My wife and I decided to take a three-week road trip covering Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. We based ourselves out of Belgrade; the capital, Nis; the birthplace of Constantine the Great and Novi Sad; one of the prettiest cities in the region. Each day, we either stayed to explore or took day trips to nearby ancient sites, wineries, and amazing restaurants. Following a wonderful 11 days, here are my top 10 places to visit in Serbia.
Belgrade is both the capital and largest city of Serbia, sitting at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers. It is a city with an ancient pedigree, home to the Vinca culture that evolved here in the 6th millennium BC and has been inhabited by different peoples ever since. At one point it belonged to the Romans, was settled by Slavs, ruled by the Ottomans, and eventually became the capital of Yugoslavia before becoming the Republic of Serbia.
There is a lot to see in Belgrade, which means you could spend at least five days here exploring the historical sites, trying different restaurants, and enjoying its world famous nightlife scene. One of the places you must visit in Serbia is the Kalemagdan Fortress. It contains the old citadel and a park with stunning views across Belgrade. We also visited Ada Lake, a small peninsula that has its own beach during the summer.
Check out our list of Best Modern Restaurants in Belgrade
Smederevo is a city along the Danube River in eastern Serbia, around 28 miles downstream from Belgrade. It began as a Roman town called Vinceia, while the modern city dates back to the late Middle Ages when it served as the capital of Serbia before the Ottoman conquest.
Smederevo Castle is located where the Danube meets the Jezava River and was built in the 1420-30s by Despot Djuradj Brankovic. It is one of the largest medieval fortifications in Europe but fell to the Ottomans in 1459, ending the medieval Serbian state. It then became a trading center and is now divided into two parts, the Small Town and the Big Town. The Big Town contains the Archbishop’s residence and is surrounded by nineteen towers while the Small Town has six.
See our article: 5 Awesome Castles in Serbia
Viminacium was a major provincial capital and military base in the Roman era. It lies 7 miles from the town of Kostolac. The city was first constructed in the 1stcentury AD and at its height, was home to around 40,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities of the time. It is situated along the old Via Militaris Roman road. Viminacium suffered much destruction by the Huns in the 5thcentury but Emperor Justinian had it rebuilt before it was destroyed a second time by the Slavs in the 6th century.
Today, Viminacium is an archaeological park recreating the time when the Seventh Legion Claudia was based there in the 4th century. During our visit, we walked around the covered excavation sites where you can see the ancient roads, public bath systems and even human remains in the necropolis. There is a reconstructed amphitheater and a visitor’s center built to resemble a Roman villa. It is an ideal day trip from Belgrade for history lovers.
Golubac is one of my favorite places in Serbia because of how dramatic it is. It is a village that is famous for its beautiful medieval castle and also high winds that make it a popular sailing spot. Golubac sits across the Danube from Romania.
The medieval fortress of Golubac was built on top of a Roman fortress dating back to the 1st century AD, a residence used by Roman Emperor Diocletian. The current castle is from the 14th century and has an impressive ten towers protecting three compounds. It has seen plenty of action too – including wars between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary and later being ruled by Austrians and Bulgarians. It underwent significant restoration in 2005.