When to visit Serbia?
Often are we asked the following question by our guests in our tours: When is it best to visit Serbia?
Somehow I tend to be at a loss for words when asked this question. The reason for this is mostly that I myself don’t seem to have my favorite time of the year for visits to Serbia and when it comes to Serbia each season has its advantages. As I am writing away this article in the midst of winter in Serbia, I recommend starting off with this season of the year exactly.
I love winter and the snow in Serbia because then even though the days are shorter in length and the winter as such doesn’t seem to allow for a whole day to be spent outside, Serbia turns all white then particularly in the mountains which are the main tourist winter resorts such as Kopaonik, Divčibare, Tara, Zlatibor, Zlatar, Stara Planina to name but a few.
If you happen to be a lover of winter sports and activities in snow, perhaps this is the right season for your visit to Serbia.
What you have to bear in mind is that winters in Serbia tend to be freezing cold, particularly in January and February when the temperatures lower up to – 10 degrees Celsius, with them being even lower high in the mountains. That will heavily depend on each particular year, for instance this year the winter was rather mild and thus a real heaven on Earth to thoroughly enjoy the mountain snow basking in the blazing sun at the same time.
In the cities, though, people tend to socialize in ‘kafanas’, pubs and cafés, so you might not be able to tell a difference between the working day and the weekend here, since these tend to be packed with people. And so it goes till the spring.
This is the reason we recommend you should be ‘dressed for the blizzard’ and set off on a journey. You definitely won’t be left out of pocket since in Serbia the tourist season begins from April or May although Serbia has no direct passage onto the sea and coastal destinations whatsoever.
And spring is a real magic in Serbia. At lower altitudes the vegetation period starts in March and April.
If you are a lover of lakes and rivers, waterfalls and caves, this is the right time for your visit. The snow melting off the mountains fills the lakes, the rivers are ‘in all their might ‘so rafting and kayaking are at their best in this period, if there is an adventurer in you that is.
You‘ ll be well advised to visit the caves in spring, particularly the ones abundant in brooks, waterfalls and cave pools.
Also, hiking is ideal in spring, temperatures being at 20 degrees Celsius are ideal for mountaineers and trekkers, and in Serbia options are huge, thanks to a number of mountains, nature reserves and national parks.
Nature awakens, the colours turn green, the scents get mixed, in cities life gets to be lived outside again, the cafés open their gardens, people get to enjoy the parks and their thoroughly enjoyable strolls by the rivers. There seems to be a popular belief that April in Belgrade is the most beautiful month in a year and there is even a song the lyrics of which go exactly like that.
And then comes summer; for many the most beautiful season in a year. Summer in Serbia must be experienced fully. A number of outdoor activities in nature you can take part in open up right in front of you. I shall mention some such as hiking, swimming in the rivers and lakes, enjoying the fragrant forests and meadows, rafting and cruising, biking, kayaking , camping etc.
The summer is the right time when one should head for the mountains, the temperatures being high enough so that you can swim in clear waters of the lakes in Serbia and have a great night sleep with no air conditioning in the rooms.
Contrary to that, in some mountains you will kindly ask for an extra blanket in your closet. The days are quite long which enables you to put your holiday to good use and make the most of it. More often than not people make barbecues in the open air and with a glass of rakia one gets to join a singsong.
In the cities temperatures in July and August tend to be rather high, reaching even 40 degrees Celsius, but it is rather a rare occurrence than a rule, so you will have to look for refreshments in the hottest part of the day in the air conditioned rooms or by the river in close proximity.
That is why I tend to recommend combining the city outings with those in the mountains, depending on your available free time.
Summertime in Belgrade is when there are loads of cultural events, starting from massive get-togethers by the rivers, and then on to music festivals such as Exit and Beer Fest and then those which present the local culture and tradition in a particular way with the well suited and adapted gourmet culture and music. These tend to be organized both in the cities and the countryside, by the rivers and in ‘creatively converted’ spaces, so brace yourselves up for a surprise if you come across a festive mood in Serbia in summer months. After all, during summer you are bound to come across foreigners rather than the locals for that very reason.
Autumn. There is something hugely attractive in this season of the year which seems to be driving a person to travel. Back in the day in Serbia one’s age used to be calculated by the summers i.e. if a person asks you how old you are, you would reply ‘so and so summers ‘Yet, autumns are a lovely time of the year to visit Serbia so we shall commence from the nature itself. You can expect flamboyant colours ranging from all shades of green, all the way to yellow, brown, auburn and orange hues and then on to the plethora of nuances of crimson red.
It is a magical feeling indeed to tread on forest paths and to hear the rustle of dry leaves underfoot. The scent of the autumn has quite an extraordinary aroma to it. The sun is mild, cuddly and inviting, letting you spend a lot of time outside in open air. In autumn, there is a range of wine festivals so I recommend visiting some of them if you happen to be a wine lover. The most famous ones are those in Vršac, Topola, Aleksandrovac, the helter skelter pace in cities and towns , right after the summer holidays during which the locals tend to travel mostly to the tourist destinations in Greece and Montenegro.
All in all, I cannot help but invite you to Serbia to uncover her stunning beauty, its picture perfect nature, hospitable people, delicious food, intriguing culture and cultural heritage. As of recent, the traditional Serbia folk dance ‘ kolo’ has been listed amongst the world immaterial heritage, so that could surely be one of the reasons for your visit as well. Lest I forget, do expect the unexpected!
I may not have given one single response to the question ‘when is it best to visit Serbia?” but hopefully I have managed to give you an insight into the experiences you might expect here in different seasons of the year.
Do get in touch if you happen to visit Serbia. I‘d like to hear about your impressions.
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