Planning to spend a weekend in Sibiu? Great! Sean Lau from Living Out Lau is here today to share the perfect Sibiu weekend itinerary.
As the most important and prosperous Saxons walled citadels, Sibiu is dotted with stunning architecture, beautiful historical streets, and excellent ethnic food. It’s cultural importance is undeniable, and in fact, it was named the European Capital of Culture in 2007.
Exploring Sibiu without any guidance is tough. That is why we have written this weekend itinerary to Sibiu, so you can explore the best things to do in Sibiu using the limited time available to you.
Is a Weekend Enough Time To See Sibiu?
If you are planning a trip to Sibiu for a weekend, you must wonder if that is enough time to see all of its sights. After all, Sibiu was named the European Capital of Culture in 2007. It is a city with over 500 years of history, many of which can still be seen in the city today.
However, the truth is… yes, 2 days in Sibiu is enough time to see all of the best attractions in Sibiu. That is not because Sibiu isn’t full of incredible sights, but because the majority of them are located inside the historic centre. Visitors don’t have to take long bus rides to get from one attraction to another, so they can spend their time efficiently.
Day 1 of Sibiu Itinerary: Exploring Sibiu’s Historic Center
Rise and shine early in Sibiu because you have a long day ahead of you. Start your day off with a delicious breakfast at Hug The Mug, one of the best cafes in Sibiu. The cafe prides itself in providing some of the best coffee in town in a cozy and comfortable environment.
During the warmer months, guests can enjoy their refreshments in the outdoor seating area, where they can people-watch and enjoy the fresh air. Their house latte is their signature drink and the most popular with patrons but you can’t go wrong with any of their drinks.
After you have had your breakfast, it is time to explore some of the best attractions in Sibiu, starting with the Piata Mare, also known as the Large Square in English. In every medieval town, there was a large outdoor square where the most important tasks were conducted. Piata Mare is that large square in Sibiu.
Once upon a time, this square helds executions, meetings, and more. Nowadays, it houses some of the most important landmarks in Sibiu, such as the Brukenthal National Museum (the first museum of Transylvania) and the Council Tower. We won’t have time to explore the museum but going up to the Council Tower is a must.
The 13th century tower was one of the defense fortifications of Sibiu. Now it is mostly known for its stunning panoramic view at about 45 meters above the ground. Occasionally, there are interesting exhibits inside the tower that visitors can see.
After visiting the Council Tower, walk over to the adjacent Piata Mica, or Small Square in English. The Piata Mica was historically known as the place for merchants and workshops. Trade was historically conducted here. Nowadays, the Small Square boasts a wide open view of some of the most iconic houses of Sibiu, the houses with the eyes. Though some people believe that these eyes were used for spying, they are actually used for ventilation of the attic.
Walk around Piata Mica and take in all the views, then head over to the Bridge of Lies, one of the most iconic symbols of Sibiu. The Bridge of Lies is the first cast-iron bridge built in Romania and the second one in Europe. Legends say if someone is telling a lie on the bridge, the bridge would creak.
Spend the rest of your morning exploring the Lower Town of Sibiu. Though you won’t find any ionic landmarks of Sibiu in the Lower Town, it is an area known for its well-preserved medieval houses and quaint cobblestone streets. One thing the Lower Town of Sibiu is famous for is Cibin Market, the biggest outdoor market in Sibiu.
If you aren’t hungry yet, make sure you visit the Stairs Passage and the Goldsmith’s Square Passage. Those are two of the most beautiful passageways in Sibiu.
After an exhausting morning of exploring Sibiu, it is time to replenish yourself with an amazing lunch. There are plenty of authentic Romanian restaurants in Sibiu, but none offer as spectacular of a view as the ones in Piata Mica (or the Small Square). If it is a nice day, you will find plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy the beautiful views and the signature houses in Sibiu (the ones with “eyes” on the side of the building. If it isn’t too busy, we recommend Crama Sibiana restaurant.
After a fulfilling lunch, it is time to learn more about Sibiu’s history through its medieval fortifications. Sibiu was one of the most prosperous Saxon citadels in Transylvania, thanks to the variety of skilled craftsmen that settled here. These craftsmans eventually set up their own guild such as the Potter’s Guild, Tanner’s Guild, and etc.
However, besides producing goods, they were also responsible for the defense of the city. In fact, if you walk around the historic center of Sibiu, you will stumble upon many of those remaining fortifications built by the guilds. Some of the remaining ones include the Potter’s Tower and the Harquebusiers Tower.
Spend the rest of your afternoon at Muzeul ASTRA, a complex with 4 museums covering the rich heritage of Romania. Spanning a total area of 0.96 square kilometers, the ASTRA Museum complex is one of the biggest outdoor museums in the world and the biggest in Romania.
This museum is famous for its outdoor cultural re-creations, and visitors can visit the traditional folkloric houses and check out the old-school windmills. Visiting the ASTRA Museum is like stepping back in time. The museum is huge and guests can easily spend countless hours here, but for us, we will stay until it closes, which is around 6 pm depending on the season.
