Are you ready for some winter magic in Serbia? Here are my hints and tips on things to do in Serbia in winter, from skiing to strolling the big cities and Christmas markets. I spent many winters here with my Dad, and I can tell you that here are many ways to enjoy winter in Serbia.
My guide covers the capital city to the mountainous regions, as well as central Serbia and beyond.
Did you know there’s probably no better place in the Balkans for a winter vacation than Serbia? It’s true!
The country is a paradise destination for winter sports and dreamy snowed landscapes. Snowboarding and skiing are extremely popular, often at a fraction of the cost you would spend in other European winter destinations.
Furthermore, Serbia is a perfect place to visit if winter hiking is something you also enjoy. The country hosts the remarkable Tara National, which features dozens of unique hiking trails for any hiker, both first-timers and more seasoned walkers.
Frozen waterfalls and rivers, snow-capped mountains, and picturesque traditional villages with cozy and affordable lodges can be the ingredients to enjoy the best of Serbia in the winter months!
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Places To Visit In Serbia In Winter
Spending time in the capital during winter is not a bad idea. Besides, the most important inhabited center in the country will undoubtedly offer a good variety of accommodation options, from budget rooms to boutique hotels.
Moreover, excursions and tours are leaving from Belgrade to colder regions in the country for those wanting to practice winter sports in the Serbian mountains.
If you are a fan of nightlife and city entertainment, then the capital of Serbia is the perfect winter destination, too. In town, it is possible to tour dozens of exciting nightclubs, pubs, and music venues that will keep you warm and cozy in the cold winter evenings.
You can take advantage of winter’s more affordable prices and sales after the Christmas weeks. Head to the Choomich Design District in Serbia to discover an exhilarating generation of Serbian designers offering garments and other exclusive objects to take back home as original souvenirs.
Where To Stay In Belgrade In Winter
Belgrade City Hotel. This fabulous four-star property is in the heart of town opposite the Old Train Station and only steps from the bus station, making it a great base to embark on day trips all over the country.
The hotel is minutes from landmarks such as Republic Square, Terazije Square, Knez Mihajlova Street, and the famous bohemian quarter Skadarlija.
The hotel offers comfortable rooms, an on-site restaurant, a bar, and a fitness center.
Hotel Bohemian Garni – Skadarlija. For a more luxurious experience, check out Hotel Bohemian Garni – Skadarlija, located in the heart of the Skadarlija neighborhood, only 2.3 kilometers from the most impressive religious landmark in town, Saint Sava Temple.
The hotel features well-equipped rooms with a coffee machine and a minibar. There is also a restaurant on the premises, and car rental is available at the 24-hour front desk, where you can book city tours and day trips from Belgrade.
Christmas Holiday In Novi Sad
Although Serbia can get cold in winter, there’s nothing like an authentic Christmassy spirit to warm you up during your visit to the country. For a charming season holiday, why not head to Novi Sad? The city in winter turns into a beautiful snow-covered settlement with thousands of Christmas lights and decorations.
This famous European Capital of Culture features several interesting art galleries and exhibitions but also fantastic cafes to stop for a cup of hot chocolate, a glass of delicious mulled wine, or a taste of hearty gingerbread and warm plum dumplings (locally known as gomboce).
During the festive season, you can enjoy joyful concerts, dreamy Christmas markets, and horse-drawn carriage rides, adding to the magic of the local atmosphere.
The Danube Park is another Christmas gathering spot in town, with its giant ice rink and countless pine trees lit up with sparkling Christmas lights.
Where To Stay In Novi Sad In The Cold Winters
Garni Hotel Planeta Inn boasts an excellent location in Novi Sad with top reviews from former guests.
Offering an airport shuttle and easy access to the center of town, this hotel is a 5-minute walk away from the National Theatre and Novi Sad Fair, and it is also close to bus stops, shops, and entertainment.
Sheraton Novi Sad is another excellent place to stay during a Serbian winter wonderland. It features a great restaurant, free bikes, a fitness center, and a bar, while the rooms are comfortable and with great city views.
For further convenience, an on-site ATM and free parking are available.
Kopaonik Mountain – Serbia’s Largest Ski Resort
In winter, it is time to leave the Adriatic Sea and head to the highest mountain – or at least most fun!
Serbia’s largest ski resort opens to the public from late November to May, offering more than seventy kilometers of slopes perfect for beginners to slightly experienced skiers and displaying some off-piste rides to seasoned winter sports fans.
For an added wintery atmosphere, there are several gorgeous wooden mountain huts where you can indulge in Serbian mulled wine. The region is also a foodie’s paradise featuring grilled meat platters and spicy fish stews.
