Geography of Serbia

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Geographical regions in Serbia Serbia022.png
Geographical regions in Serbia

Serbia is a country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the far southern edges of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. It shares borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia is landlocked, though it is able to access the Adriatic Sea through Montenegro and inland Europe and the Black Sea via the Danube.


Area and borders

Serbia covers a total area of 88,361 km2 (34,116 sq mi), which places it 111th in the world. Arable land covers 19,194 km2 (7,411 sq mi) (24.8%), and forests cover 19,499 km2 (7,529 sq mi) (25.2%) of the territory of Serbia. [1] [2]

Serbia's total border length amounts to 2,361 km (1,467 mi): with Bosnia and Herzegovina 370.9 km (230.5 mi), with Bulgaria 360.5 km (224.0 mi), with Croatia 261.7 km (162.6 mi), with Hungary 174.7 km (108.6 mi), with North Macedonia 282.9 km (175.8 mi), with Montenegro 249.5 km (155.0 mi), with Romania 546.5 km (339.6 mi) and with Albania 113.6 km (70.6 mi). [3]

Extreme points [3] :

Physical geography


Serbia's terrain ranges from fertile plains of northern Vojvodina to limestone ranges and basins in the east and ancient mountains and hills in the southeast. The north is dominated by the Danube River. The Morava River, a tributary of the Danube, flows through the more mountainous southern regions of Serbia.

Topographic map of Serbia Serbia mountain ranges.png
Topographic map of Serbia

The terrain of central Serbia consists chiefly of hills and low to medium-high mountains, interspersed with numerous rivers and creeks. The main communication and development line stretches southeast of Belgrade towards Niš and Skopje (in North Macedonia), along the valley formed by the Great and South Morava rivers. Most major cities, as well as the main railroad and highway, are located on or around this line. To the east of this line, in an area that is relatively sparsely populated, the terrain rises to the limestone ranges of Stara Planina and the Serbian Carpathians. To the west, mountains slowly rise towards the southwest, but do not form real ridges. Zlatibor and Kopaonik are the highest mountains of this area.

Mountains cover the largest parts of the country.[ citation needed ] Four mountain systems meet in Serbia: the Dinaric Alps in the west cover the greatest territory, stretching from northwest to southeast. The Carpathian and Balkan Mountains stretch in a north-south direction in eastern Serbia, east of the Morava valley. Ancient mountains along the South Morava, the highest one being Besna Kobila, belong to the Rila-Rhodope mountain system.

The most significant mountains in Serbia are:

The highest peak in Serbia is Velika Rudoka in the Šar Mountains (2,660 m (8,730 ft)), with Kosovo included. Otherwise, Serbia's highest point is Midžor (2,169 m (7,116 ft)).


Practically the entire territory (92%) of Serbia belongs to the Danube (Black Sea) drainage basin. Part of Kosovo (5%) belongs to the Adriatic drainage basin, chiefly via the White Drin river. The rest (3%) in Kosovo and southern Serbia belongs to Aegean basin, chiefly via the Vardar river.

Hydrographic map of Serbia Serbia drainage basins detailed.png
Hydrographic map of Serbia

The Danube flows 588 km through Serbia or as a border river (with Croatia in the northwest and Romania in the southeast). Other chief rivers in Serbia are tributaries of the Danube including the Sava (flowing from the west), Tisa (flowing from the north), Drina (flowing from the south, forming a natural border with Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Morava. Only the Morava flows nearly entirely through Serbia. Their tributaries form a dense network of smaller rivers and creeks that cover most of the country.

Due to its terrain, natural lakes in Serbia are sparse and small and most are located in Vojvodina, such as the glacial lake Palić and numerous oxbow lakes along rivers. There are, however, numerous artificial lakes, mostly due to the construction of hydroelectric dams, the biggest being Đerdap on the Danube, Perućac on the Drina, and Vlasina Lake.

The abundance of relatively unpolluted surface water and numerous underground water sources of high quality might present opportunities for exportation and economic improvement. Extensive exploitation and production of bottled water has begun only recently. Despite the country's access to these water resources, water supply to many Serbian cities is poor due to mismanagement and a lack of adequate investment in infrastructure. This is complicated by water pollution (e.g., pollution in the Ibar River from Trepča zinc-lead compounds affecting Kraljevo and the presence of natural arsenic in underground waters in Zrenjanin).

