Although I visited a huge part of Romania, I have never reached Gura Portiţei.
This area consists of more fishing villages lived by Lipovans.
What are Lipovans?
Lipovans are mostly Russians who settled in the Danube area, in Romania.
They migrated from Russia in the 18th century, when the Patriarch Nikon changed the Russian Orthodox Church rules in 1652. They refused the new changes and carried on worshiping in the “old ways”. In that sense, they continued to speak Old Russian language, kept their beards and worship ideas. The Russian government and the Orthodox Church persecuted them, and as a result, some committed suicide by burning themselves, and many other being forced to emigrate.
They settled along the Prut River in Moldavia and in the Danube Delta. They have maintained strong religious traditions of the Old Russian Orthodox Church.
How do they look like?
They are tall, bony with long beards, light eyebrows and cold blue eyes. They are wearing boots of good quality leather boots, flowery shirts, long black pants and wool colored belts.
Women looked strong, are dressed in colorful skirts and long sleeves blouses and wear bright flowered kerchiefs. The girls wear scarves on the shoulders. They had long hair, that was kept in thick tails that were braided with silk ribbons.
Although they are not living like in the old times and they are not the majority here, you can still notice the cultural differences.
A little history of this area
Over 1,000 years ago, between the Danube and the Black Sea, alluvial deposits formed a huge lagoon. In time, with the proper conditions, the formation of isolated lakes began. And great cultures started to construct here many citadels. Starting with old Greeks, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans. Along the shores of these lakes you will find the traces of great civilizations.
One of the lakes in this logon is called Galovita.
In 1970 an artificial sand barrier was created between Galovita Lake and the Black Sea, in order to increase fish production and enlarge the irrigation system. So a strip of sand between the Sea and the Danube Delta was created.
Now this place has become one of the most exotic places of the Romanian seaside.
And on this strip of sand, there is only one resort, called Eden – Gura Portiţei, which was established in 1970 and was at the time the first Holiday resort in Romania.
How to reach it?
Gura Portitei is about 50 km away from Tulcea. You can reach Tulcea by car either from Bucharest airport or Mihail Kogalniceanu airport.
Gura Portitei can be reached either by boat or car, on land:
First, you have to reach Constanta and then to take the road to Tulcea and from here you will have to reach Jurilovca village.
The village can be reached by car also from Mihail Kogalniceanu airport.
The car can be left in Jurilovca port, in the parking, in exchange for about 1 Euro/day.
In this port there are 2 boats that leave to Gura Portitei:
- The public boat
The boat leaves 3 times a day and the ride lasts for about 1.5 hours. Thiais an unique opportunity to admire the beauty of the Danube Delta.
To Gura Portitei boat leaves at: 09.00am, 2.00pm, 6.00pm
About 13 Eur/person. Round trip price.
- Private boat
A much faster alternative would be a fast boat that can carry about 8 persons. You can reach your destination in about 15 minutes.
To Gura Portitei boat leaves at: 09.00am, 2.00pm, 6.00pm
About 111 Eur/for 8 persons. Round trip price.
The road starts from Constanta towards Vadu village.
In Vadu a short stop is recommend to ask for directions from locals, as there are no signs. For taking this road to Periboina village, a 4×4 vehicle is required because it a rough one. From here you can go just on foot till Gura Portitei.
This is an adventure and it is recommended to those who are not in a hurry and it is better to be guided by a local.
We arrived by car from Bucharest to Jurilovca port in exactly three hours and we took a fast boat. We arrived in 15 minutes at Gura Portitei.
The ride was amazing. Passing the Galovita Lake you can see around you the riches of the Delta: the vegetation, the birds, the scenery.
As soon as you approach Gura Potitei, you start to see white and blue houses, covered with a thick layer of reed.
Soon we stopped in the old fishing pier and we immediately took a few steps to see the place.
Here you can find large beaches, having umbrellas made of reed, under which you could shelter from the burning summer sun.
