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1-day trip Manasija Monastery & Resava Cave

Manasija Monastery
Manasija Monastery is an early 15th century endowment of Despot Stefan Lazarević, the illustrious knight who rebuilt Belgrade from ruins and made it the capital of Serbia. The monastery is enclosed with fortifications, a beautiful medieval construction, with ramparts and towers and crenelated parapets. The monastery church, which contains the relics of Despot Stefan, is dedicated to Holy Trinity. Its frescoes, those that survived centuries of devastation, are truly magnificent. Today, Manasija is an Orthodox Christian women’s monastery, open to visitors. In the souvenir shop, you can buy honey, juices, embroidered folk clothes and other items made by the nuns. At the price of 500 dinars per person, you can get the keys to the parapet walk and go around the battlements, lean on a merlon and survey the picturesque countryside.
Manasija Monastery
You will be unwise to take small children up to the parapet walk, as the courtyard side of the walkway is not protected by a fence and it is left to the visitors to be mindful of their safety. The best time for visit is between 10 am and 4 pm.
Resava Cave is 4,5km long, but only a 800m path is open to visitors. The temperature in the cave is the same throughout the year, at 7°C, and humidity is 80-100% (so be sure to have a jacket and some non-slip footwear).
Resava Cave
The cave galleries and decorations are of exquisite beauty and are worth waiting one hour for the guided tour (the thing is, if you come in numbers the local guides


do not find sufficient for a group tour, you will have to wait the obligatory hour to see if anyone else should appear. And if nobody turns up, you will have a private guided tour, which is a real treat!). There is a visitor centre in front of the entrance to the cave, with the coffee bar, internet facilities, toilet and a modest souvenir shop. The price of the entrance ticket is 350 dinars, and the working hours are 9 am to 5 pm (even longer in summer). You can visit the cave all year round, but between 15 November and 1 April, these visits need to be announced beforehand. 
Resava Cave
Lisine Waterfall is popular with hydrologist and the general public alike, thanks to the two decent kafanas at its foot, a good spot for a little rest after the visit to the cave. We recommend hot home-made pogača bread, freshly baked on order, and kaymak made of ewe milk, or a trout from their fish pond. Vodopad Restaurant (vodopad is waterfall in Serbian), Open: 8-23. A path through the parking and garden of Vodopad Restaurant will take you to the waterfall and the other kafana, "Lisinski raj" (parking is free only if you dine at the kafana it belongs to, so be mindful where you park). On the road from Manasija Monastery to Resava Cave, there is a Miniature Park to the left, with models of medieval Serbian monasteries made in 1:17 scale. The park is open between 1 April and 1 November, 10-16, and the price of the entrance fee is 100 dinars (parking and coffee bar available).
Lisine Waterfall
Directions: from Belgrade, take motorway towards Niš, take the exit for Svilajnac and continue towards Despotovac. The Monastery is 2 km away from Despotovac, follow the signs at larger intersections. It takes around one hour and a half to get to Manasija from Belgrade by car (132km, toll 310 dinars). As you return to Despotovac from the Monastery, at the 1st intersection you will see a sign for Resava Cave (left) which 20 km away. On the road to the cave, you will see a junction with signpost: left for Lisine Waterfall (around 5km), right for Resava Cave (around 6km). After the visit to the cave, return to this junction and take the sign for Lisine. You will come upon Lisine Restaurant, which is not your desired destination, so you should continue to the left, across a small bridge, towards the waterfall. Local roads will take through villages, so do not drive too fast, lest you bump into a sheep or a cow. Drive slowly and enjoy the scenery. The whole trip will take about 10 hours (complete with departure from and return to Belgrade).

1-day trip Topola, Oplenac & Wine Tours

Topola is a small place south of Belgrade, remembered in Serbian history as the centre of free Serbia during the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire. On top of Oplenac hill in Topola, enveloped in a forested park, there is a five-domed church dedicated to St George - which serves as a mausoleum of the Karađorđević royal dynasty. The church interior is covered with marble and marvellous mosaics reproducing the most beautiful frescoes of the medieval Serbian monasteries and complex. The crypt mosaics are modelled on the Galla Placidia vault in Ravenna. The guide will proudly tell you that the mosaic decoration consists of around 40 million glass pieces in 15,000 colour shades.
The church crypt is the family vault of the Serbian royal dynasty of Karađorđević (with the exception of the dynasty founder, Karađorđe and King Peter I, whose tombs are located in the south and north choir aisles respectively). A huge polyeleos (chandelier), 9 metres in diameter, hangs suspended from the main dome, dominating the church. It was made from melted-down weapons from First World War, and has the shape of a crown set upside-down, a sign of grief over the downfall of Serbia following the Kosovo battle. Adjoining the plateau in front of the church is the house where King Peter I lived supervising the construction of the church. Today it houses a modest exhibition of the items belonging to Karađorđević family (most items vanished mysteriously during the communist rule following WWII). The entrance fee to the Oplenac complex is 300 dinars (keep it, as you will be required to produce it at the entrance to all buildings). Open: 8-19.


