Ladies and gentlemen, I wish You a warm welcome to the beautiful heart of Balkan sightseeing’s and nature. Well not so warm, because it’s winter time and that means You cannot miss this lovely opportunity to view one of the most precious gems of mountains that Europe and even the whole world can offer!
1. What is Tara?
Tara is a mountain located in the western region of Serbia. It is part of Dinaric Alps and it stands 1580m above the sea level. The mountain’s slopes are clad in dense forests with numerous high-altitude clearings and meadows, steep cliffs, deep ravines carved by the nearby Drina River and many karst or limestone caves. Tara’s national park encompasses large part of the mountain. More about that later.
2. Why You should visit Tara?
There are a lot of reasons why You should visit Tara and here they are:
1. Its mountainous climate with cold winters makes it an ideal candidate for experiencing snowy weather and its cool summers with normal continental climate makes it easy to cross every single corner of Tara National Park.
2. Tara has wide diversity of plants across its domain which houses up to 1100 different plant species, which of most known is Pančić’s omorika, which grows only on Tara mountain! That is as much as 1/3 of the plant species on whole of Serbia!
3. There are 18 mountain roads on Tara with a span of 120 km. Information centers can suite You with a specified road maps.
4. Also there are 27 different bicycle roads that span 75 km.
5. Angling is such an enjoyment when it comes to Tara national park! There are up to 40 different fish species!
3. Beautiful Tara sightseeing’s and how to get there
Most popular sightseeing’s are Banjska stena and Bilješka stena, Crnjeskovo, Sjenič and Osluša which make great views.
Banjska stena is visited by more and more tourists and for good reason. It offers a superb view of the impressive Drina Canyon. You can get there from the Mitrovca 7 km long walking route or by car by driving one km and then by enjoying a nice 15 minutes walk through a forest up to Banjska stena.
The second most famous sightseeing is Crnjeskovo, that You can reach by a walking route of 6 km length from Kaluđerske bare.
As mentioned before there are a lot of mountain roads. Depending of Your courage You can try Yourself from easy through middle-difficult and hard-access road trips.
· Kaluđerske bare
· Zvijezda and Crni vrh
Easy category road trips spanning from 5-10 km:
1. Mitrovac – Banjska stena (tour length – 4h)
2. Prevod krst – Bilješka stena (tour length – 5h)
3. Kaluđerske bare – Crnjeskovo – Lake Jarevac (tour length – 5h)
Middle-difficult category road trips spanning from 10 to 20 km:
1. Čehova kuća – Veliki kraj (tour length – 6h)
2. Kaluđerske bare – Platno – Jasikovice – Podgrad – Kulina (tour length – 7h)
3. Manastir Rača – Čokiči – Crnjeskovo – Sokolarica (tour length – 7h)
4. Rasište Jagoštica – Drlije – Bilješka stena (tour length – 6h)
Hard-access road trips spanning from 12-25 km:
1. Predov Krst – Veliki stolac – Sjenič (tour length – 8h)
2. Brusnički vidikovci (tour length – 8h)
Mountain road markings:
Mountain roads on Tara are marked with 3 types of marks that You should pay attention to:
This is a mark that indicates a mountain road ahead
This is a mark that indicates European tourist road E7
This is a mark that indicates mountain road Via Dinarica
4. Enjoy the Drina River on a kayak ride
There is a hot summer day and You want to be active, You can go on a kayak ride on the crystal clear Drina River which is considered to be one of the cleanest rivers in Serbia!
A Kayak tour is pretty fun and safe. No experience in kayaking is needed. A Kayak instructor will provide You a short course about paddling. The children are welcome too. The tour duration is about 3 hours with breaks. It begins at the Perućac dam. The attractions are vast and the most famous ones are the waterfalls on the river Vrelo and the House on the rock where the tour ends. The lenght of the ride is 15 km.
