Most of Serbian culture and heritage has been kept and preserved through the ages in a series of orthodox monasteries and very close to Bajina Basta, where the Rača monastery can be found. It was built in the 1200s and can be freely visited. It’s a truly impressive experience as you walk around through the halls. Directly from the monastery upon departure are multiple, small off-road tracks so we combined the visit with a very nice off-road tour. Also near Bajina Basta is the Mokra Gora region, meaning the Wet Mountain in English, where the main attraction is a completely restored authentic wooden village.
An absolute must-do activity when in this area is a visit to and a ride with the Sargan Eight. The Sargan Eight is the name of an ancient but restored railroad track, running trough and over two mountain ranges in the form of an eight, and an absolutely scenic ride through areas otherwise inaccessible by foot or car. The track was originally used for commercial purposes and later abandoned but with the help of the famous film director Emir Kusturica, it has been restored and now runs near his wooden film-director-school village.
After a few days of cultural excursions, we felt the need to do some more explorative and off-road drives, and we set out to visit the Drina Gorge, a very narrow slit across the mountains where the Drina River runs along the bottom. A few tracks run across the edges of the gorge, and guarantee impressive and unique views on the height differences and landscape.
An absolute fantastic part in the holiday was also our meeting with the driving force and President for Jeep Club Srbija, Aleksandar Veljkovic, who was so kind as to offer us his expertise of knowledge on the area. The moment he shouted through the radio, “We will now show where Jeeps have been built for,” and the mind boggling ride down and up a steep muddy hill that followed this, will never be erased from our memories! His old and loyal Cherokee was amazing on the tracks, and we had so much fun stopping 30 minutes for pictures, and then taking off again for a thrilling off-road drive.
A second day of off-highway travel was started with a visit to friends of Aleksandar, who moved out from the city to the countryside and who started to live almost self-dependent, making goat cheese and honey amongst other things. Just like as if we had been friends for years, we were welcomed with traditional drinks and a breakfast, and this was a most heartwarming experience. This encounter set the atmosphere for the rest of the day, and Aleksandar showed us the most beautiful parts of the National Park including special hills and viewpoints. A major surprise was to find a number of artificial lakes, all used to produce electricity, with one on the beaches, the carcasses and frames of three big unfinished holiday houses apparently built by a local singer who eventually ran out of money.