This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.
Photo by Dino Kajtez on Unsplash

As promised, we're back with another round of recommendations for short trips around Serbia.

These are your two-, three-, or four-day outings imagined to help you get to know Serbia without breaking much bank. It's a follow-up to our previous article that spotlighted Roman artifacts along Djerdap Gorge, Southwestern Serbia, and the County of Resava.

Without further ado, here are three more.

The Princely Tara

If there's one view in Serbia to pick from the bunch, it has to be Banjska Stena on Tara Mountain and National Park.

Located in the far west of the country, Tara is every hiker's dream with nearly 300 km of mesmerizing views, pitch-perfect trails, and bear(!) lookouts. The Drina River that cuts through the mountain is a fantastic kayaking and cruising destination, intermitted with freshwater lakes fit for swimming.

Rested from a day of activities, you can then take the Sagran Eight - one of the most scenic train rides in all of Serbia. It will take you to Drvengrad (Woodtown) - a picturesque little town between Tara and Zlatibor where every nook and cranny is made of proper wood. It is a personal project by Serbia's leading filmmaker, and yes, there is a cinema somewhere in there.

The Raška Region

Sliding south from Tara, Zlatibor, and all that, we hit upon one of the most evocative regions in the whole country. We are at Stari Ras, the UNESCO-protected Serbian Medieval stronghold near the city of Novi Pazar. The history types will appreciate the region as one of the most layered cultural landscapes where Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations intersect with Serbian Medieval culture.

To grasp it, visit the Church of Peter and Paul, Sopoćani, and Đurđevi Stupovi as some of Serbia's most important (and beautiful) Monasteries. While there, you can take a slight detour across Kopaonik Mount to visit Kuršumlija, a city on three rivers and near three spa resorts, each worth a visit if not a stay.

And do not forget to stand in awe before Djavolja Varoš (Devil's Town). It's a rare, water-made natural phenomenon of 202 stone formations standing eerily on Mount Radan. There are also equally evocative stories behind its creation, so do read them, like, now.

The Castles of Vojvodina

From the undulating terrains of Southern Serbia to the flat fields of Vojvodina, take a journey across centuries and pay a visit to the region's most charming castles. Over 60 such edifices dot Vojvodina's tabular terrain, a testimony to its high-profile status during Empire shifts in these parts. Now, some are more defunct than others, but all are well worth checking out.

Here's our modest pick:

Fantast Castle was, at its prime, one of the most monumental castles in Serbia. Straight out of some fairy tale, it can be glimpsed from miles away. It was founded at the turn of the century by the Dundjerski family and named after Bogdan Dunđerski's favorite horse.

Ečka Castle is significantly older; old enough, in fact, that eight-year-old Franz Liszt was behind the piano at the gala opening. Ečka is also one of the most tourist-friendly castles in Vojvodina, serving today as a luxury hotel for those inclined.

Kapetanovo Castle is on the opposite side of the welcoming spectrum. Because it's haunted, that's why.

If you're the Dracula or Glamis castle type of person, Kapetanovo's lonesome form planted in the middle of wheat fields will scratch that itch. The stories surrounding the castle are every bit as captivating as their Romanian or Scottish counterparts.

Bon Voyage!


This article is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this program are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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