For those new to our blog, we are a huge fans of snowboarding ! Why ? Well, the purpose of this blog is to answer these kind of questions and this article won’t be an exception.
That being said, we are quite happy to have an opportunity to share our snowboarding experiences from around the world. And since we are from Serbia, it would be most appropriate to begin this winter story with our snowboarding adventure in Kopaonik.
Kopaonik is a wonderful mountain located in southern Serbia. It is the biggest and most famous ski resort in Serbia and quite possibly the finest ski resort in the entire Balkans and Southern Europe.
We’ve had an opportunity to visit Kopaonik few times over the past 15 years and we have therefore witnessed it’s rapid growth in capacity, ski content and different types of service.
Kopaonik’s peak “Pančićev vrh” stands at 2017m which is easily reachable via 4 seat ski lift departing from the ski center.
With approx. 200 sunny days per year and 160 days covered in snow, Kopaonik deserves it’s second name “The sunny mountain”.
There is quite a number of factors that may contribute to Kopaonik’s reputation of being one of the most famous ski resorts in Southern Europe and among many, we’ve menaged to pinpoint 5 reasons why you definitely must do snowboarding or skiing in Kopaonik !
It goes without saying that this is the primary topic concerning every skier or snowboarder out there.
Kopaonik has a total of 62km in ski trails.
There are 20 trails marked as “easy”, 11 that are “medium” and 6 marked as “heavy”.
All trails are really well connected via 6-seat and 4-seat ski lifts that can take up to 34.000 skiers per hour.
This may bring up a frightening question of “the huge ski crowds swarming at the bottom of ski lifts” – but have no worries.
The ski lifts are quite fast and well positioned. We were there by the beginning of January and the ski lift “queue” was about 3-5 min.
This “queue” will probably be longer (10-15min.) during February which is “the peak season” month in Kopaonik. During this period it would be vise to begin your ski day early (around 9am) and try to avoid the major ski lifts like “Karaman Greben” and “Pančić” – that usually get quite overcrowded.
In terms of organizing and sustaining it’s ski trails, Kopaonik went a long way over the past 10 years.
The ski trails are properly flattened every day while 97% of them are equipped with artificial snowing system so you’ll have no problems if “the sun keeps on shining” 🙂
We were thrilled when we found out that one of the most famous and accessible ski trails “Karaman Greben” was opened for night skiing (6-10pm). This is especially great for those who learn as the ski trails are much less crowded in the evening.
Our personal favorite tracks are “Krčmar” & “Crvena Duboka” both accessible form “Pančićev Vrh”. These trails are great because you start from the very top of the mountain surrounded by incredible and mesmerizing view and the you slowly descend into the deep and tranquil forest sometimes disappearing into the clouds.
Once you experience this shift in natural environment, the silence, the air, the freedom – you may start to understand why people fall in love with the mountain and winter sports.
We remember our first years doing snowboarding. Just how enchanting it was to finally stand up and fly down the ski track covered in deep snow. We finally understood how Silver Surfer felt, lol.
The hardship and frustration that came along with learning the basics had payed of a 100 times.
Sometimes we would fall in the middle of the forest. Then we would just sit there, surrounded by tall trees and profound silence occasionally interrupted by some snow falling from the branches or by some small stream somewhere nearby.
We would even notice some paw steps, probably made by fox or rabbits, here and there. At one point you would just sit there, inhale all that incredible fresh air and be like “my god, it’s so good to be alive…”
But even if you aren’t that much into snowboarding or skiing, there’s still loads of stuff that you can do in Kopaonik. Like zip lining or “alpine coaster” for instance:
Kopaonik is located just 270km from Belgrade, the capitol of Serbia.
Coming from Belgrade, nearly 85% of the road is in highway while the rest is in local and a really good two way mountain road.
Kopaonik is generally accessible no matter the direction which you are coming from. The road is quite straightforward and even if you are traveling without GPS you probably won’t have a hard time reaching it. Well, if you had a rakija or two you might, but seriously, don’t drink and drive..
It should be noted that if you are planing to visit Kopaonik with private transport or rent-a-car the use of proper winter equipment (chains etc.) is necessary.
The mountain roads can sometimes be cowered with snow so it would be vise not to test your vehicle for it’s skiing capabilities and use chains instead.
