Today we are headed to the south of Romania, and go to Dobrudja, where we expect to find a fascinating history, gorges of rare beauty, centuries old monasteries, and the Danube Delta Biosphere reservation. We start from the county seat, Tulcea, aka 'the city at the Danube's gates', to some of the most interesting tourist attractions in the area.
Horia Teodorescu, Tulcea County Council president, told us that the gates of entrance into the Danube Delta, Murighiol, Mahmudia, and Jurilofca, are within Tulcea County limits, and are destinations in themselves. We asked him how would the schedule for a tourist would be if one were to visit Tulcea County:
“I would put them up in the city of Tulcea for a day, in order to visit the tourist sites here: the Art Museum, the Aquarium, the Ethnography Museum, the Avramide House, and many other places that can fill an entire day. Then I would put them on a speed boat, there are many means of transportation, both public and private, and go to the Danube Delta. I think that Sulina, Mila 23, Crisan and the other localities have excellent places for tourist accommodation, where I would put them up and start trips throughout the Delta. A trip in the Danube Delta would be a priority in order to cover all the beautiful things there. We cannot talk about a day or two of travel, because that would not be enough. Letea Forest, Caraorman, Sulina, and the Old Lighthouse here, about to be finalized as a tourist objective, the canals in the Delta, the villages there, with their traditions and local gastronomy, famous in Romania and abroad, would offer the tourists three days to have a pleasant stay and get special memories from the Danube Delta. We can include in the schedule bird watching, boat rides, with electric boats, or high capacity engine boats. Of course, the tourists would be accompanied by guides. We managed to raise the bar in this area, and have highly trained guides, who can offer lots of information.”
Everyone thinks of the crown jewel, the Danube Delta, but Tulcea County can offer other extraordinary destinations, which are worth putting in a vacation schedule. Horia Teodorescu, Tulcea County Council president, recommends a trip through the least tall mountains in Romania, but full of life, the Macin Mountains. With an impressive history, they are believed to have been part of an ancient chain of mountains that were 3,000 meters in altitude, which crossed Europe from west to east. All that is left of them are the hills of Dobrudja, Scotland, and Brittany. There are several tourist trails, most of them of medium difficulty. Here is Horia Teodorescu:
“Tulcea County can offer tourists a diverse range of tourist objectives, some of them unique to the area. We have the monastery triangle, with three extraordinary sites, Celic-Dere, Saon, and Cocos. Also, you can visit wine cellars in Tulcea County, and you can start with Macin Cellars and Niculitel Cellars for tastings. We have a series of very important wine making sites, such as Babadag and Baia. We shouldn't forget the Macin Mountains. From my point of view, they offer excellent opportunities for outdoor activities, such as mountain biking and trekking. They are Romania's oldest mountains.”
One of the best features of Tulcea County is its multicultural character, as Horia Teodorescu told us:
“Regarding this, we've had for three years in the city of Tulcea an association for destination management, which has done a good job of promoting our county. This association, and NGO, focused on promoting multiculturality and the multiethnic aspect. We have 16 minorities that live together in perfect harmony. We have been mentioned as an example of good communal living and best practices, even at the European level. Hence the gastronomy component, of traditions, those of the Lipovan Russians, Ukrainians, Aromanians, Greeks, and Italians, for instance.”
Tourism remains a priority for the local authorities, as Horia Teodorescu told us:
“In Tulcea County we have a strategy designed by the World Bank, with two major components for development. The first is tourism. We have managed to identify the priorities that we can contribute to and develop tourism. This generated support for some large scale accessibility projects. I am talking about a bridge, an expressway, the health area of the County Hospital, and an airport. A tourist should have an easy time getting to a destination, in a short time, in good and cheap conditions. Now we have a project that we hope to run in two or three years for accessibility to the Danube Delta: new, nature friendly ships. It is a large scale project that we believe will raise the standard for tourism in Tulcea County. One thing is clear: we have to do what great countries with great history do in terms of tourism.”
The final invitation is extended today by our guide, Horia Teodorescu:
“You should never miss any opportunity to visit our county, with all the offers that I tried to present in such a short time. I invite tourists here wholeheartedly, they will not regret it, they have extraordinary things to see, so I welcome everyone here. Maybe in two years we will manage to finalize this gateway to the Delta, the Port of Tulcea, about to be rebuilt with the new investment.”
Tourist agencies can provide you with updated schedules for accommodation and visiting. One last thing: the spring season is the best one for visiting the Danube Delta.