Project Description

Ovčar-Kablar Gorge

Ovčar Banja – A Tourism Gem on the Obrenović Route

Redeveloping Ovčar Banja to become the spiritual and wellness tourism center of Western Serbia

Project Description

The aim of the project is the revival of the Ovčar-Kablar area, an underfunded tourism gem that has been neglected for more than 60 years. In line with the Preljina-Požega highway building project, which will significantly improve traffic and reduce pollution in the area, the goal of the initiative is to transform Ovčar Banja into a natural tourist oasis servicing adventure-seekers, wellness travelers as well as those looking for a holistic experience. Part of a wider revitalization initiative for the entire Ovčar-Kablar George, the Ovčar Banja project is complemented by more than 20 additional projects related to ecology and tourism (wellness, medical, religious, sports…) spanning the entire protected area of 4.910,81 hectares.

The national interest project is implemented by the City of Čačak, and coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister within an intergovernmental working group consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure. The Serbia Creates platform will be tracking the completion of the project and working on brand and program development to ensure that this destination becomes another star on Serbia’s tourism and ecology map.

Tourist Organization of Čačak, as the managing body of the Area Under Protection Ovčar-Kablar Gorge where Ovčar Banja is located, will be implementing the project of Ovčar Banja Main Square renovation. The project includes landscaping of the square, park, parking, and amphitheatre in Ovčar Banja center and will bring walking trails, new benches, street lighting and other infrastructural improvements to improve the tourist offer. Consequently, this will result in an increase in visitor numbers.

By adapting the Public Primary School building in Ovčar Banja (closed since 2013), the area will receive its first Natural History Center. The Center will feature an area dedicated to research and development, as well as a small natural museum with an exhibition of flora and fauna that populates the region. The Natural History center will be used for workshops, educational programs, school tours, and the development of educational tourism.

Lake Međuvršje, the largest in Zapadna Morava, offers a full tourist experience, from monastery tours to catamaran sailing. The revitalization project is focused on the clean up of the water and coastal area from deposits, with the recultivation of the natural ecosystem to ensure flood protection for riverbank areas further downstream as well as revive the wildlife in the lake water. Ultimately, the aim is economic empowerment of the local community through tourism.

Currently, landscaping work is taking place to renovate the parking and port area. The port area, with 40 boat slots available, is the starting point of catamaran sailing tours of local monasteries. The renovation will include new outdoor furniture, fences, trails, lighting and green areas for rest and recreation.

Поред тога, у току су радови на партерном уређењу паркинг простора и пристаништа са везиштем, за 40 чамаца, са кога су катамаранима организоване пловидбе језером до средњовековних манастира. У оквиру пројекта биће постављен мобилијар, ограде, стазе, расвете и уређење зелених површина за одмор и рекреацију.

The construction of a new rehabilitation center is essential for Ovčar Banja’s sustainability, and is part of a wider project of Čačak General Hospital reconstruction and renovation. It is coordinated by the Public Investment Management Office, and will amount to public investment of around three million Euros. With three floors, 150 beds and up to 120 medical staff members, the Center will offer rehabilitation programs for rheumatic diseases, degenerative rheumatism, arthrosis, spondylosis, and bone fractures. Physical therapy, the signature offer of Ovčar Banja that made it famous during the 1970s and 1980s, will be reintroduced.

About Ovčar-Kablar Gorge

This Landscape of Outstanding Features combines tradition, spirituality, and adventure, nestled in a backdrop of untouched nature. With such outstanding features, it holds undeniable potential to become a natural, spiritual and medical tourism center of Western Serbia.

Apart from spiritual and wellness tourism, the gorge area offers a wide range of adventure tourism options. It is ideal for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, sports fishing, paragliding, rock climbing and freshwater sailing in the famous meandering streams of Zapadna Morava.

The medicinal thermal mineral waters (homeothermic, 35 to 38 degrees Celsius, with low Sulphur content) are most efficient for the healing of sports injuries, as well as spondylosis, rheumatism, and arthritis.

Ovčar Banja
Marine dock

Ovčar Banja in pictures

At an altitude of 279m, Ovčar Banja is located 18km away from the city of Čačak and 160km from Belgrade. It is accessible via the Belgrade-Čačak-Požega motorway, as well as the Belgrade-Bar rail route.

A Polyphony of Experiences

The Obrenović Route encompasses ten hidden monasteries, two temples, three natural spa areas, three large lakes, two mystical caves, and the river of Zapadna Morava.

Yin Yang Meanders

The unique meander structure of Zapadna Morava in this part of its stream makes it the only place on the planet where a river flows in all four compass directions. More and more often this part of the river is called the Yin Yang Meanders.

Roman Warrior Spa

Although the area features traces of prehistoric settlements that have not yet been fully explored, its Roman history is well known. It has been confirmed that the area of today’s Ovčar Banja was once a healing center and spa for Roman warriors.

The Prince’s Haven

Serbian Prince Miloš Obrenović was born just a stone’s throw away from Ovčar Banja. During the Second Serbian Uprising, his safe haven was the Nikolje Monastery, where part of St. Nikola’s bone relics can be found.

Rustyback and the Peregrine Falcon

The Ovčar-Kablar Gorge natural area is home to around 600 plant species and 37 fish varieties. The most famous plant is rustyback (Asplenium ceterach), while featured animals are the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and eagles.