Tours & Day Trips in Sibiu
Ah, Sibiu. Rated as one of the most idyllic places to live in Europe, Sibiu is at the heart of Transylvanian lifestyle. Slow life, happy and friendly people, a multicultural and intellectual history which gives the city a bohemian air. Beautiful anytime of the year, Sibiu is worth visiting on your trip to Romania!
Why visit Sibiu? It's one of the most popular tourist cities in our country both for locals and foreign tourists. Sibiu is famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture, many cultural events and festivals (jazz, theatre and arts) and a gastronomy scene with many high-end, gourmet restaurants that reinterpret traditional Romanian recipes. Sibiu is also an ideal base to do day trips and visit top attractions in Transylvania.
Check our guide for things to do in Sibiu made by locals to get a better idea of what to visit in the city!Have a look at our selection of the best tours and day trips in Sibiu, and if you need help with planning your trip contact us!
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Sibiu
Start from: Sibiu
Best Tours & Top Things to Do in Sibiu
The town of Sibiu or Hermannstadt, its original name, was built in the 12th century by German settlers from Rhine-Moselle region on the ruins of Roman outposts and is home to the largest German minority in Romania. In 2007 the city was designated European Capital of Culture. This was an important achievement because it coincided with the year Romania joined the European Union and it was also the first time this title was given to an Eastern European country since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
A Sibiu day trip with a local tour guide can help you discover how Romanian, German and Hungarian heritage blend into the architecture, cuisine and customs of this popular tourist destination.
Here are some of the most alluring things to see and do on your Sibiu walking tour.
*The Grand Square (Piata Mara/ Großer Ring)
The Grand Square seems like the logical place to get started since it’s Sibiu’s historical center and here you’ll find several UNESCO historical monuments. It was drawn up in 1366 and measures 142 by 92 meters, one of the largest in Transylvania and a perfect place for markets and fairs.
If you’re planning to partake in one of the Sibiu day trips, this is probably where you’ll see the most in the shortest amount of time as the Grand Square comprises other noteworthy tourist attractions such as the Brukenthal Palace – Baroque style art museum, the Jesuit Church – one of Transylvania's most remarkable Baroque churches, the Moringer House, Council Tower, Haller House, Hecht House and Lutsch House.
- Brukenthal Museum
Originally Brukenthal Palace and the residence of nobleman Samuel von Brukenthal, Habsburg governor of the Grand Principality of Transylvania and personal advisor to Empress Maria Theresa.
He was also and art collector so on his birthday, July 24, you can visit the art museum for free. This institution first started displaying Brukenthal’s collection more than 200 years ago and you’ll be able to see approximately 1200 German, Dutch, Flemish, French, Spanish and Italian paintings from the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo periods. To give you an idea of the standard of the art collection, you’ll find works by Albrecht Dűrer, Peter Paul Rubens, Van Eyck, Memling and Titian.
- The Jesuit Church or the Church of the Holy Trinity
This Roman Catholic church is immediately adjacent to the Brukenthal Palace and is listed as a historic monument by the country’s Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs.
When Austrian troops arrived in Sibiu in the late 17th century they also brought with them Jesuit monks, forming a small catholic community which implied the building of a catholic church. Construction started in 1726 and it was consecrated by the Bishop of Transylvania, Baron Georg von Zorger on the 13th of September 1733.
The architecture is Viennese Baroque inspired with simple exterior elements and rich interior decoration. The confession chairs date from the Jesuit period and the interior fresco from the main shrine is an extremely valuable representation of the Virgin and Child. The church’s present organ was made by Viennese organ manufacturer Karl Hesse and was installed in 1860.
- Get a Panorama of Sibiu by Climbing the Council Tower
The Council Tower dates back to the late 13th century and used to be a Medieval Gate connecting the Grande Square to the Little Square through a passageway. Historically, the wealthier Saxons lived in the Upper Town where the Grande Square is located, while the peasants lived down the steps, in Sibiu’s Old town, where you’ll find the Little Square.
The tower is now used for exhibition and is regarded as the town’s most iconic building. If you climb the 141 steps, you can see the clock mechanism located on the 5th floor and enjoy a view over Sibiu’s rooftops.
- Small Square (Piața Mică)
The Small Square is actually not that small but it has a very irregular shape, being divided in two by Ocnei Street that descends under the Bridge of Lies towards the Lower Town.
This was the center for craftsmen and merchants where you would have found gold workers, pelt dealers, tanners and furriers and is now home to many cafés and restaurants where you can relax, enjoy a delicious meal and watch the locals go about their business.