Not far from the beach there is an island connected by a bridge. It is a very green island that has 15 villas. Some have their own porch on the lake, making them ideal for fishing or just relaxing.
Gura Portitei is surounded by the Danube’s channels. Making this place unique.
We came here in September, when the low season has started and we stayed for one night at the Villa Pescareasca (Fishermen Villa).
Where to stay?
Well, here there is only one hotel here, but it offers several types of accommodation: from camping like cottages with a shared bathroom to villas with or without direct access to the lake or beach. Pricing starts from 17 Eur/night to 130 Eur/night with full board.
For longer stays (more than 2 days) the hotel also provide free parking in Jurilovca, transfer, sunbeds, hydro bicycles.
The resort has a swimming pool and a beach bar, which are very useful. There are playgrounds for children. Hydro bicycles just waiting to take them out for a spin along the tiny Danube channels.
But please keep in mind that this place is very rustic and close to nature. So you won’t find luxury here.
Some of the houses are refurbished but some are not. So pay attention and ask for a refurbished one.
Also the beach is full of shells, so you won’t find fine sand. It is as rustic as it can be.
Our room in Villa Pescareasca was refurnished and had a lovely porch straight on the beach, surrounded by trees, offering the much needed shade. White furniture gave it a romantic touch. It was just perfect.
When to come?
In Romania, summer is the most enjoyable period for the sea side. But starting with late May up to the end of September you can enjoy it perfectly.
The first day, we have enjoyed the sun, sea and beach away from the busy everyday life, but in the evening we had a surprise. Some lovely songs were coming from the restaurant terrace. We could not resist and we went there to see the show.
Every Saturday evening, a divine chorus of Lipovan women, were singing here. They were singing Old Russian songs.
And our evening ended on the porch of our room, on the beach in complete relaxation.
Morning came quickly. It was an unusual morning. When I opened the door, everything was shrouded in fog, you could barely see three meters away. This fog was coming from the sea.
With a freshly made coffee I sat on the floor of the porch, I sank my feet in the sand and I enjoyed the bird songs.
What to eat?
Here there is only one restaurant. So you will be forced to eat whatever they are serving. And they are serving local cuisine.
To get a full flavor of the local cuisine you can sample some Danube herring, grilled sturgeon fish and zander croquettes, tastily washed down with Muscat or Merlot wines.
Or you can try the local version of Russian borsch prepared fresh by fishermen.
Unfortunately the prices here are way above the normal prices in the rest of the region.
What to do here?
Keep in mind that this is mainly a place to relax and to enjoy nature.
- Just relax by the sea side
Just enjoy the sea side in a remote place away from the civilization. You will be surrounded only by the sea and the Danube Delta, so it is a chance to relax in a unique paradise like nowhere in the world.
Did u know that Danube Delta is the largest compact reed area in the world?
It spread over 1750 square km.
- Enjoy old Russian live music
Women were dressed in traditional Lipovan dresses, and they echoed their songs of joy and good cheer. They are the lipovans, Old Russian that moved in this parts long time ago. They are still keeping their ancient traditions.
They are actuality people from the Jurilovca village just across the Galovita Lake. You will love it.
- Go fishing
If you fancy this type of sport, well, here is the perfect place. Danube Delta is the richest fishery in Romania. So you have all the reason to try it.
- Wonder around Danube Delta
From the resort, you can ask for organized tours around delta.
The Danube Delta is formed by a complicated network of waterways and lakes divided between the three main estuary channels of the Danube. This area of floating reed islands, forests, pastures and sand dunes covers 3,000 square km and is home to a fascinating mix of cultures and people as well as a vast array of wildlife. So you are in the middle of everything.
- Stroll along the delta’s channels in a hydro bicycle
You can rent a hydro bicycle and wander around wherever you want around the delta’s channels.
It’s a special experience.
Gura Portiţei is certainly a piece of heaven and I liked it very much, but there are some more things to be done in order for this resort to reach perfection.
Don’t forget that this is a simple place, close to nature and the accommodation conditional are limited and basic.