Sighisoara, Romania Travel Guide: Top Things to Do and See in Sighisoara
Sprawling across beautiful hills and valleys in Transylvania, the city of Sighisoara holds a precious time capsule in between its fortified walls – one of the most well preserved medieval towns in Europe, with its picturesque buildings and imposing towers. Sighisoara has a long story to tell, and these days you can still enjoy its vibrant energy and recharge in this old, peaceful town.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
The origins of Sighisoara date back to the first century AD, when the Dacians built a fortification.
The citadel that still stands today was built in the 12th century by the Transylvanian Saxons, who were German artisans, craftsmen and merchants. During medieval times it became one of the most important cities in Transylvania.
With 14 towers, several bastions and walls over 900m long, Sighisoara was well equipped to face the Turkish raids that were a constant threat in the 15th century.
Sighisoara is one of the few continuously inhabited medieval citadels in the world.
No visit to Sighisoara can be complete without a good walk through the citadel, designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The narrow cobblestone streets and colorful buildings will make you feel like you’ve walked into a fairytale.
Built in the 14th Century and expanded in the 16th Century, The Clock Tower is a majestic sight with splendid architecture. The two-plate clock has been working continuously since the Middle Ages. Don’t forget to check out the view from above!
Resting on top of the School Hill, The Church on the Hill is a beautiful gothic building with a long history. Superposed on a former Roman basilica, it was first mentioned in 1345 and later on became the Saxons’ main church as they switched to Lutheranism. You can still admire murals dating back from the late 13th century.
The Cemetery next to the Church on the Hill is a serene, fascinating place.
To reach the Church on the Hill, you must climb the Scholars’ Stairs, a set of covered wooden stairs that used to protect schoolchildren and churchgoers during winter.
The Church of the Dominican Monastery is another gothic gem with a long story that holds a beautiful collection of artistic objects, such as a large collection of Oriental carpets and a baroque organ.
The Citadel Square used to hold street markets, craft fairs and less pleasant things like public executions and trials.
The medieval vibe can’t be complete without the dominating Citadel Towers. You can still explore nine of them which are still standing.
A ticket to the History Museum also grants access to the Torture Room and Weapons Collection. There are a lot of old-timey objects to be seen, from medical instruments to furniture, fine arts and old clocks.
Casa Vlad Dracul is the building where Vlad Țepeș, the infamous Wallachian ruler and inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was supposedly born.
If you’re in the mood for nature, Sighisoara has a lot to offer with its beautiful hills and lush forests. For starters, the Breite Ancient Oak Tree Reserve is a serene place with 800 year old oaks, just 2km west of town.
FOOD & DRINKS
Enjoy delicious homemade desserts and a relaxed atmosphere at Cafe International & Family Centre, right in the citadel square.
If you’re in the mood for something more fancy, Joseph T. Restaurant & Wine Bar will offer great food and a classy ambiance.
Gasthaus Alte Post is a great spot for exploring traditional Romanian and Saxon cuisine, and it’s located inside a gorgeous building dating back to 1851.
Have a drink on the terrace and enjoy the view from the terrace of La Strada, located just around the covered stairs.
Discover authentic wood carvings and hear the stories behind every piece at Art & Crafts. You can also admire historical carvings in one of the shop’s rooms, right inside Casa Vlad Dracul.
You can find genuine handmade Transylvanian gifts and excellent homemade chocolate at Haus Klein & Klemenzy, including beer and the traditional palinca.
If you’re a fan of homemade products you should also definitely check Casa in Natura country store. They have everything from handmade household items to natural jams, herbs, tea and traditional alcoholic beverages.
You can buy beautiful paintings sold by local artists on the sidewalks in the historic center, especially during the tourist season.
The city is small and you can easily get around by foot. If you prefer bikes, you can rent some at a reasonable price.
Sighisoara is surrounded by beautiful hills and gorgeous natural landscapes. If you have time, they’re definitely worth exploring.
With more time, you should visit the nearby fortified churches, like Biertan, Saschiz and Apold.
Sighisoara is connected by train and roads to all the major cities in Transylvania. The nearest airport is located 30 miles north, in Târgu Mureș.
The locals are very friendly and most of them know English or German, so you’re very unlikely to get lost in translation.