Sighisoara is a small fortified medieval town in the Mureș County, Romania. The city was founded in the 12th century by German craftsmen known as Transylvanian Saxons and is part of the historical region of Transylvania. They strategically placed the city on a hill for protection against invaders and also for commercial trading.
Today, Sighișoara is known for its colourful houses, soaring watch towers and well-preserved historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And it is the birthplace of Vlad Dracul aka Vlad the Impaler.
Since there are many things to do in Sighisoara, you might want to stay for a few days. But if you are only spending a day in Sighisoara or doing a day trip from either Brasov or Sibiu, it is also possible. All you have to do is follow my 1-day Sighisoara itinerary and you can see all the best sites in Sighisoara efficiently and effortlessly.
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What you need to know before going to Sighisoara Romania
Before you visit Sighisoara, take a look at some of these useful travel tips:
- 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 Sibiu, arrive in Sighişoara by 10:00 am so you can comfortably follow my itinerary below.
- The best day to go to Sighisoara is any day except Monday. The Clock Tower and several attractions are closed.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes – Sighisoara is quite hilly.
- Plan your visit to Sighişoara with these festivals and events:
- Sighişoara Medieval Festival (last weekend of July) – go back to the medieval time during Sighişoara’s biggest festival.
- Sighişoara Blues Festival (March and September) – a weekend of concerts promoting Blues.
How to get to Sighisoara Romania
The best way to get to Sighişoara is by taking the Romanian Railway, CFR Călători.
And if you are only doing a day trip to Sighişoara, it is possible to see the city from Brasov or Sibiu. Here are the recommended train schedules for both cities. Check CFR Călători website for more information.
Train from Brasov to Sighisoara
- CFR Călători train:
- Brașov to Sighișoara: 6:05 am to 9:56 am (3 hour 51 mins), direct train
- Sighișoara to Brașov: 5:14 pm to 8:28 pm (2 hour 14 mins), direct train
- Cost: 43.7 lei (second class), 61.7 lei (first class)
Train from Sibiu to Sighisoara
- CFR Călători train:
- Sibiu to Sighișoara: 7:25 am to 10:09 am (2 hour 44 mins), two trains
- Sighișoara to Sibiu: 7:28 pm to 9:36 pm (2 hour 8 mins), two trains
- Cost: 33.8 lei (second class)
10 Things to do alone in Sighisoara Romania
Sighisoara is made of two parts. The city walls separate the Upper Town (or Citadel) and the Lower Town. Most of the best things to do in Sighişoara are concentrated in the Citadel but there are a few attractions in the Lower Town and just outside of the city centre.
And best of all, you can walk to all of these attractions easily and comfortably.
1. Climb up Turnul cu Ceas and see an aerial view of Sighişoara
Turnul cu Ceas (The Clock Tower) is one of the nine watch towers in Sighişoara and is possibly the best attraction in the city.
Standing at 64m, the tower was built in 1556 and is one of the two main gate towers to the Old City. It was not built or defended by the craftsmen guilds but belonged to the city. The Clock Tower has a rectangular base, a colourful glazed shingle-tiled roof, and two clocks with seven figurines representing each day of the week.
As you walk up the tower, three floors of displays of medieval artifacts are part of Muzeul De Istorie Sighișoara (History Museum). Some displays are in English.
And when you reach the top floor, there is a viewing balcony where you can see a panoramic view of Sighişoara. Walk around the entire balcony and see the 360-degree view!
Address: Strada Turnului, Sighişoara | Hours: 9:00 am to 6:30 pm (Closed Mondays) | Admission: 16 lei
2. See all nine watch towers in Sighișoara
The Citadel of Sighisoara is surrounded by walls and watch towers. And each watch tower was built and maintained by different Saxon craftsmen guilds in exchange for privileges in the city. Out of the fourteen towers, only nine are still around.
You can see the inside of two watch towers while you can only admire the rest from the outside.
Here is the list of all nine surviving watch towers in Sighisoara:
- Turnul cu Ceas (The Clock Tower) – the biggest watch tower that guards the main entrance to the citadel
- Turnul Croitorilor (The Tailors’ Tower) – the other main gate tower and it has two openings for circulating traffic
- Turnul Fierarilor (The Ironsmiths’ Tower) – it has a museum where you can see authentic blacksmith tools (10:00 am to 8:00 pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9:00 am to 9:00 pm (Friday to Saturday) | Admission: 12 lei)
- Turnul Cizmarilor (The Bootmaker’s Tower) – different from other towers because of the pair of lookout turrets on the roof
- Turnul Cojocarilor (The Furriers’ Tower) – it has a small leather shop and a free museum
- Turnul Măcelarilor (The Butchers’ Tower) – a hexagonal-based tower that was built along the northwest side of the wall
- Turnul Frânghierilor (The Ropemakers’ Tower) – a small square-based tower on the Upper Citadel
- Turnul Tăbăcarilor (The Tanners’ Tower) – the first tower in Sighisoara
- Turnul Cositorarilor (The Tinsmiths’ Tower) – 25m high tower but not accessible
3. Visit the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula
You may have heard of Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula. The character of Dracula was inspired by the historical character, Vlad Ţepe also known as Vlad the Impaler.
