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Places To Visit In Serbia: Lesser-Known Weekend Getaway Ideas
Serbia has the perfect lineup for a great weekend road trip. And, yes, the party is just as wild as you have heard. Though, maybe not in its small towns where everything tends to exist in a much quieter way.
Climbing in the foothills of Midzor, Serbia’s tallest peak, you will gaze out over the valley of the misty countryside, thinking about the dreary city rush you left behind and feel thankful you chose to tour (arguably) Serbia’s better half – the small villages most tourists don’t know exist.
Serbia is a land-locked country but still very much in the center of all the action in the Balkans and pleasantly uncrowded. Eight countries surround the Serbian border: Bulgaria and Romania to the East . Macedonia to the South. Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the West. Hungary is the lone country that borders in the north.
You can’t possibly miss out on all the variety Serbia has to offer. It would be a real shame. There are numerous unique Serbia tourist attractions. With its history present at all stops, you will leave the country with a much better understanding of its past than when you arrived. Additionally, you will have some good food in your belly and countless jaw-dropping photos of scenic countryside not often seen by foreigners.
Serbia Tourism: Know Before You Go
There is a lot to know about Serbia before you ever even pack your bags, so buckle up and let us share with you some important information you should know before taking on this wild, wild country.
Transportation In Serbia
We recommend renting a vehicle as soon as you land in Serbia, though it is also possible to travel across the country via a flurry of options, including air, bus, and rail. There are also buses, which may actually be the next best option.
You can also rent taxis within the towns. Use Naxis Taxis, which works similarly to Uber, and you can order a ride by way of almost any electronic platform, including Twitter! The drivers speak English well, and you can use debit and/or credit cards for payment.
If you arrive in Belgrade and are traveling by train, head to Belgrade Centar, where most domestic and international trains take off.
You will be hard-pressed to find public city buses in any of the towns mentioned below. However, in Belgrade, it will cost less than a dollar to ride public transport.
To rent a compact economy car in Serbia will cost as little as $7 per day, which is why we cannot recommend car travel more. In our opinion and experience, it’s the best way to visit all Serbia tourist destinations.
As far as other expenses go, Serbia is a very affordable country.
Accommodation is fantastic in Serbia — especially for those looking for budget stays. If you would like to stay in a hotel, small boutique hotels range from $15-$30 a night, but in places with a lot of competition, you could find them for even cheaper than that (probably not in the small towns on this list). If you are a backpacker, you could find a hostel dorm for under $8 per night.
Food in Serbia is delicious. Expect a dish to look similar to that you would find in many Balkan nations. A hearty stew is not uncommon. This can be said in several Balkans countries, but the goulash must not be missed.
With Slavic influences as well as Mediterranean and Turkish, the Serbian cuisine is quite well-varied. The best part is that it is cheap!
If you are dining at a fairly well-established restaurant, expect to pay around $10 for a two-course meal with beer. However, those on a budget can find meals closer to the $4-5 range or less!
Serbia Weekend Itineraries
Here are a few weekend (and longer) itineraries we have put together depending on how much available time you have to visit Serbia. Our itineraries follow routes through small towns, and our guide below will tell you what to expect in each of these small towns.
So, if you have limited time and wonder where to visit Serbia, the following itinerary ideas should really help you out.
Two Or 3-Days Visiting Serbia
Fly into Belgrade, one of the top Serbian cities to visit, and drive to Perućac. While there, visit Drvengrad, Sirogojno, and Prijepolje.
4-5 Days Visiting Serbia
Start in Belgrade, make your way to Perućac (or Tryavna, Apriltsi), spend 2-3 days touring nearby Drvengrad, Sirogojno Prijepolje. Then, drive to Knjaževac and visit for a day before heading back to Belgrade.
Seven Days Visiting Serbia
Palić for 1-2 days moving through Belgrade to Perućac. Spend 2-3 days touring nearby Drvengrad, Sirogojno, and Prijepolje.
Then, drive to Knjaževac and visit for a day before heading back to Belgrade to party.
Best Time To Visit Serbia
There are a lot of different reasons to visit Serbia throughout the year. In the winter, the snow falls, and it falls hard. Usually, some of the taller mountains snowy caps haven’t melted entirely until the beginning of June. Then, the rain comes until July.
If you are planning on doing any hiking — which we think you will want to do once you see the natural landscapes in parts of Serbia — then you will want to wait until the weather has dried up in the summer.
