Boat trip on the Danube in the Cauldrons Area

The Danube is the second longest river in Europe. It has a stream of about 2860 km out of which 1075 km are in Romania. Enters the country at Bazias and flows into the Black Sea through its three arms Sulina, Chilia and St. Gheorghe forming the Danube Delta. It passes through 10 countries and four European capitals.


The touristic area of the Danube comprises the longest defile in Europe–The Danube’s defile is about 135 km. The defile starts from Bazias and ends at the “Iron Gates”, accumulation dam. The entire area is part of the Iron Gates Natural Park. Between Eșelnița and Plavișevița, the river has created the places with the greatest touristic attraction - (Cazanele Dunarii) The Danube’s Cauldrons.

The area includes two port cities where one can take boats to make cruises on the Danube. From the port city Moldova Noua there are tours Upper Gorge and from the port city of Orsova trips down the Gorges are organized.


Starting from Orsova by boat you will visit: 

  • The great Cauldrons- are 3,8 km long (between km river 973,8 and km 970) and are guarded by the Great Ciucaru Peak (318 m). The water depth reach up to 80km.
  • The small Cauldrons are 3,6km long and are guarded by the Small Ciucarul Peak. The course of the river is bordered by the rock walls, the water having the depth up to 100 m.
  • The statue of Deceabal
  • Tabula Traian plaque
  • Mraconia Monastery.


The Orșova City, where the port of the small touristic ships is found is placed on the hills bordering the Cerna Gulf. The settlement was resettled during the communist era when building the Iron Gates Dam. Following the lake formation seven settlements on the Serbian side and 10 localities on the Romanian bank were displaced. Most noteworthy where Orşova, Ada-Kaleh, Ogradena, Vârciorova, Tisoviţa, Plavişeviţa etc.).


Trip duration (round-trip) if you start from the Orșova harbor and go to the Mraconia Bay is 3 hours.

The heart of the old town Orșova is still submerged in the Danube’s waters. From the boat, in the distance you can see the “mouth Cerna”, the place where Cerna flows into the Danube. We can pinpoint the location of the Orșova port.

It follows a time of about 40 minutes while the boat forwards on the Danube and we can enjoy the views of the two sides of the river.


When entering of the ship in the Small Cauldrons, on the serbian side the Tabula Traiana can be seen.

Tabula Traiana was dedicated emperor Trajan in 103. Tabula Traiana was dedicated to the Roman emperor Trajan in the year 103. It seems that  between the years 33-34 the work to the Roman Road on the right side of the Danube ended. The roman road that was supposed to help conquer Dacia faster, was so narrow, that the carts could hardly pass in a single row. The biggest part of the roman road is nowadays sunken in the dam’s waters.

On the carved inscription in the rock, it is writing ”Caesar Emperor, the son of the divine Nerva, Nerva Traianus Augustus Germanicus, great pontiff, invested with the power of tribune, for the fourth time, father of the fatherland, consul for the third time, cut the mountain and made this road along the river”.

Shortly after the Tabula Traiana, we reach to the best known and most appreciated landmark from Danube Gorges, Statue of Decebal. Decebal’s face is the tallest sculpture in stone from Europe. 40,45 m high and 25m wide, is the sixth tallest statue from the world. From the boat or from Danube Gorges, the statue of Decebal impresses by its dimensions. To this work attended 12 climbers-sculptors led by romanian sculptor Florin Cotarcea, native from Orsova.

We advance by boat, and at just 500 m from the two objectives seen already , in same Mraconia bay the Mraconia Monastery is found. It’s known under the name of the monastery under water.

After the monastery, the steep and rocky shores dominates. The length gorge in this area is 150m.

Continuing the journey upstream, the Danube widens in basin Dubova, where the town Dubova is located on its shore. Once with completing the 3,8 km through the great cauldrons, the boat backtracks to Orsova. In total, the route is about 30 km round-trip. For such a journey reserve yourself at least half a day.


For those who prefer to ride a car or cycling, you can go through national road DN 57. The road runs parallel with the Danube from the new Moldova to Orsova. An alternative that takes several days, but it may be the most interesting is Danube crossing from Bazias to Orsova by the kayak.



Keywords: trip on the danube river | danube's defile | danube's cauldrons | orasova city