The summer is finally here, but it is hard to be excited about it, seeing that seaside vacations are not very likely to happen this year. But of course, Serbian people would not be who they are without a couple of aces up their sleeve, even in the gloomiest of times. So let us pack our swimsuits and head out to the seaside, our local one. We chose the longer picturesque route, via Pančevo and Kovin. On our way, we can enjoy the lovely views of lush boisterous greenery and fields of sunflowers, unwearyingly and relentlessly stretching towards the sun. Nature has always has lessons for us to learn.
Why visit the Srebreno lake and the Ram fortress?
1. Cause Drive Cafe is an amazing place to start your journey
On our way to the Srebreno Lake we will stop at a NIS Petrol gas station in Kovin for a break. One thing you definitely should not miss at the NIS Petrol and Gazprom gas stations is the delicious Drive Cafe coffee served in cute cups with sights of Serbia printed on them. The cups show the beauties of our country and contain premium special roast Italian coffee.
2. Because you cannot swim across the Danube, but there is a ferry for that
Maybe not as blue as it used to be, but still magnificent, the Danube can ripple up, get choppy and swift in bad weather, but today its waters are mellow and still, at least to the eye. The Danube calmness. A ferry from the Banat village of Stara Palanka crosses the river every three hours from 7:30 in the morning. If you are a bit early, you can always enjoy a drink on the terrace of a nearby restaurant.
The ferry is full with different people. Everyone is taking pictures and videos, but quietly, almost sneakily, as if they do not want to disturb the magnificent river that has passed through five capital cities and all the way through four countries, before making its way here to Serbia. After a 20-minute ride across the majestic wide river waters we finally reach the shore below the newly renovates fortress.
3. Because Ram is so much more than just a fortress
The Turkish sultan Bajazit II built the fortress at the end of the 15th century on the surviving antic and Byzantine foundations as a strategic stronghold to protect the borders against the Hungarian invasions. Legend says, he stopped for a rest on a rock while inspecting his army and was blown away by the amazing Danube view. He spread his prayer mat, prayed, and ordered for a town to be built on that very spot. In Turkish sources, the town is mentioned under the name of Ihram Haram. Another legend attributes the creation of the village to the founders of Rome, the brothers Romulus and Remus. It is known that Attila the Hun occupied the area at the time.
At the foot of the fortress, there is a Roman table with a Latin inscription, which, luckily, survived the Osman rule, supposedly due to military ethics. Right next to the fortress there is a small old village house hosting a local school. It currently only has two students, and a part of it will be soon converted into a museum. The charms of this tiny riverside village did not only affect the Turkish sultan. A couple from Thailand recently abandoned the paradise-like charm of their native country to rent out a house in the village and stay there for a whole two months enjoying the local life. Outside of the village, a tourist can find the remains of Lederata, a Roman military camp, and ruins of a 3000-years-old Celtic temple. The view from the temple site is definitely worth a hike.
4. Because the Serbian sea has sweet water
After having enjoyed history and nature on our way, we finally reach our destination. Srebrno is a man-made lake in a valley surrounded by hills. It was created by damming a Danube’s tributary stream. At sunset, when the sun descends below the Carpathian peaks and the light bounces off the lake’s surface, the water glistens and shines, thus earning the lake’s name Srebrno, Serbian for ‘silver’.
The beaches are grass or pebble, or, if you want to distance yourself from other people, you can sunbathe straight on the concrete embankment. The entrance to the water is pebbly, and the water is clear and warm. The lake is regularly cleaned with the weeds removed by a special machine. There is a paddling pool for kids and another pool for diving and water polo.
The waterfront, albeit without palm trees, is lively and colorful. Restaurants, children’s playgrounds, kiosks with popcorn and donuts, souvenir stalls, and stores selling pool floats, slippers, and other summer essentials. Local cafes also contribute to the seaside vibe with their far-away names like Rimini or San Tropez – so feel free to choose your next destination.
Families with children will particularly enjoy the mini-waterpark with five pools and two slides. Beaches, clear lake water, great food, and multiple sports facilities – seems much more than what an average seaside resort has to offer. The only thing missing is the salt in the water, but who likes their eyes stinging anyway?
