Walking holiday in Serbia

Guided Walking Tour in Southeast Serbia

Overview

The tour explores rich historical heritage and stunning scenery of Southeast Serbia. This area is very sparsely populated by people. The unspoiled nature cradles deep river gorges surrounded by limestone cliffs, thick forests and many caves. This is a superb environment of an exceptional natural beauty, ideal for hiking and mountain biking. Some of the most important Serbian medieval monasteries are situated in this area.

Here is a taste of what to expect on this hiking tour.

Highlights

The Nature Reserve of Lisine

The region of Lisine with the mountain of Beljanica is protected by the state as a nature reserve of exceptional importance. It belongs to the mountain range of the Carpato-Balkanides. Mostly covered by beech and oak forests and grass vegetation, it is one of the largest karst areas in Serbia. Due to its limestone composition it is very reach with caves (more than 150) and other karst forms. The mountain plateau ranges at the altitudes from 1000 to 1300m above sea level.

Manasija Monastery

Manasija monastery was founded by Despot Stefan Lazarevic. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, an extravagant fortification and large refectory were erected and painted between 1406 and 1418. The impressive walls comprise 11 towers surrounded by a trench. The most dominant and most imposing tower is known as Despotova Kula (Despot’s Tower). The castle was entered via a large gate on the western side. The Church of the Holy Trinity is considered a prime example of Morava architecture. A particular rarity in Serbian mediaeval architecture is the mosaic floor. The frescoes in Manasija are regarded as some of the most beautiful examples of Serbian mediaeval art.

Resavska Cave

Resavska cave is one of the oldest caves in Serbia, some 80 million years old. It was discovered in 1962, although it was known of earlier by shepherds who would use it as a shelter with their sheep in bad weather. It was opened to visitors in 1972. The cave is 4.5 km long, 2830 m have been investigated in detail and around 800 m have been made accessible to visitors. One of the most impressive caves in the region, Resavska cave represents a true speleological treasure. Its galleries, halls and passages are decorated with a variety of ornaments, pillars and coral-like calcite deposits in various colours reflecting the underlying minerals.

Sokobanja Spa Centre

Sokobanja spa town is situated at an altitude of 400m above sea level, in a valley sheltered by three mountains – Ozren, Devica and Rtanj. The thermal springs of alkaline water have been known for their therapeutic properties as far back as Ancient Rome. The Sokobanja public hamam – steam bath – was first mentioned by Turkish travel writer Evliya çelebi in 1663. It became a tourist resort used by wealthy Serbian families at the beginning of 19th century. The healing mineral waters, with temperatures ranging between 28°C and 45°C, are used for bathing and inhalation. The moderate continental climate, a high concentration of oxygen, ozone and negative ions in the air and an absence of air pollution, have made the spa renowned for its beneficial qualities in treatments of lung problems. Today, there is a modern Specialised Hospital for Non-Specific Lung Diseases.

Ravanica Monastery

Ravanica Monastery was the endowment of Prince Lazar built during the period between 1375 and 1377. Due to its architectural and artistic features, the Ravanica is regarded as the birthplace of the medieval artistic style called the Morava school. The church was built from alternating rows of stone and brick and was decorated with ceramic ornamental elements and rich sculpture.
Prince Lazar was Prince of Serbia from 1371 to 1389, ruling what is also known by historians as Moravian Serbia. He is best remembered for his role in the war against the invading Ottoman Empire, against whom he led an army that fought at the Battle of Kosovo. He perished in the battle alongside most of the Serbian nobility and the Ottoman Sultan Murad I, which eventually led to the fall of Serbia as a sovereign state and the Ottoman conquest of Serbia. The events surrounding his rule and especially the battle, are highly regarded in the identity, history and culture of Serbs; he is venerated as a martyr and saint in the Serbian Orthodox Church as Saint Lazar and a hero in Serbian epic poetry, in which stories he is known as Tsar Lazar.

Soko Grad - Falcon Town

Soko Grad, a medieval fortification, was founded in the 6th century by Romans during the reign of Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I to protect the territory from barbarian tribes penetrating the Balkan Peninsula. In 1172 it became part of the Serbian medieval state and then occupied by Ottoman Turks at the end of 14th century. The fortress was the last bastion of the Ottoman rule in Serbia, until 1867 when it finally handed over to the then Serbian ruler Mihajlo Obrenović. Today, only the remains of the fortress surrounded by forest are still visible.

Nature Park Sićevačka Klisura - Sićevo Gorge

The Sićevo Gorge is the most prominent geological feature formed by the Nišava River. The gorge is is 17km long, 350–400m deep, in some parts developing canyon-like structures. The gorge is cut into a plateau, between the southern slopes of the Svrljig mountains and the mountain of Suva Planina. River Nišava has formed on its own way several interesting places, carved a composite valley with several depressions. Sićevo Gorge represents a fascinating part of the canyon of the Nišava river, located on the road to Sofia, at the end of the final slopes of Mt. Svrljiške Planine and Mt. Suva Planina.

Suva Planina Mountain and Svrljiške Mountains

Suva Planina Mountain and Svrljiške Mountains are among the most beautiful mountains in Balkan. With picturesque villages and breathtaking views this region is a real paradise for hiking and mountaineering. Suva Planina, meaning dry mountain in Serbian, is formed manly of limestone and most of the mountain range above 1500m above sea level is without any water. The mountain peaks Trem (1810m) and Falcon Rock (1523m) are reached over a smooth but bare terrain on the South side. Once at the summit, over the edge of cliffs, one can enjoy unforgettable views to the steep rugged rocks and thick beech forest on the North side.

