Sibiu

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Sibiu centre

Sibiu [1] is a town in southern Transylvania, Romania 282 km from Bucharest. The city's historical centre has been recently renovated in 2006 and looks spectacular.

Understand[edit]

Known in German as Hermannstadt and in Hungarian as Nagyszeben, Sibiu has always been the centre of Romania's German minority since medieval times. Even today, it contains Romania's largest German community, and due to initiatives by the local government, the Germanic feel of the area has been maintained. Sibiu also has a significant Hungarian minority, remnants of Transylvania's past as part of the Hungarian Empire and, later, Austria-Hungary. Despite this, Sibiu is also distinctly Romanian (95% of the population are ethnic Romanians) and manages to fuse these three cultures, as well as smaller minorities of Roma, Slovaks and Ukrainians into a city that is as wonderful as it is vibrant.

Today, Sibiu is one of Romania's cultural and tourism capitals, attracting tourists due to its wonderful medieval charm, excellent views of the surrounding landscapes, great food, and stunning parkland. Sibiu today is also doing excellently economically, having an income per capita higher than the Romanian average.

Much of the city has been reconstructed due to it being the European Capital of Culture in 2007 and has benefited greatly from the funds made available. The people in Sibiu are friendly and much of the city centre is pedestrian area. Many locals use their bikes in and outside the city.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

Sibiu is well connected to Bucharest and Cluj Napoca. From Cluj Napoca there are buses almost every hour, provided by Dacos, Fany and Transmixt, taking around 3.5 h. The buses are smooth-running, very comfortable and cheap.

By train[edit]

There are 3 direct IRs from Bucharest (5h 40mins) and one Re that takes 8h. From Brasov there are 7 traines daily (2.5 to 4h) and from Cluj-Napoca there are no direct trains but connections through Copsa Mica , Medias or Vintu de Jos

The train schedule changes every summer and winter so it is better to check it online. [2]

By plane[edit]

If you're not coming to Sibiu from another Romanian town, plane is an excellent option, as there are direct connections to Sibiu International Airport [3] from many European cities, especially those in Germany and Italy.

Carpatair [4], Transylvania's largest airline, offers daily connections to Munich, Bergamo and Treviso, and connections three times a week to Bologna, Verona, Rome and Stuttgart.

TAROM [5], Romania's national carrier, as well as LUFTHANSA [6] flies five times a week from Sibiu to Munich and also five times a week to Vienna. For those with money to splurge, there are also flights three times a week to Bucharest, even though you're better off taking the train if you're coming from inside Romania. There are frequent specials, though, so look at the TAROM website before deciding one way or the other.

Blue Air [7], direct low cost flights to Cologne, Stuttgart and Madrid.

Get around[edit]

Sibiu, a city of 170,000 people, seems quite large for its population, even though most tourists won't have to venture outside the conveniently-walkable city central area. In fact, try to walk as much as you can, as only in this way can you sample Sibiu's more remote gems, hidden behind lanes in the middle of the city and crooked, cobbled alleys taking you a step back in history.

Bicycle[edit]

Bike rentals are available also from the info centre at Casa Luxembourg on Piața Mică. Guides bike tours are offered to explore the surrounding area by mountain bike, but the prices are too high compared to other places. You can also rent yellow city bikes for 15 LEI at the ivelo office, tucked away behind a parking lot on Piața Unirii. Ideal to venture outside the city centre to visit Cisnădie or enjoy the Natural park Dumbrava Sibiului.

Public transport[edit]

If you do need to venture outside the medieval city limits, the local public transport operator TurSib [8] offers reliable services. These services may be useful if you're staying in hotels, pensions or homestays outside the city centre or would like to visit some of the wonderful villages surrounding Sibiu, for a taste of Romanian country life and stunning Transylvanian scenery.

Rent-A-Car[edit]

Cars can be rented from various operators:

  • Auto Partner Sibiu, Str. Gheorghe Dima nr. 8, +40 369 80 10 60, [9].  edit
  • 321 rentacar, Str. 9 Mai Nr. 31, [10].  edit
  • GoodTime Rent a Car, sos. Alba Iulia nr.59, (+4) 0729106906; (+4) 0751514774, [11].  edit
  • Rent a car Sibiu, Str. Soseaua Alba Iulia, nr 10, [12].  edit
  • Raider, Calarasilor Alee, (+4) 0742 059550, [13].  edit
  • Tassid Rent a Car, str. Baii, nr 15 A, 0369566170.  edit

Many small tourism agencies also intermediate for renting cars. You can find such agencies scattered throughout the city centre.

