Serbia: detailed travel guide

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Serbia: detailed travel guide

Serbia: detailed travel guide

Despite the fact that Serbia is not a very “promoted” destination for tourists, this country welcomes tourists here very warmly. Someone is attracted here by the picturesque nature and mild climate, others are attracted by a rich historical excursion program, and still others – by medical and health-improving rest in local resorts.

The temperate continental climate with warm summers and mild snowy winters makes it possible to visit this country at any time of the year. If there is a high level of service here, the prices for all services are quite moderate compared to the rest of Europe. At the same time, the presence of Russian-speaking guides is a significant plus for Russian travelers, since the Russian language is taught here in schools, so you probably won’t have any problems with understanding – you can talk to Serbs in Russian and they will understand you.

Despite the fact that Serbia has no access to the sea, there are a large number of resorts, hospitals and health centers. Fortunately, there are all the necessary healing factors for this: over 1000 mineral springs, curative mud, thermal waters and a mild climate.

Serbian resorts have a long history, as they have been known since the times of Ancient Rome (Vrnjacka Banya, Zvornik Spa, Niska Banya, Vojvodina region). The mineral waters of the Gamzigrad Baths were used by the Romans 2000 years ago, and Turkish baths were built here in the Ottoman period. In total, Serbia has about 40 resorts (“baths” in Serbian), the main of which are: Zlatibor, Atomska, Chigota, Buyanovachka, Vruitsy, Vrnjachka, Ivanitsa, Kanyizha, Koviliacha, Zhdrelo, Yunakovich, Soko, Prolom, Siyarinskaya, Rybarskaya, Palich, Ovchar, Nishka and Lukovskaya.

How to get to Serbia

By plane

You can get to the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, by arriving here from major cities in Europe, as well as from neighboring Montenegro, from where direct trains also go to Serbia.

The country’s largest airport in Belgrade is named after Nikola Tesla and is located 18 km from the center. You can get here by city bus number 72, as well as by special buses of Jat Airways, which leave from Slavia Square every half hour. The second largest airport is located in Nis. And in the partially recognized republic of Kosovo there is an airport in Pristina, which, by the way, is not controlled by Serbia. Serbia does not have domestic flights, but there are flights to neighboring Montenegro (Podgorica or Tivat) for those who want to relax on the seaside.

By train

The main railway branch of Serbia runs from the Hungarian border: Subotica – Novi Sad – Belgrade – Lapovo – Niš, then there are branches to Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro and Romania. There are both high-speed trains in Serbia with a minimum of stops on the way, and ordinary regional ones, which stop even at small settlements. Accordingly, the travel time on such trains increases. There are direct rail connections with Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia. And indirectly – with the rest of Europe, including Russia.

By bus

Serbia has a well-developed bus service, thanks to which you can get by bus not only to any settlement in the country, but also to other countries. Travel on Serbian buses is often paid directly to the driver, while long-distance tickets can be purchased at the train station.

By car

For the use of some highways in Serbia, at special points, a fee is charged in dinars or euros (from the Hungarian border to Belgrade and from Belgrade to the Bulgarian border). There are mountain sections of the road with the danger of rockfall, but such rocks are usually fenced off with special nets. On motorways the speed is limited to 120 km/h, on other roads 80 – 100 km/h, and within the city limits – 60 km/h. Those who travel to Serbia by their own car need to have not only an international driver’s license, but also an international insurance policy, which can also be issued at the border crossing.

Serbia’s cities and regions for tourist travel

In addition to the well-known Belgrade, in Serbia you can find other cities of interest to tourists. Below is a list of them, following the links you will find detailed information about each city.

  • Buyanovka Bath
  • Bath Koviliacha
  • Smederevo
  • Novi Sad
  • Sokobania
  • Subotica
  • Zlatibor
  • Kraljevo
  • Belgrade
  • Vrsac
  • Sabac
  • Zemun
  • Niches

Serbia landmarks

In Serbia, you can find attractions and entertainment for every taste. In Belgrade, tourists can explore historic buildings and visit numerous museums and galleries. Near Belgrade, in the town of Smederevo, there is one of the largest fortresses in Europe – the Brankovic Fortress, stretching over 11 hectares. In the town of Kragujevac you can see an old Byzantine cathedral. And fans of ethnics are offered an excursion to the village of Kusturitsy on the Mechavnik mountain. This village, the second name of which is “Drvengrad” (translated as “wooden town”), was built by the famous film director for his film “Life is like a miracle”, and in 2004 this place was opened for tourists. All 30 houses in this village were built without a single nail and are examples of ancient village architecture. Also in “Drvengrad” filmmakers and actors gather for festivals and meetings. And for tourists there are comfortable rooms, and the whole village can accommodate about 100 people at a time.

