31 Jan The Sopotnica Cascades
The Sopotnica Cascades are situated in their eponymous village some 18 km from the town of Prijepolje in South-West Serbia. Sharing the same name, the waterfall, village and river that creates the waterfall are located on the western slopes of the Jadovnik Mountain, a symbol for untouched nature in this part of Serbia. The village was once famous its water mills, used by the local population to mill wheat and roll cloth. Though, 20th-century industrialization rendered the water mills obsolete. Since then, Sopotnica is only known for its waterfall, which hosts a growing number of visitors year on year.
The village of Sopotnica is located by the Belgrade-Podgorica highway as well as nearby the famous Belgrade-Bar railway. The only way to get to this village of roughly 40 households is via a macadam road leading through some forestry and taking you up to 1,000 m above sea level. Though in the beginning it may seem as if the road leads nowhere, though you will quickly be convinced otherwise once you come across the village inhabitants who will happily greet you and explain how to get to the waterfall. If you’re travelling with your own car, then you may head atop a hill near the waterfall, from which you must walk along marked rocky paths that lead to the waterfall. Following the path to the Sopotnica Waterfall, you will see a number of old water mills; once the highlight of this area though now they resemble a kind of ethno museum.
The source of the Sopotnica River is located at 1,150 m above sea level, from which it flows for 3.5 km until its confluence with the Lim River. The Soptonica river’s tallest waterfall plummets for 25 m, though the other’s average between 19 and 23 m in height. Altogether there are 8 waterfalls, mainly located along the upper course of the river. The name of the river, waterfall and village come from the word “sopot”, referring to the sound the water creates. An old legend tells of the creation of the Sopotnica Cascades. When the people of Pester migrated here a strange voice from the Jadovnik Mountain surprised them with a question. It asked whether the villagers would like happiness or water. The villagers responded with “water” and that they would sort their happiness out themselves. And that is how the Sopotnica Cascades come to be.
Home to the Sopotnica cascades, village and river, the Jadovnik Mountain offers an additional avenue for adventure. Begin by conquering the mountain’s highest peak, Katunici, located at 1,733 m above sea level. Your path to the top begins from the mountaineering hut located on the Jadovnik Mountain. From there, follow a narrow village road that leads through the forest. The path constantly ascends, though it isn’t physically demanding. Once you get through the forest and over Mali Jadovnik, you have reached the easiest part of the trek. From here the road takes you toward the Milesevo dol and Partisan grave, from which you will continue along the Katunic peak. Kozomor (1,673 m) and Orlovac (1,708 m) are two neighbouring peaks and are also worth visiting.
There are also an abundance of other places worth visiting within the vicinity of the Sopotnica Cascades. Located on the bank of the Lim River, the town of Prijepolje is home to 18th- and 19th-century monuments, including Šećer~agin han and Sahat-kula. The Mileseva Monastery is nearby, as is the Mileseva River and its canyon, representing a crude and inaccessible where you may find Pancic’s omnivor growing, an endemic species of conifer. Nearby Milesevo you may find the town of Hisardzik along with its namesake fortress. Finally, further south near the border with Montenegro is the Kumanica Monastery, one of the most sacred religious sites in Serbia.
Tips & Essentials:
- Visit the Sopotnica Monastery during summer and head down stream to the river Lim, where you may go rafting.
- An annual regatta is held from the 5th – 7th of July along the River Lim. It begins in Plav and finishes in Prijepolje, closest major town to Sopotnica. If you’re not heading to Plav, simply join the regatta from the Serbia-Montenegro border.
- If you’re in need of accomodation then head to Prijepolje and stay in one of the local hotels, or opt to stay with one of the locals in Sopotnica, who offer accomodation options (including food) at affordable rates.
- If you’re going to be conquering the Jadovnik Mountain, then make sure you bring water, food and a hiking jacket in case of a sudden change in weather.
How to get to the Sopotnica Cascades:
The Sopotnica Cascades are located 300 km from Belgrade and 20 km from Prijepolje. If you’re heading toward Montenegro by car, there is a sign on the left-hand side of the road just after Prijepolje which points to Sopotnica.
If you’re using public transport there are buses that travel from Prijepolje to Sopotnica, though you may opt to take a taxi as well. Travelling via train is a viable option as well, as the Sopotnica cascades area located near the famous Belgrade-Bar railway, which stops at Prijepolje.
Call the Belgrade Bus Station on +381 11 2636 299 for scheduled departures to Prijepolje, or call the main train station on +381 360 299. For bus times from Prijepolje to Sopotnica call the Prijepolje bus station on +381 33 240 85.
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