See[edit][add listing]

  • The old town The old medieval town is perhaps Sibiu's main attraction, and it is indeed very beautiful. Most of the buildings in the old town were built by German settlers and merchants who came to Sibiu in the late Middle Ages. Today, the buildings remain in very good conditions, and the streets are peppered with small, secluded lanes, corner cafes and wonderful churches. The old town is 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 Citadel of Sibiu The Citadel of Sibiu was, in the Middle Ages, one of the best fortified in Europe and today remains very well preserved. The towers and bastions of the area are well worth a visit, but most of all, make sure you visit the wonderfully charming Stairs Passage, which connects the lower part of the citadel with the upper part. If you want to splurge, dine at the Golden Barrel (Butoiul de Aur), the oldest restaurant in Romania, which sits at the end of the Stairs Passage.
  • Huet Square The Huet Square ( Piaţa Huet) is home to a jumble of Gothic buildings and is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Sibiu. Here, you can also find the city's only fully-German school, the Samuel von Brukenthal Gymnasium, which shows the city's proud German heritage. In fact, Huet Square stands to be the most German of all places in this city which is as much German as Romanian, and, all the same, 100% Transylvanian.
  • The Brukenthal Museum [14] Said by many to be the second best museum in Romania (after the National Art Museum in the capital Bucharest), the Brukenthal is a must see in Sibiu, containing 1090 paintings. The museum is named after Samuel Brukenthal, the governor of Transylvania. There are paintings from Dutch and Flemish schools, Italian schools and, of course, German, Austrian and Romanian collections. The museum also displays Governor Brukenthal's own collection dating from the 15th-18th centuries.
  • "ASTRA" Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization is part of ASTRA National Museum Complex [15] and with over 300 buildings in an area of about one square kilometer the biggest open air museum in Europe. Not only does it have interesting and very picturesque exhibits but it also lies in a very beautiful area with a nice view of the mountains. The museum is located about 3 kilometers south of Sibiu with a good bike path connecting it all the way from the city centre through Parcul Sub Arini. It's also reachable by bus, the tram is not running anymore. The museum and the surronding park is fine and there's a collection of about 20 different watermills or more, one more creative than the next in taking advantage of water power.
  • Outlying attractions In addition to Sibiu's wonderful historical and cultural attractions, the city has a nice green area within walking/cycling distance from the city centre. Cisnădie can easily be reached through Natural park Dumbrava Sibiului on quiet roads. Paying a visit to some more outlying attractions enables you to sample the amazing Transylvanian environment. Sibiu is a good base to explore the medieval fortified churches of Transylvania. Medias is accessible by train from Sibiu, but to see many in one day you will need your own transport or try and seek out a guide from the local travel agencies. UNESCO World Heritage sites are the villages Biertan and Valea Viilor.
  • Balea lake, a wonderfull glacier lake about 50 kilometers south east from Sibiu right off from the road to Brasov.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Explore Sibiu and the surroundings of Sibiu. For example the bathing resort Ocna Sibiului which is about 15 kilometers from Sibiu.
  • Hike Fagaras Mountains and Cindrel Mountains.
  • Guided bike tours around Sibiu.
  • Guided enduro trips in the mountains, riding levels from tourist to hard.
  • Go on the Transfagarasan road, that crosses the Fagaras mountains with dramatic views.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The Erasmus Büchercafe offers a lot of interesting books, maps etc. on the region and its history. It's located a short walk from the centre on Strada Mitropoliei 30.

There are many souvenir shops in the old town. There is a House of the Arts in the Piata Mica. It is a huge building right beside the Liar's Bridge and it has all of the traditional Romanian crafts you could want.

Eat[edit][add listing]

In the old town there are many restaurants, fast foods and cafes where tourists and locals can enjoy not only good food from the local and international cuisine but also good music and cosy atmosphere. The Small Square (Piata Mica) became in the last few years the best place to go out in Sibiu because of the big range of restaurants, cafes and pubs which also have terraces during the summer. The quality of restaurants and the service delivered is also generally higher in the Small Square as it is more for the locals.

When staying in Sibiu you should try the local dish "Ciorbă", a sour soup which has different variants with meatballs and/or vegetables.

The food and drink available in Sibiu is of a higher standard generally than the equivalent restaurant in Bucharest and is cheap by Western European standards, though prices are comparable to Bucharest. You could expect to have a good meal for two people with drinks and 2 courses for around €25 total.

  • Crama Sibiana, Str. Avram Iancu 1-3, Tel. +40-369-405371. [16]. Celler/basement restaurant offering traditional Romanian cuisine at reasonable prices.
  • Crama Sibiul Vechi (The Old Sibiu Restaurant), A.Papiu Ilarian nr.3, Tel. +40-269-210461. [17]. Celler/basement restaurant offering traditional Romanian cuisine at reasonable prices.
  • La Dobrun, Str. Dobrun nr. 1, Tel. +40-269-240040. [18]. Celler/basement restaurant offering traditional Romanian cuisine at reasonable prices.

