Traveler's Test

Kayaking around the Danube islands in Bulgaria

Kayaking around the Danube islands in Bulgaria

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The challenge: explore the pristine, tropic-like Danube islands near Ruse, Bulgaria

High, panoramic spots along the Bulgarian banks of the Danube River – those places that give a wide view across the river with all its flows, sandspits and islands – are hard to find. You can find them in just a few places, such as Nikopol, Batin (Батин) and Tutrakan. But you will best understanding this feeling of infinity only while kayaking along the Danube River. The vast water has its own climate, scent and charm.

The islands near Ruse

Kayaking on the Danube, Bulgaria | © Maria Angelova/ 203challenges

The river islands, created by natural sand silt or silted sunken ships, are countless. Near the town of Ruse (Русе) there are 10, divided into 4 bigger island groups – Batin, Lyulyaka, Aleko and Mishka. They can be reached by tourist kayaks, fishing boats, yachts or small ships, as well as rafts (rafts are best organized in Tutrakan). The islands are the perfect nesting place for water birds, such as white and grey herons, cormorants, sea eagle. In summer, when the level of the river drops, the sand silt, which forms the islands, comes to the surface. Wide beaches of fine sand appear, creating a unique view. The next year those peculiar dunes will be somewhere else – they move and travel along this truly living river.  

Kayaking on the Danube, Bulgaria | © Maria Angelova/ 203challenges

Adventure with a kayak and a cause

The Danube, however, carries not only sand. It carries also slime and garbage. The slime is a natural product and settles down, but the garbage gets stuck to the islands. When the water level rises, plastic bottles, pieces of styrofoam and other garbage litters the islands until someone comes to remove them.

The Tourist Society of Prista decided to do something about the problem. In a series of water campaigns, volunteers with kayaks and motorboats clean the river and transport the garbage, but also sail, become part of the unique landscape of the big river, and actually create a real adventure. In fact, for many of the project’s participants, this is their first time kayaking. After the adventure, the collected garbage is transported and recycled.

Kayaking on the Danube, Bulgaria | © Maria Angelova/ 203challenges

Useful information

If you start from Ruse, contact the Tourist Society of Prista. You can take part in one of the cleaning sessions, water campaigns and interesting guided tours, or simply receive information about the routes in the region, as well as the possibility to hire a guide, kayak, life jacket, oars and other equipment. Contact details:,