There is no mountain in Serbia with so many nicknames like the Kopaonik mountain. It`s also known as The Silver Mountain, The Sunny Mountain, The roof of Serbia and The Balkan Chamonix. All of those nicknames help you to imagine not the highest, but the largest mountain range and the most popular ski resort in Serbia. At the same time, one part of the mountain is declared as a one of the five national parks in Serbia, the significant highland biodiversity and endemism center of the Balkan Peninsula.
Mountain massif extends from the northwest to the southeast for 80 km linking Central Serbia with south Autonomous Province Kosovo and Metohija. Kopaonik is within a four hours drive and 270 km away from Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade (the capital) and 130 km away from the second airport in the country, Constantine the Great at the city of Nis. Pancic Peak with 2017 meters above the sea level is the closest peak to the sky. It is named after Josif Pancic (1814-1888), the greatest Serbian botanist and the first President of The Serbian Royal Academy of Science who climbed the mountain for research for 16 times. The view from the top of the mountain is breathtaking, and it is easy to reach from the ski center by easy hike, MTB, ATV or the four seater chair lift of the same name “Pancicev vrh”.
Numerous archaeological finds of the material culture in the Ibar, Toplica and Rasina river valleys confirm the existence of prehistoric settlements from the later part of the Stone Age. But, the most attractive historical sites are well preserved, medieval, Serbian orthodox monasteries, churches and fortresses from the period of establishment of the first independent Serbian state. A few of them are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage like Studenica monastery and Sopocani monastery with fresco paintings that rank among the most beautiful paintings of the Byzantine art. Even today, the fortified medieval towns on the mountain slopes speak of the strength of the medieval Serbian state. The most significant are Stari Ras, Zvecan, Koznik and Maglic fortress.
An idea for the construction of the first mountaineer home on Kopaonik was born in 1931, while the mountain village started rapidly to develop in 1980s, and today, many of the hotels and villas are located on the altitude of 1.700 m, in the vicinity of the ski runs. In the same period a surface of 11.809 ha has been declared in 1981. as a national park, and most of the protected area is above 1.700 m above sea level. Kopaonik is one of the most significant plant habitats in the whole Balkans and Important Plant Area of Europe, having more than 1.600 types of plants with 91 endemic species. The forests of National Park Kopaonik are mostly mixed with European Spruce, Silver Fir, European Beech and oak trees. There are 3 local endemics: Kopaonik houseleek (Sempervivum kopaonikensis), Kopaonik violet (Viola kopaonikensis) and Pancic rezuha (Cardamine pancicii). Kopaonik’s rich variety of animal species deserves special attention, especially the Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Tawny Owl, Shore Lark, Common Crossbill, Eagle-Owl, dormouse, wildcats and roe deers along with a total of 170 species of birds and 39 species of mammals registered at the mountain. No less important is the kingdom of fungi which exist in over 600 different types.
Unlike other mountains of the same height and area, Kopaonik is not the source of large rivers. The largest water "artery" of the mountain is Samokovska river. There are a few more rivers and streams but Zaplaninska river became popular after the discovery of the longest cascading waterfall in the country know as Jelovarnik, over 70 m high. Hidden gems of the mountain are the small, cold water geyser Metodje as well as floating islands on the Semetes pond at the village of the same name. The Ibar river winds its way around western slopes of Kopaonik mountain, and it is ideal for lovers of white water sports such as rafting and kayaking.
If you are a fan of wellness & spa treatments with thermal - mineral water, this is the part of Serbia you should visit. The Josanicka spa (t° 78°C) and Lukovska spa (t° 36t°-56°C) are situated just at the foothill of the mountain, near the famous spas such as Vrnjacka or Sijarinska spa.
Due to the fact that maritime and continental climates meet right there, sub-alpine climate of Kopaonik has a certain uniqueness, with temperatures during year from -26⁰ to +26⁰ Celsius. There are almost 200 sunny days annually with more than 2.000 hours of insolation per year suitable for summer outdoor activities and for wine production in lower altitudes. Zupa is a historic wine region of Serbia, close to the Kopaonik mountain, which has been keeping continuity of Serbias’s wine-making tradition for centuries and where the only Museum of Wine-making and Vinegrowing was founded. In the same time there is between 180 and 230 snowy days on average which is ideal for winter sports and activities.
As the one of the oldest and definitely the largest ski resort in Serbia, Kopaonik has about 55 km of excellently prepared runs for alpine skiing and 12 km of runs for cross country skiing. Kopaonik offers unlimited joy to all categories of skiers, from beginners to highly skilled ones. For those who enjoy skiing at night, lighted run "Karaman greben" in the very centre of the resort is prepared. Additionally, a secured "ski kindergarten" area with a conveyor belt and a carousel is prepared, and it makes learning basic skiing skills much easier. The artificial snowing system covers 97% of the resort which makes the skiing season last longer. The skiers, both the beginners and the more experienced ones, can be confident that they will be able to enjoy the season on excellently prepared runs. All the runs are well connected with a system of chairlifts and ski lifts, with a capacity of over 32.000 skiers per hour. Apart from the runs for alpine and cross country skiing, the ski resort Kopaonik has a snowboard park, as well as snowshoeing paths during the season of a big snow.
When the winter season ends and the landscape becomes green again, a lot of summer activities are offered at the tourist center Kopaonik. Hiking with National Park rangers is running from April to October and there are a lot of marked paths and many possibilities to hike which we do organize depending on the physical fitness of a group. MTB is one of the most popular activities here as well as ATV ride. Additionally, you can just imagine how beautiful landscapes are from the birds eye view which you could enjoy with our paragliding instructors. Adrenaline facilities such as tubing, zip line, bobsled on rails and adventure park are recently installed and some of them you can use it during the whole year. Numerous sport courts at Kopaonik are used by top athletes and Serbian national teams, but even you can play a match or two on these courts. Everyone knows where Novak Djokovic started his tennis steps…
The main occupation of the people who live at the mountain today is extensive farming, fruit-growing, wild fruits products and mushroom picking, forestry, mining and tourism. There are a few traditional local festivals such as Blueberry days or Boletus Mushroom Festival proving that those resources are important and respected by the local people. Just a few years ago, the first association of Serbian civil societies that work on protecting the mushroom habitats is founded right here.
Aside from the stunning panoramas, World Cup-quality downhill runs and long mileage of slopes, Kopaonik is known for offering numerous events, national cuisine food tastings, high-end wining & dining experiences, cozy and vivid pub atmosphere, boutiques and souvenir stores, lots of laughter and moments you will treasure forever.
We hope we gave you enough reasons to visit the most significant mountain in Serbia. What is Caucasus for the Russians, Mount Olympus for the Greeks or Popocatepetl for the Mеxicans, that is Kopaonik for the Serbs. More than a ski resort, more than a national park, more than a mountain, Kopaonik is the place to be. Plan your trip and take the best of the Kopaonik with us. You are welcome.
Kopaonik Tours & Excursions Team