Surdulica, Vladičin Han

Delightful Forests and Sparkling Springs

Surdulica is located 348 south of Belgrade, just 10km off the Belgrade – Skopje – Thessaloniki highway. The town dates back to the Roman era. Its name originates from the Vlach people of Surdulica. In the Middle Ages, it was part of the Serbian Nemanjići state. During Turkish rule, Surdulica was largely a mining community before finally gaining town status in 1878.

Today, Surdulica is a modern city that features a beautiful town center and developed infrastructure. One of its main features is a modern complex of pools. Its ideal location has made the city a popular air spa.

Surdulica is well known for its pure drinking water. It also abounds with plentiful streams, rivers and lakes. Explore the area and discover the Vrla River and its seven beautiful streams. The river also features two large fishponds plentiful in trout. Trout is farmed in one of the ponds and used to enrich Vlasinko Lake as well as several nearby rivers.


Vlasinsko Lake, which is 1200m above sea level, lies 12 km from Surdulica. This manmade lake was created in 1949 when the dam on the Vlasina River was built. Explore the area around Vlasinsko Lake and you will discover stunning mountain peaks, cliffs, springs and rivers. The Palja Monastery and Church in the village of Božica lie on the banks of the lake. You will also find clusters of beautiful traditional villages in the area. The tourist center is located on the northeast banks of the lake.

Vladicin Han


Perched on the Grdelica Cliff, Vladicin Han (Vladičin Han) is one of the newest settlements in the area. The town was named for a standalone han (house) that once stood on the imperial road and offered lodging to caravans. A man known as Stephen the Greek built the 19th century house. He later sold the han to Skopje’s Metropolitan Bishop Pajsije and the house was renamed Vladičin Han (Bishop’s House). A settlement with the same name soon emerged around the house.

In 1930, the town was home to approximately twenty merchants who exported cattle, apples and pears. It also featured a number of watermills and was home to a handful of craftsmen. Today, the town’s main economic activity is industrial fruit processing. This picturesque town is surrounded by mountains and lies at the confluence of the Vrla and Južna Morava Rivers.


The Mrtvica village lies 14 km from Vladicin Han at the Grdelica Cliff exit. If you visit the town, you will discover a beautiful 5th century monastery by the same name. The monastery is perched high on a plateau hardly larger than its base. The structure’s unusual shape is a result of various phases of construction. Take a few minutes to marvel at the hand painted Byzantine-style icons here.

Explore further and you will discover the Saint Ijija monastery and church in the village of Kacapun just 13km from Vladicin Han. The 13th century structure also features hand-painted Byzantine icons.

The nearby ascetic Saint Petka church is eight km from Vladicin Han. It is located on the old road heading from Vranje to Vladicin Han. Saint Petka is also known as the Latin Church since many believe it existed before the arrival of Slavic tribes. The altar looks toward the west. The church features two openings. One side is lined with candles, while the other overlooks a freshwater spring believed to improve sight and heal headaches.

When in Surdulica and Vladicin Han, we recommend:

– A visit to the floating isle at Vlasinsko Lake

– Having a drink of water at the spring near St. Petka Church (Latin Church)

– Enjoying the sound of trumpet music during the Vlasinsko Leto summer festival


The Vlasinsko Lake area abounds with diverse flora and fauna. The humid air, extremely cold temperatures, and volcanic soil have created the perfect conditions for carnivorous plants and other rare fauna. Head to the floating isle at Vlasinsko Lake and discover them for yourself!


Tourist Organization of the Surdulica Municipality
27 Street 5. septembra, 17530 Surdulica
Tel: +381 17 813 712

Tourist Organization of the Vladičin Han Municipality
Svetosavska bb Street, 17510 Vladičin Han
Tel: +381 17 473 073