updated on February, 2021
Planning a visit to Sibiu is easy: there are so many sources of information making the biggest hassle the difficulty to filter them. Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, National Geographic, Tripadvisor. All of these guide books are doing a great job in giving you an introduction to Sibiu’s most valuable touristic attractions. But what if you want something different, out of the beaten path? Here are my tips about the best things to do in Sibiu:
1. See Sibiu from above. The easiest way is to climb the council Tower in the main square of Sibiu. But if you want a wider view go to Gusterita Hill on the Eastern side of the city. For its position was used during the WWI by the German troops. Or, if you’re passionate about hiking, choose Paltinis to meet the mountains. There are several places from you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Sibiu from 1400 m. My favourite one is the observation point from the Oncesti peak, easily accessible with the chairlift. Another great view of Sibiu and the surrounding villages can be enjoyed from Fraga peak, near Rasinari. Drive 15 minutes to Rasinari, and then climb the Coasta Boaci hill and follow and the hiking trail signalised with a green hiker painted on trees. After one hour of hiking an amazing view will be revealed: Sibiu, Rasinari, Cisnadie, Poplaca seen from 1000 m altitude.
2. If you’re on Sunday morning in Sibiu you have to act like a local. Go to the church, preferably the Orthodox Cathedral in Mitropoliei Street. Romanians are quite religious and on Sunday morning the churches are filled with worshipers. If you’re for the first time in an Orthodox country, participating at the Sunday Mass can be a very good introduction in the rites and culture of Eastern Christianity. Or, you can also attend a religious service at one the Orthodox monasteries or hermitages near Sibiu: Poplaca, Orlat or Paltinis.
3. Also, for Sunday, don’t miss the flea market. You would be probably the only tourist there, but even though you don’t want to buy anything, it worth to check on the antiquities part of the market, where you can find all kind of usable and unusable stuff, from coins to old toys or metallic tools. Also, while you’re there, you don’t want to miss the best “mici” in town. If you don’t know what mici are, well, mentioning that they are the most popular barbecue dish in Romania is enough?
4. If you’re in Sibiu on Saturday morning, you must go to the Farmers Market near the Sporting Hall. Don’t have breakfast before, as you’ll find there everything you need for breakfast, lunch or dinner: all kind of local cheese, sausages and cold meats, homemade cookies, and fresh bread, greens, vegetables, honey, fruits, all from the villages around Sibiu. In 2018, Sibiu was the European Gastronomical Region, and the Farmer’s Market had been one of the places where a lot of events related to the local cuisine took place.
5. Explore the Dumbrava forest by bike. Want to enjoy the sound and the colours of nature? Rent a bike and explore the Dumbrava forest. You can start the ride from Sub Arini Park (following the bicycle lane) or from Valea Aurie neighbourhood (near the entry of the Zoo). Look for the “C” (from cycling) sign painted on the trees to find the trail and then follow the trail along the Zoo and Astra Museum. Ride through the forest as far as you meet the pasture of Poplaca village. From here, you can turn left, to reach the asphalt road connecting Rasinari and Poplaca, and after crossing a small river, turn left again to Sibiu. In 500 meters, after crossing the tram line, you can use the bicycle lane, along the main road, as far as downtown Sibiu.
6. Climb the medieval towers from Cetatii street. In the 15th century, Sibiu built an impressive belt of fortifications (the third one) to protect the lives and property of the city’s inhabitants. Although it survived numerous sieges, some by the Turkish armies, in the 19th century, local authorities decided to demolish the medieval defensive walls because they no longer corresponded to the military realities of that period. Several defence towers and adjacent walls have survived demolition, and as of 2020, 2 of them (the Potters’ tower and the Carpenters’ tower) are open to visitors. Inside the towers, tourists can find signs with helpful information about the history of the city.
7. Explore the hidden corners of the old town. Any tourist guide will tell you to walk through Piata Mare, Piata Mica, Piata Huet or Strada Nicolae Balcescu. And they are right. But, besides these obligatory visits, we recommend some routes that will take you in the daily life of the old Sibiu, beyond the bustle and glam of the central markets. Start your route from Piata Mare, walk down on Avram Iancu Street, where, before reaching the Ursulinelor Church, cross the School Pass to Movilei Street. Walk on Movile Street towards Aurarilor Square and then climb the steps to the Small Square. From there, cross the Bridge of Lies and after a few tens of meters in Huet Square, go down the stairs near the Journeymen House. Once in Turnului Street, turn left and walk up the Stairs Passage. Once in Alexandru Odobescu Street, turn left and reach Piata Mare again.