Sibiu is a small medieval town in Transylvanian in Central Romania. The city is known for its culture, history, and Transylvanian Saxon architecture. It was named the European Capital of Culture in 2007 and is an important craft and cultural centre in Romania.
It is also known as “The City of Eyes” due to its unique architectural features on the roof of houses in Sibiu. Wherever you go, these “eyes” are always following you. Very unique and maybe a bit creepy.
And because there are so many things to do in Sibiu Romania, you might want to stay in the historic city for a few days. But if you are only spending a day in Sibiu or doing a day trip from Brasov or Sighisoara, it is also possible. All you have to do is follow my itinerary at the bottom of the post and learn how you can spend one day in Sibiu.
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What you need to know before going to Sibiu Romania
Before you visit Sibiu, take a look at some of these useful travel tips first:
- Romanian leu (plural: lei) is the currency of Romania. RON is the three-letter code for the Romanian currency.
- If you are doing a day trip from Brasov or Sighisoara, arrive in Sibiu by 9:00 am so you can comfortably follow my itinerary at the end of the post.
- Plan your visit to Sibiu with the following festivals and events:
- The Transylvanian Citadels Medieval Festival (end of summer) – travel back in time during this medieval event
- Sibiu Internațional Film Festival (end of May) – the world’s third largest theatre and performing art festival.
- Sibiu Christmas Market (mid-November to the first week of January) – Romania’s most popular Christmas market
How to get to Sibiu Romania
The best way to get to Sibiu is by taking the Romanian Railway, CFR Călători.
And if you are only doing a day trip to Sibiu, it is possible to see the city from Brasov or Sighisoara. Here are the recommended train schedules for both cities. Check the CFR Călători website for more information.
Train from Brasov to Sibiu
- CFR Călători train:
- Brasov to Sibiu: 6:20 am to 8:56 am (2 hour 36 mins), direct train
- Sibiu to Brasov: 4:30 pm to 7:29 pm (2 hour 59 mins) or 8:28 pm to 11:23 pm (2 hour 55 mins), direct train
- Cost: 48.2 lei (second class), 68.9 lei (second class)
Train from Sighisoara to Sibiu
- CFR Călători train:
- Sighișoara to Sibiu: 7:07 am to 9:19 am (2 hour 12 mins), direct train
- Sibiu to Sighișoara: 5:31 pm to 7:14 pm (2 hour 8 mins), direct train
- Cost: 33.8 lei (second class)
16 Things to do alone in Sibiu Romania
There are three parts to Sibiu: Old City (historical centre of Sibiu), the Lower Town (north of Old City) and Upper Town (south of Old City). Most attractions are in the Old City but I recommend wandering around the Lower Town and Upper Town.
Sibiu is a small city so you can definitely walk to the attractions listed below. So here is my list of the 16 top things to do in Sibiu for a solo traveller.
1. Climb up Turnul Sfatului to see an aerial view of Sibiu
One of the best ways to see Sibiu is to climb up to Turnul Sfatului (The Council Tower) and see the medieval city from the top.
The tower was built in the 13th century and was originally used as an entrance gate to the fortified city. It has been rebuilt as parts of the upper floors have collapsed over time.
Today, the Council Tower houses various exhibitions and has a clock mechanism near the top. And when you climb up 141 steps, there is an enclosed viewing platform with four windows facing all sides of the city. And this is where you can see a panoramic view of Sibiu, including Piața Mică, Piața Mare and the Evangelical Church.
The entrance to the Council Tower is the small door facing Piața Mică next to Pasajul Pielarilor (Tanners Passage).
Address: Piața Mică 1, Sibiu | Hours: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm | Admission: 2 lei
2. See if the Podul Minciunilor collapses when you tell a lie
Podul Minciunilor (The Bridge of Lies) is Romania’s first cast iron bridge. It is decorated with Neo-Gothic motives and hovers over Strada Ocnei, the main street to the Lower Town.
But what is so special about this bridge is its myths and stories surrounding it. Legend says that if you stand on the Bridge of Lies and lie about something, the pedestrian bridge will collapse. And back in the day when merchants tried to cheat their clients, the ones caught would be tossed off the bridge.
Whether these legends are true or not, the Bridge of Lies is worth checking out.
3. Explore Piața Mică
Sibiu has three main squares and one of them is called Piața Mică (The Small Square). This was the former artisans’ market since many buildings have a loggia, a semi-open hallway with semicircular arches. Goods were displayed for craft workshops.
Today, the 17th-century houses around the perimeter of the square are converted into cafes, restaurants, hotels and museums.
