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The Very Best Time to Visit Serbia

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The Balkans has been a region that has really surprised me. Before actually arriving here, I didn't know much about the area nor the unique countries that make it up. When we first landed in Albania, we were immediately intrigued. Still though, we thought we'd spend a few months in Saranda before moving on to a completely different region.

If you know us at all, you know though that our plans rarely go, well, as planned. We tend to take opportunities that are thrown our way and roll with it based on our gut instincts and what seems like the most fun option.

And for us, that's meant spending nearly a year and a half roaming around the Balkans. From Albania, we went to Kotor Bay, Montenegro, then into Serbia, over to Sarajevo, back to Serbia, back to Bosnia, to the coast in Croatia, and back again across the border to Bihać. Had we planned, our route might not have looked so messy but neither do I think we would have spent as much time in each place.

So all of that moving around meant that we were able to see Serbia in multiple seasons and in multiple towns and cities. For us, I know when is the best time to visit but maybe to you, it'll be slightly different. With so many different landscapes, events, and things to do, your favorite time to visit Serbia will reflect that.

Let's dive right in.

How Much Time to Spend in Serbia

Serbia's Uvac River, photo by depositphotos.com

How much time you'll need on your trip to Serbia will greatly depend on what you're hoping to see and do while in the country.

If you're simply visiting Belgrade or another city and nothing more, a week would be more than enough. If you're a digital nomad and need to work while here, you'll love having more time to make up for the time you're spend indoors working.

My husband and I spent 1 month in Novi Sad and could have used more time but we love enjoying the day-to-day moments in a new place more so than just checking off the tourist destinations and nothing more. We were in Serbia for another month when we spent winter in Zlatibor. You'd only need a month there if you were working to improve your snowboarding or skiing skills like we were.

If you want to cover more ground and do a lot of activities while in the country, you'll want more time. I'd also recommend renting a car. With a car, you won't have to worry about public transportation to get from place to place so you can spend more time doing and seeing and less time simply in commute. Just know that compared to neighboring countries, Serbia is quite flat so the road trip through the country might not be as exciting as it's mountainous neighbors.

Things to Know Before You Go

Be sure to try plenty of traditional Serbian food while here

Now that you’re gearing up for your trip and planning the specifics of where and when you’ll go, there are a few things you don’t need to overlook. 

I know just how easy it is to look towards the big hike, bucket list city, or beach of my dreams and forget about all of the little things in between that’ll make your trip run as smoothly as possible. Be sure to take into consideration these few things before you go to make sure you get all the good bits of your trip without the stress. 

  • Make sure you have travel insurance. A good travel insurance, like SafetyWing, will ensure you’re covered in case of emergencies. While you will have to pay upfront for your doctor or hospital costs, unless it’s for a pre-existing condition, you can file a claim and should be reimbursed. For any Americans reading this, fear not, healthcare in pretty much every other country is far more affordable than ours, even if you’re paying out of pocket. 
  • Do your best to learn a few local phrases in their language. No, I’m not expecting you to be able to have a fluid conversation with locals at the bus stop if you’re just visiting their country for a week but knowing your numbers (for prices), how to order something (“I would like…”), and basic greetings really will take you a long way. Mondly is a great app for phrases and vocabulary. 
  • Book any popular tours you want to do in advance. I’m really not a great planner and I’ve made this mistake more times than I can count. I plan a trip to a destination knowing that I want to do a sailboat trip or food tour and wait until the day before to book only to realize it’s not available the day I’m in town. Don’t make that mistake - if there is something you know you want to do - book your tour in advance.
  • Last tip certainly isn’t mandatory but it is helpful. Before you start booking your flights, hotels, and tours, consider opening up a travel credit card. Thanks to our Capital One Venture card, my husband and I have gotten countless free flights just by gaining points on everyday expenses.
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Spring in Serbia (March-May)

From the Danube River, photo by depositphotos.com

Spring can be a wonderful time to visit Serbia but do keep in mind that it might still be colder than you expect. But on those sunny days, you'll get to see the best part of spring: the blast of wildflowers and colors as the endless fields in Serbia awaken from winter.

Spring is the best time to visit Serbia if you're looking for cool weather, less crowds, and aren't bothered by rainy days.

The temperatures start to rise, with daytime highs averaging between 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). This season can be perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking in national parks like Tara and Fruska Gora or exploring the picturesque countryside, although the weather is a bit of a safer bet for these activities in fall. The pleasant weather and fewer tourists make it an excellent time to explore historical sites, such as Belgrade Fortress and Novi Sad's Petrovaradin Fortress.

Spring also marks the start of festival season in Serbia. Belgrade hosts various cultural events, with Orthodox Easter as the biggest, and you can join in the celebrations.

Best Places to Visit in Spring

While these places can be great to visit year-round, spring is an especially nice time to visit:

  • Fruska Gora National Park: Experience the beauty of this national park with hiking trails, monasteries, and vibrant green landscapes.
  • Belgrade: The capital city is great in spring as the parks and gardens come to life with blossoms. Stroll along Kalemegdan Fortress and Ada Ciganlija, or visit Skadarlija, the bohemian quarter, for a taste of local culture.
  • Niš: Located in the southern part of Serbia, Niš is one of the oldest cities in Europe and boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage. In spring, you can explore the well-preserved Niš Fortress and see the birthplace of Constantine the Great.

Summer in Serbia (June-August)

Downtown Belgrade (specifically Skadarlija)

If you're looking for a hot, sunny days and warm nights, you'll love visiting Serbia in the summer months. Keep in mind though that much like the rest of Europe, summer means high season so plenty of other tourists will also be visiting Serbia during this same time. June is the exception though with less people in the country compared to in August.

