Rzav River // As Pure as Mermaid Tears

Head to the heart of the wild and experience the adventurous feeling only Mother Nature can provide. Stretching for 62 km, the Rzav is abound with peaceful beaches, waterfalls and cascades, caves and canyons, all flanked by pristine nature from both banks. Featuring crisp clear water, this is Serbia’s cleanest river and can be likened only to the Tara in Montenegro.

The Rzav winds from Serbia’s west all the way through to Visegrad in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s east. Longest tributary of the mighty Drina river, it’s actually made made of up of two rivers – the shorter White Rzav and the longer Black Rzav. The former is known for its crystal clear water and white stones along its bed, while the latter gets its name from its dark serpentine riverbed – quite simple really. Also worth noting, both parts of the river feature different water temperatures – quite the feat for just one river!

What to See:

Find several beaches quietly nestled between Arilje and Bosa Noga, including Zuta Stena, Bosa Noga and Urjak. Though technically accessible by boat, this form of travel is too dependent on water levels. Stick to the road or even traverse the river by foot.

Head to the Orlvaca Canyon nearby the village of Roge to experience the sight of two waterfalls and a small set of cascades. The first waterfall is located at the entrance to Orlovaca Canyon, the second is within the canyon, and the cascades can be found by the village of Roge. This part of the river is great for rafting.

Another rafting-friendly canyon is located nearby the village of Radosevo. Stretching for 4km, this part of the Rzav is narrow, has fast flowing water, and features a set of 2 m tall cascades. This part of the Rzav is not as ideal for rafting as is the Orlovaca canyon, though it’s a great starting point as it eventually leads into the Orlovaca canyon anyway.

You may find Visocka Spas nearby the village of Visoka. It’s home to thermal waters known for their medicinal properties and is hidden away from the road. You may only reach the spa by hiking along the Rzav. Thankfully, a path leading to the spas was built in 1997, making for easier access.

Tips & Essentials:

Your tour of the Rzav is best conducted using your own means of transport, despite Arilje being well connected to Belgrade.

Take spare everything! Bring second pairs of shoes, shorts, socks and shirts. Swimwear is a must. And, you’ll no doubt need a backpack in which to store it all. Be sure to bring some bin liner, or some form of waterproof container, in which you can wrap your backpack to prevent it from getting wet.

How to get to the Rzav River:

Arilje is the best place from which to begin your tour of the Rzav river. Several buses travel between Arilje and Belgrade multiple times per day, and the journey takes about 3.5 hours. Find some more info here.

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