In the heart of Maramures, hidden between rolling hills and quaint villages, not far from the must-see Mocanita Steam Train, you will find the Barsana Monastery. I have called Maramures the keeper of traditions. This monastery, although only recently built, has kept tradition by constructing its buildings out of wood in the typical Maramures style. You will notice the wood is a light color, not yet darkened by the elements, as is the wood of the hundred-year old wooden churches dotting the Maramures landscape. Impeccably kept grounds with blooming flowers, beautiful architecture, a place of spirituality and peace.
The Danube is Europe’s second largest river. It flows from its spring in the Black Forest in Germany almost 3000km to the Black Sea in Romania. On its journey it flows through four European capitals: Vienna – Austria, Bratislava – Slovakia, Budapest – Hungary, and Belgrade – Serbia. So it’s really no wonder that the Danube has always played such an important role. Over 1000km of its journey is in or bordering Romania. It enters Romania at the Iron gates, where it has carved its way through the Carpathian mountains, then acts as a natural border between Romania and Bulgaria. It eventually heads north and as it flows into the sea forms the Danube Delta.
The Danube Delta is a significant biosphere, recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Organization. It is the largest and best preserved of all European deltas. It is a series of canals, islands, lakes, and marshes, whose borders and shapes change with every passing season and year. What is so special about this natural reserve is that it hosts over 300 species of birds, some migrating from North Africa and Siberia. But it is not just home to wildlife, but also to fishing communities whose traditional cultures are still alive since they have been somewhat separated from the rest of the world. There are many things to see in the Danube Delta.
As you visit the Danube Delta, you will probably start in Tulcea, the gateway into this corner of Romania. Here you can find the Tulcea office of tourism, accommodations, and boat tours. You can also reach a few other villages by road, such as Murighiol or Dunavatu de Jos. In every village you will find at least basic forms of accommodation if not beautiful resorts, delicious fish dishes, and boat tours. Most typically, tourists are taken with small motor boats on canals along the reeds, to small lakes where pelicans and egrets hide, to Lake Razim, the largest lake in Romania, or even to see wild horses. You might also choose to spend a few days in Sfantu Gheorghe or Sulina, the main towns in the Delta. There you will spend time by the sea, watching the long journey of the Danube come to an end, as it flows into the Black Sea.