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Mountains Travel

A getaway near Belgrade, Serbia

Here in Serbia, everyone value their summer vacation. Whether it be on the beach, in spas (banja), in mountains like Zlatibor and Kopaonik, or in the village with visiting the elders of the family, we make sure that we make use of the days off from work. But aside from the long vacations, sometimes we get the privilege of having 2 or 3 days free from work and we need to go to a place where we don’t need too much time traveling to. One place where the Serbs go for a quick getaway is in Strmosten. It is strategically located in Central Serbia and only a 150 kilometer drive from Belgrade.

Veliki Buk Waterfall
Vodopad Veliki Buk

Strmosten is the home of the famous waterfall Veliki Buk or Lisine. And though I’m not sure how tourists started to flock to the area, it is obvious that the restaurants around the area were once homes of families who decided to share the waterfall and their yards to us. During the summer, you will feel the difference the moment you enter the waterfall complex. Thanks to the surrounding trees and the coolness of the flowing water, we can finally get a break from the scorching heat.

In the past few years, the business owners around the area still continue to improve their business, now adding more rooms to accommodate more guests. I have always wanted to spend a few days in the area but the lack of wi-fi and poor mobile reception does not permit me to do so at the moment. But, fingers crossed, maybe soon. Anyway, every time I go to Lisine I always make sure to eat lunch beside the stream of water. For me, nothing beats having lunch in nature. The fresh cold air, the view, the birds, the sound of water flowing, good food and good service. As perfect as it sounds, it really is.

spring in strmosten

There are already a number of restaurants in the area which serve Serbian food like grilled meat or fish, salads, and other delicacies like cheese and kajmak. There is also an area where there are tables for picnics and is located on the source of the waterfall.

Restaurant in Lisine

My personal favorite is the restaurant “Vodopad Lisine”. Perhaps because they have a wider area and is closer to the water. They also offer accommodation with breakfast for an affordable price.

Whether you decide to go just for a day, a weekend or a few days, one thing is for sure… Waterfall Veliki Buk is definitely a must visit site when in Central Serbia.

Summary:

  • Distance from Belgrade: 150 kms
  • Travel time from Belgrade: around 2 hours
  • Best type of transportatiom: Car
  • Things to do: Walking, Picnic, Try domestic food, Spend a few days in Nature
  • Cellular Phone reception: Weak
  • Internet: None
Categories
Coffee shops & Restaurants Mountains Travel

A new hotel in Rtanj – Ramonda Hotel

On the way to Mt. Rtanj

There’s no doubt that I am a fan of Mt. Rtanj. I can still remember the first time I went there and seeing the mountain from afar. I can literally say that I was enchanted by it’s beauty. It is on the eastern part of the country and not very far from Belgrade. It has this perfect pyramid shape which draws attention from tourists from time to time. I honestly have no idea how many people have heard about it. I will write more about the mountain and the stories that comes with it in a separate post.

Anyway, for years I’ve been visiting Rtanj regularly and it has always been quiet there. A few locals from nearby towns having a picnic during the weekends, but that’s mostly it. When you get to the center of the village or the town proper, there are a few hotels which seems to be not in operation for quite sometime already. There are a few B&Bs and apartments for rent within the area for tourists and mountain climbers. But if you are looking for something a bit upscale, I’m afraid the town is still not ready for you.

road to the left: main road to town center; road to the right: road to ramonda hotel

So… a few months ago, in one of my visits to the mountain, I saw a signage that a new hotel was in construction. Back then, the road to the hotel was still closed and there was no way to see the object from the main road. Nevertheless, I was so delighted to see that someone finally decided to invest in the area. Rtanj is place where there is so much potential that it’s almost a shame not to share it to the world. And now, fast forward to the 1st of July this year, the hotel opened it’s doors to the public.***

I wasn’t able to come to the opening day thinking that there will be a big crowd and that I will not be able to enjoy the beauty of the place. So finally, the time arrived to visit the newly opened Ramonda Hotel Rtanj.

