Choose from 9 Fun Things to Do in Serbia
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Located high on the right bank of the Danube River in the city of Novi Sad, the Petrovaradin Fortress has played a significant role in Serbia’s history. Over the centuries, the site of the fortress has been used by the Romans, Byzantines, Celts, Turks, Hungarians and Austrians. Starting in the 17th century, the Austrians spent nearly a century building new fortifications, including new walls, water moats and channels with movable bridges and control gates. A 16-kilometer long system of underground tunnels was completed in 1776 and visitors today can explore about one kilometer of the system with a guide. While many other fortresses were destroyed when Serbia became part of Yugoslavia, the colonel responsible for the destruction is said to have spared Petrovaradin because he thought it was too beautiful to destroy.
The fortress complex is divided into an Upper Town and a Lower Town. The Upper Town is home to old military barracks, the clock tower and the Novi Sad city museum, while the Lower Town is where you can see military officer residences, the Monastery of St. George and the Baroque style Belgrade Gate. The clock tower is notable for its large clocks with Roman numerals and the minute and hour hand reversed so that fishermen on the Danube can see the time from a distance.
Petrovaradin Fortress is walkable from the center of Novi Sad, but if you prefer public transportation, bus number 3 is best. Novi Sad itself is about 80 kilometers from Belgrade and buses run often between the two cities. The fortress is also included on many day tours from Belgrade to Novi Sad.
Address: 4 Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday; closed Mondays
From $ 46
Built in the 15th century and later fortified by the Ottomans, Smederevo Fortress served as the capital of Serbia during the Middle Ages. Due to its strategic position between the Balkans and Central Europe, it was an important religious and commercial center in its heyday. Modeled after Constantinople Fortress, it provides a nice example of traditional defensive medieval architecture and has been relatively well preserved, suffering no major damage until World War II.
Located southeast of Belgrade, the fortress covers more than 10 hectares in the center of the city of Smederevo, where the Danube River meets the Jezava River. Completely surrounded by water, the fortress features 1.5 kilometers of two-meter thick walls and 25 towers that each stand about 25 meters tall. While only the foundations of the fortress remain in some places, conservation efforts have restored the escarpment along the Danube and a southern wall that is used as a levee. The fortress today is used as a park and often hosts festivals, concerts and other cultural events.
Smederevo is 45 kilometers southeast of Belgrade and buses run regularly between the two cities, leaving from Belgrade's Lasta station and taking about one hour. The bus station and train station in Smederevo are both within easy walking distance of the fortress. Trains, however, only run between Smederevo and Pozarevac and Lapovo on the Belgrade-Nis line. Guided tours of the fortress can be arranged through the tourist office and last about one hour. Alternatively, you can join a day tour from Belgrade that includes Smederevo and other major sights in the area.
Address: Smederovo, Serbia
Hours: Daily 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Admission: 120 DIN
From $ 65
The closest that landlocked Belgrade has to a beach resort, the man-made island of Ada Ciganlija is the city’s most popular summer getaway, marooned on the Sava Lake. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Belgrade's Sea’ by locals, the 800-hectare island offers around 5km of Blue Flag shingle beaches, fringed by a lush expanse of oak and birch forests.
The main draw to Ada Ciganlija is its beaches, and swimming, kayaking and windsurfing are all possible during the summer months, while the waterfront promenade is lined with cafés, ice cream stands and food kiosks. The island also serves as the city’s main open-air recreational ground, with walking and cycling paths running around the lake; handball, volleyball and basketball courts; a golf course; and even a bungee jump tower.
Ada Ciganlija is an island on the Sava Lake just southwest of downtown Belgrade and is connected by road to the mainland.
Address: Sava Lake, Belgrade, Serbia
From $ 23
Standing on a 410-foot (125-meter) cliff overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers, Serbia's Belgrade Fortress has beckoned visitors (and scared off enemies) for centuries. This 124-acre (50-hectare) vantage point served as a military outpost since the first century AD, but is now enjoyed for its history, enormity and spectacular sunset views.
