Serbia is the largest ‘fragment’ of former Yugoslavia. It is the world’s largest raspberry producer, the country where people still like Russians very much but cannot pronounce their specific sound “ы”.
People here are incredibly cheerful: they drink coffee all day long, regard football as the best kind of sport in the world, and have a peculiar ability to combine being devotedly hard-working and getting a thrill out of any chill.
Serbia (Србija, Srbija) is a Balkan republic, the territory of which covers the major part of a peninsula and a small part of the Pannonian Plain. The population is seven million people with 85% of the Serbs as the predominant ethnic group.
The country is mono-ethnic and mono-religious: around 90% of its residents are Orthodox. The other 10% are Catholics, Muslims, and Protestants.
The Serbs made several attempts to build an independent country during their age-old history. For the first time, this was mentioned in the 8th century when the Principality of Serbia emerged and united several Slavic tribes.
As time went on, the Principality became a fully-grown state under the rule of Byzantium. However, in the 12th century, it gained independence and turned into a powerful country.
The period of prosperity took over a hundred years. At the end of the 14th century, the lands of Serbian princes ended up in complete subjection to the Ottoman Empire after being defeated in the Battle of Kosovo.
The Ottoman rule lasted almost 400 years. As a result, a significant impact was made upon the lifestyle of Serbs, their cuisine, traditions, and even music.
The 19th century brought numerous upheavals. The First Serbian Uprising took place in 1804 and ended in ten years. Then it was the Second Serbian Uprising in 1815 that led to the formation of the Principality of Serbia and Serbian independence from the Ottoman Empire. In 1873, the country gained complete independence, and in 1883, it became the Kingdom.
The beginning of the 20th century was also uneasy. Internal conflicts were tearing Serbia apart: the wars broke out one after another. The country’s territory extended during that period due to some parts of Macedonia and Kosovo. In 1929, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia appeared on the world map, having united the Serbs, Croatians, and Slovenians.
After World War II, the Kingdom ceased to exist. Instead, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia with Josip Broz Tito to serve as the President was formed. At the beginning of the 1960s, the country’s name changed into the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
As its part, Serbia existed till the beginning of the 1990s. The dissolution of Yugoslavia lasted 17 years. During that period, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina seceded, but Serbia remained inside the federation till the end.
In 2006, the alliance was broken off when Montenegro left. Two years later, the Republic of Kosovo did the same. Now Serbia is an independent parliamentary republic with Belgrade as the capital city.
Visitors from the majority of countries will need a visa while the citizens of EU member states, the USA, Japan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus do not need a visa to enter Serbia.
The quickest and cheapest way to get to Serbia is to buy a plane ticket. There are direct flights from many European countries.
Bus trips to Serbia are usually available with transfers in the neighbouring countries.
The hospitality business in Serbia has always been well-developed. Neither wars and NATO bombardments nor long-lasting economic recovery harmed its growth. Though there are no marine borders and beaches, Serbia is rich in places for having a great rest.
Serbia is a usual destination for the enthusiasts of rural tourism. Everyone can get the anticipated relaxation in the fresh air along with plain but delicious organic food, and communication with Serbs - extremely friendly and warm-hearted people.
Recreation at Serbian resorts is the other reason why foreign tourists choose wellness tours more often. The names of resort spots can be easily guessed by the word ‘banja’ as their part:
- Ivanjica Banja is a resort for treating the diseases of blood, neurology, and bones. It also offers cancer after-treatment.
- Banja Kulaši is a place where people who have problems with the digestive tract, liver, and gall bladder should definitely go.
- Banja Kanjiža is a resort that offers effective treatment of musculoskeletal system diseases, traumatic and age changes in bones.
- Niška Banja is a place of treatment for those who suffer from heart disease and issues with blood vessels.
- Prolom Banja will help people with diseases of kidneys, liver, and digestive system.
The resorts offer treatment with healing muds and thermo-mineral waters of Serbia.
The conditions are quite good, and the prices are much lower than at the other European resorts.
Gastronomic tours are the third exciting tourism direction. It is very popular among foodies and those who just want to get familiarised with new cuisine. Noone remains dissatisfied because of tasty, filling, and cheap meals.
