Serbia has connected West with East for centuries – a land in which civilisations, cultures, faiths, climates and landscapes meet and mingle.
It is located in the centre of the Balkan Peninsula, in southeastern Europe. The northern portion belongs to central Europe, but in terms of geography and climate it is also partly a Mediterranean country. Serbia is landlocked but as a Danube country it is connected to distant seas and oceans. Serbia is a crossroads of Europe and a geopolitically important territory. The international roads and railway lines, which run through the country’s river valleys, form the shortest link between Western Europe and the Middle East.
From the agricultural regions of the Pannonian Plain in the north, across the fertile river valleys and orchard-covered hills of Šumadija, the landscape of Serbia continues southward, gradually giving way to mountains rich in canyons, gorges and caves, as well as well-preserved forests. Serbia’s beautiful mountains, national parks, rivers and lakes are the perfect location for an active outdoor holiday – from hunting and fishing to extreme sports.
Many times during its rich, centuries-long history, Serbia has been at the centre of Europe’s and the world’s attention, out of all proportion to its modest size, economic might and number of inhabitants. Many lessons on bravery, patriotism and the struggle for freedom can be learned wherever you turn in Serbia, as you pass through its cities and regions.
The cultural and historical heritage of Serbia begins with prehistoric archaeological sites and its legacy from classical antiquity. Perhaps its greatest riches, though, are in the many mediaeval Serbian churches and monasteries, some of which are included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
All year round, numerous cultural, entertainment, traditional and sporting events are held in Serbia, demonstrating the creative power and spiritual vitality of this country.
Today, Serbia is a modern, democratic European country, on the path to membership of the European Union, which a diverse range of visitors – from young backpackers to participants in congresses and fairs – visit every day.
Statistically, the most-visited tourist destinations are the cities of Belgrade and Novi Sad, the mountains of Kopaonik and Zlatibor and the spa towns of Vrnjačka Banja and Sokobanja.
It does not take long for foreign visitors to Serbia to discover the hospitality, kindness, openness and warmth of the country’s residents.
Shaking hands, done using the right hand, is customary when being introduced or meeting somebody of either gender. Kissing is not a necessity when meeting somebody for the first time, but every time you meet from then on, if you have developed affection for the person in question, kissing three times on the cheeks is the order of the day in Serbia. Of course, nobody will object if you only kiss once or twice while giving a long and sincere hug.
In Serbia, toasts are usually made with traditional rakija (brandy), often home-distilled. Toasts are made by clinking glasses, making direct eye contact and loudly proclaiming “Živeli!” A speech is usually only made on formal occasions, normally by the host, but a guest may give one, too.
Serbs enjoy rich and flavoursome food and normally have three meals a day, with lunch being the largest.
Paying the bill in restaurants is a big part of the Serbian mentality. The host will almost never allow a guest to pay for lunch, dinner or drinks because it is customary for the host to take care of all expenses while a guest is staying with him or her.
In contrast to the rest of Europe, there is no single day of the week in Serbia when you cannot have a night out and that holds true for all generations, for all lifestyles and musical tastes and for all available budgets. After a wild night out, somewhere around three or four o’clock in the morning, people continue onward in search of grilled meat or burek.
Plant and animal varieties which have disappeared and become extinct in other parts of Europe can still be seen by lovers of nature and wilderness, living in the green marshlands and dense forests of Serbia.
Serbia is also a perfect destination for all those seeking an adventure-packed outdoor holiday. Those daring enough to experience true freedom at dizzying heights can try cliff or rock climbing. If hiking is more to your taste, you can expect to enjoy the beauty of nature with its abundance of medicinal herbs, mushrooms and forest fruits.
Serbia abounds in protected areas of special geological, biological and environmental diversity, as defined by international criteria and indicators. The biodiversity – the natural diversity of species and ecosystems, together with the geodiversity – the diversity of forms and phenomena in the geological make-up of Serbia, make it a country in which every nature-lover can find something of interest.