Essentially a large park within fortress walls, the site contains two museums, two towers, a bunker and a Roman Well spread out throughout three main areas: Upper Town, Lower Town and Kalemegdan Park. Upper Town features preserved ramparts of the fortress, as well as the Military Museum, Victor Monument and Ruzica Church, which contains chandeliers made of ammunition casings and a chapel with an allegedly miraculous spring; Lower Town sits on the banks of the Danube River, and while it was the city center in the Middle Ages, only a few buildings have survived. The 18th century Turkish Bath now houses a planetarium.
Kalemegdan Park offers great river views, as well as walking paths, a zoo and an amusement park. Allow a few hours to visit the entire fortress and consider joining a tour to ensure you don’t miss any of the highlights.
Belgrade Fortress is a short walk from central Belgrade or the Belgrade train station. To get there using public transportation, take tram 2, bus 31 or trolleys 19, 21, 22, 28, 29 or 41 to Kalemegdan Park.
Admission to the grounds is free, and the fortress is open 24 hours. Museums, churches and specific attractions vary by price and opening hours, but you'll find most attractions open between 11am and 7pm.
Since the grounds are huge, it's recommended visiting by guided tour to ensure you see all the highlights. Food, drink and souvenirs are available at one of the many kiosks throughout the fortress grounds.
Address: Terazije 3, Belgrade, Serbia
From $ 16
Located in the southeastern corner of Belgrade, Avala Mountain stands nearly 1,700 feet above sea level. The only mountain in the area, it features more than 600 plant species and has been protected since 1859 as a monument of nature. The mountain is made of serpentinite, limestone and magmatic rocks and is a source of lead and mercury ore, although mining activities ceased in the 1960s. Today, it is a favorite recreational spot for Belgrade residents and is home to several important monuments.
The Monument to the Unknown Hero, built on the site of a medieval town called Avalski Grad, is dedicated to unknown soldiers from World War I. The Monument to the Soviet War Veterans honors members of the Soviet military who died in a plane crash on the mountain in 1964 and the Monument to Vasa Carapic remembers one of the leaders of the First Serbian Uprising in 1804. Avala Mountain is also the site of the tallest structure in Serbia: a 202-foot-tall television tower.
Avala Mountain is just 16 kilometers from the center of Belgrade. On summer weekends, the bus company Lasta runs buses to Avala from Nikola Pasic Square at 10:30 a.m., returning at 2:30 p.m. Tickets should be purchased in advance from the tourist information center or from the Lasta offices next to the train station. Additionally, on weekends from early May to the end of August, public bus number 400 leaves from the Vozdovac bus stop every 40 minutes from 8:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Address: Belgrade, Serbia
From $ 70
The National Museum of Serbia is the largest and oldest museum in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia. Sitting on Belgrade’s Republic Square, the museum was established in 1844 and has since grown to include more than 400,000 pieces in 34 different archaeological, numismatic, artistic and historical collections. The archaeological collection consists of sculptures from the 5th to 7th millennium BC, thousands of items from ancient Rome and ancient Greece and a rare gold sarcophagus and mummy from ancient Egypt. The numismatic collection features hundreds of thousands coins, medals, rings and seals, including coins issued by Phillip II of Macedonia and Alexander the Great.
The museum’s collection of medieval artifacts hails mostly from Europe and Asia and features an illustrated 362-page manuscript of the Miroslav Gospels written in 1186, rings belonging to 14th century Serbian Queen Theodora and King Milutin’s mantle from the 1300s. Its art collection is also world-renowned, with extremely rare pieces from masters like Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Degas and Cezanne. It also includes hundreds of paintings by Italian, Dutch, Flemish, Russian, Japanese, Austrian, German and Yugoslav artists.
