Sulina is the largest village in the delta, first documented in AD950, with about 50% of the delta’s population living here. The novelty of being poised on the literal edge of Europe, is enhanced by the lighthouse (1870), the increasingly busy beach, and a modest 19th-centruy British cemetery.
Between 1880 and 1902 a canal was dug to shorten the length of the Tulcea-Sulina channel by 20km, cementing Sulina’s status as the delta’s main commercial port. After WWI Sulina was declared a ‘free port’ and trade boomed. Greek merchants dominated business here until their expulsion in 1951.
After a period of economic decay, an influx of cash has meant a total makeover for the riverside promenade. Newly cobblestoned and lined with bars, restaurants and services, you may briefly think you’ve been dropped off in a Delta tourist trap. However, step just one street back from the promenade and old Sulina is still there in all its dusty glory. Still it’s nice to have those markets though and the new ATM was a welcome addition.
Plans to start a maxitaxi (minibus) service from Sulina to Sfantu Gheorghe, the delta’s other prime destination, along the dike connecting the two cities, increasing mobility options greatly, were temporarily squashed after the summer floods of 2005. Though the dike is now passable, no maxitaxis are making the journey. You can hire a local car to drive you over to Sfantu Gheorghe, but this will probably be more expensive than just taking the ferry back to Tulcea and turning around and hoping the ferry to Sfantu Gheorghe.