Things to do in Tara National Park
Nature was so generous to Western Serbia that it covered it in lush forests, springs and picturesque mountains. This is what you will find at the Tara National Park and more! In our previous travels we visited Drvengrad and it was from here that our second day was filled with adventures around Mt Tara. In this area you can find beautiful nature, scenery, lookouts, Rača Monastery and also the Little House on River Drina. There are many things to do in Tara National Park, it offers much more than you would expect. It is a great way to spend time outdoors and to explore the beautiful nature outside of the capital.
During our stay in Bajina Basta we came across a popular restaurant with seats on top of a waterfall. It is surrounded by lush scenery of the river and landscapes. The waterfall drops down into the River Drina, completely surrounded by nature with views of the hills of Bosnia. What more could you ask for!
Restaurant Vrelo is one of the most beautiful places where you will have your coffee and eat. It has spectacular views, fresh air and seats that are located on top of a waterfall which you can observe. If you like to try Serbian traditional dishes, including fish and fresh salads, this restaurant is a good place to stop by on your way to Tara mountain. We enjoyed a few meals here on multiple occasions, and indulged in some coffee and pancakes.
With food out of the way, you can make your way to visit Mt Tara. There is a little touristy house that tells you all you need to know about the brown bear. This is because brown bears do live up in these mountains. As a general rule of thumb, be careful of your surroundings if you plan on hiking. Don’t hike when it is dark because of the brown bear sightings in Tara National Park.
TARA NATIONAL PARK
Mountains, deep gorges, clear lakes, and spectacular viewpoints – this is Tara National Park.
Mt Tara is located in Western Serbia near Mokra Gora and Zlatibor and is also a part of the Dinaric Alps. In 1981 the mountain range of Tara was declared a National Park. There are 53 species of mammals and 153 species of birds living in this nature reserve park while bear, chamois and roe deer are protected by law. The best part about Tara National park is that it is heavily forested. In fact, 83.5% of the area is forested and for this reason, it is also known as the lungs of Serbia. With the beautiful nature and the picturesque views, it is the perfect destination for relaxation and recreation. It is one of the most beautiful corners of Serbia that I have visited so far.
If you prefer activities such as walking, hiking and enjoying the beauties of untouched nature, Tara will exceeded all your expectations. You will also come across a few villages with traditional houses inside the Tara National Park. We drove up to the national park and walked roughly 15 minutes through the forest which lead us to the most a m a z i n g views! There is a path that is open to the public so do not worry, you will not get lost. I am naturally very afraid of heights, but I managed to take a photo of the spectacular views. Behind me at the very edge, was a man casually eating a sandwich, as you do 😜.
Near Mt Tara you will find other places to visit such as Bajina Bašta, Visegrad, ethno village Drvengrad and the Šargan Eight rail can be visited as well. You can also find some archaeological sites such as the Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards in Perućac, medieval fortress Solotnik and the Rača Monastery from the 13th century.
The Rača Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery located 7 km south of Bajina Bašta. It was built in the 13th century as the probable endowment of the Serbian King Dragutin Nemanjić. Rača Monastery was destroyed by Turks in the late 17th century only to be restored and demolished again several times. Today’s church building dates from 1826.
At this Monastery the monks translated texts from Ancient Greek, wrote histories, and copied manuscripts. They also translated and copied liturgical, scientific and literary works of the period. The Turkish travel writer known as Evliya Çelebi noted in 1630 that in Rača Monastery there were 300 monk scribes, who were served by 400 shepherds, blacksmiths, and other staff and that the security guard included 200 armed men.
After our drive to Mt Tara, our next stop was to this beautiful Rača Monastery. We drove through Mt Tara’s hilly roads and then back down to the Monstery. The scenery on top of Mt Tara is spectacular. You will be surprised with how many beautiful homes and villages are located here. It truly makes you picture what life would be like in these hilly regions. Believe it or not, there is also accommodation in forms of cabins with WiFi. We aren’t complete peasants in rural towns of Serbia after all 😜.
I love visiting historical Churches and Monasteries, the feeling when you arrive at Rača Monastery is peaceful and calm. Respectfully you cannot take photos inside the church and you should dress appropriately. The inside of the church is decorated with beautiful paintings, some which have been ruined over time. Outside the church grounds is a farm with chickens and a little stream that flows by.
LITTLE HOUSE ON RIVER DRINA
One of the highlights of this trip for me was the Little House on River Drina. For us, this was located only 5 minutes from where we stayed. There is a cafe that overlooks the river where you can enjoy some coffee, food and stunning views of the house on the rock. It seems like something out of a fairy tale.
There is a little folk tale that is tied to this famous rock. It is said that it was a Serbian folk Hero Marko Kraljevic who placed the rock in the middle of the river. He wanted to cross to the other bank but did not want his horse to get his hooves wet. He threw a giant rock into the middle of the river so that his horse, Sarac, could leap from one bank to the rock, and from the rock to the other bank. The house on top of the rock was built much later on.
Perching on a rock in the midst of the river is a house that has been battered by floods and severely windswept – yet standing stunningly strong. Almost 50 years ago, a band of youths constructed this humble but yet sturdy little cottage atop a rock right in the very centre of the river so they could have a place where they can relax and enjoy the sun. This is one of the most photogenic sights in the region. If you are passing by, pull over to see this stunning little cottage, simply follow the signs near Bajina Bašta for Kućica na Drini. This quaint and quirky little house appears to have withstood the passage of time and survived everything that nature can throw at it. It is definitely worth a visit!
Our journey into Tara National Park was spontaneous and planned on a whim. It was a great example of how, when traveling, unexpected experiences can often become the most memorable. There are many more places to see and things to do in Tara National park. I hope this has given you a snippet of how beautiful Serbia can be and that you feel inspired to visit Tara National Park and its surrounding attractions.