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Serbia Travel Blog: Best Things To Do In Serbia
Landlocked countries are often filled with countless different landscapes and sights to be explored, they are also often very varied regarding culture, because of the influence of their surrounding neighbors. Such is the case with Serbia, one of the best places to visit in Balkans.
Where is Serbia?
Located in the South of Europe, part of the Balkans, sharing land borders with Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Albania, and Romania – every one of those countries has left its own small mark on the country.
But, Serbia isn’t a copy paste of its neighbors – au contraire – Serbia has much on offer that is unique – and lucky for you, Serbia is not as touristy as its neighbor (hello, yes we are talking about you Croatia!)
Belgrade is Serbia’s huge capital city, packed with architecture and history to explore, but don’t just see the attractions in Belgrade. The country is unquestionably an explorer’s dream
Serbia has varying climates depending on where you decide to venture, so if you are planning on an epic country-wide adventure, then you should be ready for different weather conditions depending on the direction in which you travel.
The northern portion of Serbia is known to have a continental climate, and that means winters which are cold, but not freezing and summers which can be very hot and humid. Rain in this part of the country is spread evenly across the year.
If you head to the central part of Serbia, then you can expect a moderate continental climate, which is a slightly less extreme version of what you will experience in the north.
Heading south, however, you will find winters which experience snowfall, often substantial, with freezing temperatures, before the mercury soars during the summer, with very little rain at this time.
A complete list of attractions in Serbia is too great to list, but we did our best to ask our traveling friends far and wide, which of the top sights in Serbia they recommend. Most people can rattle off the top 10 things to do in Serbia – but we went a little further – listing more than 50 ideas of what to see while you are in the Balkan beauty.
50 Of The Best Places To Visit In Serbia
Enjoy the Scenery and History at Studenica Monastery
Surrounded by the beautiful Ibar River gorge, you will find the Studenica monastery. The former royal history here means amazing architecture, dating back to 1183. Here you will find the Church of the Mother of God, as well as frescoes, and art back to the 13th century.
Explore Nature at Palic
Close to the town of Palic you will find a dedicated and stunning nature park, which is home to a natural spa on the northern section of the Palic Lake. You can spot wildlife until your hearts content here, with countless species of birds to check out.
Enjoy a Cycling Tour of Belgrade Sights
If you want to be active and see the sights at the same time, I Bike Belgrade organizes guided cycling tours around the city’s main areas, which means you can get some exercise, see the main highlights, and do it all with the help of a guide.
All you need to do is grab Belgrade sightseeing map and pedal off on your adventure.
Save Your Legs with the Hop On and Off Belgrade Sightseeing Bus
A Belgrade top 10 list is never complete without this bus. This is an excellent family friendly trip around the city – all without giving yourself blisters and hearing the kids moan about all the walking.
Use the hop on and off sightseeing bus to its maximum potential. This has several routes, and you can choose the route which suits your interests, hopping off if you want to explore further, before re-joining the next tour.
Mountain Scenery at Zaovine
The stunning mountain scenery here is set off by the green vision which covers the land, with the Beli Rzav River and the Sklopovi Gorge. You can view the various flora and fauna here, with around 600 different species on offer, as well as plentiful wildlife, as many different species of bird.
Discover History at Lepenski Vir
This is a hugely popular archaeological site which is set in the equally beautiful Derdap Gorge, next to the Danube. There have been many artefacts found here from 6500 – 5500BC, and the central part is thought to be have been a former ritual site, as well as many other areas of interest to explore.
Walk with the Romans at Gamzigrad
This is a former Roman town dating back to the 3rd or 4th century and is exceptionally well-preserved. UNESCO listed, Gamzigrad is packed with remains to explore, including an imperial palace complex, and former city walls.
Head Underground at Resavska Pecina
One of the things you must see in Serbia is underground. In the east, close to the town of Despotovac you will find an ancient cave network, around 80-million years old, with formations that will blow your mind.
