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Breathtaking Mountain Resorts In Serbia

The vast majority of Serbia’s territory is dominated by mountains, from the Pannonian hills in the north all the way to the borders with Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia in the south. Serbia’s mountains belong to the Rhodopes, Carpathian, Balkan and Dinaric mountain ranges.

And the very names of some Serbian mountains are associated with natural riches abundant in Zlatibor, Zlatar and Rajac. In order to preserve the priceless harmony between the plant and animal kingdoms, some mountains have been protected as one of five national parks or have been proclaimed nature parks or areas of exceptional importance.

Indigenous plant species to Serbia’s mountains include the Kopaonik violet, the Serbian spruce, Serbian flax and Serbian fescue. Animals include the Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Tawny Owl, Shore Lark, Common Crossbill, Eagle-owl, dormouse, wildcat, brown bear and the chamois.

Brooks and fast-flowing streams crisscross the mountains, many of which also harbour crystal clear lakes. Some mountains have been designated “climatic spas” because of their exceptional climates.

Both summer and winter are to be enjoyed on Serbia’s mountains, from independent or guided walking tours across glades and woodland to demanding hikes up to the tallest peaks. Those with an adventurous spirit can explore karst caves and river canyons. The ski slopes and lifts await tourists in the winter, whether they are beginners or experienced skiers.

Hunting reserves in the thick forests are rich in small and large game, while the mountain rivers and lakes are ideal for a spot of fishing. It is also possible to enjoy birdwatching in Serbia’s many Important Bird Areas (IBA).

Accommodation options are also diverse, from four-star hotels to forest cabins and youth hostels, and village tourism is also well-developed. Mountain food and drink are guaranteed to be completely natural and sourced from village households. Forest fruits, mushrooms and medicinal plants are also plentiful.

Zlatibor

The extensive rolling plateau of Zlatibor is located in southwestern Serbia, at a height of between 700 and 1500 m above sea-level. It located near Užice and Čajetina and is 238 km from Belgrade. The highest points are the peaks of Tornik (1496 m) and Čigota (1422 m).

Owing to the continental and Mediterranean climate and air currents, which can only be found here, the harmonious relationship between wooded areas of firs, pines and spruces and spacious meadows populated with beautiful plants, rivers and streams, the unpolluted air, healthy and clean water, a large number of annual sunny days, the hospitality of the people and the beautiful ski slopes, Zlatibor has become a renowned summer and winter tourist hotspot with the longest tourist tradition of any of Serbia’s mountains. King Aleksandar Obrenović’s 1893 arrival in the town of Kulaševac, which was then renamed Kraljeve Vode (King’s Waters), is considered to be the official beginning of the tourism industry in Zlatibor.

Because Zlatibor’s climate is ideal for people wanting to stay healthy and fit, and also lends itself to the treatment of various respiratory diseases, anaemia, minor heart and blood vessel disorders and, in particular, thyroid disorders, it has been designated a climatic health resort.

Zlatibor is crisscrossed by rivers (Crni Rzav, Veliki Rzav and Sušica) and streams, containing a wide range of fish species, including dace, gudgeon, trout, huchen and grayling. There are two artificial lakes in Zlatibor, the larger located on the Crni Rzav river in Ribnica and the smaller, which was created especially for use by tourists, in the very centre of the Zlatibor tourist village. Surrounded by pleasant paths and benches, guests can bathe and sunbathe during summer and skate on the frozen surface of the lake during winter.

Zlatibor is well-known as a ski centre. Beginner skiers and children will enjoy the gentle slopes of Obudovica (with a 250 m-long ski-lift), while more experienced skiers will opt to go to Tornik and make use of its slopes. Tornik Sports Centre is located between 1110 m and 1490 m above sea-level and is 9 km from the centre of Zlatibor. The four ski slopes (Čigota, Tornik, Ribnica and Zmajevac) are ideal for slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalom skiing and are connected by three ski-lifts. In the central part of Zlatibor there are slopes for cross-country and biathlon skiing, which are considered to be among the most beautiful in Europe owing to their visibility and layout.

