JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH IULIANA MARCHIAN FROM SIBIU, ROMANIA !
Iuliana is a passionate explorer, travel writer, and blogger at Authentic Travels based in Sibiu, Romania. Her life motto is simple: “We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting” (Khalil Gibran). Iuliana likes to travel at a slow pace and to remoter places. Riding a camel amidst sand dunes in a desert, that’s the moment she feels authentic. She has specialised in the Balkan /Middle Eastern countries, showcasing in her work remoter places of these regions.
Which is the best month to visit your city and why?
The best time to visit Sibiu, Romania, is in spring (April/May) or in autumn (September/October). Winters are cold and snow resists until late March while summers are hot and have many thunderstorms in the afternoon. In spring and in autumn, the weather is more stable though, and you can enjoy the blooming trees and flowers as well as the color of nature. In spring and autumn, you can hike the Gușterița Hill near Sibiu and from there you have a great overview of the whole town and surroundings.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of your city?
Sibiu is a small town and the touristic centre is easy to walk in a couple of hours (or even an hour if you rush). There’s no need to use local transportation unless you book accommodation very far from the town centre (which might mean 30-minute walk to the centre) or you need to go to the train station or airport and have lots of luggage to carry after you. In this ultimate scenario, use taxis which are very cheap in town (1euro/km). We don’t have Uber yet.
What are the top three must-visit places in your city?
Huet Square is the first medieval nucleus of the old town. It features the Evanghelic Church in the middle of the square and you can climb its bell tower for terrific views over the town and its surroundings. Next to the Evangelic Church, stop for a drink at Cafe Wien, which features vienese cuisine and all sorts of coffees. From Huet Square, you can pass under a short arched-tunnel at the ground floor of a house and find yourself in the Lesser Square.
In the Lesser Square, you find many restaurants and pavement cafes as well as the Pharmacy Museum in the basement of an old house. There, you will have the chance to witness how old medicines worked in the medieval ages and get the feel of living in that period. Don’t forget about the Liar’s Bridge in the Lesser Square – it is located in one corner of the square, near Atrium Cafe. From the Lesser Square you can pass between the Catholic Church and the City Hall and reach the Large Square – obviously the largest square of the town.
In the Large Square, you can visit the Brukenthal Museum, which houses an art gallery in a Baroque palace and it was the first museum opened in Romania in the 19th century. Near the Brukenthal Palace, you will find the Altemberger House, which houses the History Museum. And donțt forget to enter the courtyard of the Haller House in the southern side of the square. There, you will see an old fortification tower and old frescoes on the walls.
Which is the most celebrated Holiday of the year in your city?
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in Romania and in Sibiu. No matter your religion or confession, Christmas is celebrated each year on the 25/26 December. In the Large Square, there’s a Christmas fair every year, starting the 1st of December, when we have another national holiday for the unification of the provinces of our country.
Which is the most happening area in your city and why?
Most of the events and meetings take place in the Large Square and along the Nicolae Bălcescu pedestrian street. In the Large Square, you will find restaurants, pavement cafes in summer, the best accommodation in town and also all the concerts, festivals, and fairs. Along the Nicolae Bălcescu street, you find shops of the big brands, restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and lots of other local businesses – including a clown trying to sell balloons to kids.
Where can one find amazing street food in your city?
We don’t have so much street food unless there’s a festival in the town center and they sell local food there. If you’re hungry, you can head to any of the restaurants – most of them have decent prices and sometimes even a daily menu with 5 euros.
Where to head for affordable shopping?
There are lots of shops in the town centre, with good products and decent prices. You will see also many second-hands. However, along the Nicolae Bălcescu street, you will find big brands with decent prices, such as Zara – which is just opposite Hotel Împăratul Romanilor.
Which is the most loved local food in your city, both sweet and savory?
The tripe soup is the best local food in Sibiu, and in Romania as well. You can find it in any restaurant that serves Romanian dishes. Papanași – fried donuts with jam and cream, is the most popular dessert in Romania and you can find it in any restaurant. You can also try sarmale (cabbage rolls stuffed with meat and rice) or mici (small sausages dressed with mustard).
Which side of the road does your city drive on? Is it cycle friendly?
In Romania, we drive on the right side of the road. Although we have bike lanes in Sibiu, they are pretty dangerous as there’s no delimitation from the rest of the street. Sometimes, you will find cars parked on the bike lanes and have to overtake them.
Would you recommend any popular local apps to tourists for transport, food and hidden gems in your city?
There is the Sibiu city app where you can find the main monuments with explanations. However, if you want to find hidden gems, search for a local on With Locals app or even for a guided tour at the Tourism Information Centre. Most of the guides are locals and they know everything that moves in Sibiu.