Looking for a great hike near Belgrade (or Novi Sad)?
Zagajička brda (Zagajica hills), a marvellous spot located in the north-east part of Serbia, may be a perfect choice.
Curious, round-shaped grassy hills (resembling those of Tolkien’s Hobbits Shire) are in fact ancient sand dunes, a unique relict of the Pannonian plain past, before its recent-age transformation into acres of cultivated land.
It is a very small area that arises amidst the vast lowlands like a small island in the ocean: hardly visible from the far, its gentle slopes become apparent only from proximity.
The astonishing hills are literally non existing in the official brochures or tourist guides of Serbia. They are not accessible by car, and therefore remain exclusive to the local mountaineering community.
Their “invisibility” in a way serves as a shelter from potentially dangerous commercial exploitation in a primitive Balkan style. Still the enemy are some of the local farmers or shepherds (?) with criminal habit to set the land on fire almost every late autumn. The grass fully recovers by May next year.
How to reach Zagajička brda?
Landscape singularity of Banat and Vojvodina is only 75 km away from the capital. Access is possible from three directions. Best way to come is in spirit of sustainable tourism: by bicycle.
1.Access from Šušara combined with cycling route through Deliblatska peščara.
Passing through villages of Dolovo, Mramorak and Deliblato, regular road ends at the visitors centre “Čardak” on the southern edge of Deliblatska peščara.
The road further up north is paved, but extremely narrow with many ruined sectors. It traverses a large steppe and send area of Deliblato Sands and after exactly 11,5 kilometers reaches the sleepy village of Šušara (or Fejertelep in Hungarian). The road is tricky for city cars, therefore empty – a perfect terrain for mountain or trekking bikes.
Right at the entrance of Šušara paved road makes a sharp curve left – to reach the green hills continue straight, further following sandy dirt roads.
After additional 5 kilometres across the fields, with some uphill sections, the highest point of Zagajica is reached. There is a monument and a communication antenna as a landmark on top of it.
Condition of dirt roads varies throughout the year depending on atmospheric and other influences. If cycling with kids, riding uphill through sandy soil can be tiring, taking into account that kids bike weighs 50% of their body.
Mid-may scenery of Zagajička brda.
2. Shortest access from Šušara – Izbište road
If you want to skip out-and-back traverse of Deliblato sands (Deliblatska peščara) on bike, shortest connection to nearest paved road is presented here. The junction point is located north of Šušara at the road arriving from Izbište. If driving from Belgrade, follow the main road to Vršac. In village Uljma, turn right towards Bela Crkva. Soon after, in the village of Izbište bear right to Šušara. After a few miles through recent-built wind-park area, road goes slightly uphill – make a stop on top and leave the car somewhere suitable by the road. Follow the dirt road on your left-hand-side. You will reach Zagajička brda in less than hour walk (4 kilometres).
3. Zagajička brda from the village of Grebenac.
At village entry point bear left towards cemetery. Paved road ends soon. In dry season you can continue driving along the sandy road as far as conditions allow. Walking further you would eventually reach the shepherds place on the east corner of Zagajička brda.
Zagajička Brda – Photo Safari?
Zagajička brda are a hidden gem for photographers – beautiful yet completely unknown Serbian Micro-Tuscany! Best scenery is mid May and mid October, in the early morning hours, when light starts to play over the hill-tops and through ancient oak trees.
Mid october scenery of Zagajička brda.
For outdoor enthusiasts Zagajička brda are not just a filler when high mountains are too far to reach in a single day or two. It is a small yet outstanding landscape of its own kind that deserves attention of all nature lovers alike.
The Hills are my personal favourite in the category “Where to go out of the city in one hour”. It is an ideal destination for someone who is just into hiking or mountaineering. Going uphill is optional here – a good step to build endurance before heading for altitude.
Photo-gallery: 100 shades of Green in Zagajica
Photo-gallery: October sunrise in Zagajicka brda
Cycling GPX: Čardak – Šušara – Zagajička brda
Shortest connection with a paved road GPX: Junction point (Šušara/Izbište) – Zagajička brda