Sfantu Gheorghe is a small fishing village in the Danube Delta region of Romania. The village is located where the Saint George branch of the River Danube meets the Black Sea. I have so far spent 2 vacations in the village, both great stays and looking forward to the third.
The village is located on the side of the river and fishing and tourism is its two core industries. The harbour area is vill of small river fishing boats that are often in and out and practise traditional fishing methods. There are a few resorts in Sfântu Gheorghe including Green Village and many holiday rentals for self-catering.
We stayed in 2 different houses on our stay the first was a rather nice 2 bedroom home with a big garden and veranda as a dining area. It was very nicely decorated and even had an open roof area to sit can chill out in. The host/owner provided us with traditional local food cooked daily mid-afternoon, this consisted of a different fish meal served daily, often starting with soup.
The second was another home in a different part of the village and the same arrangement with food but also to include breakfasts. The garden in this one was smaller but had a kitchen and another bedroom in the outhouse.
There were loads of stray dogs in the village which has put me of taking my little one to avoid any problems. Most were pretty friendly but spotted the odd mean one picking on the smaller dogs. Most of these were used to people being about and minded their own business. That was unless you gave them a treat then you acquired a shadow for the day until the dog gets bored or spots a better prospect.
I had a few nice experiences with the strays including three of them sitting with me watching the sunset alone early one morning.
Another followed us s we were departing from the village to sit on a jetty and watch us leave, this was cute as hell.
The village has limited options for shopping including a supermarket, bakers, fishing boats and some bars with mini shops. The bakery was located in a thatched house nor the riverside and sold one type of bread, handy for me ordering with very limited Romanian. All that was required was a few fingers for numbers and a mulțumesc (Thank You).
The supermarket was a small one that sold the basics, meat, choose, dairy, bread, tins and confectionery. It had a great supply fo drinks both alcoholic and soft drinks that we regularly loaded upon. The staff here were friendly, one or 2 had very basic English but we communicated easily enough and shopping got done.
The fishing boats landing were a good source of fresh fish, buying straight off the dockside as a fishing boat lands.
There were a few bars in the village and all with outside seating areas, these were all good value even by Romania standards. These were friendly places but people mainly stuck to their groups, the strays sometimes popped in to say hello.
Terasă is a bar just near to the supermarket with lots of parasols on a patio and a micro-shop at the bar area. This one opened at 7:30 am for coffee, beer or food eventually closing up at 11:30 pm. We often got a few bottles at last orders and sat int he garden enjoying the holiday.
Cherhanaua Veche is a bar near to the riverfront and was a great place to watch river life go by. The pub has inside and outside seating and had a barbeque grill cooking food for guests. They also served nice ice cream as an afternoon snack.
There were plenty of other bars that we popped in, most were tiny but had the important ingredients like Ursus and Cuic.
Sfantu Gheorghe is not very easily accessible by car due to lack of roads and lots of channels to cross, some of which have ferries by having heard it is a challenge to arrive by car. We arrived the first time on a private speedboat loaded up with our bags and had a fun journey down the river from Tulcea. I blogged about this in “My Epic Trip To The Danube Delta”.
One another occasion we arrived on a boat by Navrom from Tulcea also. This is a boat that you can get tickets in the dock or online in advance. Other options to arrive include other small private boats from Tulcea, these often do Delta tours too. Sadly we could not identify any options to travel by sea from Constanta on the Black sea.
Sfantu Gheorghe Church
There is a small but pretty church in the village of the Orthodox denomination. It is located on the main sandy road in the village not far from the supermarket.
Sfantu Gheorghe Beach
The beach is a nice but long walk from the village along the sand road, crossing a river channel and sand dunes on the way. The walk took about 35 minutes at average pace when I timed it so I knew what time I would need to leave to see the Black Sea Sunrise.
Enterprising locals have 4×4 vehicles with trailers with seats in which you can skip the walk to the beach and ride in discomfort. A bouncy quick ride is ensured if boarding these. They are happy to be flagged down anywhere and was not an identifiable “bus stop”.
If walking, once you Exit the village you pass by a small army base, cross over a river channel with lots of reeds, you are in the sand dunes. This area has a few trees, look a bit like sandy wetland and is home to many wild birds, cattle and other wildlife. We had the privilege of seeing baby adders or European vipers crossing in front of us, something we had been hissed at earlier in the year in The Forest of Dean.
Once at the beach there are 2 bars selling beer and snacks including ice cream. These both had covered seating areas and were a nice place for shade just off the beach. Serenity On The Beach was my favourite fo the two and had much more comfortable seating and the staff spoke very good English.
The Beach had fine sand and had plenty of space to sit near the sea to sunbathe or have a swim. The sea was shallow with average waves and was warm in both June and late September. The shoreline god lots of driftwood, probably due to it being near to the end of the very long River Danube.
I very much enjoyed daytimes at the black sea, it was very hot but the bars provided a nice refuge for shade.
The beach is long, you can walk to where the St George branch meets the sea in one direction and goes on for miles to the north, possibly to Sulina, possibly a future walk for me.
Black Sea Sunrise
The sunrise on the black sea on St George beach was absolutely stunning and thoroughly enjoyable. I got up most mornings and made the 35-minute walk to see the sun come up. Sometimes the beach was quiet, other times there were a few photographers with tripods and a few taking Instagram shots of themselves.
I usually had a shot of tuica before leaving to wake me up and put me in a spiritual mood for the occasion. I took a diet cola drink or Ursus can with me to watch the spectacle. I attended on my own except for the one occasion that I had company which was eventful.
Sadly Serenity On The Beach wasn’t open for the sunrises as would be great to have a coffee and sit on their comfy chairs in the aftermath.
This became the favourite part of the day for me on my stay in the village but often led to a siesta later in the day.