The Danube is the second biggest and longest river in Europe and it took me over 35 years to finally see it for the first time and...
to fall in love with it!
I was born and raised in Germany and I've seen quite a bit from Germany already, but not the Donau. Donau is what others call Danube and I still don't understand why you give places a complete different name than the original. Why do the Italians call Munich “Monaco”. Monaco is a state at the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by France and it is not a big city in Southern Germany. So why not call it Munchen or at least similar “Munich”. My name is Melvin and that stays, no matter where I go. So why not do the same with places?
OK, back to Donau - the Danube river. :)
I've finally seen it, not in Germany, but in Serbia and right from the first moment I really loved that river!
We visited the Smederevo Fortress, just outside of Belgrade and we climbed the walls and there I’ve seen the river for the first time.
The river is already very wide at that spot and seems to float slowly and elegant its way towards the Black Sea. The Danube got a total length of 2,857 kilometers and in Serbia you’ll find the widest, deepest and also narrowest parts.
The Smederevo Fortress was the capital of Serbia in the Middle Ages and nowadays the grounds are still used for festivals, fairs and concerts. In the inner walls is a stage with a great acoustic. It’s now on the tentative list for possible nomination as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. I'm sure it will get listed.
From there we drove towards the Derdap National Park and the Iron Gate. We stopped and had lunch at Golubac and here the Danube is around 8 kilometers wide. It does not seem like a river, but more like a big lake or a bay. If you drive further you enter a huge and long gorge.
This is where it gets even more beautiful, so have you cameras ready and some time for a few photo stops and….
One stop should be the Golubac Fortress, which lies right next to the river and at the beginning of the gorge. When we were there, it got rebuilt and you could see that it’s going to be a little highlight very soon. The road goes through the ruins right now, but soon the traffic will be redirected through a tunnel next to it. Without the construction work, it will be very picturesque. It also seems to be quite popular spot for selfies, as you can see in the gallery on the right. I tweeted that picture and got right away a similar one as a reply from someone else. :)
Then include some time for one of the oldest settlements you can still visit. Scientists assume that the Lepenski Vir settlement is up to 12,000 years old! What surprised me most was, that they didn’t find evidence of any wars for a time period of around 2,000 years. No marks of violence between tribes or similar. Sounds unbelievable, right? Sadly it seems impossible nowadays.
And then there is this stunning building around it, which protects the remainings from rain and sun. There is this massive glass roof, which you would not expect when walking towards the entrance coming from the car.
At the parking space is also a nicely located restaurant, which invites for a drink, snack or ice cream before heading further.
If it’s summer time, it can get VERY hot, up to 40°C and then you might appreciate to cool down, so bring your bathing stuff and stop at the local "beach town" Donji Milanovac. Here you can dip into the Danube river, though I would not recommend to swallow the water. There were already a few bigger cities upstream and quite a lot of people seem not really to care about keeping their environment clean. Still, I couldn’t miss the chance to say, that I swam a few meters in the Danube river and just used the shower afterwards a bit longer. :)
With so many points to rest, you should be ready for a small hike. It’s totally worth to climb up the hill 45 minutes to see the Danube’s narrowest and its deepest part from the top. Check the marker’s position on the map on the right. Exactly there you will spot a small path, which will get you to the top. You will get this amazing view and feel like the ruler of the Danube. You’ll spot all the little vessels beneath you, cruising along.
That’s actually another highlight you should not miss.
Get yourself on a boat and explore the Djedap gorge on the water.
It gives you a complete different perspective and you can relax from the hike you just did. Local captains will show you the waterway, which includes the Chipul lui Decebal, which is a huge sculpture of a head, built into stone on the Romanian side of the river. And then there is Tabula Traiana, a remaining of the Trajan's Bridge, which belongs to the old Roman road towards Constantinople.
If you start early, you can do all of that in a day and you deserve a place with an awesome view afterwards.
We stayed at Kapetan Misin Breg. It’s a small accommodation with only a few rooms, run by a couple who turned their garden into an art gallery. Their place is on top of a hill, overlooking the Danube river, providing an awesome view. The rooms are very simple, clean and with around € 10-15 very affordable. You come here to rest in the garden and to refill your body with energy. Have a delicious dinner, enjoy the view and afterwards a beer or wine at the fireplace, while looking down onto the Danube river!
Travel tip shared by Melvin for Travel Dudes.