July 18, 2013

Travel tips for Serbia 2013




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 and cheap place for simply spending a vacation.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 giving here, is for a traveller like me, the one that enjoys the preparations and getting inspired for the journey as much as the travelling itself!

If you wish to have the best of the Serbian experience, here my advise:

Preparations for visiting Serbia


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'll 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
palachinka - serbian food in stunning nice pictures
mezze - my favorite cooking magazine from Serbia (my favorites are the ethno recipes in each issue)

moje grne - The vaste recipe collection from Dragana from Bor

Љубав на први залогај - the recipes from Dragana from Belgrade

kad ja kuvam - Irena from Montenegro has good recipes with great pictures





Formal matters for Serbia

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:

French embassy in Belgrade (vis-a-vis Kalemegdan)

1. Here a list of all foreign embassies in 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 big 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.


That's what I usually bring out of Serbia! 


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 and Serbia's Ambassador to the world 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, religion, Kosovo and gay-parades.
In the entire balkan region people are still very sensitive about war 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.After these more general links, the next few posts will be about 4 itineraries to discover Serbia.

With these basics you just need to get your itinerary and depart!

Ideas for itineraries in Serbia:

Travel tips for Belgrade
Travel tips for Kosovo and the Raska region
Travel tips for Tara National Park and Kopaonik
Travel tips for Ethno Villages in Serbia
Travel tips for Fruska Gora Monasteris

Stara Planina (the old mountains -heart of the balkan)
Vranje (the city of Bora Stankovic)
Sremski Karlovci (beautiful town at the border of Fruska Gora National Park)
Zasavica Nature Park (Nature, Ethno, Food, Culture)













11 comments:

  1. Hvala na spominjanju Grneta i preporuci. Posebno mi je drago da su favoriti etno recepti u Mezze magazinu, koje baš ja uređujem. :)
    Veliki pozdrav!

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  2. Serbia is one of the most beautiful country in the world.This country has many historic places and places full of nature and good environment.


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  3. We need to get an idea about Serbia before we visit Serbia.

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  4. I like your blog, all the photo's, and the info. But you should follow your own advise and "stay out of political debates" (Kosovo is Serbia?). Naturally, you are entitled to your own opinion, but I think that part really brings into your blog a negative vibe. There is already so much of that 'Kosovo is Serbia' stuff on the internet, while at the same time there are not many sites that bring out the really interesting parts about Serbia, like your blog does. I don't understand why you choose to stress that (highly political) point, while at the same time encouraging people to visit Serbia and not to be afraid of all the negative info about it. By doing that, you show that it is almost impossible to separate Serbia from its politics. That makes me sad, because I actually do like the country, (most of) the people, but actually really, really not its politics and its role in the war (Bosnia is also a great country). And I am sure I am not alone in this. When I see such a political message on your blog, I feel I am not welcome here. Is that the effect you're after? I am just drawing your attention to this. Maybe you have good reasons. Maybe you care to explain?

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    Replies
    1. when she says, "don't talk about politics", she's saying "don't disagree". Like you said, she presents some highly political points, then says, "don't argue/contradict".

      This is an interesting phenomenon and happens to a lot of foreigners in Serbia.

      Stockholm-syndrome sufferers at best, craven cowards at worst

      Delete
    2. Dear anonymous, my advise to stay out of politic debates, is meant as a travel tip for a normal tourist, that wants to enjoy in a relaxed pleasant way.
      I imagine a tourist from Western countries debating about stuff like Balkan Wars/Elections/KOSMET getting his information just through Western medias…it can be annyoing and would maybe havoc his pleasant stay, I give this advises to make the most of his travel experience.
      In my posts I usually concentrate on architecture and beautiful landscapes, and politic comments would not really make sense unless where architecture and politics are inseparable.
      Beside my posts I do have a political opinion and I do support traditional values, serbian-orthodox believes and respect a healthy patriotism. I respect my readers and followers and do not marginalize who thinks different from me. welcome!

      Delete
  5. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

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    Replies
    1. Mr. Ali,
      It seems (correct me if I am wrong ((as you seem soo apt to do)) that you are demeaning and myopic in your thinking.
      "Thanks for the time to discuss this" as if, really?!?!
      NO REALLY give me a break = people, or creatures sometimes have a FALSE sense of self grandeur = do you even grasp this as a potential concept that may apply to the tone of your writing = with all due respect, and seeing how this may be a shock to you = just a concept to bounce around your MASSIVE BRAIN ;-)
      KOSOVO IS SERBIA = think about the likelihood of
      San Diego being cut off from the USA and join Mexico because the local hispanic population had a popular vote = classic = historically precedent setting political move on USA's part cut a portion of a sovereign nations land away from it's self!
      How about Iraq and some of the "Kurds" in the oil rich north of Iraq = "Kurdistan" funny how they are getting all of the support of the USA, much like the drug smuggling KLA/Albanians who smuggle drugs and are leaders in kidnapping women and selling them into human trafficking = NO REALLY PLEASE!
      Speak to these points while upon your soap box buddy!
      Check out the movie "wag the dog"!! & then think Clinton and his girlfriend!!! Funny huuuuuuuu.

      Delete
  6. 1. Serbia is at such an important cultural cross roads, the geography, the food, culture, people, hospitality, the various festivals = Guca Horn festival http://www.guca.rs 100,000+ visitors from across Europe! Or visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Festivals_in_Serbia or http://www.exitfest.org/sr = HUGE Festival / Concert or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Serbian-Festivals/253515978716 or the NATIONAL TOURISM SITE http://www.serbia.travel/ or View this GREAT Food/Travel Video = Award Winning Video = SOULFOOD Serbia (12 min) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ArNLVTn9x0 or another Great Promotional Video made by a guy that has fallen in Love with Serbia, it’s people, culture, food, land, culture etc.. it’s called “Say Serbia” (Promo Video) One Place, One Love, Say Serbia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHk45SeN1x4
    2. Food = Organic Food Serbia - Healthy Living = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5anW-xA1Wpk
    3. Lonely Planet Serbia = http://www.lonelyplanet.com/serbia
    4. Another Video Travel Blog Belgrade Serbia! - In love with Srbija Beograde (Dutch Twinz)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1q6-8xuG-I
    5. Amazing People = The athletes (Largest Group of foreign Nationals in NBA = Are Serbian)
    6. Short flight connecting most major European Cities within 1 hour flight!
    7. Great Exchange Rate vs. EURO/US Dollar etc…
    8. Great Deals on High quality Hand Tailored Fashion, modern furniture, & consumer products!

    You will be VERY Pleasantly Surprised by what you will see, learn and certain to share the growing crowd of people signing Serbia and the other nations of former Yugoslavia as Great Travel Destinations.

    And in Closing = With All Due Respect = KOSOVO IS SERBIA, and the fact that it is an active contemporary social / political / cultural debate, which addresses many serious political concerns that bare a variety of implications related to national sovereignty and is commonly mentioned by many Serbians living in the diaspora e.g. athletes, actors, and other celebrates further illustrates the fact that one cannot divorce the fact that it is a deep and meaningful topic that can’t be ignored = WHITE ELEPHANT!
    i.e. “When in Rome do as the Romans” = When in Serbia or the Balkans please go to learn about the great people, the passion and energy of the whole region and appreciate the overall vigor!

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  7. Great details here, better yet to discover out your blog which is fantastic. Nicely done!!!
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  8. I run a series of travel blogs as a hobby, and try to publish as many posts from myself and guest authors to share their experiences, and hopefully to inspire people to travel more.Serbia is excellent place for travelers.

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