The UNESCO list of wetlands of international significance – protected under the Ramsar convention – includes nine sites in Serbia. The UNESCO MAB Council has designated part of the Golija nature park as the Golija-Studenica Biosphere Reserve not only for its exceptionally well-preserved authentic natural resources but also for its cultural resources.
We invite you to visit Serbia’s nature reserves, national parks, natural monuments, protected habitats of threatened plant and animal species, areas of outstanding beauty and nature parks.
Fauna of Serbia:
You can hunt or observe Serbia’s diverse wild animal kingdom. Decide whether you want a hunting trophy with large antlers, a fishy angler’s tale or a photo album containing a hundred or so bird species.
From outsmarting trout in clear mountain streams or in Vlasinsko Jezero lake to patiently waiting for large and small game in Karađorđevo hunting ground to photo-safaris to watching rare bird species in the Obedska Bara and Carska Bara nature reserves – you can’t go wrong whatever you choose.
The diverse, preserved nature of Serbia offers passionate fishermen and recreational anglers the Danube, Morava, Tisa and flatland rivers and their spacious banks and lakes, as well as mountain rapids and gorges. Serbia’s rivers are still rich in sterlet, carp, trout, perch and pike, as well as many species of whitefish. There are even crayfish to be found in the rivers.
Independent fishing is allowed provided that you have a fishing licence which can be obtained from angling clubs. The rules of angling – closed season for individual species, spawning times of certain species, what kinds of angling are allowed and with what tackle, as well as the allowed length of caught fish, are printed on the licence.
Around 360 bird species have been recorded in Serbia, around 240 of which nest here. Around 40% of the species of birds which nest in Serbia are included in the Species of European Conservation Concern list, including five species which are globally endangered: the Ferruginous Duck, Imperial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Great Bustard and the Corncrake.
Keeping in mind the size of Serbia and its relatively well-developed infrastructure, with careful planning and the help of local experts, it is possible to see over 150 species of birds in around 10 days.
Each year around the 1st of May, the open Great Day of Birds competition is held, the aim of which is to spot as many species of birds over 24 hours within a circle 50 metres in diameter. EuroBirdwatch takes place in Serbia each year during the first weekend in October.
The Important Bird Areas Programme (IBA) identifies, monitors and protects such areas. An area is given IBA status if it meets strict criteria based on the presence of endangered bird species in significant numbers. Although the IBA network focuses on preserving the bird kingdom, the protection of these areas also contributes to the preservation of significant numbers of other animals and plants.
A total of 35 IBAs have been identified in Serbia so far: Gornje Podunavlje, Subotica lakes and wilderness, Ribnjak Bečej pond, Jegrička, Koviljski Rit marsh, Fruška Gora, Bosutske Šume forest, Zasavica, Obedska Bara pond, Dunavski Lesni Odsek (Danube Loess Bluffs), Pašnjaci Velike Droplje nature reserve, Slano Kopovo, Carska Bara pond, Ribnjak Uzdin pond, Vršački Breg hill, Deliblatska Peščara sands, Cer mountain, Valjevske mountains, Tara mountain, Ovčarsko-Kablarska Klisura gorge, Uvac (Mileševka), Kopaonik mountain, Prokletije mountains, Šar Mountains, Pčinja, Vlasina, Jerma, Suva mountain, Stara Planina mountain (Vidlič), Sićevačka Klisura gorge, Zlotska Klisura gorge (Dubašnica), Resavska Klisura gorge, Dubovac (Ram), Đerdapska Klisura gorge and Mala Vrbica.
MOST COMMON BIRD SPECIES IN SERBIA:
Urban birds: White Wagtail, Northern House Martin, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-dove, Little Owl, Eurasian Blackbird, Barn Swallow, Black Redstart and Common Swift.
Grassland and shrubland birds: Northern Lapwing, Hooded Crow, Rook, Grey Partridge, Skylark, Common Pheasant and Stonechat.
Bird of prey: Common Kestrel, Western Marsh-Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Goshawk, Hobby, Common Buzzard, Golden Eagle and Black Kite.
