Even though right now I am sitting in Uruguay with an amazing view over the village and the ozean I felt inspired telling you about my experience when I was hiking for one week in Serbia.
Yes! Hiking in Serbia is not really the most usual thing to do… but however I decided together with my best friend to try it out and see what happens. Of course before that we have been in the capital Belgrad.
For me it is one of the party captials in Europe… but besides partying we asked many people where is a nice region to do what we have planed. All locals we met told us that we have to do that in the southwest of the country. It is a hilly region with some rivers and lakes on the way. So we decided just to go there. Serbia itself is a really beautiful country and was way different than expected. Not only the countryside with its beautiful green hills and lakes, also or especially the people in the country! Already in the capital everyone helped us, was going out with us and did show us the best places to go. Later in the countryside it was even more amazing… but more of that follows later. The only thing that fits into the stereotype of Serbia that is actually true was the train station of Belgrad with all its “fucked up” buildings. But as soon as we left the train station the typical picture of eastern europe was gone for the rest of the journey. Soo.. I definetly can recommend you all to try out eastern europe and especially Serbia!
Hiking Uzice in Serbia
As locals told us we should definetly start in Uzice the plan was to stay there in a hostel for one night. However as we arrived in the late afternoon everything was booked out (well… it was summer holidays in Europe ;)…) so we just bought some food, drinks and other stuff for the hike and started to walk away from the city hoping to find a nice spot to camp. Luckily right at the beginning we found an old railtrack that is now used for pedestrians and bikers in the middle of nowhere (Later we found out this is actually a famous road for all the locals). So we were happy being on our way and according to the map heading to a lake the next day. As you can already tell at this point I and neither my friend did like to plan that much… just go for it and see what happens. So at the end of our first day we really had some problems finding a nice camping spot that was not next to the street and more or less even. In the end we still found something so we made a fire and build up our tent – actually we really were in a hurry cause it looked like it will start to rain.
As the tour wasn’t really planned like that from the beginning I didn’t bring a matress to sleep on so i just had my sleeping bag on the ground. My friend just brought his military tent which means it had no floor. If it would have been raining more I would have been suffering a lot. However luckily it was just a little bit of rain so I didn’t have to sleep on a river underneath the tent.
Hiking Vrutci in Serbia
After a literally hard night (without matress…) we woke up and started to hike again. Actually the coolest part on this way all the way up to this lake was that we had old train tunnels to cross. As there was no electricity anymore it was so dark you couldn’t see anything. Which meant for us (without energy on the phone on the second day) to keep walking with our hands on the sidewall of the tunnel hoping that the way continues and there will be light again soon.
Obviously it worked out very well and in the end we ended up at the “lake” called Vrutci. However it was just a barrier lake so not as beautiful as we thought it might be.
Still we prepared our lunch at the lake and then went to a farmers house that was close to ask if we could fill up our bottles. Clearly not speaking serbian but with our hands! Even though they understood us so we could fill up our bottles they kept pulling us shots of Rakia (which is the Serbian version of the austrian Schnaps – some kind of very strong alcohol!). As we wanted to be polite we always drank it – still it didn’t help and he kept refilling our drinks. After like 5-6 shots each we started our second hiking session a little bit drunk and this time direction south. The goal was to be in 2 days in Zlatibor. However after the drinks and hiking for 2 hours we took a little nap in some fields on a hill which was a perfect spot with a nice view.
So as we decided to continue our hike we just had around 4 hours more of sunlight. Another problem was we were out of food and there was no city in sight for the next days. On the way, right before looking for a camping spot, we saw some food trees and asked the farmer next to it if we could eat some. As we couldn’t communicate and he just walked into his house we took some fruits for us and wanted to leave. However the farmer came back and brought us a big plastic bag that we could collect as much from the trees as we wanted. Later at the camping spot that more or less saved our lives as we would have had nothing for dinner. Truth is the camping spot was very interesting! As it looked more or less like a private ground.
