East Serbia Exploration

Serbian pyramids and old mountains: trekking, jeep riding, kayaking and hiking, all in this 7N/8D adventure

In the east of Serbia there is a mountain called Rtanj, famously called the Serbian pyramid. Simply because it’s shaped like one. Naturally, because of this, local folks attach magical and supernatural qualities to it. We will explore this magical Rtanj in an easy way, climbing to its peak while enjoying its surroundings. We’ll proceed to our next stop where we’ll explore an old medieval fortress and enjoy the thermal waters of Sokobanja.

Then we’ll continue our adventure heading east. Where at the very border with Bulgaria, lies Stara planina (Old Mountain). Two thirds of Stara planina is in Serbia and one in Bulgaria.

The highest peak of this beauty in the Serbian part is called Midžor (2168m), representing the highest peak of central Serbia, and our goal.

Apart from our climb where spectacular views await us, we’ll also explore famous waterfalls of this region and go on kayaking along the hidden coves of Lake Zavoj. And during our down time, we’ll recuperate our strength with food specialties of Eastern Serbia.

Itinerary

Day 1

Sunday

  • Landing and arrival
  • Transfer to Soko banja (1,5h)
  • Accommodation in the hotel
  • Free time for walking through the city
  • Overnight stay

After landing and a brief welcome, we’ll take a short ride to our accommodation in Sokobanja. (90 min drive).

After that, you’ll have free time to relax at the SPA center and afterwards dinner made up of specialties of this region. So, you’ll be well prepared for our adventure that starts tomorrow.

Day 2

Monday

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to Rtanj (30 min)
  • Climb to Rtanj (6h)
  • Lunch
  • A tour of the Soko city and the Moravice gorge (2h)
  • Free time for SPA or walking
  • Dinner
  • Overnight stay

After a relaxing, good sleep and strong, hearty breakfast, we finally start our adventure.

In front of us, a climb to Rtanj and its highest peak – Šiljak (pronounced [ʃǐːʎak]) (1,565 m), a natural phenomenon of karst terrain.

On its peak Šiljak, there are ruins of a little stone chapel dedicated to St. George. It was built in 1932. by the wife of a then, local miner. Today, the chapel is in ruins, mostly because of treasure hunters who tried using dynamite to find the supposedly hidden gold there. There is an initiative to reconstruct the chapel.

For some New Age believers, the pyramidal shape of the mountain is due to it containing alien pyramid power, capable of emitting mystical energies. Many people have flocked here prior to the predicted Mayan Doomsday, believing it will protect them.

After our successful ascent and safe descent, we’ll head for much needed lunch. We’ll use this break to get to know our next activity.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Soko city. The fortress was founded in the 6th century during the reign of Roman Emperor Justinian I. In 1172, it was occupied by Stefan Nemanja and became part of the medieval Serbian state. The town was destroyed in a violent Ottoman attack, and today the only thing visible is the remains of the upper town with a gate, walls, and three towers. Soko Grad translates as “hawk city”. It got its name because there were many falconers in the town, who paid taxes for their trained falcons.

After completing our first proper day, tired and happy, we go to our accommodation, where dinner and SPA awaits us.

Day 3

Tuesday

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to Bovan Lake (30 min)
  • Trekking adventure on Bovan Lake (2-3 hours)
  • Transfer to eco village Vrmdža (30 min)
  • Lunch
  • Tour of the village
  • Free time
  • Overnight in our accommodation in Soko Banja

After breakfast, we leave our hotel and take a short drive to Bovan Lake. Here, we’ll take a light trek around the lake, exploring its surroundings.

Our next stop is the ethnic village of Vrmdža, a few kilometers away from the lake. Here, we’ll have our lunch, prepared fresh and on the spot, from its own garden and freshly caught from the lake. Within the village there are remains of an old fortress, as well as a small lake, full of fish.

In the evening, we return to our accommodation in Sokobanja.

Day 4

Wednesday

  • Breakfast
  • Trekking to Midžor (2.168 m.n.v ) – approx. 6 h
  • Lunch
  • Transfer to accommodation in Pirot (1.5h)
  • Free time
  • Dinner

After relaxing, good sleep and a hearty breakfast, we are ready to start with our adventure. After a 2-hour drive, we arrive at the foot of the mountain.