The theoretical hydroenergetic potential in Serbia is estimated to be around 17,000 GWh. [4] Roughly 10,000 GWh or 60% of Serbia's hydroenergetic potential is generated by large power plants. The remainder could be generated in small and medium power plants (<25 MW), whose construction by the private sector may improve Serbia's economy and energy reliability. [4]

Serbia also has a huge geothermal potential, but it is only partially and sporadically accessed. Geothermal water is primarily used for balneological purposes: there are around 60 spas in Serbia, which are seen as an opportunity to improve tourism in the country. [5]


Climate of Serbia is moderate continental with a diversity on local level, caused by geographic location, relief, terrain exposition, presence of river and lake systems, vegetation, urbanization etc. Proximity of the mountain ranges of Alps, Carpathians, Rhodopes, as well as Adriatic Sea and Pannonian plain affect the climate. Location of river ravines and plains in the northern area of the country enable occasional deep southward protrusion of polar air masses on winters, while hot Saharan air often intrudes over the Mediterranean Sea on summers.

Average annual air temperature for the period 1961-1990 for the area with the altitude of up to 300 m (980 ft) amounts to 11  °C (51.8  °F ). The areas with the altitudes of 300 to 500 m (984 to 1,640 ft) have average annual temperature of around 10.5 °C (50.9 °F), and over 1,000 m (3,281 ft) of altitude around 6 °C (42.8 °F).

Annual precipitation, generally, rises with altitude. In lower regions, it ranges in the interval from 540 to 820 mm (21.3 to 32.3 in), areas on altitude over 1,000 m (3,281 ft) receive in average 700 to 1,000 mm (27.6 to 39.4 in), and some mountainous summits in southwestern Serbia up to 1,500 mm (59.1 in). Major part of Serbia has continental precipitation regimen, with peak in the earlier summer period, except for southwest, which receives highest precipitation autumn. May–June is the rainiest month, with the average of 12 to 13% of total annual amount. February and October have the least precipitation. Snow cover can occurs from late November to early March, and majority of days with snow cover is in January.

Annual sums of solar radiation are in the interval from 1500 to 2200 hours annually.

Surface air circulation is largely influenced by orographic lift. In warmer part of the year, winds from northwest and west prevail. In Vojvodina and Sumadija, east-southeast wind, Košava, dominates over autumn and winter. Southwestern winds prevail in mountainous part of southwestern Serbia. [6]


Serbia has five national parks and many national nature reserves encompassing 5% of the territory. [7]

National parks
Nature parks
Special nature reservations
Nature monuments

Human geography

Serbia has 6,167 registered settlements: 207 urban and 5,960 rural. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Ibar (river)

The Ibar, also known as the Ibër and Ibri, is a river that flows through eastern Montenegro, northern Kosovo and central Serbia, with a total length of 272 km (169 mi). The river begins in the Hajla mountain, in Rožaje, eastern Montenegro, and passes through southwestern Serbia to flow into the West Morava river near Kraljevo, central Serbia.

Šar Mountains Mountain range in the eastern Balkan Peninsula

The Šar Mountains or Sharr Mountains, form a mountain range in the Balkans that extends from Kosovo and the northwest of North Macedonia to northeastern Albania. The mountain is colloquially called Šara. The section in Kosovo is a national park, and the section in North Macedonia became a national park on 30th June 2021.


The Nišava or Nishava is a river in Bulgaria and Serbia, a right tributary, and with a length of 218 km also the longest one, of the South Morava.

Kopaonik East European mountain range

Kopaonik is a mountain range located in Serbia and Kosovo. The highest point is the Pančić's Peak with 2,017 m (6,617 ft). The central part of the Kopaonik plateau was declared a national park in 1981 which today covers an area of 121.06 km2 (46.74 sq mi).

Accursed Mountains Mountain range on the western Balkan peninsula

The Accursed Mountains also known as the Albanian Alps are a mountain group on the western Balkan peninsula. It is the southernmost subrange of the 1,000-kilometre-long (621 mi) Dinaric Alps range (Dinarides), extending from northern Albania to south Kosovo and northeastern Montenegro. Maja Jezercë standing at 2,694 m (8,839 ft) is the highest point of the Accursed Mountains and of all Dinaric Alps, and the fifth highest peak in Albania. The highest peak in Montenegro, Zla Kolata at 2,534 m (8,314 ft) and the second-highest in Kosovo, Đeravica at 2,656 m (8,714 ft) are also part of the range.

Rasina (river)

The Rasina is a river in south central Serbia. The 92 km (57 mi) long river flows through the Rasina region, gives its name to the modern Rasina District of Serbia, and flows into the Zapadna Morava near the city of Kruševac.


