Sibiu's Houses with Eyes

Explore Enchanting Sibiu, Romania: A Gem in the Heart of Transylvania

Nestled in the heart of Transylvania, Sibiu is a city that boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and vibrant city life, all set against a backdrop of stunning architecture. This guide is designed to help you navigate through Sibiu, ensuring you experience all the marvels this historic city has to offer.

Geographic Location

Sibiu is situated in central Romania, surrounded by the majestic Carpathian mountains. Its strategic position has historically made it a significant trade and transit route between Transylvania and the rest of Romania.

Grand Square – Piata Mare

Getting There

Sibiu is well-connected and accessible by various modes of transport:

  • By Air: Sibiu International Airport, located just a few kilometers from the city center, offers direct flights from several European cities. Taxis and buses are available at the airport to take you into the city.
  • By Train: Sibiu is on the main railway line from Bucharest and other major Romanian cities, providing a scenic and comfortable way to travel. The train station is close to the city center, and you can find taxis and local buses for city transport.
  • By Car: If you’re driving, Sibiu is accessible via the A1 motorway from Bucharest and the major cities of Romania. The drive from Bucharest takes approximately 4-5 hours. Parking is available in the city, though it can be scarce during peak tourist seasons.

History and Culture

Founded by German settlers known as Saxons in the 12th century, Sibiu has a deep-rooted Germanic heritage, evident in its architecture and cultural traditions. The city was a major medieval trading center and has retained much of its old-world charm, with well-preserved walls and bastions, narrow streets, and squares that have seen centuries of history.

street sibiu

Climate and Weather

Sibiu experiences a continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. Temperatures in winter can drop below freezing, while summer brings a pleasant warmth, ideal for exploring the city and surrounding countryside. The best time to visit would be late spring through early autumn, as the weather is most agreeable for outdoor activities.


Sibiu is a city that captivates with its rich history and picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re exploring its historical landmarks, participating in outdoor activities, or venturing into the nearby villages, there’s plenty to do and see.

Grand Square (Piata Mare)

Piata Mare Sibiu

As the focal point of the city since the 15th century, renowned for its impressive array of Gothic and Baroque architecture, it vibrates with cultural life throughout the year. Key structures around the square include the Brukenthal Palace, the City Hall, and the Blue House, each of which contributes uniquely to the narrative of Sibiu’s illustrious past.

Brukenthal Palace

Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu
Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu / photo credit: 7castle, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Constructed in the late 18th century, this stunning example of baroque architecture serves as one of Romania’s oldest museums. The Brukenthal National Museum, housed within, showcases a vast collection of European art, Romanian cultural artifacts, and historical exhibits spanning various epochs.

The Liar’s Bridge

The Liar's Bridge, Sibiu
The Liar’s Bridge, Sibiu

Known as the first wrought iron bridge in Romania, built in 1859, and shrouded in local myths. Legend has it that the bridge will collapse if a lie is told upon it. It’s a popular spot for photographs and a must-visit for its romantic folklore.

The Evangelical Cathedral

Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral
Evangelical Cathedral

An imposing Gothic structure with elements dating back to the 14th century, the Evangelical Cathedral stands as a testament to Sibiu’s Germanic heritage. Its towering spire and impressive organ, one of the largest in Southeastern Europe, draw visitors from around the world. The cathedral also offers panoramic views of Sibiu and the surrounding area from its bell tower.

Huet Square

Sibiu Evangelical Cathedral
Evangelical Cathedral (Image by frimufilms on Freepik)

Surrounded by historical buildings, Huet Square is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral and is another picturesque spot in Sibiu. The square itself is lined with quaint cafes and shops, making it a pleasant place to relax and soak in the atmosphere of the old city.

The Council Tower

Council Tower
Council Tower

Another of Sibiu’s most iconic landmarks, the Council Tower is situated between the Grand Square and the Lesser Square. Originally built in the 13th century as a gate tower, it has been rebuilt several times throughout history. Today, visitors can climb the tower for a small fee to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and beyond.

ASTRA National Museum Complex

ASTRA National Museum Complex
Old Countryside House with a Workshop in Astra National Museum Complex

Just outside the city, this open-air museum is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. It provides a fascinating insight into traditional Romanian village life, with over 400 houses, barns, workshops, and other buildings from across the country. The museum also hosts various cultural events and traditional craft workshops throughout the year.

Eyes of Sibiu

Sibiu's Houses with Eyes
Sibiu’s Houses with Eyes

The “Eyes of Sibiu” are distinctive dormer windows on the rooftops of Sibiu. Resembling watchful eyes, these windows are iconic for their unique, eye-like shape that adds a mysterious charm to the cityscape. This architectural feature is not only a practical solution for attic ventilation but also a beloved symbol of Sibiu, enhancing its enchanting and picturesque atmosphere.

