29 Must-Visit Attractions in Serbia

Petrovaradins unusual clock
Petrovaradin's unusual clock | © Impact Photography / Shutterstock

The cream of the crop, the best of the best, the top of the tree. That’s what we’re looking at here. From Subotica all the way down to Niš, and from Tara to Đerdap, Serbia is full to breaking point with majestic attractions waiting to be discovered, photographed, adored and then photographed again.

1. Kalemegdan

Architectural Landmark

View from Kalemegdan
@ Tatiana Popova/shutterstock

Where better to start than the glorious capital city, Belgrade? Kalemegdan is the highlight of any trip to the city, the famous fortress enveloping the finest park in the city and hiding museums and monuments within it. The capital’s most romantic spot is found here, along with centuries of conflict and tumult. No trip to the capital is complete without checking out Kalemegdan.

2. Church of St. Sava

Architectural Landmark

Belgrades gorgeous Church of St. Sava
© Vladimir Nenezic / Shutterstock

If Kalemegdan is the highlight experience of a trip to the capital, it is hard to look past the Church of St. Sava when it comes to architecture. This is true in both a literal and figurative sense, as the monolithic building dominates the city landscape. Built on the spot where St. Sava’s relics were burnt by the occupying Ottomans, the gigantic church is every bit as imposing as a house of God should be.

3. House on the Drina

Architectural Landmark

Drina House

If the Church of St. Sava represents an obsession with buildings closer to the gods, then the House on the Drina is the living embodiment of architectural intimacy. The house sprung up in 1969 when a group of swimmers wanted a more comfortable spot to rest, adding another attraction to the might of the Drina river. Images don’t come more adorable than the little House on the Drina.

4. Studenica Monastery

Architectural Landmark

Serbia is a country full of monasteries, many of which deserve to be recognised on a spiritual and architectural level. Studenica may well be the best of them, one of the greatest examples of Serbian medieval architecture in the country. The white marble churches are impressive enough, but the magnificent frescoes inside come close to matching them.

5. Subotica City Hall

Architectural Landmark

One of the marvels of Serbian architecture
© Nenad Nedomacki / Shutterstock

Subotica might just be the most underrated city in the entire country, which is no small achievement. The town’s City Hall is the best example of Art Nouveau architecture in the country, an early 20th century structure that showcases an impressive attention to detail and then some. Choose to overlook this Hungarian border town at your own peril.

6. Josip Broz Tito’s Grave/House of Flowers

Architectural Landmark

Titos death hastened the end of Yugoslavia
© bibiphoto / Shutterstock

Heading back to the capital, it is difficult to think of Serbia in the 20th century without passing a glance to the man who ruled Yugoslavia for the majority of its existence. Josip Broz Tito was a communist leader with a difference, a wildly popular figure who is missed by all generations today. Tito is buried in Belgrade, and his tomb is found in the gracefully named House of Flowers.

7. Đerdap Gorge

Architectural Landmark

One of the most incredible natural sights in the world
© Nikolansfoto / shutterstock
More of a river than a gorge, the Đerdap Gorge is often described as a ‘border designed by a deity’ and that doesn’t really do it justice. Water absolutely dominates the image, bordered by two dramatic cliff faces that seem to be immensely foreboding, but are home to many sights and sounds themselves. It is sometimes referred to as the Iron Gate, which is a little easier to pronounce than Đerdap.

8. Skull Tower

Architectural Landmark

The grisly Skull Tower in Niš | © asiana/shutterstock
© asiana/shutterstock

Okay, so ‘Skull Tower’ doesn’t exactly sound like the most inviting of attractions. This monument in Niš is an important memorial to sacrifice, however, as these are the tangible remains of centuries of brutal Ottoman rule. 952 skulls originally made up the tower, of which less than 60 remain today. It isn’t going to put a smile on your face, but then history is rarely about cheering people up.

9. Uvac Canyon

Natural Feature

Serbia is full of gorgeous nature that impresses as much as it delights, and no spot marries the two of those reactions quite as well as Uvac Canyon. The meanders are as dramatic as river bends are going to get, seemingly conceived by someone with an overexcitable imagination and a liberal interpretation of the word ‘bend’. Add jagged cliffs, wild fauna and the immense power of the Drina river, and you have the wonderful Uvac Canyon.

