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STARA PLANINA REVIEW

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Stara Planina mountain Panorama

STARA PLANINA REVIEW

 Rating: ★★★ 6 out of 10

Stara Planina (Old Mountain in Serbian) is, after Kopaonik, the second largest ski resort in the country. It is great for families with children and beginners. Experienced skiers are going to be bored after 2 days. Stara Planina might be good for off piste skiing if there is enough snow. Nature is splendid, views are spectacular. Prices are reasonable. Nights are quiet. There is a lack of choice when it comes to bars and restaurants. Read the rest of the Stara Planina Review in order to get all the needed information.

Pros: Ideal for beginners and children, beautiful landscapes

Cons:  good skiers are going to get bored after 2 days, no night life

Click to enlarge

STARA PLANINA SLOPES

Stara Planina is a mountain range which begins at the Serbian/Bulgarian border and then splits Bulgaria into 2 halves before reaching the Black Sea. Another name for it is Balakan Mountain. The whole Balkan peninsula is named after it.

The ski resort is situated in the Serbian part of the massif. Main lifts and pistes were opened in the season 2011/12. There are 13 km of runs. The highest peak which is called Babin Zub (Grandma’s Tooth) lies at 1,758 m above sea level. The peak itself is an interesting rock formation. Lift number 5 will take you right up to it. Snow reliability is good. The resort has artificial snow making capabilities.

Stara Planina is best suited for beginners.  Nursery and the first station of the gondola are located just by the Stara Planina Hotel, making it perfect for children and people who are learning to ski or snowboard. Slopes surrounding the gondola are not steep at all. Runs are short. The only piste which could be interesting to more experienced skiers is called Konjarnik. It is situated at the opposite part of the resort from the Stara Planina Hotel. Although the skiing area is small, getting from one side to the other is going to take you a substantial amount of time due to flat sections on the way.

Konjarnik slope view at Stara Planina
Konjarnik

FREERIDE AND SNOW PARK ON STARA PLANINA

Stara Planina has good potential for freeriding and ski touring. It has a designated freeriding zone parallel to the Konjarnik lift (slope number 1 on the ski map). Don’t get your hopes high since it is not that long. During bad weather you can ski in the wooded area in the lower part of the gondola. The section around lift number 5 is wide and open but constant wind tends to blow off fresh snow.

If you like ski touring, visit the highest peak of Serbia proper, called Midžor (2169 m above sea level). It is only 6 km away from the top of Konjarnik lift. People from Šum (pron. Shoom) mountain lodge will point you the way and give you further advice about the matter.

Unfortunately the resort doesn’t have a snow park unless there is some kind of competition or other freestyle event.

Babin Zub Stara Planina

HOW TO GET TO STARA PLANINA

The closest airport is in Niš. It is 94 km (1 hour 45 minutes by car) away. Sadly, it is not as well connected to other European destinations as Sofia or Belgrade airports are. Even though Sofia is situated in the neighbouring Bulgaria it is closer to travel from than from Belgrade. Due to bad roads it will take you around 3 hours to cover 176 km. Belgrade is 338 km away and car ride is about 4 hours long.  

If you are traveling by car, you will stay on the motorway until Niš. From there it’s local roads to the final destination. Quality of the roads is good except for several narrow sections. TIP: Don’t forget to top up your tank before your arrival to the resort, since the closest petrol station is almost an hour away in Svrljig or Knjazevac.

There is only one ski in/out hotel on the mountain (find out which one in the next section of this Stara Planina Review). If you don’t have your own car, arrange a ride with your accommodation because there is no public transport available.

Stara Planina panorama, hill between 2 trees

WHERE TO STAY ON STARA PLANINA

Hotel Stara Planina is the most convenient place you can stay, especially if you are visiting the resort with your kids. It is situated just by the gondola (lift number 7). The hotel is the only ski in/out accommodation in the resort. It was opened in 2012 and it has everything you might need. People from the venue say that it is light all-inclusive, meaning that it has a rich buffet for breakfast, a light lunch, and a rich buffet dinner. There are also a games room for children, a spa area with a pool, a bar, an à la carte restaurant, several shops and more. The hotel is great for people who want peace after a day on the snow, since there is nothing around it but acres of forest. It is also the most expensive accommodation on the mountain.

Other places where you can stay are situated several kilometers from the first lift. You will be able to pick from boarding houses and apartments to entire houses you can rent. We liked Mountain Lodge Šum (Shoom). It is situated 5 km away from Konjarnik lift. Šum or Shoom has several apartments with separated bedrooms and living rooms. Most of them have a huge terrace. There is also a great cool atmosphere restaurant with a bar.

Ski Bar Plaza
Ski Bar Plaza

WHAT TO DO AFTER A DAY ON THE SNOW (APRES-SKI) ON STARA PLANINA

There are only 2 or 3 places where you can take a break during your day on the snow. Two of them are situated by the lower station of the gondola. First one is the bar in Stara Planina Hotel and another one is merely meters away from the lift but it is not open all the time.

We liked Plaža (The Beach in Serbian) the most. The bar is placed on top of the Konjarnik lift. It has one of the best views in Serbia. Its name, “The Beach”, probably comes from the beautiful sun deck with chairs you would normally find on a seaside. If you are hungry, try one or two dishes they have on offer.

As already mentioned at the beginning of this Stara Planina Review, nights are quiet. You can have dinner at Stara Planina Hotel’s à la carte restaurant. Try local trout at Kod Gere, but you will have to call them in advance and let them know you are coming. Šum (Shoom) has a bar with cool music where you can eat (call in advance for the food).

If you liked our Stara Planina Review and you think it is your next holiday destination, you can reserve an accommodation here.

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