Serbia's Remoter Trails

Serbia

Culture | Activity

Hiking and cycling in remote Southeast Serbia

8 days £1,295 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Dates & Prices

Intro


Experience the warm welcome and the slow pace of rural life in Southeastern Serbia by hiking and cycling through its stunning valleys and gorges. Discover the ghoulish skull tower of Nis, visit a 200 year old water mill and stop off to rejuvenate your muscles in a Turkish bath. Overnight in small lodges and discover true hospitality in a traditional rural homestay.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Cosmopolitan café culture of modern Belgrade
  • Cycle through stunning landscapes
  • Sample local wines, brandies, breads, meats and cheeses
  • Hike in a remote region of Serbia, explored by few
  • Marvel at the ghoulish skull tower

Places Visited

Belgrade - Sokobanja - Resnik - Sicevo Gorge - Niška Banja

What's Included

Airport pick-up & drop-off
Ground transport
Accommodation
Entrance fees to sites on itinerary
Breakfasts and some meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
Drivers and guides
Use of well maintained bicycle
Itinerary
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Day 1 : Belgrade

You will be met by one of our representatives on arrival at Belgrade airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Belgrade.

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Sokobanja

Morning tour of Belgrade's highlights. Drive to Sokobanja (250km). Afternoon relaxing walk to the ruins of Soko Grad. Terrain is gently rolling. Soko Grad was originally founded by the Romans in 1st century though there is little left from Roman town anymore. The more interesting ruins in Soko Grad are of a typical Serbian medieval fortress. Night in Sokobanja.

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner



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Day 3 : Vrmzda - Josanica spa

Set off in the morning on your first bike ride; cycle the short distance to the village of Resnik, where we stop and visit the 200 year-old water mill. There may be the chance whilst we are here to sample some of the local produce made in the village - fresh bread, cheese and delicious juice. From here we head to Josanica spa, where we will stop for a picnic lunch, after which you will continue along dirt tracks to the village of Vrmdza. The rest of the afternoon is a leisurely cycle downhill across open terrain back to the lodge where we can avail ourselves of a Turkish bath and relax as the heat washes away any stiffness in our legs. Total cycling distance approx. 38 km rolling terrain with 6km unpaved.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner



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Day 4 : Cycle to Nis

After breakfast transfer by bus up to 'the saddle' between the mounts Ozren and Devica. Then it is a downhill cycle, through forest and farmland, passing through the villages of Jezero, Vrelo, Velepolje and Miljkovac en-route to Nis. Stopping off wherever we like to enjoy our picnic amidst the splendour of this rural landscape. After lunch we then set off across the fertile lands of the South Morava Valley, on our way to the town of Nis. An important trading settlement during Roman times, the town's strategic position on the road to Byzantium has seen numerous armies pass through its streets; Goths and Romans, Huns and Crusaders have all passed this way. Visit the Turkish citadel and the ghoulish skull tower. Transfer to Niska Banja for overnight in a lodge.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

The history of the Skull Tower of Niš: At the beginning of the 19th century, during the Second Serbian Uprising, it was crucial that the Serbian state liberate Nis from the Turks. The battle lasted the whole day and the Turks eventually overran the main trench on Čegar Hill after this fierce fighting. The Serbian General, Steven Sindelic, realising he was on the point of defeat, blew himself up alongside 3,000 Serbian soldiers and about 6,000 Turkish soldiers. The Turks built the grisly Skull Tower ("Cele Kula" in Serbian) with four walls - each containing eleven rows of seven Serbian skulls - as a warning against further Serbian resistance. Many of the skulls were removed - at great danger - by Serbian families and buried, but many remain there to this day. In 1892, a chapel was built over the skulls, which now protects the 58 remaining skulls.

Niš Fortress is a complex and very important cultural and historical monument that dominates the urban nucleus of the city. The existing fortification is of Turkish origin, dating back from the first decades of the 18th century. It is known as one of the most significant and best preserved monuments of its kind in the Balkans. 

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Day 5 : Sicevo Gorge

Transfer to the Sicevo village (10km). Loop hike in the Sicevo Gorge passing through vineyards and orchards of the Sicevo area and narrow walking path on the side of the gorge. Hiking lasts about 2.5 hours on rolling terrain. Return to the lodge in Niska Banja. Afternoon free.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch



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Day 6 : Mt. Svrljig - Niska Banja

Transfer to Sicevo village. Hike to the summit of Gradac (1,052m above the sea level) on Mt. Svrljig. Picnic lunch at the summit. Hike starts on elevation of 300m above the sea level. Hike duration: approx. 4h30. Overnight in lodge in Niska Banja.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch



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Day 7 : Trem

Short transfer to Bojanine Vode on the slopes of Dry Mt. (860m). Hike to the highest summit of Dry Mountain Trem (1.810m). The Trem summit is easily accessible from its southern side but the northern side is very steep and at the summit one can enjoy a beautiful view while standing at the edge of a steep cliff. Hiking duration: approx. 6h. Transfer to Sicevo Gorge. Traditional rural homestay in the Sicevo Gorge.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

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Day 8 : Belgrade - Departure

Breakfast. Transfer to Belgrade airport.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Moskva

The 4* Hotel Moskva was built in 1906 and is one of the most important architectural gems of the Serbian capital. All the rooms are equipped with stylish furniture, a mini bar, a cable TV, air conditioning and free wireless internet. Rub shoulders eccentric artists, enthralled poets and proud intellectuals at Hotel Moskva's cafe (the Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić even had his own table here), try the traditional “Moskva šnit” at the famous on-site pastry shop or dine at the on-site award-winning Restaurant “Tchaikovsky”. There is also an on-site Spa and Wellness Centre with a range of treatments. 

