I recently spent 10 days in Romania, more accurately, Transylvania. It was absolutely no exception to my completely positive experiences of travelling in Eastern Europe - it was organised, clean, fun and the people really lovely! Apart from a bit of Dracula touristyness here and there (mostly at Bran castle, which is touted as "Dracula castle", although it's got little to do with said cruel ruler).

For our last weekend, we stayed in Sibiu. Sibiu, or "Hermannstadt" in German, is one of Transylvanias' seven fortress towns founded by Saxon settlers. In 2007, the town was the first in Eastern Europe to be "European Capital of culture", and it's easy to see why.

Apart from housing several great museums from everything to an open air folk museum to the Brukenthal museum with lots of big name artwork, the mixture of Romanian, Hungarian and German culture is prevalent everywhere. Many houses in the city centre date back to the 15th century and are currently being restored, probably to provide more space for cute cafes and restaurants. While it seems more and more places in Western Europe keep closing down, it's a breath of fresh air to see this part of the continent booming!

remains of the old city wall and gates

Yet, even though we visited during a major festival, the city was not overrun by visitors and there are still many beautiful corners left to explore that make you feel like you stepped back in time several centuries. Unless you decide to get lost on purpose, it's easy to miss them. So do explore the quiet allies, you won't regret it!

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