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My Top 10 Favorite Things about Serbia
Learn Serbian. Have fun!
When I think about Serbia I get nostalgic. I can see the cobblestone streets of Skadarlija (in Belgrade), the beautiful architecture in the town square, and I can even feel the warm and welcoming energy of the people. Serbia truly is a special place. Here are my top 10 favorite things about Serbia:
1. The people
The people are superb. Truly! They are friendly to foreigners and they will help you with whatever you need. They will practice Serbian with you, even if you’re a beginner. They will share with you whatever they have. In short, they will make you feel right at home.
2. The language
Serbian language is one of the most fascinatingly beautiful languages in the world. It has influences from other Slavic languages, Turkish, and even Italian. Whoa! Serbian language has the sound of its colorful history. If you speak a little Serbian be prepared to be celebrated. Serbs love their language and are very appreciative of any effort you show. But don’t feel any pressure, they speak English in most major cities and will be happy to speak with you in the language you are most comfortable in without judgment.
3. It’s peaceful
I feel so relaxed when I’m in Serbia. Whether I’m in a smaller town like Vrsac, a medium sized town like Novi Sad, or the capital Belgrade, I’m always at ease. There is a peacefulness that abounds in the city. Hardly any crime. Hardly any drama. Just people going about their day…with joy. It’s a wonderful environment to be in to just “chill”. Want to party all night and then walk back to your hotel room at 4am? No problem. You won’t be hassled or robbed. And while you are out make sure you stop by a food stand and grab a bite to eat. You won’t be the only one awake, or the only one who’s hungry.
4. It is not expensive to have a GREAT time
It’s a beautiful thing when you can go out on the town for an evening and only manage to spend $20. With that amount of money you will have eaten, had an adult beverage, seen a movie, and perused the local shops and museums in Belgrade. Try doing that in America. It would cost you so much more!
In Serbia, everything is affordable and this is true even for most locals. You can go to the town square, get a lemonade, and talk with friends for hours without waiters or waitresses hassling you to buy something else. In Serbia people understand that having a great time SHOULDN’T be expensive. People appreciate the simple things. They go for walks, sit out at parks, and enjoy the company of friends and family. Priceless!
I’m always amazed at how little I spend when I go out. I have to actually work hard to spend a lot of money because when I’m in Serbia I actually have a great time doing not much at all. In the consumer-driven societies many of us live in, Serbia is a breath of fresh air.
5. Going to the movies still costs $4
That’s right folks, going to the movies in Serbia still costs under $4. Talk about traveling back in time! Furthermore, you can do what I did and watch a movie in a large World War II era theater. But bring your jacket in the winter, there might not be heating. And bring a hand fan in the summer, there might not be air conditioning. But who cares! 🙂
And guess what: in some movie theaters in Serbia Operas, plays, and other performances are still performed there…when the movies aren’t showing. This practice goes back to the days when movie theaters first came to Serbia and they were housed in smaller “cultural centers” where locals gathered to socialize or enjoy the traditional dance performances, plays or other artistic events. Even today in suburban Serbia, some of these local “cultural centers” still share the same space with the movie theaters and people go there to buy tickets for different kinds of events.
A wonderful place to go for a walk and enjoy the sunset overlooking the two main rivers in Belgrade, Danube and Sava. Kalemegdan was built in 279 BC and reconstructed by the Emperor Justinian in 535 AD, and its the Belgrade Fortress that sits at the confluence of the Danube and Sava river. Legend has it that Attila the Hun is buried underneath it. Oh, and there is a club called Terasa where you can party on the rooftop of the fortress while listening to your favorite music and partying with locals. What?!
7. In Belgrade the party starts at midnight and changes according to the seasons
In Serbia the party starts at midnight. That’s right, clubs don’t even open until midnight, and they go all night long. But don’t worry, you can pre-game at one of the countless bars and lounges throughout the city
Furthermore, in Belgrade the club scene changes in accordance with the seasons. What do I mean? I mean that where you party in the summer is different from where you party in the winter. In the summer you party on boats on the Sava River , known as “Splavovi”. In the winter you party in the city. Now tell me that isn’t cool?! Check out the club Stefan Braun in the winter and Freestyler in the summer. You won’t regret it.
8. Other cool places are close
Interested in traveling to Macedonia, Croatia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro, or Bosnia? Well, you are in luck. Serbia borders all of these countries and they are incredibly easy to get to, and worth the visit.
9. The women are beautiful!
I have lived and traveled to many countries. And let me be clear, Serbian women are some of the most beautiful women you will ever see anywhere in the world. Period. Furthermore, they are very approachable, practical, curious about different people and cultures, and fun to talk to. Need I say more?
10. The countryside
When you break out of the city and get into the countryside of Serbia you will soon feel as if you are a part of the beautiful landscape. You will encounter villages where people literally live off the land and maintain old customs and traditions. If you ever get a chance to attend a Slava, I highly recommend it. It’s a family celebration that every Serbian family has once a year. Want to know more about it? Check out the Serbian film Ivkova Slava. Better yet…check out Serbia!