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Serbia

Serbia (Serbian: Србија, Srbija) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe and the Balkans, on one of the major land routes from Central Europe to the Near East. It is bordered by Montenegro to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, Bulgaria to the southeast, Croatia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Macedonia and Kosovo to the south, and Romania to the northeast. The status of Kosovo — an Albanian-majority land today though historically part of Serbia and the site of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo, to this day a highly charged event in which the Serbian defenders were annihilated but also killed most of the attacking Ottoman forces and the Ottoman Sultan in the process — is quite controversial in Serbia, which does not recognize the region as independent.

Regions

Serbia can be divided into five regions and one de facto independent republic:

Disputed territory

Cities

  • Belgrade (Beograd/Београд) — the capital of Serbia.
  • Kragujevac (Serbian Cyrillic: Крагујевац)— The first capital of modern Serbia, industrial hub and the 4th largest city in Serbia. Kragujevac is located in the region Šumadija, 120 km south of Belgrade. Lepenica, a small river, flows through Kragujevac. Near the town is Lake Gružansko (Гружанско Језеро).The city has a university, and important cultural and medical buildings. It has a rich history and many cultural and historical monuments.
  • Kraljevo (Serbian Cyrillic: Краљево)-Kraljevo is an important economic center in Serbia, located 170km south of Belgrade.It lies on two rivers, the Morava and The Ibar river.In the outskirts of the city is very famous monastery "Žiča"(Жича) with a rich history, and in addition to the monastery and the famous Mataruška spa(Матарушка бања), and a little further Bogutovačka Spa(Богутовачка бања).
  • Niš (Serbian Cyrillic: Ниш) — The third largest city in Serbia. Niš is a great car and railway junctions in that part of Serbia and the Balkans, with great industry and a rich history and cultural-historical monuments.Niš has a large university, there are important cultural and medical buildings.Nearby is the famous Niska Banja(Нишка Бања). Among other things, Niš is the birthplace of Constantine the Great, where are the remains of his summer home, etc.
  • Novi Sad (Serbian Cyrillic: Нови Сад) — Nicknamed "Serbian Athens", Novi Sad is the provincial capital of the Province of Vojvodina and the second largest city in Serbia (after Belgrade). Novi Sad is located about 80 km northeast of Belgrade, on the Danube river. The city is an important industrial, cultural, educational, sport, and touristic center with many cultural and historical monuments and museums. It contains well-known temples, the Petrovaradin fortress, and is in the vicinity of Fruška Gora hill, renowned for its vineyards, as well as the Fruška Gora National Park. Fruška Gora is also home to many monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church (over 16 of them) and is sometimes referred to as "The Second Holy Mountain" (after Mount Athos). Southeast of the town, on the Srem side of the river, along the "old road" to Belgrade, lies the small town of Sremski Karlovci, which has a rich history, famous churches, buildings, museums, and famous wine cellars.
  • Požarevac (Serbian Cyrillic: Пожаревац) — One of the oldest cities in Serbia with a large historic heritage. An important commercial and cultural center, in addition to the Velika Morava river, is situated about 80 km east of Belgrade. Near the town is a small town of Stari Kostolac where is the famous archaeological site Viminacium. In Požarevac was born former president of the Republic of Serbia - Slobodan Milošević (he was also buried there). Pozarevac is also known for Ljubičevo Equestrian Games.
  • Subotica (Serbian Cyrillic: Суботица) — has been rated as one of the most beautiful cities of Serbia. It is in North Serbia, and is the closest city to Palic.An important commercial and cultural center with a rich history. The main languages are Serbian and Hungarian.In the vicinity of Subotica is a famous resort and lake Palić, and Ludoško lake.
  • Vršac (Serbian Cyrillic: Вршац) — One of the most beautiful cities in Serbia. Located at 80 km northeast of Belgrade, near RomaniaVrsac has developed economic and cultural and sports center, rich in vineyards.

Other destinations

  • Kopaonik National Park (Serbian Cyrillic:Копаоник Н. П.) — as well as the ski-resort in the Kopaonik Mountain in southern Serbia. Kopaonik is the major ski resort of Serbia, with total of 23 ski lifts. A national park spread over 118.1 km2 (45.6 sq mi). Kopaonik has a rich historical heritage. Sports and recreation are key factors to the tourism of Kopaonik. There are various other activities as well. Other features which attract tourists are a luxurious hotel, and entertainment. Kopaonik has many cafes, bars and night clubs, etc.
  • Palić (Serbian Cyrillic:Палић) — the lovely lake area in the north with baroque parks, the monuments of art nouveau architecture and a long tradition in catering made it fashionable summer resort. Palić is the host of a film festival, World Ethno Music Festival, and various sporting events.
  • Soko Banja (Serbian Cyrillic:Соко Бања) — the road to Sokobanja detaches on 200-th kilometer of the motorway Belgrade - Athens. Sokobanja is situated in basin between the mountains Rtanj (1,560m) and Ozren (1,117m), 400m above the sea level. Sokobanja is a famous spa and tourist place in Serbia for its moderate continental climate and immense surfaces of woods, fresh air and a lot of thermo-mineral sources. They all make Sokobanja an exceptional place in Serbia.
  • Zlatibor (Serbian Cyrillic:Златибор)— a very famous mountainous tourist site and ski-resort in the southwest. Zlatibor is located near the town of Užice, en route to MontenegroZlatibor is situated at an altitude of 1000 m., summers are sunny, fresh air, cold winters, beautiful landscapes, meadows, pastures, valleys, ethnic villages, sports facilities, etc.There you have special medical and famous Rehabilitation Institute.
  • Tara, Serbia (Serbian Cyrillic: Тара), is a mountain located in western Serbia (near Zlatibor). It is part of Dinaric Alps and stands at 1,000-1,500 meters above sea level. The mountain's slopes are clad in dense forests with numerous high-altitude clearings and meadows, steep cliffs, deep ravines carved by the nearby Drina River and many karst, or limestone caves. The mountain is a popular tourist center.Most of the mountain is a "National Park Tara". Mountain Tara has a nice Zaovine Lake, at an altitude of 800 m.

Understand

Serbia is a relatively new tourist destination. During the summer tourists love spending their time in Belgrade and enjoy the nature of many national parks throughout the country. In winter, they are attracted to the mountain resorts, one of the most popular being Kopaonik. There are also many spa resorts such as Sokobanja, Niška Banja and Vrnjačka Banja.

Serbs are a warm people and welcoming towards foreigners. Many Serbs will speak some English and will be eager to practice it (seniors, however, are more likely to speak German and/or French), so you will be able to find your way around by asking directions. Most tourists come to Serbia in the summer and you can often hear German, Italian, French and English in the streets of Belgrade, while Slovenian tourists pour in for the New Year holidays.

Serbia was developed as a tourist destination much later than neighbouring Croatia, although it is also a varied and beautiful nation. From the plains of Vojvodina that remind one of the scenes of 'Dr. Zhivago' in winter, to many mountains, lakes and ski resorts.

