8 best destinations in Western Serbia for your active holiday

8 best destinations in Western Serbia for your active holiday
Western Serbia

Western Serbia consists of idyllic tourist sites, mountains and rural areas where tradition and heritage are very important.

The central identity of the region is: Discovering life in tradition and nature.

The whole area is perfect for nature lovers where it is possible to do a lot of different activities.

In the region of Western Serbia are important natural and cultural resources. Rural tourism is very well developed. Apart from spending time in the beautiful surroundings of the villages, there are possibilities for hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, canyoning.

1) National Park Tara

Mountain Tara in Western Serbia is one of the national parks in Serbia, which occupies the largest part of the mountain. It is known by indigenous conifer forests and it is one of the most favorite destinations for lovers of nature.

viewpoint Banjska stena, Tara Serbia
Viewpoint Banjska stena

This mountainous region, including Mount Tara (1544 m) and Mount Zvijezda (Star Mountain - 1673 m), and the Drina Canyon, is one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe. It bounds with river gorges, gentle slopes, steep rocky inclines, as well as waterfalls and caves. The area is thickly covered with both evergreen and deciduous forests. A rare sort of pine, named Pancic Spruce after its famous discoverer (Josif Pancic), may be seen there. Its fauna is also diverse: brown bears and mountain goats, gray eagles, griffon vultures, as well as hundreds of other varieties of birds are not unusual in the region. Mount Tara is a summer and a winter resort, with Kaludjerske Bare and Mitrovac as its two main centers of interest.

The Drina canyon

The Drina canyon is the third deepest in the world, after the Colorado Canyon (USA) and the Tara canyon (Montenegro). It is a composite valley type, at the border of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The deepest and most impressive part of the canyon is built by the River Drina, climbing the slopes of Mount Zvijezda, where in some parts the canyon is deep and up to a thousand meters. The canyon is embedded in a massive and rarely layered middle-eastern limestone. The canyon sides are very steep with numerous ponds and scum, covered with forest and shrub vegetation, but often vertically, there are bare rocky surfaces.

Things to do in the National Park Tara:

The National Park Tara can be explored in different ways. There are very attractive hiking trails as well mountain biking routes. Very attractive MTB route is High Tara with a visit to Zaovine Lake. You can visit beautiful viewspoints to the Drina canyon. The most famous are the Banjska stena, Osluša, Note of the Rock, and Crnjeskovo.

During hot summer days, you can spend time on the river Drina. We recommend kayaking tours that start from Perucac Dam to the famous "Little House on the Rock". If you want to feel more adrenaline, there are great canyoning tours you can try. The easier one is White Rzav canyon and more demanding is Rača canyon.

White Rzav canyoning tour
Canyoning and White Rzav

If you like to relax on this river of outstanding beauty, we recommend a boat cruising tour through Drina canyon.

2) The Ovcar-Kablar Gorge

The gorge through which the Western Morava flows is rich in the beautiful scenery.

Meanders of the Western Moravia
Meanders of the Western Morava River

It is located between the towns of Čačak and Požega. It is distinguished by steep, high limestone sides with several caves. The gorge is carved between the 985 meters high mountain of Ovčar on the south and 889 meters high Kablar on the north, thus gaining its name. The river meanders through the gorge for 15 kilometers.

This is a famous birdlife area, characterized by a golden eagle, honey buzzard, corncrake, rock thrush, kingfisher, etc.

Ovčar spa and famous monasteries are located here.

A group of monasteries (only 10 remained), commonly named "Small Serbian Holly Hill", were built mostly in the 16th centurythand 17th century. They represent a Renaissance of the Raška building school. They were active in the workshops for re-writing and illumination of books, icon painting and production of various religious services.

Things to do in the Ovcar-Kablar gorge

Mountains Ovčar and Kablar are a challenge for hiking and mountain biking. There are marked hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. From the viewpoint, on the top of Kablar, you can see the fascinating Western Morava meanders. There is also a rock-climbing wall in Kablar.

