Daily budget Basic €25 /occasional treat €35
Drink Beer (half-litre) €1
Food Pljeskavica (hamburger) €1–2
Hostel/budget hotel €12/€35
Travel Bus: Belgrade–Novi Sad €6; train: Belgrade–Niš €7
The crime rate, even in Belgrade, is low by European standards, though the usual precautions apply. Identity checks are not uncommon, so carry a photocopy of your passport.
Even though tourists are quite a rarity in some parts, part of the charm of travel in Serbia is a sense of “live and let live” – you are unlikely to be quizzed intrusively or pestered to buy wares. Serbian culture as a whole is far from conservative – a fact you’ll quickly grasp from the fashion choices youngsters make. You should cover arms and legs in Orthodox churches, however. Tipping in restaurants is not essential, but in the nicer places you should leave ten percent.
Police 92; Ambulance 94; Fire 93; Road assistance 987.
Pharmacies (apoteka) tend to follow shop hours of around Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday 8am to 3pm.
All the towns covered here have a tourist information office (turističke informacije), stocking some good-quality materials in English. Another good source of information is In Your Pocket (www.inyourpocket.com), which currently publishes both print and online guides to Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš.
www.belgradeeye.com Excellent English-language site aimed at younger visitors; includes information on a fast-changing club scene.
www.b92.net Venerable broadcasting station and the driving force behind anti-Milošević demonstrations during the 1990s; it remains the country‘s most newsworthy site.
www.serbia.travel Official tourist board site.
Wi-fi is available in a good number of cafés, though you will be expected to buy a drink. Internet cafés are not so common, but where you do find one, expect to pay around 100din per hour.
Stamps (markice) can also be bought at newsstands. Most post offices (pošta) are open Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm.
The currency is the dinar (usually abbreviated to din), comprising coins of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20din (and also 50 para coins – 100 para equals 1din), and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1000 and 5000din. At the time of writing exchange rates were €1 = 110din, £1 = 130din, and US$1 = 85din. Exchange offices (menjačnica) are everywhere, while ATMs are widely available in towns. Credit/debit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
Most shops open Monday to Friday 8am to 7/8pm (sometimes with a break for lunch), plus Saturday 8am to 2pm, and sometimes later in Belgrade. Most museums are open Tuesday to Sunday 9/10am to 5/6pm. Shops and banks close on public holidays: January 1, 2 and 7, February 15, and May 1 and 2. The Orthodox Church celebrates Easter between one and five weeks later than the other churches.
Public phones use Halo cards, sold with 300din and 600din credit at post offices, kiosks and tobacconists.