Throughout the year, top athletes come to train in Zlatibor and there are also basketball camps and instruction in paragliding, tennis, skiing and swimming.

Zlatibor is one of the largest conference tourism centres in Serbia, with a large number of conferences and seminars being held here all year round.

There is also ample opportunity for leisure activities, with groups or individuals often seen on the many walking paths (which lead to Čigota, Rzav canyon, Gradina, Oko, Crni Vrh and Ribničko Jezero lake) or exploring the beauty of Zlatibor in some other way.

The open-air museum of folk architecture that is the Staro Selo (Old Village) ethnic village in Sirogojno has typical 19th-century Zlatibor farmsteads on display.

Kopaonik

Kopaonik, the largest mountain range in Serbia, extends from the northwest to the southeast for 80 km, and has a width of around 40 km in the middle. The highest section of Kopaonik is the spacious Ravni Kopaonik plateau around which rise Suvo Rudište and Pančićev Vrh (the highest peak at 2017 m).

Kopaonik has a subalpine climate and and is rightfully known as the Mountain of the Sun for there are almost 200 sunny days during the year. Cold and heavy air is channelled away to the surrounding valleys and basins, meaning that winter temperatures are not too low (the mean annual temperature on Ravni Kopaonik is 3.7°C). Snow falls from the end of November and stays until May, which is on average 159 days a year.

Kopaonik gained its name from the Serbian word kopati which means ‘to dig’ because of the rich ore resources which were mined here for centuries. Volcanic activity and the discharge of hot mineral solutions caused changes in the surrounding rocks, creating the rich Kopaonik mining region from which iron, lead and zinc were excavated.

Due to its valuable ecosystem, Kopaonik became a national park in 1981. Kopaonik National Park covers an area of 11,810 hectares and based on the number of endemic species, it is one of Serbia’s most important biodiversity hotspots for endemic flora. Kopaonik’s important endemic and rare species include the Kopaonik houseleek (Sempervivum kopaonikensis), the Kopaonik violet (Viola kopaonikensis), Pančićeva režuha (Cardamine pancicii), Serbian flax, Pančićev vijuk and eidelweiss. Kopaonik’s rich variety of animal species deserve special attention, of which the Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Tawny Owl, Shore Lark, Common Crossbill, Eagle-Owl, dormouse, wildcat, fallow deer, amongst others, stand out.

Kopaonik mountain is especially beautiful for its distinctive landscape of dense coniferous forests (spruce and fir) at higher elevations and mixed beech and oak forests on its slopes, pastures and meadows and prominent peaks from which views extend to the Šar Mountains and the Komovi and Stara Planina mountains.

Kopaonik lends itself to active relaxation throughout the year and is the largest and best-known Serbian ski centre. The Ravni Kopaonik plateau is centred around tourism, with a wide range of accommodation and a network of ski slopes amongst other facilities. Another tourist hotspot is located near the village of Brzeća, on the eastern slope of Kopaonik. The first class ski slopes lie between 1650 m and 2017 m above sea-level. This tourist resort has a network of 24 ski-lifts connected in one system and 2 children’s lifts, and caters for all types of skiers. The ski-lift system covers the ski slopes total 55 km in length. The system can handle 32,000 skiers an hour. Guests also have the use of a 12km-slope for Nordic skiing, and in Crvene Bare there are marked slopes of 3, 5 and 10 km in length. Ski hire and repair services are also available, as well as snowmobile hire.

Walking excursions (to the Metođa spring and Semeteško Jezero lake), mountain biking and basketball, tennis, riding and English language schools also take place on Kopaonik. A diverse range of children’s programmes, as well as slimming and fitness programmes, are offered here and there are a great many sport grounds, which are ideal for sports team training camps. The jagged landscape of Kopaonik is ideal for paragliding.

