Sighisoara – the citadel in the heart of Transylvania
In this article, I am going to tell you everything you need to know before visiting Sighisoara, for a flawless and fun experience.
You’ll find out the main 5 things to do in the citadel, where to eat, where to spend the night, how to get there and even where to park. I am also focusing on suggestions for photo spots. But before that let me briefly tell you a bit about the beautiful Sighisoara.
Cool general stuff to know about Transylvania & Sighisoara
Is Transylvania is a real region?
For most people, when they hear Transylvania they think of Dracula, vampires, werewolves, and other spooky landscapes.
Well, Transylvania is real! It’s a real region, with normal people in a non-spooky setup.
Transylvania is located in center of Romania. It takes up about 1/3 of the country and around 7 million people live there.
Sighisoara is the only medieval city still inhabited in Romania and the largest of its kind in Europe. That’s why it’s part of UNESCO heritage.
The citadel is made on a hilltop, which gives it a great view and a special vibe.
It was built in the form you find it today more than 600 years ago. So it keeps its medieval charm with a very colorful touch, as the houses are painted in different colors.
Every year, in the last weekend of July, you will find yourself in the middle of a medieval festival when visiting Sighisoara. This means everywhere you turn you will bump into fierceful knights, princesses with colorful dresses, withness sword fights and withness craftsmen at work.
The best 5 to see and do in Sighisoara in just a few hours
Before I start mentioning the things to do in the citadel let me tell you that if you are in a rush, you only need around 3 hours to enjoy this place. So if you are short on time while traveling in Romania, don’t skip this place.
1. The Clock Tower
Definitely, my favorite place, because you can go up the tower and have a beautiful view over the citadel. There are quite some stairs to climb, but the difficulty is quite low. The tower also hosts a history museum which you can visit while you make your way up to the top.
May 15 – September 15 -> Mo.: closed & Tue. – Fri.: 9 am – 5:30 pm & Sat. – Sun.: 10 am – 5:30 pm
September 16 – May 14 -> Mo.: closed & Tue. – Fri.: 9 am – 3:30 pm & Sat. – Sun.: 10 am – 3:30 pm
Adult Ticket: 16 Lei (or at least that’s what I paid in March 2022; no official website to check the updated info on).
2. Vlad Dracul House
As many tourists are fascinated by the Dracula story, this is allegedly the house where Vlad the Impaler was born. Don’t expect to find a memorial house, in a historical way, but a decorated 2-rooms of Dracula vibes.
Darkness, creepy music, red lights, spider webs, a coffin, a dead princess and all that silly decor. But the name makes it a perfect tourist trap for 10 Lei (2 euro) in 10 minutes.
3. Covered Starway + Church on the Hill and cemetery
Yes, they go up, not to Heaven, but to the cemetery. A 400 years cemetery that is. And a 500 years old gothic church called The Church on the Hill. It’s a hill on a hill to be more exact which makes it even more interesting.
The cemetery is one of the most beautiful and peaceful I’ve seen (and when given the chance I do pop in cemeteries around the world). The headstones look so vintage and the trees all around them, along with the green moss spread around give an enchanting view.
Climbing the 176 steps: free. Visit the cemetery: free. Enjoy the view from the hill on a hill: free. Enter the church: cha-ching from your wallet.
4. Walk the cobbled streets and admire the colorful houses
One of my favorite streets starts from under the Clock Tower and goes down. Its called Stradela Cetatii and it’s a good spot for pictures and just a bit less crowded than the rest.
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as all the streets are covered in cobblestone.
5. Try the street food langosi
My mouth is watering while writing this! 😆 Langos is a typical Hungarian recipe, that you can eat sweet (with chocolate) or salty (with cheese and sour cream and even chicken).
Because Transylvania hosts a large Hungarian community, the cuisine is very tasty influenced. You will find more delicious dishes in the restaurant’s menus, like goulash.
Where to eat in Sighisoara?
There are so many options when it comes to eating in Sighisoara. I tried quite a few of them and it’s hard to pick, but I’ll give you my top 3:
🥘 The hidden garden of Hotel Sighisoara.
