Sighisoara

Sighisoara is one of those enchanting towns in Romania set in the mystical Transylvanian region. Travel back in time to Europe’s only inhabited medieval fort lived continuously since its foundation.

Although fairly far away from the likes of Bucharest or Cluj-Napoca, Sighisoara will surely not disappoint and definitely warrants a city break. In this article we look to showcase the city and its highlights and make you consider why this wonderful medieval town should be on your bucket list.

Overview

Sighișoara is a charming medieval town located in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. Steeped in history and renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture, the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Key features of Sighișoara include its iconic Clock Tower, which dominates the main square and offers panoramic views of the town.

The Clock Tower is part of the medieval fortress that encompasses the historic center, where colourful buildings, cobblestone streets, and secret passageways transport visitors back in time.

The birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, adds a touch of Gothic allure to Sighișoara. The birth house of Vlad is open to the public, providing insight into the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Sighișoara hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, attracting both locals and tourists. The town’s vibrant cultural scene, coupled with its warm and welcoming atmosphere, makes it a delightful destination for those seeking a taste of medieval Transylvania.

We recommend exploring the fortified walls and towers, visit the medieval churches, and wander through the narrow streets filled with artisan shops, cafes, and restaurants serving traditional Romanian cuisine.

Travel to and Around Sighisoara

Traveling to Sighisoara can be done by various means: train, bus, or car. We travelled by train from Sibiu to Sighisoara as we were exploring parts of Romania by train.

You can also choose to fly to Brasov Airport (GHV) or Cluj “Avram Iancu” International Airport (CLJ) and then make your way to Sighisoara. If you are looking for suitable flight options, make sure to check out this article with top tips on how to find cheap flights.

Once you arrive in Sighisoara, getting around the city is relatively easy. Public transportation, including buses and tourist trains, can take you to various parts of the city.

Taxis in Sighisoara are affordable and this is what we used during our stay. Walking is also a viable option, especially in the central areas where many attractions are located.

When to Travel to Sighisoara

The best time to visit Sighișoara depends on your preferences for weather, events, and the overall travel experience. Here are a few points to consider:

Spring (April to June):

  • Spring brings milder temperatures and blooming landscapes, making it an ideal time for sightseeing.
  • The weather is generally comfortable, with pleasant temperatures that allow for outdoor exploration without the extreme heat of summer.
  • May is particularly lovely, with flowers in full bloom, creating a picturesque atmosphere.

Summer (July to August):

  • Summer is the peak tourist season, offering warm weather and longer daylight hours.
  • This is the best time for outdoor activities and festivals. However, be prepared for larger crowds, especially in July.
  • The Sighișoara Medieval Festival, held in late July, is a major highlight, featuring historical reenactments, concerts, and a vibrant medieval atmosphere.

Autumn (September to October):

  • Fall is a quieter time to visit, with cooler temperatures and the changing colors of autumn foliage adding a unique charm to the town.
  • September can be a good compromise between the warmth of summer and the quieter ambiance of the off-season.

Winter (November to March):

  • Winter brings a magical atmosphere to Sighișoara, with a chance of snow creating a fairytale-like setting.
  • The town is less crowded during this time, offering a more intimate experience, but some attractions and outdoor activities may be limited due to weather conditions.

Consider Local Events:

Check the local events calendar. If you’re interested in cultural festivals or events, plan your visit around them. The Medieval Festival in July and other seasonal events can enhance your experience.

We travelled both during summer and winter and we can definitely recommend going during summer. The atmosphere is much more lively and the terraces filled with tourists really bring to life the colourful walls of the houses.

During winter we were keen on exploring the Christmas market like we did in Craiova however, we only found a handful of stalls and not much of a great vibe.

We believe there is great potential as the festive lights combined with the architecture can confer a wonderful lively spirit.

Where to Stay in Sighisoara

We chose to stay at Casa Wagner during our first trip and at Boutique Hotel von Graf which is on the colorful Carpenters’ Street during our 2023 winter visit.

We would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. Use the widget below to find the best accommodation in Sighisoara for your specific dates.

In all truth, you are better off booking your accommodation inside the walls and in this way, similarly to Luxembourg, you can just walk around as all main attractions are within the city walls.

Things to do in Sighisoara

There are plenty of things to do in Sighisoara and you can easily fill your day and even a weekend. Here are our top recommendations for what to do and see in this magical medieval city.

