Serbia: Everything you need to know before you go

Serbia has long been an important political player in the Balkans, but it is a country that few visitors to the region pay attention to. Even at the height of Yugoslavia’s tourism boom in the 1970s and 1980s, I never understood why this was the case. Serbia is surrounded by water on three sides: the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Black Sea to the west, and Hungary to the north, which is home to the tourist hotspot of Budapest. To reach the Adriatic or some of the stunning Black Sea summer towns, most travelers simply circumnavigate Serbia. Tourists often pass through the city as they travel toward popular beaches in Greece. However, this does not negate the fact that a trip to Serbia will be a memorable one.

While you won’t find any tropical beaches in Serbia, you will find a rich cultural life full of small rural towns that haven’t lost their traditional ways, breathtaking landscapes, lush forests, and secluded monasteries hidden in the endless green hills of the country. But if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate the fact that there are few visitors. Because of the low demand and low prices, there aren’t many tourists and crowds at the city’s attractions.

Are you making your first trip to Serbia? Check out these helpful hints!

Having a favorite meal that you make for yourself without the intention of impressing anyone is a wonderful feeling. Something so simple that you doubt anyone else would enjoy it. If someone says they like it, you may interpret that as an act of courtesy on their part. Traveling through Serbia gave me exactly that sensation. Serbians have a deep sense of national pride and pride in their country’s history. It occurred to me that they were always puzzled as to why this guy came here in the first place.

When visiting a new country, there are always some rules and regulations to follow. There are a lot of things to do in Serbia, but only a few things not to do! Serbians are happy, laid-back people who love to commemorate life’s special moments. In some cases, they don’t even need an occasion to share their happiness with others. One of the reasons they’re so enjoyable to be around is because of this.


Don’t bring up politics in conversation.

The bombings of the late 20th century might make this sound a little strange, but it’s important to remember. A lot of people’s emotions get triggered when discussing these events because the scars from them are still so fresh. When it comes to politics, Serbians tend to have strong opinions and this can easily lead to a debate. As a result, I advise that politics be avoided at all costs. This is especially true when discussing the recent independence of Kosovo, which is also a sensitive topic.

For the English, tea is coffee, and vice versa.

Because of this, Serbian coffee is the English equivalent of English tea. As a result, accepting an invitation to a friend’s house for coffee is nothing out of the ordinary. Stopping by for coffee is one of the most common ways for people in Serbia to get to know one another and socialize. Serbians’ love for coffee is evident in the variety of coffee shops that can be found in every major city and small town.

Make sure you also check out my articles on traveling to both Albania and Montenegro while in the area.

The meals Serbians eat a lot of meat, just like their Balkan neighbors. Many vegetarian options can be found, even though meat is a major part of Serbian culture. Burek is a traditional breakfast, but you should also try the following: Karaoreva nice, Sarma, Puente Paprika, Pljeskavica, Kebabs, Prebranac (baked beans), and kajmak (stuffed peppers). Drink some good wine or Rakija, Serbia’s favorite hard liquor, after you’re done.

Plums, apricots, peaches, and plums are the most popular fruits for making rakija. If you’ve never tried it, a honey-softened medieval is a good place to start. Instead of saying “Cheers,” you say “lively” while drinking from a tiny, long glass known as a “kanji.” Don’t be surprised if you see people sipping on this for breakfast (or even just before). Some people believe that this dosage in the morning is beneficial to one’s health.


Evening life in New York City

Speaking of Serbians and rakija, they’re known for their ability to party and enjoy themselves. Belgrade and Novi Sad, the two largest cities, are known for their wild nightlife. Lonely Planet even dubbed Belgrade as having the best nightlife. Traveling to Serbia is a must if you’re looking for some serious partying (Belgrad is also one of the best stag destinations in Europe). Check out this list of things to do in Belgrade if you’d like some more ideas for your trip to the capital.

during the spring and summer months

Serbia has four distinct seasons and an average temperature of 12 °C, which is similar to other European countries. Despite winter’s shorter length (only 20-25 days a year with temperatures below zero), autumn’s length is greater than spring’s. In July and August, temperatures can reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is extremely hot by European standards. Between April and June, spring is the best time to visit Serbia. In contrast, if you’re a fan of winter sports, you’ll want to visit from December through March.

This year’s most popular events include the EXIT Festival in Novi Sad, the Dragaevo Trumpet Festival in Gua, the Belgrade Music Festival (classical) in October, and of course the Orthodox Easter celebrations in Belgrade. Attending any of these events is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but keep in mind that lodging is more expensive during these times.

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