Sports Facilities

The surrounding Fagaras Mountains are perfect for those who love the outdoors. In winter, the area becomes a haven for skiing, particularly at the nearby Păltiniș ski resort. During the warmer months, the mountains offer excellent hiking, mountain biking, and even paragliding for the more adventurous.

Nearby Places to Visit

  • Păltiniș: Located about 32 kilometers from Sibiu, Păltiniș is the oldest mountain resort in Romania and offers a refreshing retreat from the city. It’s an excellent spot for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter, with trails and facilities for all experience levels.
  • Biertan: About 80 kilometers from Sibiu, the village of Biertan is home to one of Transylvania’s most impressive fortified churches, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The church’s architecture and the surrounding landscape are well worth the day trip.
  • Rășinari: Just a short drive from Sibiu, Rășinari is a picturesque village that offers a glimpse into traditional Romanian rural life. It’s known for its charming houses and pastoral landscapes, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon stroll.
  • Sibiel: Another gem near Sibiu is Sibiel, a village famous for its Glass Icons Museum, which houses a remarkable collection of painted glass icons by local artisans. The village itself is peaceful and provides a perfect setting for experiencing the tranquil side of Romanian life.

Where to Eat and Drink

Sibiu’s culinary scene is a delightful reflection of its diverse cultural influences, incorporating German, Hungarian, and Romanian flavors. Here’s where you can enjoy some of the best dining experiences in the city:

restaurant sibiu

Traditional Romanian Cuisine

  • Crama Sibiul Vechi: Nestled in the heart of the Lower Town, this restaurant is famous for its authentic Transylvanian dishes served in a rustic, cellar-like setting. Must-tries include their “ciorba de burta” and “sarmale“. Their selection of local wines complements the hearty meals perfectly.
  • Taverna Akkum Akkum: Located near the Small Square, Taverna Akkum Akkum offers a variety of Romanian and Balkan dishes. The ambiance is cozy, with a décor that highlights traditional Romanian crafts. The grilled meats and homemade sausages are particularly popular.

Hungarian Flavors

  • Hug the Mug: While primarily a coffee shop, Hug the Mug serves excellent Hungarian goulash that’s hearty and flavorful. The contemporary café ambiance provides a great backdrop for a relaxed meal.
  • Kulinarium: Offering a blend of Hungarian and international cuisine, Kulinarium features a diverse menu that includes dishes like goulash soup and paprikash. The restaurant’s modern decor and friendly service make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

German-Inspired Eateries

  • Weinkeller: This restaurant specializes in German and Saxon dishes, reflecting Sibiu’s German heritage. Located in a historic building, its highlights include schnitzels, bratwurst, and a fine selection of German beers and wines.
  • Max: A restaurant that serves traditional German dishes such as schnitzel and sauerkraut. The setting is quaint, with a friendly, welcoming vibe ideal for families.

Contemporary and Fine Dining

  • Benjamin Steakhouse & Bar: For those looking for a more upscale dining experience, Benjamin Steakhouse offers premium cuts of meat and a sophisticated wine list in an elegantly modern setting.
  • Syndicat Gourmet: A fine dining option, Syndicat Gourmet provides a creative menu that blends Romanian ingredients with international cooking techniques, all in a chic, contemporary environment.

Vegan and Vegetarian Options

  • Rawdia: Located near the city center, Rawdia is a fully vegan restaurant offering a range of creative dishes made from fresh, local ingredients. It’s a great spot for health-conscious diners.
  • BioFresh: For vegetarian and vegan options, BioFresh serves delicious, healthy meals that don’t compromise on flavor. Their salads, smoothies, and vegan desserts are particularly popular.

Street Food and Casual Bites

  • Piata Cibin: For an authentic local experience, visit the Cibin Market where you can find a variety of street food vendors selling fresh produce, local cheeses, smoked meats, and traditional Romanian snacks like “mici” (grilled minced meat rolls).
  • La Cuptor: A small bakery and café known for its freshly baked goods, including traditional Romanian pastries and bread, as well as light meals and coffee.

Festivals and Events

Sibiu is a vibrant hub for arts and culture, hosting an array of festivals and events that draw visitors from around the world. These events celebrate everything from Sibiu’s rich historical heritage to contemporary arts and local traditions. Here’s a closer look at some of the key festivals and when to catch them:

Sibiu International Theatre Festival

  • When: Annually in June
  • What: The Sibiu International Theatre Festival is one of the largest performing arts festivals in Europe and the most prestigious in Romania. It features a week-long extravaganza of plays, dance performances, street shows, and workshops, with participants from over 70 countries. The festival transforms the city into a massive stage, with performances held in both conventional theatres and unconventional spaces like squares and historical buildings.
  • Attendance: It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, making it a bustling, lively period for the city.

