Ever since Vuk Karadžić took to the villages of Serbia and implored the peasants to ‘say it as you read it’, the Serbs have been busy putting together an enviable back catalogue of impressive literature. The work began long before Karadžić lost his leg, of course, and the words of Serbs from Subotica all the way down to Kosovo have been inspiring the nation for hundreds of years. We’re going to lean towards the more modern work, but this is the best of the best when it comes to Serbian literature.
The Bridge on the Drina, Ivo Andrić
The Bridge on the Drina isn’t just the Big Daddy of Serbian literature, it holds that position when it comes to all fiction from this part of the world, full stop. Andrić was the only Yugoslav to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and it was his iconic telling of life in Ottoman Bosnia that brought the prize to his home in Belgrade. If you only read one piece of fiction before visiting the Balkans, you have to make a pretty compelling argument for it not to be The Bridge on the Drina.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
A Tomb for Boris Davidović, Danilo Kiš
Heavily influenced by Bruno Schulz and Vladimir Nabaokov, Danilo Kiš is widely regarded as one of the finest Serbian writers of the last century. His 1976 classic A Tomb for Boris Davidović is his best, a collection of seven short stories all about political betrayal and murder in Eastern Europe. The eponymous tale deals with issues of remembrance and perception, and is essential reading whether you are coming to Serbia or not.
Dictionary of the Khazars, Milorad Pavić
You might struggle to grasp Dictionary of the Khazars at first, but don’t worry about that. Milorad Pavić’s 1984 publication takes a historic event and imbues it with life through mostly fictional characters, creating three encyclopaedias from three different viewpoints that often contradict each other. It is impossible to avoid making comparisons with the triple threat conflict that saw Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia at war in the 1990s.
Death and the Dervish, Meša Selimović
Born in Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Meša Sealimović was nonetheless quick to identify as a Serb and commit his work to the annals of Serbian literature. His best known work is undoubtedly Death and the Dervish, a 1966 novel about a man coming to terms with the seemingly random arrest of his brother. Questions of life, power, and justice torment the religious everyman in the tale, which was made into a feature length film in 1974.
The Mountain Wreath, Petar II Petrović Njegoš
Petar II Petrović Njegoš towers over much of modern history in the Balkans, and not just because of his giant frame. The Serb who dragged Montenegro into the modern world also found time to write The Mountain Wreath, one of the true masterpieces of Serbian literature. The epic poem was written in 1846 and tells the story of an ancestor of Njegoš trying to bring together the warring tribes of the area. The word ‘epic’ gets thrown around a lot, but it is definitely justified here.
The Journal of Čarnojević, Miloš Crnjanski
An expressionist poet and noted diplomat, Miloš Crnjanski is widely regarded as one of the greatest Serbian writers of the 20th century. He primarily wrote poetry, but his 1920 novel The Journal of Čarnojević is a great example of his flowing prose and creative mind. There isn’t much of a plot to hang your hat on, but the book is all style over substance in the best possible way.
The Houses of Belgrade, Borislav Pekić
Borislav Pekić’s place in history was assured long before he helped establish the Democratic Party in Serbia. The Houses of Belgrade was first published in 1970, and it looks at unrest throughout various points in 20th century Serbia and the way all of the riots are linked. A Belgrade house builder plays the primary role, a man whose deep love for the houses of the city is all that stands between him and insanity.
The Cyclist Conspiracy, Svetislav Basara
The only living author on this list, Svetislav Basara is a contemporary Serbian author who also had a stint as the Yugoslav ambassador to Cyprus. His 1987 book The Cyclist Conspiracy is considered to be his best work, and for good reason, as the book is as much about conspiracies as it is about psychological issues and philosophical musings. For anyone looking to get into modern Serbian literature, make this one of your first stops.
Travnik Chronicle, Ivo Andrić
Also called Bosnian Chronicle, Andrić’s first book after The Bridge on the Drina stayed in the same ballpark when it came to subject matter. Travnik Chronicle is all about great powers struggling for supremacy in a region that stubbornly refuses to conform to its ordained position as an occupied territory, creating a piece of work that is massive in its psychological ambition. This is the closest Andrić ever came to echoing the great Leo Tolstoy.
The Encyclopaedia of the Dead, Danilo Kiš
Sounds like a cheery read, right? Danilo Kiš’s The Encyclopaedia of the Dead isn’t quite as miserable as the title suggests, and its curious blend of fiction and fact make for an innovative and invigorating read. The human condition is a constant factor in the themes, along with the typically cheery subjects of death, loss, indifference, and betrayal. The human soul can be a dark place, an Danilo Kiš wasn’t afraid of exploring those darkest depths.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.