The Jošanička, Lukovska and Kuršumlijska (at the foot of Kopaonik) spas are very close to Kopaonik, while the rich thermal springs of the Vrnjačka, Mataruška and Sijarinska spas are just a little further away. Kopaonik, too, has mineral springs: the lightly radioactive Krčmar spring, which is 1700 m above sea-level, and Marine Vode (1950 m).

The historical significance of the Kopaonik region as the seat of the mediaeval Serbian state is illustrated by the remains of fortified towns (Zvečan, Koznik and Maglić) on the peaks of the central massif and the mining areas (Stari Trg and Novo Brdo), as well as the churches and monasteries (Gradac, Pavlica, Studenica, Žiča and Sopoćani), the endowments of Serbian rulers, nestled at the foot of the Kopaonik mountain range.

Tara

Tara, one of the most beautiful mountains in Serbia, is located in the western part of the country, close to Bajina Bašta and above Perućačko Jezero lake on the Drina river. It straddles the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and is around 180 km from Belgrade. The average height above sea-level is from 1000 to 1200 m and the highest point is Kozji Rid, at 1591 m.

It is covered in dense forests, dotted in glades and meadows with rocky crags, gullies and caves. The climate lends itself to the treatment of bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and anaemia and also has a positive effect on the immune system.

The Tara National Park covers an area of 19,750 hectares. Tara is home to a diverse range of plant life, amongst which, the Serbian or Pančić spruce, which is only found here, is especially worthy of mention. The diverse habitats and preserved vegetation have allowed many animal species, such as the brown bear, chamois, Wood Grouse and the G olden Eagle, to survive.

The tourist centres on Tara are Kaluđerske Bare and Mitrovac. Kaluđerske Bare lies 1000 m above sea-level, at the junction of roads leading to Bajina Bašta, Mitrovac, Mokra Gora and Kremna. Mitrovac is one of the largest plateaus, at 1080 m; it has many sports grounds and offers good facilities to those wanting to actively experience nature.

Visitors can make use of pedestrian paths (10 km) and there is a fitness circuit (1.6 km), a football pitch and outdoor small sports fields, amongst other facilities, for those who enjoy sport and recreation. There are ski slopes and two ski-lifts, a 150 m-long one for children and beginners and a 450 m-long one for amateur skiers, located at 1000 m above sea-level.

 

Forests, canyons and river banks preserve the remnants of prehistoric, classical, Roman and Byzantine cultures. The 13th-century Rača monastery and the tombstone necropolises in Perućac and Rastište are part of Serbia’s mediaeval heritage. Unique folk architecture can be seen in the Dinaric Alps log cabins dotted along the banks of the Drina river.[/size]

Divčibare

Divčibare, a well-known category II mountain resort, is located in the central section of Maljen mountain, 38 km southeast of Valjevo. Divčibare is a mountain plateau which stretches from Crni Vrh, Paljba and Golubac to Veliko Brdo. Divčibare lies 980 m above sea-level and contains four strictly regulated nature reserves: Crna Reka, Čalački Potok, Zabalac and Vražnji Vir.

Divčibare has a gentle and pleasant climate. Owing to its ideal geographic position, air masses from the Mediterranean reach Divčibare and converge with the air masses from the Carpathians and Pannonain Plain, explaining the presence of iodine in the air. Divčibare has a favourable mean annual temperature of 18°C, with autumn being warmer than spring. September is the driest month with only 5.4 days of rainfall. Divčibare has 289 annual days without wind, 126 days with rainfall and winter sees snow for a full four months.

This region is rich is brooks, springs and streams, which belong to the basins of the Kolubara and Zapadna Morava rivers. Other rivers here include Bukovska, Crna, Kozlica, Krčmarska and Crna Kamenica. Manastirica is the most interesting river with its very beautiful 20 m-high waterfall, which is known as Skakalo by the locals.

