If you’re planning your first trip to Romania or are looking to return for a winter holiday, Sibiu is Romania’s most famous Christmas destination.
Sibiu Christmas Market is the highlight of a December visit to the region, with the city busy with winter events, Christmas stalls, children’s rides and a cosy atmosphere.
What makes Christmas in Sibiu such a unique experience is that it combines the diverse heritage of Romanian, Hungarian, Transylvanian Saxons and smaller communities, resulting in unique cultural norms and traditions.
There is much to explore in this part of the world. I loved my visit and encourage everyone I know to go when given the chance.
Sibiu Christmas Market 2023
Sibiu is one of Transylvania’s most important cultural and economic hubs. The winter celebration here is the Christmas Fair (Târgul de Crăciun in Romanian), which attracts many visitors from across Romania and internationally.
The Grand Square, Piața Mare, is lit up from November to December, with light shows projected onto the historic buildings and Christmas decorations hanging on every corner.
The event includes a Ferris wheel, ice skating rink and Santa’s Workshop.
Dates and Information
Sibiu Christmas Market dates: 17th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
Location: Piața Mare.
Opening times: Monday to Friday: 11am to 10pm. Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 10pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Projections begin on the 17th November.
Santa: Yes, at Santa’s Workshop.
Ice skating: Yes, at Piața Mare from 10am to 10pm.
Ferris wheel: 22-metres high. Built in 2019.
Vegetarian: Yes, some options.
Vegan: Yes, some options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Accessible: Yes, but not all areas.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit: For a unique Christmas experience in the heart of Transylvania, Romania.
Recommended tours: Sibiu sightseeing tour offers a great overview for visitors.
Travel tip: Take a day trip to the stunning town of Sighisoara or a road trip to include Brasov and Peles Castle.
Sibiu weather in winter: Temperatures average 3°C / -5°C (high / low) in December.
Where to stay: Stat at the Art Hotel to be within minutes of the Christmas market.
Hotels near Sibiu Christmas Market
The closest hotel to the Christmas market that I recommend is the Art Hotel. It’s a 3-minute walk to Piața Mare and most of the city’s sights.
I recommend several other independently owned hotels near Sibiu Christmas Market for a Christmas break in Sibiu. Check the list for more information.
Walking Tours Tours
A city tour of Sibiu is an excellent introduction to the city’s history and culture. The charming old town, stunning architecture, and colourful facades make it a destination that has something for everyone.
I highly recommend taking this city tour of Sibiu as it allows you to experience the city’s highlights. You could also consider taking a food tour to learn about the local culture through their cuisine.
During a city tour, you’ll visit some of Sibiu’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the Council Tower, the Bridge of Lies, and the red-bricked City Walls. These landmarks offer a glimpse into the city’s medieval past and are a treat for history and architecture enthusiasts.
Christmas in Sibiu
Romanian and Transylvanian cuisine combines traditional and modern influences, especially during the holidays.
Sarmale: a popular dish made of sour cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, vegetables, and spices, served with sour cream or polenta. Vegetarian versions are available, made with mushroom or lentil filling.
Cozonac: a sweet bread that is a staple in winter, flavoured with vanilla, rum, and lemon zest and filled with walnuts, poppy seeds, or raisins. It’s typically served for breakfast or as a dessert with a cup of tea or mulled wine.
Fasole batuta: a hearty vegetarian dish made of mashed beans seasoned with onion, garlic, and paprika. It’s often served as a side dish or a main course with a slice of polenta.
Tochitura: a meaty stew made of pork, bacon, and sausage, served with a fried egg on top and a side of polenta.
Piftie: a cold meat dish made of pork, beef, or chicken, served with mustard, horseradish, and pickles.
These are just a few of the many traditional Christmas foods you can try in Sibiu and Romania, and there are many more to explore!
The Christmas stalls are a fantastic place to sample traditional Romanian street foods.
Covrigi: A type of pretzel made with a soft dough, sprinkled with coarse salt, and often served warm. It’s a popular snack that is easy to carry around while exploring the market.
Kurtos kalacs: A Transylvanian spiral-shaped pastry that is made by wrapping dough around a wooden spit and roasting it over an open flame until it is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s often sprinkled with cinnamon or sugar and makes for a delicious dessert. These are hugely popular in Central Europe.
