Sibiu is one of the most visited places in Romania, and it’s such a beautiful city, it’s easy to see why! If you’re planning to visit, here are the top things to do in Sibiu, with or without kids.
Sibiu is considered one of the three cities in the Saxon triangle, along with Sighişoara and Braşov. Built by the German Saxons in the 12th century, Sibiu was a walled citadel, protected by 39 towers and four bastions. Sibiu became an important trade center and had an influential political role, serving as the seat for the Austrian governors of Transylvania in the 18th century.
Like many medieval towns, Sibiu’s wealthier citizens lived in a different area than the peasants. The Upper Town was historically inhabited by the wealthier Saxons while the artisans and merchants lived in the Lower Town.
Connecting the two parts of the Old City are numerous staircases, alleyways and passages. This doesn’t make it easy to explore the town if you’re travelling with a stroller or young kids – although it IS doable, it’s just a bit trickier. (The street from Piaţa Mica and running under the Bridge of Lies is steep, but the best place to access the Upper Town if you have a stroller).
That being said, Sibiu is a fantastic place to explore, with or without kids. It was one of our favourite places in Romania and was recently listed as one of the top cities – in 8th place – to live in Europe. It was also the 2007 European Capital of Culture. But don’t take my word for it, go and explore it yourself!
Whether you prefer to stroll around without a plan and soak up the ambiance or check off attractions off of your list, here are the top things to do in Sibiu. While they’re not exactly kid-centered suggestions, all of these things to do in Sibiu are kid-friendly and doable with kids.
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Top Things to Do in Sibiu with Kids
Explore the Piaţa Mare
Piaţa Mare (“Big Square”) is the largest square in Sibiu and one of the largest squares in Transylvania. As the center of historic Sibiu, the square was the place where markets and fairs were held, and even executions in past times. Nowadays, it’s the perfect spot to people watch and admire the grand architecture surrounding the square. In December, it’s also home to the Sibiu Christmas market, which is said to be one of the best in Eastern Europe!
Climb the Council Tower
Proudly standing between Piaţa Mare and Piaţa Mica, the Council Tower is an impressive 7 stories high. Built in the 13th century, the tower has been used for various things over the years, including a watchtower, museum and even a prison! No longer a prison, you can climb the stairs for a fantastic view of Sibiu’s rooftops (and those distinctive eye-shaped windows).
Visit Piaţa Mica
Close to Piaţa Mare is the smaller Piaţa Mica. It’s actually pretty large though! The square is surrounded by houses with the distinctive shaped windows on the roof – called the ‘eyes of Sibiu’. Craft markets are still held here regularly in the summer and fall, selling souvenirs and books. In the middle of the square is a street that takes you down to the Lower Town, crossing under the Bridge of Lies.
Walk across the Bridge of Lies
Connecting two sides of Piaţa Mica is the Bridge of Lies. It was the first cast iron bridge in Romania! But more interesting is the name. Rumor has it that if you tell a lie while on the bridge, it will collapse. Rumors or not, it’s a pretty bridge, and popular spot with tourists for that insta-worthy photo op.
Admire the Cathedral
One of the largest Gothic churches in Transylvania, the Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral was built in the 14th century. Also called St.Mary’s Evangelical Church, it was the burial place for mayors, earls and other important people, including the son of Vlad Ţepeş, until the late 18th century. The cathedral also has the largest organ in Romania and hosts weekly concerts in the summer. The Cathedral is easy to spot throughout the town with its massive steeple that rises 73m over the city. You can climb the tower for an impressive view of Sibiu.
Stroll down Strada Nicolae Balcescu
This pedestrian street is the main street in the historic area of Sibiu. It’s wide and lined with many pastel-coloured houses, impressive buildings, interesting shops, and of course lots of bakeries with some of the best corvigi (pretzels) that you need to try when in Romania!