It is essential to highlight that you should not think of Kopaonik as a grey, gloomy destination. The place boasts over 200 sunny days yearly, earning it the title of the sunniest ski resort in Europe!
But not everything is about skiing and being in shape. The nightlife scene in Kopaonik attracts hundreds of young visitors every winter with its techno-rave parties and late-night events.
Where To Stay In Kopaonik Mountain In Winter
Mountain Chalet Kopaonik is a ski-to-door property offering stunning mountain views for your stay. Housed in a modern building dating from 2008, this one-bedroom apartment is 12 kilometers from Šipačina and Belo Brdo.
There is an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, a fridge, and ski storage space.
Rtanj Kopaonik Eco Resort & Spa. One more great place to stay in the area is Rtanj Kopaonik Eco Resort & Spa. This sustainable, ski-to-door property features gorgeous wellness and a modern spa center just 1.5 kilometers from Kopaonik.
The resort has a restaurant, free private parking, and free bikes. Easy ski-to-door access, a ski pass sales point, and a shared lounge. You can also enjoy the hotel’s indoor pool, sun terrace, and evening entertainment. Ski equipment is available for hire, too.
A relaxing alternative for winter, the country is home to a few interesting thermal towns that receive dozens of tourists from November to March.
Serbia has a wide range of geothermal spas and resorts locally known as banjas (or baths). These wellness centers have been active in the country since Roman times and are one of the favorite things to do in Serbia in winter for tourists and locals, too! Many of these spas turn into meeting points where Serbians enjoy spending time chatting with friends.
For a close-up experience of one of Serbia’s most dynamic thermal centers, it’s a good idea to visit the forested town of Vrnjačka Banja, situated about 200 kilometers from Belgrade, in the south of the country. Here, you can choose from some of the most prestigious hotels in the country with spa centers and wellness facilities, all fed by the town’s natural hot springs.
You can also visit other thermal resorts, including Sokobanja and Banja Koviljača. These are considered Serbia’s most prestigious and ancient spas, with a captivating vintage atmosphere. The resorts include fountains, springs, lush gardens, and a comprehensive list of affordable spa treatments.
Where To Stay In Vrnjačka Banja
Vila Opera is a great place to stay in the area, offering accommodation with free WiFi, garden views, a garden with an outdoor swimming pool, and access to an indoor swimming pool and a fitness room.
Vila Opera has a spa and wellness center, including a hammam, a hot tub, and a sauna.
Vila Rosa is a deluxe accommodation in Vrnjačka Banja, offering family-friendly accommodation with free bikes, free private parking, a bar, and a garden.
There is also luggage storage space, a barbecue, a hammam, an indoor pool, a spa, and a wellness center.
Tara National Park And Tara Mountain Range
If you thought hiking was more warm weather activity, then you’ve never been to Tara National Park before! This super famous Serbian National Park is well-known all over Europe for hosting some magnificent hiking trails that are also open in winter… and not just that, this is precisely when their landscape is at its best!
The breathtaking landscape of the Tara Mountains includes pristine green rivers crossed by a vast network of hiking trails that portray impressively steep gorges, snow-covered forests, frozen waterfalls, and unique traditional settlements.
Among the best winter trekking opportunities in the Old Continent, the area offers visitors the chance to surround themselves with the most authentic winter spirit of the Balkans.
Among the highlights of any visit are the delicious gastronomic delicacies featured by street vendors in the small settlements, including steaming hot meat stews and freshly baked fruit cakes. And if you’re lucky enough… or join an exploration tour, such as this one, you could even spot Serbia’s rare brown bear!
For seasoned horseback riding enthusiasts, the backcountry trails are perfect for rides through the Tara Mountains. You will find several equestrian centers and good schools for beginners in the area. At the same time, children will undoubtedly have the time of their lives joining a family-friendly horse carriage excursion.
Where To Stay In Tara National Park And Tara Mountains
Vikendica NEVEN is a small traditional lodging surrounded by the imposing nature of the Tara Mountains.
This two-bedroom home has a garden, free WiFi, and free private parking. Guests can engage in activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing in the area around the holiday home or wander in the woods and admire the gorgeous lake views.
The family-friendly property also features a children’s playground and a terrace.
Guesthouse Kruna Višegrad. For an affordable stay in the neighboring area, check out Guesthouse Kruna Višegrad, which also offers an on-site restaurant, rooms with heating and patios, and free private parking.
Car rental is a must since the property is about an hour’s ride from the national park.
