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Serbia isn’t exactly a sustainable paradise, to say the least. Recycling is still a fairly novel concept in Belgrade, and the less said about environmental worries outside the capital the better. Despite the pessimism, there remain a handful of truly eco-friendly tourist experiences to embrace in this magnificent country.
One concept that has well and truly been embraced by the Serbs in Vojvodina is that of the tourist farm (or salaš, in this part of the world), although it obviously still comes with something of a caveat. If you’re enjoying yourself in Fruška Gora (or even a smaller town such as Sremski Karlovci), why not check out a salaš or two? Locally sourced food, fresh ingredients and traditional cooking techniques are the name of the game, along with a morning view that quite simply can’t be touched.
Vojvodina is home to some of the richest farming land in Europe, rich earth that is open to all suggestions and capable of growing seemingly anything. Organic farming has been the norm here for centuries, but it was always organic in nature as opposed to name. You could probably just call it farming. There are a few opportunities to engage in a little bit of organic farming while in Serbia, and you can usually combine this with a longer stay at a salaš.
Serbia currently has 10 wetlands of international importance (known as Ramsar sites), most of which are found in the northern province of Vojvodina. The most interesting site is a little further south however, and Zasavica provides a natural habitat for an impressive number of rare and endangered species. The largest peat bog in Europe is also found in Serbia, at Vlasina.
One of the most adorable and curious sites in the entire country, the House on the Drina is a great example of the beautiful merging of nature and the ingenuity of man. The stretch of the famous river near the small town of Bajina Bašta had long been a popular swimming spot, but a group of friends decided to build a small cabin on a rock in the water in 1968. The river is fine for swimming these days, and there aren’t many more delightful sights than that of the little house in the monumental Drina.
Not literally riding them from Subotica to Leskovac, but there are plenty of chances to get on the saddle in Serbia. The country has a rich history of equestrianism after all. The Hippodrome in Belgrade might be facing an uncertain future in the face of rampant capitalism, but there are plenty of stud farms dotted across the delightful countryside.
The Serbian Orthodox Church plays a huge role in the day to day life of many Serbs, and nowhere is this more true than in the tranquil monasteries that can be found across the country. The complexes are figuratively drowning in history and tradition, and the continued survival of the monasteries is more important than the state seems to believe. By visiting places like Studenica, Krušedol and the rest, you are going to have a fascinating time and do your bit for the good of the community at the same time.
Zlatibor is one of the most majestic mountains in the country, and arguably the finest spot to pitch up and enjoy a spot of camping in Serbia. The main campsite at Zlatibor is hidden within acres of pine forest, and there is even a spot of sustainable fishing available for those hoping for a day of lazing by a lake waiting for a catch.
Serbia is fast falling under the thrall of the shopping centres and 24-hour supermarkets, but sustainable produce is still available at the various green markets around the country. What’s more, the capital is home to a number of alternative weekend markets full of recycled materials, second-hand clothing, offering the charm of the flea market with an eye of sustainability and none of the morning drunks. Dorćol Platz is just one great example.