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Goč mountain, Studenica monastery, Maglič fortress, ethno-villages, paragliding... and other religious, historic, cultural and adrenaline tours near Vrnjačka Banja.

Goč Mountain

Mountain Goč is situated above Vrnjacka Banja, south of Zapadna Morava river, 200km far from Belgrade and 31km far from Kraljevo, it represents a real paradise for nature lovers. It belongs to the lower mountains, with the highest peak Ljukten, which is based at 1216m above the sea level. Goc is accessible from various directions, but the two main roads that are leading towards it are from Kraljevo through Kamenica to the top of Dobra voda and from Vrnjacka Banja to Stanisinac. Goč is famous for its diverse plant world, and over 700 different plant species grow on it, and a lot of them are medicinal.It is one of the most forested mountains, with a mild climate and a large number of springs. Goč is also covered with beech forest as well as pine and oak trees. There are many marked hiking trails on the mountain, as well as a famous Selište lake with a 2km long hiking trail around it. The lake is artificial and swimming is forbidden, but it is ideal for a picnicand a hike tour. For winter sport fans,mountain Goč is an increasingly popular destination, groomed trails, ski school and accommodation facilities of various structures, as well as many restaurants are just some of the reasons to visit this mountain.
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 Architectural remains in Morava school style mean that Koznik was most probably built during prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic’s rule (1371-1389). The fortress with seven towers was built on top of a steep hill dominating the surrounding terrain on 920 m altitudes. It was mentioned for the first time in a Prince Lazar Decree. In the early 15th century, Koznik belonged to Grand Čelnik Radič, one of the most important knights at that time. Lazar's widow, Princess Milica, spent some time there in 1402, while their son, despot Stefan Lazarević, made two decrees in Koznik in 1405, granting Radič Postupović all surrounding villages and the church on the river Grabovničica. After a brief Ottoman conquest of Koznik, in 1444 the castle was returned to despot Đurađ Branković. The Ottomans re-seized the castle in 1454-1455, when they conquered Kruševac. During 16th and 17th century, an Ottoman squad was located there until 1689, when Koznik was taken hold of by Serbian rebels, which indicates that, at the time, Koznik was still an active fortification. Koznik is an example of a small highland fortified castle. It has an irregular polygonal base that follows the configuration of the terrain. South from the fort were other constructions, with some remnants still recognizable today.
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 It was built to protect entrance to Ibar valley on one of the Western branches of Stolovi where a long time ago, according to legends, Old Slavic deities had their residence.Maglič was included on the list of Cultural Monuments of Exceptional Importance in 1979. The castle is located atop a hill around which the Ibar river makes a curve, about 100 m above the river. The fortress protected the only road that connected the Great Morava Valley and Kosovo polje. Its name means "The Foggy One" from the Serbian word "magla" meaning fog. Maglič was built in the first half of 13th century, by either Serbian king Stefan or his son Uroš I. It was built to safeguard two important monasteries, Sopoćani and Studenica, as well as prevent any future Mongolian raid deeper into the Serbian lands. During Serbian Empire, Maglič was the seat of Archbishop Danilo II, who wrote his famous hagiographies and regiographies while residing there. After capturing Smederevo on June 20, 1459, the Ottoman Empire occupied Maglič and held it until its recapture by the Serbs during the Great Turkish War. After the defeat of the Serbian uprising the Ottoman Turks retook the fortress, abandoning it soon after. The fortress consist of seven towers and one dungeon tower connected by walls. The towers are typical for a medieval fortress in the Balkan peninsula with three solid sides and wooden fences on the inner side. One gate is placed in the north, and one small sally port in one of the towers in the southeast part. Inside the fortress are remains of a palace, barracks, and a church of Saint George. There is also a large reservoir for water and a well. In the southern part of the fortress, three towers are placed next to each other to give better protection from attacks. The fortress was partly restored after World War I, but main restoration took place in late 1980s. During it, wooden floors in its towers and fences along the walls were restored. Today they are a potential danger because some of them are rotten. Every year the foot of the Maglič is the starting point of the "Merry Ride", a popular voyage down the Ibar River to Kraljevo. All types of river-worthy vessels are used during it, and politicians often join the festivities. Usually more than 3,000 vessels take part in it. In springtime valley of Ibar is covered with white and blue lilacs (flowers native to Balkan Penninsula). One theory says that lilacs were first planted by king Uros I, to show his love for queen Helen of Anjou. According to another theory, lilacs were planted by Uros and Helen's son, king Milutin (1253-1321) for his fifth spouse, 6-year old Simonida, daughter of Byzantine emperor Andronicus.Those lilacs are now autochtonous species. We also recommend visit to Mountain Stolovo (Kamarište) on which Maglič is built. If you are lucky, you might stumble upon herds of semi-wild horses. Legend says that at this very place Miloš Obilić, famous Serbian hero from the 14th century, found his horse for Battle at Kosovo polje. Breeder Petar gave him horse Ždralin as a gift.
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Stolovi - Wild Horses