In front of us, Midžor (2186 m). This particular trek is approx. 8 km long, not technically demanding and after reaching the top it gives you a real viewing pleasure. In front of us lies an amazing view of surrounding peaks and hills. During our trek, we’ll be literally walking on the border between Serbia and Bulgaria.

After our ascent and descent from the top, we’ll restore our energy in a form of a light lunch in nature.

We go back to our hotel to pack and descent to our next location, located in the foot of the mountain in the vicinity of city Pirot. Tired and satisfied, we proceed to our dinner and a deserving rest.

Day 5

Thursday

  • Breakfast
  • Waterfalls exploration – jeep riding and trekking (4h)
  • Lunch
  • Transfer to accommodation (90 min)
  • Dinner
  • Free time

After breakfast, we leave our hotel and after a brief ride we arrive at the starting point of today’s adventure. Here we take a ride on off-road jeeps, which will take us deeper into the mountain. Under the wheels lies a macadam path, leading us into the hidden corners of this marvelous mountain.

We disembark, deep into the mountain and start our trek of several hours, exploring its famous natural wonders. On our way, we’ll find several waterfalls, of which this mountain is known. What’s more, a third of all waterfalls in Serbia are located on the Old Mountain. The highest are the 42 m Uppsala waterfall and 64 m high waterfall called Pilj. There are also Krmolski, Kurtulski and accessible by foot, Toplodolski waterfall.

Of course, there are numerous river flows in the Old Mountain, which are rich in flora and fauna. Most importantly, it has a large number of endemic plants used in local, traditional medicine.

After our whole day adventure, we descend with our jeeps to our hotel. There you have some free time to relax and prepare for our next day.

Day 6

Friday

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to Zavojsko lake (30 min)
  • Kayak adventure on Zavojsko lake (3 h)
  • Trek to stone village (1,5 h)
  • Transfer to accommodation (30 min)
  • Dinner
  • Free time

We’re going to our guided adventure. Half an hour drive away from our accommodation, there lies Zavojsko Lake.

Today we start our kayak adventure. Half an hour drive away from our accommodation, there lies Zavojsko Lake. Here, we’ll paddle with our kayaks and explore Zavojsko lake and its meanders. Zavojsko lake is an artificial lake created when the “Zavoj” hydroelectric power plant was erected in 1969. The lake is about 16 km long with its depth at around 60 meters. The lake is located at an altitude of 612m.

After equipping our gear, we’ll take a short training with a kayaking instructor, and after we’ll be ready to enter into our two-seater kayaks and glide through the lake water.

After an all-day adventure, we return to our accommodation. We dine in a proper mountain environment, sitting by the campfire with a drink, or two, summarizing our impressions of the day.

Day 7

Saturday

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer to Niš (1.5h)
  • Tour of the city of Niš (fortresses, towers, streets, …)
  • Free time
  • Dinner – party
  • Overnight stay

Niš was an administrative, military and trade center of various states and empires, during its long history. In the area of today’s Nis, Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Constantius III were born in the ancient city called Naissus. The geographical position of Niš has made it a strategically important and thus an inviting city for many conquerors.

During our stay, we’ll visit the Niš Fortress as well as the famous “Ćele kula”. “Ćele kula” is a unique monument on a worldwide scale. The tower was erected solely from the skulls of fallen Serbian warriors, killed on Ceger, near Nis, in a battle that took place on May 31, 1809. It was built very soon after the battle, according to the orders of Hursid Pasha, then Turksih commander of Nis.

After visiting the city, we’ll stop by the famous Bohemian street in Nis, where we’ll have our lunch. After, you’ll have free time for sightseeing or gift shopping, or even both.

And for our last night, we celebrate our adventure in one of the most famous taverns in Niš, accompanied with good music and even better people.

Day 8

Sunday

  • Transfer to Airport (15 min)

Today, sadly, we transfer you to the airport, where we’ll say our goodbyes and wish for a safe flight home.