- Holy Trinity Cathedral (Catedrala Sfânta Treime din Sibiu)
This Orthodox Cathedral is located on Mitropoliei Street no. 35 and is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Archbishop of Sibiu and Metropolitan of Transylvania (Mitropolitul Transilvaniei). It was built between 1902 and 1904 in Byzantine style after the plans of Budapest architects Virgil Nagy and Kommer Jozsef.
It has a capacity of 2000 people, a dome 25 meters high and four towers. The interior frescoes are quite impressive, a tour through the cathedral feels like passing from one Biblical scene to another, giving you an insightful look into the Orthodox faith.
- Food tours in Sibiu and gastronomy
In 2019, Sibiu was in the spotlight again as European Region of Gastronomy, a title it received from the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Art and Tourism (IGCAT) for its distinctive food culture.
Go Shopping for Traditional Local Food at the Ecological Products’ Fair: Local producers from the areas surrounding Sibiu gather every Friday between the hours of 8 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon to sell their homemade products. You’ll find high-quality cheese, sausages, warm bread, fruit and vegetables, all from the producer’s farms and gardens.
Poteca Slow Food: This project was designed to teach children how important it is to know the source of the food products they eat. It is a tour that explores the local cuisine and traditional dining customs of the surrounding villages, and there is even a brochure for children with explanatory stories.
- Cultural events
Depending on when you’re planning to take one of the day trips from Sibiu or maybe one of the Sibiu guided tours, you might have the chance to attend one of the town’s many interesting events. In winter you can enjoy the Christmas Market in the Grande Square, in August there’s a Medieval Festival where for three days you can watch dance and theatrical performances and in October, they organize the Astra Film Festival which is dedicated to European documentary films. There are many more like the Sibiu International Theatre Festival (end of June), Feeric Fashion Days (July), Jazz Festival (May) and the Potters’ Fair (September).
Day trips and tours from Sibiu. Top attractions to visit
The Transfagarasan road is the second highest road in Romania with an altitude of 2,042 meters. The first one is Transalpina which reaches 2,145 meters. It starts near a village called Bascov, in the vicinity of Pitesti, and ends after 90 km (56 miles) in Cartisoara, another village located only 47 km away from Sibiu. This makes it ideal for day trips from Sibiu.
In 2009, it was featured on Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson gave it the title of “best road in the world”. Because of its steep turns, long S-curves and sharp descents, the Transfagarasan is indeed very attractive to drivers, motorcycle enthusiasts, cyclists and hikers. But it’s much more than that.
It’s mostly admired for the spectacular views that the Fagarasani Mountains offer and it made numerous top lists of the most scenic roads in the world. On a guided tour to Transfagarasan Highway, you can see other attractions such as:
• Vidraru Lake – this is an artificial lake with a circumference of 28 km (17 miles) created in 1965 when the Vidraru Dam was built for hydroelectricity production. On the right bank, you will be able to see a statue of Prometheus holding two lightning bolts to symbolize the production of electricity, since the dam was the fifth largest in Europe at the time.
• Balea Lake – a glacial lake located close to the highest point on the Transfagarasan Road, at an altitude of 2,034 meters.
• Balea Waterfall – with a height of 60 meters, this is the highest step-waterfall in Romania and it’s situated between the Moldoveanu and Negoiu peaks.
• Poienari Castle – Built by Wallachians at the start of the 13th century, it was repaired and consolidated by Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) in the 15th century. He used Poienari Castle as one of his main residences because of its strategic position.
Transfagarasan Road took almost five years to build and was finalized in 1974. Nicolae Ceausescu, the former communist dictator of Romania, ordered its construction in response to the Soviet Union invading Czechoslovakia in 1968. The aim was easy military access through the mountains, since the existing mountain passes went mainly through river valleys and could be blocked by the Soviets.
This impressive Gothic castle is one of the largest in Europe and made the list of the Seven Wonders of Romania. You’ve probably already seen parts of it if you watched the horror movie “The Nun”. In reality, the castle is made to look more “fairy tale” than “house of horrors”.
Corvin Castle was built over the site of an older fortification and it’s a massive, commanding structure with strong walls, tall towers, bastions, multicolored roofs, numerous windows and balconies decorated with intricate stone carvings and an inner courtyard. Some of these towers like the Capistrano Tower, the Drummers’ Towers and the Deserted Tower were used for prisoners and the Buzdugan Tower was built entirely for defensive purposes.
The Sighisoara Citated (pronounced See ghee swahr' ah) refers to the old, historic center of Sighisoara town. Its origins date back to the Dacians (ancestors of Romanians) who built a fortification called Sandava which the Romans (also ancestors of Romanians) called Castrum Stenarum. In the 12th century, Saxons settlers built a new citadel over it which they called Schäßburg.