If there is one thing that Sibiu lacks, it is an energetic nightlife. There really aren’t many bars or clubs in Sibiu, so we encourage visitors to just walk around Sibiu and explore its quiet streets. The quietness allows visitors to appreciate some of these charming streets more. Make sure to get plenty of sleep though, because tomorrow will be another action-packed day!
Day 2 of Sibiu Itinerary: Transfagarasan Highway Day Trip
Now that you have seen most of Sibiu, the second day of your Sibiu weekend trip will be spent exploring the Transfagarasan Highway. Named as the best driving road in the world by the British TV show Top Gear, Transfagarasan is an absolute sight to behold.
The winding road traverses the famed Carpathian Mountains, and visitors are blessed with jaw-dropping alpine peaks as they explore this famous road. There are many tours to Transfagarasan Highway from Sibiu, but you can’t properly experience the world’s best driving road without actually driving on it. That is why we highly recommend renting a car in Sibiu. Don’t worry, they are super affordable, especially if you can drive stick shift. And if you have more time, you can even do a Romania road trip!
The Transfagarasan Highway spans a total of 151 kilometer, and not every part is exciting. If you are visiting Transfagarasan Highway “DIY style”, then you mustn’t miss Balea Lake, a glacial lake sitting near the highest part of the Transfagarasan Highway.
Visitors will find sweeping views of the entirety of the Transfagarasan Highway, fiercely traversing through the dramatic peaks of the Carpathian Mountain Range. The view of the Transfagarsam Highway at Balea Lake is unquestionably one of the best views in all of Romania. While your eyes are being blessed by the incredible sights, the crisp mountainous air will surely give you a natural high!
If the winding man-made road has not impressed you, the perfectly-still Balea Lake will surely bring you an unworldly sense of serenity. It’s glass-like water creates the perfect reflection of the stunning mountains in the background. Make sure you have lunch at Romania’s famous Hotel of Ice. Indulge in some traditional Romanian cuisine inside one of the most special settings in the world. If you have more time in Romania, it is also possible to stay at the ice hotel. It is definitely worth a consideration if you are interested in unique accommodation at one of the most picturesque locations in Romania.
If you are visiting between November 1st to July 1st, the Tranfsgarasan Highway is closed above 2,000 meters due to bad weather. In that case, you should drive to the cable car station and take a cable car up to Balea Lake. Though it is a little bit more complicated, the winter landscape makes the views even more surreal!
Don’t overstay at the Transfagasran Highway because you need to catch the sunset from the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary. Surprisingly, the newly-renovated Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary offers the best panoramic views of the city. That is because it’s watchtower is situated over 70 meters above the ground, compared to the the second-best vantage point at the Council Tower, which is located about 45 meters high.
To visit the watchtower of the Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary, you must go with a tour guide. Visitors should personally visit the cathedral and secure their ticket the day before to ensure a stress-free visit. If you have mobility issues, just be aware that you will need to hike up multiple high wooden steps. Along the journey to the top, visitors can all see the internal foundations and structural elements of the building. Many of them are over hundreds of years old!
After your visit to the cathedral, enjoy a nice meal at Crama Sibiul Vechi, arguably the most famous restaurants in Sibiu. We recommend making a reservation though, especially if you are visiting during the peak seasons.
Where to Stay In Sibiu
When picking the perfect place to stay in Sibiu, the most important thing to keep in mind is the location. Make sure your accommodation is located in the historic centre, otherwise you might need to walk a long time to get to the places you want to visit in Sibiu. To save you time from doing the research, here are some hotels in Sibiu we recommend:
- Rabbit Hole
Located in the Piata Mare (The Large Square) of Sibiu, Rabbit Hole is one of the most convenient hotels in Sibiu. However, convenience isn’t the only thing you will find at Rabbit Hole. As a hotel with modern amenities in a historical building, guests will find a mixture of old and contemporary decor, all of which just oozes charm. The spacious rooms feature dreamy mattresses to provide you the perfect night’s rest. This elegant Sibiu hotel also serves a delicious breakfast, but unfortunately, it is not included in the price.
- Vendi Grand Square Residence
Vendi Grand Square Residence is another accommodation situated in the Piata Mare (Large Square) of Sibiu. Unlike traditional hotels, the Vendi Grand Square eResidence offers self check-in, allowing you complete control of when you wish to arrive. The rooms at Vendi Grand Square Residence are spacious and get plenty of natural light. Guests will find a common area equipped with a kitchen, a lounge area, and a TV to use. Compared to traditional hotels, the Vendi Grand Square Residence offers an unmatched kind of homeyness.
Author Bio: Hey, I am Sean Lau! In 2018, I left the comfort of my home and job in New York City to find out what truly inspires me. Since then, I have trekked through the Andes, tested my lungs at over 5,000 meters above sea level, encountered the world’s deadliest spider in the Amazon Rainforest, and explored the world’s most catastrophic nuclear disaster. On my blog, you will find personal information, guides and travel tips as I share my discoveries of the world. This is me Living Out Loud(Lau).
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