Letea Forest, one of the fairy tale sceneries in Dobrogea
Letea Forest is located in the north-eastern part of Danube Delta, near Letea village, 23 kilometers northwest from Sulina. Letea Forest is the oldest natural reservation in Romania, dating back in 1938. A causeway links Letea to Sulina. Letea Forest starts from the northern part of Lebada village and stretches for about 3,200 hectares. It is the only place in Europe where you can see clinging plants.
From Tulcea to Sulina you can arrive only by water using the classic passenger ships or the fast ships and from Sulina to Letea you can travel both by water and on shore.
The access in the forest can be made only with attendant (an agent of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration) because it is a strictly protected area – otherwise, you risk a substantial fine.
Forest has developed from flat strips (‘hasmacuri’) in the spaces between the sand dunes and is made up of oak meadow, Grey oak, white poplar, ash meadow, white lime. A particular feature of the forest is the abundance of climbing plants: wild vine, hops, berries, tendril and last, but not least, the Greek clinging plant (Periploca graeca), that gives the forest a Mediterranean look. Over 2,000 species of insects were also identified, such as the sand viper (Vipera ursinii), the eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) – which nests here, three species of hawk, the raven, etc.
The most spectacular however are the old oak trees which have stood over the centuries. There are many exemplars which are 400 years old and a few which go for more than 700 years. You can also admire the approximately 2,500 wild horses which were used for agriculture around 1990 but after the communist period, along with the economic downfall in the area, many of these horses were set free. Although beautiful, these wild horses abandoned by the locals affect the virgin forest. The authorities try to eliminate them, because they destroy the forest. Until the local bodies will find a solution to protect both the horses and Letea Forest, Vier Pfoten Foundation brings annually tons of fodder for the horses and cut waterholes for the animals to drink during winter time.
Visitors can also see some high dunes, with fine white sand and, from place to place, stops are equipped with wooden benches where you can rest and relax.
Tourists who choose to spend a day in the area can also wander through the woods, visit Letea and Sulina villages where they can admire the lighthouse and the harbor.