City at night

Thinking about traveling to the less known places? Trying new things, meeting different cultures? Here is a suggestion – Serbia.

Serbia in a TOP 5 most popular destinations

Reported by The Daily Mirror, British national newspaper, Serbia is one of the TOP 5 most popular destinations in 2016. Famous for its local cuisine and sports, more and more people over the world want to experience this country and see what hidden treasures Serbia has.

If you still didn’t decide, here are more reasons that might help you!

People in Serbia will surprise you

Maybe you heard about how warm and kind Serbs are towards tourists. But the truth is, you probably won’t find this much hospitality in other nations. Most foreigners are surprised how many Serbs can speak English and that is a real plus if you are looking for authentic local spirit. Lots of people you meet here will make sure you are welcome and satisfied and will do its best to make you feel like at home.

Cheerful and temperamental Serbian people will always find a way to make you laugh at their jokes. And don’t be shocked if they hug and kiss you three times, it’s a custom here! I guarantee you will leave this country with a few friendships more and lots of memories.

Imperial country: rich history

Since being on the crossroad of European history, Serbia has a rich mixed culture, ethnicity, and religion. In this territory, many Roman emperors were born, but the most famous one is Constantine. The first emperor who legalized Christianity was born in Niš. Lots of cities here lay on the remains from the Roman period, so you can find caves, tunnels, passages underneath them. Diverse history made this country full of big archeological findings.

Fortresses

Fortresses in Serbia are preserved from the Roman, Byzantine, medieval Serbian and post-Ottoman eras and there are hundred of cities with remains. Most popular are certainly Kalemegdan in Belgrade and Petrovaradin in Novi Sad.

Petrovaradin, Novi Sad, Serbia

Due to its historical significance and exceptional architectural value, the Golubac fortress was declared a monument of exceptional importance. It is located in the National park of Đerdap. Some of them such as Gamzigrad in Zaječar and Old Ras in Novi Pazar gained UNESCO world heritage status, others are restored or in the remains.

Archeological findings and monasteries

Lepenski Vir is one of the largest and most important Mesolithic and Neolithic archaeological sites. Located on the right coast of the Danube in the Đerdap Gorge, it was the place of one of the most important and most complex cultures of prehistory. And speaking about prehistory, one of the oldest Neolithic cultures, arguably the richest one, started here (Vinča). And it is just an hour from Belgrade. And those places are just the tip of an iceberg in this country!

Through the turbulent periods, lots of historic places were ruined and later restored. That includes monastery too.

This country has over 100 monasteries and churches. Some of them, like monastery Visoki Dečani, gained UNESCO world heritage status. Also, Studenica Monastery built by King Stephan has gained that status because of its architectural significance and stunning frescoes. Monastery Žiča was proclaimed a cultural monument of exceptional importance and is under the protection of the Republic of Serbia. It is a place where King Stephan was crowned in 1221. Sopoćani Monastery, built by King Uroš in the 13th century, also gained UNESCO world heritage status.

Skull tower, Niš source: wikipedia.com

Also, believe it or not – The Skull Tower is not a fictional place! It can be found here and it is located in Niš. Built by Turkish authority, from the fallen Serb warriors, as a response to the retribution, today it is a museum installation. Out of 952 skulls, only 58 remain today.

And speaking of Gothic, vampires originated here!

Music connects us all – festivals and nightlife of Serbia

There are hundred of festivals waiting to be discovered in Serbia. The most popular and award-winning certainly festival is Exit festival. Held in a Petrovaradin fortress, in the city with the richest culture events (Novi Sad).

In August, in a small village of Guča, you can find the world’s largest trumpet festival. Besides music, you can see here folk dancing, handicrafts, great traditional food, and drinks etc.

Nišville International Jazz Festival has consistently defended European values of multiculturalism for years. It is held at summer in a fortress of Niš under the open sky.

The uprising annual summer festival, held in a former capital of Serbia, Arsenal fest is famous for fantastic mixture of modern sound and light systems and specific 19th century industrial architecture.

One of the longest lasting festival in Serbia (held since 1966.) Gitarijada is the largest festival of young and unaffirmed bands in South Eastern Europe.

Belgrade Beer Fest is also one of the most visited festivals and offers versatile music programme with a large selection of beer brands and entertainment.

Like that is not enough! Belgrade is one of the biggest party cities in Europe, named as one of the TOP 10 cities for its nightlife by National Geographic. The clubbing industry is very organized and offers lots of different places with various kinds of music. During the winter visit the indoor clubs or kafanas (national restaurants) for more authentic experience. At summer, the most popular are splavs – rafts turned into floating river clubs. There is a reason why it is called “the city that never sleeps”.

Gourmands’  heaven

With good music and party, there is an even better food and drinks. You will experience another dimension of tasty food with traditional dishes.

Serbian barbeque

Serbian barbecue, traditionally grilled on a charcoal fire, is a must-try. And for the full pleasure, there is a food festival in the city of Leskovac, where you can try all kind of specialties from a barbecue.

Try gibanica (a sort of cheese pie), a dish you won’t find anywhere else; or specialty kajmak (a dairy product) with a unique taste.

Ajvar, a “Serbian caviar”, made from red peppers, has lots of variations, but you can decide which one is the best.

Sarma (sour cabbage rolls) and burek can be found in many countries from Middle East, Balkans and central Europe, but here is specially made which makes it very delicious. Burek is considered the most popular breakfast in Serbia, served with the cup of yogurt (dairy product).

Traditional drink is rakija, served in a small glasses due to its vehemence. But Serbia also produces a great wine. On the north of the country, you can find lots of vineyards and winery where you can do a dégustation. Of course, the best way to unite food, drinks and great music is to go to kafanas and enjoy in a great company and time.

A cure for the body and soul – spa and sports

After partying and exploring the undiscovered, you need a detox for sure. Serbia has more than 50 mineral springs! So if you want to relax and receive full body and soul treatments, I recommend some of many spa resorts.

Sources of geothermal or mineral-rich waters, healing mud or clean and fresh air are medicinal resorts and a touristic attraction. Thermal baths of the ancient Romans, where they enjoyed the medicinal properties of our area, built between the 2nd and 4th-century bc, are visible today, in Niš, Vrnjačka, Sokobanja, Kuršimlija, Jošanička and Ribarska Banja. In lots of them are Wellness spa centers, hospitals or hotels with spas. Or visit our national parks like Fruška Gora or Tara, with rich flora and fauna, fresh air, grain fields, mountain woods, orchards and vineyards with famous wine cellars.

However, if your “rehabilitation” requires adrenaline rush, try Tara rafting or skiing on the Kopaonik mountain. Paragliding is too a great way to discover all beauties this country has to offer. Just from a different perspective!

Near mountains, there are many ethno villages to rest. Or just visit popular “salaš”, traditional outlying farms in Vojvodina. Called “the oases of peace”, it is a place where an urban man can rest, enjoys domestic food and drink with the sound of local tambourines.

Serbia is just waiting for you to live it and you can do it from the best seats.

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