Serbia has a turbulent recent history, which might explain why it’s a much over-looked gem to visit. However, because it isn’t on most tourists' must-see lists, you will find and authenticity and quietness. The country's attractions are numerous, but also they are also not signposted – there’s not a gift shop in sight, and it is often free from other visitors.
Belgrade is a bustling yet small capital city, and was once the capital Yugoslavia. Suffering air bombardments in WWII, and again by NATO in 1999, it is remarkable how untouched parts of the city are. The ancient Kalemegdan Fort still stands, for example, and the fort has been occupied by Celts, Romans, Byzantines and onwards since the Iron age, or the Old City, Stari Grad, which is fascinating to visit.
One of the oldest-known Neolithic cultures, the Vinca, started within Serbia, and the first evidence of copper smelting was discovered within Plocnik. Roman remains abound, with one of the best-known being the World Heritage ruins of Gamzigrad, where you may well have to the whole site to yourself. Christian influences abound in the cities and in monasteries in the hills around Novi Pazar. Then there’s Golubac Fortress, the Vratna Gates, the Iron Gates, and Djerdap National Park.
Serbia offers a sense of travelling into the unknown, and choosing the path less trodden, but this simply makes the adventure all the more special. If you want a peaceful time and yearn for spaces that feel like they are yours to explore, then Serbia should absolutely be on your list.
15 May 2024