Serbia is on the crossroads of European history and as such, it is a mix of cultures, ethnicity and religions. Its people, contrary to a recent political issues, are one of the most hospitable and welcoming and Belgrade was voted as one of the up-and-coming capitals of Europe. It has hosted a Eurovison song contest. Serbia has a spirit and a soul that is rare to find coupled with melange of different cultures and a gusto for good living.

Climate

In the north: continental climate (cold winters and hot, humid summers with well distributed rainfall); central portion: moderate continental climate; and to the south: hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.

Geography

Extremely varied: to the north, rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills. Although the region around the town of Mionica has been known for some earthquakes in recent years, these were by no means destructive. The highest point is Đeravica at 2656 m.

History

There were seventeen Roman emperors born in the territory of today's Serbia, more than in Gaul (France and Belgium), Iberia (Spain and Portugal) or indeed any other modern country's territory but Italy itself, and they all left monuments and built palaces in or close to their birthplaces. It may well be that the oldest ever found human settlements in Europe, if not in the world, can be found in country of Serbia. The longest stretch of the river Danube, longer than in any other European country is in Serbia. The giant hydroelectric dam of Đerdap has created a lake stretching for many miles out of the Đerdap Canyon with its famous Roman road to the East build by the Emperor Trajan.

The first Serbian state under that name was formed in the late 8th century, becoming a kingdom in the 12th century and expanding by the mid 14th century to an empire that comprised most of the Balkans. In 1389, however, the Serbs lost a decisive battle in the Kosovo field against the Ottoman empire. Serbia managed to preserve its freedom for another seventy years, only to be finally overwhelmed by the Turks in 1459.

With several brief interludes of 2-5 years each and one longer one (1717-1739) when the territory of Serbia south of the rivers Danube and Sava was incorporated into Austrian Empire, it remained under Ottoman rule until an uprising in the early 1800s grew into a full scale war (Serbian Revolution aka First Serbian Uprising) led to the restoration of Serbian autonomy in 1815 and full independence in 1837. However, after 160 years under the Turks (the same as most of Croatia and Hungary), Northern Serbia (Vojvodina) was under the Austrian rule from the 1690s.

The 1914 Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by an ethnic Serb high school student precipitated the first World War. In its aftermath in 1918, victorious Serbia gatherd all south Slav lands (Croatia, Slovenia, Slavonia, Dalmatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Montenegro)into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes; The country's name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929. Invasion and occupation by Germany and Italy in 1941 was resisted by Yugoslav Army in fatherland (Chetniks), commanded by Lt.-Gen Dragoljub Mihajlović and communist led guerrilla (partisans) who eventually started fighting each other as well as the invaders. The partisans, commanded by Field-Marshal Josip Broz Tito emerged victorious and formed a provisional government that abolished the monarchy and proclaimed a republic in 1946 after a dubious referendum. At the end of the war, nearly all ethnic Germans left the country. Although pro-Communist, J.B. Tito's new government successfully steered its own delecate path between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West for the next four and a half decades.

In the early 1990s, post-Tito Yugoslavia began to unravel along ethnic lines: Slovenia, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia all split from the Yugoslav Union in 1991; and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. All of efforts to preserve Yugoslavia were ultimately unsuccessful and bloody civil wars broke out in Croatia and in Bosnia. The remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro declared a new "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" (FRY) in 1992. Slobodan Milošević was elected the first president of Serbia.

In the late 1990s, the conflict with the Albanian separatist movement in Kosovo led to a NATO bombing campaign and direct intervention, which left the placement of Kosovo under a UN administration. Slobodan Milošević, by this time elected for the president of the federation, lost in the Federal elections in the fall of 2000 to Vojislav Koštunica. The country reestablished its membership in the UN and started preparations to join the EU.

In 2002, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro began negotiations to forge a looser relationship, which led first to the name change of the nation to "Serbia and Montenegro", then culminated in Montenegro declaring independence in June 2006. Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence; however, this act remains unrecognised by Serbia and many other countries.

Independence came on 4 February 2003 (when it changed from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro) or on 5 June 2006 (from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro to Serbia).

National holidays

January 1-2 (New Year's Day), January 7 (Eastern Orthodox Christmas), January 14 (working day) (Orthodox New Year), January 27 (working day) (Saint Sava's feast Day), February 15-16 (Sretenje / Groundhog Day (Candlemas) / Serbian National Day), Good Friday and Easter Monday (according to Orthodox calendar), May 1-2 (Labour Day), May 9 (working day) (Victory Day), June 28 (working day) (Vidovdan / St Vitus Day) and November 11 (Armistice Day) are designated as state holidays. Major retail establishments such as supermarkets and shopping malls remain open on all of these days except January 1 and January 7. There are also several officially designated days on which only the members of certain religious minorities have the right for a day off. In practice this means that in the northernmost areas of the country, including Subotica, where there is a sizeable Catholic population, many shops close on December 25 - Christmas Day according to the Gregorian calendar.

Measures

Serbia, like most countries in the world, uses the Metric system.

Get in

Most European nationals need no visa for entering Serbia. Citizens of USA, Canada, Israel, Singapore, Japan, Australia and some other nations do not need visas either for stays up to 90 days. Citizens of the EU, Bosnia, FYR Macedonia and Montenegro need only an ID card. Check with your nearest Serbian embassy for current and detailed information.

Serbia announced that visitors with Kosovan visas or passport stamps will not be allowed into the country. Currently, however, this is not the case, but the visas and stamps will be overstamped with a "cancelled" stamp. Be warned that entering Serbia through Kosovo without a Serbian entry stamp is considered as an illegal entry and can be met with stiff penalties; however, leaving Serbia via Kosovo is not a problem.

Customs controls are fairly straightforward, but a notable regulation is that you are allowed to move only 120,000 Serbian dinars into and out of the country, and notes larger than 1000 dinars are not allowed to move across the border. You can take up to 10000€ through the border without declaration. Since bank transfers from Serbia are still difficult cash is still the easiest option for medium sums.

By plane

  • Belgrade The main airport of Serbia is the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG), just a 15 kilometres from downtown Belgrade. Major European airlines fly to Belgrade. Serbian national airline Air Serbia flies to all major cities in Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East. These are the following airlines that fly to Belgrade:
  • Aeroflot (Moscow -Sheremetyevo),
  • Aegean Airlines (Athens),
  • Air Serbia (Abu Dhabi ,Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin-Tegel, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Istanbul-Atatürk, Larnaca, London-Heathrow, Milan-Malpensa, Monastir, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Ohrid, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Prague, Podgorica, Rome-Fiumicino, Sarajevo, Skopje, Split, Stockholm-Arlanda, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki, Tivat, Vienna, Zagreb ,Zürich),
  • Alitalia(Rome),
  • Austrian (Vienna),
  • Belavia Belorussian Airways (Budapest,Minsk),
  • Easyjet (Geneva),
  • Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi),
  • Gazpromavia (Sochi),
  • Germanwings (Stuttgart),
  • LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw),
  • Lufthansa (Frankfurt, Munich),
  • Montenegro Airlines (Podgorica, Tivat),
  • Norwegian (Oslo),
  • Dubai (Dubai),
  • Pegasus Airlines (Istanbul - Sabiha Gokchen),
  • Swiss International Air Lines (Geneva,Zürich),
  • TAROM (Bucharest)
  • Tunisair (Enfidha, Tunis)
  • Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk).
  • Wizzair (Basel, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Gothenburg-City, Larnaka, London-Luton, Malmö, Memmingen, Paris-Beauveis, Rome-Fiumicino, Stockholm-Skavsta),
  • Qatarairways (Doha)

From the airport, you can easily reach the center of Belgrade with city bus number 72, which stops right in front of the departure hall.

