Sighişoara is located on the Tarnava River in Mures county,Romania. It is located in the historic region of Transylvania. German craftsmen and merchants, The Transylvanian Saxons, were invited here by the King of Hungary during the 12th century, to settle and defend the frontier. Central Sighisoara has preserved in an exemplary way the features of a small medieval fortified city and it has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Each year a Medieval Festival takes place in the old citadel in July. Sighisoara is a popular tourist destination due to its well preserved walled old town. The landmark of the city is The Clock Tower, a 64 meter high tower build in 1556. It is presently a Museum of History.
There are direct connections from and to Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Arad, Brasov, Sibiu etc. a few times a day. International direct links exist from Vienna, and Budapest daily. From further away, it's possible to catch a train from Prague, and Warsaw with at least a stop over and transfer at Budapest. Please see Romania Tourism's rail page for more details and schedules . Be aware that coming from Hungary into Romania you will cross a time zone and lose one hour. Adjust your watch or risk missing the stop.
Once you have arrived by train, you can get to the center just walking. Head straight from the train station exit towards the town and cross the river by the Orthodox cathedral, a prominent landmark. Head toward the churches on the hill to reach the medieval town center.
It's such a small town that you will have no problem in going around walking. If you need any suggestion there is a tourist information office inside the Café International and Family Center or the tourist information booth, both located in the main square Piata Cetatii; they will help you reaching the fortified churches in the surrounding. For more information see the Eat section.
Sighişoara Citadel viewed from "downtown"
Sighişoara - Clock Tower
Sunset over Sighişoara
Bust of Vlad Tepes
Sighisoara Citadel - a 12th Century Saxon edifice, it is the historic center of the city. Still inhabited, the citadel is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Inside the Citadel:
Clock Tower ("Turnul cu Ceas")- Built in 1360 and standing at 60 meters tall atop the citadel hill. History museum inside, balcony with a great view on the top.
Monastery Church ("Biserica Mânăstirii") - Lutheran church in late Gothic style, located next to the Clock Tower, built starting with 1291 by the Dominican Order
Weapon Museum - next to Vlad's birthplace. Very small, but it contains an interesting selection of medieval weapons (swords, arrows, etc.).
Covered Staircase ("Scara Şcolarilor") - an old stone staircase with a wooden roof along the whole span. This leads up to the Church on the Hill, the cemetery and the Joseph Haltrich High School (a.k.a. "School from the Hill").
Church on the Hill ("Biserica din Deal")- Lutheran church in late Gothic style, contains many frescoes and a crypt. Close to the cemetery on the side of the hill, which contains many German tombstones.
Vlad Dracul House ("Casa Vlad Dracul") - allegedly the place where Vlad Tepes "The Impaler" (a.k.a. "Draculea") was born.
Bust of Vlad Tepes - located around the corner from his birthplace, within sight of the Clock Tower.
Outside the Citadel:
Orthodox Cathedral - located across the Târnava river
Corneşti Church ("Biserica din Corneşti") - oldest Orthodox church in town, built in 1797, located in the "Corneşti" neighbourhood
Vila Franka - a restaurant on a hill surveying the Târnava valley, offers an outstanding panorama point. Can be reached by car or on foot (~1 hour walk/hike from the Citadel)
Sighişoara Medieval Festival
Sighişoara Medieval Festival: During the annual event, the town receives around ~30,000 tourists, doubling its population. Numerous cultural events take place during the 3 days of the festival - theatre, indoor and outdoor music concerts, handicraft demonstrations and exhibitions, painting, sculpture, seminars, film projections etc.
Pro Etnica - annual interethnic music and art festival, with indoor and outdoor performances (music, dance, film) of representatives of most ethnic groups living in Romania.
The town in itself is quite small, so one day to visit it is enough. In any case, you can consider staying more to visit the surroundings.
Hike or cycle up to the great Oak forest on the Breite plateau - a wonderful walk in nature.
A great picnic location is Vila Franka, on the hill to the south of the city directly opposite the clock tower (get your bearings from the lookout at the base before you set off). Grab some goodies from a local shop and walk up any road leading to that hill. Just keep going up and, eventually, the road will die out to grass which you can walk over (it's public land) towards the defunct communications tower on the hill. A seat up here will give you a grand view of Sighisoara and the villages beyond.
A day out on a bike which you can easily rent (1EUR/hr or 10EUR/day) involves heading south out of town to Soas, then on to Apold where you can see the fortified church. From Apold head left by the church towards Vulcan (signposted). The road becomes a stony track. After a few km, turn left following signs to Vulcan. At Vulcan, bear left over a tiny bridge and then onto a dirt track. Follow this uphill out of Vulcan. At the brow of the hill go straight across and down the valley to Sighisoara. Be aware that if it has rained in the last couple of days or is raining, the track from Vulcan to a few kilometres south of Sighisoara will be a quagmire. It is a very beautiful descent into Sighisoara though. Just be prepared for mud!
