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Serbia is a landlocked country in southeastern Europe, packed with impressive natural wonders and historical landmarks. In spite of its many attractions, the country still remains largely off the tourist radar and this adds to its charm. The country is home to ancient fortresses, interesting museums, monasteries and churches that display diverse architectural styles and national parks which offer plenty of outdoor activities.
Serbia’s capital Belgrade is one of the most happening cities in Eastern Europe and is located on the banks of the rivers Danube and Sava. The bohemian street Skadarlija and floating clubs on the rivers are great places to experience the city’s amazing nightlife. Belgrade’s fascinating history spans from the Roman period to the communist-era, and there are plenty of historical relics found throughout the city. Its most iconic landmark is the Belgrade Fortress which dates back to 279 BC, and has faced over a 100 battles! The fortress is a part of the Kalemegdan Park, which comprises several museums, historical sites, verdant gardens and a zoo. Next, you can visit museums like the Museum of Yugoslavia (Belgrade was the capital of former Yugoslavia), Marshal Tito’s Mausoleum and Nikola Tesla Museum. The imposing Church of St Sava, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, is the best architectural marvel in the capital, with massive domes and an interior lined with gold mosaics.
About 100km from Belgrade lies Serbia’s second-largest city, Novi Sad, on the banks of the Danube river. The Petrovaradin Fortress is the most popular attraction, known for its clock tower, maze of tunnels and stunning views of the city. The fortress also hosts the EXIT music festival every summer. In the heart of Novi Sad lies the Freedom Square, surrounded by impressive buildings including the Neo-Gothic Catholic Cathedral and a short walk away, the Art Nouveau Synagogue.
In the same province Vojvodina as Novi Sad lies Subotica, a multicultural city with a diverse population of Hungarians, Serbs and Croats. It is famous for its colourful Art Nouveau buildings and the City Hall and Subotica Synagogue are best examples of it. In western Serbia lies Drvengrad, a traditional village that was built for the film ‘Life is a Miracle’ and has now become a popular tourist spot. The streets here are named after famous personalities like Diego Maradona and Che Guvera and the village hosts the international Küstendorf Film Festival.
The UNESCO listed Studenica monastery and the unique 13th-century Crna Reka Monastery which is built over a cave system are other great attractions in Serbia.
The forested slopes of mountainous Tara National Park in western Serbia is home to a large population of endangered brown bears. The park’s wonders include the Drina River canyon and the lakes Perućac and Zaovine, where you can enjoy hiking, kayaking and rafting. Đerdap is the largest National Park in Serbia and is located along the international borders with Romania. The marvellous Iron Gates gorge and the Golubac Fortress are the main drawcards of Đerdap National park. The Uvac Canyon, famous for its snaky river meanderings and the Vratna Gates, natural stone arches in the Vratna River canyon are other natural sights in Serbia.
Serbia has everything a visitor would expect – exceptional architectural landmarks, interesting history and culture and abundant natural wealth. Sometimes the best destinations are those which are rarely visited by the mass. Serbia is a perfect example of that.
The EXIT Festival is one of Europe’s best music festivals and takes place in the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad.