Tara National Park
Tara National Park is located In the far west of Serbia in beautiful area bounded by the Drina River between Visegrad and Bajina Bašta.
Tara was declared a national park in 1981 with a total area of 19,175 ha.
The national park has medium-high mountains, with a mean altitude of 1,000-1,200 meters above sea level. The highest peak is Kozji (Goat) rid at a height of 1,591 meters. Tara is a typical forest area, and for its preservation and diversity of forest ecosystems (many of which are relict) one of the richest and most valuable forest areas in Europe.
Flora and fauna
In forest sense Tara are covered with mixed forests of European Spruce, Silver Fir and European Beech (over 85 % of forest area) and specificity compared to other mountains of the Balkan Peninsula is the large number of relict and endemic forest species and plant communities.
At Tara was identified more than 40 broadleaf, deciduous - coniferous and coniferous phytocenoses, then 1,156 species of vascular flora which makes 1/3 of the total flora of Serbia. From represented 76 plant species are endemic. Special value and importance of the Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika), endemic and relict species, which is inhabits canyons and ravines of the middle course of the Drina River managed to survive the last ice age.According to the results of previous research, an area inhabited by Tara over 5O species of mammals, 140 species of birds, 23 species of amphibians and reptiles and 19 species of fish. This area is inhabited by the largest population of brown bears in Serbia. The best-known species, for which it may be said to be symbol of fauna Mt Tara, is endemorelict Pancic's grasshopper (Pyrgomorphella serbica).
To Kaludjerske Bare
From Beograd main bus station (BAC) there are usually at least 3 direct buses a day to Kaludjerske Bare (called "Tara" in the schedules, as of June 2018 at 08:00, 09:00 and at least one in the afternoon, about 1200 RSD). They all stop over at Bajina Bašta. Departures from Beograd can be checked online (http://www.bas.rs).
If you have to wait for too long in Bajina Bašta for a bus connection, consider taking a taxi (60 RSD/km during day time) or try hitchhiking.
To Mitrovac na Tari
Coming from Beograd and most other destinations, Bajina Bašta is probably your transport hub for Mitrovac na Tari. As of June 2018, there were 3 minibuses a day (06:00, 17:00 and 20:00, ca. 150 RSD) from the bus station in Bajina Bašta to Mitrovac na Tari. A taxi from Bajina Bašta (usually you can find some around the bus station) is 1500 RSD at the standard rate of 60 RSD/km during day time.
You don't need permits or pay fees to enter the park.
There is no direct public transportation between Kaludjerske Bare and Mitrovac na Tari. You need to change in Bajina Bašta. Taking a taxi from Bajina Bašta might be an affordable option for one of the two stretches in case there is no connecting service. Hitchhiking might work.
Cycling is possible, but can be strenuous given the mountainous topography.
Throughout the park there are numerous archaeological sites and monuments dating from the Neolithic period to modern times. Most important are the Račа Monastery, оne of the most important centers of Serbian medieval literacy, and the necropolis with tombstones in Rastište and Perucac, which are nominated for UNESCO World Heritage List.
In Tara National Park is currently 30 hiking trails and 2 international walking corridors (European long distance walking path E7 and Via Dinarica - Green trail) in total length of about 260 km. At the beginning of all the paths and at intersections along the trail are 276 signposts.
From Kaludjerske Bare its worth to hike to the Solotnik fortress offering nice views in the surrounding alleys. You can also hike to Račа Monastery, although the trail was partially destroyed in 2018.
From Mitrovac na Tari it is worth to hike to some of the lookouts with views over the Drina river valley (e.g. Vidikovac Banska Stena, Videkovac Oštra Stena). You can find them also on OpenStreetMap, for some of the lookouts the small trails leading to them from the main trails might be a bit difficult to find, so use GPS. Starting in Mitrovac it is also worth to take a tour around the Zaovine reservoir following the road, although you should consider to hitch-hike about the 1st half of the tour (for example until the dam in the south of the Zaovine reservoir) since the whole way would be about 30 km. A tour to Rastište via Banska Stena lookout and back via the Zaovine reservoir can be also nice. Hiking much further west into the park from Mitrovac and coming back on the same day can be difficult. In this case it might be better to organize some transportation to/from Predov Krst.
The hiking maps which can be bought in the national park are not very good. While the main trails (roads, gravel roads) shown on the map are fine and do exist, the smaller trails are not always in good shape, sometimes they terminate in the middle of nowhere. So it is always worth to use a GPS / smartphone device with some suitable offline maps such as from OpenStreetMap. But also keep in mind that the OpenStreetMap material is not fully up-to-date, some shown trails cease to exist or are in bad condition, and new roads and trails are not yet shown on the maps.
Note that trail signs in the national park can be sometimes scarce or misleading.
In both Kaludjerske Bare and Mitrovac na Tari there are minimarkets.
If you follow the road from the souvenir stands down to Bajina Bašta for ca. 5 minutes, there are two minimarkets (one opens only for a few hours a day) and a simple restaurant.
Mitrovac na Tari
There are at least two restaurants. Both serve simple food of not overly good quality. The "Etno restoran Kačara" and the "Vinska kuća". The latter has a wide selection of completely overpriced domestic and foreign wine, food is cheaper but not really good. Unless they offer some fresh day's menu it is better to order just french fries and a salad.
For self-caterers there is a minimarket with a decent selection, usually opened daily from at least ca. 10:00-17:00 in the season.
The national park might become quite full in July and August, the rest of the year it is less busy. In these two month it might be worth to call / reserve ahead, unless you bring your own tent.
There are a few options to sleep in Kaludjerske Bare.
There are two hotels, Omorika and Beli Bor, located on Kaludjerske Bare.
For budget travellers there is the quite nice Tara Hostel & Hiking Center (http://www.hosteltara.com/), providing beds at backpacker prices (ca. 1500 RSD per night and person). It comes with 2 x 4-bed dorms and 1 x 6-bed dorm, allowing 14 guests inside the hostel. Camping outside and using the facilities inside is also possible. Hostel has 2 bathrooms and 1 common kitchen where you can cook your meals and which has also a wood-fired oven. Free Rakija shots. Laundry is a bit pricey (600 RSD). No Wifi. Sells hiking maps of the national park (200 RSD). 10 min walk to 2 minimarkets and a simple restaurant the road further down to Bajina Bašta.
If you arrive by bus from Bajina Bašta / Beograd walk a bit down the road from the terminal bus stop to the souvenir stalls, there turn left and walk the gravelroad upwards for about 200m, there turn right to get to the hostel. You can also ask the ladies at the souvenir stalls for directions to the hostel.
Mitrovac na Tari
In Mitrovac and around as well as around the Zaovine reservoir there are many summer houses, hutches and villas. Many of them can be also booked online on the usual booking websites.
Opposite of the tourist information in Mitrovac na Tari the same lady operating the tourist information has a guesthouse.
There is a very simple guesthouse ca. 100m down the road to Perućac from the tourist information, opposite to the Vinska Kuca restaurant. Basic double rooms feature a fridge and a bathroom. Shared mini kitchen, no heating in the rooms. The owner (hangs often around in his bar next door during daytime) speaks Serbian and Russian, but very little English. 5500 RSD / 2 nights, 3000 RSD / 1 night for a double in lower season (June).
From Kaludjerske Bare
Similar as getting in. Always ask some locals about departure times.
From Mitrovac na Tari
Always ask some locals about departure times. As of June 2018, there were 2 minibuses a day (14:00 and 21:00, ca. 150 RSD) running to Bajina Bašta (from where you can continue to many more destinations, i.a. Beograd).
A taxi to Bajina Bašta is 1500 RSD at the standard rate of 60 RSD/km during day time. Price might double, if they need to come all the way up from Bajina Bašta!