23 Dec The Lim River // a multinational adventurer’s paradise
For the true adventurer – the Lim River makes its way through the most picturesque parts of three countries, treating its visitors to the sight of natural formations, rich animal and plant life, as well as adrenaline pumping adventure activities along its course. Witness a series of cliffs, canyons, caves, gorges, lakes, springs and waterfalls; see traces of history dating back to the Nemanjic dynasty; and, experience the exhilaration of kayaking, rafting and cliff diving across this 200-plus kilometre multinational body of water.
The Lim river originates from one of the largest glacial lakes on the Balkan peninsula – the Plavsko lake, located in Eastern Montenegro, near the border with Albania and Serbia. From there it travels north-west into Western Serbia and finally ends at its confluence with the famous Drina River in Visegrad, Republic of Srpska. Almost half of the river belongs to Montenegro, half belongs to Serbia, and the Republic of Srpska has its bit as well. Between Plav and Visegrad, the Lim river passes through a number of important settlements, including Andrijevica, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Dobrakovo, Brodarevo and Prijepolje.
Like many things Eastern European, there’s a bit of debate to be had about the river Lim – specifically, the origin of its name. One theory suggests that the river’s name derives from the Latin word “limes”, meaning border. This association is made as the river is thought to have once been a natural border between the Eastern and Western Roman Empire, and then the Ottoman and Habsburg empires. Though, history voids this theory as the Roman border never went near the river and neither did that of the Ottoman and Habsburg empires. Another theory likens the origin of the river’s name to the Celtic word “Llym”, meaning lake, or body of water. The latter theory makes more sense, though there are no definite indicators pointing to either theory – the whole thing remains up in the air.
If you’re the type of adventurer that couldn’t resist exploring the entire river, then in an effort to trace it back to its source, here’s how your journey could look. Starting in Visegrad, in the canyon of the Drina river, you’ll be right next door to the Tara National Park. Though, as you’re following the river’s course, head south-east and the first significant destination you will come across will be Prijepolje. A town of approximately 13,000, Prijepolje is home to the Mileseva monastery (6 km away) – the former resting place of St. Sava and home to Serbia’s most widely used religious icon, The White Angel fresco. You may also visit the 18th-century Sahat-kula while you’re in town, or head to the nearby village of Hisardzik and visit the local mosque, where a four-hundred-year-old wooden Kuran was unearthed. If nature is more your thing, then head to the nearby village of Sopotnica where you may find the Sopotnica waterfalls, or enjoy a swim in the village of Petrovac, home to a beach locals favour and an annual diving competition.
Next up, continuing along the Lim river on your way to Bijelo Polje you will enter one of the most picturesque parts of the river’s valley. The 11 km-long canyon starts just south of Brodarevo, a favoured rafting location among locals, and continues for 11 km past Dobrakovo and Kumanica, located just beyond the Serbia-Montenegro border. Whether you’re driving down or using the famous Belgrade-Bar railway to hop between towns, soaring limestone cliffs dominate the scenery and reach a height of up to 550 m, with the Lim river located just beneath. An almost endless carpet of greenery covers the landscape, though large patches of limestone are also present, in a display of the raw beauty of this canyon. Continuing past Dobrakovo and into Kumanica, you will pass by the Kumanica monastery, located alongside the highway.The monastery laid in ruins for years, though in the year 2000 its former beauty was restored.
Bijelo Polje is up next. The town is both the administrative and cultural centre of the Bijelo Polje municipality. Its origin is associated with the establishment of the 12th-century St. Peter’s church, in which the earliest document of Serbian cyrillic script was unearthed. It was written by the brother of Stefan Nemanja, Miroslav.
Following Bijelo Polje are Berane and Andrijevica. The former is a township of 12,000 and with its encompassing valley is home to traces of the Neolithic period as well as Illyrian settlements. In Berane you may visit the local museum, 13th-century Djurdjevi Stupovi monastery, or head to the nearby village of Budimlje where you may sink your teeth into the endemic Budimska apple. On the other hand, your penultimate destination, Andrijevica is a centre for mountaineering as well as sports such as skiing, biking and fishing. Located on the edge of the Lim’s glacial territory, the town sits 40 m above the river and is perfectly nestled between the Komovi, Bjelasica and Prokletije mountains.
Finally, travelling from Andrijevica, following some 11 km you will arrive at Plav, the source of the Lim river. The town is located on the foot of the Prokletije massif and serves as an excellent base for hiking atop Serbia’s highest peak, Djeravica. Plav is home to the largest glacial lake on the balkan peninsula. Aside from the Plavsko lake you may also visit two mountain lakes, Hridsko and Visitorsko, the latter of which boasts a floating island.
Tips & Essentials:
The entire valley of the Lim river is rich with manifestations. Therefore, you may find it beneficial to organise your adventure along the river during one of the events below:
- Every year during the third week of August the councils of Priboj and Rudo in Serbia organise the International Lim Biathlon. The event begins in Priboj and ends in Setihova in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Just like the International Lim Biathlon, Lim Fest is held during the third week of August annually. Rockers from all over the region come to attend the festival and sometimes it is held together with the biathlon.
- The Lim regatta is held annually from July 5 to 7. It begins in Plav and ends in Prijepolje.
- The Greenland festival, is held from the 24th to the 26th of July, annually. Attendants may enjoy three days of adventure activities, including ziplining, rock climbing and abseiling, with live performance held each day. The festival is held between Kamena Gora and the village of Sopotnica.
- Held annually during early-August, the Pajo Potezica Memorial diving competition occurs at Petrovac beach near Prijepolje. You may also visit this beach for a refreshing dip.
How to get to the Lim River:
The river is quite accessible at whichever part you wish to visit. It’s just up to you to pick one. For the sake of simplicity, below are instructions on how to get to the source, the river’s confluence with the Danube, as well as the town at which the famous Belgrade-Bar train stops.
Firstly, Visegrad. If you’re already in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) then take a bus from Sarajevo, located 120 km away. If you’re in Serbia, there are multiple daily buses travelling to Visegrad as well. Note: there are no trains in Visegrad. Call the Sarajevo bus station on +387 33 213 100 for bus times. Or, call the Belgrade bus station on +381 11 2636 299 for timetables.
Next, Plav – the source of the river. The city is located 190 km from Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica. Daily buses travel from both the capital and Berane. Call the Podgorica bus station on +382 20 620 430 or call the Berane bus station on +382 51 234 828 for bus timetables.
Finally, if you’re using the Belgrade-Bar railway to travel, you may get off at the following stops in Serbia: Priboj, Prijepolje and Brodarevo. Or, in Crna Gora: Bijelo Polje. In any case, however, your best bet is to travel with a car, should you wish to adventure along the entire course of the Lim.