Visit the beautiful fortified churches in the surroundings:
The fortified church of Biertan has been nominated World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It is about 30 km away from Sighisoara. There is no public transport going there, you can rent a car or ask somebody to plan the trip for you. Another choice is to go to Dumbraveni by train and continue hitchhiking. For more information, go to the Café International information office. Biertan is a small town that was built next to the church. There is nothing to see there but the church, though. On the way back you can consider stopping at Dumbraveni.
About 13km away due south is Apold with a fortified church. You can rent bikes and cycle here very easily or get an infrequent local bus. The church is locked and you'll need to request a key. Workers in the garden will let you in on request if there are any. The gate tower can be climbed for free for a great view over the village.
The best thing to do when you want to visit the surrounding villages and beautiful nature is taking a tour with eyetours. Tours take about 6 hours by Aro (4x4) and includes 5 offroad villages and a visit to a shepherd/cheesefarm. For more information visit www.eye-tours.com .
Saschiz is another UNESCO World Heritage site, with a fortified church and a fortress. It is 20 km away from Sighisoara.
Cross-country farm (Horse riding holidays), Village of Prod (16 km from Sighisoara), ☎ +40 372 772 890, . This farm offers short and long horse riding excursions (from two hours to 5 days), as well as wagon rides, under the guidance of proprietor Mihnea Vîrgolici, who was a steward at the Athens Olympics. Rates are very affordable and rooms have private baths. Sixteen km from Sighisoara, the farm is in a beautiful valley next to the sleepy village of Prod. Beginners and experts welcome. Simple, hearty food, great views, beautiful horses, and WIFI!
Paintings - local artists will have displays of their works on the sidewalks during tourist season. Many nice watercolors and oil paintings can be purchased at reasonable prices in RON, EUR, USD, or HUF.
In the basement of the House on the Rock building, which is one of the main buildings on the main square of the citadel, you will find a traditional art Gallery with six local artists presenting their work: traditional wooden spoons, traditionally made icons, embroidered fabrics, ceramics, and other Romanian folk art items.
Rustic Romanian Restaurant - It looks a bit posh, but the food taste good and has a good price. Bad music that has nothing to do with Romania.
Hotel Sighisoara restaurant - Romanian and international cuisine in a medieval atmosphere.
La Perla - Pizza and other foods, a meeting place for locals, across the post office
Casa Vlad Dracul - Good soups and traditional Romanian fare. The childhood home of Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Dracula, makes it a fun tourist night out. As would be expected, the price is inflated to match the tourist trade.
Café International and Family Center - Piata Cetatii 8. It is an important resource for a tourist there. It is located in the main square of Sighisoara; if you come inside you'll meet few girls dressing traditional clothes giving touristic information. On the same floor there is a Café serving sweet cakes or sour pies baked locally with organic ingredients. The juice is organic, too. The prices are higher than normal, but the quality of the food is very good. Very good breakfast sets for up to 15RON. If you go downstairs you will find an Internet point (currently unavailable out of summer season).
Concordia Pizza and Spaghetti - Italian cuisine, nice terrace, open until late.
Nathan's Villa Hostel, Str. Libertatii 8, ☎ (265) 77-2546, . Reasonable prices, clean rooms. The focus seems to be on the bar on the first floor.10 euro.
Fronius Residence (Fronius), 13 School street. (in the citadel), ☎ +40265779 173, . checkin: -; checkout: 12.00 am. Fronius is a 5 star luxury pension mixed with 500 years of history in the middle of the Sighisoara medieval citadel. 100 Euro.
Burg Hostel - a nice hostel/bar located right in the center of the medieval citadel, right around the corner from the Clock Tower, Vlad's birthplace, and only a few meters from the Covered Staircase. Nice rooms, great prices, and a nice pub located in the basement!
Casa Cojo - spacious self catering apartment with garden in the medieval citadel, sleeps 5, 40 euro per night, historical house full of old world character.
Casa Săsească - guest house right at the Citadel Square
Casa Legenda - 5 rooms, 33-60EUR/night/room, 2 minutes walking from the Citadel Square
Casa cu Cerb - 3 star guest house right at the Citadel Square
Casa Wagner - 3 star guest house right at the Citadel Square
Hotel Claudiu - 3 star hotel/restaurant/bar in "downtown"
Dracul (Dracul Danes), 804 Principala street (Danes), ☎ +40265 / 772 211, . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. Located on the Tarnava Mare river banks, within an astounding natural setting, close to the settlement of Danes and only a few kilometers from the legendary citadel of Sighisoara, the Dracul Danes Boarding House provides accommodation and meals, while offering its guests additional services such as a great time by the pool-bar, horseback riding or taking horseback riding lessons at the equestrian and leisure center in the immediate vicinity.40 Euro.
Pension Sighişoara, Strada Pastorilor 43 (15 minutes walk from the citadel towards Apold), ☎ +40265772754, . checkin: 1pm to 10pm (flexible); checkout: 11am (flexible). Cozy family friendly B&B in a quiet part of town, under German management, with inside parking and common garden terrace.€17 p.p. incl. breakfast. (46.21226,24.78368)
Sighisoara has many train connections to Brasov, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and others.