Uncovering Mt. Stara Planina hidden beauties, one of the least explored natural areas in Serbia and an oasis of fresh water in every step of the way
Nature truly got creative when carving the landscapes of the Mt. Stara Planina in eastern Serbia. Aside from the massive forests and undaunted wild terrain, Mt. Stara Planina is a real exotic place full of natural geysers, wells, springs with drinking mineral water, which quickly turn into rapid, ice-cold mountain streams and rivers. These rivers and streams chisel through the imposing rocks forming ravishing canyons and gorges and shaping the dazzling waterfalls of Mt. Stara Planina, the picturesque places that have become a national brand and easily recognizable location often shared across the social media.
There is no lack of astonishing nature and scenery in the Mt. Stara Planina, so why does it remain recognized for its values and beauties only locally, within the villages and small towns in the area, and a dozen of international, well-informed photographers? With the rise of the urban tourism and rapid development of more established ski centers and national parks, Mt. Stara Planina unpurposely became an underrated destination for the admirers of nature. Here is a short tribute to the hidden beauties of the Stara Planina, the cascades of fresh mineral water that purify both body and soul.
Often titled the most beautiful of all Serbian waterfalls, the Tupavica Falls plummets from the 15 meters high red rocks, forming stunning cascades. The Tupavica Falls are the most beautiful in spring and autumn, when the water flow is the heaviest, but there is enough water to create the sensational vista even during the driest summer months. It serves as a special place of inspiration during the winter, when the slopes of water become rays of ice, of a perfect geometrical shape.
Not far from the town of Pirot, famous for the mystical Pirot kilim weaving, the small mountain stream inclines from the 35 meters high rock, forming one easily reachable, but heavenly beautiful - the waterfall Bigar. There are natural pools in the area with the pastel blue waters and refreshing smell of the mixed forest. The place is just exemplary for a slow, exhilarating day in nature, radiating with a peaceful energy and enjoying a splash on a hot summer day.
The Piljski Falls are one of the best-kept secrets, hidden high up the almost impregnable rocks of the Mt. Stara Planina. It was discovered only recently (in 2002) and is the third highest waterfall in Serbia. Even though it’s 68 meters tall, and located only 6 km from the nearby village Topli Do, it’s still not easily reachable and serves as a reward of sorts, reserved only for the dedicated hikers. It’s split between Upper Pilj and Lower Pilj, located at 1650m and 1450m of altitude, respectively. It’s a favorite refreshing spot for hikers, nature lovers and adventurists likewise.
These dazzling waterfalls of Mt. Stara Planina, are just a fraction of what this hikers' paradise has to offer. With more than 60 mountain rivers, and countless natural wells and streams, it’s a home to a one-third of all Serbian waterfalls combined. Stay tuned for the part 2 of this article, in which I will introduce three more dazzling cascades, one of which is a real giant - higher than 200 meters!
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