If you’re a lover of the medieval world, you won’t want to miss stunning Sibiu. As one of Romania’s tourism capitals, the city draws in the crowds thanks to its charming medieval streets, excellent views, parklands and great food. Dating back to the 12th century, the historical centre was renovated in 2006 and now boasts several interesting sites to drop in on along your way.
Like many old medieval cities, Sibiu retains a good deal of grandeur and is pleasantly walkable; however, if you wish to venture outside the limits of the medieval city, the public bus service, TurSib, runs reliable and inexpensive services, making day excursions easy.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best things to see and do in Sibiu.
Considered by many as one of the best museums in Romania, Brukenthal showcases over 1,090 paintings created by a wide range of Romanian and European artists, some of which date back to the 15th century.
The History Museum
Within the city hall lies a spectacular history museum offering a deep understanding of the city’s history. Exhibits date back to Neolithic times but you will also see a good collection of artefacts from the middle ages and Baroque periods.
The Astra National Museum Complex
This is an open-air museum which lies just 5 kilometres south of Sibiu and showcases 120 ancient, restored buildings. Have a wander through the streets and check out the old mill or buy some traditional handicrafts to take back home.
In its day, Sibiu was the best fortified citadel in all of Europe. The medieval Stairs Passage is beautiful while the towers and bastions offer panoramic views of the city. While you are there, the famous Golden Barrel is well worth stopping at for dinner as it’s the oldest restaurant in Romania.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral
This is the second biggest orthodox cathedral in Romania. Built in the early 20th century, the cathedral was inspired from the Byzantine-style Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. The red and yellow brick exterior is beautiful, as is the incredibly colourful interior.
Festivals and events
Sibiu puts on more festivals and events than any other city in Romania. If you’re a jazz buff travelling in May, make sure your visit coincides with the famous week-long Sibiu Jazz Festival. You will also find a myriad of exhibitions, theatre and operatic events, as well as plenty of cafes for people-watching opportunities in the city’s three main squares. Sibiu has a bohemian yet smart vibe, which adds to its overall appeal.
A day trip by train to this small town in the area of Sibiu is a favourite excursion, and particularly popular for its spectacular saline lakes. Stroll through Ocna Sibiului’s old centre and if the weather’s warm, take a dip in the lake or get pampered at one of the spas along the shores.
For a relaxing day away from the city streets, enjoy a gentle walk beside the lake or perhaps take to the slopes for some skiing during winter.
The Cindrel Mountains
The Cindrel Mountains are just 16 kilometres from Sibiu and are favourites for trekking (to average heights of around 1,066 metres). If you’re looking for fresh air and the great outdoors, this could be just the kind of challenge you need. Nestled in the foothills of the Cindrel Mountains lies the Marginimea Sibiului – here you’ll find a string of 18 villages which demonstrate the area’s rich history, heritage and architecture, as well as rural customs that have been passed on through generations.
Built in 1894, Paltinis is the highest (1,440 metres) and oldest tourist resort in Romania. A favourite for skiers, Paltinis also offers beauty, fresh air and an abundance of hiking and cycling opportunities. Well-marked trails make it easy to get to the key points on the surrounding mountains.