Climb the Stairs Passage
One of several passages linking the Upper Town and Lower Town, the Stairs Passage is fairly steep but is one of the prettiest. It passes alongside some of the old fortifications dating from the 14th century.
Look for the “Eyes of Sibiu”
Sibiu is known for its’ distinctive rooftop windows that look like eye lids staring and watching over the town. These unique windows were really desgined to provide ventilation in the attic (when goods were stored there in the middle ages), but they DO look like eyes watching over everything! Kids will have a great time looking for these eyes as parents wander around and see the sights of Sibiu.
Other suggestions for things to do in Sibiu (that aren’t as kid-friendly)
The Brukenthal Palace is an art museum in the palace of the former Transylvanian governor Samuel von Brukenthal. The museum displays works by Romanian and European artists but the architecture and furnishings are just as interesting and impressive.
In the Piaţa Mica on the site of the first apothecary, you’ll find the Pharmaceutical Museum. Stop in and see what an 18th century Eastern European pharmacy would have looked like. There’s over 6,000 items on display, from herbs to chemistry equipment.
Fun fact: The first hospital, school, library and pharmacy in Romania were established in Sibiu!
Things to Do Around Sibiu
Astra National Museum Complex
The Astra National Museum Complex is an open-air museum just outside of Sibiu. It’s the largest museum of its kind in Europe, with more than 300 buildings, including traditional homesteads, mills, workshops and wooden churches. Set on 96 hectares with a 10km path, the complex is quite large! Staff are dressed in traditional clothing, working in the fields and demonstrating skills and chores in the houses and workshops, to educate visitors about Romanian culture. Although we didn’t visit here, I wish we had! Putting it on our list for our next visit though!
Sibiu is the closest large town to the start (or finish, depending which way you drive!) of the Transfagaraşan Road – voted the World’s Best Road by TV’s Top Gear. If you’re visiting Sibiu between June and October, it’s worth renting a car and driving this amazing road! You can read more about it in our post Driving the Transfagaraşan.
Sighişoara is 100km northeast of Sibiu and another popular spot to visit in Transylvania. If driving, you can visit on a day trip but we’d recommend staying more than a few hours. For more information and ideas on things to do in Sighişoara, see our post here.
Where to Stay in Sibiu
The best area to stay in Sibiu is the Old Town. There are many great places to stay, both in the Upper and Lower Town, but be aware of the lack of parking if you’re staying in the Upper Town. We stayed in the Lower Town, just a block from the Bridge of Lies and it was a great location. We did have to park on the street though!
How to Get to Sibiu:
Sibiu has an international airport, which connects to several cities in Germany, as well as Vienna and London. Alternatively, you can fly in to Bucharest and then rent a car or take the train or bus to Sibiu.
There are direct trains from Sibiu to Braşov (2.5hr) and Bucharest (5.5hr), and also trains to Sighişoara (3 hr) and Cluj-Napoca (5hr), but these have connections.
If you’re travelling by car from Bucharest, the drive to Sibiu (280km) takes about 5 hours along E80 or you can take the more scenic route along the Transfagaraşan Road.
If you have a car, roads are well marked and google maps are accurate, although google underestimates the time needed to drive on Romanian roads!
Emergency: dial 112
Hospital: Bulevardul Corneliu Coposu 2-4 +40 269 215 050
Tourist Information Centre: Piaţa Mare 2. Located in the Town Hall, they provide maps, information.
Telephone: Country code +40, City code 0269, and then the phone number
Currency is the lei, often posted in exchange offices as RON. Although Romania is a member of the EU, the euro does not circulate (yet).
ATMs, Credit Cards and Debit Cards are widely accepted (you will need a 4 digit PIN)
If you’re planning to visit Sibiu as a stop while exploring Romania, you can read about our 2 weeks in Romania here. We rented a car for two weeks and this was our itinerary, exploring Transylvania, the Maramures, driving the Transfagarasan Road before visiting Bran Castle and returning to Bucharest.