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Sighisoara is a charming medieval city in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. It’s known for its well-preserved fortified old town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover some of the best things to do in Sighisoara from the ancient clock tower to the medieval festival.
The city is also the birthplace of Vlad “the Impaler” Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s infamous Dracula character. His birthplace is now a restaurant in the town but you can still visit the very room he was born in.
I spent a week in Sighisoara on my first trip to Romania in 2017 and it’s one of my favourite places in the country along with the nearby city of Brasov.
Top Things to do in Sighisoara
Below you’ll find a great selection of Sighisoara things to do from exploring the UNESCO old town and citadel to the torture museum, Vlad Tepes Statue and the gorgeous cobbled lanes and streetside cafes.
1. Take a Tour of the City
One of the best things to do in Sighisoara for first-time visitors is to take a tour of the city. This two-hour walking tour takes in all the main landmarks including the clock tower, Venetian House, the Church on the Hill and Vlad Tepes’ birthplace.
You’ll get to explore the picturesque old town and learn about the history of the city from an experienced guide. Other places of interest include the Butchers’ Bastion, Covered Staircase and School Hill. Click here to book now.
2. Explore the Ancient Citadel
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sighisoara Citadel is the centre of the city. The citadel was constructed by the Saxons in the 12th Century and the area is still inhabited today.
Here you will find many cafes, restaurants and gift shops. The citadel is also the highest point in the city with magnificent views across the coloured rooftops and out to the countryside.
3. See the Church on the Hill
The Church on the Hill, correctly named the Church of the Dominican Monastery, features impressive gothic architecture and houses several notable art pieces, including a carved wooden altarpiece and a collection of medieval stone sculptures.
The Church is one of the most important historical and cultural landmarks in Sighisoara and is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can climb up to the hill to explore the church and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the surrounding hills.
4. Climb the Clock Tower
The 60m clock tower is one of the main attractions in Sighisoara and for a small fee you can ascend the rickety staircase for magnificent views of the city.
You can see the workings inside the clock and there is a small museum inside. One of the top things to do in Sighisoara! You can visit the tower on a walking tour of the city. Click here to book.
- May to September: 09:00 to 18:30
- September to May: 09:00 to 15:00
- Closed Mondays
Ticket Price: 15 Lei (€3.00)
Address: Strada Turnuili, Sighisoara, Romania, 545400. Click here for directions.
5. Visit Vlad Tepes’ Birthplace (Casa Vlad Dracul)
The birthplace of the famous warlord and impaler of Turks, Casa Vlad Dracul now serves as a pleasant restaurant. The food and beer are excellent, if a little overpriced. I had a tasty lunch of goulash washed down with a cold beer (my favourite).
It’s also possible to view Vlad’s bedroom for a small fee. Beware, there might be a surprise when entering… Definitely one of the best things to do in Sighisoara for lovers of history and the macabre! Visit the house on this guided tour.
- Vlad Tepes’ Room: 12:00 to 20:00
- Restaurant: 10:00 to 23:45
Ticket Price: 5 Lei (€1.00)
Address: Casa Vlad Dracul, Sighisoara, Romania, 545400. Click here for directions.
6. Vlad Tepes Statue
Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, was a medieval ruler of Wallachia (part of present-day Romania). He is famous for his brutal methods of punishing his enemies, which included impalement, a gruesome method of execution in which a person is pierced with a sharpened stake and left to die slowly.
Vlad Tepes’ reputation as a cruel and ruthless ruler earned him a place in history and inspired the character of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s famous novel. Despite his reputation, Vlad Tepes was also known for his fierce resistance against the Ottoman Empire, which was expanding into Europe at the time.
He is regarded as a national hero in Romania and is celebrated for his efforts to defend his homeland against foreign invaders. You can see the statue next to the town hall in the citadel.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Ticket Price: Free
7. Check Out the Medieval Weapons and Torture Museum
The Museum of Torture in Sighisoara is a unique museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the dark history of torture and punishment in medieval times.
Located in the heart of the city’s historic old town, the museum features a collection of authentic torture devices, including cages, chains, and various instruments of punishment, some of which date back to the 16th century.
The exhibits are accompanied by informative displays and explanations, detailing the use and history of each device. As a lover of all things macabre, this is one of my favourite Sighisoara attractions and well worth a visit for like-minded dark tourists.
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 15:30 Tuesday to Sunday
Ticket Price: 5 Lei (€1.00)
Address: Citadel, Sighisoara, Romania, 545400. Click here for directions.
8. Visit the Annual Medieval Festival
The Sighisoara Medieval Festival is an annual event held in the picturesque town of Sighisoara, located in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. The festival celebrates the town’s rich medieval heritage and offers visitors the opportunity to experience life in medieval times.