When everything was set up and we were ready to sleep we found out – it actually was a privat ground of a farmer. As he arrived at 11pm with another worker and started to do something on their fields with some loud machines. Somehow we managed in the middle of nowhere to find the only spot which would be loud the whole night. Still the farmer told us we could stay there so thats what we did.
Hiking Zlatibor in Serbia
Our goal for this day was to stay in Zlatibor for a bit as its a local tourist attraction. Also my back did already hurt a lot from sleeping on the ground. So we did continue our hike. For lunch we found a village with some cheap bars so we tried some local food booked a room for two nights in Zlatibor with their Wifi and tried to go as fast as possible to Zlatibor to relax. After crossing some hills, which was really exhausting already on the third day without a lot of food, in the summersun and with all the luggage we arrived in the city of Zlatibor.
Even though we knew it it was more touristy than expected. There were also a lot of cool things to do – but somehow expensive and anyway we were pretty dead so we decided just to chill in the city for two days.
Hiking Preobraženje in Serbia
Actually after the two nights in Zlatibor we had the plan to go by bus to Nova Varos, which is already way more south and close to the border to Montenegro which was our next country. However on the bus we saw a nice river so we jumped off the bus in the middle of nowhere and checked our map.
Actually there is another lake really close and we would just have to follow the river. Well thats easily said… on the first try we got lost right away! We went on a wrong hill north of the river Preobraženje. there was a farmer we could asked for the way and as we understood he tried to tell us we have to go to the south side of the river. Before we left he gave us fruits – as nice as all people we met in Serbia! So we tried again and this time we found the right street. We tried to hitch hike as it was really hot in the sun and a long road to walk. As there were not many cars the only one that stopped was the bus. So we jumped in and actually he gave us the ride for free! He told us exatcly where to jump off and explained us the way to the lake. After 30 minutes more of hiking we arrived and guess what… it was a barrier lake again. However this time we have been unbelievable lucky. There was not only a small beach next to the lake also a bar in the middle of the woods!
Next to the bar there were many caravans and tents and actually also some people swimming and chilling in that area. So we asked at the bar how much it is to camp here or what we would need and they literally told us “Put your tent wherever you find space, just the drinks are not for free ;)!”
Finding an amazing place like that we definetly wanted to stay there 2 nights, partying with the people and chilling at the lake.
Hiking Nova Varos in Serbia
So after the two nights as we sadly had a time limit for the journey we started to hike south one more time to Nova Varos as we planned it in the beginning. However it was hard to figure out a great route to do the hike.
We just started to walk some small road up a mountain that was on the way… well the road got less and less visible until it totally disappeared and we were hiking in the middle of the woods using our compass heading south. After a while of fighting our way through the woods there was a fence in front of a field. So we jumped over it and found a farmers house. the very old couple was having lunch with its two workers outside of the house and as they saw us they told us to sit down. The old lady brought us some coffe as we were relaxing and eating the last food we had: a very small pack of nuts. The couple tried to commuincate with us but we didn’t understand a word so she disappeared in her house. Well seems like she asked if we want to eat something because she returned with a very nice lunch for us. While we were eating we couldn’t believe our luck again and tried to figure out the way. Most funny part… the farmers house didn’t even have a road! So the farmer was pointing us a direction where we should continue our hike. Thats what we did and after like 45 minutes we finally found a road again. However it was still very far and looking like rain again. We tried to hurry up. As the rain was very close a truck came from behind. He picked us up and brought us down to city directly to the bus station. Still the only bus to Montenegro was going at 1 am so we had a lot of time in Nova Varos to go for dinner get money, water and food and in the end enjoy the time in a nice bar. Still… the bus came like 1 hour late so we very already a bit afraid of what to do the whole night. However everything worked out perfectly and on the way to Montenegro we were really happy about our hiking experience in the beauty of Serbia. And I can just repeat – the people of the country were the most amazing on our way! If Serbia was not on your list yet – you should definetly change it!