This ski resort was quite popular in the early eighties, but the war that broke out in Yugoslavia in 1991 drove most of the tourists away. Luckily, bad times have come to an end, and Kopaonik was reintroduced to skiers 10 years ago.
If you are visiting Kopaonik for the first time, don’t be surprised if the locals in bars try to buy you a dozen shots of their finest moonshine, or as they like to call it rakija. Your throat will probably burn as hell after the first shot, but you’ll get a hang of it eventually.
Of course, the resort can’t be compared to all of the luxury ski resorts in Austria and France, but on the other hand, the prices for ski passes and accommodation are cheap and the slopes are well-maintained. Advanced skiers will be disappointed to hear that there are not that many black slopes at Kopaonik. Beginners and recreational skiers will find the terrain suitable and worth checking out. Suncana Dolina, Malo Jezero, Masinac, and Mali Karaman are the most popular slopes among beginners. Ledenica and Gvozdac are reserved for experienced skiers. There are many opportunities for off-piste skiing, as well as a snowboarding park for boarders.
You can rent out snowboard and ski equipment in many shops in Kopaonik and the prices are more or less the same everywhere. Most of these shops also repair damages, adjust bindings, and sharp edges if needed. Ski passes can be purchased online or in the center of the resort, and for a four-day ski pass, you will need to pay around 80 euro.
As for ski instructors and ski schools, there are plenty of them. Some of them are licensed instructors, while others are just experienced local skiers. Therefore, please be careful when you are choosing the person who will train you. If the guy says he’s a local and has his skies on, that doesn’t mean he is an instructor, although I am sure he will try to convince you that he is.
The closest airport is located in Belgrade and you can catch a bus ride to Kopaonik, go there with a car, or rent a taxi. It takes 4 to 6 hours to reach Kopaonik from the airport, depending on the weather and type of transportation.
If you decide to hire someone to drive you to the resort, make sure to negotiate the price and you will probably save some money in the end. It is a known fact that Serbian people love to bargain.
It’s fair to say that accommodation in Kopaonik costs less than in other ski resorts in Europe. Still, these prices are a bit too steep for the locals, but quite affordable for those who come from Germany, Austria, and UK. If you are looking for luxury accommodation, you should definitely book modern hotels such as Angella or Grand Hotel & Spa. Both are located in the center of the resort and offer a full spa service, nicely furnished rooms and swimming pools.
In the center of the town, there are also a couple of old-school hotels from the eighties. Most of them are only partly renovated and look worn out on the outside, but still, they offer a good service and a great location. Make sure to book a hotel in the center at least 2 months before arrival, due to limited capacity and a large number of visitors. The third options are villas that are located just a short drive from the center. Some of them are nicely equipped, but transportation can be a problem if you don’t get here by car. A 10-minute taxi ride will cost you around 5 Euro one way.
Kopaonik is well-known for its bars, restaurants, and nightlife. Red Bull pizzeria offers a nice selection of freshly made pasta and pizzas. If you want to try something local visit Kamelot or Zvrk Restaurant. I like it that the portions are huge everywhere, so there’s no chance you’ll stay hungry here. The drinks cost around 2 euro, while dinner can cost you up to 10 euro per person. Those who wish to stay out late should definitely visit Prestige where there are live music performances that often include Serbian folk music. You’re either going to like this sound or hate it with a passion.
Kopaonik may not be as glamorous as some ski resorts in other parts of Europe, but it offers something different and new. Besides locals and visitors from countries in the region, Kopaonik has recently started to attract tourists from all parts of Europe; just like it was in the eighties.
Feature image: credit banjeusrbiji.com
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