Here are some of the notable buildings that you should check out while you are roaming around Piața Mică:
- Turnul Sfatului (The Council Tower) – see #1
- Muzeul de Farmacie (Pharmaceutical History Museum) – this was Sibiu’s first pharmacy in 1494. Today, it is home to a hostel and a museum displaying over 6,000 vintage homeopathic and pharmaceutical instruments, lab utensils, documents, etc. Admission is 10 lei.
- Podul Minciunilor (The Bridge of Lies) – see #2
- Turnul Scării Aurarilor (Goldsmith’s Stairway Tower) – see #8
- Casa Artelor (Arts House – Butchers Guild Hall) – was the oldest guild house in Transylvania. Today, the space is used for contemporary art and exhibition space for different cultural events.
- Casa Luxemburg – renovated as a hotel.
- Casa Hermes – it houses the Franz Binder Museum. The facade looks like a castle.
4. Look for the iconic Sibiu “eyes” in Piața Mare
Next to Piața Mică is Piața Mare (The Big Square), which is also the heart of Sibiu. The old public square has been around since the 14th century and was once filled with different economic activities, citizen meetings, fairs and even executions.
You may have noticed the Sibiu “eyes” in the Small Square already but it is so much more apparent when you stand in the middle of the Big Square.
These iconic eyes are roof windows used for ventilating the attic where meat, cheese and other types of food were stored. They come in various sizes and shapes but the most common ones are the trapezoid windows that resemble a human eye. This is why Sibiu is nicknamed “The City of Eyes”.
And once you spot these “eyes”, it will seem like they are always following you. It’s a bit creepy. Ha!
5. Explore Piața Mare
Besides having these eyes following you around the Big Square, check out some of these highlights around the old square:
- Muzeul Național Brukenthal (Brukenthal National Museum) – opened in 1817, the museum complex comprises six museums scattered around Sibiu. At this location, there are over 1,200 pieces of European artwork from the 15th to 18th centuries.
- Sibiu City Hall – a grandiose building with elements of Art Nouveau. Sibiu Tourist Info Center is part of the building.
- Biserica Romano-Catolică Sfânta Treime (Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church) – one of the most notable Baroque churches in Transylvania.
- The Hecht House – a historical and architectural monument.
- Lutsch House – another historical monument.
6. Climb up the other watch tower at Catedrala Evanghelică din Sibiu
Catedrala Evanghelică din Sibiu (The Evangelical Cathedral of Sibiu) is a 14th-century Church famous for its Gothic architectural style, massive 73m-high tower and the largest organ in the southeastern region of Europe.
The price of admission includes a guided walk through the church’s interior and a climb to the top of the watch tower. At the top, you can see a close-up of the bright roof tiles and look back at the Council Tower and the surrounding areas.
On the way out, check out the Statue of Bishop Georg Daniel Teutsch in front of the church. It is a bronze statue of a famous Transylvanian historian and a Lutheran bishop.
And if you visit Sibiu during the summer, check out the organ concerts every Wednesday night.
Address: Piața Albert Huet, Sibiu | Hours: 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Saturday and 11:30 am to 8:00 pm Sunday | Admission: 10 lei for church, 10 lei for the tower, 20 lei for both church and tower
7. See Stapul Calfelor in front of Casa Calfelor
During the 21st century, many journeymen travel to Sibiu to teach and learn different trades including carpentry, goldsmithing, stonework, etc. The Evangelical Church gave these journeymen accommodation while they restored the area.
These journeymen met at Casa Calfelor (The House of the Journeyman) which has a history of developing and honing different crafts between the 14th and 16th centuries. Casa Calfelor is the first of its kind in Eastern Europe.
And whenever the journeymen leave Sibiu, they must leave a coin, beer cap, or some type of personal item made of metal on a wood stump called Stalpul Calfelor (The Journeymen Pillar). This is a tradition for wishing them luck on their upcoming travels.
I’m not quite sure of the hours of operation for the House of Journeymen, but there are often workshops just outside the house.
8. Walk down to the Lower Town via one of the three access gates in the city wall
Sibiu was a fortified city and many parts of the wall are still intact around the city. And when you are going to the Lower Town, you’ll likely walk through one of these three access gates.
Turnul Scării Aurarilor (Goldsmith’s Stairway Tower) is a tower in the crenellated wall with a narrow staircase between Piața Mică and Piața Aurarilor in the Lower Town. The access gate is accessible via the vaulted passage.
Near the Evangelical Church is a stone and brick passage called Pasajul Scărilor (The Stairs Passage). Built in the 14th century, the access gate, including the stairs and arches, was built to connect the Old City and the Lower Town.
And nearby in Piața Albert Huet next to Casa Calfelor, you will find Turnul Scărilor (The Stairs Tower). This was one of the oldest construction in Sibiu and the only preserved tower gate.
All three access gates are quite interesting and very Instagrammable.
