ZLATIBOR, A SERBIAN GEM

Gostilje Waterfalls
Gostilje Waterfalls

Aaah Zlatibor! One name, a thousand feelings. I first visited Zlatibor in 2012 and ever since, I’ve become a regular. But before I bore you with my obsession over it, let me give you some valuable info.

 

What is it?

Zlatibor is a town and a mountain in Serbia. Although not very well known to the rest of Europe, it is a very popular resort of Serbia and other countries of the Former Yugoslavia such as Montenegro, FYROM and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 

Where is it?

It is located in the municipality of Čajetina, in Southwest Serbia and close to the border of Bosnia-Herzegovina (45km). Starting from the Serbian capital, Belgrade, you’ll need to drive approximately 190km to reach it.

 

What does it mean?

Zlatibor means Golden Pine Tree (Zlatan Bor). And indeed, golden pine tree trunks are scattered around this majestic place and embellish its already breathtaking landscape.

 

Why visit?

Well, apart from the golden tree trunks, this picturesque little mountainous village is full of luxury resorts, nice spas, traditional delicacies, wooden chalets and a market with: folk art, authentic products and handmade clothes and accessories. It has a cool alpine climate that allows you to breathe the freshest air possible, enjoy sunny days during summer and snowy sceneries during winter. There is an artificial lake which stands out like a piece of art in the middle of the town’s center, where you can rent a pedal boat or a canoe and… i don’t know… just admire the place I guess.

 

Activities:

  • Horse Riding – enjoy Zlatibor’s natural beauty on the back of this proud animal.
  • Mountain Climbing – just pick one out of the numerous peaks around Zlatibor.
  • Hiking – there are trails for amateurs, pros, athletes, with/ without gradient (Monument Path, Pine Path, Kamalj Path etc).
  • Quad – adrenaline junkies will enjoy riding quads more than anything. Discover new paths and take amazing pictures in this 4 wheeled motor. Did I mention that you can go through water (max depth 1m).
  • Cycling – choose among the 3 biking trails (Ribnica, White Stone or Previja Trail) and ride through unique paths while benefiting your body.
  • Skiing – is the main attraction in Zlatibor. 9km away from its center, lies Ski Center Tornik in an altitude of 1100-1490m above sea level. There are 4 newly widened and renewed ski paths.
  • Klisko – aka snow slide!! Generally a kid’s activity that I happen to enjoy more. And I don’t mind your weird looks. I am Greek. Southern Greek. (Almost) Never had snow down there.

 

Also, are you an athlete and you are looking for a great place for physical preparation? Since Coach Obradovic – a Euroleague legend- (among many others) chose this place to train his then team Panathinaikos, why wouldn’t you? Zlatibor is the place to be.

 

Close-by Attractions:

Zlatibor is an ideal base for short day trips. With less than 1hr drive you can reach so many worth seeing places.

 

  • Drvengrad (or Küstendorf) – 40km. Do you know Emir Kusturica? Well you should. He is a multi-awarded Serbian film director, who happens to hang around with Monica Bellucci (!) a lot. He built this village, almost solely out of wood, for his film Life Is a Miracle and stated: “I will organize seminars there, for people who want to learn how to make cinema, concerts, ceramics, painting. It is the place where I will live and where some people will be able to come from time to time. There will be of course some other inhabitants who will work. I dream of an open place with cultural diversity which sets up against globalization.”
  • Special Nature Reserve Uvac – 50km. A place that after visiting will stay in your memory forever. River Uvac forms a snake-like shape while running through the canyon-like valleys which are home to many protected animal species and 219 registered flora taxa! I might have to write a whole post about it.
  • Zlatar Lake – 33km. A huge, artificial lake (7.24 sq.km surface/ 23km long) surrounded by abundant nature and landscapes.
  • Sirogojno Village – 24km. An “Ethno Village”, more like an open-air museum that was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance back in 1983. In its 5 hectares, you’ll enjoy authentic elements from the 19th century.
  • Gostilje Waterfall – 23km. Probably the most impressive attraction in the area. According to the myth, fairies love taking a bath in this place. With a bit of Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust, who knows… you might see Tinkerbell!
  • Ljubiš – 23km. A small village that I highly recommend for 2 reasons. No1 for the amazing “Dacovica Konaci” guest house which is a must live experience. Stay for a day, it is quite cheap (we got a small chalet for 20euro/day for 4 people) and enjoy the traditional delicacies the owner will bring you daily! I almost forgot no2. It is the traditional restaurant “Pecinar”. No menu. Just enjoy some homemade pie, salad from their garden and pick among that day’s main courses. Nothing frozen, everything fresh.

 

Accommodation:

There are several guest houses to choose from and you’ll even see people on the side of the road while you are entering Zlatibor, holding a sign saying “Apartmani” which means “apartments”. You usually can’t go wrong. But let me suggest you some tested, Nikoza-approved options, in case you are the play-it-safe type!

 

  1. Hotel Palisad
  2. Kraljevi Konaci
  3. Hotel Mir

 

Food:

Zlatibor is food heaven especially for meat lovers. Maybe it’s the altitude and my appetite that grows dramatically, or maybe it is the food itself which is so delicious and unique. Try the amazing Zlatiborska Komplet Lepinja for breakfast with a glass of Kiselo Mleko in the unique “Zlatiborski Pastuv”. Eat Teletina ispod Sača (baked veal with veggies) at restaurant “Grand” along with a side of Šopska Salad and a platter of traditional cold cuts. And finally, visit Mačkat (13km away) in order to try their very popular Jagnjeće Pečenje (roasted lamb).

 

Other Suggestions:

  • Aroma Cafe – the cafe with the best view that serves delicious coffee.
  • Fenixif you have a sweet tooth you’ll love it as much as I do.
  • Grand Irish Pub – my favourite spot to enjoy an ice cold beer and what I consider a party night… home by 12!
  • Hotel Palisad – has the best lobby and wine bar around here. Enjoy a glass of wine by the fireplace or a cocktail in their garden during summer.

 

There. Now you know it all. Just pack your bags and go!!!

 

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