Sokobanja - Soko SPA
Sokobanja is located in the central part of South-Eastern Serbia, situated in а valley, surrounded by a wreath of mountains.
Surrounding mountines near Sokobanja are: Ozren (1174 m) in the south, Rtanj (1560 m) in the north, Devica in the south-east (1116 m), Slemen (1099 m) and Krstatac (1069 m) in the east and Bukovik (894 m) and Rozanj (897 m) in the west. The river Moravica which flows through Sokobanja makes the Bovan lake, in the western part of the valley.
Sokobanja is 35 km away from the highway E-75 and the main rail-road, which are reachable by regional road to Aleksinac. Sokobanja is 230 km away from Beograd and the airport „Nikola Tesla“ and 58 km away from Nis and the airport „Emperor Constantin“.
Nowadays Sokobanja is a well known spa and health resort, not only in Serbia but also abroad. Throughout the history, at first roman terme, than turkish „amam“, and Duke Milos’s bath, it has developed into a modern health-recreational center built on its healing wells.
By order of Duke Milos Obrenovic, the first expert analysis of the Sokobanja thermal water and its healing effects were carried out in Vienna, in 1834, and the first officially sent guest, with a written recommendation (voucher), arrived in Sokobanja on the 8th of June in 1837 (by the Julian calendar), which indicates that Sokobanja has the longest tradition of organized tourism at the territory of „EX Yugoslavia“.
At the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century, Sokobanja was an elite summer resort and the meeting place of Serbian aristocracy and bohemians. The regular guests of Sokobanja were well-known writers, actors, artists: Branislav Nusic, the creator of the famous saying: „Sokobanja, Sokograd, one comes old but leaves young“, Stevan Sremac, Isidora Sekulic, Ivo Andric, Meso Selimovic, Milos Zutic…
Sokobanja is one of leading spas in Serbia regarding the health tourism and one of the most visited touristic centers in Serbia.
PICNIC SITES AND PARKS
“Vrelo-Borici” is the well-known picnic site, 300 m away from the center of Sokobanja. Once it was an elite place, where many famous people gathered: writers, actors, artist, politicians and members of the royal family Karadjordjevic. From Vrelo one can go up by stairs to the sight Borici, equipped with benches, tables and play props and it is suitable for people who have some lung problems or hard breathing, due to high concentration of negative ions in the air. The visitors can also see the memorial fountain of Hajduk Veljko Petrovic and the open-air stage „Vrelo“.
Park-forest „Cuka 2“ is located near the Specialized Hospital Sokobanja, in the settlement Cuka 2. The conifer forest, path for good health, playground for children , wooden benches and the beautiful scenery are the main attractions of this picnic site. There is a great view of the town and the mountain Rtanj from the park. It is convenient for different sport activities like badminton and frisbee, picnics, walks in the beautiful natural environment and all-day stay in the outdoors.
“Lepterija” is the most known and visited picnic site in Sokobanja. It is located 2 km away from the center of Sokobanja. According to the local legend, it was named after a girl who took her life away because of forbidden love, by jumping with her beloved Zupan, from the cliff into the river Moravica. You can get there by asphalt road or by path through the forest which is very colorful. Nearby is the church devoted to Birth of the Holy Virgin and the natural phenomenon „Holy Virgin in the rock“. Medieval fortress „Sokograd“ is 500 m away from Lepterija and it can be reached by forest trails.
Picnic site “Ozren” is about 5 km away from Sokobanja and it can be reached by asphalt road. It includes a large park with the sport fields, playground, artificial lake, restaurant, waterfall “Mala Ripaljka” and arranged picnic area. Nearby is Ripaljka, the highest waterfall in Serbia (total height 40 m), which has been declared for the first Serbian natural monument in 1948.
Picnic site „Ocno” and „Kalinovica“ are 3 km away from picnic site “Ozren”. The first one is famous for the “Stone of Love”, a lonely rock in the middle of the big meadow, which is a symbol of eternal love. Second is a glade, surrounded by beech and pine forest, and it is known by its cold water. Around the spring, there are benches and tables and arranged place for making the barbecue.
Spring “Sopur” is located along the road to the village Jezero, about 10 km away from Sokobanja. The spring, with arranged place for making the barbecue, is surrounded by beech forest. Near Sopur, there is a path which can take you to the peak „Ostra Cuka“ (1075 m), from which you have a magnificent view of the valley and the mountain Rtanj.
