Driving a Serbian balcony road through Jerma River Canyon

Kanjon Reke Jarme is a very scenic canyon carved by the Jerma River, located in the Pirot District of Serbia.

Jerma River canyon

When was the road through Jerma River Canyon built?

Located in the southeastern part of the country, near the border with Bulgaria, the canyon is also known as Vlaška Gorge. The road through the canyon is entirely paved but narrow (impassable for two cars at the same time) and challenging. It’s called Road 223. The ravine was completely impassable until 1927 when a narrow-gauge railway route was built at that time (for the needs of the coal mine ‘Rakita'). The mine closed during the 60s of the previous century, and an asphalt road replaced the route during the 70s.

How long is the Jerma River Canyon road?

The road through the Jerma River Canyon is 48.4 km (30.07 miles) long, running from Sukovo to Babušnica. At its entrance near the village of Vlasi, the surrounding cliffs are over 200 m high. Falling rocks and early snow can cause road closures. During the January 2021 floods, the Jerma flooded the road in its valley and overflowed the riverbed. The road features a few tunnels.

Is Jerma River Canyon in Serbia worth it?

Similar to a French balcony road, the Jerma River Canyon is said to be one of the most beautiful canyons in Serbia. The water rushes through the gorge with a powerful noise, breaking past large blocks or being crushed, swirled, and foamed by them. In the wider section of the riverbed, the water is clear and only a few tens of centimeters deep in the summer, while in the gorge, it reaches a depth of at least about two meters. During snowy and rainy periods, the water level significantly increases.