But did you know that Dracula was born in Sighisoara? He was born in 1431 in this yellow house in Sighisoara and lived until four.
Today, this yellow building is the oldest in Sighisoara and it houses Vlad Dracul Restaurant, Art and Craft (folk store), Medieval Weapon Museum and Vlad Dracul House.
Essentially, Vlad Dracul House is Vlad’s room where he spent his childhood. I read that the room is completely rebuilt and pretty gimmicky. I didn’t go but if you want to spend 5 lei, let me know what you think.
Address: Strada Cositorarilor 5, Sighisoara | Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (closed Mondays) | Admission: 5 lei
4. Visit Upper Citadel via the Covered Stairway
Located at an altitude of 429m, the Upper Citadel has a few attractions you shouldn’t miss.
First, you’ll have to climb up 176 wooden steps via Scara Acoperită (Covered Stairway), also known as the Pupil’s staircase. It was built in 1642 to let students get to the school and church on the top of the hill. It is quite impressive for such an old set of staircases.
But the Upper Citadel’s highlight must be Biserica din Deal (Church on the Hill). The 13th-century basilica was built on the highest point of Cetății Hill. It is one of the few Transylvanian churches that has a crypt underneath. The Church on the Hill is dedicated to Saint Nicholas and it is Sighisoara’s most important religious architectural monument. If you want to go inside the church, it costs 10 lei.
And if you may want to check out Cimitirul Bisericii Din Deal (Cemetery on the Hill) a Saxon German cemetery in front of the church. The graveyard takes up a large portion of the hill and is quite peaceful.
On the way down the hill, check out Turnul Frânghierilor (The Ropemakers’ Tower). I mentioned earlier that this is the only clock tower on the Upper Citadel.
Address: Strada Cojocarilor 3, Sighișoara | Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Admission: 10 lei
5. Take an Instagram photo of the colourful houses on Strada Tâmplarilor
There are many colourful houses around Sighisoara but the most well-known street is Strada Tâmplarilor (Carpenter’s Street).
The narrow street is pedestrian-friendly but the cobblestone road is a bit uneven and many houses lining the street have a bright and colourful facades. I read somewhere that different colour represents different guilds?! I wonder what bright pink means?
No matter what it all means, this is the best spot to take an Instagram photo (or two or a few) because the colourful houses are the perfect backdrop for photographs.
6. Admire historic houses at Piața Cetății
Piața Cetății (The Citadel’s Square) is the main square in Sighisoara. And it is at this square you will find many cafes, restaurants and food stalls selling typical Romanian street food like lángos (deep-fried flat bread) and papanasi (Romanian fried donuts).
Plus, several souvenir shops are selling Transylvania souvenirs. More on that later.
But it is at this spot where you can admire some of the oldest houses in Sighisoara. Look for a stag head on the corner of a building on the southwest side of Citadel’s Square. This is Casa cu Cerb (Stag House). It was built in the 17th century and is the most preserved house in Sighisoara.
7. Visit some of the best churches in Sighisoara
The town of Sighisoara is quite small but it has a few notable churches in both the Citadel and Lower Town. These are some of the best ones:
- Biserica Sfânta Treime (Holy Trinity Church) – a monochromatic Romanian Orthodox Church was built by Transylvanian Saxons in a Neo-Byzantine architectural style. It is located on the north side of the Târnava Mare river.
- Biserica Mănăstirii (The Monastery Church) – a Lutheran parish church built in a Gothic style with a Baroque interior. It is classified as a historical monument. Admission is 5 lei.
- Catedrala Sfântul Iosif (St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church) – a Roman Catholic Church with Gothic and Neo-Roman architectural elements and a tall belfry was built by Hungarians.
8. Visit quirky museums in Sighișoara
You’re not going to find the usual museums in big cities. In Sighisoara, there are a few quirky ones that you might want to check out.
- MYstical Transylvania – a series of immersive exhibitions featuring Vlad Dracula. Admission is 15 lei.
- Medieval Weapon Museum – a small museum in the same yellow building as Vlad Dracul House. It has a few rooms showcasing medieval and modern weapons. Admission is 6 lei.
- Casa Breslelor – the Guild House is a museum featuring authentic Saxon tools and equipment used over 100 years ago in Sighisoara and the surrounding area in Transylvania. The entrance fee is 16 lei.
- Camera de Tortura – tour the lower part of the Clock Tower which was set up as a prison and torture chamber. Entry is 4 lei.
9. Visit local folk shops and antique stores
Since Sighisoara has a rich history in craftsmanship, many folk shops in the city sell some of the best Transylvanian handicrafts and souvenirs. Many of them are in Piața Cetății and along the side streets like Strada Școlii.
And besides unique souvenirs that you can only buy in Transylvania, there are a few antique stores scattered around Sighisoara.
Here are some stores that I liked (even though I’m not a great shopper):
- Art & Crafts – one of the best folk shops selling traditional Transylvania souvenirs.