On the rocks of Kablar, there was built the first via ferrata in Serbia. It is 45 meters high, and its overall length is 60 meters due to its scratching. Climbing is completely safe, does not require special conditioning and exertional effort.

via Ferrata Kablar
Via Ferrata Kablar

If you like to relax, we recommend you take it a guided boat tour on Western Moraviaa with visiting some of the monasteries.

3) Special nature reserve Uvac

Uvac is a truly unique and magnificent destination of southwestern Serbia where more and more visitors come. Untouched nature, caves, lakes, endemic plant species and the last refuge of almost extinct birds - the griffon vulture, are just some of the things you can see during a visit to this nature reserve.

Special nature reserve Uvac
Everyone enjoys a wonderful view, Uvac

In the Uvac canyon is a nesting griffon vulture. A species of the eagle, also named as "the heavenly king" because of imposing size. They almost died out in the area two decades ago. Today there are about 500 eagles in the canyon. They nest on the steep and rocky edges of the canyon.

The role of griffon vulture is irreplaceable in the ecosystem chain - it is exclusively fed to dead animals, which prevents the spread of infection and thus makes natural recycling.

The Uvac canyon is known for its breach meanders that the river cut into the limestone rocks.

The canyon valley of the Uvac river with high and steep cliffs up to 350 m represents the center of the natural reserve. Looking from the height, the impression is that nature has doubted in which direction the river should flow. Therefore, the river makes beautiful river curves.

Meanders of Uvac you can view the best by taking a hiking tour to the panoramic viewspoints. There is a magnificent view of the canyon.

Things to do in the Uvac canyon and its surroundings

The best way to explore is to take hiking tours or boat and kayaking tour. You can also reach wonderful views from the lake. If you are going for a boat ride or a kayaking tour by the Sjenica Lake, after two hours of sightseeing and visiting the Icy Cave, there is a place where start hiking paths to viewpoints.

Uvac kayaking tour
Uvac kayaking tour

Great way to experience the surroundings of Uvac is via off-road terrain vehicles along the slopes of the mountains Zlatar and Jadovnik.

There are mountain biking routes where you can experience this wonderful scenery. The route with a length of 36 km connects Sjenica, Zlatar and Nova Varoš.

If you want to find more about Special Nature Reserve Uvac, you can read our article Why Uvac is the place you need to visit in Serbia?

4) Gold

ZLATAR (Golden) is a mountain in South-Western Serbia with a lot of sunny days in a year. It represents a region of outstanding and still unexplored natural beauty.

 

The highest peak is Golo Brdo (1627 m). The mountain is characterized by a pleasant climate (over 280 sunny days per year), where is a mixture of Mediterranean and alpine influences, with high conifers and ponds. Zlatar is one of the mountains that surround the Pester plateau - the highest plateau on the Balkans (1150 m and the area of 63 km².)

The northern slopes mildly descend into the valley of Uvac, while on the south side it is sharply seared with the deep ravine of the river Mileševka. This river formed a wild limestone gorge between the mountains of Zlatar and Jadovnik, whose cliffs preserved impressive, very old examples of black pine trees.

Things to do in Zlatar

Zlatar and its lakes is an increasingly favorite destination for fishing. There are outstanding hiking trails as well mountain biking routes.

Close to Zlatar is famous Uvac canyon. It is possible to ride a bicycle along Zlatar Lake to Uvac canyon where you can see outstanding rugged scenery.

There is also biking route from Zlatar to the monastery Mileševa and Prijepolje with the length of 23 km.

The whole Pester plateau is ideal for off-road adventures via terrain vehicles.

5) Mountain villages Kamena Gora and Sopotnica

If you are a fan of the nature of mountain villages, delicious traditional food, and adventurers, you should visit these two villages in South-Western Serbia.

Kamena Gora, Serbia
Morning at Kamena Gora

They are located at 1000 m - 1500 m of altitude and represent a true aerial spa. Around rural houses grow 100-year-old forests of spruce, fir, pine and beech. Both villages are Natural Significant Goods protected by the Serbian Government.

