Suva Planina, get outside, hike and love nature!
Suva Planina is located in southeastern Serbia, about 17 km from Nis, next to the highway Nis – Sofia (Capital of Bulgaria). Suva Planina stretches in the form of a horseshoe in the direction northwest-southeast. It starts 3 km from Niska Banja and ends in the Luznica valley near Babusnica. Suva Planina stretches in the northwest-southeast direction, with an altitude difference of 250 m to 1810 m. The highest peak of Suva Planina is Trem, 1810 m above sea level. The central part of the Suva Planina looks like a plateau, and is composed of sinkholes and bays covered with grass. On the northeast side, there is a rocky cliff about 1000 meters deep.
The relief of Suva Planina is very diverse, with large height differences. Therefore it is attractive for climbing and hiking. The whole mountain is separated from the much lower valleys and the surrounding areas. It is visible from all sides and a great distance. The views that provide the ridge of Suva Planina are breathtaking.
Suva Planina is very poor with water due to the permeable composition of the rocks. There are two springs of water on the whole mountain, but that is why there are numerous springs of thermal waters in the lower areas, especially in the area of Niska Banja. This pearl of nature, which Jovan Cvijic called “The Alps in the south of Serbia,” was named Suva because there is almost no water at higher altitudes. Suva Planina is a paradise for adventurers, extreme athletes, alpinists, mountaineers, and all lovers of untouched nature.
Some of the highest peaks are:
- Trem: (1810 m),
- Golemo Straziste (1714 m),
- Litica (1683 m),
- Sokolov kamen (1523 m),
- Mosor (984 m).
How to get to Suva Planina?
There are several ways how to get to Suva Planina. Your first checkpoint on the map can be Nis (a city in South Serbia). There is the international highway that leads directly to Nis, E-75. If you are coming by plane then the closest airport in Car Constantine in Nis. Have a closer look at Google maps by clicking here.
If you are traveling by car from Nis, they are heading towards Niška Banja. After the turn for Niska Banja, the first turn to the left leads through the villages Jelasnica, Cukljenik, Donja Studena, and Gornja Studena. And the end to the Bojanine Vode picnic area. On Bojanine Vode’s, hiking trails begin that lead to the peaks and ridges of our mountain. There is free parking to leave your car. However, there are no restaurants or supermarkets nearby, so be sure to buy everything you need before Bojana Voda’s.
If you are traveling by bus then you are looking for a suburban bus number 21, Nis- Gornja Studena. The bus departs from the suburban bus station, which is close to the city bus station. After arriving in the village of Gornja Studena, your final destination is the picnic area of Bojanine Vode’s, from where the hiking trails to the peaks and ridges of Suva Planina begin. Practically your hiking starts from Gornja Studena because there is no bus line to Bojana Voda’s. Your distance from Gornja Studena to Bojana Voda’s is about 5 km or 3 miles.
|Bojanine Vode- Mosor||Bojanine Vode-Mosor- Sokolov kamen||Bojanine Vode- Devojacki grob-Trem||Bojanine Vode- Sokolov kamen-Trem|
With its 1810m above sea level, Trem, the highest peak of Suva Planina, offers incredible views. It rightfully belongs to the list of the geo-heritage of Serbia and the nature reserve.
Hiking towards Trem is through Gornja Studena, which provides a cold feeling, especially in the early wintertime morning. “Bojanine vode” is the source from which one starts to Trem, about 810 meters above sea level. The next point after the picnic area “Bojanine vode” is “Ljubina cesma” ( about one kilometer above sea level) and then follows the pass “Devojacki grob.” Follow the ascent along the ridge to the top. The mountain is very spacious and beautiful for walking. Of course, if the wind is strong or the weather conditions are bad, it can significantly affect the overall hiking experience or intensify it.
Due to the weather variability, especially in the mountain, you should always be well equipped. Proper footwear is key to such actions, and windproof jackets, hats, and gloves. Necessary equipment for safely hiking includes a backpack, weather-appropriate clothes, walking boots or shoes, enough food, and plenty of water. However, it wouldn’t hurt if you bring navigation tools such as a map and compass, a first-aid kit (just in case), and perhaps a knife or multi-tool.
The difficulty of the climb is 7/10, and the length is about 8 km. So, it would be good if you solidly prepared. You will have a constant ascent at a great distance and altitude of 1000 m. The first thing to draw your attention to Trem for the first time is the trail. In some places, the path can be a little difficult. The charm of hiking in this path is to watch every step. On the way to the top, you will have to go through the forest.
The forest is very dense. Through small shutters made of branches and leaves, you could briefly see the mountains in the distance and the villages in the shade of the Suva Planina. So it was for a few minutes to the Devojacki Grob (English Maiden’s Tomb). After that, the forest suddenly disappeared, and a beautiful lookout can be seen in front. The perfect place for a pause and time to take a break. Keep in mind that the return may have been a shade heavier than the climb. To succeed to the top of the mountain, you will need the last atom of strength and the last drop of sweat. However, you will never forget that look from the top.
Golemo Straziste is located at an altitude of about 1700 meters. The area from the top of the Golemo Straziste to the top of Trem also looks like a plateau. But it is completely composed of fields and coves that are grassy at the bottom. It takes good willingness to conquer this peak. This area is the second stage of protection by the state. The protection regime of the second stage includes two separate units, “Valozje – Golemo Straziste” and “Rubovac – Cerje (Rebrine).” Golemo Straziste begins at the northernmost point, on the border of the cadastral municipalities of Sopotnica, Toponica, and Kaletinac. From that border, the margin follows the borders of cadastral municipalities to Kosmovac and Sebet.