1. Go up the Covered Stairway

A covered wooden staircase connecting the lower town to the Church on the Hill. It provides a unique and atmospheric walk. Do be prepared for a good cardio exercise as it can be quite steep.

Overall, looks a bit like something out of the Harry Potter series.

2. Climb to the Church on the Hill

This Gothic-style church perched on a hill offers stunning views and houses an impressive altarpiece. Climb the covered staircase for a picturesque ascent.

However, once you are there, you will also be rewarded with an amazing view of the citadel. A little bonus is, head to the cemetery, we found it very serene overlooking the rest of the town in the valley.

3. Visit the Monastery’s Church

A beautiful example of Gothic architecture, this church houses a medieval fresco and offers a serene place for reflection. It’s located right next to the Clock Tower and offers an amazing view of the lower town and valley.

4. See the Panoramic Views of the Citadel at the Clock Tower (Turnul cu Ceas)

Dominating the main square, the Clock Tower is a symbol of Sighișoara. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the town and surrounding areas.

Within the tower is also the history museum, so you can visit that on your way up to the viewing platform.

5. Explore the Rich Heritage at Sighisoara’s History Museum

The Sighișoara History Museum, located within the Clock Tower in the heart of the medieval citadel, is a captivating repository of the town’s rich and diverse history.

The museum offers visitors a fascinating journey through Sighișoara’s past. Exhibits within the museum showcase the town’s medieval origins, its strategic importance as a fortress, and the evolution of its cultural and economic life.

The collection features artifacts, documents, and displays that provide insights into various facets of Sighișoara’s history, including guild activities, trade, and the town’s connection to historical figures like Vlad the Impaler.

6. Explore Sighisoara’s Defensive Towers

Perched atop a hill, the town was encircled by a protective wall that underwent continuous enhancements, featuring a total of 14 towers.

Each of these towers was constructed, staffed, and looked after by the 14 guilds of the city, encompassing associations such as the Blacksmiths, Butchers, Weavers, Rope Makers, Leather Tanners, and Tailors guilds.

These guilds undertook the responsibility in return for certain trade privileges. Each tower was uniquely designed to function as an independent fortress, contributing to the overall defensive architecture of the settlement.

As you go and visit various parts of the citadel you will undoubtedly find some of these towers scattered around the citadel e.g. the Tailor’s Tower (Turnul Croitorilor), the Bootmaker’s Tower (Turnul Cizmarilor) and the Ironsmith’s Tower (Turnul Fierarilor).

This well-preserved structure provides a glimpse into the skilled craftsmanship of the blacksmiths and their integral role in the town’s security.

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7. Pay your respects at the Holy Trinity Church

Sighișoara’s Holy Trinity Church (Biserica Sfânta Treime) is a significant religious and architectural landmark within the medieval town.

The Holy Trinity Church has played a central role in the religious and cultural life of Sighișoara. Its historical significance is intertwined with the broader narrative of the town’s medieval heritage.

8. Immerse Yourself in History at the House of Arms and Maps

Housed within a meticulously preserved medieval building, the museum showcases an impressive collection of arms, armor, and historical maps.

Visitors are transported back in time as they explore the exhibits, which include intricately crafted weapons, armor, and heraldic symbols that reflect the martial history of Sighișoara.

The museum also features a notable collection of maps, offering insights into the town’s strategic importance and its role in regional trade routes.

9. Learn about Crafts at the Guilds’ House Museum

This historic building, dating back to the 16th century, was once a meeting place for various guilds, each representing a specific craft or trade. Its architecture reflects the Renaissance style, featuring ornate decorations and a distinctive portal.

The interior, adorned with period furnishings and exhibits, offers a glimpse into the guild system, highlighting the skilled trades that were vital to the town’s prosperity.

Visiting the Guilds House provides a fascinating window into Sighișoara’s medieval past, where craftsmanship, community, and commerce converged within its storied walls.

10. Learn about Vlad Dracula at Vlad the Impaler’s Birth Place

Visit the house where Vlad the Impaler, the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was born. The birthplace is now a restaurant and museum.

When we went there we thought it was ok, just a little bit gimmicky if we are to be honest.

11. Take a Ride on the Tourist Train

Another great way to explore the city is by taking the tourist train. There are 2 trains running every 30 minutes.

The start of the itinerary is by the central market inside the citadel just by Vlad Tepes’ House and runs mostly outside the citadel.

It’s a great opportunity to get to see Sighisoara and the citadel from outside the walls. Be prepared for some scenic views but also a bumpy ride!

