Golubac Tvrdjava / Golubac Fortress
Nestled along the majestic Danube River in Serbia, Golubac Tvrdjava / Golubac Fortress stands as a proud testament to centuries of rich history and fortification. This medieval fortress holds within its walls captivating tales of battles fought and victories won. In recent years, the fort has undergone conservation and reconstruction, making it an even bigger tourist destination than before. Visiting this part of Serbia has been on my list for many years. Being there felt like taking a journey through a bygone era of knights and sieges. If you want to get in touch with some of Serbia’s history, visiting Golubac Tvrdjava is a great way to learn more about the culture and a time that has left its mark on Serbia.
About the fortress
Golubac Tvrdjava, also known as Golubac Fortress, is just a 2-hour drive from the capital city of Belgrade. Its origins can be traced back to the 14th century, when it was constructed by the Serbian despot Stefan Lazarević. It was made to be strategically positioned to guard the entrance to the Djerdap Gorge. Throughout its existence, Golubac Fortress served as a stronghold for different rulers, including the Ottomans, Hungarians, and Austrians. Each occupier left their mark on the fortress, adding layers of architectural and cultural influences.
Being so far away from large cities, the fortress is surrounded by the Danube Gorge and the lush Serbian countryside. The fortress has in modern times gone through the process of construction, conservation and restoration. Some of the reconstruction has made it safer to visit, as the fortress was built on a very hilly and narrow slope. Being someone who loves history and visiting historical sites, this was definitely an exciting place to visit.
The best way to get to Golubac Tvrdjava / Golubac Fortress is by car, which will take you roughly 1 hr. and 45 minutes. A lot of the travel is via a motorway. However, as you turn off, you will come across lush parts of Serbia, filled with villages, smaller towns and farm land. You can also find tour groups and travel by bus as a way of visiting Golubac Fortress. Note that travelling via a bus may take significantly longer. Some people may advise going via taxi. However finding a taxi to drive such a long distance for a reasonable price may be tricky. Finding a taxi as a way of returning to Belgrade may be even harder – so I would advise against it. If you know any Serbian locals who drive or own a car, you can plan a day trip together.
Zones for visiting
Once you purchase your tickets and receive a map, you will discover that the fortress is divided into different colour zones. The Green Zone is accessible to all categories of tourists and includes access to three towers (out of 9) as well as the palace. The green zone is the only part of the fort that allows you to visit on your own. For entering all other zones, you will need a guide.
We were only able to visit the green zones. At first, I was surprised that such a small portion of the fortress was accessible. However, upon entering and seeing the height of the remaining towers I would have gladly passed on that adventure. You cannot truly comprehend the height of these towers until you are standing below them. Even by visiting the green zones, you can still get amazing views and photograph the amazing structures and the river. You also get access to what was once called the palace part of this fortress. Here you can find exhibitions that represent some of the history of the time.
Since there are towers placed much higher on the hill, these blue, red and black zones are recommended for people who are fit and in good shape. These spots are very narrow and high to climb. Because of this, these areas are off-limits to younger children. But, if you love to climb big heights, are in good physical shape or are a part of a tour group then some of these zones may be an option for you.
Coffee & Cake
Since going through a process of conservation and renovation, Golubac Tvrdjava / Golubac Fortress has become a big tourist attraction than before. As a result, the surrounding area has been completed with new walk ways, garden and a cafe. After touring the fortress, we decided to take in the view from the cafe that sits directly opposite the Golubac Fortress. Not only do you get amazing views of the Danube, surrounding nature but also the view of the magnificent fortress. We enjoyed drinks and a delicious creamy cake prior to hitting the road and visiting the nearby Tumane Monastery (only a 15-minute drive from the fortress). If you visit Golubac Fortress, I would highly recommend touring the fortress first, and to then take in the amazing views at the cafe with some delicious treats. It’s a great way to reflect on your experience. During off-peak season, you may notice more locals at this establishment.
Looking for more?
If you are looking for more about places in Serbia, check out some of my previous blogs below: