Djeravica // Conquering Serbia’s highest peak

If long hikes through remote wilderness are the kind of mountaineering experiences you’re after, then Serbia’s highest peak is one you want to conquer. Situated on the Prokletije mountain range, which got its name for being perceived as insurmountable, the Djeravica peak follows a physically demanding trek through untouched wilderness.

Located on the eastern side of the Prokletije mountain range, Djeravica and its surrounding terrain differ from the rest of the massif. Most of the Prokletije massif, particularly the west, is covered in rocky limestone terrain. The east, however, is home to more gradual slopes and meadows. Nevertheless, the entire area is vastly desolate and hiking to the peak is not for the faint hearted. SummitPost has given Djeravica a grade of 5/10 for technical difficulty and a 9/10 for its physical demand.

Despite being the highest peak in Serbia, Djeravica (2,656 m) is the second-highest peak on the Prokletije massif and the entire Dinaric Alps, outdone only by Maja Jezerce (2,694 m), located in Albania. Some of its neighbouring peaks include Starac (2,426 m), Karanfil (2,480m), Yellow Rock/Zuti kamen (2,522 m) and Marjas (2,530 m), which are all located in Serbia. Along the way to Djeravica you will come across one of many glacial lakes located on the Prokletije massif. The largest of these is the Djeravicko lake and it’s located 2,200 m above sea level, just under the Djeravica peak.

Some of Serbia’s great cultural monuments are in relatively close proximity to Djeravica as well. One of those, located in the nearby municipality of Decani is the 15th-century Decani Monastery. Known for its old balkan-style architecture, the city of Pec is also nearby and as such so is the 13th-century Patriarch of Pec Monastery, located at the end of the Rugova Canyon. Considered one of Europe’s longest canyons, Rugova is home to waterfalls, springs caves, is up to 1,000 m deep, and is cut through by the Pec Bistrica river. All in all, an inexhaustible catalogue of adventure is on offer in this area.

Tips & Essentials:

  • Ensure you’re well prepared. Take a hiking backpack. Fill it with plenty of food, water and spare clothing for changes in weather conditions.
  • There are no signs suggesting that camping is prohibited on the Prokletije mountain range. If you opt to camp, bring a light hiking tent that is suited for a variety of weather conditions.

How to get to Djeravica:

Djeravica is situated 16 km north of Decani, making it one of the better starting points. Get here using public transport via the city of Pec. Public buses from Pec are available at 15-minute intervals and the trip to Decani takes roughly 30 minutes. From here your journey takes you through the Decanska Bistrica valley and up toward Djeravica.

From the Visoki Decani monastery, drive along an old dirt road toward Kosara for 7 km. You may leave your vehicle here should you wish. From Kosara, follow the same road for 0.5 km, turn right and follow the road. Next, you will come across two roads, one dirt road that is narrower and leads straight ahead and the main road which leads to the left. Turn left onto the main road and keep going until you come across a bridge that is in relatively poor condition. Keep following the road until you come across a grassy plain called Rupa. From here you must walk.

Note: You may leave your car in Kosara, upon agreement with locals. Or, you may leave your car just before the bridge should you wish, though the former option is recommended.

Along the north side of Rupa, look for some red markings, left here by the former Yugoslav Army. You will come across a stream and a path the looks like it has been cleared by lumberjacks. From here a steep path leads the way, along which you should find red markings on the trees. After some time you will arrive at the settlement Plocica. From here, continue following the path until you come across some grassy slopes and plateaus. Then, cross the ridge. You should see the imposing Djeravica peak for the first time and your path will be clear.

An alternate route to the peak is to head of to Serbia’s neighbour, Montenegro. This is the more common route used by mountaineers. This is also considered the safest way to Djeravica, due to political unrest in Kosovo as well as reports of landmines along the mountain. Though, it’s by no means the easiest way up.

In Montenegro, your journey to Djeravica begins at a place called Plav, to which you travel from Bijelo Polje via Berane and Andrijevica. You may catch a bus to Plav from a settlement called Ribarevine, just south of Bijelo Polje and part of the city municipality. From Plav, make your way to a settlement called Babino Polje. It would be best to stay here overnight and then continue your journey early in the morning, before sunrise. This way you can take your time when to enjoy the expansive views from atop Djeravica.

Start your day as early as possible and follow along the foothills of the mountain through the Bogicevica valley, along which you will come across some mountain huts. Continue through the valley to a place called Bogicevica (it shares the same name as the valley), located on the Serbia-Montenegro border. Here you also will come across a famous patrol route, which at some parts crosses over into Albania. Head south toward the tri-border of Montenegro, Serbia and Albania and then make your way east into Kosovo. Thereafter, you will finally come across some glacial lakes, located right beneath the peak. Use them to refill your water bottle and continue to the top.

Image source: Shutterstock

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