9 Reasons You Should Visit Serbia

Guca festival

It only took about a month to pass through all the Balkan states, but it feels like we’ve already been on a long, incredible journey. The Balkans treated us better than we ever could have imagined, and we are sad but very satisfied to close this chapter of our trip now that we’ve arrived in Istanbul.

But not all Balkan states were the same, oh no. To celebrate our favourite of them all, we present to you: 9 Reasons You Should Visit Serbia!

1. The people are hot

Accordion player in Fruska Gora

And by hot we don’t just mean sexy–but that too. Serbians are a friendly, easy-going bunch with the warmest and most relaxed hospitality we experienced. So many people had a chilled out vibe, and stressing about life, the universe, the economy, or the police just wasn’t the way they rolled. They smile, they laugh, they’ll invite you to come home and meet the family but won’t get heartbroken or insulted if you say no. People value friendships and wide social connections, and an important part of that bond is……

2. The rakija

Domaca Rakija

Where have you been all our lives? This clear little spirit knocks vodka out of the ring with its alcoholic punch, but its meant for sipping and socialising, not for shooting. And it’s the best medicine around; one in the morning before breakfast gets the pipes running smoothly, so they say. Everyone’s father or brother or uncle or grandpa makes their own special blend from whatever fruits are abundant in the area, and thus you can experience regional differences right down to each family’s garden and basement.

3. The nature is epic, and you can camp anywhere

Tara national park

Nuff said.

4. The history is complicated

belgrade-1

Think history is boring, boring, boring? Never been interested in World War I or II, Yugoslavia, or Communism? Then check out Serbia to get super interested by seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling history in this still relatively politically-volatile region. It doesn’t necessarily have all the sights, but it’s smack-dab in the middle and a great starting point for a magical mystery history tour to any of the other former-Yugoslav countries. And although history might be a big AVOID for chatty conversation with strangers in our own countries, Serbians are more than happy to shoot the breeze by talking about historical happenings, and they’ll give you an earful of the “other side” of the story compared to what was perpetuated in Western media.

And don’t worry about people holding the whole NATO bombing thing against you if you’re a Yank, German, etc.. Almost all the Serbians we met were pragmatic fellows who realise it’s the government who pushes those big red buttons, not the people.

5. The food is awesome

Dinner at Marina

Do you like meat? Do you like meat wrapped in meat? Do you want some cheese with that? Then come to Serbia, where restaurant advertisements ubiquitously feature a gigantic picture of lamb roasting on a spit. If lamb isn’t your thing, they have plenty of pork too, and we found out by surprise that you can buy an entire pig’s head for only 300 dinars. Bargain! If you’re having reservations about visiting a country where the national dish is barbecue, there’s always ajver (vegetarian caviar) and shopska salad, which is topped with the creamiest cow’s milk feta cheese to ever melt in your mouth.

6. They have banging parties

Guca festival

For foreign visitors the big events are Exit Festival and Guča Trumpet Festival, both of which are a solid bet depending on how much you like trumpets. But bohemian Novi Sad and Berlinesque Belgrade are both great places to easily find places that are into down-and-dirty, shirts-off partying alongside the awful dress codes, the table service, and the top-40 house tunes that plague clubs in the rest of the Balkans.

7. You can still smoke inside

strike-1

Not a bonus for everyone, but this is just one example of how Serbians prefer to resist having their personal freedoms encroached upon by pushing towards EU membership. This ain’t your average European country, and they know that EU’s one-size-fits-all policies and legislation just might not be right for them. (We heard some dissatisfaction from neighbouring Bulgarians about their country’s possibly premature entry into the EU…)

8. They are the best drivers in the Balkans

They start em young!

Maybe it’s because they don’t hate their lives as much as everyone else in the region, but Serbians are slightly more careful on the road than other Balkan drivers. No suicidal passing on a two-lane road like the Bosnians, or pushing into speeding traffic with the nose of their cars like the Montenegrins. It doesn’t mean they’re prissy grandma drivers, though. Speed limit signs are about as important as “No U-turn” signs, but the skill with which they execute their careless driving means less white-knuckling for us foreigners when navigating traffic.

