Sibiu is a beautiful city in the south of Transylvania, known for its rich cultural history, but also for the great community of Germans living here. Spending a few days in the medieval city of Sibiu is the perfect opportunity to discover the most beautiful and interesting places. Of course, to enjoy the best experience, we recommend this should be done by foot. So, leave your car at the hotel or wherever, and prepare for a wonderful visit of Sibiu.
In this article we describe a list of best 7 interesting things to do if you visit Sibiu, which you must experience whenever having the opportunity to travel to this city.
1. Have a walk through the beautiful old center of Sibiu
Probably a simple thing to do, you would say, but one of the most interesting things to do in Sibiu is having a walk through the old center. The old center of Sibiu is a real bohemian place, with narrow and winding streets, historical buildings and small houses with local traditional architecture.
If you come here by car, no worry, the entrance to the old center awaits you with a parking lot. You can leave your car here, and start your walk. Thus, this is a good place to start your visit and enjoy every attraction found in the central area of Sibiu.
You will probably enter the pedestrian street Nicolae Bălcescu, which is a sort of a main street in the center of the city. Here you will get to see beautiful houses, some of them with an old wonderful architecture. Painted in bright lovely colors, they take you back to the 18th or 19th centuries.
After just a few steps, you will discover one of these beautiful buildings, which is the Împaratul Romanilor hotel. This hotel is considered to be the oldest hotel in the country. The building that is currently standing here was raised back in 1895. Previously, the hotel operated in an older building, dated back in 1773, which was demolished to make room for the actual one.
The hotel hosted an impressive number of Romanian or foreign personalities, such as: King Charles XII of Sweden (1714), Emperor Joseph II of Austria (1773), Franz Listz (Nov. 1846), Johann Strauss (Dec. 1847), Richard Strauss (1879), Mihai Eminescu (Romanian most admired poet), Dinicu Golescu (important Romanian politician and statesman from the beginning of 19th century). Later, in the 20th century, the hotel also hosted three German presidents, Roman Herzog, Karl Carstens (1981) and Johannes Rau, Prince Charles, Austrian president Franz Jonas (1969), and Romanian presidents Ion Iliescu and Emil Constantinescu.
At the end of Nicolae Bălcescu street you will arrive in the Central Square (Piața Mare), where you will discover numerous tourist attractions worth visiting. One of them is Brukenthal Museum, hosting art masterpieces of well-known painters such as Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, or Tiziano.
After you have finished with the Great Square, you will enter the Small Square, an area where you can also find historical places worth visiting. The Museum of Pharmacy and the House of Arts are just two of the sights not to be missed.
2. Visit the Central Square (Piața Mare)
Since I still mentioned the Central Square (in Romanian: “Piața Mare”), visiting it on foot is on the list of interesting things to do if you visit Sibiu. Piața Mare is a huge rectangular square, being considered the largest public square in Transylvania. Being so spacious, it is an ideal place for markets and fairs. Actually, Piața Mare is the area where the Christmas Fair is organized in Sibiu, a fair that has become a landmark in Romania, one of the best Romanian tourist attractions for Christmas. So, if you visit Sibiu during Christmas period, this is for sure a place you shouldn’t miss.
In the northwest corner of the square, there is the Brukenthal Palace that I already mentioned, a building characterized by Romanian baroque architecture. Brukenthal Palace is built after the architecture of Viennese palaces. Today, the bulding houses the European Art Gallery, which you can admire on all four levels of the palace.
The Main Square is also bordered by other important buildings, such as the Jesuit Church, the Blue House, the Tower of the Council, the Filek Palace, the Generals’ House, the Lutsch House, the Haller House and the Hecht House.
3. Walk on the Bridge of Lies and climb into the Tower of the Council
Also in the old city center you will discover the Bridge of Lies and the Tower of the Council. Both places are two symbols of the city, certainly among the most interesting things you can visit in Sibiu.
The Bridge of Lies is actually a pedestrian walkway in the center of the city. Legend has it that the bridge has ears and inexplicable powers, and that any lies told here will be eventually found out. Thanks to this legend, the Bridge of Lies has become one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions.
The Tower of the Council is located between the two important squares, Piața Mare and Piața Mică. It is considered a representative symbol of the city. If you climb up to the top floor of the tower, you will have an exceptional panorama over the entire city of Sibiu.
4. Visit the ASTRA Museum, of traditional folk civilization
Only 4 kilometers from Sibiu, in the Dumbrava forest, is the ASTRA Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization. It is an open-air museum, where you will experience and learn about the history of the rural population in Romania. You can visit reconstructed houses, windmills, water mills, workshops, churches, even animal paddocks. Many of the rebuilt homes have been specially designed to bring to life the decades-old traditions and skills of craftsmen.
Within the museum, there is a lake where boats can be rented to explore the area from a picturesque and different angle.
5. Do not miss a visit to the Evangelic Church
If you visit Sibiu, don’t miss the Evangelic Church, one of the most important tourist attractions. Baron Samuel von Brukenthal, former governor of Transylvania, is buried here. The Evangelical Church is located in Huet Square and impresses with its Gothic architecture. Due to its architectural style, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Transylvania.
6. Visit the boutiques and enjoy a good coffee on the Nicolae Bălcescu pedestrian street
Nicolae Bălcescu pedestrian street is the area where you will make your debut in the cultural history of Sibiu. The street is lined with old, charming houses, restaurants and terraces that invite you to pass their threshold for a tasty lunch, a good coffee or a cold drink. Along the street you will be able to enjoy an ice cream, go shopping or simply relax to recharge your batteries.
7. Dine at one of the oldest restaurants in Romania
The restaurant Butoiul de Aur (Golden Barrel) is one of the oldest restaurants in Sibiu, but also in Romania. It is located on the border between the Upper and Lower Towns and still preserves its medieval appearance, originating from the 14th century, fitting perfectly into the regional architecture. Serve lunch or dinner here, or a snack between meals, and you’ll feel like you’re taking part in a feast, like in the old days.
Give yourself a few days off, in which to relax and get out of the monotony of the job and the city. Sibiu is known as a historical city, full of spectacular sights. Start with the top 7 interesting things to do in Sibiu and extend your stay by discovering new secrets that are waiting for you to discover.