- Transylvanian Souvenirs – cute souvenir shops selling different trinkets.
- Antiques – I saw so many antique items that I want to bring home (but can’t).
- Bolda de Fer – another amazing antique store with rooms full of electric items.
10. Hike to the Breite Oak Tree Reserve
If you are up for a short hike, there is an easy hiking trail to the Breite Oak Tree Reserve near Sighisoara. The hike starts not too far from the city centre and the entire hike can be completed in half a day.
The hiking trail is part of Via Transilvanica, a 1400km plus long-distance hiking route from Putna in the north to Drobeta Turnu-Severin to the south. It passes through over 600 communities including Sighisoara.
From the town centre, walk to the start of Via Transilvanica (blue pin #5 on the interactive map), and follow the official signs for Via Transilvanica. Once you are up the steep hill, turn around and take in the panoramic view of Sighisoara.
And as you continue on the plateau, you’ll come across many giant oak trees that are part of the Breite Oak Tree Reserve. Continue hiking until you reach blue pin #6. To get back to Sighisoara, backtrack the entire way.
Best things to do in Sighisoara in one day
As you can see, there are so many amazing things to do in Sighisoara that you could stay a few days to see them all.
But if you are planning on spending only one day in Sighisoara 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 Sighisoara train station and walk over to Biserica Sfânta Treime (Holy Trinity Church) on the way to the Citadel
- Climb The Clock Tower to avoid the afternoon crowd
- See the displays at Muzeul De Istorie Sighișoara (History Museum)
- Peek inside or walk around Biserica Mănăstirii (The Monastery Church)
- Visit the blacksmith museum at Turnul Fierarilor (The Ironsmiths’ Tower)
- See Vald Dracul House if you dare
- Walk up 176 steps via Scara Acoperită (Covered Stairway)
- See inside Biserica din Deal (Church on the Hill)
- Walk around the Cimitirul Bisericii Din Deal (Cemetery on the Hill)
- See Turnul Frânghierilor (The Ropemakers’ Tower) and follow the road and walk down the hill instead of taking the stairs
- See Turnul Măcelarilor (The Butchers’ Tower)
- Visit the free museum at Turnul Cojocarilor (The Furriers’ Tower)
- See Turnul Croitorilor (The Tailors’ Tower)
- See Turnul Cizmarilor (The Bootmaker’s Tower)
- Peek inside Catedrala Sfântul Iosif (St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church)
- Take photos of the colourful houses on Strada Tâmplarilor (Carpenter’s Street)
- Visit Piața Cetății (The Citadel’s Square)
- See Turnul Tăbăcarilor (The Tanners’ Tower)
- See Turnul Cositorarilor (The Tinsmiths’ Tower)
- Buy souvenirs from Art & Crafts, Transylvanian Souvenirs, Antiques, Bolda de Fer and other shops that pique your interest
Where to stay in Sighisoara for solo travellers
If you travel from Brasov or Sibiu, you can spend a day in Sighisoara and return to either city.
But honestly, Sighisoara is such a charming town that you would want to stay an extra day to soak it all in. That’s why I decided to stay two nights (but I really enjoy slow travelling).
And if you decide to stay, here are some accommodation options:
- Casa Augustus ($) – get a one-bedroom flat with an ensuite bathroom and kitchenette right at the foothills of the Clock Tower. Super cute unit and a lovely host.
- Check prices and reviews: Airbnb
- Casa Savri ($$) – a cozy little hotel in a historical building with traditional Transylvanian Saxon architecture and decor.
- Check prices and reviews: Agoda
- Boutique Hotel von Graf ($$) – stay in one of the brightest historic houses on the colourful Strada Tâmplarilor.
- Check prices and reviews: Agoda
Where to eat in Sighisoara Romania
Many restaurants are concentrated around Piața Cetății and just outside of the city walls in the Lower Town. And if you don’t want a full meal, you can always get a lángos (deep-fried flat bread) or covrigi (Romanian pretzel).
Here are my recommendations:
- Gasthaus Altepost Restaurant Traditional – they serve many Romanian dishes including Tochitura (Transylvanian stew with polenta). But I ordered the Sunday roast with pork, smoked sausages and mashed potatoes.
- Concordia – I really like their selection of Romanian food, especially the ciorba (Romanian sour soup)
- Lángos cart – get a traditional lángos (with cheese and sour cream) or chocolate-flavoured flatbread next to the Clock Tower
- Gigi – try one of their fresh baked covrigi
- Atelier Specialty Coffee – have coffee on Octavian Gogh Street aka the Umbrella Street
- ReFresh – cute patio with fresh juices and excellent cocktails
- Teo’s Cellar – try Palinca made locally by the owner of the hotel
Are you ready to visit Sighisoara Romania?
I randomly discovered Sighisoara while researching where to go in Romania, and I’m so glad I went. It is one of the most charming and magical towns I’ve ever been to. It felt like I was in a fairy tale!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and will consider going to Sighisoara in Romania. Let me know in the comments below.