Visit hotel's site
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Splendid

Splendid guesthouse is located in the center of Sokobanja. It is one of the most beautiful houses in the town, a historical building protected by government. All rooms have toilets and TV. The guesthouse has a restaurant, serving local and national specialties. 

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

Balkan Explorer (20 days)

Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro & Bosnia

Archaeology of the Balkans (19 days)

Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians & Ottomans

Balkan Odyssey (15 days)

Discover Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro & Bosnia

Highlights of Serbia (10 days)

Historic monasteries, striking valleys and Roman ruins

Devil's Town & The Danube (9 days)

Uncover the hidden gems of Europe's best-kept secret

Archaeology of Serbia (8 days)

Follow the path of countless invaders

Festivals of Serbia (8 days)

Eat, drink and be merry in Europe's forgotten gem

Serbia's Remoter Trails (8 days)

Hiking and cycling in remote Southeast Serbia

A Taste of Serbia (6 days)

Discover the unique culinary heritage of Serbia

Belgrade & Vojvodina (4 days)

Discover Europe's coolest capital and the history & nature of Vojvodina

Reviews

I am delighted to see that Travel The Unknown have started to run tours to Serbia - it is time that someone did as the country has plenty to offer for all tastes. Looking at their itineraries for both North and South Serbia, it is clear that they manage to visit some of the more out the way places and lesser known sites that few know about. They offer a good degree of variety too, and their tours should give potential visitors a really good taste of this often overlooked destination.

Laurence Mitchell (Author of Bradt Guide: Serbia) , Tailormade Serbia

I had the pleasure to be on the "Archaeology of Serbia" trip in May, which although only 8 days long was packed with fascinating insights into the complex history of the land. Not (yet) on the main tourist routes, there are many sites dating from stone-age, through Roman times to the many monasteries of the Middle Ages, some of which retain beautiful frescos, despite a turbulent history. The people here are friendly and the food served in hearty portions, plenty for meat lovers and vegetarian alike. I thoroughly recommend visiting Serbia before it becomes mainstream.

Nigel Denney , Archaeology of Serbia

Have just returned from a wonderful holiday in Serbia with David Lindo, the Urban Birder, and local wildlife expert, Milan Ruzic. Truly a privilege to have been with leaders whose knowledge of birds - their identification and calls - was quite outstanding; their sense of humour would also take some beating. Serbia - a birdwatching destination with more bonuses than the average City banker.

Dennis Buisson , Northern Serbia - Owls & Raptors, Serbia

Simply, a wonderful experience. There`s a special kind of relaxation that`s achieved when you know that you have none of the stress of organizing a trip, driving, navigating, travel, booking, etc. Thanks so much for an excellent experience.

Milojko Dobrijevich , Festivals of Serbia, Serbia

Enjoyed travelling with Travel the Unknown. They were most helpful and filled in as much as possible on our trip.

Declan Cloonan , Archaeology of Serbia

The Balkans is a fascinating part of the world to visit with such complex histories. Wonderful scenery, great food, terrific variety of accommodation and especially loved the vineyards and wine tastings! Albania was such a surprise package! So much more than we anticipated and so much to see and do in this small country. Stunning scenery and roads generally better than we expected. Go before the rest of the world discovers this gem.

Laurel & Paul Smallwood , Balkan Odyssey & Albanian Odyssey, Balkans

We were looking for a land tour in the Balkans and contacted Travel The Unknown. The staff were very responsive in setting up a private tour schedule for us that proved to be perfect and reasonable in cost. We have just got back from our travels and can say that it was certainly a good choice The itinerary was varied and interesting and the accommodation well chosen. The quality and price of the food and wine in the region were an added bonus. Our drivers/guides were friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable. They went out of their way to accommodation our interests and preference.s Highly recommended!

Raymond & Janet Sterling (USA) , Tailormade Balkans

Thank you so very much for organising our trip. It went swimmingly, Dejan is super cool, the house was fab, the people lovely and strange, the rakjia insane. Memories of river swimming, spit roast pigs and lambs, urns of beans and cabbages, gallons of cheap beer and craze-inducing rakia with a massive dose of incomprehensible contemporary Serbian music , a modern take of Balkan brass orchestras, some tiny glimpses into Roma life, and rackety fair rides, along with beautifully grown organic vegetables and perfect skinned youth ...with not so many tourists. Plus a sand blast of the fascinating Balkan history with which the Belgrade fortress bulges, a clean and safe city … I`m a little overstuffed with roast pig but am thirsty as ever to find out more about the Roma and their music. All that history was what I found the most fascinating. Crazy stuff!

Cerys Matthews , Tailormade Guca Festivals Tour

I have been extremely well looked after and am grateful to Dejan for showing me his wonderful country.

Adrian Mourby (Travel Writer) , Devil's Town & The Danube, Serbia

Was well thought out and the experience was absolutely GREAT!!!!!!

Gerald & Ann Diamond , Tailormade Serbia
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