There are also express mini buses (line A1) connecting airport with Slavija square. Ticket price is RSD 250 (€2,50)

Licensed taxi service fares from the airport to the city have a flat rate of RSD 1500 (€15). Travel time to the city centre is approximately 20 min.

Incoming taxis have constant radio communication with airport authorities. This ensures passengers a better alternative.

Should there be any problem finding a taxi, you should address the staff of the Tourist Organisation of Belgrade in the Arrivals Hall to call a taxi for you.

All taxis working at the airport are comfortable limousines in top-notch condition.

Using taxi services for destinations outside metropolitan Belgrade is unwise, as prices are unreasonably high. All licensed taxi drivers have a badge, an oval blue license plate with a serial number, and the Belgrade Coat of Arms displayed on the roof. Licensed taxis should also have a letters TX as the last ones on their car license plates.

Make sure that the taximeter is switched on unless you have haggled for a set price. Tariff 1 is the correct one Monday to Saturday from morning till 10PM. On Tariff 1, the meter should not move more than one dinar per click - moving three or four dinars per click is a sure sign that the driver is attempting to rip you off. Tariff 3 is the 'trick' fare used to scam out of obscene amounts of money, moving 50 or 60 dinars per click. Or better, take one of the several bus lines, check the Belgrade section.

  • Niš - Serbia's second international airport is in Niš - Niš Constantine the Great International Airport (INI). The following airlines operate to and from the airport: Montenegro Airlines (Podgorica).

By train

Several international trains (day and night) connect Belgrade with Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria. See Belgrade#By_train for detailed info and prices. Trains to Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia tend to be often quite late (about an hour) and they are allegedly reported to often consist of old, not very comfortable, cars. Trains usually are very safe. Consider that many overnight trains cross the border in the middle of the night and custom officers won't have scruple to wake you up.

There's no train connection from Greece, as in Jan 2011 Greek Railways suspended all international trains. The former trains from Greece now depart from Skopje, Macedonia.

For timetables and all other infos check website of national carrier Serbian Railways

A cheap way of traveling to or from Serbia might be the Balkan Flexipass.

For railway fans

The Beograd-Bar line is one of the most scenic railways in Europe, with plenty of tunnels and bridges (including Mala Rijeka, the highest railway bridge in the world) and magnificent views of Dinar mountains. It's definitively worth to ride here on a daytime train.

By car

If your vehicle is registered and insured in an EU country you do not need a green card. Otherwise, make sure that your Green Card has an uncancelled "SRB" box. Coming in from Hungary, the Szeged/Horgos border crossing is notorious for its congestion. If crossing the border from Hungary, try the Tompa/Kelebija crossing point, about 20km west.

On the two-lane E75 between Szeged, Hungary to Novi Sad, please note that cars over-taking will often use the unofficial "middle-lane". Exercise caution and pull over to the hard shoulder on the right to let them through safely. The dual carriageway should be completed by the end of 2011 to eliminate this risk. Because of construction works, care should be taken (as of September 2010) as there are trucks leaving construction sites and entering highway at low speeds. These sections are restricted to 40km/h but drivers usually drive through those sections at full speed.

Police are generally stationed at major junctions or at underpasses to control traffic and speed. Drivers commonly warn others of a police presence by flicking the high-beams on two or three times. Police interceptors patrol all major highways. Drivers speeding and/or driving aggressively are stopped. Speeds of up to 140km/h in 120km/h zones are usually, but not always, tolerated.

Note that the traffic law is strict. No person under age of 14 is permitted to ride in the front seat, seat belts are obligatory for all passengers, blood alcohol content is limited to 0.03% and fines start at €30 for smaller violations and go up to 60 days in prison and €5,000 for causing a larger traffic accident (both locals and foreigners). Keep in mind that if you kill someone in an accident, a prison sentence will be almost unavoidable. IMPORTANT! If you are driving on country and local roads, pay attention to the bicycle riders, tractors and other heavy agricultural machines, especially at night! They can be without proper light signalization and hard to see, so slow down at night.

The highway is tolled, but the toll is no longer higher for foreigners than for locals. Highway tolls cost on average 0.03€/km and can be paid in Serbian dinars or Euros. They are charged by road section, so it's possible to pay more if only part of section is used. Main roads and populated areas are well covered with gas stations providing you wide range of common fuels (eurodiesel, non - leaded petrol, etc). LPG stations are not so numerous, but are in satisfying numbers on main roads and major cities.

Serbian Auto - moto association (AMSS) phone number is 1987 and they provide all kinds of services (info, tows, repairs...). Note that private tow services can be expensive, some a blunt rip - off . Most of the major car companies have their appointed services in Serbia.

By bus

Vienna - Buses leave from Vienna International Busterminal (Erdberg) almost every day. For destinations south of Belgrade, Zoran Reisen coaches leave at 3PM on Friday, and charge around €45 for a one-way trip.

For more information, see the timetable in English (arrivals/departures) of the Belgrade bus station.

By boat

There are boat tours, which pass through Belgrade. These are Trafalgar Tours in English, which cruise along the Danube and have a two day stopover in Belgrade.

By thumb

Hitchhiking across Serbia is still acceptable and most drivers will treat you like a friend. However, necessary precautions should still be taken. Generally, it is easy to hitchhike through Vojvodina and much more difficult to hitch a ride from Belgrade to the south, to Kosovo, or Macedonia and Montenegro. The Hitchhiker's Guide to Serbia offers a collection of hitchhiking tips for a number of cities and towns in Serbia. It was made by the members of the Serbia Travel Club, an association of independent travelers from Serbia, and is available in English and Serbian.

By bike

The cycling route EuroVelo 6 which runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, crosses Serbia by following the Danube river. Most of the advised itinerary follows minor paved roads, and directions are clearly indicated by a specific EuroVelo 6 signage.

Although too few cities offer appropriate cyclist-friendly infrastructures, cycling is slowly gaining interest among the population as an economic and sustainable alternative way of touring and commuting.

Get around

The most common and convenient way of getting around Serbia is by bus. See Bus travel in the former Yugoslavia for more information.

Talk

See also: Serbian phrasebook

The official Serbian language is similar to Croatian and Bosnian. Before the era of nationalist linguistic policies and the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, all of those dialects were all known as Serbo-Croatian. Today, people in the former Yugoslavia no longer use this general term for what remains a common language.

