Ten interesting experiences in Serbia

Prince Mihailo Monument and the National Museum in Belgrade
Image courtesy: ©Datsenko Maryna/Shutterstock

Beckoning Indians with visa free travel, Serbia entices with its cobbled roads, quaint cafes, churches, forts and a history harking back to Roman times. But more than anything, it is the lively charm and vibrancy of this Balkan country and its capital Belgrade spread along the Danube and Sava Rivers that makes it all too easy to fall in love with it.

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Visit the largest Orthodox cathedral in the Balkan region

 

Image courtesy: ©D Bosnic

Under construction for more than 100 years, the impressive St Sava Cathedral in Belgrade plugs into the tumultuous history of this country. It has a gorgeous granite and marble facade with a copper dome. But the interiors of one of the world’s largest Orthodox churches are still a work in progress because it got stalled first during the socialist era and then the troubled nineties. Make sure you visit the basement (crypt) which has stunning murals and gold chandeliers.

Admire jaw dropping views at Djerdap National Park 

Image courtesy: ©B Jovanovic

The showstopper at the country’s most scenic spot, by the Danube River, is the rugged, tall cliffs that make up the Iron Gates gorge. Start at the impressive Golubac Fortress, a 14th century fort that looks like a medieval castle and then stop along the way to enjoy fabulous views. The adventurous can take a hike and swim in the river.

Get a flavour of Belgrade in Knez Mihailova Street (Prince Michael Street)

Image courtesy: ©D Bosnic

Soak in the city’s lively atmosphere at this iconic shopping street in the heart of Belgrade, lined with historic buildings that have traditional Balkan architecture, charming cafes and branded stores. Start from Republic Square dominated by the imposing statue of the 19th century national hero, Prince Mihailo seated on a horse, walk down the pedestrian thoroughfare, grab a coffee and enjoy a street performance.

Go skiing in Kopaonik National Park

If skiing excites you, this is the place to be. Come winter and Serbians make their way to the biggest mountain range of the country to slide down snow covered slopes. The highest ski station is at over 6000 feet. There are skiing trails, lifts, chairs and a restaurant with gorgeous views.

Dig into Serbian cuisine at Kafana Question Mark

Get a taste of traditional Serbian food at one of the oldest kafanas (traditional cafe) in Belgrade and as you dig into your food ask the servers about its unusual name.

Shake a leg at the clubs in the party capital of Balkan region – Belgrade

If someone knows how to let their hair down its Serbians for sure, that is why Belgrade has emerged as one of Europe’s most exciting cities for its nightlife. The setting is exquisite – the banks of Sava and Danube rivers have boats that double up as floating nightclubs and host some of the best parties in town. As the sun sets, Serbians dress their best and shake a leg at a club till morning and sometimes the entire weekend. Hot Mess, Plastic and Povetarac are popular clubs.

Visit ‘Athens of Serbia’, Novi Sad

Image courtesy: ©D Bosnic

Sprawling parks, hip bars, a vibrant city centre, great architecture, outdoor cafes and Serbia’s largest music festival (Exit) – these are just some of the reasons why Novi Sad is nicknamed Athens of Serbia. And it doesn’t end there. In 2021 it will be the first non-EU city to get the title of European Capital of Culture. After the action in Belgrade, you will specially enjoy the relaxed ambience here so don’t skip a visit.

Sip rakia in Skadarlija, a hip Bohemian district

Image courtesy: ©B Jovanovic

Live music, locals dancing and sipping rakia (a local popular fruit brandy), lively pubs and bars, this was once the hangout place for writers, poets and artists and is now the Bohemian district of the Serbian capital. It comes alive at night and there’s never a dull moment here.

Soak in the views of Belgrade and Danube River in Zemun

Image courtesy: ©Pallavi Pasricha

While away an afternoon in one of Belgrade’s most charming districts as you sit by the
Danube for hours and watch the world go by in this city suburb. Lined with cobbled streets, cafes and fish restaurants, this quaint area has a laid back charm that invites one to give tired tourist feet a break and relax. Walk uphill to Gardos Tower built by the Hungarians for
breath-taking views of Belgrade and the Danube river.

Understand Serbia’s history at the Museum of Yugoslavia

Image courtesy: ©Pallavi Pasricha

Get a sense of Serbia’s past and its leader Josip Broz Tito who took former Yugoslavia from strength to strength before it broke down into separate countries. His grave is located in the House of Flowers and there’s a replica of the Blue Train in which he travelled on peace missions to many countries. It was later called the Peace Train.

AUTHOR'S BIO: The joy of discovering new places has kept New-Delhi based travel writer Pallavi Pasricha on the road for more than twelve years. She has authored two Lonely Planet travel guides, worked for Times of India and India Today’s Travel Plus magazine. She captures her experiences in videos and has her own YouTube channel. More on: https://www.youtube.com/c/PallaviPasricha