In the north of the country, almost on the border with Hungary, the city of Subotica is located, where you can see architectural sights. Young people will probably be interested in the second largest city in Serbia – Novi Sad, in the ancient fortress of which Petrovaradin is held in July the Exit music festival, which attracts famous groups and musical celebrities. In addition, the exquisite architecture of this Central European city attracts attention. In the city of Niš, an interesting combination of Eastern and Western cultures and the Orthodox and Islamic worlds. The city and its surroundings are actually a historical and cultural reserve, because scientists have proved that people have lived in these territories since the Paleolithic era. And pilgrim tourists who want to visit the main Orthodox shrines of Serbia should go to the “Serbian Athos” near the town of Cacak. This monastic complex also bears the name of Trinity, which includes about a dozen monasteries.

And for lovers of nature and rest from the bustle of the city, there is a direct road to national parks and other protected natural areas. They are mainly located in mountainous areas: Kopaonik, Fruska Gora, reserves of the Tara river, Djerdap gorge, canyons of the Uvac and Gradac rivers and many others. And lovers of speleology can go to explore the caves of Resavskaya and Zlotskaya. In the presence of a large number of attractions in Serbia, some of them are even included in the list of cultural and historical heritage of UNESCO: the ancient city of Stari Ras, the Sopochany monastery near the city of Novi Pazar, the Studenica monastery near the town of Kraljevo, the Gamzigrad fortress in the east of the country and Orthodox monasteries in Kosovo.

Getting around Serbia

Serbia does not have domestic flights, but there are flights to neighboring Montenegro (Podgorica or Tivat) for those who want to relax on the seaside.

The main railway branch of Serbia runs from the Hungarian border: Subotica – Novi Sad – Belgrade – Lapovo – Niš, then there are branches to Macedonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro and Romania. There are both high-speed trains in Serbia with a minimum of stops on the way, and ordinary regional ones, which stop even at small settlements. Accordingly, the travel time on such trains increases. There are direct rail connections with Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia. And indirectly – with the rest of Europe, including Russia.

Serbia has a well-developed bus service, thanks to which you can get by bus not only to any settlement in the country, but also to other countries. Travel on Serbian buses is often paid directly to the driver, while long-distance tickets can be purchased at the train station. For the use of some highways in Serbia, at special points, a fee is charged in dinars or euros (from the Hungarian border to Belgrade and from Belgrade to the Bulgarian border). There are mountain sections of the road with the danger of rockfall, but such rocks are usually fenced off with special nets. On motorways the speed is limited to 120 km / h, on other roads 80 – 100 km / h, and within the city limits – 60 km / h. Those who travel to Serbia by their own car need to have not only an international driver’s license, but also an international insurance policy, which can also be issued at the border crossing. When calling a taxi in Serbia, keep in mind that a car called by phone will cost you 20% less than a taxi caught on the street.

The following public transport operates in the capital of Serbia, Belgrade: buses, taxis, trolleybuses and trams. There is also a suburban service (electric trains) on 6 lines. In the city center, these trains run underground, where there are 2 underground stations, but this is still not a subway, since suburban trains are used here, which follow strictly according to the schedule. There is also a water connection between Belgrade and other cities. The port of Belgrade operates on the banks of the Danube, which is located at the intersection of the main waterway of Serbia with the Sava River. This port is not only an important transport hub, but also a trade destination of all-European importance.

Serbian cuisine

Serbian cuisine has absorbed the traditions of several peoples and cultures at once. Here you can see borrowings from European, Turkish, Mediterranean cuisines and, of course, try original national dishes. This is due to the geographical position of the country and the historical interaction of the Serbs with neighboring peoples. For example, the influence of Turkish cuisine can be traced in the fact that the main drink here is “Turkish coffee”, which is brewed in cezve, and the presence of all kinds of kebabs, kebabs and grilled meat in the traditional menu indicates precisely the Middle Eastern traditions. In the north of Serbia, the influence of European cuisine is felt more, in particular, Romanian, Hungarian and Bulgarian. For example, dishes made from corn and tortillas made from it, as well as all kinds of dishes made from paprika (which we call “bell pepper”) are very common here.