12. Take a Photo on Sighisoara’s Iconic Carpenters’ Street (Strada Tamplarilor)

Strada Tâmplarilor, or Carpenter’s Street, in Sighișoara, is a picturesque thoroughfare steeped in medieval charm. Lined with colorful buildings, this narrow street exudes a unique atmosphere, offering visitors a delightful journey through the town’s rich history.

The street derives its name from the carpenters who once occupied this area, contributing to the vibrant guild culture of Sighișoara.

Today, Strada Tâmplarilor is a blend of artisan shops, quaint cafes, and historic architecture, creating a welcoming ambiance for strolling and exploration.

We really enjoyed the bright colours contrasting the bright blue sky overlooking the Church on the Hill.

Top Restaurants in Sighisoara

One can easily gain a few kilos when visiting this place. The culinary scenery is fairly diverse and offers tourists a great variety of Eastern and Central European foods as well as Italian restaurants.

Some of the things to look out for when reviewing menus would be:

  • Tripe soup – a soup made with tripe and vegetable stock with tempered soured cream and eggs. To be served with white vinegar to taste. It’s decadent, don’t get me wrong, hence the vinegar.
  • Mamaliga – you might know it as polenta or cornmeal however, this staple of Romanian cuisine has stood the test of time. Served as a side dish or the main event, mamaliga should be eaten with sour cream, white cheese (feta style) and hot pepper.
  • Goulash – Goulash is a soup or stew of meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. Originating in Hungary, goulash is a common meal predominantly eaten in Central Europe.
  • Burduf cheese – is a salty type of Romanian cheese, made with sheep milk. It has a strong flavour and slightly soft in texture. Can also be bought from merchants who can sell it wrapped in pine covering as well for extra pine scent.
  • Papanas(i) – a traditional dessert in these parts is the Papanas. A cottage cheese doughnut (hear me out first), deep fried (can also be boiled) smothered in sour cream and jam. You see! Typical portion consists of two fist sized doughnuts.

Try Transylvania’s Best Pizza at Ferdinand

Ferdinand is a great Italian style bistro offering a la minute dishes but also a great variety of Romanian and Italian dishes.

However, we recommend you definitely go for their Neapolitan style pizza which is something to die for. We can’t remember the last time we ate such a good pizza.

Eat One of the Best Goulash Dishes at Gasthaus Altepost

Gasthaus Altepost is a hotel with an amazing restaurant great restaurant with a hotel. The restaurant features local dishes from the Hungarian and German cuisines but also some Romanian cuisine.

A good selection of local wines can also be found at great value prices.

The food is great but we would most definitely suggest you go for the Goulash stew. The passion that went into this dish is unmatched.

This individual recreates their mother’s cherished Goulash recipe from childhood, reminiscent of warm kitchen memories during cold winter days.

We hope that the recipe remains unchanged, preserving the delightful experience of enjoying a delicious and nostalgic Goulash stew, a comforting reminder of the past.

We also tried the cold starters selection with traditional Romanian delicacies. It was delicious and beautifully presented.

Final Thoughts

Sighisoara is a great town to visit in the heart of Transylvania. With amazing architecture and a rich cultural heritage, this medieval citadel offers tourists an unforgettable experience.

Whether you are a solo traveler or travelling in a group or family this place is perfect for you. Sighisoara is one of the safest towns in Romania and local are always happy to help.

We think you should consider a trip to Sighisoara as part of your journey to Romania and explore Europe’s only inhabited citadel.

Ready to book? Below are some recommendations to get your trip started:


  • Accommodation – would recommend booking your accommodation through an aggregator such as Booking.com or Agoda to get the best rates. We also use TripAdvisor to read reviews.

  • Transport – consider Rentalcars.com for car renting or if you rely on public transport, you can use Omio for trains, coaches, ferries, airport transfers and even flights.

  • Activities – a great option is GetYourGuide, Klook or Viator for tours, excursions, experiences and tickets to many tourist attractions.

  • Travel money – we have Starling Bank accounts (UK residents only) with 0% fees on FX and a good Mastercard exchange rate. Revolut is another good option.

  • Internet abroad – with Airalo or Nomad you can access a wide range of eSIMs (digital SIM cards) available for different countries and regions.

  • Luggage storage – if you need to store your bags whilst exploring the destination, you can use Radical Storage to find your closest luggage storage and enjoy your journey until the very end.

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