Divčibare is famous for its beautifully soft grassy meadows. Conifers dominate Divčibare, and in the centre itself there are mountain pines which do not grow anywhere else at heights below 2000 m above sea-level. Scots and black pine trees, fir trees, spruces, junipers and mountain pine trees are most commonly found in the coniferous forests. Of the deciduous trees, the most important are beech, birch, European ash, oak and Turkish oak. At the end of April the most beautiful of mountain flowers, the daffodil, blooms and wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries can also be found.

There is a wide variety of sports grounds, ski-lifts and slopes which are ideal for children and beginner skiers. There are also two tennis courts, as well as several basketball and handball courts.

Skiers can make use of several ski slopes. The northern face of Crni Vrh is home to the longest slope (800 m) which has a ski-lift with a capacity of 700 skiers an hour. The slope is lit, making nighttime skiing possible. Near the Zmaj holiday resort, on Golubac and the Stražara peak, there are three smaller ski slopes, up to 300 m in length, which can handle 200 skiers an hour. The Divčibarska Kotlina basin is excellent for cross-country skiing. Ski equipment can be rented and serviced in the hotels and holiday resorts, and in the winter season a skiing school also operates.

Divčibare is host to a wide range of tourist, cultural and sporting events throughout the year, of which the best-known is the White Daffodil beauty contest.

Stara Planina

Stara Planina mountain is the largest mountain in eastern Serbia and a massif which forms a natural border with Bulgaria. It is located 330 km from Belgrade, 70 km from Niš and 50 km from Knjaževac and Pirot. The highest point is Midžor, at 2169 m.

The stunning beauty of its unspoilt nature makes Stara Planina the most beautiful mountain in eastern Serbia and one of its most important areas for tourism. It is a natural treasure of exceptional importance and is a protected nature park.

Stara Planina spends almost five months a year under snow cover, at heights of between 1100 and 1900 m, meaning that there is good potential for the construction of long alpine ski slopes.

With the construction of a ski-lift system and ski slopes, accommodation and other facilities, Stara Planina will very quickly become one of the largest and most important ski centres in Serbia, aimed in particular at lovers of snow sports and quality skiing in the midst of immense beauty and untouched nature. The natural features of Stara Planina are also ideal for hiking, hang gliding and paragliding, fishing and picking medicinal and aromatic plants and mushrooms.

Babin Zub is one of the highest peaks on Stara Planina, standing 1780 m above sea-level. There are plans to build the Babin Zub Tourist Centre, with an alpine skiing capacity of 14,000 skiers, 40 km of ski-lifts, 100 km of ski slopes and accommodation with over 8000 beds.

Currently, the Babin Zub Ski Centre comprises slopes in Konjarnik, the Sunčana Dolina valley, as well as the Markova Livada meadow which is lit for night skiing. The four-seater Konjarnik ski-lift, which has a “magic carpet” conveyor belt for boarding skiers, has a capacity of 1500 skiers an hour, while the Sunčana Dolina and Markova Livada ski-lifts each have a capacity of 1200 skiers an hour.

Zlatar

Zlatar mountain is located above Nova Varoš in southwestern Serbia and is 270 km from Belgrade. It is surrounded by the Lim, Uvac, Mileševka and Bistrica rivers and the highest peak is Golo Brdo (1627 m).

All the features of Zlatar mountain are summarised by its name (the name of the mountain is related to the word ‘gold’ in Serbian): its aromatic meadows and clear lakes surrounded by spruces and birch trees, its combination of Mediterranean and mountain climates, a large number of annual sunny days, therapeutic air rich in turpentine and ozone and timeless views. That is why Zlatar has been declared a “climatic spa”.

In the winter period guests can use the 800 m-long ski slope with 420 m-long ski-lift which is located 200 m from the Panorama hotel. Ski equipment hire is also available.

Not far from Zlatar mountain, tourists can visit the canyon of the Uvac river, the habitat of a rare Balkan bird species – the Griffon Vulture. This nature reserve attracts many tourists with its interesting landscape, clear waters rich in fish and opportunities for rafting and photography.

