist to it at times. It was occasionally used for public executions and at one point had a “lunatic cage” where public peace disturbers were publicly shamed during the day.
The name of the square has also changed over the years. Originally called Grosser Platz (German for Big Square), it was named King Ferdinand Square during the two world wars, then Republic Square during the communism era. After communism fell in Romania in 1989-90, it returned to its original name – this time in the Romanian language.
14. Visit the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary
Built in the 14th century, this beautiful church has one of the most beautiful and intricate roof designs we’ve ever seen. The inside is open for a paid visit for a few hours every day, but while we were visiting Sibiu it was under renovations so sadly we missed out. The clock tower can be climbed for an additional fee, which is supposed to offer fantastic views of the city.
15. Visit the ASTRA Museum
The ASTRA Museum is a very popular open air museum located in Sibiu. At this museum, you can see old Romanian rural houses, windmills, and of course, art. Admission to the museum is 17 RON (about $4 USD) on Wednesdays through Sundays, and 12 RON (about $2.80 USD) on Mondays and Tuesdays and in the winter season.
16. Try the street food
There are plenty of places to grab a quick bite to eat in Sibiu. The most common food, understandably, is the Romanian favorite – covrigi. However, the street food scene isn’t limited to just those delicious pretzel-like snacks. Some shops have other pastries, but we found one that sold some of the finest pizza we’ve had in Romania. If you prefer a quick bite instead of sitting down a a cafe, then stroll around town and you’ll find lots of great options.
17. Catch a show at Thalia Hall
Sibiu is a city of music. Between street performers, live music at restaurants, and organized music performances, you can’t spend time in Sibiu without hearing live music. One of the best ways to embrace Sibiu’s music scene is by getting tickets to see the Orchestra.
The Philharmonic Orchestra of Sibiu plays at Thalia Hall, a beautiful old theater in Sibiu’s city center. You can check showtimes and ticket prices on their official website.
Sibiu is a great city and we highly recommend visiting. You don’t even have to do that much planning for your trip; just wander through the city center and you’ll love exploring. Here are a few final tips to help plan your trip:
- We would recommend that you plan to spend anywhere between 2 and 5 days in Sibiu. We spent 3 days and it felt like the perfect amount.
- There are plenty of inexpensive accommodations in Sibiu, including multiple hostels and awesome Airbnbs. There are also beautiful hotels in Old Town if you’re willing to spend a little more.
- To get to Sibiu, it’ll probably be easiest to rent a car or take the bus. Taking the train will require you to transfer multiple times and the Sibiu airport is pretty tiny. We took a bus from Brasov and the ride was pretty easy–it took 2 hours and there was no traffic.