Visiting Sighisoara is like stepping back in time and almost like stepping straight into a fairytale filled with the most colourful medieval houses. The UNESCO listed historic centre of Sighisoara is filled with medieval architecture, the most charming streets and some spectacular views. And while Sighisoara is rather touristic, we still believe it is an absolute must see when visiting Transylvania. The citadel, where all the main sights in Sighisoara are located, is rather small, making it easy to see all the sights within a day, making it the perfect short stop before exploring the rest of Transylvania. Honestly, we could simply have wandered through the small cobble stone streets for hours, as with every corner you turn something new can be discovered and something different will catch your eye, this truly is the most charming city of Transylvania. From steep stairways to colourful streets and stunning squares, here are 10 things to do in Sighisoara…
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Things to do in Sighisoara
1. The Citadel’s Colourful Streets – Cetatea Sighișoara
While you could simply walk from main attraction to main attraction in Sighisoara, you might be missing out on the most beautiful sight of them all: the colourful streets of the citadel. The beautiful cobble stone streets filled with the most colourful buildings that have been so well preserved are a must see on their own. But don’t just stay on the main street, venture off into the alleys, turn corners, get lost to find the most beautiful streets. Many of the colourful burgher houses have now been turned into hotels, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops but wandering into the smaller streets you will still find many of the fairytale like houses inhabited. It won’t take you more then an hour to walk through all the streets of the citadel, but we noticed that when we walked through the same streets again later in the day that we started noticing all the small and intricate details that give this city its charming character: the shutters, the flowers, the lamp, the signs and the amount of different colours of houses that can be seen within one street alone.
2. Church on the Hill – Biserica din Deal
The church on the hill, or Biserica din Deal in Romanian, will simply be impossible to miss when strolling through the streets. It stands tall above the rest of Sighisoara and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. So while the church on the hill is not only a sight to see on its own, it is also a great viewpoint over the city, as can be seen below. The church has a rather simplistic exterior compared to many of the other churches and cathedrals we had seen in Transylvania and sadly it was closed when we visited so we did not have the chance to see the interior. But before heading down be sure to check out the cemetery on the hill as well. The beautiful Saxon cemetery, located behind the church, is absolute massive and has graves that date back to the 17th century, a rather peculiar must see in Sighisoara.
3. The Scholars’ Stairs – Scara Şcolarilor
There is only one way really to get to the church on the hill and that is by taking the Scholars’ Stairs, also know as the covered stairs and when looking at the photo below you might know why. However, what makes these stairs to the top of the church so interesting is that these stairs have been around since the 17th century. The stairs were originally built to protect the school boys, whose school was located on top of the hill, from the snow during winter times. While there originally had been 300 steps, only 175 remained and are now considered one of the must sees when visiting Sighisoara.
4. Sighisoara’s Guild Towers
The walls of the citadel are lined with the guild towers of Sighisoara. While there were originally 14 guild towers, currently there are only 9 remaining. Each of the towers was not only manned, but also built and maintained by the cities guilds, in matter of fact the towers were also named after the guilds. Currently you can still find the following guild towers in the citadel of Sighisoara:
- Turnul Cizmarilor – The Bootmakers’ Tower
- Turnul Fierarilor – The Ironsmits’ Tower
- Turnul Croitorilor – The Tailors’ Tower
- Turnul Macelarilor – The Butchers’ Tower
- Turnul Cositorarilor – The Tinsmiths’ Tower
- Turnul Franghierilor – The Ropemakers’ Tower
- Turnul Cu Caes – The Clock Tower
- Turnul Tabacarilor – The Tanners’ Tower
- Turnul Cojocarilor – The Furriers’ Tower
The clock tower will be one of the easiest towers to spot, and is undoubtedly the most famous tower in Sighisoara, but a bit more on that later. You will spot most of the guild towers by simply walking along the edges of the citadel as they stand tall above many of their neighbouring buildings.
5. Vlad Dracula House – Casa Vlad Dracul
Near the clock tower you can find a bright yellow house that stands out a bit more then the others and that is for one specific reason: this is the house where the famous Vlad the Impaler was born. Vlad the Impaler, who was Bram Stoker’s inspiration for his novel Dracula, was supposedly born here in 1431 and lived here for the first 4 years of his life. And while this all sounds rather interesting, the house itself now is just a major tourist attraction that houses a restaurant and a souvenir shop. Apparently you can also pay a small fee to see the room where Vlad Tepes was born, but after reading the reviews on TripAdvisor we decided seeing it from the outside will be sufficient enough.
6. The Citadel Square – Piața Cetății
A visit to Sighisoara would not be complete without seeing the Citadel Square. A beautiful charming little square filled with some restaurants, souvenir shops and of course, colourful houses. Most of the sights are in the streets surrounding the square, making the square a perfect place to have a little break and enjoy a coffee, a drink or perhaps even some lunch. Simply sit back and relax, enjoy the good weather during the bright summer months outside or warm up inside the cafes during the colder winter months. Keep your eye out for the house with the stag head sticking out of the corner of the building!
