Can you handle the tough Balkan winter? Try it!
Dec 22nd 2017 - Jan 2nd 2018
When the wind starts howling, wave after wave of snow blizzards encase the serbian Carpathians in white, everyone flees them as fast as possible, knowing that they can be stranded there until springtime. Everyone, except us. That is when we pack up our winter recovery gear and engage on the snowdrift surfing tour through that vast kingdom of the wolves... And when we conquer the Carpathians, it's time to move over to Dinaric Alps, for a whole different flavour of a snow adventure! And inbetween our daily ice games, we'll bask in the warm thermal pools and enjoy the spicy Serbian cuisine, having a memorable ethno New Year party on December 31st. There's no better way to experience the Balkan winter!
Duration - 12 days / 11 nights (December 22nd 2017 to January 2nd 2018)
Price - 700 € per vehicle + 600 € accomodation per person
Hotel accomodation (FB, incl. New Year party)
Approximate length - 1.200 km
Technical difficulty - moderate
Good AT or MT tyres required (snowchains optional)
Registration deadline Nov 1st 2017!
Coverage of the tour areas(precise tracks available to participants)
Standard tour plan
(note: tour plan of winter tours is flexible, in order to adapt to the snow conditions on terrain. In order to achieve maximum satisfaction experience for our customers, we may decide to make the tour only in eastern, or only in western Serbia, and to shift the tracks to those mountains with more favorable snow conditions. This will not affect accomodation quality, which will in all cases be up to our high standards)
Day zero – meeting and arrival in Ždrelo spa
Upon gathering in Belgrade (the capitol of Serbia) in early afternoon, we’ll drive together in a convoy towards the Ždrelo spa, which will be the starting point of our winter offroad tour early tomorrow morning. There we’ll relax in the hot pools surrounded by winter landscape, before we continue on a night offroad tour towards the Lipovica village and the nice, warm rooms of the Milanovic farm, where we’ll spend the night (participants of the Eastern Serbian Nomad’s Adventure know the hospitality of the Milanovic family well).
Day one – Winter conquest of the Homolje mountains
The Homolje mountains are not high, but are picturesque and challenging, with narrow ridges and steep sides. In case of serious snow, they can present a hell of a task to pass. We’ll attempt to take a ridge trail along the Homolje mountains all the way from west to east, covering more than 100 km, ending the day in the nice and comfortable Jezero hotel on the Bor lake (incl. sauna and swimming pool).
Day two – Traversing Beljanica
Beljanica mountain is definitely the toughest winter challenge in the serbian Carpathians, and in case of high snow, it’s a mission impossible to get up there. But, in early winter, when snow is usually still not so high, it’s great fun to climb up on Beljanica 4×4. On this day we will attempt to traverse Beljanica from one side to the other, descending into the quiet Lipovica village to have a night on the charming Milanovic ethno-farm, where we can taste delicious, home grown local specialties.
Day three – tackling the Kučaj mountains
The first attempt to close a circle through the Kučaj snowdrifts will be the easier one – taking us through lighter terrain in the west part, at slightly lower altitudes. It will be a good scouting tour to evaluate what a full onslaught of Kučaj mountains on the next day will be like. Depending on the route choice, we’ll reach our final destination in Sisevac late in the afternoon, where we’ll find a cozy little hotel with thermal pools.
Day four – right to the heart of Carpathians
No more scouting… Buckle up your rigs, and hit the pedal to the metal for the final snowdrift through deep snow! It’s the final test, and the ultimate adventure – a 70 km circle through terrain where we’ll be all on our own, and where we have to be prepared to recover from all the situations that we may encounter. Because, there’s nobody to take us out there – it’s the biggest completely uninhabited portion of land in Serbia which, during the winter, very much resembles the “white deserts” of Siberia. And the winds, and the temperature, can be very close… 🙂
Day five – a road journey to Golija
Depending on the snow conditions, even driving on paved roads can be an adventure in Serbia during the winter. This day will bring us a 200-250 km transfer to western Serbia, during which we’ll try to avoid the main roads where possible, to make the trip more exciting and picturesque. In the end we’ll arrive in the warm bungallows of Golijski Konaci, which will be our comfortable base for the next three days of snow challenges on Golija mountain and Uvac lakes area.
Day six – a snow journey of Golija mountain
The mixed forests of Golija mountain not only offer fantastic views and a feeling of adventure, but are a challenging task for offroaders in all four seasons. In the deep shade of the tall trees many challenging stream crossings lie, narrow rocky passages or steep ascents – when it gets combined with fresh powder snow, it can really turn into a grand, and technically very challenging adventure. So we’re sure that this day will stress your skills to the fullest, and perhaps also engage your recovery equipment!