Langos: A Hungarian deep-fried dough similar to a flatbread and often topped with sour cream, cheese, garlic, and other savoury toppings. Also very popular.
Mici: a type of grilled sausage made with a mixture of beef, lamb, and pork, seasoned with garlic and paprika. It’s typically served with mustard and bread and is a popular street food in Romania.
Gogosi: a type of Romanian doughnut that is deep-fried and often filled with jam or chocolate. I had these several times in Romania. What a rich yet delicious dessert!
Things to Do in Sibiu in Winter
Sibiu is a rapidly growing city with a current population of 425,000. It’s a compact city and easily walkable for most people, meaning the best way to see the sights is to get out and walk.
Located in the heart of Transylvania, it’s a pretty destination to visit in winter. The city has historical landmarks and cultural attractions that will keep you busy throughout your visit.
Starting your visit to Sibiu in the main square, Piața Mare, is a great way to get acquainted with the city’s history. This is where you’ll find the market, so you’ll want to head here early anyway.
One of the main attractions in the square is the Council Tower, a historic tower from the 14th century. The tower was used as a defensive fortification and watchtower; today, it’s a museum. You can climb the tower and enjoy a stunning view of the city’s skyline.
Another must-see attraction in Sibiu is the Bridge of Lies. According to local legend, the bridge will collapse if someone tells a lie while standing on it. While the bridge is unlikely to collapse, walking across the bridge and testing the legend yourself is still a fun and unique experience.
The Bridge of Lies is a small pedestrian bridge that connects the Upper Town and Lower Town, and it is one of the most photographed landmarks in the city.
As you explore the old town, you will come across the beautiful red bricks of the city walls. The walls were built in the 15th century to protect the city from invaders, and today, they act as a reminder of Sibiu’s past.
Walking along the city walls is a lovely way to enjoy the winter scenery, and you can stop at various points along the way to take in the panoramic views of the city.
Visit Romania Tourism for more things to do in Sibiu and the latest events.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Sibiu and the Transylvanian region are beautiful destinations with important cultures and heritage worth exploring. However, as responsible travellers, we should consider sustainability while visiting.
Here are some specific examples of how you can implement simple measures to create a positive impact:
Eco-friendly hotels: Consider staying in a hotel that uses renewable energy sources.
Minimise food waste at markets: When sampling the culinary treats markets, order smaller portions to minimise waste. Many vendors also let you bring your own reusable containers.
Ethical consumption: Be mindful of your purchases at the markets. Choose locally made crafts and food items, thus supporting Sibiu’s artisans and farmers. Avoid buying more than you need or can use.
Sustainable diets: You’ll likely find most food options are locally sourced. Choosing food items with a low carbon footprint, such as plant-based or vegetarian options, is another way to eat sustainably.
Sustainable transport: The historic centre of Sibiu is compact and easy to explore on foot, reducing the need for motorised transport. Public buses are also available for longer distances, and they are a more eco-friendly option than renting a car.
Yes, Sibiu does have a cosy Christmas market in the centre square, Piața Mare.
The Christmas market in Sibiu runs from 17th November 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
Sibiu is also known for its rich history and architecture. The city’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with well-preserved Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings that are a sight to behold. The snow-covered roofs and streets add to the magical winter scenery. It’s well worth visiting.
Yes, it does snow in Sibiu during winter. Sibiu is located in the heart of Romania, and its climate is continental, so it experiences cold and snowy winters. The snowfall in Sibiu usually begins in November and lasts until March, with January and February being the coldest months. Snow varies each year, but it’s not uncommon to see a blanket of snow covering the city and its surroundings during the winter months.
The temperatures in Sibiu during the winter season are typically cold, with an average low of -5°C (23°F) and an average high of 4°C (39°F). However, the temperature can vary depending on the day, and it’s not uncommon for the temperatures to drop below freezing.
I found Sibiu to be an interesting destination. Not only is the cost of visiting quite reasonable, but the city also deviates from typical holiday spots, offering something unique.
The architecture alone is striking, and you’ll enjoy a rich culture with layers of history. Food options are also plentiful and delicious.
If you have visited Sibiu in winter or want to review the Xmas market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Sibiu, Romania. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.