Many bus and private agencies offer transport packages to Kopaonik at really good prices. For more info about departures and timetables from Belgrade visit BAS.
3.Spa & Wellness
About 10 years ago spa & wellness was still far from becoming a standard in Kopaonik.
However, nowadays you’ll have a hard time finding hotels, especially those located in the center of Kopaonik, that don’t offer some kind of spa or wellness program.
So why has everyone gone nuts about spa & wellness ? Spend a whole day skiing or snowboarding and you will understand what kind of benefit can a warm outside pool, jacuzzi or a sauna bring.
We remember our first time skiing in the French Alps where we got the chance to relax in an outdoor heated pool in combination with sauna.
We never could have imagined just how relaxing the whole thing turned out to be.
After all, snowboarding (and skiing) can get quite physically demanding, especially when you start to make progress.
If you aren’t careful, progress can also eventually lead to serious injuries.
If you think that all those crazy Red Bull guys that fly and do incredible tricks were born this way and never went to a doctor – think again.
This also stands for many different types of sports and activities.
Ok, we get it, you don’t plan to do a 50m long jump but resting and relaxing your body is incredibly important.
That’s where spa & wellness comes in.
And if you can think of a better way for resting and charging than floating and being massaged in on open warm pool – let us know 🙂
4.Serbian food at it’s best
Serbia isn’t a big country, it isn’t the richest country (unfortunately, it’s almost the opposite), it has horrible politics, it had more wars in past century than some countries had during their entire histories…but one thing never changed. Food.
“Serbian food is one of the most tastiest in the entire world.”
Many tourists that come to Serbia gladly agree. The food industry that tends to sterilize and de-identify the specific local food still hasn’t managed to destroy the authentic and truly wonderful Serbian food. This means that you can still find vegetables, milk products, meat and many other products that still have their true taste.
Those who plan to visit Kopaonik and Serbia in general should know that Serbian people eat A LOT of meat so one definitely shouldn’t expect Kopaonik to be a vegan paradise.
Kopaonik is located in southern Serbia which is quite famous for it’s cheese and meat specialities.
Ćevapi, pljeskavica, kolenica, butkica, dimljena vešalica, sarma, gibanica, kajmak, pita sa borovnicama…
Just say some of these words and you will be amazed just how many locals will proudly start to smile.
Our personal favorite in Kopaonik is a restorant “Odzaklija” located in a hotel called “Rtanj”.
There is a huge fire/grill place in the middle of the restaurant where you can have a live preview of some of the best Serbian specialties in the making.
If you’re into sweeties, you must visit a small tavern called “Skituljlo” that is located on a ski trail “Mali Karaman”.
There you can try the best blueberry pie in Kopaonik.
WARNING: don’t go to these restaurants if you plan to do snowboarding or skiing after because you will be so full of food that you probably won’t be able to move for a while.
For many foreigners, Serbia can be considered a budget destination.
Kopaonik is probably the most expensive resort in Serbia, especially during winter months. But it’s still much cheaper then most of the ski resorts in Europe.
An average price per portion of really delicious food (in a nice restaurant) food is usually around 6-10 euros. Drinks can go from 2-5€.
Of course, the prices can be a bit higher if you visit some of the taverns and restaurants that are located directly on the ski trails. But even some of these restaurants have almost the same prices like some that are in Kopaonik’s center.
Accommodation ? The great thing about Kopaonik is that it has the “central” part, with all the hotels and apartments and shops etc. while it also has a kind of suburban part with loads of domestic mountain houses not much far from the center (1-3km).
The prices of rooms/apartments can drastically vary. During the high seasons (January-March) some of the hotels in Kopaonik’s center can go up to 100€ per person per day. But during the same it’s also possible to find rooms or entire apartments for 30-40€. It goes without saying that you will have a much easier time finding cheaper accommodation if you go looking in the mentioned suburban part of the resort.
For more info about accommodation and Kopaonik in general visit: infoKop
Well guys that’s about it. We hope that you enjoyed this winter tale about this small and beautiful Serbian mountain. We would really like to hear about your snowboarding/skiing adventures in the comment section below !
Wanna keep exploring ? Do it HERE !