Wild horses are such a rarity in Europe. Serbia has them near Vlasina Lake and Stara planina Mountain, but due to its quantity only Stolovi can be called - mountain of wild horses. It all begun when owners of domesticated horses took them to Stolovi to take the burden of their feeding off their shoulders. They left them there for healthy and juicy food. In time, horses were left there for longer periods, even during winter, so the herd became more and more independent and began to proliferate. Gradually, animals gained characteristics of wild horses, completely independent of men. They survived harsh mountain conditions, many offsprings got killed by wolves and sometimes even inconsiderate men, but the horses are still there. Their owners can't get them back even if they wanted to. Some of them manage to bring them home to a stable, but only for a day or two, before horse escapes back to mountain, to freedom and those heavenly heights.
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Grabovac - Jerina's City

 Grabovac is bigger than its more famous fellow fortresses Koznik, Maglic and Soko. Grabovac is still incompletely explored site. There are ruins from Roman times, of a fortress from 6th century, believed to be built by Roman emperor Justinian (527-565). Area of one hectare contains about 350 m of walls - some of them 8 m high and 2 m wide. Grabovac was center of Serbian medieval state after Battle at Kosovo polje in 1389, when the country was ruled by princess Milica, until her son, Stefan, came of age in 1393. First records on Grabovac date back in 19th century. Like all other fortresses of unknown origins, this, too, was named Jerina's City by people. Jerina was notorious wife of despot Djuradj Branković, ruler of Serbia 1427-1456.  Grabovac has three parts: long wall, lower city and upper city. During few sporadic archaeological excavations in this decade, some valuable pieces of weapon, coins, ceramic objects and horseshoe were found, from the times of Vuk Branković's reign (1345-1397). Vuk was Djuradj's father.
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Studenica, Žiča, Ljubostinja, Lazarica, Kalenić, Gračac, Veluće, Stubal
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You can walk along many forests and mountain trails, ride bicycles, fish, hunt, ride horses, take your chances in archery, paragliding or rafting down the Ibar. The village is situated between mountains Troglav, Čemerno, Željin and Stolovi. It has mild continental climate, without sudden changes of air pressure. In "Pearl of Lopatnica" you can enjoy beautiful view, walk along many forest and mountain trails, ride bicycles, try archery or some more extreme adventures like paragliding or rafting down the Ibar River. One of main attractions is watermill Matović, over 220 years old, 5 km from ethno village. The old mill still works and has the same ambient as when it started. It grinds different kinds of grain. You can buy corn, wheat, rye and buckwheat flour.
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Salus Fishpond

From early spring to late fall, Salus is ideal place for tourists who enjoy rural idyll on 600 m above sea level. Gentle murmur of the river, pine and oak woods with numerous hiking tracks offer perfect rest from everyday life, with grilled trout and other home-made specialties.
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Ethno House Skačak

Situated by the rover Rasina, on the foot of Koznik, in village Grčak, 30 km from Vrnjačka Banja, ethno house Skačak is unique place for enjoyment. "Built in old Serbian style, the house has 15 years long tradition. It is visited by random passerbys and foreigners and its hospitality, traditional Serbian cuisine and natural beauty make them all come back again and again", say hosts from Skačak.
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Vrnjačka Banja tourist organization and extreme sports club "Faith" offer our guests chance to try many interesting extreme disciplines such as rafting, alpinism and, above all, paragliding. Paragliding sessions are held with professional pilots from slopes of Goč mountain. One flight costs around 40 euros  and its lenght depends on weather conditions.
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Rafting on Morava

Morava, one name for several rivers that start and end in Serbia. Our excursion includes visiting Morava meanders by motor boats and sightseeing river flora and fauna. After 120-minute ride, a lunch will be prepared on the river brink and then you could choose from several offers at the sports camp one of many activities: archery, sand volleyball, kayak, kanoe, stand up pedaling...
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Rafting on Ibar

The most exciting part is between Ušće - confluence of Studenica and Ibar - and medieval town Maglič. It is 25 km long and takes 3-5 hrs (depending on water level) to finish. Ušće is located 70 km from Vrnjačka Banja. Ibar is river that flows through eastern Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia. In Serbian section, the river has carved the 40 km long and 550 m deep Ibar gorge. This stretch of the river is famous for its pinched meanders and gigantic whirlpools. On its flow, from the medieval town of Maglič to Kraljevo, on a 25 kilometer long road, the calm river Ibar seems to get furious. Since 1990, every last Sunday in June, socalled Merry Race sports and tourist manifestation is traditionally held. On the first Merry Race there were hardly 150 people with 20 different vessels, and today more than 10,000 domestic and foreign participants take part in the event. Merry Race lasts for several days, because campers arrive during that last week of June, and on Sunday thousands of decorated vessels with merry crews participate in the race. The race on the Ibar ends traditionally in Mataruška Banja but only for a short time, where beans are traditionally prepared for the participants of the regatta. If you want, you can continue the race all the way to the city of Kraljevo, but if you get “tired” of too much beer or plum brandy, you can stay anchored here and enjoy the rest of the day.
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Aeroclub Trstenik

