Serbia might not be the first destination that springs to mind when you’re contemplating a summer getaway with the kids, but hear us out. The Balkan nation has plenty to offer all members of the family, from toddlers to grandparents and everything in between, and gives parents the chance to smugly tell their friends that they saw it first.
Befitting the ideological, social and economic centre of the country, Belgrade has a lot to offer visitors of all ages. The White City is the biggest city in the state by a long way, and has long been a regional capital. As such, it is home to an impressive array of museums, restaurants, sights and sounds that tick all of the family boxes.
The Nikola Tesla Museum may well be the best example of Belgrade’s generational flexibility. Tesla’s story is iconic enough to enrapture grown ups, while the technology on display is guaranteed to keep the kids entertained, whether or not they understand the science behind it all.
Sticking with the capital, Belgrade’s seaside is an excellent family-friendly destination in its own right. The artificial lake becomes one of the busiest spots in the city during the hot summer months, but the area is so vast that it never feels like you are fighting for breathing space. There are plenty of water activities on offer for all ages, with more than enough to keep the kids occupied as the adults get some well deserved rest on the shore.
Serbia’s premier ski resort is an extremely popular holiday destination for families, and it isn’t exactly difficult to decipher why. The slopes on Serbia’s largest mountain range cover the needs of all visitors from complete beginners to experts, leaving none of them behind in the process. There is even a ski kindergarten area, for those eager to start the little ones off young. To cap it all off, night skiing is available on Kopaonik, although we wouldn’t recommend allowing the toddlers to do that.
Another gorgeous mountain in Serbia, Mokra Gora is famous for a number of reasons. Cinema buffs may recognise the scenery from Emir Kusturica’s hugely underrated 2004 movie Life Is a Miracle, and the village of Drvengrad was built specifically for that film. It is one of the cutest towns on the entire continent.
Drvengrad is near to Mokra Gora, but the equally famous Šargan Eight railway line is smack-bang in the middle of the range. The name isn’t coincidental, as the route resembles a figure eight when viewed from the sky. The narrow gauge railway has experienced some difficult times, but is experiencing something of a renaissance thanks to international tourism.
One of the major problems of traveling with children is keeping them interested throughout an entire day. Young folk aren’t exactly renowned for their lengthy attention spans, so putting together a varied itinerary could be the difference between a nightmare holiday and a dream getaway.
With that in mind, Fruška Gora is the perfect spot in Vojvodina for such things. The National Park is covered in lush forests and educational walking paths, the greenery only broken by some of Serbia’s most impressive monasteries. There are also numerous tourist farms here, where families can stop for a bite to eat and those over the legal age can sample some of the finest rakija in the country.
Sticking in Vojvodina for a moment, Serbia’s second city is an additional holiday spot that offers plenty for all the family. Known as the Serbian Athens, Novi Sad is a cultural gem surrounded by fantastic nature, not to mention Serbia’s prettiest town in the shape of Sremski Karlovci. There also happens to be a Dino Park nearby, and if that doesn’t excite you, then we’re out of ideas. That applies to all ages of course.
You might find it a bit of a struggle trying to get the kids to enjoy a spa, but Vrnjačka Banja is the best bet for those willing to try. The small town is a popular spa resort, but there is more to it than massages and saunas. There are plenty of sporting activities offered around town, not to mention plenty of historical curiosities that provide a great mix of history, education and entertainment. The love lock craze started here after all.
Serbia is full of beautiful nature standing above the ground, but what lies under the surface should not be ignored. The country is full of fascinating caves, and Resavsa arguably takes home the trophy of the state’s finest. The cave is over 80 million years old, and we dearly hope that you aren’t traveling with anyone who has managed to reach such an age.
The cave is nearly 5km in length, full of striking colours that must have truly alarmed the shepherds who randomly found it in the 1960s. The cave plays host to a touching story of love, with stalactites and stalagmites playing the various roles in the tale. If all else fails, you can leave the kids here, and head out to the bar (please don’t do that).