English is commonly spoken throughout Serbia and they are also quite willing to practice it with foreigners. You can also try with German, French, Russian, Spanish or Italian which are taught in school.

If you speak Russian, it can prove to be occasionally helpful for you, as the two languages have some similarities, as well as being taught at schools during the communist era. This also includes all other Slavic languages, especially Bulgarian and Macedonian. English is largely the foreign language of choice among younger Serbians.

In Vojvodina, most people speak Serbian, but other languages are also used. In some towns near the Hungarian border, you are more likely to hear Hungarian. There are many smaller minorities (Slovaks, Romanians, Roma people), who often speak their native languages.

See

Serbia's many sights include stunning castles, Medieval monasteries, lovely traditional villages and bustling cities with baroque parks and art-deco architecture.

Cities and villages

Its capital, Belgrade, is a lively and upcoming European city with the Sava and Danube rivers running right trough it. Certainly not a boring city, it has a plethora of interesting destinations, old and new.. Stroll through Prince Michael Street, the cities main pedestrian street, or stop by for a drink in one of Skadarlija 's many restaurants. There are a lot of old buildings on all four banks, including the huge Kalemegdan Fortress, that has been built, modeled and remodeled by the Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Serbs, Austrians and Turks in a time span of over 2000 years. Once an important military fortification, it now serves as a central park of Belgrade with beautiful views facing the north-west. Within the fort is a zoo, a military museum, a couple churches rich in history, galleries, parks, sports fields, etc. It has a multitude of various towers and ports, and two long walking/biking paths along both rivers. Other Belgrade sights include the modern Temple of Saint Sava, the National Museum and the Old Court palace. The river island Ada Ciganlija has an artificial lake and an 8 km long gravel beach, and is a close option if one doesn't want to bathe in pools. Should one want the contrary, Tasmajdan park is, along with the famous church of St. Mark, filled with pools and even houses a water polo team. It's a lively place with lots of sports and entertainment, cafes and restaurants, some of which are opened the whole year round. Zemun, now part of the Belgrade urban area, developed under Hungarian and later Habsburg influence for most of its history and is a pleasant area with a distinct feeling dissimilar to Belgrade itself. It offers plenty of entertainment and restaurants on its Zemun quay, on the bank of the Danube.

Novi Sad is another delightful city, with the Petrovaradin Fortress (one of the greatest and best preserved XVIII century fortresses in Europe) as it's main sight. The city also has a number of lovely parks that just ask for a long afternoon stroll or picnic. Sremski Karlovci near Novi Sad has a rich history, numerous monuments, museums, churches, galleries and famous wine cellars. Town of Novi Pazar, your last stop before Kosovo, has a distinct Turkish heritage and a bunch of great monasteries in the surrounding area.

Mokra Gora is a village reconstructed in a traditional style in the popular mountain region of Zlatibor. The village of Sirogojno is in the same region, with a nice open air museum and lots of traditional crafts on display. Very nearby is the traditional village of Drvengrad, also known as Mećavnik, which the Serbian film director Emir Kusturica built for his film Life Is a Miracle. After you see the villages, Zlatibor offers some great ski-resorts, hiking trails and landscapes. Or hop on the Šargan Eight, a narrow-gauge heritage railway running from Mokra Gora to Šargan Vitasi station (Zlatibor and Tara mountains). When it comes to the number of bridges and tunnels, and the rise of 18 per thousand, Sargan Eight is unique in Europe and a ride on the 8-shaped track is a popular pass time for tourists.

Monasteries

Serbia is home to a great number of Medieval orthodox monasteries, many with excellent fresco masterpieces inside. The 12th century monastery of Studenica (near Kraljevo) is one of the finest examples and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its two churches are built in white marble and boast some stunning 13th and 14th century Byzantine paintings. Žiča, also near Kraljevo, was founded around 1207 and painted red as a symbol of the blood of the martyrs of the early Christian church. The frescos at Sopoćani (near Novi Pazar) are considered some of the finest examples of their time, and the monastery is on the World Heritage list together with ruins of ancient Stari Ras, once the capital of the Serbian state of Raška but deserted in the 13th century. The fortified Manasija monastery near Despotovac is protected by massive walls and towers, and although much of its original frescos were damaged beyond repair during the Ottoman rule, it's still well worth a visit. Located in the beautiful Kučaj mountains, Ravanica near Ćuprija was assaulted, damaged and rebuilt time and again during history. It is the burial place of Lazar of Serbia, who is a saint of the orthodox Serbian church and a hero in Serbian epic poetry. Other fine monasteries include the Mileševa monastery near Prijepolje, with its world famous "White Angel" fresco, and Krušedol near Srem. The famous medieval monasteries were protected by UNESCO are: The Pec Patriarchate(monastery), Gracanica monastery, the monastery of Visoki Decani, ...

If you stay only in Belgrade, be sure to visit Frescoes museum in the centre which will provide you with a glimpse of a Serbian fresco paintings as it holds copies of the most famous and beautiful frescoes from various monasteries.

National parks

Of the several national parks and natural areas in the country, Fruška Gora is undoubtedly one of the best. Dotted with ancient monasteries and wineries, it combines orchards and vineyards on its vast plains with tight forests on its plains. The Tara National Park covers some 20.000 hectares in the west of the country. There, the steep gorges of the Drina river and the high mountain peaks provide some stunning views that make a long hike well worth your effort. The mountainous landscape of Kopaonik, in the south, offers some great ski and snowboard opportunities as well as great views and a rich flora.

Largest national park in the country is Đerdap. Situated in eastern part of the country, on the border with Romania. It consists of the Djerdap (Iron Gate) gorge thru which the river Danube runs and its beautiful surroundings of almost untouched nature. It is simply breathtaking and best experienced from a boat cruise. It can be also toured by bus or a car with many belvederes to stop and enjoy its views. EuroVelo 6 cycling route also runs through it.

Spas and resorts

Serbia is the land of spas. There are many thermal and mineral water springs and most of them are turned into healing and resting resorts. Vrnjačka Banja is the largest and most popular of them and is traditionally very attractive tourist resort for rest and recreation. It's the only mineral spa with a water temperature to match that of the human body, 36.5 degrees Celsius. Sokobanja is another famous spa and tourist place in Serbia known for its moderate continental climate and untouched nature - immense surfaces of woods, fresh air and a lot of thermo-mineral sources. Palić is a lovely city in the north. Its baroque parks, monuments of art nouveau architecture and a long tradition in catering made it a fashionable summer resort and spa for the 19th and 20th century elite.

Archeological sites

Viminacium near the village of Stari Kostolac is an important archaeological site and was Serbia's first excavation project in the 1880s. It was once the provincial capital of the Roman province of Moesia (today's Serbia) and dates back to the 1st century. At the site you'll find archaeological remains of temples, streets, squares, a large amphitheatre, palaces, hippodromes and Roman baths. Another major archaeological site (and doubling as a spa) is that of Gamzigrad. It hosts the remnants of an ancient Roman complex of palaces and temples called Felix Romuliana, and is considered one of the most prominent and best preserved late-Roman sites.

