Nowadays a small fisherman city and summer resort, Sulina had a vivid history. Due to her strategic position on the Black Sea, Sulina port was one of the most important ports on Danube. It housed the seed of European Danube Commission (C.E.D.) and was the first duty-free zone in Europe in the 19th century. It was also a starting point for British explorers who were mapping the delta in the 19th century. Many of the cites from that time still exist, not all in a good shape, but giving a glance of previous glorious times.
There are no roads to get to Sulina, so the waterways are the only way to get from mainland Romania. If you are traveling by car, it is wise to leave your car in secure parking lot in Tulcea harbor. Price is around 10 lei per day. There is a way to get your car in Sulina, but, it is very expensive and not practical. There is nowhere where you can use your car in the city.
From Tulcea there are two boat options: slow ferry operated by state company NAVROM, or any of the many speed boat companies. NAVROM ferry trip takes more or less about 4 hrs. Tickets can be purchased in Tulcea port or online, one way or return. There's no need to buy tickets much in advance; those ferries can take around 200 passengers. Departure time from Tulcea is once a day, at 13:30 and from Sulina at 07:00. Price for one way ticket is around 45 lei.
There are many speed boat companies doing Tulcea - Sulina - Tulcea transport. They have small boats, that can transfer not more than 20 passengers. Reservation, one day up front is very recommendable. Journey takes 90 min. Price is 60 lei for foreigners, 50 lei for locals. Earliest one is at 8 a.m. and the last one is at 4 p.m. (in the summer at 6:30 p.m.).
To reach Tulcea, it is very easy with the train or bus from Bucharest or Constanta. Check trains timetable and price for as well as bus timetable and price. Getting train tickets online will give you 5% discount on the price.
- 1 Orthodox church (Biserica Ortodoxă) (near the ferry terminal).
The lagoon to the north of the town
Visit the lighthouse for 5 ron. Open the double door at the top to access the open air terrace. A 36-month renovation of the lighthouse started in 2018.
Stop in at the multinational cemetery (free). It's divided into Christian, Muslim and Jewish sectors, and has many nationalities represented. Poles, Turks, Greeks, English, Germans, French, Italians, Romanians, Bulgarians and many others lived in Sulina back in its heyday. It's also the resting place for the Royal princess and prince of Moldova, and has a pirate grave too.
Take one or more boat tours around the delta. Tours last from 2h up to whole day, depending on the tour. There are many companies advertising on the promenade. The best way is to book your tour with your accommodation for couple of reasons. Many of them don't speak English at all, so you might get into an all-Romanian tour; if you get lucky you can get someone who will translate it for you on the boat. Another reason is not to be overcharged.
Spend the day exploring the delta with canoe or kayak. Rent one or take a guided tour.
Spend the day relaxing on the beach. There is a part of the beach with lounges, umbrellas, beach bar and a small fast-food place. Aside from that part, there is a wild beach, one of the best preserved wild beaches on Black Sea coast, with many birds and wild horses wondering around.
Party on the beach in summer nights. Sulina beach bar and nearby club are very popular during summer nights. Club is open from Thursday - Sunday and beach bar is open every night. It's very easy to reach from the city with taxi (cost 10 lei per car, one way).
Sulina has one big supermarket on the river promenade, and a couple more small shops on promenade and 2nd street. There is also one meat shop. They are very well equipped. Payment options are cash (Romanian Lei only) or credit card (Visa and Mastercard mostly, not so much American Express). If you want to buy fish, the best way is to cross with the small boat on Prospect island (crossing point is near Hotel Perla, one way cost 1 lei). When you get there, you will see a bridge on your right side. Cross the bridge and the first building there is the fish market. Getting there early (before 8 a.m.) gives you a chance to buy good, fresh fish. Prices are from 6 lei up.
There are two banks operating in the city, CEC Bank and BCF Bank. They are also exchange offices. CEC Bank requires a valid travel document for exchanging currency, while BCF Bank requires valid Romanian ID only. They close on every weekend and national holiday. There is also a post office in the city center. Exchange rates are a bit lower than the ones in Constanta or Bucharest. There are also 3 ATMs in the city center.
There are quite a few restaurants in the city, but try first to get a meal in one of the few homestay places. Locals will prepare for you a full lunch or dinner, three meals course with fish soup, grilled fish and traditional Romanian side dishes. The experience is priceless and the meal is unbelievable good. Price range is between 60 - 90 lei and must be reserved one day in advance.
Restaurants have good menus, and prices are very reasonable. If you are a breakfast person, keep in mind that breakfast in the restaurants is served until 10 a.m. There aren't many (if any) fast food joints in the city. Hot dogs are available, but nothing more so far.
- Casu Nicushor, Fifth Street, 14 (Strada a V-a nr. 14). The owner doesn't speak any English but his son does. They also offer tours of the delta. About €13 per person..
- Danube Delta Eco Hostel, Str. Arthur Popescu 12 (Prospect island, on the other bank), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small house refurbished as a hostel. Very basic, budget and mostly for young backpackers or nature lovers not looking for excessive luxury. There's a big yard for camping too. Offers a range of boat, kayak and bicycle tours as well as renting kayak/canoe options. from 50 lei.