After learning about Drvengrad, Serbia in my recent collaboration post "13 Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations for 2017," I became more interested in this beautiful country that doesn't seem to make it on most travelers' European routes. So of course, I was thrilled by the opportunity to share a guest post on the best things to do in this country!
Today's post is written by a special guest contributor, Danijela Cirovic!
Having worked as a journalist for many years, Danijela enjoys writing and editing stories regarding inner and foreign politics. She loves traveling, and has also had the opportunity to work as a correspondent in the Middle East, which gave her an interest in geopolitical issues. Danijela now shares her unique experiences around the world through her travel blog:
Belgrade is Serbia’s capital, a bustling, cosmopolitan city with rich history. When coming here, everyone will recommend visits to Kalemegdan’s Fortress or the Roman monuments in its caves, strolls along pedestrian Knez Mihailova Street, and busy nightlife with authentic kafanas and clubs. Nevertheless, do not forget that the city lies on two rivers’ banks – Danube and Sava, and that citizens spend a lot of time outdoors and down in cafes by the river. It’s possible to book a small river cruise which is not to be missed; your photos will be beautiful. Some cruise boats will take you to the confluence point where two rivers collide. If you make a wish there, they say, it will most certainly come true!
2. Felix Romuliana
Sure, the name doesn’t sound very Serbian, but believe it or not – it is there. It is located in Gamzigrad, near the town of Zajechar, about 250 kilometers from Belgrade. Felix Romuliana is the ancient Roman complex of palaces and temples build by Emperor Galerius in the late 3rd and early 4th century, and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Serbia. The site consists of fortifications, the palace, basilicas, temples, hot baths, a memorial complex and a tetrapylon. They are unique in its interwining of ceremonial and memorial functions. It is not hard to get there, and if you feel tired afterwards, there is an old spa village few kilometers down the road, and Zajechar is also close by.
3. Banjska Stena
Serbia is proud of the lavish nature it hosts, generous in mountains, lush forests and many rivers and lakes. There are a lot of beautiful mountains and spots from which you can enjoy panoramic views below. One of the “must visit” places is by far the Banjska stena observation deck on Tara Mountain. It is the most visited site in Tara National Park and located six kilometers from the central mountain resort (about 180 kilometers from Belgrade). It's a great hiking track or bicycle path, but also reachable by car. There you will be overwhelmed by the unforgettable sight of the Drina River, its canyon and steep cliffs disappearing into Bosnia. This is the place where you truly start to appreciate Mother Nature and its wonders.
4. Ravanica Monastery
When coming to Serbia, make time to visit one of the monasteries, since there are a lots of them, and they date back centuries ago. One of Serbia’s cultural heritage sights is the Ravanica Monastery, located about 160 kilometers from Belgrade. It was build in 1375-1377 as an endowment of the great Serbian prince Lazar, who was buried here. Being a typical medieval monastery, it was heavily fortified. Remnants of the walls can still be seen surrounding the complex. Not very far from Ravanica, you will find small the town of Despotovac, another monastery (Manasija), the famous Resava Cave and the waterfall, Veliki Buk. Take a road trip, and after sight-seeing you can stop to enjoy some homemade pancakes next to the waterfall!
The best way to see Eastern Serbia is by taking a road trip. You will be stunned by the great scenery driving along Danube river. At about 130 kilometers from Belgrade, there is one of the popular Serbian landmarks: Golubac Fortress, a medieval fortified town on the Danube bank. It is situated at the very entrance of the Djerdap Gorge, at the point where the river is the widest (6 km). The Fortress is believed to have been erected at the beginning of the 14th century. There are legends regarding the name of the place. One of them says that it was named after a beautiful girl, Golubana, who refused to be married to Turkish Pasha. In order to punish her, he tied her up to the cliff where she died.
About 160 kilometers from Belgrade, you will find a great spot to rest on your way to Zlatibor or Tara. The village of Zlakusa is known for its pottery craftsmen, but it became widely popular after one traditional settlement opened its doors to visitors. The Ethno Park, Terzica avlija, is colorful and unique, full of old tools, pottery, carpets, and rugs in traditional prints, as well as good Serbian coffee served with Turkish delight. Ask around if you are interested in attending the international volunteer eco camps there. Just ten minutes away is the Potpec Cave. At the foot of the rocky hilll there is a restaurant with delicious fresh trout, making for a great lunch break before continuing on your trip.
Sopotnica is small rustic village on the descent slopes of Jadovnik Mountain near Prijepolje. It is about 300 kilometers from Belgrade on the road to Montenegro. Highlights of this village are the springs and waterfall, as well as the ancient restored water mills, which sit at an altitude of 1,000 meters and oversee surrounding mountain peaks. At the very heart of this unique eco environment, the National Park is a “must see” for all nature lovers. It can be reached by car, but hikers might prefer to trek it. The most attractive spot is the Veliki Vodopad (Great Waterfall). When you finally reach the charming water mills, sit next to one and taste the pure, sparkling, fresh water. Then you can enjoy the view and sigh in peaceful silence.
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Have you been to eastern Europe? What are your favorite countries or cities there? Share in the comments below!
Read more: 15 Best Places to Visit in Serbia
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.