Enter the hotel building and the front desk will show you the way to the back garden. If you like spots hidden from the eyes of all the tourists passing by you enjoy the peace and quiet of a cool garden, this is such a hidden gem. Plus, prices are very good compared to most places.
🥘 Gasthaus Altepost Restaurant
The restaurant is beautifully decorated, with a glass rooftop. And has a wine cellar where you can dine as well. You can try here Romanian dishes, but also tasty pizza. They have very good prices as well, especially for how fancy it looks.
🥘 CODA the V taste
The place to be if you are looking delicious for vegan dishes or want to eat healthily. Personally, vegan places get me so excited because I know I will always find some innovative dishes, maybe a new flavor too. And I also feel very proud of myself for eating healthy haha.
Bonus: a place for dessert: 🥘 Casa Cositorarului has teahouse vibes inside and a cute very little bohemian-looking terrace.
Where to stay in Sighisoara?
Just so you know, the spooky Hotel Transylvania, as in the movies, doesn’t actually exist.
But throughout Transylvania, you can find amazingly beautiful accommodations like hotels, guesthouses, wood cabins, glamping and even hostels.
Let’s see what are top places to stay for your trip to Sighisoara.
🛏️ Rose Apartment
This would be one of my favorite stays in Sighisoara for the value of money (quite cheap compared to most stays). It’s a spacious and modern 2 bedroom apartment, with a very cute balcony, a kitchen and one bathroom. It can accommodate up to 5 people, which is super awesome for a group traveling together.
It’s less than 10 minutes away by walking from the citadel. It also has private free parking, which is a big plus.
No breakfast or any meal options.
🛏️ Taschler Haus Guesthouse
The second best value for your money is this lovely guesthouse, right in the citadel. I mean it doesn’t have a 9.9 Booking score (out of 500+ reviews) for no reason. It offers free parking, but no meal options.
🛏️ Casa Baroca – good Budget stay
If you are traveling on a budget, but you want to stay in a nice place in the center of the action, than Casa Baroca is probably the best option. Depending on your period of travel, a room for 2 people can be under 30 euro a night.
You cannot reach it by car so you will need to park in a public paid parking. Pets are allowed and the place also has a restaurant.
Other mentionable budget nice stays in Sighisoara, just outside the citadel and with free parking, are Casa Kroner and Pensiunea Zidul Cetatii.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sighisoara – Cavaler
If you are looking for a hotel, with a pool, spa & wellness center, meal options and room service, DoubleTree by Hilton is your best choice in Sighisoara. The location is super good, just at the base of the citadel and parking is free. You will find here a very good restaurant with a summer garden too.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Mercure Sighisoara Binderbubi Hotel & Spa
Another 4 starts hotel awesome option is Mercure. And the room cost is cheaper than DoubleTree and if you ask me it looks much better. Of course, now you don’t have the pool, but you can still do a sauna and get a massage. Location is just as good and you can even bring your pet with you.
How to get to Sighisoara? 🚗 or 🚅
If you start your journey from Bucharest, Sighisoara is roughly 300km away. If you are traveling by car that translates into around 5 hours of driving. By train, the ride will take about 6 hours. From the train station, you can even walk to the citadel, for 15-20 minutes.
If you are traveling from Cluj-Napoca (another big airport spot in the country) it will only take you 2 and a half hours to get to the medieval citadel (150 km) by car. By train, it would take you 3 hours. But be aware that some trains take up to 5 hours, as they stop in all the small towns.
If you are coming from Budapest or Wien you have a direct train to Bucharest, that stops in Sighisoara.
Traveling by car – where to park in Sighisoara
There are a few parking areas around the citadel. The main one, and probably the cheapest one (6 Lei for a whole day) is here (Google maps location).
In case you get there and there are no more parking spots, you can find a bigger one on the other side of the citadel, 3 minutes away (location here). This one is a bit more expensive (about 2Lei an hour), but it’s a big chance you find a parking spot.
Both are very well located to reach the citadel in 3-4 minutes by walking.
▶️ I found a cool video on Youtube that might spark you even more interest to visit Sighisoara, Romania.