There are various halls, galleries, waterfalls, stalactites, and stalagmites to check out, covering around 11 hectares – you’ll definitely need a full day here.
Get Active in Tara National Park
Families will love heading to this beautiful national park, located in the high mountains of the Tara, Crni Vrh, Stolac and Zvezda ranges. During the summer you can enjoy hiking and water-sports, and during the snow of the winter you can ski and snowboard.
Serious Shopping in Belgrade
You can’t deny it, while sightseeing and nature are lovely, sometimes we all just want to indulge in a little retail therapy, and in Serbia, your best destination is without a doubt the capital city – Belgrade.
Packed with High Street shops, many names you will recognize, as well as more local stores, you can take a few souvenirs back home with you.
Visit an Open Air Museum in Zlatibor
The Sirogojno Open Air Museum is a great way to learn more about 19th-century life in the country while enjoying fresh air at the same time! Wander around the hillside setting as you explore the museum and the wooden houses which make up its landscape.
Visit the House of Flowers Mausoleum
Head to the resting place of the former president of Yugoslavia, Tito and gaze upon the architecture and water features that decorate it. Near to the main entrance, you will also see a terrace which is designed to overlook the entire city, so great views can be seen from here.
Go Back in Time at Belgrade Fortress
Extremely well preserved, this is a place to visit for all the family, with fantastic views from the top over the whole of the city. The entire complex includes museums and parks the children will enjoy, as well as plentiful fortifications and history to explore.
Follow a Wine Route
Serbia is packed with different wine routes to follow, check out the scenery, tasting, and learning about production at the same time.
Fruska Gora is a popular wine region where Riesling is produced. The Smederevo Wine Route is another popular one, with the glistening Danube on one side of you, and the Morava on the other side. Sauvignon is popular here.
Visit Bela Crkva
This small town is picture perfect, surrounded by green hills and fragrant flowers, lakes, and small villages. If you want to explore the authentic side of Serbia, away from the big city, then head here for tradition and culture.
More Roman Relics at Viminacium
Dating back to the 1st century, here you will find ruins of a former settlement which is still incredibly preserved considering its age. You can head here from February to November and tour the area, and it’s certainly worth reading up a little beforehand, to really get the most out of your time in this extremely historic area.
Explore the Golubac Castle
Right on the banks of the mighty Danube River, you will find this fairytale city, looked over by an impressive fortress, high on the hillside. Views from here are just breath-taking, located the widest section of the river itself.
Enjoy the Drvengrad Festival in Kustendorff
This popular cultural festival is a must visit, giving you the chance to enjoy international and local films, while also possibly spotting a celebrity or two. Usually taking place in January, this festival is very popular.
Dance the Night away at the Exit Music Festival
If you’ve done sightseeing and you’re ready for something a little more modern, head to one of the major cities of Serbia – Novi Sad which is just north of the capital. Here you can enjoy this hugely popular outdoor music festival.
Traditionally held in July, also known as ‘Exit in Serbia,’ you can enjoy the warm sunshine before dancing the night away.
See the Beauty of Nature at Kopaonik
This beautiful mountainous park is one of the sunniest parts of the country, and you can enjoy plentiful outdoor activities here, as well as walking and climbing, with amazing views to be seen. During winter this area also turns into a ski resort.
Check out the Architecture on Belgrade’s Knez Mihailova Street
This used to be where the rich and affluent lived, but nowadays you can enjoy shopping, street art, and beautiful architecture on this iconic street.
The Serbian Crown Hotel is a particularly good example of architecture and history; when you are there, you’ll see just why it’s one of the most famous buildings in Serbia.
Visit the Animals at Belgrade City Zoo
Right in the heart of the city, you will find this large and famous zoo, which is the ideal day out for all the family in Serbia. The zoo now covers a huge 14 hectares and is home to a large number of species of animals.
The Sombre Red Cross Concentration Camp
In Nis, you will find this former Nazi concentration camp, which is one of the best preserved on the continent. This is certainly not a visit for the faint-hearted but is one which will certainly make you think about the atrocities of the past, with stories and displays about that harrowing time.
