Sibiu On a Budget
SightsSibiu is perhaps best known for its medieval old town center, which is the setting for most of the main attractions. The oldest remnant from this ancient past is perhaps the Citadel of Sibiu which was one of the best fortified in Europe during the Middle Ages and remains very well preserved today. Some of the citadel's highlights include a stairs passage, which connects the lower part of the citadel with the upper part, as well as the Golden Barrel (Butoiul de Aur), the oldest restaurant in Romania, which sits at the end of the stairs passage. Other architectural landmarks include the 13th-century Council Tower, the Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral, and the Romanian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Also popular are the city's museums which give deeper insight into the art, history, and culture of the surrounding area. One of these is the Brukenthal Museum which resides in the Brukenthal Palace on the Grand Square. It features over a thousand paintings from Dutch and Flemish schools, Italian schools, and, of course, German, Austrian and Romanian collections, as well as Governor Brukenthal's own collection dating from the 15th-18th centuries. The other most-visited museum is the "ASTRA" National Museum Complex, which consists of more than 300 buildings in an area covering one square kilometer of open air. It is located just south of Sibiu and includes highlights like a Universal Ethnography Museum, a Museum of Transylvanian Civilization, and a Museum of Saxon Ethnography and Folk Art.
NeighborhoodsSibiu's old town is not only the city's center of activity but also its main attraction. Dating back to a medieval history, most of the buildings which still stand today were raised by German settlers and merchants who came to Sibiu in the late Middle Ages. The area is generally divided into two parts-the Upper Town which contains most of the city's historic sights, and the Lower Town which is home to many charming buildings and cobbled squares. The Small Square (or Piata Mica), situated in the northern part of the Upper Town, is especially popular with plenty of shops, pubs, and restaurants. The other main squares in the city include the Grand Square, the largest, which is home to the Baroque Brukenthal Palace, and Huet Square which hosts a number of Gothic buildings as well as the Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral at its center.
ActivitiesThe best way to experience Sibiu is to explore the sights on foot, moving from square to square admiring old-world architecture and learning about the city's art, history, and culture at the local museums.
There is also plenty to do in the area surrounding the city as well with opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and biking. The Fagaras Mountains and Cindrel Mountains are two locations for an excursion outside of the city. Visitors can additionally take short trips to a bathing resort in Ocna Sibiului or the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at the villages of Biertan and Valea Viilor.
Food and DiningIn the old town of Sibiu there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and fast food available-serving both local and international fare. The Small Square in particular has a large range as well as the best quality food and service in the city. As far as Romanian food goes, it takes its influence from a number of the surrounding cultures. Some of these include meatballs from the Turks (used in a soup called perisoare), musaca or moussaka from the Greeks (an eggplant or potato-based dish usually with ground meat), and snitel or wiener schnitzel from the Austrians (a thin veal cutlet that has been breaded and fried). One of the most common meals is a kind of polenta called mamaliga eaten on its own or as a side, while pork serves as the main meat in Romanian cuisine. Other specialties include gulas (goulash), fish or lamb dishes, cheese made from cow's or sheep's milk, and pastries like clatite (crepes), papanasi (Romanian doughnuts), and cozonac (a kind of sweet bread). One local dish particular to this area is ciorba, a sour soup which has different variants with meatballs and/or vegetables.
TransportationThere are direct connections to Sibiu International Airport from many European cities, especially those in Germany and Italy. Transylvania's largest airline is Carpatair, which offers daily connections to Munich, Bergamo, and Treviso, and connections three times a week to Bologna, Verona, Rome, and Stuttgart. Other airlines include Tarom, Lufthansa, and Blue Air.
There are also hourly buses to and from to Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, as well as trains which connect Sibiu to Bucharest, Brasov, and Cluj-Napoca.