Water birds: Common Moorhen, Reed Bunting, Common Snipe, White Stork, Whiskered Tern, White-tailed Eagle, Sand Martin, Eurasian Curlew, Great Cormorant, Goosander, White-throated Dipper, Common Kingfisher, Black-crowned Night Heron, Mallard, Little Ringed Plover, Eurasian Wigeon, Spoonbill, Garganey, Mute Swan, Common Coot, Little Egret, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Grebe, Common Tern, Common Black-headed Gull, Common Goldeneye, Ferruginous Duck, Common Pochard, Common Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Yellow-legged Gull, Reed-Warbler, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall and Northern Pintail.
Birds of agricultural land: House Sparrow, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Fieldfare, European Serin, Chaffinch, Eurasian Green Woodpecker, European Greenfinch, Barn Owl, European Roller, Winchat, Common Redstart, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common Quail, European Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, European Magpie, Brambling, Spotted Flycatcher, Yellowhammer, Eurasian Scops-Owl, Jackdaw, Common Starling, European Goldfinch and Eurasian Siskin.
Woodland birds: Hawfinch, Collared Flycatcher, Eurasian Nuthatch, Willow Warbler, Firecrest, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Wood Pigeon, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Eurasian Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Red Crossbill, Common Nightingale, Common Cuckoo, Common Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Willow Tit, Garden Warbler, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Eurasian Jay, Crested Tit, Long-eared Owl, Winter Wren, European Robin, Sardinian Warbler, Tawny Owl and Wood Warbler.
Birds of mountain forests and rocky terrain: Alpine Swift, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Wood Grouse, Common Raven, Alpine Chough, Eurasian Bullfinch, Linnet, Ring Ouzel, European Nightjar, Spotted Nutcracker, Northern Wheatear, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Wallcreeper, Peregrine Falcon, Black Woodpecker, Tree Pipit and Eurasian Woodcock.
The hunting grounds of Serbia are among the best-known in Europe and the natural conditions are excellent for breeding almost all kinds of game The many first-class trophys and the world and European champion specimens bred in Serbian hunting grounds – which stretch from the north to the south, from the flat plains of Vojvodina to the unspoilt mountainous regions – are ample proof of this.
Serbia has over 320 hunting grounds spread over an area of 6,500,000 hectares, 90% of which is managed by hunting associations. They comprise 24 enclosed hunting areas and 150 hunting lodges. The Hunting Association of Serbia formulates a price list for hunted game and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management determines the start and end of the hunting season. Hunting grounds are run by woodland management teams under the auspices of the state-owned Srbijašume and Vojvodinašume companies, as well as local hunting associations which are members of the Serbian Hunting Federation. High quality hunting weapons are produced in Serbia, too, and exported around the world.
MOST COMMON GAME IN SERBIA:
Mammals: red deer, fallow deer, white-tailed deer, roe deer, chamois, mouflon, wild boar, brown bear, European pine marten, beech marten, European badger, muskrat, red squirrel, edible dormouse, brown hare, least weasel, grey wolf, wildcat, jackal, fox, raccoon dog and skunk.
Birds: Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Greater White-Fronted Goose, Bean Goose, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Common Pochard, Northern Goshawk, Hazel Grouse, Rock Partridge, Grey Partridge, Common Quail, Common Pheasant, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Woodcock, Common Wood-Pigeon, Rock Pigeon, Stock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle-Dove, Eurasian Jay, Rook, Hooded Crow and Black-Billed Magpie .
Hunting tourism in Serbia is well-established and has strict rules of conduct, from crossing borders, travelling to the hunting ground, obtaining weapons and ammunition licences and qualified guides, as well as veterinary licences and all other requirements for exporting game. A hunters can hunt and train hunting dogs in hunting grounds only with the mediation of an authorised agency which has signed a contract with the user of the hunting ground. The hunter must possess documentation for hunting weapons, ammunition, optical sights and hunting dogs. Only the species of game listed on the hunting licence may be shot, and with the approval of the qualified escort. Before the hunter can remove the shot game and its parts (trophy, meat, skin) from the hunting ground, he or she must make payment according to the price list of the hunting association.
Source: Turistička organizacija Srbije