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The romantic, medieval Saxon city of Sibiu, Romania is nothing short of breathtaking. It is my personal favorite city in Transylvania! While there is no shortage of things to do in Sibiu, the city also provides easy access to traditional Romanian villages, Transylvanian castles and fortified churches, mountain hikes, snow sports, and more. Here are our top 11 day trips from Sibiu, all within two and a half hours of the city.
The city of Alba Iulia is Romania’s spiritual capita. It’s also the city where Transylvania’s union with Romania was formally proclaimed in 1918.
Visit the National Union Museum opposite the Union Hall, which is open to visitors. Both buildings are inside Alba Carolina citadel, which is the country’s largest citadel. A Vauban-era construction, the citadel features elaborately carved gates and a Roman Catholic cathedral from the 12th century.
The guards can be seen marshalling through its grounds if you get there before noon.
buila vânturărița national park
Natural wonders abound in Romania’s smallest national park. The vast majority of Buila Vânturărița National Park is protected, preserving natural habitats, virgin forests, and rare wildlife species.
Peaks such as Buila Peak and Vânturăriţa Mare Peak, which measure 1,885 meters (6,184 feet) and as high as 1,849 meters (6,066 feet) dominate the surroundings. One of the best parts of visiting this natural park is the lack of guilt. Its trails allow travelers to explore its peaks and valleys without harming its natural habitats.
Cluj-Napoca is about a two and a half hour drive from Sibiu. Considering the fact that it’s a much larger city than Sibiu, there is no end to what you can do here. While Cluj-Napoca is one of the best day trips from Sibiu, it’s definitely worthy of more time (if you can spare it). There are so many things to do in Cluj-Napoca! You can easily spend a few days here without suffering boredom.
The Botanical Garden, Central Park, Cetatuia Park, Matthias Corvin House, the Ethnographic Museum, and exploring Old Town are just a few things you can experience in Cluj-Napoca. If you’re visiting Cluj-Napoca in the summer, be sure to check out one of its epic music festivals, such as Electric Castle or Untold.
Sighișoara, located two hours from Sibiu, features the best-preserved Medieval citadel of Europe. The Sighișoara Citadel fascinates with its colorful houses, cobbled streets, majestic walls and centuries-old towers.
Vlad the Impaler was born in the fortress, in the yellow building seen above. Prepare your camera for the breathtaking view that awaits you once you reach the top of the Clock Tower. Don’t forget to visit the History Museum inside.
Besides Dracula Tourism, there are plenty of things to do in Sighișoara. While it’s a great day trip, it’s also worthy of spending a night or two locally to get the full experience.
In the county of Alba is the town of Sebeș, less than an hour’s drive from Sibiu. Taking a day trip from Sibiu to Sebeș, you can explore the stunning natural landscape of Râpa Roșie, aka the Red Ravine. This is a protected area best-known for its breathtaking geological formations and excellent hiking trails.
In town, be sure to check out the Evangelical Church, Lucan Blaga House, Tailors’ Tower, and Ruinele Castelului Martinuzzi.
balea lake & waterfall
Traverse Romania’s highest mountains for a sensational experience near Sibiu. Walking through the Făgăraş Mountains from north to south might seem impossible. However, there is an amazing road that crosses them from north to south allowing you to visit by car. Take the Balea Bus if you’re not comfortable driving in your own car!
Transfăgărăşan Road offers thrills and some of the most impressive views in the country. Curves get tighter as you go higher up the mountain, making for an adrenaline-filled experience. In the end, you can visit Bâlea Waterfall and then take the cable car to Bâlea Lake, both of which are well-worth the arduous trek. Make sure your camera is ready for some stunning pictures.
Given the dangers of driving this road during extreme weather, the road is only open a few months out of the year. It is usually closed from October-June.
Sibiu’s picturesque villages offer a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle. The Museum of Painted Icons is located in the charming town of Sibiel, which is home to the country’s largest exhibition of glass-painted icons. The icons combine creativity with religious inspiration and are symbolic of Orthodox faith.
Continuing on from Sibiel, you will find Cisnădioara, an old Saxon village adorned with a magnificent Romanesque basilica dating back to the 12th century and the oldest organ in all of Romania. This church has excellent acoustics, making it an ideal location for concerts and plays.
cândrel mountains – păltiniș
A day trip in the Cândrel Mountains offers the opportunity to trek amid dense forests and summit mountain peaks. Here you can also see protected species including wolves, lynx, bears, and capercaillies, if you’re lucky!
Explore the beautiful 19th-century villas and wander along the promenades in Păltiniș, Romania’s oldest ski resort. It’s also a great starting point for nature treks. Păltiniș has long, wonderful slopes in winter and is an excellent choice for skiers, both beginners and intermediates.
Păltiniș is definitely a favorite among locals who reside in Sibiu to get out and revel in nature.
cozia natural park
Located along the Olt Valley, Cozia Natural Park holds many natural treasures. Stunning scenes combine steep cliffs, fortress-like massifs such as Cozia and Călineşti, and dramatic valleys. Enjoy a hike along the routes that cross the Lotrişorului Gorges or along the Cozia Peak trail, if that’s your thing. If you’re into nature but not into crowds, this is among the best day trips from Sibiu for you.
The Natural Park also boasts one of Romania’s most beautiful forests, the Cozia Forest. Beech, oaks, and birches grow high with their roots sheltered by a rich fauna and flora, presenting a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
deva citadel & corvin castle
Hunedoara Castle and Deva Citadel are both worth a visit if you are a history buff. The Deva fortress should be your first stop en route from Sibiu. Situated on an extinct volcanic cone, at around 400 meters, the Deva Citadel served as a military fort and, over time, also served as residence for the Voivode of Transylvania. Deva was the only citadel in Transylvania left that the Turks didn’t occupy in the 17th century. Today, the citadel is under restoration, but can still be admired from Deva city.
After you’ve visited Deva Citadel, stop by Corvin Castle. Undoubtedly one of Romania’s most iconic castles, Corvin Castle (aka Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle) was erected by the Hunyadi family in the city of Hunedoara, close to Deva. The Corvin Castle, which has 42 rooms and covers an area of over 7,000 square metres, is said to be the prison where Vlad the Impaler spent several years.
Of all the beautiful castles in Transylvania, Corvin Castle may be the most breathtaking.
transylvanian fortified churches
There are numerous fortified churches in the villages of southern Transylvania, a wonderful legacy of the Saxon colonists that settled there. Visiting the fortified churches of Transylvania is a must-do and one of the best day trips from Sibiu.
In the 12th and 13th centuries when the Saxons arrived in Transylvania, they fortified the village churches as this was the most important part of village life. The churches could also house the inhabitants in the event of an Ottoman attack.
Picture-perfect Saxon villages like Prejmer, Biertan, Viscri, and others boast traditional homes and majestic fortified churches. The best fortified churches to visit during day trips from Sibiu include Câlnic, Valea Viilor, Biertan, Dârjiu, and Viscri, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.