Lepenski Vir, situated in national park Đerdap, 160 km. east of Belgrade, between towns of Golubac and Donji Milanovac, is the site of oldest neolithic settlement in Europe and is part of UNESCO world heritage. It is very well preserved and famous for its fish-like sculptures. From neolithic period there is also a archaeological site Vinča, less spectacular though, but a must - see. It is situated in Belgrede suburb of Vinča, 20 km. from city centre.

Do

Ada Ciganlija is also an excellent place to kick back and relax during summer. It is as locals call it the sea of Belgrade. A lot of sport fields and courts (soccer, basketball, golf, volleyball, etc.). Cafes serving ice cream and beer abound on the banks of this lake-beach park.

Favorite leisure activity in Belgrade is drinking coffee in numerous bars, bistros and cafés (especially in Strahinjića Bana street, which is known locally as Silicon Valley). It is very strange, but most of places are occupied all day long - i.e., within working hours. You should check: Downtown café, Buka bar, Movie bar, Iron café, Biblioteka café, Monza café-boat, Bibis café-boat, and many more; People who are not in the folk and MTV music, and don't like to drink overpriced coffee, should avoid this street. There are coffee bars on almost every corner in Belgrade, which offer more relaxed atmosphere and are designed with more taste that those in Strahinjića Bana street.

Smederevo is a town about 50 km from Belgrade. There are direct bus lines almost every half an hour and it takes about one hour to get there from Belgrade. It is considered as the unofficial rock 'n' roll capitol of Serbia because of its many rock musicians and bands who live there or were born there. See the largest lowland medieval fortress in Europe (especially at night when its lights give a special romantic and mystical atmosphere) or go to a rock concert at "Moto Club Street Fighter" which is located at the very bank of the Danube. At the end of September, the town hosts a traditional festival called "Smederevska Jesen" (Smederevo Autumn) which is a festival of vine and Serbian culture with many concerts and other happenings. During the festival, there is a carnival located at the end of the town, but AVOID IT because it's loud and crowded and basically, there's nothing to see or do. Just stay in the town center. The Museum of Smederevo holds a lot of Roman and medieval items and collections, so for history lovers, it's a must-see.

Festivals and nightlife

Foam Fest - Belgrade Foam Fest is our most spectacular electronic music stage event. It originated in 2009 and more than 60,000 people have visited it since then. LED screens arranged all over the Arena, with hundreds of light guns, lasers, robo heads and other light and sound equipment, numerous foamfalls and foam guns will classify this event again as a manifestation that sets new production standards in Serbia and the region Belgrade Foam Fest.

EXIT festival – Biggest music festival in SE Europe, that is happening in the beginning of July, in Novi Sad, on Petrovaradin fortress [1].

Festival of traditional brass bands, "Trumpet Festival" in Guca village is held every year at the beginning of August.Festival of traditional brass bands, "Trumpet Festival" in Guca village located 20 km from the town of Cacak.During the festival in this small town a few days to go over half a million visitors.The festival in Guca is perhaps the biggest festival of this type, including a lot of visitors from abroad.

Belgrade Beer Fest, which takes place at Ušće every August offers a taste of domestic and foreign beers and some good rock music [2].

Belgrade is very famous for its whole-night-party clubs. If you are looking for a place to feel the local atmosphere and good vibes, visit bohemian street “Skadarlija”. Please have a look at the Belgrade article for further options.

New Year's Eve

Restaurants, clubs, cafe's and hotels are usually full-booked and organize New Years celebrations with food and live music.

However, Serbian New Year's celebrations are most known for the outdoors festivities in Belgrade, and several other major cities such as Novi Sad, Niš and Jagodina. As of mid-December, cities are extensively decorated and lit. The decorations remain until way into January due to the persistent influence of the old Julian calendar. Throughout the region, especially amongst former Yugoslav republics, Belgrade is known as the place to be for major parties, concerts and happenings. It has become common for large groups of Slovenes to visit their former capital and celebrate the beginning of a new year. Especially since the mid-1990s, street celebrations grew into mass gatherings with hundreds of thousands of people, celebrating New Year on one of several locations throughout Belgrade.

Also, on January 14, Serbians celebrate the so-called Serbian New Year, which is actually New Year's Eve by Eastern Church calendar. In the night between January 13 and 14, you can actually re-live New Year's Eve.

Buy

Money

The currency in Serbia is the dinar (drnoted by РСД or динар, pl. dinari/динари). The USO currency code is RSD. Coins are minted in values of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 dinars, and banknotes are printed in values of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 dinars. The banknotes tend to be more common than the coins, so be prepared to carry around a large number of banknotes in varying conditions.

Money can be exchanged at official exchange offices, locally called menjačnica, often carrying the emblem of the National Bank of Serbia outside the building. The rates here are usually better than those of the banks. It is much easier to convert euros or other major currencies. There are many ATMs, which accept foreign bank and credit cards without a glitch. Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard and Maestro are widely accepted. However, American Express and Diners Club cards are rarely accepted. Likewise, traveller's cheques are not a well known form of payment in Serbia and cashing them in could present a challenge.

The dinar is not widely convertible outside Serbia; it is advisable to re-convert your remaining dinars to Euros or other major currencies before leaving the country.

Old Yugoslavian currency can be purchased from street sellers. A RSD500,000,000,000 note makes an interesting souvenir. At Kalemegdan, near the fortress in Belgrade, you can pick up a set of 10 banknotes from the hyperinflation era for RSD500.

The euro is occasionally accepted, but prices are often higher when directly compared to the Dinar. Belgrade is typically on par with prices in many European cities; however, outside the capital, prices of almost any item are a lot lower than in the capital.

Money changers may refuse worn-out or damaged foreign banknotes, especially US dollars, therefore it is recommended to bring notes only in good condition. Banks usually accept slightly damaged notes, sometimes with a commission.

Gas stations close to borders sometimes accept foreign currencies.

Tipping

Tips are never considered a strict obligation since service charges are always included in the bill, however roudning up or leaving a tip (10-15%) is common in restaurants (not in fast-food restaurants) if the customer is satisfied with the service. Tips are also accepted in bars and taxicabs (usually by rounding up the amount paid - e.g. if the taximeter displays 592 RSD, give 600).

Shopping

Imported western food is available in many supermarkets, especially in the "Idea" chain.

In nearly all Serbian pharmacies (apoteka), you can buy prescription drugs without prescription.

Prices tend to be on par with the rest of the Balkans. However, import taxes make clothes and shoes in Serbia very expensive.

Eat

Serbian food is a typical Balkan mix of Central European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern dishes. Serbs are very proud of their food, which is heavy on grilled meats and sausages, local cheeses and bread. Serbia is predominantly a meat-loving nation. In all major cities, there are many international restaurants, such as Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Lebanese. In Belgrade you can even find sushi or kosher food.

There are international fast-food franchises such as McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut. On the whole, prices are cheap compared to Western Europe with main dishes ranging from €5–20 per person.