Aero club is 2 km from Arsenic and 12 km from Vrnjačka Banja. If you have ever wondered what it's like to jump out of the plane with a free fall, here you can get the answer. Sky over Vrnjačka Banja awaits the brave ones. For those who prefer less adrenaline-pumping rides, small sports planes "piper" with 3 seats can be rent for panoramic sightseeing. Length and altitude depend on weather conditions. One flight usually lasts 30-45 minutes on altitude between 700m and 2000 m. There is a chance to fly in a small airplane over central Serbia, high enough to feel like you've spread your own wings and yet low enough without clouds blocking your view.
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Hunting and Fishing in Trstenik

River Morava, on the other hand, is rich in nase, chub and barbel, and somewhat in smaller quantity Zigel balcanicus, while from rare sorts there are carps, breams and asps. FishingWest Morava is running through Trstenik in length of 21 km. Many meanders, hidden shores and lush vegetation, as well as birds singing will enrich your senses. Numerous armlets, river islands and diverse flora make the landscape very attractive and are a fisherman’s heaven. There are many fishing competitions being held there. The biggest Morava lovers are the very fishermen and boatmen. Morava is rich in nase, chub and barbel, and somewhat in smaller quantity Zigel balcanicus, while from rare sorts there are carps, breams and asps. Trade mark of this Morava scenery is boat "moravac", handled by a stick. There is even a race with these boats. Getting to know Trstenik and its surroundings from the river is memorable experience. Don't miss the chance to embark on one of rafting trips. HuntingHunting in Trstenik has long tradition. During Middle Ages this region was hunting ground for noblemen and princ Lazar himself. Beginnings of organized hunting date back to 1898. Hunters of this area are very dedicated and committed to keeping  game funds.  For those purposes several hunting houses, numerous tree stands, as well as over 100 feeders for wild boar and 600 feeders for small game. Hunting ground breeds, keeps and hunts wild boar, roe-deer, jackal, wolves, foxes, marten, badger, wild ducks, wild geese, rabbits, pheasants, quails, pigeons... In nearby Medveđa hunting cynology is very developed and respected outside Serbia.
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Katić House

Katić House was built in third quarter of 19th century as home of a wealthy trade family Katić. Today it is cultural good and monument of high importance. The first owner, Stevan Katić, born in Bogdanja village, gained huge property and respect during his lifetime. Stevan was member of the Parliament and so was his son, Petar: a trader and a senator. House is example of Morava style with elements of oriental style. It was built in crushed stone covered in ceramida. It has one store above the ground-floor. It is strong in structure, spacious, with large windows.Ground floor, with two arched entrances, is divided in two residential spaces. First floor has four rooms. Katić House is one of rare almost completely perserved in its original shape, made as a result of changed lifestyle of fast growing Serbian patriarchal urban class in second half of 19th century. Trstenik Old town is one of the best perserved in Serbia. In the centre is Church of Saint Trinity, built in 1898-1900, first church built in neo-morava style, very similar to king Milutin's church in Hilandar (Mount Athos).
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Popina Memorial

Popina Memorial Park consists of a series of giant granite stones – some shaped like pyramids, others like smooth arches – all with holes seemingly blasted through their centers. Standing several stories high, the sculptures themselves dwarf the vehicles necessary to reach the site, and a human can easily pass through their centers fully upright. Scattered along a wooded slope, at a certain angle one can align the voids into a tunnel-like configuration, which eerily leads nowhere. Completed in 1981, the tribute was designed by the famous architect Bogdan Bogdanović. Though his name may not immediately ring a bell, this one man is responsible for some of the most immediately recognizable memorials in Eastern Europe, including Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Partisan Memorial Cemetery, the Stone Flower at Jasenovac, Croatia, and Kosovo’s Mitrovica Miners Monument, to mention a just few. Despite being strikingly minimal in its execution, Popina Memorial Park has a way of sticking with its visitors, even if they know nothing of what once transpired here. On October 13, 1941, a small coterie of troops met in one of the first frontal combat engagements against Germany’s troops. Heavy casualties were incurred. More than 2,300 people were shot in Kraljevo between October 15th and 20th in 1941 as part of Nazi revenge.
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