A One-Week Travel Itinerary to Serbia

The grisly Skull Tower in Niš | © asiana/shutterstock
The grisly Skull Tower in Niš | © asiana/shutterstock
Photo of John William Bills
18 January 2018

One week? You’ve only got one week? Well, seven days are better than zero days, and you can cover a huge amount of ground before Monday comes around again. Serbia is a country that evolves in a clear manner from north to south, so we advise following that direction in order to get the most out of it.

Day 1: Tackle the Serbian Athens

If you’re flying into Serbia, then it’s likely that you’ll land in Belgrade, but we’re going to begin our journey overland in the north of the country. Vojvodina is Serbia’s northern province, and it may well be its prettiest. Novi Sad is the second biggest city in the country and deserves no small amount of attention. It also happens to be very different from the rest of the state, making it an interesting starting point.

Novi Sad’s town centre is full of elegant architecture and tranquil history, but you should make a beeline for Petrovaradin Fortress. It is located across the Danube, and plays host to EXIT Festival every summer. Be sure to explore it in quieter times.

Jovan Jovanović Zmaj stands in front of the Bishop’s Palace | © Tatiana Popova / Shutterstock

Day 2: Explore Vojvodina

The history of Vojvodina is distinct from that of the rest of Serbia. This region spent much of the last millennium in the hands of the Hungarians and the Habsburg dynasty, and this is reflected in the small towns and the graceful architecture. Sremski Karlovci is the prettiest village in the country, but you can’t go wrong with Zrenjanin, Subotica and the rest.

Day 3: Monasteries and nature in Fruška Gora

One last day in Vojvodina. Fruška Gora is the square peg in the round hole that is Serbia’s north, a mountain in the middle of some of the flattest land in the region. It is also a national park, which guarantees pristine nature and plenty of tranquility. That word doesn’t quite do justice to the many monasteries that are dotted throughout the countryside, housing some of the finest religious art in the area.

Day 4: Here goes nothing

Belgrade is just a short drive south of Novi Sad, and by day three, you should be ready to approach the capital city. The White City is the centre of all life in Serbia, so don’t be surprised to find the speedometer showing a slightly higher number here. Immerse yourself in the city’s cafe culture in order to get your bearings, before diving head on into the legendary nightlife once the sun goes down. Spend your evening around Skadarlija and Cetinjska for maximum enjoyment.

Belgrade comes alive at night | © Mariia Golovianko / Shutterstock

Day 5: Sightseeing in the capital

After a day of getting your bearings, the time has come to tackle the parks, museums, monuments and sights of Belgrade. You could easily spend seven days in the capital itself (many are still to leave), but a whistle-stop itinerary means the big hitters need to be addressed first. Kalemegdan, the Church of Saint Sava, Knez Mihailova and the Nikola Tesla Museum must be top of that list.

The glorious Victor Monument at Kalemegdan | © Datsenko Maryana / Shutterstock

Day 6: Back in time in Kruševac

You could choose to go east to Golubac or west to Šumadija, but we suggest heading south via the central Serbian town of Kruševac. The town has seen better days, but its role in the history of this proud nation cannot be overstated. The city was founded in 1371 by the venerable Prince Lazar, Serbia’s most iconic medieval leader and the man who led the nation into the Battle of Kosovo. The Serbian Army assembled here before that famous conflict in 1389. If you see that number spray painted on buildings throughout the country, you now know why.

Lazar stands proud in the centre of Kruševac | © Kevin Wallis/flickr

Day 7: Culinary wonder in the south

After six days of sightseeing (and no small amount of drinking), you may well be in serious need of a rest, so be sure to make time for yourself as you head to Niš. The third largest city in the country, Niš compliments Belgrade and Novi Sad with its Balkan atmosphere and incredible food, arguably the best in the country. There is a contradiction in here of course, as carnivores should stop off at Kafana Marjan on the way.

Spend the afternoon traipsing around Niš, checking out the iconic Skull Tower and fortress in particular. The student city is an underrated night out in the region too — the perfect way to cap off a majestic week in Europe’s most underrated country.

Cevapi with bread | © RossHelen/Shutterstock

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