Serbia is a buzzy and boisterous country, compact enough for visitors to sample both Belgrade’s urban hedonism and the gentler pace of the smaller towns or national parks. It's also one of Europe’s most affordable destinations to boot. Grittier than its neighbour Croatia, it is nevertheless an integral part of any backpacker’s Balkan tour. Here is our pick of the best things to do in Serbia.
The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, your essential guide for visiting Europe.
The city’s most attention-grabbing attraction is the Kalemegdan Fortress. Meanwhile just outside the park’s boundary is the Old City, whose dense lattice of streets conceals Belgrade’s most interesting sights. Beyond here lie several more sights worth seeing, including the Church of St Sava, one of the world’s largest Orthodox churches, and the very worthwhile Nikola Tesla Museum.
This tailor-made trip to the treasures of Serbia starts in the capital city of Belgrade, where you can explore the bohemian heart of the city. You will be able to explore the natural and historic beauty of Serbia like Tara National Park and the century-old winery Aleksandrović.
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For four days at the beginning of July, the grounds of Petrovaradin Fortress are overrun by EXIT Festival revellers. Now established as one of the premier music events in Europe, EXIT attracts some of the very biggest names in pop, techno and hip-hop.
About 15km south of Novi Sad, just off the main road before the village of Irig, is Novo Hopovo, where a Byzantine church is housed within a picturesque monastery. Not far off are two more sixteenth-century monastic churches: elegant white Krušedol, and Vrdnik-Ravanica, which has Tsar Lazar’s collarbone on display.
The tourist information office on the main square can point you to the delightful wine cellar owned by the Živanović family. Here you can buy your own supplies – swing open the side gate to enter their orchard. There’s also a quaint beekeeping museum. Alternatively, relax with a glass or two on the outdoor decking of the hotel of the same name on the main square.
Just a stone’s throw from Hungary, Subotica feels tangibly more like its northern neighbour. Historically, the ties are close: Subotica reached its apotheosis in the years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire when it was granted the status of a Royal Free Town.
Studenica’s superb frescoes were the work of an innovative but still anonymous Greek painter who created trompe-l’oeil images to resemble mosaics.
In addition to the stunning nature, Tara National Park also offers a number of historical sites to explore. In particular, the Rača Monastery is a significant monument of Serbia's medieval heritage.
If you are curious and looking for a remarkable journey filled with true wilderness, lovely people and life-changing adventures this tailor-made trip to Serbia & Montenegro is what you need. Enjoy the diverse UNESCO sites, glorious mountain peaks and crystal blue waters.
Nearby on Mećavnik Hill is the famous ethnic village of Drvengrad. This village was built on the initiative of director Emil Kusturica and was the location for the production of his film "Life is a Miracle".
Ćele Kula (The Skull Tower) makes for gruesome sightseeing. It dates from 1809, when Stevan Sinđelić, commander of a nationalist uprising, found his men surrounded by the Turkish army on nearby Čegar Hill and took drastic action against his adversaries.
Following the battle, to deter future rebellion the ruling Pasha ordered that the heads of the Serbian soldiers killed in the battle be stuffed and mounted on the tower. 952 went into creating this macabre totem pole, though today only 58 remain.
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Djavolja Varoš consists of more than 200 rock formations, varying in height from 2 to 15 metres. Nearby is the village of Djake (the name comes from the Albanian word "gjak", meaning blood).
When visiting the fortress, you can enjoy the medieval architecture and picturesque surroundings, take a tour of the fortress and also go boating on the Danube River.
Visiting Serbia is a truly unforgettable experience. For more inspirational travel tips check our Rough Guide books.
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