Danube Delta Duet: Ukraine and Romania

One Delta: Two countries Very few people realise that the Danube delta actually straddles the border between Romania and Ukraine, and that both sides are designated as a cross-border Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Together with our Romanian partner, Tioc Reisen, we bring you the uniqe chance to exp...

City: Odessa

Country: Ukraine

Danube Delta Duet: Ukraine and Romania

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival in Constanta (or Bucharest). Transfer from Constanta to Tulcea by bus with a stop at Histra, an ancient Greek settlement; We continue our route to Tulcea. Tulcea the main gate for enter the Danube Delta. Arrival in the evening at the floating hotel (equipped with DBL cabins, each with toilet, AC, bar-restaurant, all facilities which ptovide a full comfort). Regional dry white wines, fish specialities will complete this evening. Accommodation on board.

Day 2: Depending on the water level we will be birdwatching at Sireasa, Garla Sontea, Crinjala, Lake Fortuna and Lake Martinica, were a sea cormorant colony can be observed. Lunch will be served on board. Afterwards we will attempt a hike to a former fish-farm. Many species of birds can be observed here. Leaving for Crisan with the floating hotel. Dinner and overnight stay are on board of the houseboat.

Day 3: On our way back to Tulcea we will pass mila 23, a typical fishermen village in the middle of the Danube Delta. Many species of birds as well as beautiful landscape are to be seen in this area from the sun deck. Arrival at the Baclanestii Mari lake. Dinner and accommodation on board in Tulcea.

Day 4: After breakfast we will make a tour by small boats on the Baclanestii Mari lake. Lunch on board and departure for Tulcea. Dinner and accommodation on board.

Day 5: Morning birdwatching to deciduous forests near Tulcea. Afternoon crossing of Danube by boat from Tulcea to the ancient fortress city of Izmail on the Ukrainian bank. Situated on a high bluff overlooking the Danube, Izmail is strategically located to guard and control the upper reaches of the Kilia branch of the Danube - an area once known as Bessarabia. Today, Izmail is a river port and market town striving to restore its former glory. We will spend the night in Izmail, and have a "Bessarabian" dinner at Korchma restaurant in Stara Nekrasovka. This village was founded by Russian Cossacks, and hosts the last geodetic point of the Struve Meridian - a geographic monument included on the World Heritage List.

Day 6: We will take an excursion to the "Lake District" of Ukraine. The upper or primary Danube delta is dominated by two huge floodplain lakes: Kugurlui and Yalpug, along with a somewhat smaller but still impressive Lake Kartal. Much of the area is designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Kugurlui and Kartal are separated by a finger of slightly higher ground which has long been used as a route across the marshy tracts to the Danube. We will have a picnic at this peaceful site by the riverine forest where many birds sing, though the Russian Empire army monument and the remains of the Soviet Union border fence will remind us of more turbulent times. Our meal will feature traditional Moldovan food, accompanied by a local troupe who will entertain us with their folk dances and music! In the afternoon, we return to Izmail to visit to the site of the fort (now a park) and an Orthodox Monastery. Our good friends at the Monastery will proudly show off their cellars where they store their locally produced food and drink (including a rather tasty wine) and serve us a simple but excellent dinner in the Refectory. Accommodation in Izmail.

Day 7: Today we travel alongside the Danube to Vilkovo. En route we will pause in Kilia (the oldesa recorded settlement in the delta) to enter the "sunken church". In Vilkovo, we will take a walk in the old town, alongside the leafy canals where the pavements are made from elevated wooden boards. Next, we board our traditional "Chaika" boats to float downriver into the delta proper. The enormous Kilia branch is both the youngest and most energetic of the Danube's three arms, enclosing numerous islands, lakes and countless arterial channels in it's embrace. We will allow to carry us to the Black Sea shore, to the "0" km marker where the delta ends (or begins) in a serene sweep or white sand, separating the sky from the sea. A multitude of pelicans, herons and cormorants loaf around, oblivious of the river's course from its source in the Black Mountains. We will return upstream for our meal of fresh fish, with delicious garlic sauce and a glass of the local "Novak" wine. The meal will be served at a traditional garden on the levee, where you will see how the Vilkovans can make a fair living from growing fruit and vegetables in the rich soils. We return to Vilkovo in the late afternoon and head for Stara Nekrasovka for dinner. Accommodation in Izmail.

Day 8: Our journey continues as we head northeast to Odessa. We will call in at one of the oldest towns in Ukraine (recorded in 7 century BC): Belgorod-Dniestrovsky, built on the western shore of the Dneister liman. It is the site of the large, well preserved Akkerman Fort, straddling a former silk route from Central Asia into Western Europe. On the outskirts of Odessa we shall enter the catacombs. With a total length of some 3000 km they are the most extensive network of tunnels in the world. And last and not least, we will stroll in the beautiful city centre: founded as the last redoubt of the Renaissance era where the skills of Italian architects, Belgian planners, Polish builders, Jewish traders, British engineers and French administrators combined to create a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere. We will cap the day with a sumptuous dinner at a lively Ukrainian restaurant. Accommodation in Odessa.

Day 9: Departure from Odessa to Reni and Tulcea.

Day 10: Departure from Tulcea to Constanta (or Bucharest).

Price: 1199 Euro per person

Price includes: Meeting group in Constanta (or Bucharest) and transfer to Constanta (or Bucharest), accommodation, meal, transport servicie, excursions (according to the programme), english speaking guide.

Not included: air fares, visa costs, travel insurance, personal expenses.

Further information:

Salix Nature Tours

14 Torgova str., Odessa, Ukraine,
Tel. +38(048)7289738, +38(048)7289737
e-mail: ask4more@salix.od.ua
www.salix.od.ua

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