Are you a skier or winter sports fan?
Then you probably have the same problem every year, deciding where to go next!
Have you ever considered skiing in Serbia? It’s a European country that’s more famous for other things, such as sports and food, but it’s a great destination for skiers of all levels.
Home to one of the biggest ski resorts in the Balkans, great snow quality, incredible hotels with spa facilities, and a buzzy atmosphere, there’s plenty on offer whether you’re an intermediate skier, seasoned pro or a novice.
In this article, we’ll look at skiing in Serbia and dive a bit deeper into each resort to make sure you find the right one for you!
When is the ski season in Serbia?
As Serbia is located in the Balkans, in the South East of Europe, it doesn’t get a lot of snow outside of the winter months.
Therefore, ski season usually takes place during the winter months, as well as late autumn and early spring.
Officially, the ski season starts in the middle of November and ends in the middle of March, although this can differ because of the weather.
The best time to visit ski centres is, of course, in the middle of the winter. This is when the mountains get the most snow and skiing is easiest!
All advanced skiers know how much of a difference there is between natural and artificial snow, and skiing in January should help you to avoid the fake stuff.
There’s also a great atmosphere and nightlife in Serbia at this time!
Where to ski in Serbia
Serbia boasts a lot of mountains, so naturally these are the best ski destinations in the country.
The largest ski resort, Kopaonik, and the second most popular, Zlatibor-Tornik, are both located in the South West of Serbia, with Zlatibor being a bit more to the West and Kopaonik being more to the South.
These are popular places to visit in Serbia in winter for skiers and non-skiers alike, so they are known to get crowded, especially in the middle of the ski season.
In both ski resorts you’ll find slopes of all difficulties, ranging from green to black, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert here!
The third biggest ski resort is the Stara Planina-Babin Zub. Unlike the previous two, Babin Zub is located in the South East of Serbia, near the border with Bulgaria.
It’s also near the towns of Pirot and Knjazevac, where a lot of people choose to stay over while on their trip.
Like the other two, it also possesses slopes of all difficulties. It’s also a lot more peaceful, as it is primarily a place for skiing and not much of a tourist destination aside from that.
Other, smaller ski resorts include Tara, Divcibare, Zlatar, Crni vrh, and many others, but most of them have just a couple of slopes and are mostly made for one day ski trips if you’re near them.
However, these slopes are dotted all over Serbia, so wherever you are, there’s a good chance some of these are a short car ride away!
Ski Resorts in Serbia
Regarded as the most popular and biggest resort, not only in Serbia, but in this part of Europe as well, Kopaonik ski resort is at the top of any Serbian skiers bucket list!
It’s the biggest ski resort with more than 64 kilometres of slopes, ranging from beginner-friendly to expert-only, making it a perfect destination for all levels.
There are even ski schools for complete beginners!
It’s also home to some of the most beautiful hotels in Serbia with gorgeous wellness facilities, although these come at a cost!
Kopaonik is filled with many cafes and night clubs, so if you like to enjoy yourself after a long day of skiing, there’s nowhere better. It’s especially fun in the peak season, January, as most people visit it then.
Don’t forget to try the gastronomy in Kopaonik too! Restaurants serve everything from burgers and pizzas to traditional Serbian cuisine.
If it’s you’re first time visiting Serbia, you must give rakija a try, it’s sure to warm you up after a cold day in the snow.
Zlatibor is one of the most popular tourist destinations and attractive ski slopes in Serbia and also an immensely popular ski resort.
It’s not as big as Kopaonik, but it has slopes of all difficulties. It’s also home to Zlatibor’s cuisine, one of the best in the country and certainly the main reason for its fame.
It’s also quite peaceful compared to Kopaonik, as the ski resort and other popular tourist destinations aren’t right next to one another. So, if relaxed skiing and great food are what you’re looking for, there’s no better place than Zlatibor.
Stara Planina-Babin Zub
Located near the border of Bulgaria, the beautiful resort of Babin Zub is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy skiing and the cold season while spending as little money as possible.
Like Kopaonik and Zlatibor, it also has all difficulty slopes and stunning scenery to marvel at from the top.
