Best time to visit Serbia


The best time to visit Serbia is when snow, rain and slush have stopped. April onwards things start to heat up, with highs of 17°C perfect for taking in the cultural highlights. With the Dinaric Alps, trekkers might want to wait until the summer, when temperatures can hit high 20s, but these are the mountains, so always be prepared for wind chill and rain, albeit in summer thunderstorm bursts. Rain is highest in May- June throughout the country. Festival highlights include Dragačevo Trumpet Festival, with gypsy brass bands in Guča every Aug, Belgrade Music Festival in Oct, just in time for the wine harvest, and EXIT Music Festival in July.

Things to do in Serbia


Things to do in Serbia…

Take an overland trip that combines the cultural heritage not only of Serbia but also that of its neighbours Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Croatia and Kosovo. With time, as Serbia’s tourism infrastructure grows, cultural tours will undoubtedly spend more time in Serbia itself but, for now, historic highlights of Belgrade and Novi Sad are big players in any grand tour of the Balkan countries.
Serbia is criss-crossed with rivers, but the main one that creates canyons and gorges, such as Derdap, with strategic spots for ancient forts such as gobsmacking Golubac and traditional swimming spots like Štrand at Novi Stad, is the Danube. Not always blue, but always proffering boat trips to take in all the wonders.
Hiking in Serbia’s national parks and protected areas is a revelation. Not only because of natural wonders such as the Iron Gates Gorge or verdant valleys tucked in between Mt. Tara and Mt. Zlatibor in Mokra Gora Nature Park, but because there are virtually no tourists. Just traditional wooden cabins, village bars serving local wine or Rakija liqueur, and prolific wildlife, from white tailed eagles to brown bears, about forty of which populate Tara National Park. Most small group tours to Serbia include a day or two in the hills.

Things not to do in Serbia…

Mention the war. Unless it is brought up by a local person. And don’t call it a civil war. They were profound and devastating ethnic conflicts, and tensions still remain, especially over Kosovo. It also doesn’t go down well calling it a Balkan country, or former Yugoslavia. Being called Eastern Europe won’t get you points or prizes either. Best bet – just call it Serbia.
Drink too much Rakija, made from plums, pears or apricots, which is on offer everywhere. The homebrewed version can be over 50 percent alcohol. Serbians love to offer gifts to guests. Having some gifts ready to give back in exchange, if you are visiting a homestay, for example, will get you a lot of brownie points. If you bring flowers, make sure there are an odd number. Even numbers are for funerals only.
And if you thought Kosovo was a delicate subject - don’t even think about criticising Novak Djokovic.

Serbia travel advice


John Penge from our leading Serbia supplier, Exodus, shares his Serbia travel advice:

Itinerary tips

“I think that Belgrade is well worth a visit. On the journey from the airport it may not look like the prettiest of cities but when you get into the centre things vastly improve. Belgrade Fortress & Kalemegdan Park is a very nice place to explore with some good views of where the Sava & Danube rivers meet. Outside of Belgrade, I enjoyed the train ride to Mokra Gora and my stay in the village of Sirogojno. Sirogojno is a little village to the west of the country where you can enjoy the tranquil setting as well as learn about how the community used to live.”

Budget advice

“For Europe, Serbia is relatively cheap and off the beaten track so worth a visit before things change.”

Making the most of the veg

“When eating, make sure you order a side salad. They don’t do a lot to it but the produce is fantastic (especially the tomatoes) and you get pickled shredded cabbage every time which is also delicious on the side of whatever grilled meat you’re ordered for main.”
Photo credits: [Temp chart: yeung ming] [Helpdesk: Denis Barthel] [Itinerary tips: White Writer] [Making the most of the veg: Antonis Gkekas]
Written by Catherine Mack
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