Learn About Culture at the Ethnographic Museum
Located in the capital, this is the best way to head back in time without venturing too far out of the city. Here you will find artefacts of old village life, as well as traditional costume and information on ancient traditions.
Try Authentic Cuisine in Skadarlija, Belgrade
Skadarlija is the city’s old quarter, dating back to around the 19th century, and is packed with restaurants, mainly serving traditional dishes. Be sure to try pljeskavica, a local meat dish, usually lamb, with various vegetables and the world-famous cevapi.
Travel Back to the Ottoman Era in Nis
Located in the southeast of the country you will find Nis, the third largest city in Serbia and packed with relics and ruins dating back to the Ottoman era. Mediana is close by, a former Roman town, as well as a massive fortress and the rather worryingly named Skull Tower.
Climb the Miroc Mountain
You will need to apply for a permit to climb it, but the hassle and effort is more than worth it for the views you will see from the top. The highest peak is called Miroc, and you can find accommodation within the area quite quickly, in Kladovo and Tekije, for example.
Spy Nature at Djerdap National Park
This huge national park is fantastic for nature lovers, home to loads species of wildlife and flora. Again, you can enjoy hiking and walking trails, and check out the rugged Djerdap Gorge.
Ride Through Scenery on the Sargan Eight Railway
This picturesque railway route was once part of the way through Belgrade to Sarajevo, which has since closed and takes three hours to complete.
Get your countryside destinations fix by heading through lush, green countryside for much of the way. You begin your ride at Mokra Gora, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ideal thing to do with kids in Serbia, don’t you think?
Discover the World of Science and Inventions at the Nikola Tesla Museum
Belgrade has numerous museums, but this particular one has interactive displays and live shows of inventions by the scientist Nikola Tesla; a great place to take the kids, or for anyone interested in science.
Get A Thrill With White Water Rafting
You have to visit at least one of the many major rivers in Serbia and Spring is the best time to go.
Try your hand at rafting, just after when the snow melts and rivers are flowing fast! The rivers Drina, Lim, Ibar, and Uvac, are top spots for the sport, with various classes of white water, so you are sure to find one that suits your skill level.
A Haven for Bird Watching
The natural and green landscapes across the country are fantastic opportunity to bird watch, and Serbia is home to around 360 species. The Uvac River Gorge, Mount Tara, and Djerdap Gorge are top spots.
Follow a Marked Hiking Trail
We’ve mentioned a few areas which have hiking opportunities within them, but Serbia is a haven for hikers overall. The Djerdap National Park, Fruska Gora, and the Tara National Park are some notable destinations.
Give Canyoning a Try
The huge mountains and gorges which make up the entire country’s backbone are fantastic for canyoning, and Tresnjica Gorge and Seoski Potok are two fantastic destinations to give this sport a try. If you head to Tara National Park to try it, beware of the bears!
Take a Danube Cruise
The section of the Danube which runs through Serbia can easily be cruised by various sizes of boat, with several different itineraries. Do a little research ahead of time, to see where you want to go, and decide whether you want to go for small and quaint, or a large ship-style cruise.
Swimming in the Sava
The Sava is the longest river in the region, so if you fancy taking a dip in its waters, head to Ada Medica, a small island which is also quite picturesque in its own right. There are private floating houses and cabins on stilts to be found here, as well as a nice grassed beach area.
Kopaonik in the south is a very popular spot, as well as Zlatibor in the west, which is perhaps better for intermediates or beginners, as well as Mokra Gora, which has a snowboarding center.
Follow the Danube Bike Trail
Cycling is big business in Serbia, presumably because of the ever-changing landscapes, and there is no trail more epic than the scenic Danube Bike Trail. This is exceptionally long, so perhaps only follow part of it, with 1040km inside Serbia. If you want to compete more seriously, check out the Tour de Serbie, every June.
