Adventures at the Beginning and the End of the Danube

During our travels through Europe, Lars and I have often crossed the Danube, the second-longest European river – the first one being the Volga. During its course of 2850 km, it flows through no less than 10 different countries, passing illustrious cities such as Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade.

The Beginning

The Danube starts its journey in the German town of Donaueschingen, located in the Black Forest (Baden-Württemburg), in the region of Freiburg.

The town counts about 22.000 inhabitants, who throughout the whole year welcome many tourists, eager to see the origins of the famous river, after which the town is named.

It’s at the confluence of two rivers – called the Breg and the Brigach – that Donaueschingen is located. This is the official source of the Danube.

The End

The mouth of the Danube is called the Danube Delta, which is located partly in Romania and partly in Ukraine. Wikipedia explains the Danube Delta as follows:

The modern Danube Delta began to form after 4000 BCE in a bay of the Black Sea, when the sea rose to its present level. A sandy barrier blocked the Danube bay where the river initially built its delta. Upon filling the bay with sediment, the delta advanced outside this barrier-blocked estuary after 3500 BCE, building several successive lobes:[5] the St. George I (3500–1600 BCE), the Sulina (1600–0 BCE), the St. George II (0 BC–present) and the Chilia or Kilia (1600 CE–present). Several other internal lobes were constructed in the lakes and lagoons bordering the Danube Delta to the north (Chilia I and II) and toward the south (Dunavatz).[6] Much of the alluvium in the delta and major expansion of its surface area in the form of lobes resulted from soil erosion associated with the clearing of forests in the Danube basin during the 1st and 2nd millennium.[7][8]

So far, only Lars has been lucky enough to visit the Delta, accompanied by his mother. Their exploration started near the Romanian village of Murighiol, which is really off the beaten path.

The trip started at 6 in the morning on a small boat and cost 80 euros for 3 hours. We were at the southern side of the Delta, whereas the northern side is actually the border with Ukraine. In the middle is a city called Sulina, the easternmost point of the country. The guide pointed out dozens of species of birds (and their nests), including pelicans.

It was so early in the morning that the clouds still had to make way for the sun.

As you can see from the pictures, the landscape of the Danube Delta consists mainly of water and wetlands. The area, however, experiences the driest climate of Romania.

Join us on a trip in another corner of Europe next time!

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