9. Wander around the Lower Town
While many attractions in Sibiu are located in the Old City, the Lower Town is filled with colourful houses, historic buildings, local shops, cafes and restaurants.
The Lower Town is located north of the Old City beyond the fortified wall. The area is not as touristy and is one of the oldest parts of Sibiu.
Wander around and get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets. And walk over to Piața Cibin (Cibin Market), a local market selling fresh produce, meat, cheese and local specialties. Prices are very reasonable since this is a market that locals frequent.
10. Take a stroll on Strada Nicolae Bălcescu
Strada Nicolae Bălcescu is a pedestrian street between Piața Mare and Piața Unirii (Union Square). This pedestrian-only street has many old buildings from the 19th century. Many are in the Baroque style or the eclectic architectural style.
While strolling on Strada Nicolae Bălcescu, you will find clothing, footwear, jewellery, and leather goods shops. There are also many al fresco restaurants and gelato shops.
11. See the citadel towers at Parcul Cetății in Upper Town
Originally, there were 39 defensive towers, four gates and five artillery batteries in Sibiu. Today, you can only see two rows of fortified walls and the four towers in Parcul Cetății (Citadel Park).
As you stroll along the park from west to east, you will see these four citadel towers: Turnul Archebuzierilor (Harquebusiers Tower), Turnul Olarilor (Potters Tower), Turnul Dulgherilor (Carpenters Tower) and Turnul Fierarilor (Tinsmiths Tower).
And between the Carpenters Tower and Tinsmiths Tower, there is a small visitor centre called Turnurile Cetatii. For 2 lei, you can see displays and read about this history of these towers and also walk on the outer corridor of the fortified wall.
Before you leave the park, check out the Sibiu Walk of Fame. Like the “Avenue of the Stars” in Hollywood, the stars on the pavement celebrate those who contributed to the fields of culture and arts in Sibiu.
Address: Strada Cetății, Sibiu | Hours: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (closed Mondays) | Admission: 2 lei
12. Visit some of the best churches in Sibiu
There are many churches in Sibiu and I’m only highlighting a few that are worth checking out:
- Holy Trinity Cathedral – the second largest Orthodox church in Romania. The Hagia Sofia in Instanbul inspires the church’s design but there are traces of Transylvania church architecture and Baroque elements throughout the church.
- Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church – while the Viennese Baroque church has a simple exterior, don’t miss the highly decorated interior.
- Biserica Ursulinelor (The Ursuline Church) – the former Ursuline Monastery was originally built in a Gothic style but later adopted many Baroque architectural elements.
13. Visit several unique museums in Sibiu
You can spend many days in Sibiu visiting different museums. But if you don’t have the time, there are a handful that you should check out.
- Muzeul Național Brukenthal (Brukenthal National Museum) – see #5
- Muzeul de Farmacie (Pharmaceutical History Museum) – see #3
- Casa Altemberger (Sibiu History Museum) – It displays everyday life items in the Transylvanian region and various items that are part of the Guilds of Sibiu. Besides the displays, check out the two courtyards. Admission is 20 lei.
Top things to do in Sibiu: outside of city centre
14. Day trip to Muzeul ASTRA
Muzeul ASTRA or ASTRA National Museum Complex is Romania’s most important ethnographic museum. Founded in 1861, the ASTRA Museum is the largest open-air museum in Europe.
Spanning 96 hectares of land, the museum has over 10km of alleys and walks. Through workshops, animations, images, traditional music, exhibition and 400+ reconstructed and original buildings, the museum illustrated the everyday life of the people who lived in the rural villages of Romania.
You can easily spend an entire day roaming around the museum grounds, seeing traditional houses, and attending guided walks. Muzeul ASTRA is only 4km south of Sibiu. It is part of Dumbrava Sibiului Natural Park.
How to get there: Bus 13 from Sala Thalia to Muzeul Astra will take 15 mins (see bus route)
Address: Strada Pădurea Dumbrava 16-20, Sibiu | Hours: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm | Admission: 35 lei
15. Drive on the Transfăgărășan Highway
Transfăgărășan is a winding highway in the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. The road climbs to an altitude of 2,042m, making it the second-highest paved road in the country.
In the early 1970s, Nicolae Ceausescu ordered the construction of the winding road connecting the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia as a strategic military route.
Today, it is one of the best attractions in Romania where people come here to drive on the winding road with many hairpin turns and sharp descents. It is also popular with hikers and cyclists.
If you are travelling to Sibiu between June and October, spend the day around Transfăgărășan and see Balea Lac, enjoy the gorgeous mountain scenery and take an Instagram photo at the highest point of the highway.
How to get there: Rent a car or get a bus transfer from Sibiu to Balea and see Transfăgărășan and Balea waterfall.