The top of Litica peek, located at 1600 meters above sea level. The trail goes from the village Veliki Krčimir to the top of Litica in the southeastern part of Suva Planina. The trail is marked, and it is moderately demanding, about seven kilometers long in one direction. Since from the village of Veliki Krcimir to Litica, you need to overcome over 1000 meters of altitude difference in only seven kilometers of trail in one direction you need to be prepared for it, a pretty steep climb.
It is the first high part of Suva Planina, with very little vegetation, mostly overgrown with mixed forest with a mixture of juniper forest. The ground is rocky, full of grasslands and grassy coves. Cattle from the surrounding villages used to be grazed there, which lasted from May to September. Further to the northwest, we come to Rakos, a plateau that occupies the central part of Suva Planina, an altitude from 1250 m to 1450 m. On Rakos is the largest and most significant spring on this mountain, at an altitude of 1300 m, below the peak Tresten (1470m).
The Sokolov Kamen is 1523 m above sea level. The trail is circular, moderately demanding, and requires good psychophysical condition. The ascent starts from the mountain lodge “Studenac,” and for the first hour, you follow the path through the forest to the ridge at the mobile phone repeater, below the very top of Mosor. The trail first goes through the forest, and then you come out to the clearing by the rocks. Also, the most difficult part is in the clearing, and there is no shelter from the sun on a warm day. The trail is well marked.
If you want to visit it during winter, the ski slope “Sokolov Kamen” is 900 m long, with an altitude difference of 320 m. From Sokolov Kamen, there is a beautiful view of Trem, the highest peak of Suva Planina. You can go along the ridge of the mountain to the top of the peak towards Sokolov Kamen. First through the woods, then outdoors. The Devojacki grob, the pass between Sokolov Kamen and Trem, gives the basic character of this mountain by which it is recognizable from all the surrounding heights. The view from the top, where clouds are below, acts as a great white sea and helps to relax and enjoy the view.
Mosor and Sokolov Kamen represent the western section of the mountain.
Mosor is a peak on Suva Planina, southeast of Nis, and is 985m high. The top is covered with forest with a considerable length. The ascent starts from the village Gornja Studena, i.e., from the last bus stop, along a forest path, towards the pass to the top. The descent towards Rajac, and then towards Donja Studena, along a shorter route (about 10 km) or towards Niska Banja, along a longer route (18 km). There is water on the trail only at the start of the village. If you are going a long way, be sure to bring a flashlight.
If you are coming from the south, like I was, there is a less known path through the village Jaglicje. The nearest exit on the highway is Gadzin Han, and then the local route for about 10 km. It takes about 3 km from the village to the top Mosor. Depends on your skills and physical shape, it takes about an hour or two with breaks. In the last two hundred meters, the last obstacle is coming from either side. Rock climbing. It requires hiking boots and not ordinary sneakers. Parts of the road along the rock are narrow and steep.
Flora and Fauna
The Suva Planina is still not sufficiently explored and is a true oasis of untouched nature. There are places where the human foot has not stepped to this day. Since 2002, it has been under state protection. According to the Law on Nature Protection of Serbia, the area of Suva Planina has been declared as a Special Nature Reserve. It is also part of the European Ecological Network for Nature Protection (Emerald) and a significant international area for the protection of birds (IBA), plants (IPA), and butterflies (PBA).
A large herd of several dozen wild horses once lived on the hard-to-reach areas in Suva Planina. For centuries, this region was widely known for keeping horses, so over time, as horses became less and less needed, the owners released these graceful animals into the wild. There were several dozen wild horses on the cliffs of Suva Planina. In recent decades, unfortunately, a large number of wild horses have ended up as targets of poachers, who shot snipers, even from helicopters, at herds of wild horses. There is currently no reliable data on how many horses survived. However, it is assumed that it is only a few horses.
Over 139 species of birds, 25 species of mammals, 13 species of reptiles, 259 species of insects, and 86 species of butterflies live in this incredibly preserved ecosystem. The research established the existence of over 1200 species of plants, of which 128 are endemic, two relict species – Ramonda Serbica and Ramonda Nathalie. They represent a special natural rarity since they date from the last ice age. Suva Planina is inhabited by the great buzzard (Triturus cristatus), the forest turtle (Testudo hermanni), the viper (Vipera ammodytes), the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the snow vole (Chionomys nivalis), the wolf (Canis lupus), the roe deer (Capreolus capre), pigs (Sus scrofa) and many other internationally significant species.
Suva Planina is a real paradise for adventurers, extreme athletes, climbers, and mountaineers. Almost every weekend, mountaineers and fans of Suva Planina set out to conquer the peaks from which there is an unusual view. Apart from the most attractive and highest peak, Trem, tours are also organized to Sokolov kamen, rocky Mosor, or embarking on a real adventure of crossing the entire ridge of Suva Planina.
There is a local legend about the origin of the name Bojana’s. There are actually two versions. According to the first legend, a beautiful girl Bojana, fleeing towards the mountains, fell dead from a Turk. After that, a strong spring appeared at that place. According to the other, a prince on a horse appeared on the mountain, met Bojana, and asked him to drink water. She ran to the spring and was in such a hurry that she died while bringing water at the place called the Devojacki grob after her, and the spring is called Bojanine vode.
English literally translation of Suva Planina would be Dry Mountain. If you want an organized adventure on Suva Planina accompanied by mountain guides, you can contact guiders.