Balkans Tour: Meet Serbia
When we talk about major European tourist destinations, most people simply cannot see further than France and Italy (potentially Spain), while this ancient continent has so much more to offer. You would be surprised what kind of jewels one can encounter if they decide to take a holiday at one of the less popular tourist havens of Europe. With this in mind, the Balkans are one of the most beautiful and most underestimated regions of the Old Continent. Sure, it went through some rough patches in the past but those days are far behind, and now they are heading full speed towards progress. There are many great places on this peninsula, but today we will talk about the Republic of Serbia.
Mix of cultures
Ever since the foundation of this country, its geographical location has made it a crossroads between east and west. What a lot of people don’t know about Serbia is that it is one huge melting pot of nations, cultures, religions and customs. The best thing about this is that every single one of them has left some kind of mark on their own indigenous culture, further enriching it in the process. This incredible mixture can be felt and seen in every aspect of Serbian culture including language, art and customs.
Places to visit
As for places to visit, every region of Serbia has something entirely different to offer. The north of the country is dominated by agricultural plains with an obvious Austro-Hungarian background. The winemaking in this region (white wine in particular) is a thing to be seen. Adversely, the south of the country, especially the area around the city of Leskovac, is an area renowned for its barbecue specialties, which are considered to be amongst the best in the world. All in all, Serbia is an archetype of a true Balkan country, friendly, often hedonistic, sometimes loud, but always worth a visit.
photo credit: serzhile via flickr
The next thing that every potential tourist should know about Serbia is that it has an incredibly wild and interesting nightlife in Serbia’s major cities, Belgrade and Novi Sad. In Belgrade, you can always hit the infamous Mr Stefan Braun, while in Novi Sad, most of the nightlife can be found in the Laze Teleckog Street, in the city center. The variety and abundance of places to go out to at night is simply astounding, the prices of drinks are quite affordable (even at the most expensive places) and people at clubs are friendly in general.
photo credit: chris jl via flickr
Anywhere in Serbia, it is quite possible that you will hear a lot of cursing (even from the most unlikely people), but even when Serbian people shower you with insults it seldom has a negative or malignant connotation. Quite similar to Ireland actually. Most of these curses are so brilliantly unique that it might even be a fun experience for you to learn some. Finally, the aforementioned mix of nations has supplied Serbia with an incredibly diverse gene pool, which is mostly why people of the Balkan Peninsula in general are regarded as some of the best looking in Europe.
Food and drink
We have mentioned so many great things about Serbia, but one of its best traits is its incredible and rich cuisine. Serbians in general prefer grilled meat and their favorite two dishes are either ground beef/pork patty or grilled minced meat, similar to kebab. In step with their national cuisine, Serbs also take great pride in their national drink, a strong homemade brandy called rakija. For those not that fond of brandy, there are also some great local beer brands as well as several exquisite vintages you should most definitely try on your visit.
When it comes to tourist commodities that Serbia has to offer, it is not at a disadvantage when compared to any other country in the region. The quality of hotels varies in price range, and if money is not the issue, you can always get booked in five-star hotels like Prezident Novi Sad or the Hyatt Regency in Belgrade. For all those fitness freaks that cannot allow themselves not to train while on holiday, Non Stop Fitness has some incredible offers and is open 24/7. This also means that you will be able to adjust your training routine to the intensity of your tour, which is always a win.
Even though Serbia is not the first place you will think of when someone mentions tourism, most people who visit it tend to return to it as soon as possible. Sure, you can just settle to going to Paris or London like any tourist is supposed to, but what kind of fun is there in allowing others to plan your tours. All in all, a trip to Serbia or any other Balkan country is most definitely not a trip that you will ever come to regret, or forget.