Medieval Festival

  • When: Usually in August
  • What: The Medieval Festival is a celebration of Sibiu’s Saxon past, taking visitors back to the Middle Ages. The Old Town’s streets fill with knights, jesters, and musicians. Events include jousting tournaments, medieval music performances, craft markets, and historical reenactments. It’s a family-friendly event that offers a fascinating glimpse into medieval life.
  • Theme: The theme revolves around the historical and cultural influences of the medieval Saxons in Transylvania, highlighting the customs, attire, and lifestyle of the era.

Astra Film Festival

  • When: Typically held in October
  • What: The Astra Film Festival is dedicated to non-fiction cinema and is one of the leading documentary festivals in Eastern Europe. The event showcases a diverse selection of documentaries that explore social, political, and cultural issues, with a strong emphasis on Central and Eastern European works.
  • Attendance: It draws a mix of international filmmakers, critics, and cinephiles, making it a key meeting point for documentary cinema enthusiasts.

Sibiu Jazz Festival

  • When: Occurs every May
  • What: This festival is one of the oldest jazz festivals in Romania and has been an annual event since 1979. It features a lineup of international and Romanian jazz artists performing at various venues across the city, from intimate clubs to large open-air stages in the main squares.
  • Theme: The festival celebrates the global and diverse nature of jazz music, providing a platform for both established jazz musicians and emerging talent.

Christmas Market

Christmas fair in Sibiu
Christmas fair in Sibiu (Image by frimufilms on Freepik)
  • When: Runs from late November through December
  • What: Sibiu’s Christmas Market is one of the most picturesque in Romania, set against the backdrop of the historical Grand Square. It features beautifully decorated stalls selling traditional Christmas crafts, foods, and drinks. The market includes a large Christmas tree, an ice-skating rink, and various festive concerts and activities that create a magical holiday atmosphere.
  • Attendance: It’s a major draw for families and tourists looking to experience the festive spirit of a traditional European Christmas market.


Sibiu may be steeped in history, but it also boasts a vibrant nightlife that caters to all tastes. Whether you’re looking for a cozy spot to unwind after a day of sightseeing or a lively venue to dance the night away, Sibiu has something to offer. Here are some top recommendations for experiencing the city’s nightlife:

Bars and Pubs

  • Maxim Pub: Located in the heart of the historical center, Maxim Pub is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Known for its wide selection of beers and spirits, cozy ambiance, and friendly staff, it’s the perfect place to relax and soak in the local vibe.
  • The Box Office: This bar is popular for its craft cocktails and modern, chic interior. The Box Office often hosts live music nights, making it a great spot to enjoy some tunes while sipping on a beautifully crafted drink.
  • Old Lisbon Sibiu: For a touch of international flair, Old Lisbon offers a selection of Portuguese wines and snacks in a warm and inviting setting. It’s ideal for those looking to try something different and enjoy a quieter, more sophisticated night out.

Wine Bars

  • Vinoteca Bohème: Situated close to the Small Square, Vinoteca Bohème boasts an impressive selection of wines, focusing on both local and international varieties. The knowledgeable staff are always ready to recommend the perfect wine to match your taste, and the intimate setting makes it a great spot for a romantic evening.
  • Crama Sibiul Vechi: While primarily known for its restaurant, Crama Sibiul Vechi also has a wine cellar where you can taste various local wines. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore Romanian wine culture in an authentic, rustic environment.


  • Liquid The Club: If you’re in the mood for dancing, Liquid The Club is one of Sibiu’s hottest nightspots. With top DJs, modern sound systems, and a dynamic light show, it offers a high-energy atmosphere for party-goers.
  • Music Pub: A staple in Sibiu’s nightlife scene, Music Pub features live bands and DJ sets that cover a wide range of music genres from rock to electronic. It’s a lively venue where you can experience the local music scene and dance till the early hours.

Specialty Spots

  • Kopi Luwak Coffee & Lounge: For a more relaxed evening, Kopi Luwak offers a unique selection of coffees and teas from around the world. Its calm atmosphere and comfortable seating make it an ideal place to unwind with a book or enjoy a quiet chat.

Each of these venues provides a unique slice of Sibiu’s nightlife, offering everything from relaxed and cozy atmospheres to vibrant dance floors. Whether you prefer quiet conversations over a glass of wine or a night of dancing and lively music, Sibiu’s nightlife scene has plenty to offer.

street sibiu


Explore local boutiques and craft shops for unique souvenirs such as hand-painted pottery or traditional Romanian folk art. The Farmers Market in Piata Mica is perfect for picking up local cheeses, fruits, and spices.


Public Transport: Sibiu has a reliable network of buses that connect all major areas of the city and surrounding suburbs.

