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Djerdap

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Djerdap

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Djerdap National Park is in the Pomoravlje region of Serbia.

Understand[edit]

Djerdap is one of four Serbian national parks, and one of 11 Serbian "tentative list" applicants for UNESCO world heritage site status. It occupies a 636 sq km area along the "right" bank of the Danube river, in Eastern Serbia. Some of the sites in the park are on the Romanian ("left") side, and strictly speaking, can therefore be seen but not touched.

The park's shape approximates a "V", with Romania inside/above the V, with the towns of Golubac near the top-left tip, Donji Milanovac at the bottom point, and Kladovo near the top-right tip. The river flows towards the Black Sea, from Golubac to Kladovo. A single highway runs through the park along the length of the Danube, with a few additional roads converging from the outside near Donji Milanovac at the bottom.

History[edit]

The park has likely been continually occupied for at least 10,000 years. Along with medieval Serbian and ancient Roman ruins, it is home to the remains of Europe's oldest known planned human village, the archaeological site of Lepenski Vir. Along with more than a dozen other sites from the same civilization, the location of the Lepenski Vir settlement was flooded upon the creation of the Djerdap dam in the 20th century; in order to protect this unique piece of human history, it was relocated higher up the nearby hillside, and is now preserved and open for visitors.

Landscape[edit]

The main feature and attraction of the Đerdap National Park's natural beauty is the Đerdap gorge - the famous Iron Gate - the grandiose gateway through the southern slopes of the Carpathian mountains where the longest and biggest river accumulation in former Yugoslavia is located. The park runs just a few kilometres inland from the Danube, following the river's length for approximately 100km. It is marked by the river itself, deep valleys, rolling hills, lush forest, along with a few modern settlements, and some small-scale rural farms.

Flora and fauna[edit]

The park is a vital home for butterflies, with over 100 documented species. It is also an important site for birds (over 170 species), mammals (about 60 species), amphibians and reptiles (30 species), and fish (60 species). The largest animals include mountain goats, foxes, forest turtles, and falcons. More rarely, roe deer, lynx, and wolves are known to inhabit the park.

Climate[edit]

The region generally has a continental climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Winds generally blow along the path of the river, either from or towards the black sea, though these winds can themselves be intense. It is mostly sheltered from the Mediterranean by the Dinaric Alps, and from the Arctic by the Carpathian mountains.

Get in[edit]

Several daily buses from Belgrade run to Golubac and through the park, terminating at Donji Milanovac, with frequent stops along the way. Times change frequently, and can be checked along with itineraries on the Belgrade bus depot's website.

Fees/Permits[edit]

Day visits to the park are not monitored. Most walking paths are protected and require a ranger as an escort (see "Do"), which requires a 1 EUR fee per person. Some cultural destinations within the park charge fees or can only be accessed from the water, which requires a boat and/or a guide. In addition, as many highways in Serbia use tolls, if you are driving, you will likely need to pay tolls for the various expressways used in order to get to the park itself.

Get around[edit]