the restaurant

Ramonda Hotel is a luxury hotel in the middle of nature. I haven’t seen the rooms in person yet but hopefully I can share that experience soon. For now, let me tell you our experience with the hotel’s restaurant. The restaurant has a well-designed modern industrial interior, with a spacious terrace where you can dine with a view. Unfortunately, the view isn’t facing the mountain but on the opposite side. On the other hand, the fresh air isn’t affected on where the hotel is facing so it offsets the lack of view of the mountain. From the restaurant, you can see the pool, which according to one of the staff is a naturally treated pool with some special kind of algae and not with chemicals. The staff were very warm and friendly. We ordered coffee and the staff recommended their signature Rtanj iced tea. There is a variety of plant that people say grow only in the mountain and a famous herbal tea here in Serbia. Their menu is also offering a few authentic dishes like deer meat and pork knuckles but there are also pizza and pasta for the less adventurous ones. For lunch, we ordered a grilled meat platter for two (2) people, shopska salad and a basket of bread. As one would expect, the prices are above average but not ridiculously high. For the view, service and peace and solace, you sure are getting much than what you paid for.

*** This is not a sponsored post. I am just writing an honest experience and again please don’t think that this is sponsored.

Categories
Mountains Travel

Summer in Zlatibor

Sure our beloved country don’t have any sea to swim in but it sure is full of beautiful mountains that nature has to offer. There is Mt. Rtanj which is my most favorite of all, Kopaonik which is a well-known ski destination all over the world and of course Zlatibor which is probably every Serb’s summer getaway. There are a few ski tracks in Zlatibor but it is more famous for it’s “Golden” summer color. People flock to Zlatibor to get away from the city’s heat and of course to feast on the beautiful scenery of this place.

Aside from the view, there are lots of activities and side trips to choose from.  With just a bit more than 200 kms from Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, this trip is surely worthwhile. We visited Stopića Cave and The Sirogojno open-air museum and I must say that I will regret it if I didn’t visited these two places. Besides  the cave and the museum, there are still a few places to visit the next time I come to Mt. Zlatibor. The Gostilje waterfall and Ribničko Lake.

We dropped by this floating restaurant on the way to Zlatibor.

The VIEW and ACCOMMODATION:

The view in Zlatibor is certainly breathtaking. There are a lot of hotels and apartments to choose from. Most of them you can actually book in AirBnb and Booking.com from $10 to $100 per person. We found an apartment which is absolutely beautiful and affordable and I can’t be any happier with our choice. The place is not perfect, but I forget about everything the moment I stare at the window.

The million dollar view from our room

The FOOD:

In the center of this tourist destination, there are a lot of restaurants and fast food stands to choose from. I’m a big fan of traditional Serbian cuisine (sarma, prebranac, goulash, mučkalica etc.) and unfortunately I didn’t came across too much restaurants serving these kinds of food but there are a lot of grilled meat and other serbian delicacies. The most recommended restaurant in tripadvisor is the Restaurant Perun located in Hotel Mona so we had to try it. And true to the reviews, the restaurant was excellent. The Interior design is very elegant and the food is very good. The prices are just a bit above average but definitely worth it. Nobody can’t go to Zlatibor without trying the infamous Komplet Lepinja. It’s bread with kajmak and some fat drippings from roasted pig (kindly correct me if I’m wrong). I bought my lepinja from one of the small huts on the street, but you can also order “the sandwich” from restaurants. 😉 There are also Belgian waffles and some Palačinke (Serbian pancakes) being sold on the streets if you’re looking for a quick fix. One thing is for sure in Zlatibor, you will never go hungry.

One of the many sellers of Komplet Lepinja

ACTIVITIES:

If you’re looking for adventure, there is an adventure park right in the center of Zlatibor, near the local market. If you go right from the market, you will find the trains which travels in two routes. One, I believe is just going around the center of Zlatibor and the other one will take you to Ribnicko lake. There are also bus rides available going to the nearby Mokra Gora and Drvengrad. Beside the lake, you can find the usual activities like zorb balls and pedal boats for rent. 7 kms from the center is the Ski center Tornik which is now open during the summer too. Also, out of the center is the awesome Stopica cave, Sirogojno museum and Gostilje waterfall. Hey, nobody can say they got bored in Zlatibor.

Our trip took 4 days and 3 nights which is definitely not enough to see the whole place but we will surely be coming back and back and back to Zlatibor.