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kamila

Can't live without travels! Wherever she goes she always looks for alternative spots or street art. A huge fan of Central Europe and off the beaten path places and a living proof that you can balance full time job and extensive travel!

Visit Sibiu, Romania – one of the most idyllic cities you will ever see!

(Last Updated On: 08/11/2018)

I remember how much I was freaking out before my first trip to Romania, in 2010. It was the fear of the unknown as back then I didn’t know all that much about the country that for some reason didn’t have a good reputation anyway. I fell for the stereotype as well but within first few hours I changed my mind drastically and enjoyed every place I’ve visited (maybe except of Bran castle, that was already too artificial and touristy).

One of the places I’ve liked the most during that trip was Sibiu. I liked it so much that during my recent trip to Romania I’ve decided to visit Sibiu again to remind myself how amazing the city was. And this time I liked it even more!


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Short history of Sibiu, Romania

The town was founded in the 12th century as the home for German settlers in Transylvania. Already two centuries later it was an important trade center with 19 guilds. It quickly became the main German city in Transylvania, known as the Eastern-most place with the Western European culture.

The Romanian population became important here in 18th century, with numerous institution and Metropolitan seat operating in the city. After the World War 1 and collapse of Austria-Hungary Sibiu became part of Romania, still with a big German and Hungarian population. Even the current president of Romania, Klaus Johannis, is one of the Transylvanian Germans from Sibiu!

Visit Sibiu, Romania

Arriving to Sibiu

During my recent trip to Romania I used Cluj Napoca as the transportation hub. This main city in Transylvania is served by few good airlines from numerous destinations all over Europe and chances you will find a very good deal there are really high. I flew from Bratislava, Slovakia and back to Berlin, Germany for only 10€/one way.

From Cluj Napoca you can choose either a bus or train to travel to Sibiu, both take around 4 hours but there are many more buses to choose from. Now don’t make my mistake and if possible get your ticket for the journey beforehand. I was blissfully stupid (or maybe it was due to the early morning flight?) and I didn’t think that the bus on Friday at 12:30 before the long weekend might be sold out.

What happened after I arrived to the bus station was a huge mess that I didn’t really follow: tens of people trying to squeeze in the small room were two ticket offices were located and then trying to push their way to the ticket window. Once I somehow manage to get to the window, 2 minutes before the bus departure time, I calmly asked for the ticket to Sibiu.

The girl looked at me with the amused face but told me to wait and run somewhere. Few moments later she was back, sold me the ticket quickly and told me to run to the bus as it’s just departing. I didn’t have time to put my backpack in the luggage space, I took the last available seat just behind the driver and we left for the trip to Sibiu.

4 hours by bus is a bit but with my panoramic view through the front widow I enjoyed it to the fullest. The Romanian countryside is the prettiest, with rolling hills, picturesque villages and fortified towns, such as Alba Iulia.

Visit Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu – one of the most charming places you will ever see

From the train and bus stations that are located next to each other it’s only a short walk to the center. Very quickly you will understand why Sibiu was named the 8th most idyllic place to live in Europe.

Sibiu looks like taken straight from the fairy tale and is also among the prettiest, cutest and most charming towns I’ve ever seen (and yes, I know I shouldn’t say a town about a place of some 150.000 inhabitants but that’s how the Sibiu feels).

Visit Sibiu, Romania

Things to do in Sibiu

Houses with eyes

I bet few minutes into walking you might feel a bit uncomfortable, like someone is constantly watching you. Look up and you will see why.

Sibiu is known as the city where houses have eyes. The peculiar mix of German and Hungarian influence in Sibiu resulted in the special kind of architecture where there is a small window built at the attic, for cooling purposes. Some of these houses were built even in the 15th century!

The result is terrific, like the house is alive and is looking at you. Some sources say they were make like that to make people feel fear. After a while you get used to that feeling and will actually appreciate this quirky style that makes Sibiu so special.

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

Wandering around Sibiu’s upper and lower town

Sibiu is a perfect place to wander around. The colorful houses and the winding lanes make it so pleasant to walk purposelessly and even get lost from time to time. That’s how I spent the majority of my time when visiting Sibiu. I just walked and walked and walked, here and there, taking random streets left or right and falling for every single corner.

The city is divided into upper and lower town and while similar I found them to be also slightly different, especially when it comes to vibe. The upper town with the central Piata Mare is more neat and well-organized while the lower town has this edgy vibe.

If you compare it to Prague it would be like the Old Town and Zizkov. Both parts are equally great and it takes only a short walk via stairs on Strada Turnului or Pasajul Scalirol to experience both places yourself.

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

Piata Mare – the heart of Sibiu

Piata Mare is the heart of the city with numerous cafes and restaurants where, on a warm day, you can sit outside and watch people go by (or watch pretty houses that watch people).

That’s also where you can find Brukenthal Museum – the oldest museum in Romania with over a thousand paintings by some well known artists. During my visit the square hosted a botanical market so it was busier than usual but that made it even more interesting.

