No travel guide to Serbia would be complete without mentions of castles, coffee, or carbohydrates. Luckily, we have a local to give us the best Serbian travel tips on on where to go and what to do!
Hey there! I’m Tamara
and I’d like to share with you some traveling tidbits about my motherland, Serbia. I was born in Novi Sad, the capitol city of the province of Vojvodina, and lived there with my parents until I was 18 months.
I’ve been back 8-9 times, and just returned from adventuring with my 3-year-old little boy. Serbia is full of unique and breathtaking sights, one of which is the Danube River sleepily winding its way through the country and onward to other nations.
The Serbian people are hospitable, easy-going, and great storytellers. They appreciate the unpretentious life and a long chat over coffee. They will probably have just as many questions about life in America as you may have for them.
Must Go in Serbia
One and a half weeks is a perfect amount of time to immerse yourself in the hospitality of the people, savor the food, and travel from sight to sight.
This city is the capital of the country, built near the joining of the Danube and Sava rivers. It contains a well-known beautiful cobblestone walking street – Knez Mihajlova. This street is home to street musicians, shopping attractions, cafés, and a short taxi ride from the fortress Kalemegdan.
In Belgrade you’ll find beautiful old world architecture, as well as the Orthodox Church of St. Sava, a large dome with an enormous interior.
A former Austro-Hungarian fortress with building projects changing it over hundreds of years is strategically located above the city of Petrovaradin and across the river from Novi Sad. This is a place full of mystery and intrigue. There are tour guided catacombs, art galleries inside the fortress with working artists, and restaurants with one of a kind views of the river.
Built in the early 1900’s by a former economically prominent landowner, this castle hosts its own Serbian Orthodox chapel, stables for a large amount of race horses, and now a hotel within the castle.
It is located near the quiet village of Srbobran, the castle being about 60 minutes north of Novi Sad. The road leading to the castle grounds is nothing shy of movie material, trees lining both sides of a dirt road with agriculture all around.
Must Do in Serbia
Markets are a way of life for the Serbian people, here they go to pick up small necessities, inexpensive clothes and jewelry, meat, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The prices are more than fair, and there are markets in nearly every city.
Must Eat in Serbia
Bakeries abound, a carboholics dream!
A long salted bread that can be picked up fresh from the oven, smeared with paté and paired with drinking yogurt, a simple meal that can’t be beat. These bakeries also produce well-crafted little cakes, made from age old Serbian recipes.
A social staple, a rich and thick substance had with breakfast, after lunch, and especially in social gatherings. Stop by a city café and watch the people go by as you savor the smooth taste of this aromatic drink.
Cultural Tips for travel in Serbia
Avoid street money changers because of higher fees, instead, step up to a little “Menjacnica” (money exchange) booth and exchange your money that way. While tipping is not as much of a customary stigma as it is in the west, the Serbian waiters and cab drivers will be thankful for an extra dollar or two they can put in their wallets.
Also, Serbs are a blunt people, not meant out of rudeness but rather conversational curiosity. They might ask what your salary is point blank, or what you do for a living, your family – not looking to judge either way, but it is polite to indulge their questions of western livelihood.
Many young people speak English, so if you’re in need of help, seek out a twenty something and ask! Also, acknowledging the elderly with a “dobar dan” (good day) will get you some brownie points along the way.
Traveling on the Cheap in Serbia
Travel in and of itself is not expensive within the country. If you’re traveling directly to Serbia, you can fly AirSerbia to the capitol of Belgrade and take busses to cities and villages where you can find hostels and/or hotels. Novi Sad is about 1.5 hours from Belgrade, with wineries and villages in surrounding areas.
For short distances, cabs are comparatively inexpensive. Keep your eye on the meter and know the going exchange rate – but being friendly and outgoing to the cab drivers will help keep your fare price honest.
GEA MiniBus picks up travelers from the nearby neighbor of Budapest, Hungary – either from the city center or airport, just make sure to be at the appointed location on time. Also, trains run from various countries, another option for journeying to your stop in Serbia.