Serbia / RomaniaSerbia / RomaniaSerbia / RomaniaSerbia / RomaniaSerbia / Romania

Serbia / Romania

Between Serbia and Romania the route passes several times over the border and partially overlaps with the Danube Cycle Route (EuroVelo 6). The treatment of the Danube border between Romania and the former Yugoslavia during the Cold War was an important factor in maintaining and increasing the isolation imposed by the communist regime by excessive militarisation, creation of control barriers, surveillance and intimidation of locals and monitoring of river transport. All of this kept the area outside of the tourist circuit for decades but fortunately, times have now changed and everyone can enjoy the stunning Iron Gates gorge.

Along the Romanian-Serbian border, the itinerary of the Irion Curtain Trail is composed of 5 sections: Jimbolia - Deta; Deta - Bela Crkva; Bela Crkva - Moldova Nouă; Moldova Nouă - Dubova and Dubova - Kladovo.

Following the Serbian-Romanian border, the first major settlement that you reach is the Serbian town of Kikinda. This town with a population of 42,000 has many interesting churches, a popular national theatre that operates all the year round and a lively urban scene. The route continues southward via Žitište and Vršac, climbing hills of up to 650 metres in height. You will be rewarded for your efforts by views on either side of glorious countryside and acres of vineyards.  En route from Bela Crkva to Berzasca along the Danube, you cycle along roads with hardly any traffic, although in return you are faced with further steep climbs with gradients of up to 12%.  Your reward awaits you on the other side, where you can freewheel downhill.

You cross the Romanian border and then follow the course of the Danube and the Serbian-Romanian border for a few kilometres.  You then pass through the breathtaking Iron Gates – a natural gorge formed where the mighty Danube forces it’s way between the southern Carpathian Mountains and the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. The Romanian side of the gorge constitutes the Iron Gates natural park, whereas the Serbian part constitutes the Đerdap national park.  At this point the river narrows from 5 km to just 200 m.  You remain on the Romanian side up to the Derdap 1 dam, with views every so often of the gorge. You then cycle along the increasingly steep slopes on the banks of the Danube, before once again crossing the border, this time into Serbia.

The ride then continues undisturbed between the checkpoints along the dam, built between 1964 and 1972 with its two hydroelectric power stations and two locks, enjoying the views of the Danube. Customs control on the Serbian side is relaxed and after cycling along the Romanian bank of the Danube you now continue for a number of kilometres inside the Serbian Republic following the curve of the Danube.

You cycle along traffic-free roads towards Negotin, a small town with a population of 18,000, which became a modern cultural and economic centre in the 19th century after the Serbian revolution. Now, instead of continuing on the main road, you can allow yourself a small detour and take the quiet little roads leading from village to village. Eventually you will reach the border with Bulgaria, near Zaječar, which brings you to the end of the Balkan section of the Iron Curtain Trail.

  • 518
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  • 2,860 km
    length of the Danube
  • 40 meters
    height of the Dacian king 
    STATUE in the Iron Gates

 

  • Svinița fig jam, Romania

    Șvinița is sometimes called "the land of the figs" because so many figs grow in people’s gardens there. Since 1999, an annual Festival of Figs has been organised in Șvinița (at the end of August) to promote local products made of figs, as well as the multi-ethnic culture of the area. An essential feature of the festival programme are presentations and tastings of local products made from or featuring figs (e.g. marmalade, traditional brandy, fig cakes etc.). Everything is prepared following traditional recipes, which have been passed down from generation to generation. The programme also includes fruit picking, a parade of traditional costumes and numerous folklore shows offered by artistic groups from Romania and Serbia. Photo credit: Caraș-Severin County Council, Romania

  • Iron Gates

    Not related to the 20th Century Iron Curtain, the Iron Gates is a breathtaking gorge on the Danube where the river separates Serbia and Romania. On the Serbian shore, cyclists ride in the Đerdap national park where the magnificent medieval Golubac fortress (photo) is located. On the Romanian shore, in the Iron Gates Natural Park, is located, a 40-m high statue of Dacian king Decebalus, the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. Iron Gates: Photo Credit: Denis Barthel

  • Mraconia Monastery, Romania

    Near Dubova, cyclists can find on their road a 550 years old monastery. Called "Mracuna" this monastery was built on the place where originally existed a point of observation. Nowadays, the old monument is hidden in a picturesque place, at the base of a rocky mountain, just over the Danube River. Photo credit: Byron Howes

  • Dacian King Statue, Romania

    In the “Iron Gates”, on the Romanian bank of the Danube is located the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. This impressive 40 metre high statue represents the Dacian king Decebalus. Contrary to what one would think, this statue is not a medieval masterpiece of art, it has been sculpted between 1994 and 2004 by twelve different sculptors commissioned by Iosif Constantin Drăgan, a Romanian businessman and historian. Photo credit: AudreyH Flickr

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The stages