Kamena Gora is a small mountain village at about 1400 m, declared as a landscape of exceptional features.

It is rich with flora and fauna, conifer forests, and numerous springs.  The symbol of the village is The Old Pine, which is 500 years old. It is a proof of the longevity of the inhabitants.

Sopotnica is a village of bubbling springs and waterfalls. Attractive waterfalls give unparalleled ornaments embedded in the ambience of ancient village architecture made up of numerous watermills.

Sopotnica river on a mountain Jadovnik rises on over 1000 m and in its flow forms a large number of cascades and waterfalls, the highest - 20 m. Apart from waterfalls, significant attractions are forests with very interesting shapes, old water mills and rolling machines. Several households in the village offer comfortable lodgings and homemade products.

Things to do in Kamena Gora and Sopotnica

Kamena Gora and Sopotnica have wonderful scenery for hiking. In Kamena Gora is a natural rock for climbing as well as a place for paragliding. If you like activities with more adrenaline, you can go to the rafting on the Lim River from Kumanica to Brodarevo. If you want a more demanding hiking tour, you can go through the Mileševka canyon, which separates the Zlatar and Jadovnik mountains. We recommend that you do not go alone, but to hire a hiking guide.

Lim rafting Serbia
Rafting on the Lim River

The area of the Jadovnik Mountain where these two villages lie is also suitable for off-road adventures. From the Uvac canyon, rides are driven by terrain vehicles to Sopotnica. If you want to visit the Uvac canyon, which provides many different ways for its exploration, is about an hour and a half away from Kamena Gora and about an hour drive from Sopotnica.

If you want to find out more about Kamena Gora and Sopotnica, you can read our article Kamena Gora and Sopotnica - two mountain villages of southwestern Serbia you should visit.

6) Golija-Studenica Biosphere Reserve

Golija-Studenica Biosphere Reserve is located in the southwestern part of Serbia and belongs to the inner zone of the Dinaric mountain system. It covers a mountainous region and includes a mosaic of different ecosystems such as forests, shrubs and lakes. It is the first UNESCO registered biosphere reserve in Serbia.

 

Mountain Golija lies between the towns of Ivanjica and Novi Pazar. The highest peak is Jankov Kamen (1,833 m). The Moravica and Studenica rivers have their headwaters at this mountain. Studenica breaches through the mountain, in its deep valley with several shorter gorges.

The mountain is heavily forested with significant biodiversity. Beech forests are particularly represented, and some of them have the characteristics of the rainforest. The preserved natural rarity is Acer heldreichii (Heldreich's maple), synonymous with the flora of the mountain.

Golija is one of the most important mountainous European ornithological reserves, with 95 registered bird species.

Things to do in Golia

Hiking and trekking as part of an active holiday have recently gained considerable popularity in this area. There are numerous marked hiking trails. The marked trails pass through the picturesque landscapes, as well as the cultural and historical sites of interest.

Mountain biking has also become very popular. The mountain biking routes are scattered around the most beautiful part of the mountains of Golija, Javor, and Mučanj.

MTB Golija
Mountain biking at Golija

As well as hiking trails, mountain biking routes can be a different level of difficulty. They can be suitable for recreation, as well as for those who want more adrenaline.

One of the recreational cycling routes is Golijska reka - Over the hill - Jankov kamen - Babica brdo - Golijska reka. Its length is about 12 km with a height difference of 425 m.

The route passes through one of the most beautiful parts of Golija and its highest peak Jankov kamen.

There are mountain biking routes connecting Ivanjica and Sjenica (62 km) and Ivanjica and Arilje (28 km).

If you want to explore the whole area of Golija-Studenica Biosphere Reserve, we recommend you spend a few days there and visit cultural sites. There is a Studenica Monastery, a cultural site of the World Heritage Site and the monasteries of Stari Ras and Sopoćani.

7) Divcibare

Divcibare is a plateau on the Maljen Mountain 110 km away from Belgrade, at an altitude of about 1000 m with a pleasant and mild climate, with several nature reserves. It represents a "air spa" with a beneficial climate impact.