Stara Planina – Balkan Mountains
Stara Planina in Serbia is a hidden gem for winter enthusiasts looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. This mountain range, also known as the Balkan Mountains, offers a unique and authentic experience that’s far removed from the bustling ski resorts of Western Europe.
During the winter months, Stara Planina transforms into a snowy wonderland, with pristine slopes perfect for skiing and snowboarding. The region is home to several charming villages where you can cozy up in traditional mountain lodges and enjoy hearty Serbian cuisine by the fire.
For those seeking a break from the slopes, there are opportunities for winter hiking and snowshoeing, with breathtaking vistas of snow-covered peaks. Keep in mind that while Stara Planina offers a more budget-friendly alternative to popular European destinations, it’s essential to plan ahead, as amenities and infrastructure may not be as developed. So, if you’re up for an authentic and adventurous winter getaway, Stara Planina in Serbia should be on your radar.
The Danube River in Serbia during winter provides an excellent opportunity to observe the white-tailed eagle in its natural surroundings.
This time of year, the riverbanks and wetlands along the Danube offer a stark yet beautiful landscape blanketed in snow. The white-tailed eagle, with its impressive wingspan and distinctive appearance, often frequents these areas for food.
The Danube’s slower-moving waters during winter make it an appealing hunting ground for these eagles, which primarily prey on fish and waterfowl. If you’re interested in spotting them, head to protected areas like Iron Gates National Park, where they tend to congregate.
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just looking for a unique winter adventure, a visit to the Danube River in Serbia could provide you with a chance to observe these impressive white-tailed eagles in their natural habitat.
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Events During Winter In Serbia
- Belgrade Christmas Market: one of the highlights of winter in Serbia is the Belgrade Christmas Market. Located in the heart of the capital city, this festive market features charming stalls selling handcrafted gifts, delicious traditional food, and warming mulled wine. The beautiful holiday lights and decorations create a magical atmosphere that’s perfect for strolling and shopping
- New Year’s Celebrations: Serbia knows how to welcome the New Year in style. Belgrade hosts lively street parties and fireworks, while restaurants and clubs offer special events and live music. Join the locals in counting down to the new year with plenty of fun and festivities.
Getting To Serbia
Nikola Tesla International Airport receives flights from several European countries. The country’s main airport is about 20 minutes from the center of the capital, Belgrade. The national carrier is Air Serbia, but other European airlines also fly to Belgrade.
There are direct flights from the UK, France, Italy, and other Balkan countries. However, the country still does not receive direct flights from the US or other countries out of the European zone, so it is necessary to take a connecting flight from another European capital.
Traveling to Serbia by train from several other European countries is also possible. Serbia is connected by railway to Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, Romania, and Turkey, among others. Although train travel might be slow, you will kickstart your trip by enjoying some stunning panoramas.
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Winter In Serbia
When playing with the idea of visiting Serbia or any Balkan country in the winter, the first thing to know is that cold weather conditions on this part of the planet are no joke
The coldest months start at the end of November. It reaches its most rigid temperatures between December and February when frost, clouds, and snow are not uncommon, daylight is limited, and cold winds blowing from Russia or even the Arctic can make the average temperature drop far below freezing.
Winter Temperatures in Serbia (Average Low Temperatures)
Note: Temperatures are approximate and may vary from year to year. These values represent average low temperatures for the winter months.
Countless are the options for winter in Serbia; whether there is a fancy hotel in the center of the capital, Christmas shopping in Novi Sad, or a winter escape in the mountains, Serbia is an affordable winter destination in Europe that you won’t want to miss!
What To Pack For A Serbian Winter
- Warm Winter Coat: a good-quality, insulated winter coat is a must to protect against the chilly temperatures
- Layers of Clothing: pack thermal underwear, sweaters, and long-sleeve shirts for layering to keep warm
- Warm Accessories: don’t forget gloves, a scarf, and a beanie to keep your extremities cozy
- Waterproof Boots: sturdy, waterproof boots with good traction will keep your feet dry in snow and slush
- Thick Socks: bring several pairs of thick, warm socks to keep your feet warm inside your boots
- Winter-Weight Pants: opt for insulated or lined pants to stay warm while exploring
- Electric Converter: if your devices have different plug types, bring a converter to charge them
- Power Bank: cold weather can drain your phone’s battery faster, so a power bank is handy for staying connected
- Travel Adapters: ensure you have the right adapters for Serbian electrical outlets
- Travel-Sized Toiletries: pack travel-sized toiletries to save space in your luggage
Remember to check the weather forecast for your specific travel dates and destination in Serbia to adjust your packing list accordingly.
Areas In Serbia
- Novi Pazar
The only question is, are you brave enough to go in the coldest month of the year?