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Top 10 Natural Sights of Serbia

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Top 10 Natural Sights of Serbia

Staying in the Serbian capital Belgrade you won’t think much of country’s nature. Seemingly, the north is flat and dull, while to the south rise a few hills and squat mountains. Yet, the northern flatland is traversed by large rivers and in a few places the old forests and swamps teeming with wildlife have survived the rapid development of the last two centuries. Likewise, the south is much more interesting than it might seem at the first glance: as you move southwards mountains get higher and wilder with many caverns and gorges in and around them.

 

1. Iron Gates Gorge

Behind this magical name hides Europe’s largest canyon, created by its second largest river. Though the gorge - or rather a sequence of four gorges - has lost a lot of its roughness since two huge dams were built and water levels have consequently risen, the magic of this place that has captivated travelers for centuries is still there. Sheer rocks and virgin forests serve as a hiding place for birds and beasts including the elusive lynx. Touring it by roads is nice, yet the best impressions (and best photos!) of Iron Gates’ rough beauty are to be had from the tourist boats or kayaks.

 

 

 

2. Mt Stara Planina

“The Old Mountain” is huge, more akin to a whole mountain range, and only roughly a quarter of it lies in Serbia, while its bigger part belongs to Bulgaria. Yet, even this one quarter is vast, pretty wild, scarcely inhabited and – beautiful. Its biggest assets are its 30-odd waterfalls in all shapes and sizes that keep delighting the visitors. Off course, there’s lot of mountain brooks, a few gullies and a lot of picture-perfect sights. In the north stands it’s best known sight - the Babin Zub rocks protruding high above the rest of the mountain; close to the rocks is a new mountain resort well visited in wintertime. The southern side is more down-to-earth with a number of small farms many engaged in organic production and keeping of the old Balkans breeds of sheep, goats and cows.

 

3. Mt Golija

Listed as a UNESCO’s biosphere reserve, Golija is a mountain of outstanding beauty. Despite its name (golo in Serbian means naked or bare), there is plenty of forest here, even more streams and small rivers, foxes, wolves and bears, peaks with perfect views, flowery fields and old households that seem to be lost in time. The best thing about it, however, is that all of this seems to be spread evenly across a wide area and it takes several days of enjoyment even to get to know this mountain. In case you decide to enjoy Golija in winter there are also several shorter ski pistes on it.

 

 

4. Tara Mountain

A National Park and one of natural pearls scattered throughout western Serbia, Tara (not to be mixed with a river of the same name in Montenegro) combines best of two worlds. On one hand stand the primeval looking forests teeming with wildlife (including brown bears!). On the other, two modest resorts offer plenty of mid-range options to stay and enough eateries not to starve to death after a day of hiking. Tara is mostly flat at its top, resembling a wavy tableland and thus provides perfect conditions for leisurely walks and mountain biking. Underneath the mountain flows River Drina and some of Serbia’s most striking views can be enjoyed from Tara’s north end. In summer, Drina is good for more than just looking at its green waters: many head for tranquil rafting while the younger go swimming next to the Perućac dam.

 

 

5. River Uvac

Set in the spectacularly scenic tableland close to the town of Sjenica, River Uvac is a genuine superstar of Serbia’s tourism. This is above all due to its good looks: with a dozen curves in just a few kilometers of length and good places to observe this unusual play of nature from above, Uvac is loved by cameras, be it those on smart phones or professional ones. There are several vantage points and thus also tracks of different length following its flow, as well as a possibility to go on a meandering boat ride. On both you won’t fail to notice the magnificent griffin vultures soaring high above your head, a slightly creepy feel that ads to the beauty of this place.

 

6. Resava Cave

There are plenty of caves around Serbia making it extremely hard to choose just one to recommend. Resavska pećina, as it name goes in Serbian, might not be the longest among them, but it certainly doesn’t yield in beauty to any other. With a walkway of 800 meters talking you through several halls and their varied red, yellow and white natural decorations it’s bound to keep you wanting more. The surroundings of the cave are equally nice with a possibility of tracking Mt Beljanica or a visit to Veliki Buk waterfall

 

 

7. Lazareva Reka Canyon

This is one for adventurous spirits only: off the beaten track, far from major roads, unmarked and not accessible during the whole year. Only 10 km away from the mining city of Bor, Lazareva Reka is as wild as it gets in Serbia, or for that matter - in Europe. The small river that carved the canyon runs dry in summer allowing the hikers to traverse its bed and to explore caverns on its sides. The less courageous come to Lazareva Reka only to indulge in views of its southern end and in taking photos of its rocks and woods. It goes without saying that such a wild place where humans rarely venture is a genuine heaven for bird and animal species. A word of advice: if coming here on your own be well prepared and bring a lot of water with you!

 

8. Zasavica

Mostly tamed and utterly flat, the north of Serbia isn’t often praised for its nature. Yet, next to its large rivers survive many wetlands worth visiting. Zasavica lies astonishingly close to the town of Sremska Mitrovica known for its Roman heritage, while also just an hour’s drive from Belgrade. Proximity to urban centers and their sights is, however, not its main plus. This is an excellently kept site where spotting wildlife and learning about it can be combined with various activities, getting acquainted with life on old farms as well as enjoying some old-style wining and dining (don’t miss mangulica pork or anything else from this pig!). Despite all of this the main stars of the reserve remain without a doubt its beavers, active and easy to notice around.

 

9. Djavolja Varoš

Most people, including the locals, think that this place is just about a large group of eerie looking rocks capped with large stones. Sure, this is the main sight and it looks good in life as it does in pictures, yet there is more about this place that makes it a weird natural site such as a brook of reddish color and unpleasant smell and a group of trees that seem to have been twisted by some unnatural force. This is a place plentiful in legends and unconfirmed stories that you will enjoy as much as the scientific explanations behind them.

 

10. Mt Kopaonik

The crest of this elongated mountain hosts Serbia’s prime skiing resort with all the benefits and trappings of a place booming with 4 star hotels. The rest of Kopaonik is much quieter and wilder, with lots of old villages, springs and cascades - even one geyser! – all surrounded by deep forest. Enthusiasts can hike along its marked and unmarked paths while the adrenalin lovers can check the resort and rent mountain bikes or quads to explore it in a different way.

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