The air masses from the Mediterranean clash with air masses of the Carpathians and the Panonian Plains, which can explain the presence of iodine in the air.

Natural reserves at Divčibare are old forests on Velika ploča, Vražji vir on the river Crna Kamenica and Crna Reka canyon. Especially interesting is the Skakalo waterfall on the river Manastirica.

Things to do in Divcibare

Divcibare is very popular ski and hiking destination. It is located about 2 hours from Belgrade, well accessible to urban population who are eager to spend time in nature.

Divčibare hiking
Divčibare hiking

Hiking trails are well marked and you can easily reach all the peaks of the plateau. The highest peak of Maljen Mountain is King Sto 1103 m (King's Table). The legend says that it was named after the Serbian king Dusan the Great.

Our recommendation for a circular hiking tour that lasts about 6 h with breaks, with the length of 15 km is a circular tour that connects Divcibare's peaks.

There is a possibility of choosing short or longer hiking trails. Longer hiking trails connect Divčibare with mountains Ravna Gora and Rajac.

Mountain Maljen belongs to Valjevo mountains. It is ideal for off-road vehicles rides, quads ride and mountain biking.

There are marked mountain biking routes. One of them connects Divcibare with towns Kosjeric and Uzice. The route provides an incredible view of the countryside. The length is 60 km with total altitude difference about 700 m. There are no technically demanding sections and the substrate is asphalt.

8) Zlatibor

ZLATIBOR (Golden Pine) is a mountain in Western Serbia, located 230 km from Belgrade. It has the appearance of a gunshot and a gently rolling plateau, with its highest peak Tornik (1496 m). It is built from serpentine, with many meadows, ponds and forests. The Zlatibor Plateau lies some 1,000 m above sea level, and it is known by its golden pines, from which the mountain derives its name.

 

The mountain is one of the most important mountain resorts in Serbia. Palisad is the main tourist destination of the mountain with the lake.

In this area, the continental air currents meet the Mediterranean, creating a special, beneficent mixture of clean and dry air, with low atmospheric pressure and numerous sunny days. The area invigorates the healthy and alleviates upper respiratory, lung, cardiovascular and thyroid gland problems.

The tradition of tourism at Zlatibor began in the 19th centuryth century when Prince Miloš Obrenović spent his summers on the mountain. King Alexander Obrenovic built a fountain in 1893. The spot came to be called King's Waters. After WWII, the name changed to Partisan's Water to reflect the new Yugoslav political direction.

Things to do in Zlatibor

Zlatibor is an important ski center, well suited for cross-country skiing and biathlon. Summer on Zlatibor is perfect for hiking tours and biking tours.

Apart from short tourist walking trails from the center of Zlatibor, there are possibilities for longer hiking tours. You can take different tours, lasting half of a day or a whole day. Longer trails are not marked and we recommend guided tours, in order to better explore the area.

Mountain biking routes:

Bicycle routes are marked by tourist signaling, on the routes, there are wooden canopies and benches for cyclists, pedestrians and mountaineers.

The Zlatibor Mountain is connected to Tara via Mokra Gora, Divcibare with the area of Uzice, Kosjeric and Pozega.

Very attractive bike tour is the one that connects Zlatibor and the National Park Tara.

The 47 km long route follows the cliff path with some mild ascents and descents. Most of the route is on dirt and macadam surfaces. This is a regional route linking Mount Zlatibor with Mount Tara, but it also provides connections to Mokra Gora, Bosnia, Kremna, Užice, Kosjerić, Bajina Basta and other places in the area.

On the half of the trail, you can stop in Sargan and visit Wooden City - Ethno village on a hill Mecavnik, built by the idea of famous film director Emir Kusturica.

 All listed destinations can be found on the Google map below.

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Explore Serbia
Explore Serbia is the organization that develops and promote adventure and rural tourism of Serbia and the Balkans. We are adventurers who combine our personal experiences, interests, and knowledge in creating adventure tours.

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