The Winter Fairy Tale of the River Danube

I enjoy photographing the promenade alongside the River Danube in Ruse, Bulgaria. The river is majestic every season, but it is extraordinarily adorable in winter when it freezes or has an ice floe. 

The Danube has frozen about 28 times since 1900. According to the locals, a total of -100 degrees over ten days is needed to freeze in ice. Night temperatures should be around -10 degrees, and daytime temperatures should not be above zero.

The river was completely frozen for the longest time during the winter of 1953-1954. A freeze drift of 89 days and a total freeze of 66 days have been reported. Ice has covered Danube River waters twice during the winter of 1984-1985. The river froze entirely in 2011-2012, and then again in 2017 when I had the opportunity to take pictures of the ice and the snow-frozen shores. 

The Danube is 2872 km long and flows into the Black Sea, passing through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia and Ukraine. Along the way, it passes through four capitals – Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade, and the rivers that flow into the Danube support the development of shopping centres such as Munich and Zagreb. 

The freeze has the most significant consequences for Bulgaria and Romania, transporting about 20% of their cargo by inland waterways – mainly the Danube. Due to the type of raw materials transported by the river and the lack of capacity for other modes of transport, these countries cannot easily switch to different transport modes, such as roads or rail.

Reference: Some of the facts in the article are taken from the director of the Executive Agency for Exploration and Maintenance of the Danube River in Ruse, Bulgaria


Ruse is the fifth-largest city in Bulgaria and the largest Bulgarian city along the river Danube, located about 320 km from the capital, Sofia and 203 km from Varna. 

There are regular bus lines to Sofia, Varna, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo and many other Bulgaria cities. Ruse has a magnificent railway station. You can reach Sofia, Varna Veliko Tarnovo, and Bucharest (Romania) by rail, which would be a bit slow but more comfortable than the bus.  

Passenger ships navigate to other cities along the river in the summertime – Belgrade, Novi Sad, Vienna and other. However, you should check the schedules and availability since it changes often. Since 1993 there is also a ferry line Ruse – Giurgiu (Romania).

For more information and help, please use our website for travelling in Bulgaria – Guide To Bulgaria, where you will find a lot of information about the country and a variety of travel services.


Yes, please visit our website dedicated to Bulgaria – Guide To Bulgaria

The VisaHQ world service will provide full assistance in applying and obtaining a visa for BULGARIA if you need one.

You also can check out the iVisa service here.


We can organise all types of tours and visits to Ruse, Bulgaria. Please visit our website Guide To Bulgaria or drop us a line


List of hotels in Ruse, Bulgaria;

List of hotels in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria


List of Airbnb properties in Ruse, Bulgaria

List of Airbnb properties in Sofia, Bulgaria

Local Entertainment/Activities

Audio Guide for All Svishtov & Ruse Sights, Attractions or Experiences

Self-Guided Ruse Sights & Attractions

Day Trip to Ruse (Northern Bulgaria) from Bucharest

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Close-up view of ships, platforms and barges anchored on Danube riverbank in wintertime


Free delivery worldwide (with no minimum spend) from Book Depository (Amazon), a leading international book retailer. Please click on the title of the book to read the full description and to buy it.

Danube River Expedition 1964

Lonely Planet Romania & Bulgaria

Bulgaria and Romania Cruising Guide

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