For the Romanian version, click here.
Translated by: Lorena Drăghici
I can’t even remember how many times I said to myself “I’ve got nothing to do this weekend, how about going to Sibiu?”. And I have never got bored there. I’ve no idea how many times I’ve visited Sibiu so far, but I surely know I’ve been there plenty of times! What on Earth have I done in that city so many times? Well, let me explain!
But before that, let me add something: in the past years, every time I went to Sibiu, I stayed at Dodo, my best friend, a small girl with a heart as big as China. This means that I’m not quite used to finding accommodation in Sibiu. Instead, I sleep in a comfy bed and eat tasty food just like my mother’s (meatballs, delicious and unhealthy dishes, brandy and preserved fruit and vegetables from jars prepared by skilful and loving hands).
If you don’t have a Dodo in your life when you go to Sibiu, well, I’m very sorry, but this won’t make me share my friend. Perhaps if you are a motorcycle rider looking for shelter, I could put in a good word for you. Until then, I want to send you to other parts of this city.
Where to find accommodation?
As I’ve already told you before, I have limited knowledge on this topic, because as you already know, we only recommend places we tested ourselves, where we laid our own heads on the pillow and our own tired backs on the bed mattresses. Therefore, my list of accommodation places in Sibiu is short.
The last time I went to Sibiu, I stayed at Ibis hotel and it was very ok. On other occasion, I checked in at Hotel Apollo Hermanstadt, because (believe it or not!) Dodo was not at home! Both hotels are very decent and comfortable, but if you’re looking for lower budget accommodation, I don’t know what to recommend you, as I haven’t tested any such options. Nevertheless, I’m confident in the hospitality of my people in Sibiu (yes, I already feel like home there), so you may try and find accommodation at pensions. I’m sure it’ll be ok and you’ll find something that suits you. And then you can tell us how it was. Alina wrote an article about Casa Elixia pension where you can find useful information that may help you.
Where to eat?
This is simple! No, you cannot eat at Dodo’s place: only I can do this because I’m privileged! I was pleased to discover various places where the menu was clearly an enemy to slenderness. For instance, Hermania restaurant where Tudor Popa took us to eat when we participated in Prin Sibiul Meu event.
Yes, it’s a dangerous place and if you’re on a diet you’ll leave that place crying. According to the principle I eat and cry and eat. I have only a few words for you: lard and onion and homemade bread. In other words, lard spread on fresh bread and onion on the side. You’ll also find vegetarian dishes if you insist. Another recommendation: Pivniţa Weinkeller (Weinkeller Cellar). Or Kontiki, a place that everybody knows very well. Everybody but me because I haven’t been there yet. Let’s do it this way: go to Kontiki and tell me how it was. I will definitely try it on my next trip to Sibiu. I’m dying to try their tripe sour soup!
As for the rest, if you want to have a coffee or drink a smoothie or whatever soda or juice you prefer, I suggest you go to Pardon Café: if the weather is nice, you can stay outside on the terrace and gaze at the journeymen’s towers. If it’s cold outside, go inside. The place setting is brilliant.
Whether you find yourself in the Small Square or the Big Square, take a look around and see if something catches your eye. Have a seat on a terrace, grab a cup of tea or coffee and relax for a while. Take a breath. Look around. And see for yourself if you don’t get that Western feeling instead of the Balkan one.
Now, if we managed to find an answer to our basic needs, just to paraphrase Mr. Maslow, let’s go and find some culture.
What to see?
You should not definitely miss the Small and Big Squares, the Huet Square and the defense towers, they’re a must! On my last trip to Sibiu, I managed to no longer pass by the journeymen’s towers – as I had done so many times before, but also climb their stairs. On that occasion, I learnt a lot about the journeymen and their customs. So please, do not bypass them, stop for a minute and read the interesting facts about them written on plates.
If you’re interested in finding out more information about the city history and architecture, check Răzvan Pop’s page (in Romanian). He definitely has more knowledge on such topics than I do.
It’s not my intention to make an exhaustive list of the tourist attractions in Sibiu, yet I want to share with you the personal discoveries I made while wandering through this beautiful city, which are near and dear to my heart. For instance, on my last but one visit to Sibiu I found out a lot of information about Sibiu Baroc, which I cannot list here. If you’re curious, here you’ll find a list of must-see monuments: houses, historical monuments, the city towers and walls, bastions, museums and churches. Whatever you like you may find it here.
Every time I go there I discover a new corner or I see something different than I used to know. I think this city has unlimited resources!
Once, I happened to go to Sibiu on a rainy autumn day. So, what could I do as the weather was ugly and the city a little bit unfriendly, which cut out my mood to wander across its streets? What about going to a museum and feast my eyes on something interesting and raise my spirit?
I bought a ticket for all the museums related to Brukenthal, yet I only managed to see about four of them. First of all, the Brukenthal Palace, where I enjoyed visiting the Romanian Art Gallery. Then the Museum of History, where my jaw dropped when seeing the huge “sword for two hands”… Now, I’m aware that people used to be a little bit smaller in those times, but I think that even the horse had a contribution to picking that sword up from the ground!! The Museum of Hunting is much more recommended for boys, as I felt pity for those dead animals, although I experienced some sort of strangely mixed feelings of empathy and fascination. And last but not least, I found great pleasure in discovering the Museum of Natural History, small, but cleverly arranged and very interesting.
Another museum – which I had put on the back burner several times – is Astra Museum. My visit there was more of a “touch-and-go” approach, so I intend to pay it another visit on some other occasion. It was love at first sight; I’d love to have a picnic there or to revisit its little houses again or to ride the bicycle on its alleys.
There’s always something going on is Sibiu. Be it a folklore festival, Artmania, a film or theatre festival, you just have to make a little research and … there you are! The fun is all around. I went to Artmania once, when I sort of “kidnapped” my younger brother from home and hit the road to Sibiu. We had no place to stay, but we hit a club after the concerts and then I got him on the board of a bus to Vâlcea, while I left for Bucharest. Eh, the good old times, when we were young students. At least I was a student, as I don’t remember exactly how old my brother was back then. I should ask him.
Therefore, a little planning could bring you in Sibiu when some interesting events take place or when there are no events at all. Some people enjoy the bustle, other people enjoy the silence.
I’ve just realised that I haven’t seen any theatre performances in Sibiu! This is a reason for another trip to this city. Anyway, I think I have plenty of reasons to want to go back there. Last but not least, I’d recommend you to just go there and wander about the streets and squares. You choose where and when to stop. Come on, what are you waiting for?