Drink[edit][add listing]

It's a shame, that potentially great places like Piața Mică are packed with cars combined with expensive, nouveau riche restaurants. There are some more down-to-earth places where you can enjoy Sibiu.

You can have a nice cup of coffee sitting outside watching the people on Piața Mare at Mustache Caffee. The friendly staff is very helpful.

The Vienna cafe is hidden behind the Catedrala Evanghelică on Piața Albert Huet and offers splendid views over the city, just above the Pasajul Scărilor.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Apartments[edit]

  • Grand Central Apartments, Selarilor 5 (Next to St. Francis Church), +40-722-256938, [19]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. The apartments and Studios are centrally located, 1 to 5 Minutes walking distance to Sibiu Main Square (Piata Mare) and 3-10 minutes walking distance to Sibiu Bus- and Train station. Can accommodate up to 6 guests each, at rates starting with €35/night (studios accommodate 2 to 4 guests each at €25-30/night). All apartments have private bathrooms with tub and/or shower and fully equipped kitchen; also parking, free wireless Internet. €30-50.  edit

Hostels[edit]

  • Smart Hostel, Pasajul Scărilor 1, +40 0731 147 049, [20]. Located right at the centre of Sibiu, you can visit the main touristic points in matter of minutes. Breakfast is included, and you may use the kitchen as much as you want, coffee and tea are free all day long. Laundry is available for about €2. The rooms have 6 and 8 bed dorms, a twin bed and double private rooms, they have wifi. Rooms from 40 Lei.  edit
  • Hostel Centrum (formerly The Flying Time Hostel), Str. Gheorghe Lazar nr.6, (004)0369801667 & (004)0 747534998, [21]. Situated right around the corner from the Big Square (Piata Mare), Hostel Centrum offers all common services including a bar area, kitchen, laundry, wifi, internet, beautiful decorations, friendly and competent owner and staff. Under new ownership... Beds for 35 Lei/€10.  edit
  • Joly Hostel, filozofilor 12, +40 369426079, [22]. Located very near the centre of Sibiu. Breakfast is not included, but you may use the kitchen as much as you want. Laundry is available for €2. Door rooms average about 7 beds per room Rooms from 40 Lei.  edit
  • Old Town Hostel, Piata Mica 26, +40 269 216 445, [23]. Located in the heart of Sibiu in a 450 year old building looking over one of the 3 main squares. Breakfast is not included but you can use the kitchen all you want. Laundry is available for €2. Door rooms average about 10 beds per room Rooms from 50 Lei.  edit
  • Sibiu Travelers Hostel/Villa Teilor, Str. Teilor nr.4, (004)07 66242874 | (004)0269 238161, [24]. Situated in a quiet area of Sibiu close to the train and bus station (5 min walk) and another 9 minutes walk from the ancient centre. Breakfast, coffee, tea and mineral water included. 2 PCs and fast wireless Internet everywhere, personal lockers & towels for free, spacious, cozy garden with wooden benches & tables and a patio curled around by wine ranks. Two bathrooms & toilets, a fully equipped kitchen and free laundry. €10.80 per night, including breakfast and tea, coffee and cooled mineral water day & night and free laundry. (45.8039475427885,24.1587236523628) edit
  • Felinarul Hostel, Strada Felinarului Nr. 8, (004) 269 235 260, [25]. On a quiet street just a few minutes walk from the centre of Sibiu, this is a great little place with lots of personal care and attention poured into it. It's very welcoming and beautifully decorated in a traditional style, with a courtyard and an adjoining restaurant/cafe which serves up quite a range of international cuisine. 2 dorms and a private double available. Best to book in advance in the high season! 55 lei per person (includes breakfast).  edit

Hotels[edit]

  • Guesthouse Zanzi, str. Constitutiei nr. 1, 0733979931, [26]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Zanzi Guesthouse opened in 2008 in the historic center of Sibiu. €22.  edit
  • Hotel Apollo, Nicolae Teclu 14, (+40(0)269 212 485, [27]. Comfortable and modern hotel not far from the city centre. Internet is available in rooms. Rooms start at €56.  edit
  • Hotel Continental, Calea Dumbravii 2-4, (+40) 0269 218 100, [28]. This 13 floor, 182 room hotel is plain but well maintained. Its rooms often have nice views. It is located a two minutes from Old Town. Rooms start at 256 RON.  edit
  • Pension Santa Maria, Str. Livezii nr. 43, (+40) 0269 224 451, [29]. A ten minute drive from the centre of Sibiu. Rooms are well equipped and well kept. Breakfast is included. Free wireless Internet available. English-speaking owners. Rooms start at 132 RON.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Club Liquid is a night club which plays mainstream music and was renovated in 2009. The audience is about 50 % tourists/locals. Dobrun str. 1
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