Our last full day in Romania and from photo spot scouting yesterday in Sibiu, half a day is enough so we decided to take a day trip to Corvin Castle, around 1.5 hours away. The castle opens at 9 AM so we left at 7:30 AM and got there just before it opens. We took the A1 motorway to get there and that is a truly “highway” instead of passing through the residential areas.
From looking at photos online, the castle gave me an impression of nesting within mountains and forests. When we got off the highway and then through an industrial looking town, according to Google Maps, the castle is only 5 minutes away; it didn’t look right to me. Google Maps is leading us to turn into a road that has a sign that is closed so we keep going and then saw the castle, we just passed it. We turned back and saw a car coming out of that road so we drove in. There’s no parking lot and looked like a dead-end street. We parked on the side like other cars do and then walk in through entrance gate. There it is…Corvin Castle!
The ticket office (a booth) is located on the right side before the bridge entrance and we purchased the ticket for 30 Lei each (~7 USD) and they accept credit card, surprise surprise (unlike Peles Castle). Few more minutes before the castle open so we walk around and right across from the ticket booth is the Torture Exhibition but we are not interested in that. However, Jason wants a pic LOL!
We saw a tour group coming so we walked to the bridge entrance to be the first ones in line. The security guard said to scan the ticket, I was thinking but the castle is not open yet? He was kind enough to let us in before 9 AM!
Yay first ones in without any other visitors, how special is that? Our 24-70 mm lens was just wide enough to frame the whole castle and part of the bridge……Jason once again reminded me that we need to bring our wide-angle lens on the next trip!
The interior is rather empty and very stony looking.
A Gothic-style hall:
Stairs to halls and towers…
The view looking out from a window in one of the towers….look how it ruined the fairytale atmosphere -.- There is an ugly concrete complex being built right next to the castle!
You can see the construction of the tower here.
By the time we walked through all those halls and rooms, a lot more tourists arrived.
There’s not much to see inside the castle but it’s okay for the admission price. The exterior looked much more interesting so more photos with it!
We left and drove back to Sibiu before lunchtime and walked to the Old Town for more beautiful photos of Sibiu with blue sky 🙂
The most photogenic spot, in my opinion, is this spot right next to The Bridge of Lies. I couldn’t get enough photos of it! I love the colorful houses and the cathedral tower as the backdrop!
On The Bridge of Lies and an eye was watching over me that I didn’t lie hahaha!
It was finally lunchtime and we had lunch at the Italian restaurant – Tango Restaurant & Pub. I ordered the seafood spaghetti, it looked nicer than it tasted but acceptable.
Jason ordered a seafood spaghetti too and also a salmon with peppercorn sauce. The salmon tasted much better.
After lunch, it was time to burn some calories. We went to Gothic Lutheran Cathedral to climb its tower. As the cathedral is closed for renovation, we walked around the whole perimeter of the cathedral and found the ticket office, it is just a room on the side of the cathedral. The lady inside is very nice and spoke good English. We purchased the ticket for a small admission fee of 8 Lei (~1.90 USD) and she pointed us to the entrance of the tower which is the other side of the cathedral.
The tower entrance is small and an old lady sitting there to check for the ticket. It’s not obvious as the cathedral is covered with construction fences but there’s a small entranceway that is not blocked that you can get in. It’s on this side of the cathedral:
I guess not many people know that the tower is still open during renovation so we were the only ways in there! As like other towers, we climbed so many steps to get to the other…..really not that bad though since the tower is not that tall.
At the top of the tower, there are four little towers and each has windows that you can open to take photos without through a layer of glass like at the Council Tower. Views from up the tower were so worth the climb!
After the tower, we walked down to the lower section of the Old Town through the stairs behind the cathedral.
Another way to get up to the Old Town through those arches and stairways.
Next, we went to the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
We were surprised on how beautiful the interior is….it’s all covered by paintings!!!
I took a panorama photo to show every inch is covered with arts, you need to see it yourself!
The back of the cathedral; it’s hard to get a whole view of the cathedral exterior because of the houses on the street blocked it.
Back to the busy shopping street.
And to the other side of the Old Town where the city gates are located. Here, the Potters Tower and a lot of graduates there taking their graduating photos.
Next to the tower is the Thalia Concert Hall.
The surprise find was this colorful section of the street (Strada Cetății) where the Pardon Cafe is located. I love the bright colorful houses…isn’t that pink building matches my dress?
A cute bicycle with an alarm clock on the wall.
Another wall with an old fashion clock!
Then, we went back to the Piata Mare (Big Square).
And then to our favorite spot, a band was playing there.
Behind Piata Mica (Small Square) is the Goldsmith’s Square Passage that looked very pretty in shades of pink.
Look at the date…..1868!!!
More pictures of The Bridge of Lies.
Underneath the Bridge of Lies:
For dinner, we went back to Old Lisbon. We ordered a seafood soup and it has a lot of ingredients including a big shrimp.
Both of us ordered the seafood rice.
Dinner cost 175 Lei (~$41 USD). After dinner, we hang out at the Big Square to relax and absorb the atmosphere to say goodbye to the wonderful Sibiu.
Overall, our short visit to Romania was really enjoyable, the only downsides were Payless car rental (do not rent from them) and the food; their cuisine is way too salty and heavily meat-based. The locals are friendly, we felt very safe, easy to navigate around, and not crowded except for Peles Castle. My recommendation is to get there before it gets popular and overtake by tourists 😉 A long weekend is really not enough to see all Romania has to offer, we didn’t get to see the famous Moldovita Monastery and the painted churches at the northern part of Romania.
For the flight home, Blue Air canceled our Bucharest to Cluj-Napoca flight weeks prior to our trip so we drove to Cluj-Napoca to return our rental car and catch the Cluj-Napoca to Dublin flight. The Payless rental car office at Cluj-Napoca is a joke! It’s a parking lot hidden by closed gates that you’ll be sure to miss it even though they provide a drawing of the location. We drove around that busy main road a few times before we figured out the location and then a few attempts to get in safely. Once we were in there, we waited and waited for someone to stop by to help us with the return paperwork and drop us off at the airport. Yikes!!! The airport is quite small but it has a Priority Pass lounge where we had some snacks prior to our flight. And then the flight…..geez they only allow one piece of carry-on (instead of a carry-on and a personal item that majority of the airlines allowed). Luckily, Jason was able to squeeze his camera backpack inside his carry-on luggage! That was our battle and we safely made it home from the land of Dracula 😉