Alternative Transportation: Renting a bike or walking is a great way to explore the city center, which is largely pedestrian-friendly.

Travel Tips: For exploring beyond the city, consider renting a car to visit the nearby villages and the beautiful Transfagarasan Road.

Safety and Health

Sibiu is generally a safe city with low crime rates. Standard travel precautions for health and safety are advised. The city is well-equipped with pharmacies and hospitals to handle any emergencies.


Sibiu offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit all preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels, cozy guesthouses, or authentic stays in historic buildings, here’s a detailed look at what you can expect when choosing where to stay in Sibiu.

Luxury Hotels

  • Continental Forum Sibiu: Located in the heart of the city, just a few steps from the historic Grand Square, this 4-star hotel combines comfort with convenience. It offers spacious rooms, modern amenities, and high-quality service. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, and conference rooms. Average room rates per night range from €70 to €120, depending on the season and room type.
  • Ramada by Wyndham Sibiu: A part of the global Wyndham group, this hotel offers a reliable luxury experience with well-appointed rooms, excellent service, and amenities such as a fitness center, sauna, and on-site dining options. It’s ideally located within walking distance to major tourist attractions. Room rates typically start around €80 per night.

Mid-Range Options

  • Hotel Ibis: Known for its value and comfort, Hotel Ibis is a great option for travelers looking for quality accommodation without the luxury price tag. Located close to the city center, it provides clean and modern rooms, with prices starting around €50 per night.
  • BinderBubi Hotel & Spa: Just a short drive from the city center, this hotel offers a peaceful retreat with added amenities such as a spa and wellness center. Prices for a standard room start at about €60 per night, making it a great option for those seeking relaxation on a moderate budget.

Budget Accommodation

  • Pension Casa Frieda: Located near the city’s main attractions, this guesthouse offers comfortable and affordable rooms in a charming setting. With a cozy restaurant downstairs serving traditional Romanian cuisine, it’s a favorite among budget travelers. Room rates start as low as €30 per night.
  • Hostel La Padre Sibiu: For backpackers and solo travelers, this hostel offers dormitory-style and private rooms at very affordable prices, starting at around €15 per night. It’s well-rated for its friendly atmosphere and clean facilities.

Traditional and Boutique Options

  • Casa Luxemburg: This charming boutique hotel is situated in one of the oldest buildings in Sibiu, right on Piata Mica. Each room is uniquely decorated to reflect the rich history of the region. Prices range from €50 to €100 per night, offering a blend of history, comfort, and central location.
  • Refurbished Saxon Houses in the Old Town: For a truly unique stay, consider renting a refurbished Saxon home. These historical residences offer a deep dive into the local culture and architecture. They are often listed on vacation rental sites like Airbnb or Vrbo, with prices varying widely based on size and location, generally starting around €50 per night.

Booking Tips

  • Book Early: Sibiu is a popular destination, especially during festival seasons and summer months. Booking your accommodation well in advance can secure better rates and ensure availability.
  • Consider Location: Staying in or near the historic center allows you to explore most of Sibiu’s attractions on foot, which can be a significant convenience.
  • Check Reviews: Before booking, read through recent reviews for insights on cleanliness, service, and the overall quality of the stay.

Whatever your budget or preference, Sibiu’s range of accommodation options ensures that you’ll find a comfortable place to stay that meets your needs and helps you make the most of your visit to this enchanting city.

Practical Information


Romanian is the official language of Romania. English and German are also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. Here are a few useful phrases in Romanian with their English translations:

  • Bună ziua (BOO-nuh ZEE-wah) – Good day
  • Mulțumesc (mool-tzoo-MESK) – Thank you
  • Vă rog (vuh ROHG) – Please
  • Unde este toaleta? (OON-deh YES-teh twah-LEH-tah?) – Where is the bathroom?
  • Cât costă asta? (kut KO-stuh AH-stuh?) – How much does this cost?
  • Vorbiți engleză? (vor-BEETZ eng-LEH-zuh?) – Do you speak English?

Currency and Payments

The local currency is the Romanian Leu (RON). Credit cards are accepted in most places, but it’s handy to have cash for smaller shops or rural areas. Here are a few phrases related to money:

  • Cât costă? (kut KO-stuh?) – How much does it cost?
  • Pot plăti cu cardul? (pot PLUH-tee koo KAHR-dool?) – Can I pay with a card?
  • Unde este un bancomat? (OON-deh YES-teh oon BAHN-koh-maht?) – Where is an ATM?

Sibiu is more than just a city; it’s a vibrant community rich in history and modern culture. Whether you’re here to soak in the historic atmosphere, enjoy the local cuisine, or explore the natural landscapes of Transylvania, Sibiu promises an enriching and memorable experience. Welcome and enjoy your stay!

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