The small river Vrelo is located near Perućac at the entrance of the Drina canyon. It is one of the shortest rivers in the world with its 365 m long and that’s why the locals call it the one year long river.
The House on the rock is the symbol of the Drina River. It was first created in the far 1968 by a group of local boys, but was destroyed by the waters. It was reconstructed in 1969 and until now it was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. The “Business insider” put it in the top 16 weirdest houses in the world.
5. Spend a day cruising on the impressive Drina canyon
Cruising on the Drina River is a wonderful experience. You will see all the beauties it can offer like rocky landscapes, untouched nature and you will hear many interesting stories about notable history figures from the region and other amusing facts.
The Drina canyon is third in depth in the world, just behind the famous Colorado canyon (USA) and the Tara canyon (Montenegro). It belongs to a composite type of valley with a length of about 10 km.
The deepest and the most impressive part of the canyon is created by the erosion of the Zvijezda Mountain where the depth can reach 1000 m. The sides of the canyon are really steep and one can find many rare plant species like the already mentioned Pančić omorika.
The boarding is in the morning hours at 8 o’clock at the restaurant Sidro. It’s a full day outing where You will spend 4h on the boat and 2 hours in the town of Višegrad.
The time spent in towns of Višegrad and Andrićgrad will fulfill this experience where You will hear stories about the Nobel Prize in Literature of 1961, Ivo Andrić and his famous masterpiece “The Bridge on the Drina”. You will feel that the characters of the novel can appear from any corner and at any moment because they are rooted in the spirit of those towns.
In Višegrad there is a 500 year old stone Mehmet-paša Sokolović bridge known to many as “the Bridge on the Drina“. The bridge is 250 m long and 10 m wide except in the middle where it is expanded by two terraces in the left and right parts. It is one of the most monumental pieces of architecture built between 15th and 19th century. After visiting Višegrad, the return by boat is at 18:30h in Perućac.
6. Swim and enojoy the lakes Perućac and Zaovine
Zaovine and Perućac lakes with their crystal clear waters provide many opportunities for a perfect mountain vacation.
Perućac Lake is located in a natural Drina canyon bend between Bajina Bašta and Višegrad and is very well suited for swimming and angling. It is an artificially made lake which is 60 m deep and 54 m wide. It has arranged swimming coasts limited with safety beacons. Near the lake, there are many good restaurants.
Zaovine lake is one of the most astounding mountain lakes of Serbia. It is located on Tara mountain near the Zaovine village. The water is pretty clear and with little processing it is used for drinking purposes. The lake is situated on the elevation of 880 m. The biggest depth is around 110m.
The artificial coast is located near the Lazići dam and the Tarsko jezero restaurant where you can enjoy an amazing view on the surroundings and the little lake Spajići.
7. Adventurer’s guide for a canyon tour!
If You want a little bit of an excitement in the Tara national park, canyoning is the right thing for You! There are great canyons suited for exploration but only with proper guide and equipment.
8. Pick a bicycle route suited just for You!
In the Tara national park there are more than 75 km available bicycle routes, so if You are a mountain bicycle lover, You definitely have a lot to do!
Middle-requirment tour is Visoka Tara that spans 26 km.
Trip: Šljivovica – Tarabića brdo – Grebenski put – Beserovaćke bare – Lokvice – Sokolina – Rustine – Šljivovica
Length: 26 km
Lowest altitude: 929 m
Highest altitude: 1309 m
Height difference: 380 m
Maximum climb/descent: 1183 m
This route will take you to the heart of the Tara mountain. You will see rich forests of spruce, beech and ate wood, a nature reserve with a lot of animal and plant species and also a habitat of a brown bear.
Hard-requirment tour is Carska Tara that spans 42km.