The choice of accommodation should depend on the aim and length of your stay in Serbia. Those who want to stay for two or three days may opt for hotels, hostels, or guesthouses.
Serbian hotels provide service of high quality and cheaper rooms if to compare with other European countries:
- Agent Lux Apartments is a four-star hotel in Jagodina. The rooms are designed in a modern style, with bathrooms and toilets, free Wi-Fi, and parking. Pets are allowed.
- F apartmani Kragujevac is a four-star hotel in Kragujevac with a kitchenette and washing machine in each room. Parking is free.
- Habitat-Hostel is a youth hostel in Belgrade a 10-minute walk from the Nikola Tesla Museum. The rooms are cosy (separate and shared), parking and Wi-Fi are free. Pets are allowed.
- Accommodation Glorius is a nice hotel with quality service in Niš, a 20-minute walk from Niš Fortress. The rooms are plain but cosy.
- Guest House Little Heaven is a guest house in Uzice that will be perfect for the lovers of rural tourism. There is a shared kitchen and lounge space. The rooms are clean and cosy. The guest house offers a bike hire service to have a ride around the neighbourhood. A mountain ski resort is located nearby.
For a long-term stay in Serbia, it will be essential to rent an apartment or a house, particularly if there are children on a trip. The most convenient way for renting is to use the websites like https://www.airbnb.co.uk/ and https://www.vrbo.com/ (a new name of Home Away).
Places to See
Gorgeous natural surroundings, monuments of ancient times, old Orthodox monasteries, and national parks do not make the full list of Serbian attractions.
Though it is impossible to see the entire beauty of this Balkan country for a couple of days, there are some places worth visiting first of all.
Serbian capital city remembers a lot. It was founded by Celtic tribes, and after some time ended up under the rule of Romans for a long period. Then the tribes of the Germans, Sarmatians, and Avars came. Belgrade used to be destructed and constructed, then constructed and destructed again. In total, the city underwent 38 reconstructions after the wars.
The Serbs settled those lands in the 7th century. As the city, Belgrade was mentioned in the letters of Vladimir-Mikhail, the Prince of Bulgaria, in 887.
Every era has been reflected in the city’s architecture. Wandering around its streets, you will see the Karađorđević dynasty palaces, the residences of princes, Turkish mosques and hammams, ancient fortresses as well as ultra-modern hotels, shopping malls, and offices.
Start a tour with Belgrade’s historical centre - Knez Mihailova Street, which is considered one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in Europe. You may stop for a bite at various cafes and restaurants, go shopping in numerous fashion boutiques and shopping arcades.
Royal palaces are the other reason to explore Belgrade. Both the architecture of winter and summer residences and the abundance of their adornments are impressive. Carved furniture of expensive wood, stucco mouldings, luxurious chandeliers, tapestries, and paintings look amazing.
The Nikola Tesla Museum is the other must-see place in Belgrade. No other Serb has deserved such an enormous pride taken by compatriots. Even the figure of still highly esteemed Josip Broz Tiro, the first president of post-war Serbia, grows a bit dim in comparison with the image of the scientist and inventor.
Skadarlija neighbourhood, located not far from Republic Square, is a perfect place for everyone fond of art and bohemian things. The atmosphere of this vintage 600-metre street is very similar to the dizzying and adventuresome spirit of Montmartre in Paris.
This mountain mass has a beautiful Slavic name. It is a favoured place for having rest by Serbs and tourists from all over the world. The area is not foggy, and the sun shines 200 days a year. Zlatibor climate is a unique combination of the Alpine and Mediterranean types. Such a blend exists nowhere else in the world.
People come here not only to relax the mind but to undergo some treatment. Thermal springs help deal with a lot of diseases, for example, anaemia and thyroid illnesses.
Devil’s Town (Đavolja Varoš)
The rock formation has got this creepy and half-mystic name because of the rocky pillars of natural origin located not far from Kuršumlija. The ‘bloody waters’ complement the horror. The waters in streams and rivers are of red colour because of the tone that has emerged as a result of a high level of mineralization. Those springs are called Devil’s Water and Red Well.
