Everything you need to know about visiting the Uvac Nature Reserve in Serbia

Serbia was a last minute plan for me and a solo trip. While trying to research the best places to see (for a nature lover like me), I came across some amazing pictures of Uvac Canyon and I knew it had to be part of my 1 week itinerary in Serbia. But getting there wasn’t easy, and that’s why this guide on everything you need to know about visiting the Uvac Special Reserve will make your life a lot easier if you’re planning to go on this amazing adventure.

There’s no better way to explore the country than on a road trip, especially if you want to get away from the cities and hit the countryside. Serbia is much more than Belgrade and Novi Sad, its two largest cities. Full of mountains, valleys, rivers, nature reserves and some beautiful, scenic hiking trails, Serbia pleasantly surprised me because it was more beautiful than I expected.

I rented a car (a luxurious red Fiat 500) from Belgrade and spent a week exploring this hidden gem in the Balkans. And while Croatia and Montenegro continue to hold the title as my favorite Balkan destinations, Serbia has taken second place, along with Slovenia and Bosnia.

To explore the Uvac Special Reserve, I suggest you base yourself in Zlatibor. The canyon is barely 1 hour away from Zlatibor. The best way to explore the reserve is to take a guided tour, as it will make your trip much easier. Serbia isn’t great when it comes to public transport connections, unfortunately, and while the roads are generally amazing to drive on, some specific sections can become rough and intimidating. So if you can find a tour to explore this area, that’s your best bet. However, if you chose the rather difficult but adventurous path to get here, read on.

How to get to the viewing platform of the Uvac special reserve

Uvac Nature Reserve boat trip starting point

There are 2 ways to reach the famous observation deck. The first involves taking a boat cruise from here. While several companies operate the tours, the itinerary remains the same. Arrive at the departure point of the cruise as early as possible as the boat tour takes around 4-5 hours. After about 1.5 hours of navigating the winding river, you will be taken to the cave and then disembark at the point where you will begin your hike to the observation deck at the top. And while this hike will end with some truly rewarding views of the canyon, the trail is steep and somewhat challenging, especially if you visit in the summer. The hike takes about 1 hour, after which you will return to the Uvac dam.

If you’re not a fan of long boat rides (I missed the last boat and the next one was too late in the afternoon, so I decided to go the driving route), then your next best option is to take a walk. road trip and intermediate level 3km hike to platform. I will be honest. the only reason was that I found a Serbian family to keep me company. Otherwise, the road as well as the hiking trail is not marked and I would not suggest doing it alone if you are traveling alone as it can be an intimidating experience.

Trip to the observation deck of the Uvac special reserve

Gravel road to the observation deck

I was also lucky enough to come across a blog that noted the exact location of the viewing platform (here it is), which made finding my way to it a little easier. Most people will tell you not to try this trip if you don’t have a 4×4. I won’t deny that it would have made the ride easier, but my Fiat 500 handled pretty well on the dirt road up to the start of the trek. If it’s been a rainy day, the gravel road will be slippery and in bad shape, so if you’re an insecure driver, skip it and change your plan.

There aren’t many road signs to guide you in the right direction, so if you see “VidiKovac” you know you’re headed in the right direction. Park the car on the side where the road ends and prepare for a 20-30 minute walk to the observation deck. And yes, you may see some snakes along the way, so be prepared.

Viewing platform, Uvac special nature reserve

Breathtaking view from the top

The view from the top is breathtaking and totally worth the trouble of getting here. It is usually not crowded either, as there are not many teacups of people to undertake such a demanding journey to the top. However, I was so mesmerized by the rugged beauty that I completely forgot about the stress of getting here and immersed myself in the stunning nature and beauty of the place.

So glad I made it!

Uvac Special Reserve, Serbia

In short, keep the following in mind:

  • There are only 2 ways to get to the viewing platform: a 5-hour boat ride followed by a 1-hour steep hike to the top (starting point: https://g.page/krstrenje-uvac?share) or driving.
  • Do not attempt the ride unless you are a confident driver and have a good car to handle the slippery, gravel roads (destination: https://goo.gl/maps/AWY3agzQC85t97DH8)
  • 4WD is preferred but my Fiat 500 did very well too
  • Be prepared for cold winds when you’re at the top, so bring a jacket
  • Don’t forget to wear comfortable, hiking shoes and carry plenty of water, as you won’t find anything to buy food or drink on the way.
  • Beware of snakes.
  • Don’t forget to take lots of pictures above; the view is absolutely spectacular

Visiting Serbia? Don’t forget to include a trip to Tara National Park in your itinerary.

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