Europe’s largest wetland – a birder’s paradise

Before the mighty Danube River meets the Black Sea, it spills out in a massive delta forming Europe’s largest wetland area that is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.


What to see

At 580,000 hectares, the wetlands are remarkably untamed and a vital home to nearly 300 bird species, including two types of pelicans, herons, storks, cormorants and terns. It is a favorite staging area for passing migrants and a wintering ground for birds from the steppes, boreal forests and the tundra’s of the north.

The Danube Delta contains parts of Europe’s very few remaining grazed mosaic forest landscapes, kept in a natural state by the wild horses and wild cattle. Soon, beavers will be back while golden jackal is one of the specialties to see here. Sturgeon, critically endangered for decades, have a stronghold here in the Danube’s protected waters.

As in many other areas of Europe, traditional livestock farming has become unprofitable and fishing communities here in this corner of Romania and Ukraine are amongst Europe’s poorest. Sustainable eco-tourism is gradually developing and can provide an alternative income, helping to ensure the Delta remains wild.

Our safari trips and expeditions include various adventures options. You can spend your days living aboard a boat cruising through rarely visited waterways, in a floating hotel or in a traditional locally owned guesthouse, heading out with expert local guides to explore the delta in search of animals. For more information visit europeansafaricompany.com.

Access from Romania

Airport access: the main airport is Bucharest, from there you need to travel to Tulcea, to the main entry of the area. You can rent a car or take a train (runs once daily). In Tulcea the tourists have to buy their Biosphere Reserve entry permits at the institution’s headquarters.

From Tulcea the access is mostly by water on the 3 branches of the Danube (Chilia in the north, Sulina in the centre and Sfantu Gheorghe in the south). There are regular passenger boat options, but also it is also possible to rent small motorboats for convenient transfers (outside normal passenger schedule).


Maps

Danube Delta general map was designed and kindly offered to Rewilding Europe by Ştefan Constantinescu, associate professor at Geography University in Bucharest. The first small batch printed on water-resistant photographic paper is now used by the Sfântu Gheorghe community as a useful tool for interacting with the visitors and a starting point for further exploration of the Delta.

Sfantu Gheorghe community trails map is the result of the close collaboration between the locals and the RE team in the Danube Delta. Several members of the community were consulted and after discussions, joint trips and debates about the impact of wildlife tourism in the area, the result is this. Available in both Romanian and English this illustrative map presents concisely where the local guides can travel with the visitors from 2 hour-long trails up to longer distances of 80 km.

Natural history & cultural heritage on the border with the Black Sea

The maritime Delta has the most dynamic natural processes of the area and for thousands of years they shaped the Shore Line Story. Find out more fascinating information about the role of sand dunes and the erosion in the winter months.

Another very interesting, but forgotten story is the one about the Milestones Route. It’s the old road connecting Sulina and Sfântu Gheorghe and it was used during the organization of the European Commission of the Danube was in place for 82 years. The local community, the mayor’s office and Ştefan Constantinescu, associate professor at Geography University in Bucharest, are working together now to restore two of the remaining milestones.

Rewilding Europe produced and commissioned the production of an outdoor panel, which will stand in the centre of the village, and it will tell these captivating stories to the visitors coming in the area.