Famously hospitable, this diverse country has plenty of rewards in store for curious explorers: Vojvodina in the north is known for its salaš country houses and their owners’ generosity at the table. In Šumadija and Morava Valley, bed down in typical Morava-style houses; in the wine regions, opt for a rural retreat with a well-stocked wine cellar.
Over on the mountains of Western Serbia, take a walk on the wide side. Spend your days hiking, sailing, and picking sun-sweetened raspberries and plums – and your nights cosily snuggled up inside a log cabin or one of the vajat: traditional wooden houses.
Eastern Serbia is known for its traditional mountain houses, whose porches ornament Stara Planina mountain. Serbia also offers a choice of small tourism complexes, complete with swimming pools and other mod cons. Wherever you decide to stay, expect to be thrilled by Serbia’s cinematic landscapes, nature-loving activities, delicious cuisine and wine, rich history and heritage, and fun-loving events and festivals.
A trip to Serbia is officially good for your health – thanks to the country’s pampering, healing spa stays, where you can unwind for a few relaxing days. Soothe mind, body and soul at an eco-conscious wellness centre, with natural beauty galore, medicinal mineral waters, clean air and indulgent treatments and beauty rituals. Follow in ancient Roman footsteps and visit Vrnjačka Banja spa, home to seven therapeutic springs and a state-of-the-art medical centre, providing a full set of services from diagnostics to treatment and rehabilitation. Or perhaps you’d prefer to venture deep into the countryside and mountains to experience rural life here: luckily, Serbia has plenty of characterful villages and welcoming families, who will happily host you.
Come hungry; come thirsty: Serbia’s East-meets-West cuisine has strong influences from its Balkan neighbours. Carnivores are particularly well catered for, with popular dishes including sarma (cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat), ćevapi (grilled ground meat), stews galore, karadjordjeva šnicla (a surprising Serbian spin on schnitzel, slathered in tartar sauce), prebranac (tomato-and-bean stew with added sausagey goodness) and pljeskavica (hefty hamburgers). Less-meaty treats include riblja čorba (fisherman’s soup), gibanica (egg-and-cheese filo pie) and šopska salad: a refreshing medley of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, onions and cheese. Post-meal, cleanse your palate with a generous shot of rakija Šljivovica: plum brandy. Speaking of drinks, Serbia is also proud of its delicious beer – order a bottle or two of ice-cold Jelen or Lav.