The size is comparable to Zlatibor, but as it isn’t a popular tourist destination outside of ski season, it doesn’t have the same skiing infrastructure.
However, you will find a couple of restaurants and cafes, but not nearly as many as the previous two destinations. Most of its clientele are families and older people, as nightlife is non-existent and the resort is surrounded by miles of pine forest.
So if you want to go skiing to lose yourself in nature, Babin Zub is the perfect destination for you.
If you’re primarily looking for a relaxed holiday with just a day or two of skiing, you might want to consider Tara.
It has some of the most beautiful winter scenery in Serbia, with breathtaking mountain views, beautiful forest and tasty food specials.
Tara has four slopes, so it’s perfect if you’re just learning to ski but can be a bit boring if you’re experienced.
Opposite Tara, you’ll find Crni vrh-Bor.
It’s also a small ski resort but the only slopes you’ll find here are red and black difficulty ones, which makes it a lot more exciting for experienced skiers.
It is also really close to the city of Bor so you can stay there and take the organized bus rides to Crni vrh.
It’s an excellent option for anyone traveling on a budget, but it doesn’t offer the same experience as the bigger ski resorts.
Lift passes in Serbia
As Serbia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, you’ll save a lot of money when skiing here, compared to other destinations on the continent.
The ski lift passes in Serbia, at least compared to Alpine slopes, are fairly cheap, although the price greatly differs depending on the ski resort you’re visiting.
Kopaonik and Zlatibor are the most expensive ones, with a daily lift pass being around 25 euros during the peak of ski season.
This goes up to 30 euros if you want to include nighttime skiing as well.
Babin Zub is a bit cheaper, with a daily pass being between 15 and 20 euros depending on the time of year.
Other smaller ski resorts are even cheaper with some being around 5 to 10 euros per day!
The lift passes can usually be bought both online and in person at the ski resort. If you know which days you plan on skiing in advance, it’s much better to buy them online as they’re usually around 10-15% cheaper.
Ski rental in Serbia
There’s no need to worry if you haven’t brought your equipment to Serbia, as most ski resorts are filled with numerous rental shops.
Offering a range of skis and other accessories so it doesn’t matter whether you’re an expert or just trying to learn how to ski, there’s always going to be adequate equipment for you.
You’ll also find plenty of snowboards, although the selection isn’t quite as wide as it is with skis as they aren’t as popular on Serbian slopes.
The prices of ski and snowboard rental usually depends on the ski resort.
With Kopaonik and Zlatibor being such massive tourist sites, equipment is a bit more expensive compared to Babin Zub and other resorts.
The cost for a set of ski equipment, including skis, boots, and sticks, is around 10 euros per day; but budget slightly higher as prices can go up year on year.
The snowboarding set is a little more expensive coming in at 15 euros per day; this is to be expected as they are harder to come by.
How to get to Serbian ski resorts
If you’re visiting Serbia for a ski trip, there’s a good chance you’ve arrived to either Belgrade Airport or Nis, where the two biggest Serbian airports are located.
Luckily, the bigger ski resorts are directly connected to these two cities. Daily buses and shuttle services link both cities with both Kopaonik and Zlatibor. (You’ll probably need to take an airport taxi to the city centre).
Belgrade is a bustling city that is also worth visiting in winter – click here to read all about visiting Belgrade in winter.
The only destination that’s a bit harder to reach is Babin Zub because of the windy and narrow roads which lead to it.
Generally, it’s advised to catch a bus from Nis to Pirot and then contact Babin Zub officials, and they’ll try to organize a ride as soon as possible. Doing this ahead of time is a great way of ensuring your travel goes as smoothly as possible.
Other ski resorts are usually easy to get to as well, just search the map and find the nearest bigger town around them – there’s a 99% chance there is a direct bus line connecting them.
Even if there’s not one, Serbian people are kind, and most will give or organize a ride for you without a second thought. So there’s always a plan B, just in case.
Are you ready for skiing in Serbia?
Whether you want to take in beautiful views as you soar down the slopes, try ski lessons on beginner slopes, try cross-country skiing through snowy forest or tackle Serbia’s black runs, there’s so much on offer when skiing in Serbia.