Swimming in the Danube
If you are not a strong swimmer, don’t attempt this one, but if you are quite experienced, there are several spots of the Danube you can take a dip in. One of the best places for swimming is Lido Beach on Great War Island (Belgrade), however, Lake Ada Ciganlija is also a good choice.
The House on the Rock
If you are in the River Drina area for rafting or simply for a nature break, be sure to check out the famous House on the Rock; this is literally what it says, but is worth more than just that! This is a former fisherman’s residence, which was built in the middle of the river, perched high on a rock.
Check out the St Sava Church at Night
Belgrade is home to the seriously impressive and rather beautiful St Sava Church. While this is a treat at any time of the day, at night it is lit up and almost glows; certainly one for the camera.
Vibrant Nightlife in the Capital
You might not have Serbia down as a place to party, but the capital city is seriously bright and vibrant during the evening hours! If you’re looking for a place to dance, here you can find cheap places to head, more affordable drinks, and a wide range of nightclubs to choose from.
The Aviation Museum in Belgrade
Anyone interested in World War II should head to Belgrade’s Aviation Museum, where several planes are kept, as well as rare artefacts and pieces of aircraft.
Belgrade’s Palace of Princess Ljubica
Dating back to 1831 you will find true olde-worlde opulence here, with fantastically well-preserved buildings, and artefacts. There is a guided tour every Saturday, to help you learn more about privileged life back in the day.
Check out Timber Town
Drvengrad is home to Timber Town, overlooked by the imposing Zlatibor Mountain. This small village was built as a film set in 2002 and is a pretty and colorful place to visit. You can also see a full-sized statue of the actor Johnny Depp here too – random, but interesting!
Head to Devil’s Town
Right in the south of the country, you will find a town which has such an otherworldly appearance; it has been dubbed ‘Devil’s Town.’ This is perhaps because of the rocky erosion which has taken place over the years, or it could be because of local legends which tell tales of demons and creatures which roamed the land and made rather worrying noises. The landscape is will pique your interest.
The Gallery of Frescoes
In Belgrade you will find a museum which is dedicated to all things artistic, with full-sized copies of art, mainly relating to Byzantine period church designs.
Visit the Petrovaradin Citadel
History buffs should be heading to this museum, with a huge clock tower with reversed time hands, allowing fishermen from far away to tell the time. The citadel sits high on a hill, with many steps to reach it, and is a great window back in time, to when prisoners were held as far back as 1692.
A Day at the Beach in Novi Sad
While Serbia is land-locked, the huge Danube does have some beaches, and the best is perhaps in Novi Sad, with a long stretch of sand to relax on, as well as plentiful nightlife options for your evening’s entertainment.
Gaze in Wonder at the St Aleksandar Nevski Church
The interior of this church is simply breath-taking, and dates back to around 1877, making it one of the oldest churches around.
Other than Belgrade, a trip to Serbia must include Subotica. The city is a multicultural mix of Hungarians, Serbians, and Croatians living next to each other and it it has so far remained undiscovered by many.
Best Tours in Serbia
While a lot of travelers prefer to “do their own thing” and be spontaneous while on holiday, there are also many people who like to be taken care of.
That could mean many things, though, from excellent service at restaurants to superior hospitality and facilities in hotels. Organized tours, too, can be considered as a welcome service, eliminating the time and effort necessary to plan a trip yourself. This leaves you with much more time to actually enjoy what you’re doing. If you’re looking for some of the best tours in Serbia, take a look at those below. They’re all fantastic, comfortable, informative and reasonably priced.
Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, is the country’s main hub of many things, from commerce to culture, architecture, and art. There are a plethora of tours in the city that you can join, of all types and lengths. However, if you’re planning on exploring the rest of Serbia as well, there are a number of great excursions, too. Read on to find out which are some of the best tours in Serbia.
Belgrade (Walking) Tours
There are so many different Belgrade tours that picking one can be a serious challenge. From free historical walks to biking tours to Segway tours and bar crawls, you can explore this bustling, historic city in various ways.
