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

Serbia was a last-minute plan, and a solo trip for me. While trying to research on the best places to see (for a nature lover like me), I came across some gorgeous pictures of Uvac Canyon and I knew it had to be a part of my 1-week itinerary for Serbia. But getting there was NOT easy and that’s why this guide for Everything you need to know about visiting Uvac Special Nature Reserve is going to make your life much easier, should you plan on taking this great adventure!

There is no better way of exploring a country than a road trip, especially if you wish to leave the cities and traverse the outskirts. Serbia is so much more than Belgrade & Novi Sad, two of its largest cities. Replete with mountains, valleys, rivers, nature reserves and some lovely, scenic hiking trails, Serbia surprised me pleasantly, because it was prettier than I had expected.

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

To explore Uvac Special Nature Reserve, I suggest you base yourself in Zlatibor. The canyon is hardly a 1-hour drive from Zlatibor. The best way to explore the reserve is by taking a guided tour because that will make your travel much easier. Serbia isn’t great when it comes to public transport connectivity unfortunately and while the roads are amazing in general to drive on, some specific parts can get tough and intimidating. So, if you’re able to find a guided tour to explore this area, it’s your best option. However, if you choose the rather difficult but adventurous way to get here, read on!

How to reach the viewing platform in Uvac Special Nature Reserve

There are 2 ways to reach the famous viewing platform. The first involves taking a boat cruise from here. While several companies operate the tours, the itinerary remains the same. Get yourself to the cruise departing location as early in the day as possible because the boat tour lasts about 4-5 hours. After cruising in the meandering river for about 1.5 hours, you will be taken to a cave and then disembark at the point from where you will start your hike to the viewing platform above. And while this hike will end up in a really rewarding views of the canyon, the path is steep and somewhat arduous, especially if you’re visiting in summer. The hike takes about 1 hour, after which you cruise back to the Uvac dam.

If you’re not into long boat rides (I missed the last boat and the next one was too late in the afternoon, so I decided to take the driving route instead), then your next best option is to gear up for an off-road trip and a medium level 3-km hike to the platform. I will be honest- the only reason I made it was because I found a local Serbian family to give me company. Else, the road as well the hiking trail is not marked and I wouldn’t suggest you do it alone, if you’re travelling solo, as it can be an intimidating experience.

Driving to the viewing platform in Uvac Special Nature Reserve

I was lucky to also come across a blog that marked the exact viewing platform location (it’s here) which made finding the path to it slightly easier. Many people will tell you not to attempt this road trip unless you have a 4×4. I won’t deny that it would have made the drive easier, but my Fiat 500 did pretty well on the dirt road all the way to the start of the hiking point. If it has been a rainy day, the gravel path will be slippery and in a bad condition, so if you’re an under confident driver, then skip it and change your plan.

There aren’t many road signs to guide you in the right direction, so if you see ‘VidiKovac’, then you know you’re going in the right direction. Park the car on the side at the point where the road ends and get ready for a 20-30 min hike to the viewing platform. And yeah, you might see some snakes along the way, so be prepared!

The view from the top is breath-taking and totally worth the difficulties in getting here. It’s usually not crowded either because it’s not a lot of people’s cups of tea to take on such a demanding journey to the top. I was nevertheless so in awe of the rugged beauty that I completely forgot the stress of getting here and immersed myself in the stunning nature & exquisiteness of the place.

In a nutshell, keep the following in mind:

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