Summer is the best time to visit Serbia if you want sunny days, warm weather, and don't mind dealing with more crowds than usual. With the good weather does come higher prices for tours and accommodation so it's important to keep that in mind if you're on a budget.

Average temperatures often soar above 30°C (86°F) so while you might want to spend some time in the cities, this is the best time to enjoy the country's beautiful rivers and lakes. Although Serbia is a landlocked country with no access to the coast, that doesn't mean you can't take a dip. With the Danube River cutting through Belgrade and Novi Sad, you'll find beaches throughout the cities where you can cool off, splash in the water, play in the sand, and pretend you're at the sea.

Best Events in Summer

Summer could be a good time to visit much of Serbia so instead, I've highlighted two of the biggest events in Serbia that you might want to plan on enjoying.

EXIT Festival

  • Date: July (exact dates vary each year)
  • Location: Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad

EXIT is one of Europe's largest music festivals, featuring an array of international and local artists across various genres. It's a multi-day event known for its energetic atmosphere and stunning backdrop of the Petrovaradin Fortress overlooking the Danube River.

The neighborhood of Petrovaradin is actually where we based ourselves for our month in Novi Sad. Whether you're here for the festival or another time of the year, it's a great area to stay if you don't want to be right in the heart of the old town.

Belgrade Beer Fest

  • Date: August (exact dates vary each year)
  • Location: Usce Park, Belgrade
  • Description: Belgrade Beer Fest is one of the largest beer festivals in Southeast Europe. It features a wide selection of domestic and international beers, live music performances, and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. It's a great way to enjoy Serbian hospitality.

Fall in Serbia (September-November)

A beautiful fall day in Novi Sad

I love fall. Call me basic but it's the truth. September to me is one of the best months (with June as a close second). I love spending time outdoors, walking through cities, hiking mountains, or enjoying quiet beaches and to me, those 2 months are perfect for that.

Fall is the best time to visit Serbia if you want great weather but with less crowds than in the summer. While you won't get the hottest months, the temperatures are still nice enough to get outside and enjoy your surroundings.

That's not to mention the beauty that autumn brings to the landscapes. The fall foliage in Fruska Gora National Park and Morava Valley is really lovely. The temperatures start to cool down, ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), making it the perfect time to get outside without the crowds from the summer months.

Most people (I know I was) are surprised to know that Serbia has it's own wine region. While I'm no connoisseur, I think spending a night or two in the vineyards and trying the local wine is a fun thing to do. Fall is harvest season so it's definitely the best time to visit the vineyards.

Best Places to Visit in Fall

Like most European countries, Serbia has a beautiful fall that can best be enjoyed from these places:

  • Vojvodina: This northern region is known for its picturesque landscapes and vineyards. Explore the charming town of Sremski Karlovci and indulge in wine tastings.
  • Ovčar-Kablar Gorge: Witness the breathtaking fall foliage in this stunning natural gorge, located between the Ovčar and Kablar mountains.
  • Belgrade and Novi Sad: The cities come alive with cultural events and festivals during the fall, offering a mix of urban and outdoor experiences. This is when we were in Belgrade and Novi Sad and would absolutely recommend it.

Winter in Serbia (December-February)

You can expect a winter wonderland of snow

In general, Serbia's winter is cold and snowy, making it a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. Just know that since Serbia is quite flat, there's not mountains all over the place to choose from. If you're not so keen on skiing or snowboarding, winter in Serbia is also a great time to cozy up and enjoy cultural events, festive cheer, and heavy, traditional Serbian cuisine.

As an Orthodox country, the celebrations and dates for Christmas might be different than you're used to. What's fun about this is that you can actually get 2 Christmases out of it. The 1st that you might be used to as the 25th of December and the Orthodox one on the 7th of January. Same for Orthodox New Year which falls on the 14th of January.

Winter is the best time to visit Serbia if you want to enjoy winter sports or celebrate Orthodox Christmas and New Year.

I never expected to spend winter in Serbia, but hey, life throws you opportunities and you take them. We were actually living in Sarajevo when the cold weather started to creep in. I'm only a fan of snow when I can snowboard so I knew if we were going to pass a few cold months, I wanted to spend them on the board. Bosnia has fantastic ski resorts but they were a bit over our budget to be able to spend our time right on the runs.

Looking for nearby options led us to Zlatibor. I'll talk about that town more in the next section but do know it's a good place to visit in the winter if you're looking to learn how to ski or snowboard. If you're experienced, you might be bored by it. It was my husband's first time and my first time back in years so it was a great place for us to get our confidence up before bigger mountains.

Best Places to Visit in Winter

A few of the best places to visit in winter in Serbia are:

  • Kopaonik and Zlatibor: These ski resorts are the go-to destinations for winter sports enthusiasts, offering skiing, snowboarding, and cozy chalets. Zlatibor is more affordable, smaller, and better for beginners.
  • Belgrade: Experience the festive atmosphere in the capital with Christmas markets, ice skating, and vibrant street decorations.
  • Tara National Park: Discover the serene beauty of Tara National Park covered in snow, with opportunities for cross-country skiing and winter hiking.

When Will You Visit Serbia?

Serbia offers something unique in each season, from the vibrant festivals in the summer to the serene beauty of fall and spring and the winter wonderland of its ski resorts. The best time to visit Serbia depends on your interests, whether you seek outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a combination of both. So, which month will you choose?

Hero photo by depositphotos.com

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