St George Church
St George Church

St George Church - Oplenac
That part of the road dotted with kafanas could be dangerous as drivers often pull up abruptly, so drive carefully.
from Belgrade, take motorway towards Niš, take the exit for Aranđelovac/Mladenovac, follow the road to the large junction at the entrance to Mladenovac and keep to the right (do not enter the town) towards the ring road, follow signs for Topola/Oplenac (71km, toll 90 din). At the intersection in Topola centre, turn left then right, follow signs for Oplenac Mausoleum. Parking is available just after the gate to the complex, you must walk to the church (not far).
To get to Aleksandrović Winery, return to the intersection in Topola centre, turn left and take the sign for Vinča village and the winery. To reach King’s Cellar, at the intersection in Topola centre turn right towards Belgrade, and right again at the petrol station, and when you see a military aircraft displayed on a slope to the right, prepare to turn right, you will presently see a sign for King’s Winery. After the visit to these wineries, take the same road you took to get here (towards Belgrade), only at the roundabout take the sign to Aranđelovac (left). Just before the entrance to Aranđelovac, you will see a sign for Belgrade (right), with a sharp turn (around 130°). This road winds through Vrbica village and after about 1km you will see a sign for Tarpoš Restaurant (left). You there you will drive on macadam road (slowly, making an effort to refrain from raising the clouds of dust lest you incur the rage of the local farmers) that will take you directly to the restaurant. On return from the restaurant, when you get to the asphalt road, turn left to get back to Belgrade.

Oplenac region is known for its vineyards, and we recommend visit to three wineries where you can sample or buy wine. Nearest to the church is the King’s Cellar at the southern foot of Oplenac Hill. Several years ago, Royal Vineyards resumed production of wine. Nowadays King’s Cellar produces wine from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, which you can buy at this winery which doubles as a modest museum of enology. Aleksandrović Winery is located in the nearby village of Vinča. It became famous with its white wine Trijumf, made to the original recipe of the best wine in the royal cellars. In addition to Trijumf, they produce a good range of red, white and sparkling wines, which you can sample and buy at the winery (Open 7-17). A wine tasting menu is available for groups of 10 or more, which must be announced beforehand Tel: 034/826-555. Vrbica Winery is located near Aranđelovac, and produces white and red wines (we recommend Tarpoš made from Merlot grapes and Orašac made from Cabernet Sauvignon), as well as one of the best Serbian rose wines. The winery offers Tarpoš Restaurant, surrounded by 10 ha of vineyards. You can make a lunch break here; the food is quite good, and the restaurant terrace offers great views of the countryside. Open all year round: Tue-Sun 11-23, Mon closed. The whole trip will take about 8 hours (complete with departure from and return to Belgrade, although the actual time will depend on how long you stay at wineries). Many Belgraders are happy to take the shorter version of the trip: they end up already at the entrance to Mladenovac, at MB kafana, with lamb roast and beer.

  Tarpoš Restaurant

Beloglavi Sup
Vraneša, Uvac & Mileševa Monastery

The road will take you to one of the most charming locations in Serbia - a mountainous countryside with three beautiful lakes - the Lakes of Zlatar, Radoinja and Uvac. You will have two full days of enjoying pure mountain air, natural foods, long walks and various sights.
For a place to stay, we recommend ethno village Vraneša, surrounded by forest, which comprises several log & stone cabins combining the authentic countryside feel with modern comforts (indoor pool, spa centre, Wi-Fi, TV, rooms with hydro massage shower cabins…).
The restaurant with central fireplace serves local specialties. There are several well-marked paths winding through the forest with great views of Radoinja oxbow lake, and the vicinity of Ibar Highway allows quick access to a number of scenic sites.
Uvac, Griffon Vultures
Don’t miss a boat ride on the Uvac River oxbows (Tel: 060-0685-214) and a visit to Mileševa Monastery dating from the first half of 13th century (the Monastery church houses the famous White Angel fresco). The boat ride on the Uvac serpentine bends can be combined, upon request, with a hike to some of the lookouts (2-hour leisurely walk in total), a visit to the Ice Cave, or a swim in the lake.


Ethno village Vraneša
Vraneša - etno selo
You can reach Uvac from Belgrade by taking the Ibar Highway, via Ljig, Gornji Milanovac, Čačak and Užice. The road winds through many built-up areas and speed limits range between 50 and 80km per hour. Alas, it is a single carriageway, with one lane for each direction. Be mindful of the traffic at all times because there might be a lunatic overtaking on a solid white line or in blind bends. The distance from Belgrade to Kokin Brod (where you turn right to reach the village of Vraneša) is around 250km or about 4-5 hours’ ride. The loveliness of the place at the end of the road is worth your time and you will forget the long ride as soon as you step out of your car! Along the highway, you will see numerous kafanas tempting potential patrons with sights of lambs and suckling pigs turning on a spit, but try and stay focused on the road. A nice place to take a rest is one of the raft restaurants at the Ovčar-Kablar Gorge (just after Čačak, behind the dam) where you can have a coffee or a fish soup. You can take another break at Mount Zlatibor (for example at a farm with a mini zoo right next to the road, where they serve delicious hot bread with kaymak). On return, you can stop at the village of Zlakusa (just after Sevojno, you will see a sign for Zlakusa pointing you to the right) known for its masters of pottery and Terzića Avlija restaurant.

This area is a natural habitat of the magnificent Griffon Vultures, and there are other bird species you can spot there. You can also enjoy fishing or kayaking. In winter time, you cannot go on a boat trip or climb up to the lookouts, but you can still visit the ethno village – the roads are passable even in the depths of winter (Ibar Highway is kept clear of snow at all times, and the ethno village has its own snow removal equipment to clear its access road). Just in case, if you can afford a helicopter, there is a helipad on the village grounds.
The rooms feature wooden furniture, a sheepskin rug and a fireplace and the kind staff will teach you how to light the fire. If the accommodation in the ethno village seems too costly, or you wish to stay in an authentic Serbian rural cottage, we recommend the accommodation offered by the Luković family (village of Akmačići, Mountain honey, home-made rakija and thick yoghurt, buckwheat pie and kid goat stewed in milk are some of the specialties served to the guests.

  Manastir Mileševa

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