5. Because both campers and sailors are welcome here
Accommodation choices range from hotels and private villas to a waterside camping area for tents and camper vans, which is equipped with showers and bathrooms. Across the lake, there is a marina with mooring for yachts and boats. If you want to use the marina, it is important to call and reserve a spot ahead of time. In true Serbian fashion, the marina area has barbeque grills for the guests to use. Those without their own watercraft can still enjoy some time by the water by renting a room in one of the floating hotels, where they can enjoy fishing straight from the deck or start a day with a refreshing dip in the cool Danube water.
6. Because staying active has never been more fun
Lying on the beach all day might not be the best way to experience everything Srebrno Lake has to offer. Apart from swimming, you can play some volleyball on the beach; rent a pedal boat, a kayak or a paddleboard. In the afternoon, try your hand at tennis or mini golf, run a mile along the picturesque jogging track, take a bike ride or, if you do not feel like sweating, rent an electric scooter. Exploring the area, you will definitely pass the great basketball camp founded by Serbia’s prominent basketball player Miloš Teodosić, still admired for his unforgettable three pointer in the world cup semifinals against Spain in 2010.
7. Because boat rides are not only for the rich and famous
In late afternoon, you are welcome aboard the Silver Star cruise boat for a three-hour Danube tour. Make yourself comfortable on the deck with a snack or a drink, and enjoy the views of Veliko Gradište, Usinje, and Moldova Veke, a former military fortress, the Moldava river island that belongs to Romania, and, finally the medieval Golubac fortress at the entrance to the Djerdap Canyon. The fortress sits on a tall cliff overlooking the river, which in this area stretches out to the 6.5-meter width. Here the Danube is at its most impressive, so the boat ride will surely be an unforgettable experience.
8. Beacuse you can enjoy the authentic Serbian river fish dishes
After a day full of adventures, we are finally settling down for dinner in the Alaske Zore restaurant (after a drink or two in the Dankova Kafana) in the Požeženo riverside village. Historically, the traditional craft practiced in the village was broom-making, and most houses still have broom workshops. The cozy restaurant sits on the bank of the Danube will its tables covered with the traditional gingham tablecloths. The hosts will welcome you heartily and offer you a variety of traditional fish preparations. Naturally, the place serves only fresh fish – catfish, carp, pikeperch, or whatever else was caught that morning. The traditional Danube feast is served on huge oval platters with a variety of sides and garnishes.
9. Because not knowing sometimes creates a miracle
On our way back we pass the town of Požarevac and then take the road to the famous Nimnik monastery. GPS is the way to go, as there are no signs to be seen. Even if the technology fails, you can always ask friendly locals for directions.
The monastery was named in honor of a brave shepherd girl Nikolina, who saved the monastery from pillaging. The robbers who were looking for the monastery stopped her to ask for directions. “Nišću nimnik” (I don’t know anything), the girl replied in her native Vlach language. The answer cost Nikolina her life. The monks built a chapel near her grave, which is now known for its history of miraculous healings. The monastery church was built by Bogislav, the military governor of Prince Lazar of Serbia, near the time of the Kosovo battle, and later restored by Prince Miloš Obrenović.
10. Because there is still plenty to do even in gloomy weather
If the weather ruins your plans for a day at the beach, you will still find plenty to do in this area. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the neat walking trail to Veliko Gradište, a town a couple kilometers away. Here you will find the house Žanke Stokić, a famous Serbian actress, was born in, and a monument to the prominent musician and conductor Vlastimir Pavlović Carevac. Not far from Veliko Gradište the Danube merges with the gold-bearing Pek river. Further away towards the town for Kostolac you will find Viminacijum, a fascinating archeological site, and the Tumane monastery. A short way away is one of the most well-known Danube attractions, the magnificent Golubac fortress within the Djerdap National Park, where you can also visit the Neolitic settlement of Lepenski Vir. Whatever the weather, you a guaranteed to have a fun time near the Serbian sea.