The Sitnica is a 90 km-long (56 mi) river in Kosovo. It flows into the Ibar at Mitrovica, and it is the longest river that flows completely within Kosovo.


The Radika is a river in southern Kosovo and western North Macedonia, a 70 km (43 mi)-long right tributary to the Black Drin river.

Deliblatska Peščara

Deliblato Sands is a large sand area covering around 300 km2 (120 sq mi) of ground in Vojvodina province, Serbia. It is located in southern Banat, situated between the river Danube and the southwestern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains. The sands are named after the village of Deliblato, in the municipality of Kovin. Its main masses are elliptical shaped hills with steppe grassland plains and steppe forests.


Golija is a mountain in southwestern Serbia, between towns of Ivanjica and Novi Pazar. It is part of the Dinaric mountain range. The mountain is heavily forested with significant biodiversity. It contains the Golija-Studenica Biosphere Reserve, the first UNESCO-MAB registered biosphere reserve in Serbia. It is also a small ski resort, with several historical monuments and monasteries. The highest peak is Jankov Kamen at 1,833 metres (6,014 ft).

Geography of Kosovo Overview of the geography of Kosovo

Kosovo is a small and landlocked disputed territory in Southeastern Europe. The country is strategically positioned in the center of the Balkan Peninsula enclosed by Montenegro to the west, Serbia to the north and east, North Macedonia to the southeast, and Albania to the southwest. It has no direct access to the Mediterranean Sea but its rivers flow into three seas, the Adriatic, Aegean and Black Sea.


Hajla is a mountain located between Kosovo and Montenegro. It has several peaks that reach over 2,000 m (6,562 ft), the highest having 2,403 m (7,884 ft) which is also called Hajla. In the northern slopes contains the spring formation of the Ibar river, and to its southern slopes is the origin of the Bistrica e Pejes river. Hajla is also the highest mountain in the northern part of the Accursed Mountains of the Balkans. In Kosovo, Hajla forms part of the 25 km (16 mi) long Rugova Canyon. The nearest city to Hajla is Rožaje, in Montenegro.


Kučaj is a mountain range in eastern Serbia. Its highest peak, Velika Tresta has an elevation of 1,284 meters above sea level. They belong to the Serbian extension of Carpathians, which separate the valleys of Great Morava and Timok.

Geology of Serbia

The regional geology of Serbia describes the geologic structure and history inside the borders of Serbia.

Dukat (mountain)

Dukat is a mountain in southeastern Serbia, near the town of Bosilegrad. Its highest peak Crnook has an elevation of 1,881 m (6,171 ft) above sea level.

Kopren Waterfall

Kopren Waterfall is the second highest waterfall in Serbia. It is located on Stara Planina mountain in southeast Serbia and 103.5 m (340 ft) high. Between 16 June 2011, when it was measured, and 9 June 2012, when the waterfall Kaluđerski Skokovi was measured, Kopren was considered the highest waterfall in Serbia.

Kaluđerski Skokovi

Kaluđerski Skokovi is the highest waterfall in Serbia. It is located on the Stara Planina mountain in southeast Serbia. Only discovered in 2012, it is 232 m (761 ft) high, which is over twice more than the Kopren Waterfall, previously the highest waterfall in Serbia, which itself was discovered only a year earlier.


  1. Republic Statistical Office of Serbia, Annual book [ permanent dead link ], Chapter 13-Agriculture
  2. (in Serbian) Republički zavod za statistiku Srbije Archived 2009-02-19 at the Wayback Machine , Prikaz stanja šuma po površini
  3. 1 2 Pavlović, Mila (2019). Geografija Srbije 1. Beograd: Univerzitet u Beogradu - Geografski fakultet, Studentski trg 3/III, Beograd. pp. 24–28. ISBN   978-86-6283-067-8.
  4. 1 2 "Energetski potencijali Srbije" (in Serbian). Elektroprivreda Srbije. Archived from the original on 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  5. Utilization of Geothermal Hydrology in Serbia", M. Milivojević and M. Martinović, International Geothermal Conference, Reykjavik 2003.
  6. Hydrometeorologic Service of Serbia
  7. Significance of the biodiversity conservation within Natural heritage in Serbia as an objects of integral environmental protection by Vasiljević Nevena...
  8. (in Serbian) Republički zavod za statistiku Srbije Archived 2009-02-19 at the Wayback Machine , Administrativna i teritorijalna podela Republike Srbije