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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

Danube Delta, Sfantu Gheorghe

The Danube Delta is definitely one of the most valuable treasures of Romania and one of the wildest places in Europe. It is the place where I would return every time with the same joy, being in the top of my favourite places in Romania. If you are passionate about ornithology and wild animals, it will be your favourite too :). At the moment of writing this article, I managed to visit only Sfantu Gheorghe, but in the future it will change because I have planned on visiting other places and to explore a bit more of the Danube Delta.


danube delta romania

Sfantu Gheorghe is a village located at the confluence of the Danube, the so-called Sfantu Gheorghe Branch, with the Black Sea. With just under 800 inhabitants, this locality has existed since the 15th century and was formed as a fishing village. Even today, fishing is one of the main economic activities of the place. The name of the village and later of the Danube Branch were given after the patron saint of the local church, that of Saint George (in Romanian, Sfantu Gheorghe). Part of the population is of Russian or Ukrainian origin, the so-called Lipovians, and I was very surprised to see that there are people, especially those of an older age, who speak Russian (especially when they don't want you to understand what they say).


HOW TO GET TO SFANTU GHEORGHE


The first step is to arrive in Romania. The biggest airport with international flights is the one from Bucharest. There are also international flights on Iasi airport and Constanta airport. From Bucharest, I reccommend renting a car. There is the option to arrive in Tulcea by train, tickets here.


Sfantu Gheorghe is a locality that can only be reached by water, departing from Tulcea, Mahmudia or Murighiol. If you choose to leave from Tulcea, you have parking right in the port, which is quite spacious. We found a parking space even in the middle of the season, in July. An amount of money is paid that can vary depending on how long you leave the car there.


Most of the time, the boat that departs from Tulcea also has stops in the other localities: Mahmudia and Murigiol. There are several companies that operate trips to Sfantu Gheorghe. If you choose the slower boats, the journey can take up to 5 hours, with the fast ones you will arrive much faster. The main companies that operate the sailing are Navrom and Interservice.


If you don't want any headache with organising a trip to Danube Delta, then book an organised trip leaving from Bucharest or leaving from Constanta.


ACCOMMODATION AND DINING PLACES


Sfantu Gheorghe is one of the places of Romania that have evolved a lot in terms of accommodation options, so you have plenty to choose from. Whether you choose to stay at a guesthouse, in the summer houses of the locals or at the well-known Green Village campsite, I am convinced that you will enjoy an authentic experience. As accommodation options, the best rated locations are: Deja Blue, Casa Carter si Casa Delta 106.


Usually, when you book accommodation, you are offered a meal, so you don't have to worry about food. There are two or three restaurants in the village, which have options for dining in and takeout. The food served, as expected, is based on fish, but they also have other options.


WHAT YOU CAN DO/VISIT IN SFANTU GHEORGHE


This village is small and quiet, where time seems to stand still. There are not many things to do, apart from enjoying nature, peace, wilderness and delicious food with various fish specialties. Below are the things you can do:


The beach in Sfantu Gheorghe, which stretches to Sulina, over a length of 33 km, is the place where you can relax and listen to the waves of the sea without being disturbed by the music specific to the beaches of other resorts in Romania. Being so long, you can choose to have a part of the beach just for yourself. The only disadvantage is that you have to bring drinks or food in your luggage. There is a place right at the entrance to the beach where drinks and snacks are sold, but if you go too far it may be too much to walk for just bying drinks.


Being so close to the Danube, the sea water is not that salty, and the villagers' cows come to drink water directly from the sea. The landscape is wild and rural at the same time.


The beach is located about 1 km from the village and you have the option of getting there on foot, or with a tractor trailer that makes regular trips from the center of the village. If you choose the first option, stay away from grassy and shaded areas because venomous snakes live in this area of ​​the country. I was quite close to stepping on one, trying to walk under the shadow of the high fences in the village. I was lucky that he got scared and ran away without biting me. Another negative part of the wilderness is the fact that when you enter the water, you feel some small creatures at your feet, like some small crustaceans (worms or something small, which you can't see, you can only feel), that move in the sand under your feet.

the beach in danube delta romania

In addition to standing on the beach, you can also enjoy flocks of birds that fly to their nests or are fishing above the water. They offer a show both during the day and towards the evening.

the beach in sfantu gheorghe village in danube delta romania

The village is surrounded by a magical atmosphere in the light of the sunrise. The best place to watch the sunrise is on the beach, obviously.

sunrise in danube delta romania

Boat trips on the canals is another activity that you can have in the Delta. We were near the island of Sacalin, a newly formed island in the Delta, which people are not allowed to approach more than 1 km. It is a protected natural reserve since 1938 and is the summer home of a huge colony of pelicans, but also of several hundred other bird species. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that I didn't have bigger lenses for my camera to photograph them. If you arrive in the area, don't forget to take your binoculars.


On this trip we had a special show with fish jumping out of the water in front of the boat, scared by its engine. Fishing is also prohibited in that area, and this can be seen by the multitude of fish. The lagoon completely conquered me, I really wanted to go back there, but writing this article I realize that now I want even more.


The boat trip was organized by the host where we stayed. Surely, from the accommodation you choose, you will be recommended someone who takes care of such trips on the canals and/or to the lagoon in the Sacalin area. Excursions can also be made to other locations in the Delta, including to Letea or Sulina, located a little further.


danube delta romania


sfantu gheorghe village from danube delta romania
Sfantu Gheorghe vazut de pe barca

Birdwatching near the village, an activity for which you do not need a boat, only binoculars and of course mosquito spray (it is absolutely necessary if you arrive in the Delta). We chose the area at the exit from the village. Right next to the campsite there is a canal, and on its edge we admired and photographed the birds.

sfantu gheorghe danube delta bird watching

the calmness of sfantu gheorghe danube delta

The place where the Danube flows into the Black Sea, which can be seen both from the pier area near the port and from the beach. It is interesting to see how the forest ends on either side of the Danube branch and a sea follows, seemingly endless of water. The Black Sea is somewhat lower in altitude compared to the Danube, and the landscape will be different seen from the beach, compared to the one on the Danube.


the flow of danube into black sea

CONCLUSION: The Danube Delta is one of the quietest areas of the country, the place where you go to recharge your batteries and enjoy the peace. As I said above, don't forget to take a mosquito spray. During the time we were there, they were very numerous and aggressive. I spent a week in the Delta, of which only 4 nights were in Sfantu Gheorghe, the rest were in the Macin area, where I visited Enisala Citadel, I made the route to Culmea Pricopanului and on the way back to Bucharest, I passed through the Dobrogei Gorges.


If you are wildlife lover, you like to see birds and animals in their natural habitat, not locked in a cage in a zoo, then you must read the article about the Farne Islands in England and why not, get inspired for your next trip. For more travel destinations and photos, you can follow me on Instagram, or you can subscribe to be up to date with the latest posts, only your email address is required. Thanks for reading! The text and images are protected by copyright law!

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