he millenary gastronomic tradition of the Sibiu region is an expression of the area’s multiculturalism. The beauty of the surroundings, the rich natural resources, the local cultural diversity and the history of the area have shaped Sibiu’s culinary universe. Forwards, we present 7 tourist circuits which will give you the opportunity to enjoy both the architectural and natural wonders and the culinary delights. Since in 2019 Sibiu will hold the title of European Region of Gastronomy, we will tell you about 7 restaurants which are known for their delicious foods.
European Region of Gastronomy
A visit of the historic center
We start the day with a short visit of the old historic center, where we can admire buildings from the 12th century German-Saxon burg.
Piata Mare (The Big Square), the town’s largest open space and the starting point of the walk, reunites two prestigious landmarks: The Catholic Church and The Brukenthal Museum.
First mentioned as a grain market in 1411, it was the site of the citadel’s main events: carnivals, executions, public meetings. Wherever you turn you will find beautifully colored houses which are over half a century old and are renowned for having oval windows which are shaped as eyelids.
The Brukenthal Museum with its graceful Baroque facade was designed in the 18th century by order of Samuel von Brukenthal a keen art collector and a high imperial clerk at the court of Empress Maria Theresa. The museum keeps a portrait by Jan van Eyck and numerous Romanian art exhibits.
Piata Mica (The Little Square) is home to some of the oldest buildings in town.
Turnul Sfatului (The Old Council Tower) dates back to the 14th century and has an arch tunnel which links Piata Mare to Piata Mica.
In the middle of the Piata Mica stands Podul Minciunilor (The Liars Bridge), a 1859 wrought-iron bridge that was jokingly that way due to the fact that under it was a meeting point for gossipers.
One of the sides of the square contains the Museum of Pharmacy, which hosts medical instruments from the 16th century. The museum keeps alive the memory of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy who established his first lab in Sibiu in 1797.
The small Piata Huet (Huet Square) is tucked behind old buildings and is home to the grandiose Evangelical Cathedral, the 14th century edifice with its beautifully carved tomb stones, which belong to important clergymen.
Nearby we see the 13th century Turnul Scarilor (The Gate Tower), Sibiu’s oldest standing building.
For a contemporary and elegant stop, we recommend you try the Atrium Cafe. Situated in a historic building, right on the Liars Bridge, the café comes with a light bourgeois atmosphere, with many small, beautifully decorated rooms, books and good music. The Atrium Cafe’s intimate ambience is matched by gourmet delights that stir your senses, culinary evenings with a variety of themes (raw vegan, spanish, italian, sushi). If you’re lucky, you can enjoy live cooking shows, piano music and photo shots.
This day is entirely dedicated to local traditional crafts and customs.
Muzeul Civilizatiei Populare Traditionale ASTRA (The ASTRA Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization) is one the biggest ethnographic museums in the world.
Hidden in the thick Dumbrava forest, The Astra open-air museum is one of Transylvania’s oldest and largest ethnographical museums. It spreads across 96 acres, has over 10 km of alleys, 2 restaurants and a playground for children. The museum aims to exhibit the old, rich rural heritage of Romania: old houses and dwellings gathered from all of the regions of Transylvania, installations, workshops, churches and inns. The first exhibition opened its gates to the public in 1905.
After returning in time, it’s time to stop for a culinary delight at Weidner’s Restaurant. It is right in the heart of Sibiu, only a few steps away from the major tourist attractions (Piata Mare, Bridge of the Liar). Here you will be spoiled with traditional Transylvanian dishes: goulash soup, sibian sauce or pork roasted with cabbage. Last but not least, the historic charm decor and the hospitality of the hosts will contribute to a successful dinner.
Rasinari + Paltinis (Adventure Park) + B&B Mai
If you decide to go beyond the outskirts of Sibiu, Rasinari is the main rural destination which will help you fully understand the traditional Transylvanian village. It is actually considered as a quarter of Sibiu, being linked with the town center by the famous tram line which runs through the Dumbrava forest. Here we will catch the first glimpse of this rural universe, and its importance for two remarkable cultural personalities who were born here: Emil Cioran and Octavian Goga.
