1. Hitchhike to a campsite.
While it was hard to tear myself away from my beloved Belgrade, I was also eager to see a bit of the Serbian countryside. As we were heading to Bosnia and Herzegovina next, Tara National Park near the Bosnian border sounded perfect!
We camped for one night at the Drina – Bajina Basta Camping area, where the owner charged us $10 to camp in his backyard and told us to use the old lady next door’s toilet. Um, you guys? I don’t recommend camping there.
That’s okay though, because tents are totally portable! We packed ours up and caught a ride 20 minutes down the road to Campiste Perucac, where we set up our tent next to this gorgeous waterfall:
2. Pitch your tiny one-man tent, ignoring the sideways glances from other campers.
And go ahead and throw your enormous backpacks in there too – as long as you have room to watch Deadwood on your laptop and eat biscuits you’ll be fine.
I thought maybe the other campers would be jealous, because clearly we have to be super in love to be able to share such a tiny tent, but judging from all the sympathy snacks and schnapps they offered us, I think everyone just felt really bad for us.
3. Realize that it’s actually cheaper to stay in a wooden bungalow than camp in your own tent.
The drive from Perucac to Sarajevo was so beautiful that I just had to return – so we decided to camp along the Drina River again on our way to Montenegro!
I was a little miffed at how expensive campsites in the area were, and then on Booking.com I found a place offering small double room huts for 9 euros/night. Forget camping!
4. Explore the surrounding area – but not the actual national parks that brought you here!
When we got to Perucac and saw the bright green waters of the Drina River my jaw dropped. How pretty is this place?
I loved exploring the riverside and walking through the surrounding hills, but when I checked a map it turned out we were still technically a few kilometers outside of Tara National Park, whoops.
So when we booked a place to stay by Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia I made sure we would be in easy walking distance to the park. No way I was going to miss it this time!
Wondering why I then am posting a photo from Creative Commons instead of one
Dan I skillfully took myself?
Well, our bungalow at Rafting Camp Tara Tri Vodenice was only a few hundred meters from the park, but there was a small obstacle called the roaring Drina in our way. Apparently you can swim across it later in the summer, but when we were there it was too fast. Check current rates for Rafting Camp Tara here
In order to get to the park, we had to hitchhike 20 kilometers to the nearest bridge in Brod, and 20 kilometers back up to the park. We quickly found a ride to Brod with a rowdy group of Montenegrins, but we couldn’t find a ride up to the park.
A local shopkeeper told us that people might be wary to pick up hitchhikers and I realized that, while we had hitchhiked a lot in Bosnia, we had gotten rides from an Egyptian, two Germans, a bunch of people from Montenegro, but only one local.
So instead of going on another brutal hike we lay in the sun, dipped our toes in the icy river and had a feast.
And I mean feast.
Missing the park again was a shame, but relaxing by the river wasn’t so bad I guess.
5. Search for some local best friends.
In Perucac it was an aging husky, and at Tara Rafting Camp it was this guy:
Oh how I wish my backpack had had space for him!
6. Walk across the border to the next Balkan country! Unless you find a ride with a Montenegron – they’ll take you anywhere.
The borders in the Balkans are all incredibly beautiful – I can see why people struggled so hard over the land.
Usually we have to walk across borders, as I guess a car taking strangers through immigration might seem sketchy, so we were surprised when a Montenegrin stopped and offered us a ride into Montenegro. Of course once we spent more time in Montenegro we would realize why – it is by far the easiest place I’ve hitchhiked!