Typical Serbian foods

Most Serbian restaurants offer roštilj, a large plate of various grilled meats, or any possible variety of grilled chicken wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese. It is possible to order fresh salads, plates of grilled vegetables, crepes, or omelettes if you are not carnivorous. Serbian cuisine is famous for its heavy use of varied vegetables, fresh or cooked.

Bakeries – called pekara – are ubiquitous in the city center, and you will find a wide assortment of breads, sweet and savoury pastries, sandwiches, and pizza. Some are open 24 hours per day. A snack or light meal of pastry and drinkable yoghurt (similar to kefir but milder) will give you an added healthy boost when walking about the city center.

Turkish delicacies such as baklava, tulumba, and other sweet treats are also commonly found.

Foods that vegetarians and meat eaters alike should try include kajmak (something between cream cheese and butter) and ajvar, a savory spread made out of roasted red peppers. It is also worth visiting a pijaca (green market) to buy some fresh fruit, vegetables and other grocery items.

Pljeskavica (pronounced approximately: PLYES-ka-vitsa) is the Serbian version of a hamburger which can be purchased from fast food restaurants.

The most famous dish in Serbia is ćevapčići (pronounced: chay-VAH-pee, chay-VAP-chitchee). Also called Ćevapi, they are a traditional food eaten throughout the Balkans. It consists of different types of minced meat (pork and beef) mixed together, shaped like small sausages, and then put on the grill. It is usually eaten with diced onion, and is very tasty. Depending on size, a portion of ćevapčići in a somun (pita bread), possibly with onion, ajvar or kajmak, is between €1.5 and €4.

Do not forget to taste the Karađorđeva Šnicla. It is meat that is filled with kajmak and bacon, and then pan-fried. It is another traditional Serbian dish that honors the leader of the first Serbian uprising against the Ottomans.

Try other traditional Serbian dishes, such as pečenje (roast pork or lamb), veal soup, fish soup...

Burek (pronounced BOO-rek) is considered a national dish. It is made with a range of fillings including meat, cheese, spinach, apple or cherry. Due to the high fat content it is not for dieters. it is often eaten in the morning and can be sold out by the evening.

  • Ćevapi (Ћевапи) -something like a Mixed grilled meat (one serving contains 5 or 10 pieces)
  • Pečenje (печење) -roast pork or lamb-roast
  • Kiflice (кифлице) (KEE-flitsay) small crescent-shaped bread rolls.
  • Paprikaš (Паприкаш) (PAP-rik-ahsh) - stew with paprika often with chicken
  • Gulaš (Гулаш) (GOO-lash)) - stew with paprika with beef
  • Sarma (сарма) (SAR-ma) cabbage rolls, similar to dolmades, but made with sauerkraut instead of vine leaves
  • Gibanica (Гибаница) (GHEE-ban-itsa) - phillo pastry made into a pie with spinach and cheese or just cheese (like spanakopita or tiropita in Greece)
  • Lepinja (комплет лепиња или лепиња са све) - baked egg and cream inside of bread loaf.
  • Punjene Paprike] (Пуњене паприке) - stuffed peppers (POON-yennay PAP-rik-ay)
  • Pohovane Paprike (Поховане паприке (PO-ho-vah-nay PAP-rik-ay) - paprika rolled in soya oil and wheat flower and fried in sunflower oil, for vegetarians
  • Pasulj (Пасуљ)(PAS-ooy) - beans. A national specialty. Often cooked for a long time with onion and paprika.
  • Riblja čorba (рибља чорба) (RIB-yah CHOR-ba) Fish soup using freshwater fish.
  • Roštilj (Роштиљ) (ROSH-teel) - barbecued meats.
  • Prebranac (пребранац) (pre-BRAH-nats) - is for vegetarians. It's cooked and roasted beans with various spices and vegetables. Usually completely meat free.
  • Teleća čorba (Телећа чорба) -veal soup
  • Proja (Проја) (PRO-ya) - a type of corn bread with white cheese. A national specialty.
  • Ajvar (Ајвар) - ordinary red pepper, freshly ground and roasted and then made into a chutney.
  • Kajmak (Кајмак) -something between cream cheese and butter.

Vegetarian foods

Pure vegetarian restaurants are rare, but many places will provide you with non-meat food (just ask for 'posno'-general term for non - meat foods). Numerous fast-food stands (burgers, barbecue, pizza, hot dog, pancakes...) and bakeries (oriental and european paistry, pitas...) are usually very good and will satisfy your needs at a reasonable price. Pizza, sandwiches, and pancakes (crepes) are also commonly found. Salads are primarily tomato, cucumber, and onion, or cabbage. Local produce is fresh and organic.

Serbian-style coffee

Coffee culture in Belgrade is particularly developed, walking about the central areas of the city you will find sprawling terraces and cafés, serving all types of coffee and sweets, particularly Viennese type cakes and local specialties. Be sure to try Serbian Turkish style coffee, and chestnut purée with whipped cream, a local specialty especially at Republic Square (available mostly during winter).

Drink

  • Rakija/Ракија/ (excellent brandy that has many flavours, like plum /Шљивовица/ (pronounced like SHLYEE-va), quince /Дуњевча/(DOO-nyah), apricot/Кајсијевача/ (KAI-see-yah), Pear /Крушковача/, plum-juniper/Клековача/(mix between rakija and Gin)... - You should know that some prestigious brands of rakija can be extremely expensive like Žuta Osa (ZHOO-tah O-sah), which means Yellow Wasp, also Viljamovka (VEE-lyam-ovka) made of pear of the sort william, the most expensive and the most quality ones have a pear fruit in the bottle.
  • Loza (grape brandy, grappa, a type of rakija)
  • Voda = Water
  • Slivovitza /Шљивовица/(plum brandy - the national brandy of Serbia, and the most common type of Rakija, very popular, variably strong alcoholic beverage)
  • The Wine is delicious and comes from many wine regions :Srem (especially town of Sremski Karlovci, also Irig), Oplenac, Župa, SmederevoNegotin, Metohija, ...
  • Beer(Пиво). Jelen (Deer) and Lav (Lion) are the two most popular varieties of Serb beer, although Nikšićko from neighbouring Montenegro also seems very popular.
  • Spring mineral water(Вода)-There are plenty of excellent bottled spring mineral water,from natural resources and protected areas.
  • Мineral water(Минерална Вода)- In Serbia there are plenty of well-known springs (spa) mineral water (slightly sour, with a natural carbon)

Tap water is perfectly safe to drink, and mainly of a good quality, too. There are also many springs and fountains with excellent-quality drinking water - the most popular ones being the fountain on Knez Mihailova in Belgrade, and the many fountains in the city of Nis. One must pay attention when it comes to water in Vojvodina. Some regions (like Kikinda and Zrenjanin) have heavily polluted water that is not even used for cooking, only as technical water.

Stay safe

Serbia is generally a safe place to visit. The locals are incredibly polite and helpful in case you require any assistance. (If you need any help finding/reaching a place, it's best to ask a younger person for help, as they are more likely to speak English.) However, you should always be aware of pickpockets, mainly in crowded tourist places and on public transportation. Street robberies, murders, or attacks are highly unusual, even in dark or remote parts of a city/town. One should always watch out for drivers, who can be very rude to pedestrians or cyclists. There is also widespread intolerance against homosexuals.