The festival features a wide range of activities, including live music and performances, artisan markets, traditional food and drink, and historical reenactments of battles and daily life. Visitors can watch skilled craftsmen at work, try their hand at archery or sword fighting, and witness a medieval-style parade through the town’s narrow streets.
The festival’s highlight is the “Knights’ Tournament,” a thrilling reenactment of a medieval jousting competition, complete with armored knights on horseback. The festival usually runs on the last weekend in July and is definitely one of the top Sighisoara tourist attractions.
9. Go Hiking in the Carpathian Mountains
Sighisoara is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and forests, making it an excellent destination for hiking enthusiasts. One of the most popular hiking trails near Sighisoara is the Transylvanian Hills Trail, which offers stunning views of the countryside and the nearby Carpathian Mountains.
The trail is well-marked and offers a range of difficulty levels, from easy walks to challenging hikes that require a higher level of fitness. Along the way, hikers can discover traditional villages, ancient ruins, and hidden waterfalls.
Another popular hiking destination is the Bicaz Gorges, located about an hour’s drive from Sighisoara. The gorges feature a spectacular canyon, towering cliffs, and crystal-clear streams. Hikers can explore the area on well-maintained trails and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
10. Visit the Sighisoara Gallery
The Sighisoara Gallery is a cultural institution located in the historic center of Sighisoara, Romania. The gallery features a diverse collection of contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures, and installations, created by both local and international artists.
The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions and events, showcasing the work of emerging and established artists. The space itself is a work of art, with high ceilings and elegant architecture that complements the modern and thought-provoking art pieces on display.
This is one of the best things to do in Sighisoara for art lovers and anyone interested in experiencing the thriving art scene of Transylvania.
11. Take a Candlelit Tour of the City
This evening candlelight tour sees Sighisoara in a new light and takes in the top attractions like the illuminated clock tower, the church on the hill and Casa Vlad Dracul, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler.
You’ll get to learn all about the medieval history of the city from an experienced guide as you explore the citadel and cobbled streets by candlelight. This is an excellent way to get to know the city and learn a little of its interesting history. Click here to book.
Food and Drink in Sighisoara
Sighisoara is a gastronome’s dream and you can tuck into hearty mittle-europa stews and dishes, all washed down with a palatable wine for under €10.
Cafes and restaurants abound and you can’t walk far without seeing streetside tables. The square in the centre of the citadel is a great place to dine al-fresco.
My two favourite picks are:
- Casa Vlad Dracul – Dine in the house where Vlad the Impaler was born! Click here for directions.
- Hotel Sighisoara – The best Goulash in town and a decent, inexpensive house red! Click here for directions.
Where to stay in Sighisoara
There is no shortage of accommodation in Sighisoara. From hostels to 5*. I stayed at Double Tree by Hilton (I had been on the road for a month, slumming it across Central Asia so felt I deserved a little luxury).
The rooms were much cheaper than you would pay for the Hilton in western Europe and with a balcony and view across to the Citadel, it was one of the best hotels I’ve had the pleasure of staying in.
The pool with glass roof and spectacular views was a nice touch! Expect to pay €80 per night in summer and less out of season.
How to get to Sighisoara
The closest airport is Targu-Mures Transylvania airport with flights to and from several European destinations including London, Dortmund and Budapest. For more options fly to Bucharest and take the train or bus.
There are daily trains between Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj and Sibiu. I took the train from Brasov which took around 4 hours.
However, it’s best to take the bus to avoid the near-constant hassling from beggars on the train. It’s also worth noting that the intercity and international trains are more comfortable with fewer instances of pan-handling.
Discover more of Romania! These things to do in Bucharest in winter will keep you occupied during the low season!
Sighisoara is definitely worth a visit for its stunning medieval old town, enchanting citadel, clock tower, the home of Vlad Tepes and the many wonderful restaurants in the town.
I stayed in Sighisoara for three days and found this to be the perfect amount of time to see all of the top Sighisoara attractions and explore the town fully. If you want to do some day trips to Sibiu, Bran and Basov then a week is better.
Sighisoara is known as being the birthplace of Vlad Tepes aka Vlad the Impaler. It’s also famous for its medieval citadel and picturesque clock tower.
There are a total of 14 towers in Sighisoara from the clock tower to the church on the hill and many other ancient buildings.
Now you know what to do in Sighisoara, the charming medieval town and the birthplace of Vlad “the impaler” Tepes. This is one of my favourite places in Romania thanks to its incredible medieval architecture, the ancient citadel and many fine bars and restaurants.
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About the author:
Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.
Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.
Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