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Belgrade, capital of Serbia

Travel guide for Serbia

The country that has gone through a lot, but always finds a way to stand out. Serbia is not the classic case of a country that is at the top of a bucket list, however it is full of interesting travel treasures and compensates those who want to visit it. We chose it as a road trip destination starting by car from Athens. Below in our complete travel guide you will find all the basic information you need before your first visit to the country.

General Information

  • You can travel to Serbia with your ID if you are European. More information for the necessary travel documents, depending on your nationality and destination can be found here.
  • The voltage in Serbia is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. C / F socket types
  • The currency of Serbia is the Serbian dinar with an exchange rate of 1 € = 114,460 RSD. To be informed about currency exchange changes visit: XE Currency Converter.
  • It has several mobile phone companies such as Telekom Serbia, Mobilna Telefonija Srbija (MTS), Telenor Serbia and Orion Telekom. If you travel often you can buy a surfroam sim. You can use global internet with very low charges and use in over 200 countries including Serbia. For more information, look here.
  • Population about 7 million.
  • The official language is Serbian, followed by Hungarian to a very small extent.
  • The largest percentage of the population over 80% are Orthodox Christians, followed by Catholics and finally there is a very small percentage of Muslims.
  • The largest city and capital is Belgrade, followed by Novi Sad and Nis in third place.

Budget

The issue of accommodation is subjective since each of us might be travelling alone or with friends, and each of us has separate selection criteria and obviously a different budget. However, the platforms that now exist and which we quote at the end of our article, with innumerable options for all types of travelers, provide a solution to all the above. Here is an overview of accommodation in Serbia, which may vary depending on the season, availability and people you have chosen to travel or stay with.

Low budget: In the first category, a hostel can be found at a starting price of 7 € per person / per night in Novi Sad at a distance of just 300m from the center. Respectively in the capital of the country hostels start from 7 € again, but at a great distance from the center, which isn’t a great idea, while with just 11 € you can find a room in a mixed dormitory in the heart of the center.

Midbudget: In this category rooms in a central hotel with private bathroom and breakfast prices start from 35 € and exceed 60 € depending on the facilities.

High budget: Finally, regarding the most expensive rooms, 5-star hotels in the heart of the center start from € 231 with breakfast, gym and swimming pool. Cheaper 5-star hotels are more than 2 km from the city center with a starting price of just € 108 per person / night.

The cheapest  rooms are usually a long distance from the city center and the respective tourist attractions. So it is better to pay a little more for your accommodation and save time, than to spend more money on travel.

Find room deals here.

Traditional Food

Serbian cuisine is characterized by its great variety and spicy food. There is a mix of Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish and Hungarian cuisine. The locals eat meat and salads on an almost daily basis and also show great love for cheese and cold cuts. Basic ingredients of almost every local recipe are their very favorite paprika and other spices. In Serbia, paprika takes the meaning of the original product, the pepper itself, ie not the spice (powder) that is widely used in other kitchens. Paprika appears in most menus in various forms: raw, grilled, pickled, stuffed, mashed or seasoned (ajvar, also known as Serbian vegetarian caviar). Some of their most famous local dishes are:

Gibanica: Traditional handmade pie with pastry. The filling is with eggs and cheese. It is one of the most popular Serbian dishes and is also sold in bakeries in pieces, (for those in a hurry), but it is also served in their traditional taverns.

Pljeskavica: It is a thin roll made of ground beef and pork. There is no way you can go to a restaurant in Belgrade and not have this dish on the menu. It is one of the favourite dishes of the locals. Usually served with cabbage salad.

Ćevapi: The Balkan sausages known as cevapi or cevapcici were found in Eastern Europe and throughout  the Ottoman Empire. They are similar to the Greek soutzoukaki. Today, there are different versions of this dish throughout the Balkans. Some use pork and lamb, others use beef, and others skip pork altogether. They are hand-made and the meat mixture usually has enough garlic.

Watch our video from our roadtrip in Skopje and Serbia here.

Svadbarski kupus: One of the dishes that combines cabbage with pork. It is one of the favorite dishes of the Serbs, which is never missing from its festive tables and family gatherings. It is just a little more spicy and is a must for cold winter days.

Karadjordeva snicla: Crispy and juicy at the same time, the “Karadjordjeva” schnitzel is one of the most famous, characteristic Serbian delicacies. The schnitzel was named after Karadjordje, the founder of the first Serbian Royal Dynasty. Top with tartar sauce and lemon slice. Boiled beans and french fries are usually served as side dishes. Serve with mild white wine.

Rakija: The national drink in Serbia, which is made mainly from plums or grapes, but in general can be made from various fruits, with favourite flavours being apricot, quince and pear. It is a kind of brandy, but quite heavy, something that can be seen from its name, which comes from an Arabic word meaning “sweat”.

Transportation

Bus: Serbia has a well-developed system of both national and international bus transport. Belgrade and Novi Sad are the main bus stations with many daily services to other cities as well as villages. For search itineraries and prices see here.

Train: As with the buses above, trains connect  many cities in Serbia. There are also international connections to stations in other countries. All available national itineraries per destination with the corresponding cost can be seen here.

Car: A nice way to get around Serbia is by car, as we chose, in fact, driving all the way up from Greece, instead of renting. Gasoline in Serbia has low prices so the cost of gasoline will not be a big problem. You can see different places around the country, modify your program as you wish and have your personal comfort and independency. Prices for rental cars can be found here.

Taxi: In big cities many people choose to travel by taxi. Prices in the largest cities range as follows. In Belgrade the minimum fare is around € 1.45, while in Nis and Novi Sad around € 0.85. Special care is required with various private companies with logos that refer to, for example, Uber, with the ultimate goal of deceiving travellers by asking for more money.

Where to go in Serbia

Belgrade or Beograd

The capital and largest city of Serbia. The most famous tourist city of the country. One of the most must-see attractions in the capital is of course the huge Kalemegdan castle, with its towers, tracks and cobbled streets. Knez Mihailova is the most central street in Belgrade, something similar to our Ermou and is full of people all hours of the day. Shops, street vendors and various events can be found all along this pedestrian walk.

The imposing St. Sava Church in Belgrade is one of the largest orthodox churches in the world. While the most picturesque neighborhood of the city is called Skardarlija. It is full of life and local taverns with live music, as well as being full of people from the art world such as painters and poets. Finally you can visit the well-known, albeit small, museum of the famous inventor Nikola Tesla. See his inventions and contribution in the field of engineering and electrical engineering even up to the present time.

Belgrade the capital of Serbia
Nis

This is the third largest city in Serbia. Nis has a rich history and cultural and historical monuments. It has a large fortress, which was built in the 18th century and is still one of the most well-preserved stone castles in the country. It is the city where Constantine the Great was born, where the ruins of his summer house are located. One of its main attractions is the skull tower.

The tower was built in 1809 to warn the Serbs against other uprisings. The skulls of 952 dead Serb rebels were used, but less than 100 skulls remain there to this day. The tower remains to this day one of the most important sites in the entire Balkan region. There is also a concentration camp in the city, the Red Cross Camp from the Nazi era. Finally there is a large pedestrian area for walking shopping and food. We visited it for a few hours as a stopover for rest and relaxation before continuing our road trip to Belgrade.

On the way to Belgrade we had a stop in Nis, town of Serbia.
Kragujevac

The first capital of modern Serbia, an industrial center and the 4th largest city in Serbia. Kragujevac is located 140 km south of Belgrade. This town is crossed by the small river Lapenitsa. Near the city is Lake Gruzansko. It has a rich history and many cultural and historical monuments, while it had gone through many trials during the Second World War from the many executions that had taken place in the area.

First capital of modern Serbia
Kraljevo

Kraljevo is an important economic center of Serbia, located about 182 km south of Belgrade. It is located between two rivers, the Morava and the Ibar. On the outskirts of the city is the Zitsa Monastery with a rich history, the famous Mataruska thermal baths and a little further the Butovatska thermal baths.

Kraljevo
Novi Sad

The second largest city after Belgrade at a distance of about 93 km. It is an important industrial, cultural and tourist center, with many cultural and historical monuments and museums. There you will see the Petrovaradin fortress, a trademark of the city, you will eat  delicacies in the shops of the city, you will walk for hours in the alleys and in the national park called Fruska Gora. It is noteworthy that in the clock tower in the fortress the hands of the clock are upside down, i.e. the big hand shows the time and the small hand shows the minutes. This was done so that fishermen on the Danube could see from afar what time it was.

The city also hosts the famous Exit Festival, which is also organized at the Petrovaradin Fortress. The festival started in 2020 as a student movement for democracy and freedom in Serbia and the Balkans. It lasts 4 days and the types of music are: rock, techno, electronic-dance, hip hop, reggae and metal. In recent years it is one of the most up-and-coming cities and holds a high position in the travel lists of travellers. The main factor for this is the liveliness of the city combined with the low prices that generally prevail in Serbia.

Novi Sad
Pozarevac

One of the oldest cities in Serbia with a great historical heritage. An important commercial and cultural center, located 80 km east of Belgrade. Nearby is the small town of Stari Kostalac with the famous archeological site Viminasium. The name of the most central street is derived from the word “leather”, since during the Ottoman Empire there were dozens of leather processing shops in the area. During the summer months, many festivals are organized in the city center. In the city there is also the well-known cathedral of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel.

Drvengrad or Küstendorf

It means “wooden city” and is a typical example of a traditional village from another era. It is located about 250 km from Belgrade in the Mokra Gora region, very close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Created by Serbian director Emir Kusturica for the film ‘Life is a Miracle’, it will take you to another era.

Along the main road are placed traditional wooden houses and huts and a small church made of logs, modeled on Russian churches. The small streets of the village are named after celebrities such as Nikola Tesla and Diego Maradona. In the village you can book your stay and enjoy the scenery or just sit down to eat and continue your journey.

Drvengrad, the village with the wooden houses.

Packing Tips & When to go

Serbia is a relatively easy destination with no particular fluctuations in the weather. You will not need an adapter as we have the same type of socket and supply as in Greece. All you need is comfortable shoes because you will need to walk a lot to see the various sights whether you are in Novi Sad or Belgrade and the surrounding areas. In winter the temperatures are quite low so if you decide to go at that time do have warm clothes with you. In winter, snowfall is quite possible, especially in the northern part of the country. In this case, do not forget the tire chains, if you are driving with your own vehicle from Greece.

Serbia is a destination accessible all year round, but you will find better conditions from mid-April to early October. Many travellers choose the summer months because of the favourable conditions and because of the organization of several festivals and events in the cities of the country. The weather conditions favour walks in parks and beaches and the enjoyment of the intense night life. Every July, the well-known music festival “EXIT” takes place in Novi Sad. And because everything is a matter of taste and choices, there are many who attempt their trip to the country in December. Although the temperatures are low the climate is very warm due to the festive atmosphere that prevails, especially in the big cities and the capital.

Indicatively, below are the average temperatures that prevail throughout the year in the country.

MONTHSΜΙΝ ( °C)ΜΑΧ (°C)
JANUARY-24
FEBRUARY-16
MARCH312
APRIL717
ΜAY1222
JUNE1525
JULY1627
AUGUST1527
SEPTEMBER1224
OCTOBER818
NOVEMBER310
DECEMBER05

Useful Words

The official language as mentioned above is Serbian. However, in the main tourist areas you will not encounter particular communication problems. Not everyone speaks English, however they are very willing to offer help and to guide you even with the use of sign language. Some of their key words and expressions are listed in the table below:

GoodmorningDobro jutroPleaseMolim
GoodnightLaku noćHelloZdravo
YesDaHow are you?Kako si?
NoNeMy name isZovem se
ThankyouHvala GoodbyeDoviđenja

Read about our road trip to the Balkans here.

Useful Sites & Apps

In the recent years of our travels to various destinations we have some websites and their respective apps that help us to choose and immediately distinguish what is best for us and our pocket. We have chosen them over others either because they are convenient and efficient for us, or for the respective levels with rewards they have. This does not mean that there aren’t a whole lot of other websites and apps with which you can do your job practically. We present our suggestions below:

Booking.com

With a plethora of choices, traveller grades, and a lot of offers for those who have booked many destinations, promo codes for you and your friends, discounts and many other advantages. Start booking to discover all the available options and offers. Find available rooms here.

Air Bnb

With over one million properties all around the world, and always increasing, ideal for a low budget stay even in expensive areas. Furthermore, because you stay in people’s villas, houses or flats you are made to feel more at home by the host of each destination and the homely surroundings. Available houses here.

Hotels.com

Registering here is free and easy. Every hotel on this platform will grant a free tenth night, so if you stay for ten nights the tenth night is free. 

Trip Advisor

This is a very well known website for travellers with a lot of information. It is the largest travelling platform in the world where you can view thousands of reviews, opinions and recommendations as to where and how to travel, even for the most demanding traveller. Look, compare and then visit.

Omio.com

Whatever you need is a click away. Find the best offers from the best companies for trains, buses, planes and ships. Travel to Canada, the USA and Europe. We use it often when we are already abroad and want to visit a neighbouring country. Find available routes here.

Kiwi.com

The first website which every traveller always checks with. Direct, fast pricing and comparing of air tickets throughout the world. We love the filter “Towards any destination” which presents to us, in order of pricing, all the flights available to our chosen destination. The best solution for a last minute trip. Find your flights to Serbia here.

GetYourGuide

A site which all adventurous travellers love, as well as those who wish to visit museums and concerts. All the available activities and tours around the world gathered in a concise list. Read the reviews from each traveller well before booking your activities in order to avoid any misunderstandings with the organisers of each activity as to the days and times. We have tried it many times in America, Asia and Africa without any problems. Book your activities here.

Discover Cars

For car rentals at the lowest prices. Car service in over 150 countries, with many offers and service in over 12 languages and with any special requirements.

Hotel Tonight

Here you will find last minute discounts on vacancies from hotels. This is an amazingly simple app and it doesn’t take long to book a room.You may search in each town for sights and maps. Furthermore, you can check the reviews and photos of other travellers in order to be sure about the reliability of each hotel. It also has a 24/7 customer service. If you’re stuck somewhere and you need a room desperately, this is the perfect app for you.

City Maps 2Go

Maps for travelling, hiking, mountain cycling and many other activities. A necessary app for every adventure, activity or touring abroad. You may only download one map per country, whereas it was possible to download two in the past. For an additional map you need to pay. Alternatively, as soon as you have looked at the information on a map you can delete it and then download a new one. 

You can mark all the places of interest on the map you have downloaded. Whether they are sights, shops, or restaurants you can use the directions guide to get there. The great advantage to this app is that you don’t need to have internet connection although it might get stuck a few times. Nevertheless, it is quite a reliable and useful app.

EXTRA TIP: When you mark most points of interest before your trip, you can see approximately in which area you will need to book a room. To be as close as possible to all points of interest.

iVisa.com

Information and applications for the travel documents you need, depending on your origin and destination, can be found here.

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