Serbia travel guide and information

Serbian culture is rich and varied: a unique hybrid facing west but with echoes of an Ottoman past.

Laurence Mitchell author of Serbia: The Bradt Guide

With a long and colorful history that dates back to the early medieval period, and even to the Roman occupation long before that, Serbian culture is rich and varied: a unique hybrid looking westward but with echoes of a Ottoman.

The long period of Turkish rule has left its mark on the country’s food, music and language, as have influences from Austria and Hungary to the north. While a Habsburg city like Novi Sad, a place firmly in the middle of Central Europe, is only an hour’s drive north of Belgrade, traveling to the south of the country brings the visitor to very different like Novi Pazar, where the Turkish influence remains. steep and the skyline bristling with minarets.

Belgrade itself, the largest city in the region, may not be the most elegant of capitals, but it has a vitality undiminished by its years of isolation. Today it’s a vibrant and sophisticated city where tradition and modernity coexist comfortably – a vibrant capital with museums, galleries and nightlife equal to anywhere in the region. Small university towns like Novi Sad and Niš also have their own appeal, as do many small rural towns in Serbia.

In a landscape punctuated by river valleys, gorges and gentle hills, nature lovers are delighted. National parks such as Mount Tara in the west, Fruška Gora in the north and Đerdap Gorge in the east are ideally located for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and bird watching, while that Zlatibor and the southern mountain resort of Kopaonik offer winter skiing.

Fortunately, Serbia’s bad boy image and demonized reputation are now a thing of the past. Even a simple observation reveals a country eager to take its rightful place in wider European society. In 2011, following the inclusion of the country on the Schengen white list, Serbs were finally allowed to travel without visas inside the EU bloc. For the first time in decades – since they were all “Yugoslavs” in fact – Serbs were able to travel freely in the countries around them. The year 2012 brought further progress when the country was granted full EU candidate status. As it stands, the country is expected to complete negotiations by 2024 and join the EU by 2025.

There’s no denying that things are definitely looking up for Serbia these days, so don’t delay: get there as soon as you can.

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