Pirot Town

At the very East of Serbia, close to the Bulgarian border, is the town of Pirot. In Pirot one will sample delicious dishes made with red paprika and sheep cheese of excellent quality. The town is renowned for its traditional crafts, woollen rugs and pottery. The Pirot ćilims, woven rugs, are made by hand on looms in the villages around Stara Planina Mountain. The carpets are dominated by the colour red and the decorative patterns are always geometric with a stylised bird, flower, collared dove or an item found in the weaver’s local area.

The City of Niš

Niš is the third largest city of the country and the commercial and cultural centre of South-eastern Serbia. Probably the most famous Nišlija (pron. Nish-leeya), a citizen of Niš, was Constantin the Great (280–337) the first Christian emperor of Rome. He made Christianity a lawful religion in Roman society, and he founded the city of Constantinople, the brilliant capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. In Naissus, the ancient Niš, Constantin erected a majestic residence Mediana where he often resided and attended to state affairs. Mediana was demolished in 442 by Attila the Hun. The remains of the residence and its beautiful mosaics are preserved today. The Niš fortress was built under the Ottoman rule and the beginning of 18th century. Today it is the main cultural venue in the city, hosting among other events the popular Summer Jazz festival - Nišville. The Ottomans left another impressive souvenir in Niš, the chilling Cele Kula, or the Skull Tower. The tower was constructed in 1809 using 952 skulls of Serbian rebels. The scalps from the skulls were stuffed with cotton and sent to Constantinople as a proof to Sultan Mahmud II. Located on the road to Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) the tower served as a warning to anybody who would dare opposing the Ottoman Empire.

Tour itinerary

The day by day schedule of this walking holiday

Day 1: Transfer from Belgrade airport to Lisine and visit monastery Manasija along the way (2h30 long transfer). Night in a pension in Lisine.

Day 2: Morning hike to Resavska Cave (2h30). After visiting the cave we will continue the afternoon with a loop hike (2h) to a local spring. Night in the pension in Lisine.

Day 3: Transfer to Sokobanja spa town. Short stop to visit monastery Ravanica. Afternoon hike to ruins of Soko Grad (2h30). Night in a pension in Sokobanja.

Day 4: Hike to the forest church on the Ozren Mt. Visit the old water mill along the way. Hike lasts approx 5h with ascend/descend of +300m/-300m. Night in the pension in Sokobanja.

Day 5: Transfer to Niška Banja (1h long). Transfer to the Sićevo Gorge (20min) and hike to Sićevo village. Wine and brandy tasting. Hike lasts 2h30 (rolling terrain). Night in a pension in Niška Banja.

Day 6: Hiking to Suva Mt. A nice 5h long hike to the most western summit of Suva Mt - Mosor 985m. Ascend/descend of +450m/-450m. Night in the pension in Niška Banja.

Day 7: Transfer to the town of Pirot (1h15). Visiting the local museum and the family who produces handmade woollen rugs - ćilims. Transfer back to Niska Banja. Late afternoon, visit Mediana archaeological site and the Scull Tower in Niš. Free evening in Niš. Night in pension in Niska Banja.

Day 8: Transfer to Belgrade (3h).

Dates, prices & information

Dates and price

Date: from March to November, on demand

Price: £655 (€785) excluding flights, single room supplement £100 (€120)

Practical information

The cost includes all services as listed below:

  • Accommodation: 2 nights in pension in Lisine, 2 nights in pension in Sokobanja, 3 nights in pension in Niška Banja. All rooms are with private facilities.
  • 7 breakfasts and 4 dinners,
  • 4 lunch packets (picnic lunches),
  • transportation from Belgrade airport to Lisine, transfer to Sokobanja, Sićevo, and transfer to Belgrade airport at the end of the tour,
  • full guiding service with English speaking guide,
  • wine tasting in Sićevo village,
  • bathing in the Turkish bath in Sokobanja,
  • entry fees to historical watermill in Sokobanja, Scull Tower, Resavska Cave, Pirot museum.

Tour cost does not include:

  • flights,
  • beverages during meals (except regular Serbian hot beverages served for breakfasts),
  • all meals except those noted above,
  • entry fees for all places visited during the tour except those noted above.

What you will need

  • Comfortable hiking shoes (waterproof if possible)
  • rain jacket
  • comfortable trousers
  • a hat
  • SP cream (sun protection)
  • sun glasses
  • water bottle
  • small daily backpack

Please note:

This walking tour in Serbia is available only on demand for private groups - min 4, max 12.

Prices are based on double room occupancy. Single travellers who do not require a single room option will be roomed by the tour leader either in two or three bedded rooms.

No unaccompanied minors (those under 18 years of age) can be accepted, however, older teenagers (those aged 14 and over) may be allowed to join group tours provided they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who accepts full responsibility for them during the entire trip.

Private groups

Our guided walking tour is available on demand only for groups of minimum 4 people.

Departures are available all year round.

Should you have any special requirements, get in touch with us to discuss it.

Fast facts

Dates

May from March to November, on demand

Pick-up, Drop-off

International Airport
"Nikola Tesla" Belgrade

Moderate

Price

£655 (€785) excluding flights,
single room supplement £100 (€120)

You will like

  • Unspoilt nature
  • Stunning scenery
  • Medieval monasteries
  • Resavska cave
  • Wine and brandy tasting

Language

English, French

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