A Transylvanian Christmas market

By | Category: Travel destinations

As the Christmas market season draws closer, Sibiu in Transylvania is probably not one of those places to be found on your list of potential destinations.

Sibiu in the Transylvania area of Romania

Now that Wizz Air has commenced flights between Southend and the city it might start seeing a lot of Britons who regularly try and find different Christmas markets to visit.

The market opens on November 15th and runs until December 27th. Conveniently, Wizz Air starts its seasonal flights on the 15th but they don’t end until January 3rd next year.

Why consider Sibiu other than the direct air link?

Firstly it is in Transylvania, a name that conjures up mystery and a mixture of wariness and adventure.

Sibiu

Secondly the market is set in the Piata Mare grand square against a backdrop of baroque, art nouveau and renaissance style-buildings, and it is one of the biggest in Eastern Europe.

Thirdly it is different from the more German markets in having a concentration on Romanian products so you will see a different range of items on the stalls.

Fourthly, the market is covered by a canopy of lights and fairy tale-themed illuminations are beamed onto the surrounding buildings. A giant Ferris wheel has been added for the first time and children’s activities include workshops to craft candles and decorations, a big ice rink and miniature train. A full-size, hand-sculpted lime-wood nativity scene provides a striking centre piece underneath the market’s huge Christmas tree.

Finally the city has plenty more on  offer than just the market.

Highlights of Sebiu include one of central Europe’s oldest museums, the National Brukenthal Museum, and the ASTRA Folk Museum, which is Europe’s biggest open-air recreation of traditional village life and features old mills, wooden churches and traditional houses that have been relocated from across the country.

Astra Folk Museum

Sibiu is known as the gateway to Transylvania and visitors with time to explore more widely can go to Arena Platos (30 minutes), where the ski season starts on 1 December and day passes costs as little as £11 per adult.

For the most wintery experience, the glacier lake at Balea in the Făgăraș Mountains (90 minutes), has a cable car to takes visitors to a winter park that has a hotel, church and restaurant made from ice, and activities include skating, tubing and snowmobiling.

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