The area around the spring of the river Moravica is a pleasant place for the rest and picnics, near the crystal-clear lake where the river Moravica emerges. It is located in a place called Vrelo-Istoci, at the foothill of mountain Devica, 12 km away from Sokobanja towards Knjazevac. The spring itself is a natural phenomenon because it occurs in the form of the spilled river flow, generated from a large number of underground springs. Nearby is the St. Ilija’s church, Marko’s cave and trout pond.
Sesalac cave is situated in the village Sesalac, about 19 km away from Sokobanja. The cave is lightened in the lenght of 200 m and has rich cave ornaments: stalactites, stalagmites, travertine baths and delicate draperies. An underground river flows through the cave. In front of the cave is nicely decorated picnic area and nearby is an artificial lake.
Vrelo is located about 21 km away from Sokobanja, and 6,5 km from the Josanica spa. It is located at the foothill of mountain Bukovik and it is reachable by forest paths. The main attraction of this picnic area, located in the forest-meadow environment, are the springs of hot and cold mineral water, after which it was named, preserved nature and clean air.
It is located in the center of town, on the banks of the river Moravica, about 500 m away from the marble promenade. Park is beautifully arranged, with numerous benches, decorated with flowers and greenery. Above the park there is Special hospital „Banjica“ and nearby, on the other side of the river, there are hotels “Sunce” and “Moravica”.
In the park there is bath “Banjica” with thermo-mineral water, with highest temperature around 28°C, which is used in the treatment of various nervous diseases, and the restaurant “Čoka” on the bank of the river. Below the restaurant is a sandy beach “Zupan”, which is nicely decorated with shallow water suitable for children. Upstream the part of the beach is located in a gorge between two rocks, where the depth is about 4 m, which makes it is suitable for diving.
Upstream of the beach “Zupan” there is a the beach called “narrow”, because in that part the river Moravica is narrowest in its course, but it is very attractive for swimmers. It is followed by the beaches “Sest kace”, “Tri kace” and “Gentleman”. The first two beaches are named after the appearance of the rocky river banks, since they have a form of series of barrels or tubs, due to the river erosion („Six barrels“ and „Three burrels“). And the beaches are suitable for diving and very visited during the summer season.
If you cross the stone bridge in the park and go upstairs you will see a path on the right, which leads through attractive canyon of the river Moravica, and it takes you to the hill Popovica, picnic sight Lepterija and medieval fortress Sokograd.
The central spa park
Along the north side of the promenade there is a central spa park. Park is beautifully decorated with numerous benches and centuries-old trees providing pleasant shade, and decorated with flowers, greenery, fountains and sculptures.
In the western part of the park there is a playground “Sokolići” which is equipped with various devices for fun and entertainment of children. The hot mineral water from the Turkish bath is flowing into the creek that runs through the park.
Welness and spa
Specialized Hospital „Sokobanja“ offers spa guests different wellness and fitness programs, with the aim of preserving and improving health. Wellness program is recommended for all persons who suffer from chronic stress, and the ones who wish to improve their health and mood.
This program includes:
- bathing in authentic Turkish bath „Amam“ (in the men’s or woman’s swimming-pool, or in the original bath where Duke Milos Obrenovic once enjoyed)
- finish sauna
- pearl bath
- hydro massage
- hand massage
- bathing in a swimming-pool or jacuzzi with thermal water
- walk in the fresh air using the path of health.
Fitness program is recommended for all who suffer from overweight or just want to be in a good shape. A modern fitness cabinet, in the Specialized Hospital “Sokobanja”, enables you to do sports activities, under the control of medical staff with the individually tailored program.
Soko-life is a program of weight regulation, created in cooperation with experts in the field of endocrinology and dietology. It is designed for people who suffer from obesity, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and to all who wish to improve their quality of life. This program is combined with a wellness and fitness program in order to achieve optimal results.
Wellness Center “Soko Terme” was built on the banks of the river Moravica, next to the thermal spring popularly known as the “Lemon spa”.
For guests who are looking for recreation, improvement of the quality of life and health and general state of mind and body, there are swimming pools with hot spa water (36-39°C) which run throughout the year, as well as numerous supporting facilities:
- Finnish sauna
- Steam Bath
- Turkish bath
- Salt room
- Beauty salon (manicure, pedicure, waxing …)
- Physiotherapy unit (various types of massage – relax, aroma, royals, sports, Thai, Turkish …)
- Garra rufa fish (“Doctor Fish” piling fish that pleasantly influence the healthy and also diseased skin)
- Fitness and mini gym…