As for the first courses, there are 2 types of soups – liquid broth (supa), for example, chicken with the addition of noodles and thick chorba (čorba) with the addition of vegetables. Meat dishes are made from pork, beef, lamb and goat meat. It is worth trying “chevapchichi” made from pepper minced meat, which are usually grilled, pleskavitsi (a type of cutlets), schnitzels (with or without filling), as well as baked meat. Vegetables or rice are served here with all kinds of shashlik (dishes for rostil). “Musaka” is a potato dish with meat and vegetables, which are stacked in layers on a baking sheet and baked, and “sarma” is an analogue of our cabbage rolls, when minced meat mixed with rice is wrapped in sauerkraut leaves. Serbs love spicy and well-started dishes, which is why they often use black pepper, sweet red paprika and garlic. And hot peppers (feferoni) will be served to you as an appetizer for any dish.

In Serbia, you should choose the one that can be bought at any bakery from the fast food in Serbia. By the way, there are a great many of them here, and you can taste fresh bread and pastries literally every 100 meters. Balkan burek is the most popular snack food. This is a semblance of a closed puff pastry cheburek. The filling can be anything – from meat and cheese to herbs and potatoes.

Serbs attach great importance to homemade dairy products, because about half of the population of this country keeps their own livestock and prefers meat and milk to have their own. In addition to homemade cheeses, which can be “old” and “young,” a very popular snack is the fatty “kaymak” made from fermented milk spread on bread and is a cross between butter and cheese. Serbs also prefer to bake bread themselves, while it is not only part of the meal, but also plays an important role in many Orthodox rituals. Local pies (“pita”) are no less tasty, which can be with almost any toppings. Puff pastry is usually used as a dough, and cheese, meat, herbs, apples or cherries are placed inside.

The drinks

Boiled coffee is especially popular as a beverage in Serbia, and tea is rarely drunk here – mainly for colds. Since there are many mineral springs in the country, mineral water (in Serbian “kissela water”) is inexpensive here and is often served with every meal. Liquid yogurt like our kefir is also very popular, especially if you have a burek snack. They also drink beer or wine in moderation at lunch or dinner. And guests are greeted with strong homemade brandy, which is “baked” (that is, “driven”) from any fruit. Plum Šlivovitsa is considered to be the national drink, grapes produce lozovacha rakia, and pears produce vilyamovka. And if you visit a Serbian restaurant, keep in mind that it is customary here to leave a tip for good service, which is about 10% of the bill.

Communication

Cellular communication in Serbia has reception in all regions. There are several mobile operators in the country: Telekom Srbija, Telenor D.o.o. and Vip mobile d.o.o. Sim cards and express payment cards can be purchased at the official offices of these mobile operators, post offices, newsstands and some stores. Please note that some operators in Serbia take several hours to activate their SIM card. You can make calls within Serbia or abroad and from a pay phone using Halo Kartitsa. And a call from a number is usually much more expensive than usual.

Internet connection in Serbia is good, and apart from Internet cafes, you can use Wi-Fi in public places such as cafes and restaurants.

Security in Serbia

One of the main reasons why tourists visit Serbia is the hospitality of the local population. Serbian citizens pay special attention to guests from Russia and try to help them in everything. The local population is very friendly towards Russian tourists, calling them their “Slavic brothers”. The level of security in this country is quite high, and street crime is low. This is evidenced by at least the fact that there are no special cells in stores where customers can leave bags and packages, but there are simple hooks for this. And no one would think of taking someone else’s. Of course, in such large cities as Belgrade life is in full swing even at night, but even then you can move around the city without any problems. Despite the fact that the security situation in the country is quite favorable, you should be careful not to be deceived or robbed in crowded places, because there are pickpockets in any country. They are usually found in public places such as the airport or market. It is enough not to carry large amounts of money or valuables with you, and you will not have any problems.

In Serbia, it is better to avoid talking on political topics, because not only Serbs live in the country, but also representatives of other nationalities, and ethnic clashes in Kosovo still occur. For the same reason, you should not go on a trip to Kosovo, as the territory is under protection. And if you enter Serbia through the territory of the Kosovo Republic, the Serbian authorities may regard this as an illegal border crossing. To avoid deportation from the country or a fine at the police station, it is best to visit Serbia in the traditional way. For a period of up to 30 days, entry into Serbia for Russian tourists is visa-free. It is worth knowing that the import of foreign currency is not limited, although it will have to be declared, and export is usually limited to the amount that you imported. The duty-free import of alcohol and cigarettes, as well as items of cultural and historical value is also limited.