Emergency phone numbers are: 192 - police; 193 - fire dept. and 194 - ambulance.

Following the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, reports of UXO's (unexploded ordnances) have occurred outside the major cities. Keep an eye out for markings which may note a potential UXO zone when outside the cities and always stick to well-trod paths. If you find a suspicious object resembling a bomb/mortar/landmine, DON'T touch it. Report it to the nearest police station immediately. Although most or UXO's have been cleared, it is also very unlikely that you will find any of those, even in the least visited parcels of Serbia.

Respect

Serbs are a very friendly, polite and hospitable people, especially in the southern parts of the country.

When you are invited into a Serbian home, make sure to bring them a gift if you are coming for the first time. Anything is fine from flowers to chocolate or/and something representative from your country. When you arrive at a rural house, take off your shoes unless the owner explicitly tells you to keep them on. When inside the house, don't ask for anything, for they will surely offer it. If you are thirsty it is polite to ask for a glass of water. The host probably forgot to offer you a drink and will do so.

In a bus or a tram it is considered polite to offer an elderly person or a pregnant woman a place to sit.

Since many Serbs feel frustrated by the recent historical events in the Balkans, it is best to avoid discussion of the 1990s Yugoslavian Wars or the NATO bombing of Serbia. If someone brings the topic up, try to avoid giving any strong opinions until you can assess your acquaintance's views. Do not voice support for Kosovo independence. The US's vocal support of Kosovar independence, in addition to the 1999 air strikes caused some ill will directed towards the West, particularly towards the US (though this is rarely extrapolated to individual Americans). However if you share the views of most Serbs, some may be willing to discuss the subject and many will be happy speaking to a Westerner who shares their views.

On the other hand, talking about Socialist Yugoslavia and Tito will not raise as many eyebrows, as most will not hesitate to talk about it and some may even approach it with a strong degree of affection towards that stabler and more peaceful era. Remember, Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo but maintains relations with Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Macedonia.

Similar to other ex-Yugoslavia countries, Serbs do not like their country to be described as part of "Eastern Europe". A common misconception is that Serbia was part of the Soviet Bloc (in fact, it was part of Yugoslavia, which split with the Eastern bloc in 1948). While in other nations of Eastern Europe Russia remains unpopular due to its influence over those nations during the Cold War, in Serbia Russians were always seen as friendly brotherly people. People have no problems talking about the communist period or Tito and often express nostalgia over it.

When toasting in Serbia, as in most European countries, make sure you make eye contact. You may be invited to drink gallons but are expected to be able to hold your drink. Being obviously drunk is a sign of bad taste, lack of character, and worse. Be careful: "rakija", a plum spirit (usually about 53% alcohol content), is stronger than you might expect, and will make you drunk fast! It is always nice to toast in your companion's native tongue. Cheers is živeli in Serbian.

Don't point with your finger at someone. This is considered rude.

Socially, displays of affection among the younger generation are the same as Western European standards, but the older generation (over 65) still are quite conservative.

The word molim (please) is key to polite conversation in Serbian. It basically means please, but also you're welcome, an appropriate response when somebody thanks you (and says hvala). It also means I beg your pardon?. Just saying Šta? (What?) can sound rude. It may be said that the use of the word molim is similar to the use of bitte in German.

Like most European languages, has the formal and informal way of saying you (Vi and ti). Use the formal Vi version when addressing older people. People are normally not addressed or referred to by their first names, unless among friends or relatives.

Connect

There are three GSM/UMTS mobile phone networks in Serbia: MTS, Telenor and Vip. Prepaid SIM cards usually cost 200 dinars and there is no need for identification when buying them at a store in person. But you need to have a valid Serbian ID for online order of prepaid SIM card from Telenor (the only operator known which takes online orders).

In some stores you can buy a simple mobile phone packaged with prepaid SIM card for 2000-3000 dinars.

Most hotels have internet connections, and plenty of restaurants have Wi-Fi hotspots.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Serbia

DK

New First Edition!

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Serbia will lead you straight to the best attractions this unique and boisterous country has to offer.

Explore one of Europe's best kept secrets, from the stunning Manasija monastery, St. Sava's Cathedral, and Kalemegdan Fortress to Tara National Park and the lively Dragačevo Folk Festival. Let this first edition guidebook lead you on a walking tour of Belgrade, a boat trip on the Danube River, a tour of the monasteries of Fruška Gora, and much, much more.

Whether you are interested in the culture and history of this Eastern European nation or are seeking outdoor adventures such as rafting, caving, and cycling, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Serbia is your in-depth guide to the very best experiences.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Serbia.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.   • Features on the art, architecture, religion, landscape, and wildlife of Serbia.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights and restaurants.    • Full-color city and town maps include street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Serbia truly shows what others only tell you.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

Belgrade: The best Belgrade Travel Guide The Best Travel Tips About Where to Go and What to See in Belgrade,Serbia: (Belgrade tour guide, Belgrade travel ... Travel to Serbia, Travel to Belgrade)

Samir Taieb

The Best Belgrade travel guide on Kindle!Today only, get this Kindle book for just $2.99. Regularly priced at $4.99. Read on your PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.All other guides look the same why ? cause they are the same and typical boring books , the same tourist trap as well as the few other things ? No !!! In this book you will have way more !!Why this book is different ?This guide will help you on :-Your trip from Day 1 with what to bring with you ,- The different seasons and weather in Belgrade , what to wear and bring with you.- How to speak with locals in Serbian -Famous sites like the Old town, the Underground or even the Nicola Tesla museum- Pictures are present to help and enjoying reading ,-Transportation with different airports metro bus ferry etc.. as well as a metro map-Emergency number to contact in BelgradeDownload your copy today!Tags: Belgrade, belgrade belongs to me, Belgrade Travel Guide, Serbia, Serbia Travel, Serbia Travel Guide,

Serbia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Lara Zmukic

Serbia, a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, covers the southern part of the Pannonian plain and the central part of the Balkans. The dominant power in the former Yugoslavia, it has had a bad press in the West. However, the truth is much more nuanced and interesting than that portrayed by the media. Serbia is a country with wonderful scenery, architectural riches, and a vibrant arts scene, waiting to be discovered by Westerners.   Serbs are proud, passionate, and generous people with an independent streak. They have always had to fight for survival, first against the Ottoman Turks and then against the Habsburg Empire. Following the First World War, they took the lead in forming independent Yugoslavia. They resisted Hitler heroically. Under Tito’s rule Yugoslavia steered an independent course. After his death the multinational state disintegrated amid bitter conflict. The war over the secession of the province of Kosovo saw Serbia bombed by NATO forces for two and a half months. The Serbian people’s reaction to their hardline Communist regime was the Bulldozer Revolution—a campaign of civil resistance that returned the country to democracy in 2000.   Against this turbulent backdrop, the visitor to Serbia needs to be well informed and sensitive to people’s feelings. Culture Smart! Serbia introduces you to a diverse, complex, and dynamic society. It offers background information on Serbian history and customs, and essential advice on what to expect and how to behave in different circumstances. If you show interest and respect, you will receive a warm welcome and lasting loyalty in return.