Day seven – Pešter highlands roundtrip
The Pešter highlands are the biggest highland plateau and coldest area in Serbia, and for offroaders a great source of joy and impressive sights throughout the year. Through it’s many scattered villages and rolling hills, Pešter offers an extensive network of dirt roads and trails for all difficulty categories. But in the winter, the strong winds that blow there, making huge snowdrifts, bring a whole new level of uncertainty and excitement to an offroad tour there! We may make several attempts on various passes before we finally manage to get through – but it pays off when we finally exchange our impressions with a warm cup of coffee, tea or brandy around the fireplace…
Day eight – From Pešter to Zlatar mountain
The Uvac lakes area offers some magnificent views, and a great chance to take combined challenges of openspace snowdrifts and trails winding through ancient pine forests as we approach Zlatar mountain. And that is exactly where we will spend our day – circling the Sjenica lake before we find our way through the forest maze towards the comfortable Zlatarski Zlatnik hotel.
Day nine – Journey from Zlatar to Mokra Gora
This is a very interesting, dynamic trail that will take us up and down many times, crossing several rivers, following some very picturesque ridges and ending the day in the Mokra Gora – Kustendorf ethno hotel, a unique place made up of old houses gathered from all over this mountainous area and equipped up to modern standards. On the way there we’ll pass by the Uvac monastery, as well as the western parts of Zlatibor mountain, facing a realistic prospect of battling snowdrifts on the last day of 2017.
Day ten – Tara mountain
Tara mountain is a national park, regarded by many to be the most beautiful mountain of western Serbia. It’s rich mixed forests are a home to the biggest population of brown bears in Serbia, and it was this mountain where the Serbian Spruce, a rare and endangered species of coniferous tree, was first discovered. It also offers some beautiful lakes, and breathtaking scenic views into the 1000 m deep Drina canyon. So that is the setting that we will enjoy for the entire first day of 2018.
Day eleven – Over the Valjevo mountains to Belgrade
The day of departure from western Serbia certainly won’t be just a dull journey on the main roads towards Belgrade. Upon reaching the Valjevo mountains, we’ll get a 20-30 km panoramic ride along the main ridge, before descending to the town of Valjevo, where we will have a farewell lunch in the early afternoon hours. From Valjevo, you can take either the road to Šabac or Belgrade (depending on the direction you’ll start your journey home) – and if you’re not in a hurry, an extra night in the bungalows by the thermal pools of Bogatić is possible (the hottest thermal springs in northern Serbia).
In winter nights are long and cold, so we’ve chosen our accomodation spots for this tour to ensure complete comfort and satisfaction during the entire week. What’s nicer than plunging into a hot open-air swimming pool after an entire day of adrenaline packed snow adventures? Yes, that is exactly what you’ll be able to enjoy in several places in the first part of the tour (Ždrelo, Sisevac). The Golijski konaci ethno bungalows in western Serbia will offer you top class accomodation, as well as delicious domestic cuisine prepared from ingredients from the farm of the owners. Long evenings by the fireplace in the tavern will pass quicker with friends bringing back memories of the day just passed.
The contrast between the desolate, endless snowscapes, and the places that offer you warm shelter at the end of the day will be the key to your complete satisfaction with the Serbian Snow Adventure!
All these accomodation points offer all modern standards of tourist services, including free wi-fi internet access.
Equipment of your vehicle for Serbian Snow adventure should include
- AT or MT tyres (snow chains optional)
- a few big snow shovels
- a compact axe, and a saw
- 1 or more kinetic ropes for recovery
- CB radio
You should also consider
- Protective sheets over your paint (always good to have on narrow Serbian trails)
Vehicles with low gear are mandatory
For this tour the meeting point will be in Belgrade, the capitol of Serbia, from where we’ll travel in a convoy to Ždrelo spa (you’ll be supplied with detailed access instructions, coordinates and GPX/KML tracks from your hometown to meeting point). Final details will be mailed to you timely. Please secure that you have your travel insurance before starting the tour. We expect you to arrive with a vehicle in good technical conditon, which can endure 12 days of winter offroading. This tour will require average offroad experience and skills. During the tour a chance to refuel will be available each 200-250 km (petrol, diesel, LPG). All major credit cards (Visa, Master, Maestro, etc.) work in Serbia (both on ATM machines and for paying goods), but it’s advisable to have a small amount of cash for small expenses in the mountainous areas.
For more details please consult the 4×4 addendum to the Terms and Conditions of Rustika Travel.
Tour price covers
- one adequately equipped guide vehicle with our guide
- all fuel and other expenses for the guide vehicle
- personal counceling before and during the tour
- appropriate GPS maps and data, that can be made available to the participants, if they have compatible hardware
- accomodation costs on FB basis (11 nights, three meals a day)
- all inclusive New Year party
- farewell lunch
Tour price does not cover
- individual fuel and toll costs
- individual food and drink expenses outside those listed above
- servicing expenses by third parties
- individual accomodation expenses before and after the tour (on your way to Serbia and back)
- other individual expenses