You’ll have to sit behind the wheel for two hours to get there, but Đavolja Varoš is more than worth the trip. One of Serbia’s great natural attractions, ‘Devil’s Town’ (their words, not ours) is a collection of unusual rock formations that were supposedly created by Lucifer himself, deservedly one of the seven wonders of Serbian nature. You aren’t going to snub the work of Beelzebub after all.
Some call them towers, others call them Earth pyramids, some don’t know what to call them, but most will agree that they are one of the most impressive sights in the entire country.
From a peculiar work of nature two hours away to a spa town just outside the city limits. Niška Banja is one of the premier spa resorts in Serbia, third only behind Vrnjačka Banja and Sokobanja. For the curious, banja is indeed the Serbian word for ‘spa’. The waters are renowned for their healing properties, although the aesthetics of the place are just as pleasing to the eye as they are the body.
It is very difficult to talk about the southern part of Serbia without waxing lyrical about the finest food in the country. The Serbian grilled meat industry is at its most potent in and around Niš, with the town of Leskovac its spiritual centre. A grilled meat festival takes over the town every September, as the town continually tries to break the world record for the world’s biggest burger. There is plenty to do in and around Leskovac (the Monument Park absolutely deserves a mention), but it really is all about the meat.
Just 14km from Niš in the direction of Bulgaria, Sićevo Gorge is the most spectacular portion of the Nišava river. Divided into two separate gorges (imaginatively called Higher and Lower), the outstanding natural beauty on offer is a great accompaniment to the relative hustle and bustle of Niš itself. The villages around the gorge also produce some of the best wine in the country, and we’re not going to shake our fists at that.
Arguably the most popular day trip from Niš, Kamenica Hill is located on the slopes of the Svrljig mountains (try saying that when you’re tipsy) a short drive out of the city itself, and the beautiful tranquility of nature attracts visitors from all parts of the area. The focus of course comes back to food, this is Niš after all, and the mountain-side restaurant is hugely popular.
The location of the Battle of Čegar is also nearby, the scuffle that ended in Serbian defeat and 952 skulls being combined to create a grisly tower in the big city. A decidedly less grisly tower stands as a memorial to the Serbian rebels who sacrificed their lives on that fateful day way back in 1809.