10. Đavolja Varoš

Natural Feature

A collection of more than 200 peculiar rock formations, the ‘Devil’s Town’ came together from the tears of those foolish enough to betray a witch or deny the devil. These mythical stories of creation are legendary and imaginary of course, but the uniqueness of the rock fingers isn’t up for debate. There simply isn’t anything like this anywhere on the entire continent, let alone elsewhere in Serbia.

11. Sremski Karlovci

Architectural Landmark

Serbia’s prettiest town, Sremski Karlovci is small enough to be considered an attraction in itself. Everything of note within the town exists on a single square, including the first Serbian high school and one of the most graceful fountains in the state. Villages don’t come more gorgeous in the country, accentuated only by the historical importance of Karlovci itself.

12. Kneza Mihaila

Architectural Landmark

The right amount of bodies are found on Knez Mihailova in spring
@ Kirill Makarov/shutterstock

Belgrade’s strongest point is the people who inhabit the Serbian capital, and there is no better place to indulge in a little bit of people-watching than along the main thoroughfare of the White City. Knez Mihailova is the most famous street in this most famous of cities, a walkway full of shops, cafes and all types of restaurants, not to mention all strands of Belgrade society.

13. Golubac Fortress

Architectural Landmark

The magnificent Golubac Fortress
@ Iza Wierzbica / Shutterstock

Serbia is home to many fortresses, and none are as aesthetically striking as the 14th century fortification on the edge of the mighty Danube in the east of the country. Golubac is the nation’s most photogenic fortress, and it is easy to see why so many tried so desperately to conquer it over the centuries. Most of Serbia’s fortresses provide great views from within, but this is one you absolutely must view from afar.

14. Drvengrad

Architectural Landmark

Another fine Kusturica creation
@ Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock

If you happen to be the most creative film director of your generation, the chances are you are going to be fairly successful if you get the chance to construct your own village. That is exactly what Emir Kusturica got to do with the idyllic Drvengrad, a teeny hamlet in the west of the country with streets named after pop culture icons and arguably the most relaxed atmosphere in all of Serbia.

15. Žiča

Architectural Landmark

Dipping back into the spiritual, the 13th century monastery at Žiča was hugely important in the early years of the Serbian state. It was founded by none other than St. Sava himself, and represented the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church for the first 34 years of its existence. In the beginning, Serbian Kings weren’t considered official until they were crowned here, and you can’t consider yourself a Serbian expert without stopping here, too.

16. Kosmaj

Architectural Landmark

The entire area of the former Yugoslavia is full of incredible monuments built in the aftermath of World War II, impressive structures paying homage to the men and women who gave their lives for the Yugoslav cause during that most miserable of conflicts. Serbia has its fair share of these, and the five finger memorial at Kosmaj could be the finest. There is plenty of symbolism at play here, but the intangible sadness of sacrifice is difficult to avoid. If the Skull Tower in Niš represents the centuries of occupation, Kosmaj honours the same threat in the 20th century.

17. Оplenac

Architectural Landmark

The story of Serbia’s duelling dynasties is as confusing as it is eventful, and it was the House of Karadjordjević that eventually managed to outlast its Obrenović counterpart. The members of the former family are buried at Oplenac, a church just outside the central town of Topola. The crypt is interesting enough, but the incredible mosaic that covers the walls of the church proper almost certainly takes the cake. It is difficult to imagine a more awesome mosaic. Trust us.

18. Petrovaradin Fortress

Architectural Landmark

The sun sets over Novi Sad
© Slobodan Kunevski / Shutterstock

Novi Sad is a wonderful city in its own right, and its most impressive sight comes with great views of the Serbian Athens. Petrovaradin Fortress looks out over the town and the Danube, providing the most romantic dinner spot in all of Vojvodina. The fortress becomes a massive party in the summer thanks to the famous EXIT Festival, but its charms are best experienced sober and in peace.

19. Šargan Eight

Architectural Landmark

Sargain Eight

An adorable little railway near Mokra Gora, the Šargain Eight route is another Serbian sight that owes its fame to Emir Kusturica. From the air the tracks resemble a figure eight, but it is obviously quite difficult to tell this from the ground. It shouldn’t dampen your enjoyment of the run however, a nod to a simpler time in the most tranquil of settings.

