Despite its turbulent history, Serbia has in recent years become a tourist’s destination that is growing in popularity. My recent trip through Serbia makes clear the reasons why. Not only is Serbia more affordable than many countries in Western Europe, it is also home to beautiful countryside and culturally vibrant cities rich with amazing, if complicated, history. Here is where I went on my quick trip through Serbia.
Experience History in Niš
I began my trip in the city of Niš in the south of Serbia. Niš is the third-largest city in Serbia and is most notable for being the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. The city is a fantastic stop for anyone who wants to learn more about Serbia’s complex history, and is home to some of the country’s most beautiful ancient ruins, including Niš fortress, an 18th century construction that sits on far older Roman ruins. After visiting the fortress, I headed over to the Bohemian quarter of Niš, called Kazandžijsko sokače, to enjoy a strong cup of coffee in one of Serbia’s many kafanas, or cafes.
Enjoy Nature in Zlatibor
I next traveled to the popular tourist town of Zlatibor. Set in the mountains of western Serbia, this beautiful little town is the perfect location for skiing enthusiasts or anyone wanting to experience the best of Serbia’s untouched natural sites. While I was in Zlatibor, I made sure to visit Tornik mountain. Enjoy the fresh crisp air as you hike on scenic forests trails, then take a cable car to the mountain’s top and experience some of the most breathtaking views anywhere in the Balkans. Follow your trip up to the top of the mountain with a journey under the earth at Stopica Cave. The price to access the small but spectacular cave is very reasonable and guided tours are available.
Wine and Dine in Belgrade
My final stop brought me to the vibrant, youthful capital of Serbia, Belgrade. Serbia’s largest city, Belgrade has some of the best nightlife you’ll find anywhere in Europe, as well as first rate dining options. With so much to do, I decided to rent an apartment in Belgrade along the beautiful Danube River for my two-day stay in the city. From there, I headed out to the pedestrian-friendly area of Skadarlija. Located close to the city center, this old stone street is the perfect place for tourists to experience a truly Serbian atmosphere. The street is lined with fantastic restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy live music while you get a bite to eat. The following day I headed over to do more shopping and eating along the wide boulevard of Knez Mihailova, and finished my trip with a lesson in Serbian history at the museum located at Kalemegdan fortress in the heart of Belgrade. The fortress is also perfect for relaxing and enjoying a picnic, with lots of green areas and parks within the walls that have beautiful views of the Danube and Sava Rivers.
Don’t let the dark reputation of the Balkans keep you from visiting Serbia. Today, Serbia is an up-and-coming European tourist hotspot with plenty of things to do and see. Whether you’re looking to find rest and rejuvenation in unspoiled nature or dance your night away in one of Belgrade’s many clubs, Serbia has something to offer for everyone.