On the east side of the Daugava River sits the Old Town of Riga. A…
Transylvania offers us a vast landscape of snow-capped mountains, wide open valleys, and some of Europe’s most magnificently maintained medieval towns, with Sighisoara being the very best of them.
This town in the heart of Romania is the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, the very real Romanian ruler who inspired the legend of Dracula. It’s also a place of medieval churches, an awe-inspiring clock tower, and restaurants serving up delectable local foods like mici and papanasi.
Here is everything you need to see and enjoy in Sighisoara, as well as the best Sighisoara hotels to stay in during your visit to Romania’s heartland.
Sighisoara’s Unmissable Sights
Sighisoara is a small town with a lot to see. It’s very easy to explore in a day or two, with its medieval old town (Sighisoara fortress) making up the core of the city
If you get a bus from Brasov to Sighisoara or from Cluj-Napoca to Sighisoara, you will arrive a short walk from the medieval centre. You’ll see it rising in front of you in the distance like a magnificent fortress.
Once you arrive in the medieval centre of Sighisoara, you’ll find a wealth of beautiful buildings to explore. These are the best sights to be found in Sighisoara.
Sighisoara Clock Tower
The only real way to enter Sighisoara is to walk past the clock tower, which stands like a guardian to this medieval wonderland. With a history that dates back to the 13th century, this clock tower is one of the defining buildings of Sighisoara. The stonework carries a heavy medieval, almost fantasy, aesthetic that is completely mesmerising.
The Sighisoara clock tower is more than just a beautiful sight; it’s also a platform from which you can take stock of the entire town on every side. It’s open from 9am to 3:30pm in the winter, and 9am to 5:30pm in the summer months, and costs 15 lei to enter. Payment grants you more than the view. You’ll also pass through three floors of museum pieces: artefacts from around Transylvania and a scale model of Sighisoara.
Read More: A Complete Guide to Brasov Old Town
The Church on the Hill
If you’d rather not pay to get to the top of the Sighisoara clock tower, you can get yourself a fantastic view of the town from the Church on the Hill. While the Sighisoara clock tower is at Sighisoara fortress’ northernmost tip, the church is directly south. Pass straight through the town and you’ll come to the covered walkway: an ominous looking dark wooden passageway that leads up a hill to the church.
The covered walkway itself is fantastic, reminiscent of the Hogwarts wooden bridge from Harry Potter. It hides quite a few steps, but they’re well worth the climb to get to the Evangelical Church on the Hill, which is the highest point in Sighisoara.
Compared to other churches and medieval buildings in Transylvania, this church has a very unique aesthetic, being smoothly painted on the outside rather than consisting of rugged exposed stone. It’s a calming sight in itself, and standing beside it yields a gorgeous view of the entire town, including the Sighisoara clock tower.
That is always the issue with using beautiful buildings as viewing platforms: they are no longer part of the view. You can’t see the Empire State Building if you’re standing on it. So if you use the Church on the Hill as your (free) viewing platform, you can enjoy the Sighisoara clock tower as part of your view of the medieval town.
Casa Vlad Dracul
Nowadays, Casa Vlad Dracul is primarily a restaurant (which is why you’ll also see it mentioned below in our restaurant guide). But, originally, it was the home of Vlad Dracul, father of the infamous Vlad Dracula, the Impaler. Vlad Dracula himself was born in, and lived for four years in, this very house, and the exact room that he was born in can still be visited.
When you enter the restaurant on the first floor of Cas Vlad Dracul, you’ll find another small staircase leading up to a room. You have to pay an additional fee to enter, but it is one of the great pieces of Romanian history, and they also provide you with a cheap but fun scare as you enter (you’ve been warned).
On the ground floor, beneath the restaurant, Casa Vlad Dracul also has a gorgeous arts and crafts shop which sells all traditional and hand-made Romanian crafts, mostly for decorating your home. Plates, wall-hangings, and ornaments made from wood, cloth, and porcelain, and painted with vibrant primary colours. They really showcase the still-popular traditional Romanian arts and make for souvenirs that you will really cherish.
Read More: 10 Books to Read Before you Visit Romania
Holy Trinity Church
This is the only must-visit sight in Sighisoara that is neither medieval nor within the walls of the old medieval town, but is nonetheless a beautiful and unmissable sight in Sighisoara. If you’re entering the old fortress town from the north, you’ll pass by it and stop to really drink in its enormous size and and elaborate beauty.
The medieval town of Sighisoara and the more modern residential area are divided by the Tarnava Mare River, and the Holy Trinity Church sits at the river’s edge opposite the old town and the Sighisoara clock tower. It was built in the early 20th century in a Neo-Byzantine architectural style and is a truly enormous building that demands any passer-by stop in their tracks to admire its dominant stature.
Read More: 5 Essential Day Trips from Brasov
The Dracula Investigation
For kids and adults alike who love their history and mythology, The Dracula Investigation is a delightful and slightly cheesy experience in the centre of Sighisoara. Located just down from the Sighisoara clock tower, this is an interactive educational experience that will paint a smile on the face of anyone who enters.
Vlad Dracula/Tepes/The Impaler (he went by a few names) is undoubtedly the most famous Romanian in history, with a mythology that was firmly cemented by the publication of Bram Stoker’s novel. But he was a real man and a real ruler, and he was born in Sighisoara.