Wine enthusiasts will probably want to visit in October as that is when grape harvesting begins in the Balkans.
Our favorite time to visit Serbia is just after when the festival season begins, and the temperatures are warmer. Expect temperatures to hit the 80’s in July and peak in the low 90’s come August. This is also when most tourists visit Serbia, so if you would like to avoid the crowds, think about coming in the late spring or early fall time, which are also great times to visit.
If you’d like to know what to do in Serbia in December, that’s the holiday season! You’ll find plenty of atmospheric markets, events, and gatherings all over the country at that time of year. Although the weather may not be ideal then, the people’s warmth and enchanting atmosphere definitely make up for that.
Lesser-Known Places To Visit In Serbia
There are small towns scattered all over Serbia, flooded with culture, ancient traditions, and architecture leftover from a mixture of eras. Read about these small towns in Serbia and choose which ones you have time for. Note that even though they’re not the most famous and grandest cities in Serbia, they are among the best places to visit in Serbia!
Sirogojno is a tiny picturesque mountain village on the side of Mt. Zlatibor.
Its main attraction is the open-air “ethno village” or museum, which covers five hectares. It keeps authentic artifacts and pieces of ordinary life leftover from the 19th Century found all over the Zlatibor region of Serbia.
The homes of Old Village Sirogojno are built of thatch-looking roofs and logs. Walking through the centuries-old homesteads will actually transport you back in time and make you realize what life must have been like in the Balkans all those years ago. It’s definitely one of the best Serbia destinations for an authentic look into traditional Serbian culture and history.
Sitting nearly 3,000 feet in the air, Sirogojno has less than 1,000 residents and is a quiet, quaint place most of the time. The Old Village is actually within an ear’s shot from Stopica Cave, and with your own car, it could be a fulfilling day trip to combine the two.
There are not many accommodation options in Sirogojno. We feel if the Old Village Sirogojno were not in this tiny town, your options would be even more limited.
Unfortunately, hotels are a premium in Sirogojno, and you may pay a pretty penny for accommodation. There is an inn at the Old Village Sirogojno, and it is the most budget-friendly option at $19 per person.
Otherwise, here are a few of the cute places we saw:
- Idila Hotel and Spa
- Villa Natural Wood
- Zlatibor Hills
Sitting near the Bosnia and Herzegovina border in the far west of Serbia, located in the Zlatibor District of the country, is a tiny cultural village explicitly built for Emir. Kusturica’s film, “Life is a Miracle.”
You could easily combine Sirgojno and Drvengrad into one day’s worth of activities if you are limited on time. They are near enough to stay at a hotel near either town and still see both in a day. You’ll catch the best of Serbia’s small towns in one day, how awesome is that?
We struggled with the idea of adding this town to the itinerary since it is an artificial town in a way. However, in the end, it is still an attraction and a beautiful example of the Serbian small cities all around the country. After all, Kusturica not only won awards for his film, but he also won a prestigious European architecture award for the construction and beauty of Drvengrad.
The movie is not the only call to fame this tiny village holds. It is perhaps most well-known for being the setting of Ivo Andric’s Nobel-winning novel, “The Bridge on the Drina.”
The town is well within a day trip’s distance from Belgrade’s capital, sitting about 120 miles southwest perched in the mountains of one of Serbia’s most gorgeous regions.
Walking around its cobbled paths and passing model homesteads from the 19th Century, you will feel as though you have taken a step into a different world with mountains as your backdrop.
Believe it or not, accommodation outside this movie set town is actually reasonably affordable compared to other towns on this itinerary.
You can find any of these hotels not far from the central part of Drvengrad.
- Neva Apartments Drvengrad
- Apartments Milev
- Hotel Osmica
Sitting on the very edge of the Hungarian border in the far north of the country, Palić is a small town in the Subotica District known for its lake and spa. The town has a Hungarian ethnic majority with around 8,000 residents.
The town is known for its popular European summer film festival, which happens every year. The film festival actually takes place around the lake, which is the most popular visitor attraction each year. According to legend, Palić Lake was made of Shepperd Pavle’s tears after losing his herd, and that is why the water is abnormally salty.
Other folklore says the lake was made from the ancient Pannonian Sea. Whichever story is correct (we are thinking most likely the latter), it can’t be debated that the first mention of Palić Lake dates back to the 15th century because that is a fact. It is the largest natural lake in the country, and the reason Palić is one of the top destinations in Serbia.