Intercity buses which run through the park stop at various set points, and will pick up or drop off passengers along the way. Watch for simple blue signs along the side of the road. You can also try hitchhiking. See Tips_for_hitchhiking.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Golubac Fortress, ~6km east of Golubac. Since 2012, the fortress has been under construction for renovation, including re-routing the highway past it, building a visitor's centre, undertaking archaeological work, and restoring the ramparts. It can still be seen, but you cannot go inside (as of May 2016).  edit
  • Lepinski Vir, 16km West of Donji Milanovac. The largest archaeological find in the area, the entire site was moved uphill in order to preserve it from flooding. In addition to viewing the unique trapezoidal house bases, a small museum displays original and replica finds from the site, with text in Cyrillic Serbian and English. 450 dinar.  edit
  • Tabula Traiana. A memento of Trajan's ancient Roman bridge across the Danube. Only visible from the water. Boat trips available from Donji Milanovac and Kladovo.  edit
  • Rock sculpture of Decebalus. On the Romanian side, but with the best views from Serbia.  edit
  • Iron Gate.  edit
  • Djerdap dam and generating station. Near Kladovo.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Guided Hiking. Most of the hiking trails in Djerdap park are "protected class 1" trails, which means that guests must be escorted by a park ranger in order to use them. Rangers can be booked by contacting the park office in Donji Milanovac (across from the bus station, to the left of the tourist office) with at least one day's notice. As the trailheads are themselves a distance out of town, would-be hikers must have access to transportation for the ranger (this means you can't hitchhike or take the bus to the trail head), or can rent a car for themselves and the ranger for EUR 50/day. 1 EUR / person.  edit
  • Solo Hiking. The park office has a single 4.5km trail that begins from near the Lepenski Vir Hotel in Donji Milanovac, and continues to the "Golden Lake" area. Eleven educational signs mark the trail and provide information about the park along the way. Instead of tracing your steps back to town, you can follow a loop, officially not a part of the park's trail system, to the Eastern reaches of Donji Milanovac. 2-3+ hours total hiking time, with most of the ~140m vertical gain on paved road at the start of the trail. free.  edit
  • Fishing. Recreational fishing in Serbia requires a license. Despite its pollution and loss of habitat from the construction of the dam, the Danube has good fishing opportunities, with recorded catfish catches in recent years of 70+ kg.  edit
  • Boating. Boat rental opportunities are limited, and navigation can be challenging due to whirlpools, rocks, and the patrolled border. However guided boating opportunities are available in Donji Milanovac (120 EUR/boat, up to 8 people?; ~4 hours) and Kladovo (1800 dinar/person?; ~2.5 hours), with visits to the Tabula Traiana and nearby sites.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Local Textiles. Market stalls at the Donji Milanovac dock present locally-crafted textiles, including traditional shirts and table cloths. The market hours vary, but it is definitely open Mondays in the busy season; perhaps it is daily, or set to coincide with the arrival of large Danube river-cruise boats?  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Expect the standard Serbian fare at regular or slightly increased prices.

Golubac[edit]

The dozen or so restaurants are aligned along the main highway, and in the pedestrian zone facing the river, in the centre of town.

Donji Milanovac[edit]

A dozen or so restaurants largely cluster near the port, and along the highway near the intersection of the road headed towards the bus station and the port.

  • Cafe Vlacic. Cheap good pretty big sandwiches. Sandwiches ~200 dinar.  edit
  • Nenehcka Pngnua. Traditional sit-down restaurant, good service, good food. Serbian dishes and pizzas. App and salads 100-400, Mains 400-1500, Beer 80-150.  edit

Kladovo[edit]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Lodging[edit]

Golubac[edit]

  • Golubac Grad Hotel. Immediately outside the Golubac bus station  edit
  • Apartment i Sobe Dedine. Halfway between Golubac and Golubac Fortress, just outside the park limits, in the village of Dedine. A small house with 3 rooms and 1 bathroom, managed by the owner, who lives next door. WiFi, free parking. 12 EUR +.  edit

Donji Milanovac[edit]

  • Lepenski Vir Hotel. With beds for ~500, it's the closest thing you'll find to a Holiday Inn in Djerdap. It has probably seen better days, but is still the go-to for most tourists, tour groups, and schools visiting the area. 1500-4000+ dinar.  edit
  • Local Homes, [1]. The tourist office maintains a directory of rooms for rent in local homes, and can help you make arrangements. 1200-1500 dinar.  edit

Kladovo[edit]

Camping/Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

The roadway along the riverbank often lacks sidewalks, and drivers can have dangerous driving habits. Some stray dogs live in the park at the edges of the various human settlements.

Get out[edit]

  • From Kladovo, you can cross the dam and head into Romania at Drobeta-Turnu Severin.
  • Buses leave from Donji Milanovac to many destinations throughout Serbia, including Nis.
  • Golubac has regular bus service to Belgrade.
  • Visit the Roman ruins, spa, and UNESCO heritage site Gamzigrad-Romuliana, near Zaječar.

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