The guided tours here take place only at night because thick shadows and mystic background multiply the effect of a sinister atmosphere.
The national park is located not far from Novi Sad, the second-largest Serbian city, and covers an area of 22,000 km2.
It used to be an entire monastery town that comprised 30 monasteries before World War II.
Wars, bombardments, and time have destructed the majority of them. However, at present, the buildings are being actively renovated, and more than half have been already restored. The park has obtained its ‘national’ status due to the unique flora and fauna with hundreds of species of rare plants and endangered species of animals.
The Serbs like coming here to spend the weekend in tents to loosen up a little. A lot of tourists from all over the world take photos and shoot videos of stunningly beautiful sceneries every now and again.
Another sample of the Middle Ages Serbian architecture is the fortress constructed to protect the capital of the Serbian Despotate from foreigners. Even now ancient artifacts and burial sites of nobility are found during excavations from time to time. Thrill-seekers of any type get excited by the ancient legends about the luxuriant treasures allegedly immured in the fortress walls. So these localities are the paradise for diggers.
You may get to Smederevo by bus from Belgrade.
Serbian cuisine is an amazing combination of the cooking traditions of the Balkans, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, and Greece. The influence of a certain country varies by region. For example, in northern Serbia, the dishes of Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Romanian origin are the basis: goulash, paprikash, mamaliga, pork sausages, ragouts, and soups.
Four hundred years of Ottoman rule did contribute to Serbian cuisine. Turkish dishes and ways of cooking predominate in the majority of regions.
The one who visited Turkish resorts and then came to Serbia might notice the similarity. Many say that Serbian cuisine is almost the same as Turkish one, but a bit better.
The Ottomans have brought many mutton dishes: kebabs, koftas, shish kebabs (meat, vegetable, and fish). Cevapcici, pljeskavica, and raznjici are cooked everywhere, be it a restaurant, home, or a picnic. However, the Serbs like adding some purely Serbian motifs like combinations of local spices. They adore everything cooked on charcoals. And the result is delicious.
The Serbs like pies very much, both salty and sweet. Women know at least ten recipes of pita, gibanica (cottage cheese pastry), burek (layered meat pie), and crompirusa (burek with potatoes).
Serbian koh is a very tasty semolina sponge cake soaked in vanilla milk. They cook it usually on weekends.
Talking about beverages, coffee takes the top position among the favourites. It has to be thick, dizzyingly flavourous, and boiled in a cezve. People in Serbia drink it almost all the time, so no wonder that Serbia has got into the top ten coffee-consuming countries.
Interestingly, tea is considered rather a treatment than a dessert beverage. So they drink it only when have caught a cold.
Alcohol in Serbian houses, cafes, and restaurants includes beer, local wine varieties, and rakia (a fruit spirit). The latter has a multitude of names, which depend on the basic fruit. For example, slivovitz is produced from plums, lozovača is a grape hooch obtained through the distillation of the fermented grape.
Home-made spirits are widely appreciated by the Serbs. During any family celebration, the guests will prefer the hooch made according to the old family recipe rather than any brandy, vodka, or cognac available in the stores.
Serbia is like a close friend, both mentally and spiritually. It is simple, easy to understand, and very beautiful. So you should definitely come here at least for a week.
What is the capital of Serbia?
The capital of Serbia is Belgrade.
What is the official language of Serbia?
The official language of Serbia is Serbian.
What is the currency in Serbia?
The currency in Serbia is the Serbian dinar (RSD).
What is the population of Serbia?
The population of Serbia is approximately 7 million.
Is Serbia a member of the EU?
Serbia is not a member of the European Union.
What country was Serbia before?
Before, Serbia was part of the former country of Yugoslavia.
What is Serbia famous for?
Serbia is famous for its rich history, delicious food, and beautiful landscapes.
Is Serbia a good place to travel?
Serbia is a good place to travel, offering a mix of culture, history, and natural beauty.
Can I use euros in Serbia?
While the Serbian dinar is the official currency, some places may accept euros, but it's not widespread.
Do I need a visa to travel to Serbia?
Visa requirements depend on your nationality. Check if you need a visa to travel to Serbia based on your citizenship.