Dates & Prices

June 09th, 2019
Spots available: 12 890 €, Per Person
September 01st, 2019
Spots available: 11 890 €, Per Person

Price includes?

To maximize your convenience, we include as much as possible, so you can just relax and enjoy our tour. Here’s what’s included:

  • All local transfers
  • Airport transfers from/to Niš airport
  • 7 nights in a 3-star accommodation or 3-star ethno chalets (based on sharing a twin or double room)
  • 3-hour kayak adventure on Zavojsko lake
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Niš and Soko city
  • All necessary equipment (kayak, harnesses, helmet, ropes…)
  • Off-road jeep riding
  • 1-day dinner (Day I)
  • 5-day Full Board (Day II – VI)
  • 1-day Half Board (Day VII)
  • 1-day Bed & Breakfast (Day VIII)

F.A.Q.

What extra costs are there?
The following are not included in the tour price:

  • Flights to / from Niš
  • Visa for Serbia (if needed)
  • International health insurance covering kayaking
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Supplement for 1/1 room – upon request
  • Personal costs

What’s the kayaking like?
The kayaking is a relaxed, scenic 25 km paddle downstream, in the one of the cleanest river in Europe. It will take around 4 hours on predominantly calm water, with a few fun rapids. You will be in stable, two-person kayaks. Large enough to bring additional equipment and big enough to feel comfortable. You do not need previous knowledge about kayaking.

What skills/experience/fitness do I need?
A basic level of fitness is required for all activities. You need to be able to handle approx. 3 – 4 hours of activity per day. But don’t worry, your guide will be with you at all times and help you if needed, to complete your adventure securely and safely

You do not need any kayaking or climbing experience. Your guide will give you full instructions and a safety briefing at the start. Also, be advised that the water can get chilly on the river, but you will be provided with wet-suits to keep you warm.

What do I need to bring with me?
All specialized equipment will be provided (kayak, paddle, safety west, short neoprene suit and neoprene socks, ropes, harnesses, helmets…). For the rest of your trip, we recommend you bring:

  • Hiking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Hiking pants
  • swimming suit, sunglass and a towel, hat (for the summer)
  • Rain jacket
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Clothes in layers – for hot and cold parts of the night
  • Some pocket money
  • Some rucksack

What are the guides like?
All the activities on this trip will be led in English by qualified and professional local guides.

What’s the food like?
All food is local and is freshly cooked, hearty mountain meals. These include domestic cheese and other local milk products, dry meat specialties, fish, local fruit, fresh fruit and vegetable. We can organize your meal in the way you like. The drinks are not included.

Can my dietary requirements be catered to?
Absolutely. Just let us know when you fill in your travel documents.

What’s the weather like?
Spring, summer and early autumn are the best periods to visit this region (from beginning of May to end of September). In spring average temperature is around 22; In the summer the average temperature is around 26 – 28, but it can be more than 30 degrees. Autumn is slightly chillier but still really pleasant and colors are stunning.

What flights should I book?

Start point?
You will be met at the Niš airport on Sunday. Your transfer will meet all flights scheduled to land by 21:00 or earlier. Your host will be in touch before the trip to finalize all details.

Finish point?
Your tour will end at Niš airport on Sunday, as well. You are free to book any flight that departs after 10:00 am.

Getting there and away?
Niš Airport (INI) is served by regular, low cost flights. You can get any flights that suit you, but make sure they fit the times above to take advantage of the included transfers. We will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

How do I meet the transfer?
At your arrival, the transfer will be holding a sign with the name of the tour. We’ll give you all extra details before travelling.

How big will the group be?
This trip will run with a minimum of 6 people, and a maximum of 16. Please note, if there are not 6 people booked the trip may be rearranged or cancelled. Please contact us for confirmation before booking your flights, or book with a credit card.

Important notes:

This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, special events, etc.

We can’t guarantee availability of twin rooms for the duration of the tour. All rooms will, in most cases, be double, or single upon request.

In a highly unlikely case of insufficient number of people accommodated in one of our selected hotels, dinner will be served on a basis of a predetermined menu of 2 or 3 meals.