Three artificial lakes, Zlatarsko, Sjeničko and Radoinjsko, as well as the Mileševa and Banja monasteries and the wooden churches in Kućane and Radijevići round off the tourist attractions of Zlatar mountain.

Golija

Golija is one of the most beautiful and forest-rich mountains in Serbia. It is located 40 km southwest of Ivanjica and offers a wide variety of holiday and leisure options in the midst of almost untouched nature. The highest peak is Jankov Kamen, at 1833 m.

Since 2001, Golija mountain has been under state protection as the Golija Nature Park, which was placed in category I as a natural resource of exceptional importance. Because of the exceptionally well-preserved natural environment, but also because of its cultural resources, the committee of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve Programme set up the Golija – Studenica Biosphere Reserve within the Golija Nature Park.

The Golijska Reka mountain lodge lies 1408 m above sea-level and has a football pitch, small sports fields and tennis courts. Hiking up to the Jankov Kamen and Novića Brda peaks, as well as the 3 km-long marked keep-fit circuit, is of special interest.

In Odvraćenica, 31 km from Novi Pazar, the Golija hotel stands on the site of a former mountain lodge. Golija’s slopes are ideal for skiing because of the very snowy winters, and guests have the use of three ski slopes and two ski-lifts.

Vlasina

Vlasina is a plateau in southeastern Serbia which lies 1265 m above sea-level and is surrounded by the Gramada, Vardenik and Čemernik mountains. It is located 320 km from Belgrade and 20 km from Surdulica, close to the border with Bulgaria. Because of its natural beauty and rich plant and animal life, Vlasina is a protected area of exceptional importance.

The central section of the Vlasina plateau is occupied by Vlasinsko Jezero Lake, the largest and highest artificial lake in Serbia which stands 1230 m above sea-level and has an area of 16 km2. The lake was formed when, on top of the Vlasinsko Blato peat bog, a dam was built under which the Vlasina river flows. The lake is also special because of its unique floating peat islands on which cows can sometimes be seen grazing as they float on the water.

The climate in Vlasina is subalpine, with dry and fresh summers and dry winters. Meadows, glades and birch forests extend in all directions and of special interest is mushroom-picking .

Because Vlasina is off the beaten path, it is an ideal location for nature lovers who place comfort at the bottom of their holiday checklist.

The plateau is surrounded by rounded mountain peaks and gentle slopes, ideal for amateur skiers.

Goč

Goč mountain, whose highest peak is 1124 m high, is located 200 km from Belgrade and 31 km from Kraljevo, in the northern part of the Kopaonik mountain range. Goč is accessible from many sides, but the two main roads run from Kraljevo to the Dobre Vode peak via Kamenica and from Vrnjačka Banja to Stanišinac. Goč is covered in a beech and fir forest which is also home to Goč pines, sessile oaks, fine deciduous species and exotic coniferous species. The large forests and the slopes of Goč, with their unspoilt nature and clean air, have a beneficial effect on people suffering from anaemia and boost the metabolism and the nervous system.

Goč is rich in wild strawberries and harbours a diverse range of medicinal plants. The rich flora is affirmed by the presence of the beekeepers who set up their beehives on the pastures. In Gvozdac there is an artificial lake which seamlessly fits in with the natural surroundings.

In the Dobre Vode tourism resort, next to a hotel of the same name, there are two 300 m-ski slopes for beginners and children, each with a ski-lift. A 1150 m-long ski-lift and a 1400 m-long ski slope are located 150 m from the hotel. The lower part of the slope, whose hill climbs are 350 m, is gently inclined, making it suitable for beginners, while the upper part is steep and used by more serious amateur skiers. There are also five marked trails of different lengths and inclines for cross-country skiing, as well as a 30 m-jump which is ideal for practice in ski jumping. Guests who visit Goč can hire ski equipment and a ski school is also held during the winter period.

Next to the Beli Izvor holiday resort, which is located on the Vrnjačka Banja side of the mountain, there are small sports fields and hiking and running paths, and two 500 m-long ski slopes open during the winter months which are perfect for those first steps on the snow. The ski-lift can carry 1200 skiers an hour and nighttime skiing is also possible.

