October 13, 2009
Best travel tips for Serbia
I've been frequently asked to share my advice for travelling to Serbia, and I've already sent out some links, some suggestions and tips. It's time to put all the precious infromation together and to share it with my readers.
When I decided to travel to Serbia for the first time (that's quiet a long time ago...) you could not find ANY advise for travelling there, but just recomendations to NOT go to that area of the world. The war was over, the NATO agression fresh in the back an internet was not yet sharing many links regarding that area.
Today it's easier, tourism is wide spread also in Serbia and even less informed people know that the entire Balkan region is not only of a stunning beauty but also a safe place to explore and makes it also a good place for simply spending a vacation.
Preparations for visiting Serbia
Of course you can just jump into a plane and land in the middle of Belgrade and have a perfect stay without even knowing where you are. The advise I'm passing on here, are if you're a traveller like me, the one that enjoys the preparations and getting inspired for the journey as much as the travelling itself!
1. read something about serbian history
Serbia is a country with an important history and everything you see is loaded with history! So I suggest to read at least this historic summary, that will put the things you see in the right historic contest.
2. learn the serbian cyrillic alphabet
Learn to read cyrillic characters or at least print this cyrillic alphabet out and carry it with you. Most of the signs are written in cyrillic, however in Belgrade and where big communities of hungarians (in northern Vojvodina province) or albanians (in Kosovo and Metohija province) live you find a lot written also in the latinic alphabet.
3. learn about serbian cuisine
The Serbian eating style is something that delights tourists the most: it's absolutely fantastic! In this overview about serbian food you find an explanation to all the dishes served in restaurants, a good guide to drinks and eating habits. (For vegetarians, well what to say? if you decide to eat meat once in your lifetime, do it in Serbia...
Since the food is so good you might come back from Serbia and have the wish to cook the nice things yourself. So here my 4 favorite links to serbian recipes:
astal - Vera's recipes from the Vojvodina region
emo serpica - traditional serbian food
palachinka - serbian food in stunning nice pictures
moje grne - Dragana's vaste recipe collection
Here some general information to get the administrative things right when entering and leaving Serbia. It's not complicated, but it's nice to have it here all in one place:
1. Here a list of all Diplomatic and Consular Missions of Serbia (listed by countries)
2. Here is an overview for Visa regimen with the list of countries
Foreigners should register their arrival in Serbia (if you're staying at a Hotel, they will do that automatically for you) with the competent authorities (according to the place of residence of the foreigner - the police department). It's not a bif deal and it doesn't cost much (a couple of cents for the papers).
3. It's never a bad idea to check border customs (here an overview) As a tourist you shouldn't have any troubles with customs officers. Be just sure to get an "Entrance to Serbia stamp" in your passport, that will avoid troubles when travelling out of the country again.
General advise for Serbia
1. It's forbidden to take pictures of any military facilities.
2. Don't panic if you read some bad facts about Serbia.
It's still some anti-serbian propaganda going on, and whatever unpleasant happens in Serbia is displayed as a big thing in western european medias (there are however some sites, like at de-construct, oposing against that). Remember that statistically it's more likely you happen to get harassed in a western european city that somewhere in Serbia. Be respectful and you get respected!
3. Stay out of politic debates and go easy on spreading your opinion about themes like Balkan Wars, ethnic groups and Kosovo.
In the entire balkan region people are still very sensitive about these themes and if you're not part of them you can not 100% understand it. So keep the good advise for your diary and not for the table at the local Kafana. If you are interested in following politics in Serbia (and it's really entertaining) here an overview of the political parties, their leaders and their ideas.
After these more general links, the next few posts will be about 4 itineraries to discover Serbia.
Labels: travel tips