Letea forest is a special tourist attraction. One cannot say one has visited the Danube Delta without visiting this wonder that is unique in the entire world.
Desert strips of land with vegetation that is typical of this kind of land alternating with forest strips of meadow secular oak trees, their sole adaptation being that they can grow on the thin layer of fertile soil covering the salty sands of the former sea bottom, along a vegetation that is characteristic for subtropical forests – this is Letea forest, the northernmost subtropical forest in Europe. Apart from the 10 species of orchid, asparagus and other subtropical plants, one can see here silver poplars, ash trees, linden trees and other trees.
The wild horses of Letea are of course a special tourist attraction from the animal kingdom of this natural reservation, which is the first one of its kind in Romania. In our tours we strive to find the horse herds grazing free on these meadows and in the woods and to familiarise you with these wonderful animals.
On site, our guides will tell you many other interesting stories about this place.
Our program for visiting Letea Forest begins in Letea village, which is the village in the Danube Delta that has best kept its traditional aspect. This is where many houses built in the local architectural style, out of clay, wood and reed are still standing, painted and decorated in the Lipovan and Hahol style.
This is where we get into SUVs and drive to the woods. Because we respect nature, we won’t get with our cars into sensitive areas but we leave them in a spot from which we can reach the sand dunes quite easily, which we will admire while walking ON FOOT (if you want a whole ride by car, please choose someone else, we won’t do that). We will see the old oak trees in the forest; we will tell you how they take on such odd shapes and then we go back to our cars on another path, on which we will show you a few rarities of the local flora. Depending on the season, the walking tour may vary in terms of time and distance. During the summer it is quite difficult to walk on hot sand for too long. Obviously, tours can be longer in the spring and in the autumn, as temperatures allow this, and the nature’s show is worth every extra step.
Tarla Popii – this is where we can see 2 of the old oaks of this forest. Although there are stories about the age of more than 1,000 years of these oak trees, scientific research has proven that they are between 300 and 600 old. The oak inside the forest had lianas on (Periploca graeca or silkvie) for a long time, as well as old man’s beard (Clematis vitalba), which rendered this place a very peculiar aspect, but ever since the invasion of ill-mannered “tourists”, which frequently came here attended by even worse mannered “guides” and wanted to have snapshots of them hanging from lianas, like their close relatives, the monkeys, these lianas broke and were torn. There are only a few feeble vines left, which have withstood touristic grossness and can still be seen.
Dunele mari (High Dunes) – Hasmacul Mare is the place where the highest dunes in the area begin (they were 13 meters high before the tourists’ invasion). Spectacular landscapes stretch beyond them, with strips of forest (“hasmac”) and strips of desert that make this place unique.
Dunele mici (Small Dunes) – The small dunes are closer to the road; they can be reached easily – you need to walk 10 minutes at most away from the road to reach them. Behind the dunes, there starts another spectacular landscape.
Fantana lui Omer (Omer’s Fountain) – At some point in the past there lived here a Turk called Omer and the remains of his house (hut) can still be seen close to the fountain. Since 2019, the access to this point has been prohibited because tourists together with some local “guides” had filled the fountain with plastic bottles and destroyed the area.
During spring – carpets of orchids stretch on green meadows, everything is of a vivid green and growing, which leaves an optimistic mark on the entire trip. Wild horses happily graze on fresh grass after the long winter that has passed. We can see the stallions challenging each other and even the first foals treading beside their mothers. The nice temperatures allow us to explore these unique places and photograph various species of orchids both on the meadows and in the shade of the woods (depending on the species). Our guides will show you where they grow.
During summer – With increasing temperatures, Letea changes and the contrast becomes more visible between the green forest areas and the brown shades of the desert areas covered in dry vegetation. Desert heat is easily perceptible as well as the cool shade of the forest, where you can experience all these sensations on the tour we make on foot, which covers both areas. You can admire the lush vegetation of the forest and the great diversity of its flora and you will be delighted by the song of forest birds.
Horses are more difficult to see now, during the day, because of the heat. They stay in the forest in the shade and graze mainly during the night.
During autumn – now, when temperatures drop and humidity increases, the vegetation enters a new stage of development and horses return to the meadows. Autumn flowers will delight you in contrast with the trees and the rest of vegetation that starts to wilt and prepare for winter. This nevertheless happens quite late in Letea as compared to the rest of the country. In September, everything is still green and only in the second half of October can one admire the autumn colours in the forest.
Obviously, you will see here amazingly beautiful landscapes during all seasons and you will be able to experience an area that is unique in the entire world, with atypical vegetation, a dessert in the water world, a desert in a forest and a forest in the desert. A world of contrasts.
We have seen many clients who were baffled at the sight of this forest. This is NOT a usual forest, do not expect that, it does not look like a mountain view or a village landscape or like anywhere else. It looks like Letea :-); as we have said, this is UNIQUE. This is an experience that you should not miss.
In order for the trip here to be successful, we really need you to read and comply with the instructions we will offer you concerning the personal equipment that you need. You should not come in slippers, fragile dresses or fancy clothes. Please come dressed for trekking, in clothes that suit the season.
Discover Letea Forest with our team!