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

Piata Huet

But Piata Mare isn’t the only important square in the center of Sibiu. Actually there are two more, just few steps away, both located next to each other.

Piata Huet is where you will find the Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral, one of the main sights in the city. While you’re there be sure to go inside as it’s really beautiful! You can also go to the tower to admire the view of the city and surroundings – unfortunately I didn’t do it as when I reached the cathedral ready to climb all these stairs they were closing it earlier, ready to prepare it for the concert later that day.

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

Piata Mica – my fave square in Sibiu

Of all the Sibiu squares I enjoyed the third one, Piata Mica, the most. Piata Mare might be a bit too busy, Piata Huet is overwhelming by the cathedral and Piata Mica feels just perfect.

It’s not too big but also not too small, it’s surrounded by even more colorful houses with the eyes and even if it has some cafes and restaurants around, always full of people, it still doesn’t feel like too much. The place is simply cozy and welcoming, perfect to relax a bit after all the walking around.

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

You can get a glimpse of the square, the red rooftops, the rest of the city and beyond from the Council Tower, connecting Piata Mica with Piata Mare (the entrance is from the side of the smaller square). It’s not too high but enough to get you out of breath when going up. Fortunately the view is worth it! On the downside – you admire the city and the landscape around through the window that might not be the cleanest…

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

Another place you shouldn’t miss on Piata Mica is the Liar’s Bridge – the first iron bridge that has ever been built in Romania (in 1859, you can see the date written on the bridge). There are three legends connected to the bridge’s name, all of them involve it either as a lie detector or the death place for liars. To be on the safe side: don’t say any lies when crossing the bridge!

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

Cafe culture in Sibiu

Like any other city with a strong Austria-Hungary legacy, to my utter joy, Sibiu is big on the cafe scene.

The most typical place, resembling the old times, is Cafe Wien. It looks like moved here straight from Vienna and is a cousin of the famous Cafe Hawelka, with small round tables, classic wooden chairs and plushy sofas. If this didn’t convince you to visit then the view should. While the place is big but rather claustrophobic inside the outdoors terrace offers amazing view of the lower town.

But Sibiu has some more modern cafes to visit too! My faves were The Refresh, Pardon Cafe and Hug the Mug but there are so many more options to choose from!

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

Hidden yards of Sibiu

But the real reason why Sibiu has stole my heart were yards, hidden from the looks of passers-by. Only a gate divides these two world that often couldn’t be any more different.

While the main streets are busy with crowds walking by the life in the yards goes slowly. Some of them hide houses that you enter through a balcony or small gardens the locals made for themselves, others host bars and restaurants. Each yard seems to have a soul and a different story behind it.

As the person who has a soft spot for yards I couldn’t help my curiosity and I walked through every single gate I saw open. Seeing these charming microcosm was when I changed my perception of Sibiu.

It’s not only one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, kind of like the living open-air museum. It’s the actual, authentic city, so beautiful it hurts.

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

things to do in Sibiu Romania

ASTRA – the largest open-air museum in Europe

Speaking of open-air museums – there’s one in Sibiu, located some 3kms away from the center. It’s called ASTRA and it’s known as one of the largest museums of that kind in Europe. I heard only good things about it but I can say nothing about it as I’ve never made it there, even if I planned too. The colorful center just sucked me in too much…

Is it worth to visit Sibiu?

You can visit Sibiu in one afternoon only – that’s what I did when I was in the city for the first time. That should be enough to see all the attractions of Sibiu.

But you can as well spend some more time there, just like I did the second time, and enjoy Sibiu – one of the best cities in Romania – to the fullest. Wander aimlessly around at the slow pace, walk not only the main streets but also some random lanes in the back, sit down for a coffee or three, relax and feel the vibrant atmosphere of the city.

After visiting Sibiu and getting to know the city better I really see why it was named one of the top idyllic places to live in. It’s simply too good and too pretty to be true! If you’re looking for charming yet vibrant and beautiful yet fascinating place to visit Sibiu is your answer!

visit Sibiu, Romania

Pictures of Sibiu, Romania

And if I haven’t convinced you enough here are more pictures proving how beautiful Sibiu is!

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania

visit Sibiu, Romania


PLAN YOUR TRIP TO SIBIU

With over 15 years of independent travelling I’ve learnt which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust following websites:

Flights – I search for the best deals on either Momondo or SkyScanner. Both search numerous sites to find the best offers. I also really like the “everywhere” option when searching for the flights as it often gives me the inspiration, if not for this trip then for the next time.

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation thgrough Booking.com. They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if you plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs. I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use few times. Check the best deals on accommodation in Sibiu here

I stayed at Da Vinci Residence which was a bit out of the old town but still in a good location. With the rating 8.8/10 on Booking the place was really good, super clean and with great view of the surrounding area. Click here to see the details and current prices of Da Vinci Residence!

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road (I’ve learnt my lesson). I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me. Check the insurance options for your trip here!

Guide books – I do like reading a guide book before and during the trip. Depending on the destination I usually buy either Lonely Planet or Bradt. You can get your guidebooks for Romania here: Bradt / Lonely Planet

Day tours in Romania – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that save you time and money. Click here to see and book the best day tours in Romania.