Besides the skiing facilities, Goč also caters for sports training (with its courts for basketball, volleyball, handball and tennis), school excursions and sports camps, hiking, paragliding, fishing and hunting.

Goč is also well-known for its cultural and historical landmarks, the most interesting of which is the Roman-era cemetery, the burial place of the Saxon miners who extracted and smelted iron here at the time of the Nemanjić dynasty.

Rudnik

Rudnik mountain, which dominates central Serbia and the Šumadija region, is located 100 km south of Belgrade. Besides the highest peak called Cvijićev Vrh (1132 m), Srendnji Šturac, Mali Šturac, Molitve, Paljevine and Marijanac, all standing at over 1000 m above sea-level, deserve special mention. Rudnik mountain is easily accessed by road and owing to its superb climatic conditions, Rudnik has been designated a “climatic spa”.

The provincial town of Rudnik was a centre of mercury mining activity long before the arrival of the Slavs in the Balkans in the 6th century. And before the Romans, the area had been settled by the Illyrians and Celts. According to archaeological evidence found on Rudnik, there was once a large Roman settlement with a coin mint. Serbian rulers and feudal lords also fought for Rudnik. The King Dragutin dinar was minted on Rudnik and was the first Serbian dinar coin to feature an inscription in the Cyrillic script.

In the 14th century, the Dubrovnik republic and Sasi (Saxons) had their own colonies here and Rudnik became particularly important after the fall of Novo Brdo in 1441. With its rich deposits (silver, lead and copper), Rudnik was not only a source of income for Serbian rulers, but it was also a developed centre of craftsmanship and merchantry from where cultural influence spread across all of Serbia.

Accommodation on Rudnik is mainly provided by the Mountain Lodge, Šumska Kuća apartments and the Neda hotel. Besides having the use of sports grounds and swimming pools, guests can also go hiking – conquering Cvijićev Vrh, the highest peak in Šumadija or Ostrvica a steep volcanic peak which finishes at the walls of Jerinin Grad fortress. Ostrvica or Ostrovica is a small mediaeval parish town, nestled on a stone peak which rises 800 m above sea-level, dominating the landscape. The steep and inaccessible terrain provided a natural defence on all sides.

The advantages of Rudnik include its proximity to the historical sites of Oplenac and Takov, the Vraćevšnice monastery, the village of Voljavče, the Nikolja and the monasteries of the Ovčar-Kablar gorge, the pleasant climate, clean air and the many walking trails. Hunting of small and large game is also an option.

Šar Planina

With their imposing appearance, height and vastness, the Šar Mountains assume a dominant position in the Balkan Peninsula. With its numerous peaks climbing to over 2500 m, the Šar Mountain range rises up in the spacious Kosovo valley and extends from the northeast to the southwest for around 80 km.

Šar Mountains National Park spreads out over its northern slopes. It is the largest area of biodiversity in the Balkans as it is the sole habitat of around 20 endemic species or natural rarities.

Brezovica, a well-known ski centre, is located on the northwestern part of the Šar Mountains, 12 km from the village of Brezovica in the municipality of Štrpce. The climate, duration of snow cover – from November to May – and the length, angle and hill climbs of each slope make it one of the best known alpine ski resorts in Serbia.

The ski resort lies 2500 m above sea-level and has 11 chair and ski lifts, which have a capacity of 10,000 skiers an hour. The slopes are suitable for all alpine disciplines and have an average length of around 3000 m.

The Šar Mountains contain a large number of glacial mountain lakes and many mountain brooks and streams rich in trout, and the many chamois, bear, lynx and wood grouse habitats also offer excellent hunting opportunities.

Leisurely walks, medicinal plant picking, hiking and excursions are possible during the summer months.

The Šar Mountains are located in the territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija which is currently under the administration of UNMIK (the UN Interim Mission in Kosovo).

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