7. The Clock Tower – Turnul cu Ceas
The Clock Tower is not only be the most famous tower in Sighisoara, but also one of the most popular sights in Sighisoara. While from the outside you might think it is just another tower, it is museum that is in the tower, and the view from the top of the tower, that makes Sighisoara’s clock tower so popular. It won’t be hard to find the clock tower as you can simply spot it from almost everywhere in the city due to its height and central location. Unfortunately, we forgot to check the opening hours and visited Sighisoara on a Monday, the only day that the tower is closed, so sadly we could not witness the view from the tower ourselves. However, considering its perfect location in the citadel I can only imagine that it must be simply beautiful!
8. View over the Lower Town
While you can enjoy the view from the church on the hill and the clock tower, the views from the edges of the citadel over the lower town should also not be forgotten. Beautiful red roofs as far as the eyes can see, surrounded by hills of green. If you are out of luck like us and did not get the climb the clock tower head over to the edge of the city that is right behind the clock tower and the Monastery Church for the beautiful view that can be seen below. While perhaps not as spectacular as the view from the clock tower, it still looked pretty stunning to us.
9. Souvenir Shopping in Sighisoara
Last, but definitely not least for things to do in Sighisoara is shopping for souvenirs, which might be one of the easiest activities as souvenir shops can simply be found everywhere. Shop for postcards to send to your family and friends, or go for the more traditional fridge magnet, these shops truly have it all. You will find some shops selling more traditional items such as Romanian folk clothing and hand made crafts, and some to stick to the more touristic items: postcards, magnets and shirts with Count Dracula on it. As we were spending another couple more months on the road we decided to stick with some lightweight postcards for our personal collection.
10. Biertan Fortified Church
Although shopping for souvenirs is the last thing to do in Sighisoara, there is one more sight that we considered worth mentioning. While Sighisoara is absolutely beautiful there are so many more smaller cities nearby that you can explore. We drove through countless of small villages on our way from Brasov to Sighisoara, some rather small and old and some filled with the most beautiful streets and churches. However, our favourite must be the nearby city of Biertan which is home this massive fortified church. The surroundings of the town were beautiful and we absolutely wished we had more time to visit the inside of the church as well, but as we had a long drive to go we had to hit the road to avoid major traffic. Let’s just consider it’s another reason to come back to Romania in the future…
How to get to Sighisoara
By car: One of the easiest ways of getting to Sighisoara is by simply driving there, perhaps as part of a roadtrip through the beautiful region of Transylvania. Driving here means you will have a lot more freedom in your schedule, plus it will be a lot easier to visit nearby smaller cities and to stop at the most beautiful views when driving through Romania. Sighisoara has a close proximity to other popular tourist spots in Transylvania such as Brasov, which is a rough 2 hour drive, and Sibiu, which is a rough 1.5 hour drive from Sighisoara. Combine these cities for the perfect Transylvania road trip filled with medieval cities, beautiful castles and the most stunning nature.
By public transport: While we haven’t used any public transport within Romania as we rented a car we did a bit of research before hand to see if we could simply use public transport, which definitely seemed possible, just not our preferred option at the time. When doing our research it seemed that many of the cities are well connected by both buses and trains. For many destinations in Europe we had used Omio to plan our travels but it seemed that the options in Romania were rather limited using this app as no train schedules were shown which can make it hard to find the best (most budget) way to your next destination. However, it seems like train schedules and tickets can be easily found and booked online through the website of CFR Călători, which is available in English. Have you booked train tickets in Romania before? Tell us about your experience in the comment section down below!
Where to stay in Sighisoara
We stayed at Vila Veve, which is located a rough 2.5km away from the city centre of Sighisoara, surrounded by beautiful lush green hills and fields. As we were on a road trip it was not necessary for us to stay in the city centre, however, what was essential was that we would have a parking spot. We absolute loved our stay at Vila Veve, it was clean, modern, the owners were extremely friendly and honestly, the only regret we have is not staying longer. Should you not be coming by car, then it might be advised to stay a bit more near the city centre to avoid taxi fees, long walks or endless bus rides, check out the map below to find the perfect place for you!
Sighisoara Travel Tips
Best time to visit to visit Sighisoara – We visited Sighisoara at the end of the summer, but we would probably advise to skip the summer season if possible due to the crowds, plus, it can get quite hot here when roaming the streets. If we would visit Romania again in the future we would either go in spring or autumn to avoid the high season (crowds and hot hot weather). However, Sighisoara covered in snow sounds like quite the fairytale and magical experience as well.
Parking in Sighisoara – It is not allowed to bring your car into the citadel, which means you will either have to leave your car at your accommodation or find parking. We couldn’t find any free parking spots around the citadel, but did find this paid parking spot, where there was a path leading up to the citadel making it quite an easy and convenient location to park.
Where to go after Sighisoara
While Sighisoara might be one of Transylvania’s most charming cities, there are so many destinations within Transylvania, and Romania, that are worth your time. Visit the city of Brasov for more colourful streets and perhaps even pay a visit to Dracula’s Castle, or maybe make your way a bit further west to Corvin’s Castle (our personal favourite), a place that will make you feel like you have stepped into a Harry Potter movie. Romania truly has so much to offer, from the most stunning highways and beautiful nature to the most fairytale like destinations…