The Dracula Experience is a series of rooms filled with decoration, costume-clad guides, coloured lights, and interactive experiences that teach you all about the man behind the myth of Count Dracula. It’s a delightful experience for kids of all ages.
Sighisoara Restaurants and Cafes
Sighisoara might be a small town, but it is a very traditional one that hides some of the most fantastic Romanian restaurants. The food in Transylvania is one of the very best things about the whole province, and when you’re in Sighisoara there are a few restaurants and cafes you need to visit, and a few meals you owe it to yourself to enjoy. Romanian food is simply wonderful.
Medieval Cafe Restaurant
If you only visit one Sighisoara rrestaurant, let it be the Medieval Cafe Restaurant. This is the place you eat at if you want to experience true, delicious, satisfying Romanian dishes.
Some of the best Romanian dishes include the national dish of sarmale (cabbage rolls wrapped around pork meat), the indulgent mici (skinless sausages, grilled and eaten with a generous helping of mustard) and many other fantastic dishes.
Just be aware that pork is the main ingredient in so many Romanian dishes, so it’s not great for vegetarians and vegans. I myself avoid eating pork because pigs are such intelligent creatures, but I had to put my morals aside for a while and just enjoy all the pork-based meals that Romania has to offer. And the Medieval Cafe Restaurant is the best place to enjoy all of that.
Vlad Dracul Restaurant
This is the same Casa Vlad Dracul we mentioned before: birthplace of Vlad Dracula and residence of his father, Vlad Dracul. The building’s first floor is now a restaurant that offers traditional Romanian dishes of the highest quality.
While the Medieval Cafe Restaurant, in our opinion, offers a more humble and relaxing dining experience, you should not resist the temptation to eat at the house where the very real Dracula himself was actually born.
The Bean Specialty Coffee
There are quite a few cafes in Sighisoara, and all of them are easy enough to find. But we want to give special attention to the lesser-known The Bean Specialty Coffee. This is a tiny hipster coffee shop with enough little tables for a few people to sit and enjoy the best coffee in Sighisoara.
This cafe has all the trappings you’d expect to find in a London hipster coffee shop: flat whites, wood-heavy decor, a grumpy barista, and a bar to sit at in order to maximise your people-watching potential. We spent an hour or two hiding from the biting cold, reading books, and relaxing in this sweet little Sighisoara cafe.
The Best Sighisoara Hotels
Romania is a very cheap and affordable country, especially compared to other EU nations. It’s a place where you can really splash out and enjoy yourself, especially in the medieval Transylvanian towns like Sighisoara. That means you can really explore the various Sighisoara hotels and take your pick without worrying about money. These are the most comfortable but affordable Sighisoara hotels for you to choose from.
There is nothing more soothing and calming than a hotel room that’s furnished almost entirely with gorgeous wood, giving it an antique medieval vibe. That’s what Casa Savri delivers. The rooms of this hotel are absolutely massive, providing guests with plenty of space to get settled in, and all the furniture is so raw and rustic in a real medieval European tone.
The architecture of Casa Savri is traditional Saxon, like many of the buildings and villages in Transylvania, and if you stay here you’ll be a mere 300m away from the Sighisoara clock tower and the rest of the old fortress town. This is the definitive Sighisoara hotel experience.
Another one of the best Sighisoara hotels is Caroline House. If you want your room’s decor to still have that touch of wood furnishing but with a slightly more modern paint job, this is where you’ll want to stay when you visit Sighisoara.
If you visit in the summer months, Carolina House also offers a garden, a terrace, and facilities with which you can barbecue at your heart’s content! There’s also a continental breakfast served every single morning, if you’d rather avoid heading out in search of your own breakfast.
Without a doubt, Casa Lily is the most strange and exciting hotel in Sighisoara. If you’re an enormous Japanophile like we are, you’ll gasp at the sight of this Japan-themed hotel. The garden of Casa Lily features a pond with real lotus flowers, as well as an actual red torii gate and accompanying red bridge.
Inside, the rooms are decorated in a Japanese ryokan style, with wall scrolls of Japanese calligraphy, floor mats reminiscent of tatami, and a heavily bright red and deep wooden aesthetic. It’s a strange hotel to find in rural Romania, to be sure, but definitely one of the most weird and wonderful Sighisoara hotels.
Hotel Villa Franca
If you’re on a budget, this is one of the cheapest Sighisoara hotels that still offers beautiful decor, views of the fortress, including the Sighisoara clock tower, and fantastic service for a reasonable price.
Hotel Villa Franca is a B&B style hotel featuring traditional Transylvanian decor, including a four poster bed in select rooms. If you’re looking for breakfast, it’s served every single day in the hotel. And, if you need anything, there’s 24 hour access to the reception where someone can help you with whatever you need.
Just a five minute walk from Sighisoara fortress, Mercure Sighisoara is definitely the most high class hotel we’ve mentioned. If you’re looking for the most classy experience possible, this is the Sighisoara hotel you’re looking for.
There’s a restaurant at the Mercure Sighisoara which serves a mix of traditional Romanian and international dishes. There’s also a wellness centre that includes a sauna and and hot tub! The rooms themselves are of the highest quality wooden decor, and the restaurant is one of the most beautiful rooms in all of Sighisoara.