Serbia

The Serbian Danube is the last controlled section of the river with the small portion below the Iron Gates dams being without level control. There are a selection of anchorages while passing through the Carpathian mountains which offer an idyllic night’s rest. It is worth noting that Apetin is the last proper marina with a fuel dock going down the Danube. This route followed on from our Danube route and so we have not repeated the preamble about boat dimensions etc. here as they may be read on the Danube Overview page. Comments here are specific to the inland waterways of Serbia.

Note: Comments are based on 2013 passages with very high water levels due to extreme rainfall and subsequently very high levels of siltation in harbours.

Borders and Travel Permits

Serbia is outside the EU and so border formalities must be observed. Moving down the Danube you will be required to check out of the EU (and the Schengen area) at Mohacs border control point on the west bank at the town of Mohacs in Hungary. There are then about 30 km to the first Serbian border point of Bezdan which is on the east bank. The pilot book by Haselhurst and Dittman states that you must enter Serbia at the Bezdan border control point. This is what we did, it took 2 hours of standing around, you must pay for an agent, you must pay a further 10 euros to moor on the customs pontoon (which is an old barge), the town of Bezdan is 6 km away which is where you must go to access an ATM or change money in order to pay for your travelling permit which means having your “agent” drive you there. You are moored with the barges and if more barges arrive then you must clear out of their way. When we arrived in Apatin we were asked if we had checked into Serbia as Apatin is also a border control point. The difference is that you moor up on the spacious visitor pontoon in the city run marina and the officials whose offices overlook the marina come down and process your documents at your boat. Should you need an ATM then 15 minutes walk takes you into the centre of the town. A much more civilised way to handle the formalities. The marina staff told us that if you need to change money then the authorities will simply hold your documents until you return to pay for them. At Bezdan we were told that it was impossible for us to go into Bezdan town to change money and that it was only possible by hiring the agent. The only difference we were told was that the Bezdan office was open 24 hours while the Apatin office had normal business hours. Given that sport boats are only to travel in daylight the shorter hours didn’t seem to be a problem. When we left from Serbia at Prahovo we had to moor outside a large push boat, clearance took about 20 minutes and we were not charged for an “agent” or the use of the pontoon.

Serbia charges 70 euros for transiting the Danube within their borders. They explain this as a tax to cover your usage of the waterway and “facilities” although we never found any “facilities” which were not charged for. The default length is 30 days which is ample to cover the 500 km. We were told that to visit the Save river portion of Beograde you must request this at the time of issuance of your travel permit. We did this and perhaps somewhere in the Cyrillic writing it says this. It was also pointed out to us that any water craft including canoes or kayaks must pay the same 70 euro fee. Although we paid in Dinars we were told that Euros or Dinars were equally acceptable.

Danube River on Wikipedia

Terminus Points: Bezdan or Apetin,  Prahovo
Connections to:  Save river
Locks enroute: 2
Portion Covered:  km 1433 to km 845
Description:
Problems or Issues:

Previous river segment upriver – Hungary

The Danube runs for 588 km across Serbia. For the first portion it is only on the left bank, then both banks and finally on the right bank only prior to crossing into Bulgaria.

Bezdan border control point
Danube km 1425
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: moorage here is for document control for entering/exiting Serbia only, however this can be done more pleasantly down river at Apatin
Description:
Problems or Issues:
Apatin Yacht Club
Danube km 1402
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: diesel, water, garbage, electricity, toilets, showers, food shopping nearby
Description: A modern marina built by the town and located minutes walk from the town centre which has a good farmer’s market. This is the last marina with a fuel dock going down the Danube.
Problems or Issues: Although there is no WiFi there is a laptop in the office that boaters are able to use for internet access.
Clearance in or out of Serbia may also be conducted here.
Novi Sad
Danube km 1258
Depth: <1m at entrance
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: unknown
Description:
Problems or Issues: When we passed the army was digging out the entrance of the Winter Harbour where the boat clubs of Novi Sad are located. They were also pulling out boats from the harbour across the sand dumped by the flooding.
Beograd – Restaurant Vodenica
Danube km 1170 and then about 2 km up the Save River on the left bank
Depth: 7m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: water, garbage, electricity, toilets, showers, food shopping
Description: Located about 1 km up the Save River on the left bank with mooring alongside the dining area of the floating restaurant, the showers are fairly rudimentary,  the tourist area of Beograde is 20 minutes walk across the fortress. A bicycle path into town passes right outside the restaurant.
Problems or Issues: Swell from endless tourist boats coming in and out of the Save.
Golubac Castle
Danube km 1040
Depth: >5m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: A landing for tourist boats which was not in use when we stayed there, in fact all commercial facilities at Golubac Castle seemed to have been closed down. A 10 minute walk takes you to Golubac Castle which has lovely views, some of the higher vantage points offer superb sunset opportunities.
Problems or Issues: none
Porecka anchorage
Danube km 988
Depth:
Air Draft:
Facilities:
Description: This is marked in the pilot and also mentioned by some websites as a good anchorage. We did not enter it as we had already decided to try and anchor at km 967. As we passed it looked good (assuming there is sufficient depth and good holding which the websites do report) and it looked much more secure if the winds were to pick up than where we stayed (in good weather) at km 967.
Problems or Issues:
King Decebal anchorage
Danube km 967
Depth: 4m and less
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: none
Description: An anchorage signed on the shore in a shallow bay facing the King Decebal carving and 2 km from Trajan’s Tablets. A lovely site for nature although mountain winds could make this a very treacherous anchorage.
Problems or Issues: The shallow area falls quickly, from 4m to over 15m in less than 10m so care must be taken in placing the anchor. Also local fisherman have set some kind of bottom lines in the deeper water with floats marking the pickup lines, these encroach closely onto the anchorage area.
Kladova Boat Harbour
Danube km 934
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: garbage, a town with banks, food shopping and WiFi is 15 minutes
walk away.
Description: Concrete quays on legs are about 1m  above the water with only eyes to tie to. There are no hammerheads and a private pontoon (not connected to land) has been placed just inside the entrance making it hard for larger boats to anchor stern to. Smaller boats could use a stern anchor to moor bow-to but larger boats will have trouble doing so if they require depth.
Problems or Issues: Contrary to the pilot, mooring is not permitted outside the hotel on their floating boat (which is actually a disco night club); the police were undecided about whether mooring was allowed on their dock with some saying not and the others saying that it was allowed but proper custom officialities would have to be conducted (whatever that means). In the end we didn’t stay in Kladova so we never found out the specifics.
Prahovo border control point
Danube km 859
Depth: >2m
Air Draft: unlimited
Facilities: moorage here is for document control for entering/exiting Serbia only
Description:
Problems or Issues:

Next river segment downriver – Bulgaria

  • Die Donau by Melanie Haselhorst & Kenneth Dittmann – guide to the Danube River from Kelheim Germany to the Black Sea. Referred to as “the pilot” on this page, we have full description of it here.
  • we have collected the links we found for the canals and rivers of Germany, eastern France and the Donau
  • some of our sources were online facilities which we list in Android for Sailing

© The contents of this site are the copyright property of the authors.  Visitors may read, copy, or print any material for their own use, free of charge.  No material printed or copied from this site, electronically or in any other form, may be sold or included in any work to be sold without explicit permission from the authors.