An effective way to start any visit to a new city, though, is by joining one of the free walking tours. That’ll give you an excellent introduction and allow you to get your bearings. Also, you might even meet some new friends in the meantime!
Food and Culture Tour in Belgrade
From all of the tour choices in Belgrade, there is one that stands out. The Food and Culture Tour in Belgrade. This tour is a great way to really get to know the Serbian culture, identity, heritage, and customs. You can look up what to eat in Serbia here, to get a head start on the fun.
On this tour, you can taste a wide range of typical dishes, snacks, and drinks in authentic Serbian eateries.
The Pannonia Wonderland Tour takes you on a journey to Serbia’s largest province, Vojvodina, and its many highlights.
This fantastic tour immerses you in 17th-to-19th-century Serbia, arguably the cultural heyday of the nation. Major stops include the town of Novi Sad with its numerous architectural masterpieces; Sremski Karlovci, a gorgeous Baroque town that used to be the Serbian cultural and spiritual center during the Austro-Hungarian period and now is one of the country’s premier wine regions; and beautiful Fruška Gora National Park.
Medieval Capital and Roman Legacy
Those of you who are after a unique day tour from Belgrade should take a closer look at the Medieval Capital and Roman Legacy Tour.
This eight-hour excursion takes you to the historic city of Smederevo, which used to be the capital of Serbia in the Middle Ages. Since Roman times, this ancient settlement was one of the gateways between West and East. Incidentally, it was the first Roman town that was sacked by Atilla the Hun and the last Serbian town to fall to the Ottomans.
Journeying down along the Danube River, you will explore the region’s entire history, from Roman ruins to Byzantine heritage and Serbian culture. After visiting Smederevo, the tour continues with a traditional Serbian lunch, a visit to a local winery and a walk around the magnificent Roman Complex of Viminacium.
Down the Resava Gorge
From a grand cave and waterfalls to ancient architecture and a unique tourist attraction in Serbia, the Down the Resava Gorge Tour has it all. Starting and ending in Belgrade, this day tour’s first stop is the town of Despotovac, where you will visit the Park of Miniatures.
This extraordinary place features a bunch of models of monasteries in Serbia dating back to the Middle Ages, offering a closer look into the medieval kingdom of Serbia.
The next stop is an actual monastery, the Manasija Monastery dating from the 15th century. Lunch will be enjoyed while overlooking the beautiful Veliki Buk – Lisina waterfall and your afternoon activity is the exploration of Resava Cave, the oldest surveyed cave in Serbia—it’s more than 80 million years old.
Tara National Park
Last on our list of things to do in Serbia is one for adventurers. If you don’t have much time but still would like to experience the great Serbian outdoors, the Tara National Park Tour is definitely one of the best tours in Serbia for you. This full-day excursion takes you into the mountains of western Serbia for a day filled with natural beauty and traditional food.
There are many highlights on the way, such as the Drina River itself and the house that stands on a rock in the middle of it, Perucac Lake, the Goat Rock viewpoint, and the Wooden Town, which is a traditional Serbian village constructed by Serbian film director Emir Kusturica.
Serbia Travel Tips To Keep In Mind In Beautiful Serbia
- The history of Croatia and Serbia is complex. While neighbors, and sharing many similarities, we recommend you don’t ask just anybody about the 90’s war – the topic can make some very upset
- There is limited tourist information in Serbia, and many sites don’t even have signs – so, just ask a friendly local
- Serbia has a large bus network, and it is easy to get between the major cities. But not so is the case for things further a field. You will need to rent a car, book a group tour or get a private transfer.
- While flights to Serbia run all-year-round, you do need to factor in times in the year when places/attractions are closed
Serbia might be relatively unknown regarding tourism, but this country boasts an interesting history, stunning natural treasures, and outdoor adventures. The capital is also home to an incredibly vibrant nightlife scene, making Serbia is the perfect blend of old and new.
You’ve now got your list of the famous places in Serbia – so where will you start first?