9. It’s cheap enough to make you feel good, but not guilty

BIP Svetlo Pivo

When we visited in July, the Serbian Dinar was 116 to the euro. You can get a can of beer for 60 dinars in a shop, a bottle of wine for 400. Rakija is probably free once you make friends. But you don’t have to feel guilty when someone tries to charge you €430 to replace your car’s engine and you say no. Because €430 is a lot of money in any currency!!

Have you been to Serbia? What ranks up there on your reasons to visit that we missed? Write us in the comments!



There are 18 comments

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  1. Kwa_Kwa

    I visited majority of European countries but nothing compares to Serbia! The spirit and hospitality of people is truly amazing. If anyone is visiting in august, shoudn’t miss Guca Trumpet Festival. Cheers from Japan.

    • Semi

      Guca is definitely an interesting experience, think it gets more and more nuts every year! Watch out for locals looking for a quick buck, though.

  2. АцаБеоград

    Very vey big THANKS for a way you showing foreing people’s how do you felt in Serbia, it’s always nice to have such a good compliments from foreings 🙂 . We are not “animals” and “savages”, we know how to live or lifes, and how western media describing us on every corner, we are peaceful peoples, always smiling, always happy beside economic crisis, and everything else. Come to my Serbia, make friends and you will se what is real life! 🙂
    ЖИВЕЛИ!CHEERS!

  3. Jens

    Rakija is not hungarian! Palinka is a similar drink but no comparable to say what you just said. Rakija / Shlivotitza and all other brandy spirits are huge in SRB and this is the land of tradition.
    Of course other countries have brandys as such as like Czech,slovakia, germany, italy, etc. but the real authentic slivovitza is from Serbia.
    Cheers/Ziveli/Prost

  4. Igor

    THIS IS A HUGE BULLSHIT! I am from Serbia and believe me, do not ever try to come here! The serbs are fucking savage, like barbarians, they are absolutely unfriendly people, the once beautiful land is ravaged by crap and thrash. They drop the nuclear thrash into a mountain (Fruska Gora) which is a National Park…. and now, we have an idiot governor who invites the gypsies and muslims and OF COURSE is pulling down our payments to the ground….. TRY TO LIVE FROM ONLY 300 EUROS WHILE YOU HAVE 3 CHILD AND A WIFE! As soon as I will finish my studies, I am gonna leave this shit-hole country…..

  5. Sremac

    palinka as a word comes from Slovak, even that is not hungarian. Rakija is pure Slavic drink although the word “rakija” probably comes from turkish raki, that’s turkish national drink.

  6. Bartbull

    My girl friend is from Serbia, I have been there many times, there are NO jobs! When you walk around all you see are people drinking coffee, that’s all they can afford to do. Everyone lives with family, there are no moving out when you hit 18, you can not afford to live alone in this country. Yes it’s pretty country city looks half way nice, but try to live there as a Serb, it’s not so easy………

    • Semi

      I don’t really think Serbia is unique in these aspects, though. The economy isn’t really great anywhere in the Balkans, and BiH and Macedonia have unemployment rates much higher than Serbia’s. But we felt that people in Serbia have a more positive attitude about it than elsewhere, especially in comparison to some other countries we visited where things really aren’t that bad, but the locals choose to dwell on on the fact that they aren’t as affluent as “everyone else”.

      • david

        Tnx sara!!! Problems do not exist it is an illusion, we have a situation. Who wants positive situation he has them and he lives life. Who wants negative situation he has many “problems” and not living life. Maybe the situation in Serbia is not great but people do not worry, be happy!!!We can take it all but can’t take the love and happiness!!! Because Igor ana Bartbull be positive please.

  7. Jason Kerley

    This list is 100% correct. I miss kajmak so much that I tried making my own in USA (although not quite successful). The only thing the list didn’t include was the markets that are found almost every 2-3km. Fresh cheese, local vegetables, and Serbian Googles (grandmothers) making slippers for sale. If Serbia wasn’t so far away, I would be there every weekend.


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