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The Best One Day Excursions from Belgrade

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The Best One Day Excursions from Belgrade

Sure, you need to see Belgrade, get immersed in its crowds, relax in cafés, experience the nightlife… Just don’t forget that there is so much more to Serbia than just its capital. An hour’s drive out of the city and you will find yourself in totally different surroundings, with wetlands, central European culture and architecture in the north, mountains, castles and Byzantine churches in the south and Roman finds (almost) everywhere. Sipping wine feels so much different when it’s done at places where it’s made as well as does dining with views over the hills and fields.

 

1. The Iron Gates Gorge

If we tell you that behind this resounding name stands Europe’s largest gorge cut by Europe’s second largest river, that in itself should be enough for you not to miss it. Yet there is more than nature here, first and foremost - layers of fascinating history. To top it all, it is less than two hours drive from Belgrade to the fabulously picturesque Golubac Castle guarding the entry of the gorge. Behind it lie the two millennia old Tabula Traiana, the mysterious 9000 years old Lepenski Vir archeological site, and a local Mt Rushmore – the colossal head of King Decebalus. Most of this you will see on a leisurely boat ride, a treat of its own kind. A definite must.

 

 

 

2. Down and Around Danube

In case you have already visited the Iron Gates it might be the right time to focus on the Danube between Belgrade and the gorge. The nature here is admittedly not so spectacular but that is more than made up for by abundance of historical sights. First there is the huge 15th century castle of Smederevo, the last capital of medieval Serbia, right on the Danube. Not far away is the archeological site of Viminacium, once a huge Roman town and now buried underneath flowery fields. Next to Ram, with yet another medieval castle, locals and tourists alike cross the Danube on an old ferry to reach the other bank and the Labudovo Okno wetlands. On the way back to Belgrade one encounters the fascinating nature of Deliblatska Peščara sands, a cherry on top of an outing perfect in its diversity.

 

3. Novi Sad & Vojvodina

Serbia’s second largest city, Novi Sad, is only an hour’s drive from the capital. It is a beautiful, historic city on the Danube that will pleasantly surprise you. Its foremost site is the baroque Petrovaradin Fortress, the largest on the Danube, but it is also a place to feel the coming together of Austrian, Hungarian and Serbian cultures. Returning back to Belgrade you shouldn’t miss the picture perfect townlet of Sremski Karlovci, known for its wines, as well as the 16th century Krušedol monastery for some precious artworks and atmosphere of Orthodox monasticism.

 

4. Topola & Šumadija

If you want to see typical Serbian scenery and learn about Serbia’s history it’s time to head to the heart of the land, to the province of Šumadija. The most celebrated site here is the tiny town of Topola crowned by the mausoleum church of the Serbian royal dynasty, the Karadjordjevićs. Covered wall to wall by precious mosaics, with lots of marble, gold but also comprising a more intimate burial crypt, this is a site to marvel at. Adjoining it are several smaller museums, lots of vineyards while national cuisine restaurants lie scattered in surrounding villages.

 

5. Mt Fruška Gora and its Vineyards

Fruška Gora isn’t very tall or wild, yet it’s only a stone’s throw away from Belgrade and is known for its sixteen Orthodox monasteries and numerous wine cellars. A day in open air combining a visit to two monastic sanctuaries – Hopovo and Grgeteg – with wining and dining in two picturesque small towns (Irig and Sremski Karlovci), all of them ten minutes driving from one another, seems pretty much like a perfect way to spend a day out of the Serbian capital.

 

6. North of Serbia – Manors & Farmhouses

The north of Serbia, the province of Vojvodina, is dotted with 18th and 19th century manors, a perfect place to unwind and imagine the life of aristocracy in the past. After half a century of communist rule many of these stately homes are in bad shape so the best idea is to go “manor hopping”, starting from modest but historically important Ečka, via the castle-like Fantast to the somber Kulpin, now transformed into the Agriculture Museum. Wrap up your day with a visit to a farm in Čenej for a taste of local cuisine which has always adhered to the slow food concept.

 

7. Trail of Serbian Vampires

In Serbia, vampires are a part of centuries old folk traditions and rules that are (of course!) pretty different from those of the Hollywood silver screen. However, you needn’t be a vampire buff to head for a day’s outing in beautiful West Serbia. Tales of vampires and their visits to watermills in the dead of night will abound but there will also be wide views from Divčibare highland, a walk through the picturesque old quarter of Valjevo, a stroll along the pristine Gradac river, and – inevitably – talk about and tasting of Serbian national drink, sweet and strong plum brandy aka šljivovica.

 

8. Resavska Cave & Veliki Buk Waterfall

The most visited and arguably the most beautiful cave in Serbia as well as a nice 20 meter tall waterfall are the signature sights of Resava region in the east of Serbia but are actually only a part of what is to be seen here. Between the two is also the marvelous Manasija monastery hidden behind tall medieval ramparts, one of the outstanding sights not to miss in Serbia. As an inspiration to future travel, visit the nearby Miniature Park with best known monuments of Serbia laid before your feet.

 

9. Wonderful Srem

The region of Srem, to the west of Belgrade, is beautiful in calm simplicity of its village life and abundant fields. In its middle lies the village of Pećinci where you will find the unique and highly interesting Museum of Bread. To soak up a bit more of that farmhouse atmosphere there is the Aksentijev Kućerak house in Ogar, a pretty 18th century mud and wood construction. The highlight of the day should be the Zasavica wetland reserve where you will see what most of north Serbia looked a few centuries ago, row a boat and see old animal species. In the end, don’t miss the ruins of the Roman imperial palace in Sremska Mitrovica.

 

10. Jeep Tour on Mt Fruška Gora

If the 539 m tall Fruška Gora doesn’t seem too inspiring, you should enhance that experience by seeing it from the seat of an old jeep that will take you on mountain’s roads less traveled to some of its best known sites such as the historic townlet of Sremski Karlovci, the neat Grgeteg monastery as well as the monastery of Velika Remeta with its tall spire. After this adventure on minor roads (to say the least) the tour ends with a small feast by the Danube.

 

11. Slovaks and Michael Idvorsky

Serbia is a land of great ethnic diversity and nowhere in Europe is it bigger than in Vojvodina, the province just north of Belgrade. Arguably the most colorful traditions, houses and costumes are those of ethnic Slovaks. Apart from that, their village of Kovačica is world renown for its naïve painters, their studios and even galleries! Nearby is the village of Idvor, birthplace of Mihailo Pupin who became the famous American scientist Michael Idvorsky and earned himself a museum here. Another ethnic Slovak village is Padina complete with an ethno museum and a Slovak ethno house. To wrap it up, visit the Galot wine cellar in Banatski Karlovac.

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