This pastel-painted medieval jewel is Transylvania's tourist highlight, with its walls, UNESCO-protected old town, and craft stores. And it's also a magnet for horror fans, thanks to its associations with Vlad Tepes (better known as Vlad the Impaler).
Sighisoara's citadel dates back to the 12th century and is a magical complex of churches, lanes, and winding stone staircases. It's also home to the fascinating Weapon Museum.
Vlad the Impaler ruled Transylvania for 20 years in the 15th century and defended his nation against the Turks. Later on, he became associated with the Dracula myth. See where he was born - the Vlad Dracul House in the citadel.
The Middle Ages live on at Sighisoara's Medieval Festival. Held in July, the event sees live music, craft workshops, and plenty of chances to eat and drink.
Sighisoara is surrounded by beautiful hills and forests. Some of the most attractive can be found on the Breite Plateau, just an hour's walk from the citadel.
Sighisoara is close to some incredible historical attractions. Chief among them is Biertan, a ridiculously picturesque hilltop village that is over 1,000 years old.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, the King Of Hungary invited German Saxons to settle in Transylvania, and the medieval town of Sighisoara was the result (or "Schaäsburg" as the Saxons called it). To guard against Turkish attacks, these craftsmen and soldiers built an impressive citadel, which is now the centerpiece of the modern city. With nine original towers still standing, this UNESCO designated site is a historical wonderland. Every summer, it also hosts a Medieval Festival, the city's cultural highlight.
The most famous building in all of Sighisoara is Turnul cu Ceas, the Citadel's clock tower, and it's a must-see for everyone who visits. Mainly built in the 17th century, but refined by later Austrian craftsmen, the tower features allegorical sculptures of Peace, Justice, and Law, as well as the Angels of Day and Night, who swap places depending on the time of day. To see the figures in action, try to be in the square below at 18:00. It's a magical sight.
Also known as the Monastery Church, this holy place has been a focal point for religious life in Sighisoara since the Saxons arrived. Starting out as a Dominican monastery chapel, it became a Lutheran church in the 16th century, then a standalone church when the monastery was demolished. Nowadays, on the outside it's a great example of Gothic architecture, while on the inside it's a glittering Baroque masterpiece, with a bronze font, gorgeous windows and oriental carpets dating back to the 16th century.
When they come to Transylvania, Count Dracula is never far from visitors' minds, and vampire fans are in luck when they arrive in Sighisoara. That's because Vlad Dracul, the inspiration for the Dracula myth, was born in the city in 1431. It's a humble place, and is happy to welcome visitors to see its Museum of Weapons, while you can even dine on Romanian fare in the ground floor restaurant (but go easy on the garlic). The highlight is definitely having the chance to see the bedroom where young Vlad was born and raised until the age of four, when his family moved elsewhere.
If you feel the need for a bit of nature during your stay in Sighisoara, a visit to the Breite Ancient Oak Tree Reserve is a must. Stretching over 74 acres on a grassy plateau, it's home to massive oaks that were just putting down roots when the Saxons arrived in the 1200s. Because of its ancient inhabitants, Breite is a biodiversity hotspot, and it's less than two miles outside the city center, so getting there by bike, car, or even walking isn't too hard.
Summer is the best time to visit, with festivals aplenty and fine weather for hiking, but spring and fall are also sublimely beautiful (and not too chilly).
Targu Mures (TGM) is the closest airport, around 30 miles to the north. Taxis from the airport cost around RON100. Buses take just over an hour and cost as little as RON5.
Trains run from Bucharest and Vienna. From the capital, the journey takes 4 hours 30 minutes and costs about RON50.
From Bucharest, take the A3 to Brasov, then the E60 to Sighisoara. If you are coming from Timisoara, take the A1.
MementoBus and Fany provide bus connections to Bucharest, at a cost of RON65.
A couple of the finest hotels in Sighisoara include the Hotel Central Park and the Casa Georgius Krauss.
Cetatea Sighisoara - the medieval citadel actually dates back to Roman times and has largely survived intact. It's a wonderful place to wander around.
Orasul de Jos - Sighisoara's "lower town" is now its commercial and accommodation hub. Check out great eateries like La Perla and the 17th-century architecture around Piata Hermann Oberth.
Strada Nicolae Titulescu - running north to the station, Strada Nicolae Titulescu is home to plenty of restaurants and some of the city's best nightlife.
There are local buses to outlying neighborhoods, but for most purposes walking will do just fine.
Expect taxis to cost around RON1.75 for the meter drop, followed by RON2.50 per mile.
Local car rental choices include Rent a Car Sighisoara, where you can find packages for RON60 per day.
As you walk around town, you'll find artists selling paintings and no shortage of craft stores. However, the best place to look is Piata Cetati at the heart of the citadel.
Supermarkets include Profi and Kaufland, where 12 eggs will come to around RON7.
If you want really good food in Sighisoara, head to the restaurant in the Hotel Central Park, which spans the globe, or dine in the Casa Vlad Dracul - which has been turned into an excellent eatery, serving hearty Romanian, German, and French fare. Expect meals to cost around RON40-50.