What to See in Sibiu, Darling of Transylvania

Sibiu, Favourite Countries of 2016

For visitors to Romania’s Transylvanian region, the medieval city of Sibiu is a destination one shouldn’t miss. Sitting in the heart of Transylvania and close to the centre of Romania as well, this city has played a key role throughout the region’s history, even being the capital of Transylvania for a while. As with much of the region nearby, it was settled by German settlers in the late Middle Ages. The city gets its name from Siebenbürgen, German for the seven Saxon fortified citadels in the area, further emphasising their role in Transylvania’s history.

Today, Sibiu is a shining example of Transylvanian architecture and history, boasting an impressive historical old town. The old town is divided into the Upper Town, which was once the citadel with its masterfully restored houses, and the Lower Town that lies beyond the citadel’s walls . While there is plenty to explore in this charming city, here are just some of the main places you should visit in a trip to Sibiu, Romania.


Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary

Fair to say that the Lutheran Cathedral would have to be the biggest landmark of Sibiu. Even standing in the Lower Town, it’s spire is clearly visible as its wonderfully vibrant tiled roof. This 14th century cathedral has some interesting elements, including the tombstones of important figures who were buried in the cathedral.


It is also possible to climb up to the cathedral’s roof and be rewarded with spectacular views of the city from each of the cathedral’s four turrets.



Bridge of Lies (Podul Minciunilor)

This picturesque bridge sits in the Piata Mica (Small Square) and is a popular photo spot for tourists. While the bridge dates from the 19th century, it sits where a tunnel into the city used to run historically. The bridge has several legends, one of which is that the bridge has ears and if a lie is told upon it, the bridge will collapse.



Grand Square (Piata Mare)

This large square is very much the centre of the the citadel and city, surrounded by beautifully restored buildings including Brukenthal Palace, City Hall and many houses.


Brukenthal Palace

The palace now hosts several art museums, with the Brukenthal Gallery said to be one of the best in Romania. Even if art isn’t your thing, it is worth popping into the palace to see its small courtyard, decked out in roses.


Strada Nicolae Bălcescu

This pedestrian street runs from the Grand Square through Upper Town with plenty shops, cafes and restaurants on it. Like the Grand Square, it has some beautiful buildings along it and some little alleyways that run off it.


Sibiu City Walls & Park

While the city walls are plainly in sight between the Upper and Lower towns, you’ll appreciate the scale of the defences if you seek them out on the far side as well. Slightly removed from the main sights of the Upper Town, not much of the walls remain, but what is left gives you an idea of how well defended the city was. On Strada Cetatii you will find a stretch of wall bookended with two sentry towers.


If you head to the outer side of the wall, you’ll find yourself in peaceful Cetatii park that runs between the layers of the city’s old fortifications. This shady park seems popular with locals and even had a line of wedding parties waiting to have photos taken when I visited.


Passage of Steps (Pasajul Scarilor)

This passage joins the Lower and Upper towns, running along the stoic buttressed walls that surround the upper town. Here you can appreciate the brickwork, the arches and just the sheer scale of the city’s walls.


The Stairs Tower (Turnul Scarilor)

This tower get its name from the stairway it sits at the top of providing another means of getting between the Upper and Lower towns. From the top of the stairs, you have a splendid view across the traditional rooftops of Sibiu’s Lower Town.


Lower Town

Unlike the Upper Town which has seen much restoration and renovation, the Lower Town of Sibiu is less refined. This makes it a great place to wander as you realise how much work has gone into the Upper Town. Of particular interest is the rooftops of the houses, all in a distinctly Transylvanian style that is hard to put your finger on. Lower Town


Have you had the chance to visit the medieval city of Sibiu? Where would you start when visiting Sibiu? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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25 Comment

  1. Sibiu Romania looks like an interesting place to visit. Love the travel places to visit while there. You photos are amazing. Thanks for opening my eyes up to a new place!

    1. David says:

      Thanks for reading Stephanie, glad you enjoyed the post. Sibiu is definitely worth a look if you’re ever in the region.

  2. Garth says:

    Sibiu looks fascinating, We’ve never been to Romania, not yet anyway. Love learning about new places! and your photos give you a real taste of the place too. Especially like the cathedral roof pic. I love going up to elevated positions for big vistas.