16. Day trip to Sighișoara
Sighisoara is a small medieval town 2+ hours away from Sibiu. The city was founded in the 12th century by Transylvanian Saxons and is a part of the historical region of Transylvania. The city is known for its colourful houses, the UNESCO historic centre and its rich history in craftsmanship.
During a day trip to Sighisoara, you can climb up the 64m Turnul cu Ceas (The Clock Tower) and see a panoramic view of the city, visit all nine watch towers that used to guard the city, and visit the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula.
How to get there: the CFR Călători train takes 2 hours and 44 minutes from Sibiu to Sighisoara
One day in Sibiu: things to do in 24 hours
As you can see, there are so many fantastic things to do in Sibiu that you could stay a few days to enjoy them all.
But if you are planning on spending only one day in Sibiu or visiting the city as a day trip, here is what I suggest. See the itinerary below and follow the numbered attractions in the interactive map.
- Arrive at Sibiu train station and walk over to Biserica Ursulinelor (The Ursuline Church) on the way to the Old City
- Walk through Pasajul Pielarilor (Tanners Passage) to get to the entrance of the tower
- Climb up Turnul Sfatului (The Council Tower) and see a panoramic view of Sibiu
- Check out Turnul Scării Aurarilor (Goldsmith’s Stairway Tower)
- Casa Artelor (Arts House – Butchers Guild Hall)
- Test the lie theory at Podul Minciunilor (The Bridge of Lies)
- Casa Luxemburg
- Casa Hermes
- See the ornate interior of Biserica Romano-Catolică Sfânta Treime (Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church)
- Sibiu City Hall
- Muzeul Național Brukenthal (Brukenthal National Museum)
- Hecht House
- Lutsch House
- Statue of Bishop Georg Daniel Teutsch
- Take a tour of Catedrala Evanghelică din Sibiu (The Evangelical Cathedral of Sibiu) and climb up the watch tower to see Sibiu from another angle
- Check out Pasajul Scărilor (The Stairs Passage)
- See the workshops outside of Casa Artelor (Arts House – Butchers Guild Hall)
- Take a photo of Stalpul Calfelor (The Journeymen Pillar)
- Walk down Pasajul Scărilor (The Stairs Passage) and come back up
- Visit Holy Trinity Cathedral and see the gold and blue Byzantine interior
- Walk around The Lower Town
- Check out Cibin Market and maybe buy some snacks and fruits
- Walk the entire Strada Nicolae Bălcescu from Piața Mare and Piața Unirii
- Stroll through Parcul Cetății (Citadel Park)
- Sibiu Walk of Fame
- Turnul Archebuzierilor (Harquebusiers Tower)
- Turnul Olarilor (Potters Tower)
- Turnul Dulgherilor (Carpenters Tower)
- Turnul Fierarilor (Tinsmiths Tower) and see the small visitor centre at Turnurile Cetatii
Where to stay in Sibiu as a solo traveller
If you decide to stay overnight in Sibiu, there are a handful of good accommodations in Sibiu. I found an amazing apartment between the train station and the city centre. I highly recommend this Airbnb apartment.
But if you prefer a hotel, there is a quaint hotel option in the middle of the historic centre. Below are the details for both:
- Movilei15 Apartment ($) – the 1-bedroom apartment is 8 minutes from the train station and close to the city centre.
- Check prices & reviews: Airbnb
- Cetatea Medievala ($$) – get a deluxe queen room at this 4-star hotel in the historic centre
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
Where to eat in Sibiu Romania
There are many restaurants and cafes lining both Piața Mică and Piața Mare serving traditional Romanian food and other cuisines. But I found one on a small street and it came highly recommended by other bloggers and YouTubers.
Check out some of these places to visit in Sibiu:
- Crama Sibiul Vechi – try tochitura (peasant’s stew with beef and pork in tomato sauce, egg, cheese, polenta), tapsa (polenta with cheese, pastrami and sausages), or balmos (polenta and cheese) at this highly-rated restaurant.
- Kulinarium – a modern Romanian restaurant with patio seating at Piața Mică.
- Crama Sibiană – enjoy traditional Romanian food in the basement cellar.
- Butoiul de Aur – this is the oldest restaurant in Romania. It’s been around since 1542!
- Lumos – have a coffee or cocktail at this modern brunch cafe.
- Scufița Roșie – try a covrigi or gogoși at this popular bakery on Strada Nicolae Bălcescu.
Are you ready to visit Sibiu Romania?
I’m glad I decided to visit Sibiu while travelling solo in Romania. It is one of the cutest towns I’ve ever been to. Even though I only stayed two days, I truly enjoyed every minute.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post on Sibiu and will include the city in your next trip to Romania. Let me know in the comments if you are considering or have been to Sibiu and love the city as much as I do.