While Belgrade is very cosy in Autumn and Winter (and can actually have amazing weather), the crowds and pollution can be a tad overwhelming, and make you wish to leave at least for a day. Below are a few suggestions for day-escapes if you enjoy hiking in the autumn and winter. In addition to these, do check out my older article on best day trips from Belgrade, suggestions on cities to visit for 2022, 2021 and 2020, and, trips to Zagajička hills and Ram fortress and Rtanj.
The convenience: Obedska bara (Easy, 45mins away from Belgrade)
The wetlands of Obedska bara are famous for birding during migration periods (when you can also have boat tours), however they are awesome for hikes even in the colder months when their famous winged residents are gone. The path which starts from the Vistors’ centre and goes towards Kupinovo is great if you want to enjoy autumnal and wintry forest vibes as fog rises from the meanders of the Sava.
Kupinovo is an interesting village in itself with the 15th Century St Luke’s church and the admittedly underwhelming (current view here) remains of the once-mighty Kupinik fortress from which the last medieval Serbian rulers tried (and failed) to stop the Ottoman onslaught. Although it was the last medieval capital of Serbia with plenty of interesting architecture (there is a number of unique houses around), Kupinovo is now more famous for its truffles and Miki Đuričić, a reality star who is from there. When you visit make sure you check out a newly planted forest close to the former restaurant Savski mir for some amazing views and photo opportunities. If you want to grab a bite, I suggest going to Bojčinska koleba (booking recommended) which is some 15 minutes away by car.
The food: Rajac (Moderate, 1.5hrs)
Rajac is one of the gentle Šumadija mountains which are conveniently close to Belgrade. Much less developed than Divčibare, it offers gentle hikes, but most importantly it has one of the best mountain lodge restaurants in Serbia, with a surprisingly innovative menu. While I would always go for Svadbarski kupus (Wedding cabbage), there are many haute-cuisine offerings in this unlikely place. In terms of hikes, I recommend this 15km circular hike around Rajac and Suvobor.
If you want to do more sightseeing there are Vavedenje monastery (where the princely Branković family was allegedly buried), Takovo (where the Second Serbian Uprising started), as well as the stunning Dići necropolis (if you are a taphophile like me) around an ancient church dedicated to St John the Baptist. If you are looking for another good, nearbyish place to grab food or stay is “Eco village” Koštunići.
The village: Borački krš (Moderate 2.5hrs)
Borač is a beautiful village in the very centre of Serbia (between Mrčajevci and Kragujevac) which is dominated by a strange rock formation called Borački krš, which used to have a tower on top in the medieval times. Borač’s archetypal Serbian-ness made it a backdrop for a popular TV show “Moj roćak sa sela”, and indeed in the village you can see everything from a picturesque church, lots of quaint houses to a spooky cemetery. Borački krš is relatively easy and straightforward to climb, although the huge stones do get slippery when the weather is wet (limiting the bouldering options). The best place to go and have a bit of rakija is the house where around which the TV show was filmed, but be patient and book on the weekends.
The challenge: Suva planina (Hard, 3.5hrs)
Suva planina (Dry mountain) offers one of the most challenging hiking routes in the country but also arguably the most rewarding one due to the magnificent views it offers. It was on my list for a long time (thanks to Nestvarana mesta blog) and I finally climbed it with the awesome gang from Gorštak climbing club in November 2022.
We were very lucky with the weather for our 6 hour (15km) hike, as there was relatively little wind and the weather was sunny and clear. The arduous trek up the mountain ridge towards Trem (its highest peak at 1810m) was more than worth it for the views and also the sense of accomplishment. If you are planning to go alone, make sure you arrive early to Bojanine vode and give yourself plenty of time for the hike, you should also bring about 2l of water (the mountain gets its name from its lack of streams) and layers in case weather turns. In terms of places to see, Niš is about half an hour’s drive from Bojanine vode. For food make sure you book a place at Brka or Ivan.