If you choose to visit Romania, you have to get to Sibiu. You’ll find it in all travel guides and touristic reviews about Romania and charming region of Transylvania, but it’s not a must see because of that. It’s an old, charming medieval town dating from 1191 and it has everything – history, legends, old buildings excellently preserved, museums, a delightful old city center, the largest ethnographic museum in Europe, small streets, charming terraces, a lot of festivals in summer, good food and beautiful surroundings – that’s why it’s a place you can’t miss. Take time to see it, breathe it, discover it piece by piece and feel its heart. And I’m absolutely sure you will love it – because Sibiu, European Capital of Culture in 2007, is a love at first sight that will certainly last forever.
There’s no better place to start discovering Sibiu than Cetatii Street, considered the most beautiful street in town. A part of the old defense wall of medieval town is still preserved, together with the towers of the old guilds – craftsmen’s organizations, for different crafts such as potters, carpenters or archers, for instance.
By the way, this tradition is also preserved. Every year, from half of July till the end of August, on Cetatii Street you will find travelling craftsmen from different countries who can show you ancient traditional techniques in their fields. Their story starts in Middle Ages, when young craftsmen left around Europe to learn a craft and start a life. By the end of the journey, they became very good in their fields, and the strict rules are well kept until today. Young craftsmen must be up to 30 years old, not married, without obligations or debts. For three years and one day, they are not allowed to come less than 50 kilometers from their native towns, and there are four shelters around Europe where all young craftsmen can stay. One of them is in Sibiu, Casa Calfelor, in Huet Square.
Promenade in the heart of Europe’s Cultural Capital from 2007
From Cetatii Street, you turn to Nicolae Balcescu, the old pedestrian street in the heart of old town. Old buildings, extremely well preserved, charming terraces in summer, shops and a lot of tourists, especially in summer season – you’ll hear many different languages spoken all around. I know Sibiu for so many years and yet I admire this street and take pictures every time I get there – it’s like coming back to an old, enchanted time.
From Balcescu Street you get to Big Square – the main square and heart of the old town, the place where in summer a lot of festivals take place and in winter you can discover a charming Christmas Market. Here, you can visit Brukenthal Museum, one of the biggest museums in Romania and you can also admire the City Hall. Further on, you get to Small Square, and here a visit in the Council Tower is a must. The tower is one of the city’s symbols, and you can have a magnificent panorama of the town from its top.
And because we are here you can’t miss The Bridge of Lies – the first cast iron bridge in Romania and one of the city symbols, also. Old town’s view from here is wonderful, and many directors have chosen it for movies or commercials. Aurarilor Square and Huet Square are small and charming, also – you can’t miss them when you visit the old town. You will also discover in the old city center three beautiful cathedrals – Orthodox, Evangelical and Romano-Catholic, all of them worth a visit.
Village Museum, a magic place about tradition, history and roots
Village Museum is my favorite place in Sibiu – you can spend here a whole day without getting bored. The largest ethnographic museum in Europe, it was awarded this year with the European “Oscar” for museums, as the great Luigi Micheletti Award of the European Museum Academy is also known.
With a surface of almost 100 hectares, the museum has valuable old houses, with furniture and tools illustrating the ancient times and techniques, windmills, a lake and an old church that is a jewelry itself, shady alleys and a lot of places to stop, stay, breathe, admire and fill your heart with joy. In summer, you will find here local producers with traditional food or local craftsmen – a joy to talk to them and discover what they are doing. The two traditional restaurants inside are also highly recommended – as I said, a whole day here is an excellent choice.
If you decide to spend a few days here, which I heartily recommend, there are beautiful surroundings that you will be thrilled to discover. The spectacular road of Transfagarasan, where many commercials were also filmed, Balea Lac, where you can stay in an ice hotel during the winter season, charming villages around known as “Marginimea Sibiului”. Brasov, another very beautiful Romanian town is 144 km away, Turda Salt Mine, a spectacular place to visit, also, is 146 km from Sibiu, Dracula’s Castle from Bran is 146 km away.
Albota Complex is a place to spend a whole day, also, or to choose as accommodation. An old trout, bought by a german investor and turned into a beautiful complex, with wooden villas, place to fish, playgrounds, own farm, restaurants, very good food and various activities for adults and children, also.
Where to stay, what to eat
Sibiu has accommodation places to all tastes and possibilities – from a 5 start hotel, Hilton Sibiu, to charming pensions in the villages around – I personally prefer the last ones, but it’s just a matter of personal taste. Mai Pension from Rasinari, 17 kilometers from Sibiu, is a good option – wonderful place to stay, very good food, excellent hosts. There are also a lot of apartments to rent, especially on booking.com.
If you are willing to discover new tastes try traditional food – Crama Sibiul Vechi, in the historical center, is an excellent place where you can do this, Crama Ileana, near Radu Stanca Theatre, is another one.
More information about Sibiu you can find HERE
PHOTOS FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVE
Do you know a very special place? A place where things are made with love, from heart, with good skills, respect and lot of care? A place with a story and with a heart beyond it? Tell me about it and let’s tell the others its beautiful story. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.