Its curative muds are used for the spa, which has also become a hit with tourists. Being that the lake’s deepest point is only a little over 10-feet deep, this lake is very swimmable.
Due to Palić Lake being a popular summer destination for domestic and international travelers alike, the town has over 450 guest homes and even a 5-star hotel in terms of accommodation. This is unquestionably a busy Serbia holiday destination.
Here are a few of our favorite stays in the town:
- Villa Larus
- Villa Milord
- Vila Amfora
Tucked away in the southwest corner of the country, near Sirogojno and Drvengrad in the Zlatibor region of Serbia sits the small town of Prijepolje, which is between the conflux of the fast-flowing Lim and Milesevka rivers.
Officially, Prijepolje claims 13,000 residents, although, when you are there, you will surely be asking where all of them are hiding. It is a great stopping point for many traffic as it is located right on the road from Belgrade to the Adriatic Sea.
Most of the town is forested with lovely beaches along the Lim River. A few of the more popular beaches are underneath the bridges in town.
Hiking is another popular activity in Prijepolje. Because of the proximity of the mountains surrounding the town, most hikes offer great vantage points of Prijepolje sooner or later.
Its location, about 180 miles from Belgrade and just about the same distance from Niš, puts it in a perfect position to be visited on the way from one city to the other. Not to mention, the region in itself just stunning. Prijepolje is the third small town in the Zlatibor Mountains.
Whether you are interested in historical and religious monuments and jaw-dropping observation decks or stunning architecture and eerie caves, there is certainly enough in Prijepolje to make it worth your visit.
And there is no shortage of hotels here. Here are a few of our favorites:
- ZlatAir Lodge
- Nova Varos
- Vila Vasojevic
Located in Bajina Basta’s municipality in western Serbia is a tiny village with a mighty beautiful lake, Perućac. It is situated along the Drina River, which makes up the natural border between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, Lake Perućac is the real attention grabber in town. Although the village only has just over 500 inhabitants, they see many European travelers every year because of the stunning alpine lake.
The lake was man-made in 1966 after the damming of the Drina. It extends over 40-miles long, so despite being a popular spot for families, fishermen, houseboats, and everything in-between, there is still plenty of room to find your own secluded spot on the lake.
It is a scenic little village centered around the lake and all the activities the lake can offer. If you are looking for one of the more dazzling Serbia places to visit and relax in, Perućac would be it.
There are enough hotel and guest house options in Perućac, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a place to sleep.
Here are a few of our favorites:
- VIla Iva Mitrovac
- Apartments Tara Viva
- Vila Grand Mitrovac
Situated on the opposite side of the country, Knjazevac is our only city on this itinerary located in the east of Serbia. It is the largest town on this itinerary as well, with just shy of 20,000 inhabitants. If you feel the need for some small-town infrastructure after you toured all these tiny villages, Knjaževac will ease you into the city atmosphere again before you take on Belgrade or Niš (which is just a short hour-long car ride).
The town sits between three mountains on the border with Bulgaria. It is a favorite day trip of locals in Niš who like to escape to Knjaževac on the weekends.
It has a lively Old Bazaar, the long promenade beside the river, and seven picturesque bridges. It could make you feel as if you have left Serbia for a more charming and colorful countryside.
The town has a long history and living folk traditions to go with its unspoiled natural surroundings. Many visitors participate in a variety of action sports such as paragliding, mountain biking, or caving.
If there were one can’t-miss town on this itinerary, we would have to choose Knjaževac, one of our favorite Serbia travel destinations. Fortunately, there is a selection of hotels to choose from, too.
We have listed three of our favorites:
- Vila Babin Zub
- Vila Vesela Kuca
- Konac Andjela
As you can see, although Serbia may not be everyone’s first choice of destination in the Balkans, there is enough variety in the top Serbia sights to make a visit totally worth it. Even if you may not find the type of nightlife you want in these small towns, stay a few days in the larger cities like Belgrade and Novi Sad to check out what all the hype is about. We promise you won’t regret it!
If you have any questions regarding your travels to Serbia, please, do not hesitate to reach us, and we will do the best of our knowledge to give you the answers you are looking for.
More Serbia Travel Blogs
- Accommodation in Belgrade and across Serbia
- Make sure to put this Serbian food in your belly
- Take a few day trips from Belgrade
- Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade.
- Experience Novi Sad like a local
- The 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Serbia
- Best Things To See & Do In Niš, Serbia