Affordable yoga retreat on Tara

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More and more yoga retreats are being organised across the Balkans. While in Croatia this is already happening frequently, in neighbouring Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina it is not yet happening on a large scale and is on the rise. For instance, you can book affordable yoga retreats in unspoiled Serbia on the mysterious Tara Mountains. Away from the crowds, surrounded by nature and enjoying the clean air and insane views. And above all, back to basics!

On the way to Tara

From Eindhoven, you fly in two hours and 15 minutes to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Once you land, buy a voucher for the taxi at the airport, that way you know the price in advance and avoid paying too much. I don’t have much time to explore Belgrade, tomorrow I leave for Tara National Park, where I will join an international group, on a yoga retreat. The next day, a van with driver Slaviša is waiting for us. Since I am the only one in the group who speaks Serbo-Croatian, I get the role of translator. With a group of 12 enthusiastic yogis, we set off (side note some of us have never taken a yoga class) towards Tara. It is about a four-hour drive to the park. The group is diverse and comes from all corners of the world, from India, Canada, France, Serbia to Dubai. The atmosphere is soon set and on the way to Tara we get to know each other. We make a stop at a local family restaurant that serves homemade food. Restaurant Usput, which aptly means ‘on the road’ gives you a warm domestic feel and it’s like eating in someone’s home.

A stopover at Usput with beautiful views and rippling water in the background.

Yoga adventures

On arrival, we are warmly welcomed by Marija, who organises the yoga retreat. We stay for seven days in Predov Krst, at the Taraweek house in the mountains. What immediately stands out is that there are no supermarkets, no houses except for an overnight hikers’ shelter, and it is very serene and quiet. Our rooms are simple and clean, I live out of my suitcase for a week. It pleases me to get rid of all the external. What a difference from citylife in Rotterdam, but also Belgrade. The evenings are dark because there are few lights so you can sometimes see hundreds of stars. Magical!

Hostel on Tara
View on the mountains

Breakfast in silence, hiking and magical stars

Every morning we get up at 07 a.m. We do this in silence until after breakfast. You get up in silence and don’t have to socialise in the morning, if like me you are not a morning person, ideal! From 8 to 10 we have yoga and meditation, followed by breakfast. After a few days, I notice that I get calmer and more into the flow. Ideal if you’re looking for a combination of yoga, meditation and unspoilt nature. The first few days we go hiking, off track, sometimes up hill, down hill. The hikes last between three and six hours. Along the way, you will meet almost no other hikers, lots of butterflies, and beautiful viewpoints. Evenings are filled with reading, listening to music, stargazing or sitting outside around the campfire.

Višegrad and Drina canyons

Of course, we don’t just stay in the area, we do fun excursions. For instance, we will spend a whole day in the town of Višegrad, in Bosnia & Herzegovina. We leave early in the morning, from Lake Perućac. On the boat, you have an upper deck (not covered) and lower deck (you sit inside). We leave around 9 am, the sun already shining brightly, we start our trip on the Drina River. You really feast your eyes, we sail along the Drina ravine and take 54 km. The Drina ravine is one of the deepest in Europe with peaks exceeding 1,000 metres in some places. With lovely music in the background and the azure/green colour of the river is this a magical experience.

On the boat, overlooking the Drina river and the approaching canoyns

Arriving in Višegrad just around noon, we have about 2.5 hours to explore the town. The town is best known for its bridge, where Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić wrote his famous book ‘Na Drini Ćuprija/ The Bridge over the Drina’. After a long boat trip, you get hungry, so we have dinner at Hotel Višegrad first. Then we don’t have much time, so quickly on to see the famous bridge Mehmed Paša Sokolović (UNESCO heritage site). In the last 15 minutes, we pay a quick visit to Andrić Grad, by well-known filmmaker Emir Kusturica.

All info on the boat tour can be found here.

Lake Perucac

It was lovely and cool in the Tara area, including in the house where we were staying. After a few days, temperatures started to rise. We decided with a group to cool down in Lake Perućac, you have plenty of cafes and eating spots there. The beauty of swimming here is that you look out over a beautiful, green landscape and the imposing canyon.

Viewpoint Banjska stena 

Some other tips! Visit the viewpoint Banjska Stena, from there you have a great view of Lake Perućac & ravine of the Drina river. The route there is quite easy, so you don’t need to be an experienced hiker.

And one last tip! Mitrovac: we only ate here, but a nice place to eat and stay overnight.