In the last few years, Sfantu Gheorghe has become by far the most important attraction in the Danube Delta, much of its popularity being gained thanks to the ANONIMUL International Independent Film Festival that takes place here every August.
It is the best place to experience the natural wonders of the Danube Delta and join a huge outdoor event where you can meet both important names in the Romanian and international cultural world and teenagers having a great time at camp fires on the beach.
Sfantu Gheorghe is a small fishermen’s village situated right where the Danube meets the Black sea. It is the only village in the Delta where you can see both the Danube and the Black Sea at the same time.
It’s one of the most isolated places in the Danube Delta. It can only be reached by boat or, if you’re particularly adventurous, with a car from Sulina, a town 30 km to the north, which also can only be reached by boat. That’s great because in the whole place, you’ll only find about 5 cars, two of which are the “Trocarici” tractors that carry tourists from the camping to the beach.
ANONIMUL Film Festival
This was the sixth year for the ANONIMUL International Independent Film Festival and as I mentioned, for a week or two a year, it transforms Sfantu Gheorghe from the quietest spot in Romania to one of the most cosmopolite places in Europe.
It is the place where many talented film makers from all over Europe can present their movies to a mixed audience made of scholars, popular film makers and actors, cultural personalities, students and teenagers. And it’s all taking place in the open air! That’s why they call it “ANONIMUL, a festival on sand”.
Where can you spend the night?
For housing, you have a number of alternatives. My favorite is, of course, staying in a tent in the Delfinul (Dolphin) Camping. This is where they put the huge screen and project the movies at night. It’s got everything you need: showers, toilets, outlets, great atmosphere and lots of young people. There’s also a great open air bar and restaurant, where they obviously serve only traditional food! It’s perfect.
If you want a really comfortable bed but don’t want to miss out on the great atmosphere, you can rent one of the fifteen – twenty huts in the camping.
And of course, if you want five star comfort, you can rent a room in one the numerous villas in the eco-village right across the street. Every villa in there has everything you’d ever ask for top accommodation. They are right on the banks of the Danube River, have very nice ponds with nice bridges and great places to just sit and relax. It’s all very rustic and perfect for day dreaming.
What are some of the attractions?
The Sfantu Gheorghe Beach
Sfantu Gheorghe has one of the best and largest beaches in the whole of Romania. It stretches 30 kilometers, all the way to the Sulina beach to the north. It’s wild and basically untouched by man. It is situated about 1.5 kilometers east from the village and you have to follow a beautiful sandy road to reach it. It’s great for walking, but you can also take the Trocarici which will get you there faster.
The water is not very deep and you can walk for hundreds of meters and still touch the bottom. Most of the time, the water is actually sweet, not salty, because the Danube flows in the sea just around the corner.
If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a chance to see the wild horses roaming around.
The Modern Lighthouse
As soon as you set your foot in the village, you’ll notice the imposing lighhouse located in the east. The structure looks so good, that it gives you the impresson that it’s twisting.
Unfortunately, you can’t go up there. But just imagine the sight you’d get from up there… However, I had the chance to fly a plane in Sfântu Gheorghe, so I can tell you that it’s breathtaking.
I’ve no idea how tall it is, but it’s tall enought so you can see it from Sulina, for instance, which is 30 kilometers to the north.
On the other side of the Danube, going towards the Sachalin-Zătoane reserve, you’ll also have the chance to visit the ruins of the old lighthouse, which was built in 1865 by the Turks.
Sfantul Gheorghe Nature
Finally, the most important thing about Sfantul Gheorghe is that it’s surrounded by wilderness. Just south are the Sahalin Islands, the newest land in the whole of Europe. It is the beginning of a new secondary delta and the abundance of wildlife there is astonishing.
You can rent a boat from one of the locals who will gladly take you there. You will be amazed.
Well, that was the short story of Sfantul Gheorghe. I will expand on some of the subjects here soon. When you come here, make sure to leave only your footprints and help preserve this place.