Glamorous, grungy and full of character, Serbia is Europe put in a blender, shaken and stirred. While the lush, vineyard-layered countryside and crumbling fortresses hint at the Europe of old, the fiery energy of Novi Sad's EXIT Festival and Belgrade's heaving nightclubs give this Eastern European mainstay a renewed spirit that defies its recent past. So for a taste of something old, something new and pretty much everything in between - why not accept Serbia's alluring cocktail. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
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Articles on Serbia
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At a glance
|Capital city:||Belgrade (population 1.2 million)|
|Time zone:||(GMT+01:00) Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest, Ljubljana, Prague|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)|
Best time to visit Serbia
Generally, Serbia's weather is quite moderate, with a mixture of Central European and Mediterranean conditions providing the potential for fine weather in all seasons. Both summer and winter are prone to occasional days of extreme weather, with occasional dry, hot days in summer and heavy snowfalls from December to April. The majority of rainfall occurs from March to April and from October to November. Despite the temperature occasionally rising above 35 degrees C in the south, cold spells are not uncommon. With this in mind, it's a good idea to be prepared for all temperatures (regardless of the season), and pack a mixture of summer and winter clothes. For nature lovers, spring brings blossoming flowers and warm temperatures, and the countryside at its greenest during this time.
As is the case with many other European destinations, Serbia experiences the highest volume of visitors between July and August, so expect crowds around Belgrade and in Novi Sad, especially during the annual EXIT festival in July.
Geography and environment
Overall, the landscape of Serbia is quite varied. The top of the country is home to the Pannonian Plains, an expansive lowland area that is primarily used for agriculture. The rest of the country is a mixture of alpine areas, limestone mountains, valleys, thick pine forests and rolling green hills. Serbia's tallest peak, Mt Deravica (2,656 m), is located in the Dinaric Alps, near the border of Albania. Glacial lakes are common in this region and often make for a spectacular sight.
Top 5 Belgrade Bars
1. The Federal Association of Globe Trotters
Although its name may suggest otherwise, many travellers miss out on the delights of this uber-trendy spot. While an inconspicuous location and total lack of signage keep this carefree bar off the map, those curious enough to step off the street will find an eclectic and exotic decor that borrows from just about every culture on earth. Add a laidback vibe and some lip smacking cocktails and you can see why locals and tourists fall in love with this place time and time again. If Intrepid owned a bar, this is what it would look like.
2. Blaznavak Cafe
You have to wonder whether Petrovic Blaznavak - a former Serbian defence minister - could have imagined that his former house would become one of Belgrade’s hippest bars, 150 years after it was first built. But that's exactly what makes Blaznavak Cafe particularly charming - it’s a perfect place to meet, drink, eat and discuss, in the classical surrounds of a Serbian house filled with technicolour graffiti. Need we say more?
3. Mr Steven Brown
Their website proclaims 'it doesn’t matter who Steven Brown is', but we reckon he must know how to party. With guests such as Gerard Butler, Novak Djokovic and Michael Madsen spotted in the midst of this super club, it's certainly not for the faint of heart or weak of wallet. But then again, the city views and all-night awesomeness might just make it a worthy end to any Belgrade pub crawl.
4. Sunset Bar
If someone told you that they spent a day in Belgrade lazing under the shade of an umbrella and sipping cocktails on the beach, you could probably be forgiven for thinking they had gone insane. But before you check them into the asylum, head down to the banks of the Danube on one of Serbia's glorious summer days. Not only will you find bronzed bodies splashing in the cool waters, but some of the city's best bars are set up along the shoreline - ready to welcome you with a fruit cocktail or delicious ice-cream sundae. According to one of the most popular of these bars, the aptly named Sunset Bar, 'your pleasure and good time are our mission'. Mission accomplished!
For those that like their cosmopolitans served with a side of contemplation, Plato’s Jazz Club is situated in the esteemed Philosophy Department of Belgrade University. A former meeting point during the student protest of the 90s, the debonair setting is absolutely charming, even if the drinks are a little pricey. Be careful though, emerging from Plato’s shadowy jazzy cave and into the daylight may change your perception (of bars) forever - or at least have you raving about 'the truth' to your friends for years to come.
FAQs on Serbia
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 140 RSD
Basic, takeaway lunch = 285 RSD
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = 700 RSD
For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 7 Orthodox Christmas Day
Jan 27 St Sava’s Day
Feb 15 Constitution Day
May 1-2 Labour Day
May 3 Orthodox Good Friday
May 6 Orthodox Easter Monday
May 9 Victory Day
Jun 28 St Vitus’ Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/serbia/public-holidays
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Serbia Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Serbia
1. Be considerate of Serbia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with tap or filtered water. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
3. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
4. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
5. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
6. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
|Black Lamb and Grey Falcon||Dame Rebecca West|
|Cafe Europa||Slavenka Drakulic|
|An Impossible Country: A Journey Through the Last Days of Yugoslavia||Brian Hall|
|Fire and Nothing||Branko Miljkovic|