Befitting the centre of an entire district, Valjevo is surrounded by a wild variety of day trips waiting to be enjoyed. There is something for everyone too, ranging from mountain exploration all the way through to cave dwelling and the tranquility of Serbia’s monasteries.
Desanka Maksimović is often considered to be the pride of Valjevo, but the famous poetess was actually born in nearby Brankovina. A village of less than 500 just 12km from Valjevo, Brankovina has produced far more notable Serbs than any hamlet of that size should. Along with Maksimović, Prince Aleksa Nenadović, Duke Jakov and others trace their roots to this Historical Landmark of Great Importance. The village is full of interesting buildings, not to mention some exquisite views.
Serbia is full of incredible natural diversity, so it takes something special to stand out as the very best of your type. The Gradac river is exactly that however, taking home the prize for the cleanest river water in Europe. It truly is a landscape of exceptional beauty, and the little monastery hiding in the gorge is the delectable cherry on top. A short drive south of Valjevo, the river is home to a variety of fauna, including deer, otters and some rather delightful birds.
A short drive east of Valjevo lies Banja Vrujci, another magnificent spa town in a country full of the things. Vrujci spreads majestically around the hills of Suovobr, and is best known for the quality of its healing waters. Those liquids often make their way into the nation’s iconic VodaVoda bottles, but that is far from the minds of the many who make a beeline for the town in search of tranquility and regeneration.
While the phrase ‘jewel in the crown’ is undoubtedly hackneyed at best at this point, it is difficult to avoid when discussing Valjevo and Divčibare. The mountain resort attracts as many if not more visitors than the city just an hour away. Snow covers the mountain for well over a quarter of the year, making for alluring vistas and no small amount of winter recreation. There is plenty of sun too, making Divčibare arguably the point of Serbia with the finest annual climate. Come for the weather, stay because it is magnificent.
Tourism has been king in these parts for well over a century and a half, but that doesn’t make the cave at Petnica any less exciting. Long one of the most popular caving destinations in the country, there is evidence of human activity here dating way back to the Palaeolithic age, although we can’t confirm whether or not tourism was popular at that time as well. Just 500 metres long, the cave is short but sweet, with 11 halls and a variety of lakes waiting.