Serbia (Bradt Travel Guide)

Laurence Mitchell

Serbia is a spirited, fascinating country and tourism has grown steadily. Belgrade and Novi Sad are lively, cosmopolitan and welcoming while rural Serbia, with hidden monasteries and breathtaking countryside, is an undiscovered gem. This edition of the guide features the burgeoning music festival scene, bird-watching, wine-tasting and Serbia’s growing litany of sporting stars such as Novak Djokovic. It includes a new section on the Danube cycling route. Updated throughout, the listings include boutique hotels, eco-lodges and backpacker hostels. The guide goes into greater depth than its competitors with more on the history, politics, culture and sights.

Snippets of Serbia

Emma Fick

An American artist chronicles her life in Serbia. This is Emma Fick's illustrated journey through the weird, the fun and the unique adventures to be experienced across this small Balkan country.Emma's book is a labour of love by an aspiring young artist that captures the sense of being in a moment. She beautifully conveys so much of Serbia's culture through a blend of playful illustrations and poignant written comments. Even locals gasp at how accurately she conveys the everyday aspects of Serbian life that are usually taken for granted or overlooked.

Slovenia/Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia-Herzegovina/Montenegro/Macedonia

Freytag-Berndt und Artaria

Explore the former Yugoslavia with this Freytag&Berndt double-sided road map. The best way to plan your trip, prepare your itinerary, and to travel independently in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, and FYROM. This double-sided map contains a place name index and shows inset maps (Belgrad, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo) in a booklet. Touristic information: places of interest, airports, monuments, archaeological sites, camp-grounds. The legend is in English, Serbo-Croatian, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Slovak, Hungarian, and Czech.

The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return

Kenan Trebincevic

A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his familyAt age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47 - screaming: "You have one hour to leave or be killed!" Kenan’s only crime: he was Muslim. This poignant, searing memoir chronicles Kenan’s miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia. After two decades in the United States, Kenan honors his father’s wish to visit their homeland, making a list of what he wants to do there. Kenan decides to confront the former next door neighbor who stole from his mother, see the concentration camp where his Dad and brother were imprisoned and stand on the grave of his first betrayer to make sure he’s really dead. Back in the land of his birth, Kenan finds something more powerful—and shocking—than revenge.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Areas bordering Kosovo

You should exercise a high degree of caution in the areas bordering Kosovo due to the potential for political tensions and possible unrest.

Crime

The incidence of street crime is similar to that elsewhere in Europe, particularly in urban centres. Pickpocketing occurs at airports, on public transportation and in other public places. Foreigners could be targeted by thieves. Car thieves target four-wheel-drive and luxury vehicles more than other models.

Use common sense in determining the need to drive with car windows closed and doors locked.       

Demonstrations

Demonstrations and roadblocks occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent, especially in the vicinity of official buildings and foreign embassies. Avoid all demonstrations, large gatherings and roadblocks, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local and international media.

Landmines

Special care should be taken in the areas that border Kosovo. Stay on the main roads as unexploded landmines and other unexploded ordnance remain in Serbia, particularly in the Presevo and Bujanovac districts (in southern Serbia).

Road travel

Secondary roads are often narrow and poorly maintained. The Ibarska Magistrala road is dangerous due to poor road conditions and traffic congestion. Expect delays along major or minor routes due to road construction.

There have been incidents where police have targeted vehicles with foreign plates, often demanding immediate cash payment for alleged traffic violations. If stopped, request a full explanation and, if an explanation is not forthcoming, request permission to speak to the Embassy of Canada in Belgrade.

Public transportation

Public transportation is often old and overcrowded, especially in Belgrade. Use only officially marked taxis and pre-negotiate fares where meter is not in use.  Make use of the taxi reservation service in the baggage claim area of Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla airport in order to avoid being charged exorbitant rates for transportation to the city centre.

Railway equipment is old. Trains are slow and often subject to delays. A number of companies offer domestic and international bus services.  The larger firms have modern, well-maintained fleets.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Fraud

Credit card fraud is common. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.

General safety information

Parliamentary elections will take place on March 16, 2014. Demonstrations may occur in the period surrounding the elections. Avoid all protests and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Exercise a high degree of caution in all places. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times, particularly on public transportation and in large crowds or public markets. Avoid showing signs of affluence and carrying large sums of cash.

Emergency services

Dial 192 for the police, 193 for firefighters, 194 for ambulance and 1987 for roadside assistance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to tick bites (e.g., those spending time outdoors in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that typically causes fever, bleeding under the skin, and pain. Risk is generally low for most travellers. It is spread to humans though contact with infected animal blood or bodily fluids, or from a tick bite. Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals. There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is not up to Western standards. Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Canada and Serbia are signatories to the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Serbia to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Serbian authorities.

Identification

Carry adequate identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.

Illegal activities

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Photography of military or police installations, vehicles and personnel is prohibited, unless authorized by the Ministry of Defence.

Dual citizenship

Canadians who are also citizens of Serbia are no longer subject to compulsory military service. Those who have not regulated their draft status should check with a Serbian embassy or consulate prior to travelling to ensure that their status has been resolved. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Homosexuality

While Serbian law forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation, homosexuality is not widely accepted by Serbian society.  Visitors are advised to exercise discretion.

Driving laws

An International Driving Permit is recommended. Always carry identification, vehicle registration and insurance papers.

Road tolls can be paid in local currency, Euros, or by credit card. The posted speed limits are strictly enforced.

Money

The currency is the new Serbian dinar (RSD).

The economy is largely cash-based. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available and provide the easiest access to local currency. More and more hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards. If you are arriving with cash, you will need to exchange it for dinars.  All banks and exchange offices will readily convert euros. Note that euros are not legal tender in Serbia.

Traveller’s cheques (American Express) can be exchanged at only a few banks in Belgrade.

When crossing one of the external border control points of the European Union (EU), you must make a declaration to customs upon entry or exit if you have at least €10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets. This does not apply if you are travelling within the EU or in transit to a non-EU country. For more information on the EU legislation and links to EU countries’ sites, visit the web page of the European Commission on cash controls.

Customs

When leaving Serbia, you will need to return a certified copy of Custom declaration so the money (up to the amount brought in but not exceeding €10,000 in value) can be taken out again. If you fail to comply with these rules, your money may be confiscated. In order to avoid customs charges, you are required to declare items of value (e.g. jewellery, photographic and computing equipment) that you are temporarily importing into Serbia. These items should be intended for your own personal use and you must take them with you when leaving the country.

Climate

Serbia is located in an active seismic zone.

Bush and forest fires are common between June and September. In case of a major fire, stay away from affected areas, follow the advice of local emergency services personnel and monitor local media for up-to-date information. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and affect travellers with respiratory ailments.