Trip: Kaluđerske bare – Dobro polje – Ljuto polje – Tankosin Grob – Mitrovac – Rastište – Perućačko jezero – Perućac
Length: 42 km
Lowest altitude: 236 m
Highest altitude: 1287 m
Height difference: 1051 m
Maximum climb: 1737 m
Maximum descent: 2537 m
Absolute climb: 800 m
The Tara Mountain is known as the “Queen” of the mountains, thus the name “Carska Tara”. That’s why this route is incredible. You will see all of its beauty and will enjoy in the vast view of the rich meadows, sighting points and thick forests, steep cliffs, the Drina river and Perućac lake.
9. Bear sightings from the national park observatory
It is known that Tara holds an habitat for over 40 brown bears!
Meeting a bear is uncommon because they are scared of people. However, meetings can happen. Risk of a bear attack is slim to none. Bears attack only if they feel threatened and if they’re protecting their cubs. You will have the opportunity to see a brown bear in his natural habitat, from the safety observatories near the feeding places. Feeding places where bears are fed are implemented when experts suspect there isn’t enough food in the nature. From 4 existing feeding places, 2 are available for tourists.
Bear sighting tours from observatories are organized for small groups of people (usually 3), in the presence of the national park ranger. Tours can be organized in the early morning or at noon and it last for about 4-5 hours. Tours are available between May and October. Chances of a bear sighting are pretty high, 60% and more but can’t be guaranteed.
10. Visit historical monuments and tourist attractions near Tara
The most important monument of the region is the Rača monastery which was built in 12th century and represents the source of spirituality and literacy in this part of Serbia. It was built by the Serbian King Dragutin. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times.
The medieval fortress Solotnik (Kulingrad) is a fortification situated near the village Solotuše on the slopes of Tara Mountain. It rests on a rocky cliff above the Solotuš River. Near this environment lie the demolished Celtic and Roman settlements.
Perućac and Rasište house some “stećci” – medieval Serbian tombstone monuments which are on the UNESCO’s list of cultural world heritage.
Mramorje is a medieval tombstone necropolis that is located in Perućac and belongs to the most preserved necropolises of that area. The necropolis was built in the 14th century and had around 200 “stećaka“. One of the biggest of them is long up to 2 meters with a width and height of almost 1 meter.
11. Tara Hotels
There are plenty of hotels that are at Your disposal if You want to relax in one of the best mountain national parks of Serbia!
11.1. Hotel “Omorika” 3 stars***
This cozy hotel is settled in the most beautiful part of the Tara region. Its facilities provide opportunities for rest, entertainment and recreation. It is situated 11 km from the Rača Monastery, 19 km from the Tara National Park and 14 km from the railroad station Šargon-Vitasi.
The accommodations are diverse – from functional rooms with private bathrooms to pleasant apartments with 2 bedrooms and kitchens, living rooms and set up terraces. Satellite TV and Wi-Fi are free and some of the rooms even have mini-fridges and safety boxes. The parking is free. The hotel has an amazing buffet-breakfast restaurant, a bar, a bakery as well as an indoor pool, a sauna and a gym. There are also rooms for entertainment purposes such as bowling room, snooker table, gaming zone and massage rooms.
11.2. Hotel “Beli Bor” 3 stars***
Hotel “Beli Bor” is located on the slopes of the Tara Mountain around 30 km from the Zaovine Lake. Its 125 confortable rooms with coated walls with wood offer all the modern amenities. The hotel has a restaurant, an indoor pool and a kid’s room. The sport facilities consist of 2 football, 4 tennis and 5 basketball fields, a bowling room and a gym. Ski slopes and the equipment renting are also available.
11.3. Hotel “Zepter Drina” 2 stars**
The hotel “Drina” is a modern structure situated in Bajina Bašta, 29 km from the Tara National Park and 27 km from the Zaovine Lake. Confortable rooms are suited with Wi-Fi, television with flat screens, mini-bar and tea amenities. The higher category rooms have colorful murals and their own coffee machines. The apartments also contain living rooms. The hotel has 2 restaurants, a gym and a sauna, as well as a terrace. The parking is free of charge!