A sharp bend in the bed of the river Drina hides one of Serbia’s most beautiful mountains – Tara. Together with the town of Zaovine and the Šargan/Mokra gora nature park, it provides visitors with an unrivalled opportunity to enjoy the natural and cultural landmarks of the region.Tara’s highest peaks tower at more than 1,500 metres above sea level and the rivers Drina, Rača, Brusnica and Derventa add a special touch to its magnificence.
The moment you set foot in Tara National Park, you will be overwhelmed by the green glow of its coniferous woods that seemingly stretch on to eternity. Lush forests cover most of its surface area, making it one of the most densely forested mountains in Serbia and the whole of Europe.
Although it is inhabited by more than a thousand plant species, the spotlight belongs to the Serbian spruce, or Picea omorika (Pančić) Purk. It is often called a “living fossil”, because it has managed to survive even the Great Ice Age. This national natural treasure was discovered by the great Serbian scientist Josif Pančić, whose name the plant now bears.
If you are an avid mushroom forager, you will find more than two hundred species at Tara National Park. According to some estimates, there could be three times as many species here, including many rare and protected ones.
If you would like to take a piece of Tara with you, visit one of the many plant nurseries with seedlings of coniferous trees and herbs and choose a plant that will forever remind you of this alpine beauty.
From the viewpoints of Tara, nature reveals itself in all its magnificent glory, invoking the spirits of our ancestors who once worshiped it religiously and revered its might.
Although you may not find time to climb every viewpoint on this mountain, be sure not to miss Banjska stena and Bilješka stena. They offer stunning views of the emerald green water of lake Perućac and the imposing canyon of the river Drina, while Bilješka stena also overlooks a strictly conserved reserve of the widely-known Serbian spruce.
From the Crnjeskovo viewpoint, you will see Rača Monastery nestled in tranquillity and serenity for centuries now and in sharp contrast to the busy urban life in the town of Bajina Bašta.
For an entirely different experience visit the Osluša viewpoint. From this site brave paragliders take to the sky and for a fleeting moment experience how it feels to be the master of the sky.
Finally, there is also the Sjenič viewpoint, with its 12-metre watchtower, made only for those who fearlessly conquer the highest peaks and won’t settle for anything less.
With almost three hundred kilometres of marked alpine trails, Tara is a true paradise for nature lovers.
Hiking trails Kaluđerske bare, Zborište, Rača, Mitrovac, Predov krst, Jarevac and Banjska stena will take you through both pristine nature and the history of this region. A category 1 gravel road leads from Kaluđerske bare to the Zborište summit. The Rača hiking trail meanders through a thick coniferous forest all the way to the 13th-Century monastery.
The Mitrovac – Predov krst hiking trail cuts its way through gigantic coniferous trees, while the Banjska stena hiking trail is educational in its nature and leads to the eponymous viewpoint.
To make the natural beauties of Tara accessible to everyone, there is also a universal design trail, which is easily accessible to all. It is almost half a kilometre long and features the “Owl’s Forest Classroom”, designed to help visitors relax and learn about the natural values of the park by following the inventive layout of the displays with educational content.
The cycling trails in Tara National Park are accessible year-round. From easy ones to extremely challenging ones, there isn’t a single trail on this site that will leave you bored. If you tire of cycling, you can stop at one of the nearby villages for a short break and enjoy some delicious local dishes – we recommend grilled trout.
There are currently four marked and maintained cycling routes: Zlatibor – Mokra gora – Mitrovac, Visoka gora, Visoka Tara and Carska Tara. On Mokra gora mountain cyclists can “race” the famous Šargan Eight heritage railway or pay a visit to Drvengrad ethno village.
The challenging Visoka gora trail has several challenging uphill sections, but your effort will certainly be rewarded, because the ride downhill is a memorable experience. A word of advice: try not to spend too much time at the village of Šljivovica on the Visoka Tara (“High Tara”) cycling trail, or else you will find yourself “incapacitated” by the local alcoholic drink of the same name.
The Carska Tara (“Imperial Tara”) route is one of the best ways to explore this alpine beauty, as it leads through Crveni potok reserve directly to lake Perućac where you can enjoy refreshments.
Tara, just like Serbia’s other national parks, is a genuine treasure trove of cultural and historic heritage of the region.
Among its most famous landmarks is Rača Monastery, the endowment of Serbian King Dragutin built in the 13th Century, where he is interned. The foundations of the Serbian alphabet and literature were laid here. During World War II, the altar of this church served as a hiding place for the oldest Serbian book – Miroslav’s Gospel, written in the 12th Century.
The necropolis of gravestones dating back to the 15th and 16th Centuries in Perućac and Rastište was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.
If you are more interested in recent history, visit the “Borovo brdo” World War II memorial site at Tara National Park.
Info: Tara National Park