Surdulica (Serbian Cyrillic: Сурдулица) is a town and municipality situated in the southeast of Serbia (approx. 42°41'30"N, 22°10'E). In 2002, the population of the town was 10,914, while population of the municipality was 22,190.
The town stands at 480 m above sea level; it is surrounded by mountains to the north by Cemernik and to the south by Vardenik; the highest peak Strešer stands at 1875 meters high. Some twenty kilometres along the river Vrla and up the mountains there is a highland called Vlasina. In the fifties, a man made dam created a lake called Vlasinsko JezeroVlasina Lake famous for its peat floating islands which were harvested by local farmers. The highland of Vlasina is unique natural reserve with rich wildlife in particular the many rare species of migrating birds that use this unique place as a stop on their migrating way north or south. The lake is rich with fish and is one of largest reservoirs of clean water in that part of the country. The surrounding soil is lush and green resembling the Devon Downs or Argentine pampas. It presents great potential for cattle breeding and dairy production. It has distinct four seasons with long snowy winters and brief hot summers. There are also two streams running from the mountains and joining at the town of Surdulica. This is where the Romanovce River joins the Vrla River on their way to Juzna Morava and thence to the Danube and the Black Sea.
Historically, the town was first mentioned in the 13th century. Liberated from Turks in the late 19th century, it soon started to grow and develop. Today this is an industrial town, but it also has beautiful nature and wildlife around it.
From 1992 to 2000, the town's mayor was Miroslav Stojiljković Mimi, one of the best-known people from the town ever. Alongside with Dobrivoje Budimirović Bidža from Svilajnac and Raka Radović from Trstenik, he is one of the Serbian most intriguing mayors during the 1990s.
Vlasina Lake (Serbian: Власинско језеро, Vlasinsko jezero) is a semi-artificial lake in Southeast Serbia. Lying at the altitude of 1211 m, with the area of 16 km², it is the highest and largest artificial lake in Serbia. It was created in 1947–51, when the peat bog called Vlasinsko blato (Vlasina mud) was closed by a dam and submerged by waters of incoming rivers, chiefly Vlasina.
There are two permanent islands on the lake, along its eastern coast: Dugi del (7.84 ha) and Stratorija (1.82 ha). Along with those islands, one of the lake's most famous features are the floating islands, occurring when the water during high levels breaks off the loose chunks of peat off the shores, 0.5–2 m thick. Driven by the wind, they float from one shore of the lake to another, carrying the flora and fauna, and serving as the shelter and food source for the fish underneath. For that reason, they are an attractive location for fishermen. The largest such island has the area of 8 ha, and is referred to as "Moby-Dick" by the local population. It is overgrown with dense vegetation, including birch trees. However, most of the time it is anchored along the shores.
Current tourist capacities include around 300 beds in hotels "Vlasina" and "Narcis", offering a modest range of services. Along with regular tourists, they often host sporting teams from Serbia and abroad, as the lake is a popular destination for summer training due to its high altitude. Sporting grounds include a large football field, small sports field and weightlifting room.
An ambitious project for development of tourism is planned for the Vlasina area by the country's Development plan and the Ministry of Tourism, and it is included in the "21 projects for the 21st century" plan. The planned facilities include a new tourist center Novi Rid, with 1000 beds and shopping center, tourist center Krstinci with 350 beds, center "Džukelice" for summer sports, a marina for sailboats (motorboats are forbidden on the lake), a number of ski lifts and facilities for Nordic skiing.