The National Museum of Serbia is located in the center of Belgrade on a square area between the Republic Square, the former Theatre Square, and Čika Ljubina, Vasina and Laze Pačua streets. It can be reached by any bus, trolley or minibus heading to Republic Square. One ticket entitles a visitor to visit the National Museum, the Gallery of Frescoes and the Museum of Vuk and Dositej over two days.
Address: Trg republike 1a, Belgrade 104303, Serbia
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 12 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: 200 dinars; free on Sunday
From $ 2
Once the frontier of the Roman Empire, the Danube River is the second longest river in Europe. In Serbia, it connects the capital city of Belgrade with both the North Sea and the Black Sea. The Sava River enters the Danube at Belgrade and together, the two rivers provide ample opportunities for visitors to enjoy the water while visiting the capital. In addition to walking or biking along the riverbanks, visitors can dine or enjoy a drink at one of several floating restaurants. Boat and kayak tours offer the chance to see Belgrade and the famous Belgrade Fortress from a different perspective.
The Great War Island sits near where the Danube and Sava rivers meet. Most visitors will head to Lido Beach on the northern tip of the island. While it isn’t well developed, it is a nice place to relax for afternoon. Nature lovers and bird watchers will enjoy exploring the rest of the island, with its forest, wildlife and more than a hundred species of birds.
The Great War Island is connected to the mainland by a pontoon bridge in the summer months and can be reached the rest of the year by taking a boat from Zemun Quay.
Kayaks are available for rent and boat tours run throughout the day.
Address: Belgrade, Serbia
From $ 17
The Serbian town of Sremski Karlovci seems to have it all, combining history, religion, and wine with sheer charm and beauty. This is one of the most picturesque towns in Serbia's Vojvodina region, with its well-preserved baroque and neoclassicist architecture making you feel as if you’re wandering the streets of Prague or Bruges instead.
There’s much to see and do on a trip to Sremski Karlovci, so it’s best to opt for a day trip from Belgrade so you can take in all of the town’s major sights, such as the Four Lions Fountain, the Treasury of Patriarchy residence, and the St. Nicholas orthodox cathedral. Many also choose to combine a visit here with a tour of the Fruska Gora monasteries.
Because Sremski Karlovci happens to be one of the most prominent spots on Serbia's wine route, another option is to visit as part of a Vojvodina Province day tour, where you can sample the town’s wares in a wine cellar and combine it with a visit to the city of Novi Sad.
The Four Lions Fountain was erected in 1799 to mark the completion of the first waterworks in Sremski Karlovci. Legend has it that anyone who drinks from the fountain will eventually return to the town. Sremski Karlovci is located on the BelgradeNovi Sad railway line, with frequent trains going in both directions. The closest airport is Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, which is situated around 50 kilometers south of Sremski Karlovci.
Address: Sremski Karlovci, Serbia
From $ 51
Better known as the House of Flowers, the memorial center for former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito consists of Tito’s tomb, a memorial collection, a hunting lodge and the residence in which Tito lived. The tomb was once surrounded by flowers until it was closed to the public after the breakup of Yugoslavia and now only white rocks remain where the flowers used to be. Only the tomb and the memorial museum are open to the public. They are among the most visited sites in Serbia and are particularly popular on May 25, Tito’s birthday.
May 25 is also Youth Day and the memorial collection includes permanent exhibitions of the local, republic and federal Relays of Youth, including messages Tito received, tickets and programs for the relays, and photographs of the carrying and transition of batons. A new permanent display focuses on the personal life of Tito and includes the former leader’s personal items, uniforms, souvenirs from his travels and gifts he received.
The House of Flowers is located on the grounds of the Museum of Yugoslav History in the Dedinje neighborhood of Belgrade, about an hour-long walk from the center of the city. It can be reached by
trolley 40 or 41.
Address: Botićeva 6, Dedinje, Belgrade, Serbia
Hours: From May 9 to October 15, open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; from October 16 to May 8, open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: 300 dinar
From $ 3