Situated proudly upon the crossroads between Central and Southeastern Europe, Serbia is a landlocked country that is not only historically rich but also awe-inspiring. With a population of just over 7 million, it is a place where people go to relax and, of course, to enjoy majestic sights. Why? Because you are not likely to find yourself in a maelstrom of people and of swirling crowds – modest and enjoyable, these are the things to look for there. With countless medieval fortresses and ruins, Serbia does not disappoint. So, without further ado, let us see what tourists can expect when hitting the road (or the air) towards Belgrade (yes, because we know you’re going to visit the capital anyway)!
We are happy to announce the fact that Serbia almost adheres to Eastern European standards when it comes to pricing. In most cases, you can get a fine meal for two for 10 Euros or less – and that’s saying something. Housing, taxi fares, and bars are also cheap and low-budget travellers will feel like they are living the high life there. The only things to watch out for, however, are make-up products and clothes; those alluring items can empty your pockets before you blink. Oh, and did you know that if you’re planning to temporarily move to Serbia, rents are some of the most inexpensive there in Europe.
Since wages are not that high in Serbia, the local tipping traditions are also somewhat laid-back. This is a double edge. First and foremost, if you are located in a touristy area such as the central bounds of Belgrade, then you can expect funny looks from bartenders or waiters when you wish to walk off without handing over a little extra. If the service was good in touristy areas, it is customary to leave 10-15% extra (depending on each case). Not tipping in central Belgrade means that you despised the service, so you might not want to appear rude. In non-touristy areas, however, tipping isn’t expected at all. They will be accepted if you feel generous but they are by no means mandatory. Since taxis mostly operate in larger cities, they have already gotten accustomed to rounded-up bills – do that and all will be well.
3. Language barriers:
Serbia has quite a few minorities within its borders and this makes it somewhat of a more modest melting pot of cultures and languages. The official language, as you might have guessed, is Serbian. If you are one of the few people who speak it, then you are already good to go but if you do not, then you can safely try English no matter where you are. English is a mandatory subject in all schools and all youngsters are well-versed in it. If you lose your way or in the need of some assistance, these representatives of the younger generation will indubitably help you out. If you see that English doesn’t work, you might want to try Hungarian or Bosnian (the next ones in line). If, in the case of some unfortunate miracle, none of these work, then use a hands-and-feet proto-language (triple wink)!
4. The war:
What you must understand when visiting Serbia is that the locals do not particularly like to talk about the Yugoslav Wars (or politics, for that matter). Lasting an entire decade and ravaging most of the country, the wars ended on a low note – poverty, damage, and destruction. The Serbian people are not too keen on remembering that part of their history and whenever a cultural conversational “no-go” appears, you, as a polite visitor, should do your best to avoid it. The abandoned buildings in certain cities can be fun to visit though (wink)!
If you are a massive coffee fan, you are going to be delighted to hear that Serbia loves its fine brown beverages. In fact, the coffee culture in the country is so accentuated that it has become the top daytime drink. So, here’s an extra reason to visit Serbia: you can party late and wake up early in the morning without worries because your faithful friend, Mr Coffee, is literally everywhere. And when we consider the prices, we realise that something like a Serbian coffee-tourism must be invented (double wink).
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Serbia and what lasting impressions has your stay left you with? Tell us all about it in the comment section below and make sure to leave nothing out! Safe travels!