National Park Tara – discover the best viewpoints of Serbia

September 18, 2020

Situated in Western Serbia, circumscribed by one of the deepst canyons of Europe – the river Drina canyon, lies a mountain of heavenly scenery. It was named after the god Tar, who, according to legend, chose to spend his life on this mountain. And from the first step, you will understand why this mountain is so special. It is a place of the best viewpoints of Serbia. But discovering of viewpoints is just a start. National Park Tara is home of the unique and one of the most diverse flora and fauna in Europe.

Banjska Stena is first picture that you have it on your display when you search about Serbia and its nature. It is one of the most popular and most beautiful viewpoints of Serbia. It is situated 6 km from Mitrovac and you can reach it by using one of the two marked hiking trails (#9 and #9a) or a dirt road. The name of the site Banjska Stena (Banjska rock) comes from the Banjsko Vrelo spring which used to burst at its foot. It was a karst spring with the water temperature at a steady 4 dergees Celsius. It got its name from the Turkish word banja which is used to represent a place with warm water (spa). The local residents used the water in winter as well, because it maintained the temperature throughout the year. However, when the artificial Perućac lake was built, Banjsko Vrelo was flooded.

The viewpoint, elevated at 1,065m above sea level, offers an unforgettable view of the artificial lake Perućac and the Drina canyon. The Perućac Lake is a 52km long man-made lake which was created in 1966 by damming the Drina for the purposes of building the ”Bajina Bašta” hydroelectric power plant.

National Park Tara is home of the most numerous population of Brown Bears in Serbia. It is possible to see bears on a special tour organized by National Park, where you will be watching brown bears from a specially designed and safe observation hides at feeding grounds.

Sokolarica is my favorite viepoint of National Park Tara. It is less crowded than Banjska Stena and it is perfect for hikers. This viewpoint is situated on the edge of the Sokolina plateau, 4km from the Račanska Šljivovica, 10 km from the Kaluđerske bare and 12km from the Mitrovac. This viewpoint is made out of several smaller connected viewpoints at the elevation of 990metres above sea level, opposite the Crnjeskovo viewpoint and above the Rača gorge.

Sokolarica is part of the ”Klisura Rače” nature reserve and that is why we ask you to behave in a way that would disturb nature as little as possible. The reserve is rich in living organisms, and its biggest wealth are the old-growth European beech forest and pure walnut forests in its lower sections, while the higher sections are rich in black pine, spruce, fir, juniper and other species. This area is the natural habitat of the brown bear and at the trail leading to the viewpoint you’ll notice barbed wire which serves to collect materials for genetic analyses. Even though the name of this viewpoint suggests differently (the name comes from the word – falcon) these cliffs are nesting grounds for the European golden eagle.

Sokolarica is perfect base for active tourism. and you can try abseiling on numerous spots. You can discover more about active tourism in National Park Tara on pages of Maple adventure tours.

Bilješka Stena is a vievpoint on the Zvijezda mountain at the elevation of 1,225m above sea level, bordering with the ”Zvezda” nature reserve. It is located 6 km from Predov Krst and you can reach it by gravel road or hiking trail #14. Here, at close proximity, you can see the thin, slender trees of the Serbian spruce – a unique species of coniferous trees which survived the last ice age and can be found only in this region. Unfortunately, due to the noticeable climate change in the last decade many of the trees are dried.

From this spot there is a beautiful view of the artificial Perućac lake and the beginning the canyon on the left, and the valley of the Drina on the right. On the other side of the lake is Bosnia, i.e. the region known as Osat. Beside the usual picnic furniture, there is also a log house used in the feature film ”Ptice koje ne polete” (”Some birds don’t fly away”) with the famous Serbian actor Bata Živojinović in the lead.

Crnjeskovo is a viewpoint situated on a 980m high cliff, not far from Kaluđerske bare. From this point you can observe the Rača river gorge, the Drina valley and Bajina Bašta. The Klisura Rače nature reserve includes the steep sides of the Tara massive which have been cut through by the river Rača. It is known for the great abundance of flora and fauna with numerous relictual populations and diverse wildlife. The Rača Gorge is the natural habitat of the largest European mamal, the brown bear.

At the Gorge’s exit there is a medieval monastery Rača from the 13th century, founded by the king Dragutin Nemanjić. Close to the monastery is the Skete of St George which was the centre of the famous Scribe School of Rača. From the viewpoint you can see the Krstasta Stena on the left, a rock with a metal cross under which are the caves where the monks hid their books.

Zaovine lake is good spot for swimmers and beach lovers, but beside enjoining on its shores, you can make amazing pictures if you go around the lake. You can hike, or go by car and visit numerous viewing points from every direction of the lake.

Ravna Stjena is a site located near the dam of Lazići and Lake Spajići in Zaovine. It is connected with main road with hiking trail #29. It is a monolith rock created by the abrasion of the Pannonian Sea, and the viewpoint is located at the top of this rock. Also here zou can see remnants of a former early Byzantine fortification. 

Janjač (1,473 m) is one of the highest peaks of the Tara National Park and probably one of the most beautiful viewpoints. It is located in Zaovine, above the Gornje Karaklije village, at the border of Serbia and Republic of Srpska. It is reachable by the arranged thematic path through the village of Karaklije.

From this peak there is a magnificent panoramic view the area of Zaovine village and the Tara massif and on the other side of Visegrad in Bosnia, and if you are lucky you can even see the famous Drina Mehmed-paša Sokolović’s bridge on the Drina river, which was described in novel by Serbian nobelman Ivo Andrić.

It is not a viewpoint, but when you are in Tara you have to see The Serbian spruce – a type of an endemic species in the middle course of the Drina River. The biggest and the best preserved population are in Tara National Park. The total area of its distribution extends to about only 60 hectares, at altitudes of 800 to 1.600 meters above sea level. The species was discovered in the village of Zaovine, on Tara, in 1875 by a Serbian botanist Josif Pančić. As a tree the spruce has a straight and slender trunk with a pyramidal treetop. It grows on highly rocky and poor limestone above all but on other fields as well. It is resistant to drought, excessive humidity and frost. Because of its limited range, it does not present an important source of food for wildlife, however it does provide shelter for birds and small mammals.