In 1999, Sighisoara was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its rich history and its importance in depicting the culture of Transylvanian Saxons. Sighisoara also happens to be the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (the ruler who inspired the fictional character Dracula) and you can even visit his house but that’s just one of the many attractions this well preserved 16th century cultural treasure has to offer. Another one is the medieval festival it hosts every year. If you’re in Sibiu at the end of July you can take a day trip with your local guide and see it for yourself.
Saxon Villages with fortified churches
If you’re a history buff, Transylvania is a great place to explore the legacy Saxon communities have developed over the centuries. Once you start wandering through this network of villages, you’ll experience a fairytale kind of atmosphere.
Since this region was sparsely populated and under constant threat of Ottoman and Tartar invasion, in the 12th century, King Géza II of Hungary invited Saxons to settle here and defend the area. They received special status and formed strong communities of farmers, artisans and merchants.
They also built fortifications for military purposes and now this region boasts one of the highest numbers of fortified churches dating from the 13th to 16th centuries, being listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Viscri: the most famous Saxon village
Viscri (Weisskirch) is another little gem located about 40 km from Sighisoara and likewise part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Prince Charles (of Wales) owns a house here and says this is one of his favorite places in Romania. With the help of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, he has made efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of the village.
Viscri’s fortified church was built by the Székelys (Hungarian settlers) and taken over in 1185 by the Saxon settlers. In the 14th century, the eastern part of the church was built and the first fortification walls were completed. A second wall was added in the 18th century.
The altar dates back to the 19th century and depicts the Blessing of the Children, painted by J. Paukratz. Further major renovations were completed between the years of 1970-1971.
What’s special about Viscri is that you can easily find accommodation in a traditional home and they give you the whole experience: food, drinks, guided tours, you can visit artisans and see what authentic village life feels like. The locals are very used to tourists from all over and they’re very friendly and welcoming.
The village of Biertan and its fortified church
Biertan is a commune located about 80 km north of Sibiu which makes it perfect for day trips from this town. It received a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993 because it’s one of the most significant among the Saxon villages. The commune is actually made up of three villages: Biertan, Copsa Mare (Gross-Kopisch) and Richis (Reichesdorf), each with their own fortified church.
The church belonging to the village of Biertan was built between 1500 and 1525 in late Gothic style. Because it’s situated high up on a hill and has three tiers of 35-foot-high walls it was impossible to conquer at that time. The church also has a very interesting door in terms of engineering. The locking mechanism has 15 bolts that can be activated at the same time.
The altar has 28 icons and was built between 1483 and 1513 by artisans from Vienna and Nuremberg. The organ is more recent, it was built in 1869 by a Viennese company. Every year, at the beginning of August, Biertan hosts the Full Moon (Luna Plină) festival which is centered entirely on horror and fantasy films.
Traditional Transylvanian Villages on the outskirts of Sibiu (Marginimea Sibiului)
Many a tourist, while searching for evidence of the fictional Dracula, have fallen in love with the picturesque, unaltered charm of Transylvanian villages. It’s by now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania. Maybe this is because the region offers tourists a glimpse into what the comforts of urbanization took away: the joy of a simpler, ancestral way of living.
There’s a network of about 300 settlements where Romanians, Saxons and Hungarians lived and worked together and you can see the fascinating mixture of these three cultures in every detail.
It really feels like stepping back in time. You’ll see not only some unique architecture but also charming things like peasants tending to their cows or sheep, wrinkled, old ladies coming out in the evening to gossip with their friends, you’ll hear roosters dutifully waking people up in the morning, kids actually playing outside. It’s an entirely different world.
Hiking in the Fagaras Mountains
Hiking in the Fagaras mountains is the biggest reason so many outdoor enthusiasts visit Romania every year. Since the highest peak, Moldoveanu, reaches a height of 2544 meters, they’re also called the “Romanian Alps”. While they do offer amazing views of glaciers, lakes, endless pine forests and picturesque huts, you should know that they’re by no means easy to climb. There are several hiking trails categorized by level of difficulty and you should find a local, experienced guide who can give you proper guidance.
Nevertheless, the best thing about hiking in the Fagaras mountains is all the untamed nature you get to see and that feeling that you are the first person to walk those paths, the first one to conquer their heights. For instance, although the routes are well marked for safety reasons, the goal was to preserve the “wild” aspect of the experience so you won’t see too many artificial elements like concrete paths and stairs.