If we venture another 20 km South of Rasinari, we reach Paltinis, atop Cindrel Mountains, a very popular destination among Sibiu city folks, especially in the winter season, when it is full of skiers. Here we find Arka Adventure Park, with lots of tree climbing facilities. You can also take the trails and hike in the surrounding area. On your way back to Sibiu, make a quick stop for a gourmet meal at Pensiunea Mai in Rasinari. Ask for a grilled trout, a veal stew or a Sibian plate for starters.
Fagaras Mountains + Albota B&B
The entire day is dedicated to hiking through the longest and tallest mountain chain of the Carpathians – the Fagarasi Mountains. In order to reach the Fagaras Mountains we will pass through the city of Avrig, home of the Brukenthal Summer Palace which was built in 1771 – the gorgeous Baroque summer palace of the wealthy governor Samuel von Brukenthal.
As we reach a crossroad, we are faced with the following dilemma: should we go right to Fagarasi or left to the Abby from Carta. A short detour will lead us to the impressive ruins of a 13th century construction built by French monks. We come back on the main road and follow the path to the hem of the Fagarasi Mountains.
We hop on the cable car near Cabana Balea Cascada (Balea Waterfall Chalet) which takes us at 2000m at Cabana Balea Lac (Balea Lake Chalet). The landscape is simply breathtaking, with spectacular views of the Transfagarasan road which was constructed by the Communists between 1970-1974 as a strategic road between Transylvania and Wallachia.
Once you get to the mountain top, you could spend some time sunbathing on the chalet terrace or go hiking on the surrounding peaks for a panoramic view of the Balea Lake.
As we climb down the Fagaras Mountains we make a small detour to Pastravaria Albota (Albota Trout Farm) for a delightful genuine Transylvanian meal. The caraway soup and grilled trout are a must.
Marginimea Sibiului + Casa Elena Sibiel
Marginimea Sibiului is a very popular rural destination among both foreign and Romanian visitors. Cisnadie, Saliste and Sibiel are the most popular.
CISNADIE (Heltau in German) has a population of only 16000 people. The town’s main tourist attraction is the amazing Evangelical Church with its 3 rings of fortification created in 1493 after a devastating Turkish attack. The other attraction is Expozitia Muzeala Istoricul Textilei (History of Textiles Exhibit). Cisnadie is still a leading manufacturing centre especially known for its woolen carpets and traditional weavings.
SALISTE is located in the middle of the Marginimea Sibiului area and the best time to visit this little town is between Christmas and New Year, during the traditional Transylvanian dance festival.
SIBIEL is known for having a museum filled with an impressive collection of glass painted icons. The collection was founded by Father Zosim Oancea. The village centre is known for the Holy Trinity Church which dates back to 1765 when the Orthodox cult was forbidden in Transylvania.
The people still keep alive old traditions. In Sibiel you can enjoy fresh cow or sheep produce and traditional meals. Casa Elena is by far the best known guest house, constantly attracting foreign visitors.
German colonists settled down in the center of Transylvania during the Middle Ages. After the Tartars attacks in mid 13th century, they used their skills in masonry and carpentry to raise the fortified churches that would eventually become their refuge during long battles.
Almost every German village had built up one or several rings of fortification around the village church in order to shelter the entire population.
One extraordinary example is Biertan, erected in the mid 16th century. The church is impressive not only due to its 3 fortification rings but also due to the fact that is has been the seat of the Lutheran Church for three hundred years.
And if you went out of Sibiu and you went to Transylvania, you will not return home without visiting Alba Iulia. For rest and relaxation we recommend the Martinutzi Domains. It’s a magical place full of sophistication, dominated by Count Redey’s Castle. You will really feel spoiled by the welcoming hosts, the modern and relaxing spa, the appetizing and healthy dishes.
Sibiu Saline + Hindu Restaurant
You can spend the entire day swimming in one of the 12 salty lakes of the Saline. The lakes were formed following medieval salt mine excavations and are known for curing numerous diseases.
The Hindu restaurant is the best choice if you want to enjoy a tasty meal.