In Sibiu you can join following tours:

Organized tours to Romania
If you’re interested in organized tours to Romania TourRadar has some good options by numerous tours companies. Click here to see the offer, deals and prices!


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1 Lip '18

There are 20 Comments.

  1. Ellis
    11:10 02/07/2018

    I was there almost 16 years ago. Funny to see that it actually hasn’t changed that much. Still a beautiful city

    • kami
      18:52 09/07/2018

      it’s so interesting to know the city remained the same. It’s such a gem! I really liked Sibiu and if I have a chance I’d go back there again.

  2. Teddy
    22:19 06/07/2018

    Wow, this is one of the prettiest towns I have ever seen, how come it is not better known. Did you also visit what seems to be the orthodox cathedral (the church with two big towers)? I will go there, I see they have an airport in Sibiu too.

    • kami
      18:54 09/07/2018

      Yes, the orthodox cathedral is on the last picture in the post! I also keep wondering why Sibiu (or Romania in general) isn’t more known, this country is so beautiful! I hope you will go there, you will love it for sure!

  3. Dan
    12:29 09/07/2018

    I visited Sibiu and I have to say it’s a pity that you missed the Astra open air museum, it is really one of the highlights of the city, you have such an idyllic setting and incredibly beautiful wooden and stone houses. I would say that one can easily spend 3 days in this town if he/she visits the museums: the Astra Museum,the Brukenthal palace and its fine arts collection, the History museum and the Franz Binder museum of universal ethnography with its incredible Egyptian, Asian and African collections. I also loved to swim in the Art Nouveau baths of the town.

    • kami
      19:14 09/07/2018

      I have good reasons to come back! But really, the center just sucked me in, I loved it so much I didn’t want to leave! I really want to visit Astra museum so hopefully I will be again in Sibiu sometimes soon! Thank you for all these recommendations!

  4. ANITA
    18:21 11/07/2018

    I have been only in Bukowina and Maramuresh and was feeling very tempted to see other states of Romania. Would like to visit so much

    • kami
      14:54 12/07/2018

      You definitely should! This city has so much to offer and is so diverse!

  5. Ana
    11:17 13/07/2018

    What a beautiful city. I visited too and I recognised the pretty places, you really have a good eye for photography. The pictures of the yards are great. I love travelling through Romania as it is so beautiful,diverse,cheap and without the crowds of tourists. It is just authentic. I saw the places you travelled so far in Romania and I think you saw quite some cities, but you should also visit the rural areas and the national parks, they are just incredible. You could visit the villages with fortified churches in Southern Transylvania (Biertan, Viscri, Saschiz, Alma Vii etc.)8 villages are UNESCO world Heritage but there are hundreds of them. I would also advise Maramures for its wooden villages, monasteries and churches which are UNESCO World heritage, some of the churches are 600 years old and all churches have frescoes on wood. Also Bucovina is amazing with its monasteries which have exterior frescoes which miraculously are still so fresh despite being so old. The villages in Bucovina are also beautiful with their painted wooden houses.

    • kami
      12:44 11/08/2018

      Thank you for your comment Ana! You’re right, I definitely should visit all these places! The problem is there’re always so many interesting sights and not enough time and the fact I don’t have the driver’s licence and need to rely on public transport doesn’t really help. But I’ll get there one day, I’m sure of that! All the places you’ve mentioned have been on my bucket list for ages now!

  6. Anna Makridi
    11:40 20/07/2018

    This place looks fantastic! I loved the pictures!

  7. Ratheesh R Nath
    07:06 29/07/2018

    Photos are too eye-catching. Thanks for sharing such beautiful destinations.

  8. Valentin
    15:37 16/08/2018

    I was in Sibiu with an tour agency. We strolled through the city, but we had only an hour of free time so I couldn’t fully enjoy the city. I wish I can go there again, but this time on my own.
    Can you tell, is Cluj-Napoca worth a visit?

    • kami
      09:44 19/08/2018

      At least you could see a bit of Sibiu :) and it is a great city so I hope you will be able to return one day! Cluj Napoca is worth a visit too! It might not be as pretty as Sibiu but it has a great vibe and is definitely interesting! I still need to write about it :)

  9. Andre
    09:52 27/08/2018

    Looks great, but you should definitely visit Onesti

    • kami
      13:26 14/09/2018

      Thanks! There are so many places I need to visit in Romania! One day I will :)

  10. Hans
    20:34 08/11/2018

    Dear Kami, again I listened to your recommendations and went to Sibiu. I can only say that I completely agree with you, Sibiu is an absolutely charming city. Amazing houses, picturesque streets, good food, interesting museums. Your blog appears on the Official Sibiu home page, and you deserve it! You are doing such an incredible job, keep up the good work!

    • kami
      13:51 12/11/2018

      Thank you for your kind words Hans, I really appreciate it! And I’m so happy you enjoyed Sibiu :) It’s such a lovely place, isn’t it?

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