    1. David says:

      Thanks Garth, I love that shot of the roof too. I always try and find the highest vantage point wherever I go, whether it be church towers or nearby hills. I’m sure there are plenty of places you want to visit, but I definitely recommend Romania.

  3. You are really making me consider Romania more and more! Would love to visit Transylvania. Keep up the great work!

    1. David says:

      Thanks Alexei, I’d say inspiring people to go there is my goal! It’s actually really easy to get to from Europe, plenty of budget airlines fly there.

  4. Vyjay says:

    Sibiu look so charming and elegant, the architecture is exquisite, would love to take a walk around this place which still has a unique old world charm.

    1. David says:

      Great way of putting it Vyjay, spot on. I hope they can continue to preserve and restore it so that more and more people can see its charms.

  5. Alexandra says:

    So glad to have found your posts about Romania! Indeed, Romania is a beautiful country to explore, although unfortunately still quite underrated as a travelling destination, even among locals. As a local, I would add a few top sights to your list: the painted monasteries in Bucovina (the northern part of the country), a vineyards tour and wine tasting in Dragasani area (Oltenia region, with some exquisite high-quality local wines), and the Danube Delta, a heaven of mysterious water channels bordered by willows and reed, with white and yellow water lilies, with ducks, gulls, geese, pelicans, cormorants, loons and many other birds mesmerizing you with their diversity and beauty! You should come to Romania again, there’s still a lot more to explore! Happy travelling! Alexandra (http://www.hopinromania.com)

    1. David says:

      Glad you stopped by Alexandra. I agree, Romania is definitely underrated but hopefully that will gradually change. While I appreciate the recommendations (which I will add to my list for my next trip), this post was only focusing on Sibiu. Thank you though!

  6. I haven’t visited Romania yet unfortunately. It looks like a really interesting place though and I will include Sibiu on any itinerary. It looks like such a lovely charming place. I love the bridge of lies!! Better just speak the truth when on it I don’t wan to end up in the water! Also would have to visit Brukenthal Palace for those beautiful roses!

  7. I loved all the colourful roof tiles in Romania so I was happy to see some great examples in your third photo (the views from the Cathedral). We didn’t make to Sibiu during our road trip around Romania but I always think you have to leave a couple of places for next time! And Sibiu looks like a great reason to return.

  8. Great post! I’ve already been to Romania once (very briefly) as I grew up next door, in Hungary, but I haven’t been to Sibiu. It looks like a lovely place, though – the view from the cathedral is amazing!

  9. Believe it or not, Romania (along with Bulgaria) is on my travel list. Sibiu looks like a very interesting place to explore. This is a great list that will be the beginning of a great itinerary when I finally make it a reality! Thanks.

  10. mymeenalife says:

    Well that doesn’t sound like a good bridge to lie on! This town sounds lovely. My husband visited Romania with his German coworkers and he was more or less ignored by the locals – until they found out he was American. Then they wanted to be great friends, ha!

  11. Ruth says:

    After my first taste of Eastern Europe this summer, I am hungry for more. I heard a lot about Romania while in Hungary (since it used to be part of the country before WWI). I would start by visiting the Transylvania region. I think I am more interested in seeing that region (when compared to the capital). #FlyAwayFriday

    1. David says:

      Transylvania is a great place to start Ruth and I highly recommend it if you enjoyed your first taste of Eastern Europe. Bucharest has its charms too, but I favour this region 🙂

  12. You;ve done it once again! I love this little town and I love the history and legends you shared! If you keep sharing more places in the Balkans I won’t have enough time to see them all! haha #WeekendWanderlust

    1. David says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Lorelei, Sibiu is a real highlight of Romania in my books

      1. I’ll keep that in mind! 🙂

  13. Alex Muir says:

    Oo I read a fiction novel about this place once so it was so nice to see photo’s! #flyawayfriday

    1. David says:

      That’s cool, what was the novel?

  14. Kana says:

    Wow I would LOVE to visit the cathedral. The photo looks so beautiful! Thanks for joining #FlyAwayFriday!! xo

  15. ttbchloe says:

    Wow, I’ve never even heard of this place but wow, is it beautiful!!! What a charming city with beautiful architecture!! Can’t wait to see what you share tomorrow on FlyAwayFriday!!!!

  16. Last year I was in Romania and I have visited Brasov. This year I want to see Sibiu. Great and very interesting article and photos too

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