20. Gamzigrad

Architectural Landmark

Gamzigrad

Known to the Romans as Felix Romuliana, Gamzigrad is a 3rd century Roman compound with plenty to offer in the modern age. Temples, palaces and incredible art abound, with the Grand Temple standing tall above them all. Gamzigrad is one of the Seven Wonders of Construction, and for good reason. Its place in the best attractions in the country almost goes without saying.

21. Horse riding in Ljubičevo

Architectural Landmark

Požarevac is most definitely a functional city, but a little bit of elegance can be found just outside town. The horse stables at Ljubičevo come with quite the pedigree, thanks to none other than Miloš Obrenović himself. The reputation of the stables soon grew through the continent, although you don’t need us to tell you that – just nip into the trophy hall. This is the oldest stable in the country, and it offers visitors the chance to saddle up and ride some fine steeds.

Cycle on the EuroVelo 6

Known as the ‘Rivers Route’, EuroVelo 6 runs from Nantes in France all the way through to Constanta in Romania. Geography buffs will know that Serbia sits on that route, and the track does indeed wind through the heart of the nation. It goes through Belgrade, but the most idyllic section of the route can be found out here in Eastern Serbia. The Đerdap National Park is one of the most exceptional parts of the continent, and arguably one of the finest cycle routes in the world.

Swim in the Silver Lake

Veliko Gradište is one of the most idyllic parts of Eastern Serbia, and the Srebrno jezero (Silver Lake) is undoubtedly its most paradisal spot. Serbia is a landlocked state, and the Silver Lake has taken on the mantle of being the nation’s seaside. This is clear to see from the masses that flock here every summer, each more desperate than the last to strip off and jump into the waters.

Climb the alien mountain

Referring to it as the ‘Alien Mountain’ might be a little bit dramatic, but there is definitely something otherworldly about Mount Rtanj. The mountain rises up in the region around Zaječar, and it is the almost worryingly-conical peak that attracts the most attention. While most mountains have jagged rocks at the peak, Rtanj seems to meet perfectly in the middle, almost as if it was designed by a child. It is a whopping 1,560m to the peak, so this might only be for the experienced and energetic.

Drink Serbia’s finest lager

Jelen and Lav dominated Serbia’s lager scene for years, but an increased interest in pivo from a new generation saw Zaječarsko emerge from the shadow. Unsurprisingly from the town of Zaječar, this is now the most popular beer in the bars and clubs of the nation, easily recognised by its red logo. The beer has been around since 1875, but it is definitely experiencing its halcyon days right now.

See the future in Kučevo

The eastern portion of Serbia is famous for a number of reasons, and the preponderance of so-called ‘Vlach Magic‘ is one of them. While far from constituting a tourist attraction, the more daring might think about heading to a town like Kučevo and getting their fortune told, although be prepared for pessimistic news. And if you’re expecting an 85-year-old Vlach grandmother to speak English, you might want to rethink.

Relax at Sokobanja

Spa tourism is big business in Serbia, and it all began at Sokobanja. Miloš Obrenović took over Sokobanja in the 19th century, and soon noblemen and intellectuals alike were flocking here to make the most of the spa’s healing thermal waters. Ivo Andrić famously claimed to be born again following his stay, and if its good enough for Yugoslavia’s greatest writer then it will more than do for us.

Walk on the moon in Bor

We don’t mean the literal moon of course, but a landscape that comes close to replicating that most desolate place. Bor is home to the largest man-made hole in Europe (a tourism slogan that is yet to catch on), and nowhere is the impact of industrial mining clearer than here. The hole is home to one of the most unique cafes in Serbia too, located in the rock some 400 metres below the surface.

Serbia’s Pompeii

Once upon a time, Viminacium was the prosperous capital of the Roman Province of Upper Moesia. That came to a shuddering halt when it was sacked and obliterated in the middle of the 5th century, leaving the famous town to lie dormant under the soil for almost 2,000 years. It was eventually excavated, and an incredible town was discovered all over again. The remains of Viminacium are just a short ride from Požarevac, a town that has ironically buried its own major claim to fame.

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