- Location: Tulcea county of Romania
- Attraction Type: Delta; Bird Watching, Fishing, and Cruises
- Significance: Longest continuous Delta in Europe, UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Best time to Visit: Anytime throughout the year, however, the months between June and September are best for fishing.
- How to Reach: Start from Tulcea, which is a two hours drive from Constanta. Board a ferry to any of the villages or towns of the Danube Delta. You can take up accommodation at Tulcea or any of the villages. Tulcea Airport receives only chartered flights.
- Nearest International Airport: Constanta Kogalniceanu International.
The Danube Delta has a bio-diversity that can challenge the Great Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Island in variety. It is, therefore, no wonder, that the region, where river Danube that runs through seven different nations before finally draining into the Black Sea, is one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. A visit to the Danube Delta is a bird watcher’s idea of paradise. More than three hundred species, including hatching and migratory birds, inhabit this region. A great network of rivers, canals, and marshlands makes the Danube Delta a wonderful place to explore.
An Overview of the Danube Delta
The Danube Delta comprises of three distinct arms, each unique in its charm and offers a unique set of attractions.
The Chilia Arm: The Tulcea-Chilia Veche-Periprava tour is one of the most popular ones in the Danube Delta. It is the youngest and the most vigorous arm of the Delta and stretches over a length of 72 miles. Chilia Veche is an ancient settlement and dates back to Greek times. Once, it was an important port in the Black Sea and operated as a major point of contact between Europe and the East. Some of the major sites of this region are Lake Rosca and Periprava. Check out the exquisite pelicans in Lake Rosca, along with numerous egrets, storks, and geese. Periprava is home to an ancient habitation of sublime fauna. You will be amazed by the grandeur of the 500-year-old oaks, poplars, elms and ash trees. It is also the home of the indigenous Periploca, a tree of the Mediterranean.
The Sulina Arm: In contrast to the Chilia, it is the shortest arm of the Danube Delta. The swans and pelicans of Maliuc and the fishing villages of Crisis are the main attractions of this region. Accommodation is available at Mila 23, a canal created by British engineers, and the usual starting point of the cruise. Sulina is the terminus point of the journey and is a town with a large number of cultural and religious influences. The 25-mile long sand beach makes this place ideal for strolling and experiencing the myriad beauties of nature.
Sfantu Gheorghe Arm: Also known as the Bratul Sfantu Gheorghe, this arm stretches for about 67 miles. This is the place with the largest collection of heritage fishing villages. Mahmud, a place traditionally believed to have been visited by Sultan Mahmud, is one of the most beautiful settlements of the region. Do not miss out on Murighiol, with its famous basilica of Epictetus and Action, two of the earliest martyrs of the Christian faith. From Murighiol, move on to Uzlina and its wonderful biosphere reserve. Sfantu Gheorghe is also the best place to taste some authentic dishes of the region.
Things to do in Danube Delta
There are mainly two ways you can keep yourself engaged and entertained during your visit to the Danube Delta: bird watching and fishing. This is of course, apart from the wonderful nature and cultural tours that you can avail during your visit here.
Bird Watching in Danube Delta: Bird Watching is the most fascinating activity in the Danube Delta. In no other place in the world will you find such a heady variety of exotic birds in such heavy numbers. Although more than three hundred species of birds can be spotted in the region, some of the species that you must most definitely look out for are the white pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Small Egret, and Ferruginous Duck. Ibis and Red-Breasted Goose can also be found in abundance.
Fishing in the Danube Delta: Danube Delta has the largest continuous marshland in Europe. The canals, lakes and numerous water bodies make this place an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts. After bird watching, fishing is the most popular activity at the Danube Delta. June to September is the best time to fish in the Danube Delta, as you give yourself a better chance of landing a big one from among the 45 odd species that inhabit the waters. Pike, Pike Perch, Carp, and Cat Fish are some of the species that you can expect to catch.
The Romanian side of the Danube Delta was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1991 and is a strictly protected region. So, try to follow the local regulations and customs closely as you visit. Till very recently, the Delta was facing environmental threats, and so it is your duty to travel responsibly and in no way threaten the survival of this last existing major European Delta.
Travel and Accommodation in Danube Delta
The best way to travel in the Danube Delta is to book a conducted tour. Ferry services are regularly operated from Navrom. They ferry passengers from Tulcea to the various settlements and destinations all across the Danube Delta. Check the local ferry services before you start to book your seat and plan your trip likewise. A good idea, particularly if you are constrained by time, is to settle for a conducted tour.
There are a number of hotels as well as floating hotels in the Danube Delta. You can also take up accommodation in one of the private homes or BnBs of the various villages. Isabella, Mahmudia, Malic, Samova, Selina, Tulcea, Uzlina and Mila 23 are some of the places where you can find accommodation. You will find delectable food cooked by the local fishermen in almost any destination you reach in the Danube Delta. Do not forget to taste the representative Fisherman’s soup and Sawamura while you visit the delta.