I Visited The Only Visa-Free European Country Serbia & Its Beauty Left Me Wonderstruck!

by Nancy Johri
by Nancy Johri 2358

First of all, let me clarify that it’s Serbia, the only visa-free European country for Indians. Even after returning from there, some of my friends were under the impression that I went to Siberia, a vast Russian province. No, I went to Serbia, an incredible Southeast European country. 

One of my favorite things about travelling to this Balkan country was that even the full apartments were quite affordable. I also had the flexibility of preparing my meal rather than eating outside every time. Staying in a hostel or a regular room is costlier there. A week spent in Serbia is a lifetime of magic for me. Why? Find out yourself in my first blog of the series. 

The capital of the Southeast European country, Belgrade was my first stop. I reserved two days to stroll around this beautiful city. 

1. Church of Saint Sava

The Church of Saint Sava is the pillar of the Serbian faith. It is not only the largest Serbian Orthodox Church, but also the largest Orthodox place of worship in the Balkans. In addition to that, it is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.

Grandeur of this Christian splendor

  • The total height of the church is 82 meters. The majestic dome is at the height of 70 meters and the main gold-plated cross gives it an additional 12 meters height.  
  • The central dome is 4,000 tons heavy and lifting it took 40 days.
  • The bell towers comprise over 49 bells. There are more than 18 gold-plated crosses on its domes.
  • The temple has the capacity of receiving 10,000 people at any time. It also has huge galleries on the first and second floors. 
  • There is the Church of Saint Lazar seven meters below the Church of Saint Sava. 

The church has enormous importance in Serbian history. It is a symbol of faith and freedom, and is an extraordinary place of worship.

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2. Skadarlija

Located in the Belgrade municipality of Stari Grad (old town), Skadarlija is a vintage street where you can observe the ambiance of traditional urban architecture. It is the old, romantic, and bohemian quarter of Belgrade. Time stops at this street!

It was my favourite place in the capital city. I went there twice because once was definitely not enough. You have to visit this street if you want to truly experience the beauty of Belgrade. It is a magical part of Serbia adorned with the stone-paved road, lanterns on the trees, flowers, cute cafes, and taverns where you can spend a pleasant evening. There are galleries, antique shops, and souvenir shops as well. You can also experience the traditional Serbian cuisine at restaurants.     

3. Belgrade Fortress

This monumental fortress stands as the symbol of Belgrade. It is built on a white ridge above the confluence of two big rivers, the Sava and the Danube. Destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, it was constructed for a long time from the second to the eighteenth century. You have to see it with your own eyes to conceive the beauty and historical significance of this place. Each footstep you take here comprises layers of history left by Romans, Serbs, Turks, and Austro-Hungarians. Don’t forget to enjoy the view of the city from the rivers Danube and Sava. It’s spectacular!

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4. Kalemegdan Park

The vast field in front of the Belgrade Fortress named by Turks is the Kalemegdan Park. Earlier a field where battles were fought, is the most lovely and spacious park in Belgrade today. It lies on a 125-meter-high cliff overlooking the Sava and Danube confluence. It was the sight of the medieval and Turkish era Belgrade and the ancient Roman city of Singidunum. Converted into a park in the mid-nineteenth century, you can see here a number of galleries, museums, cafes, etc. There are many ruins, archaeological sites, and statues, the most important being the statue to the Victor.  

5. Republic Square 

Also known as the Square of the Republic, it is an urban neighborhood and central town square of Belgrade. You can see some of the city’s most recognizable public buildings here such as the National Museum, the Army House, the National Theatre, and the statue of Prince Michael. Apart from that, there are cafes and fast-food restaurants where you can savor different specialties. It is also the place to experience fine dining and enjoy Serbian liquors. This place is alive all the time. 

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6. Gardoš 

It is an urban neighborhood in Belgrade. It is a major historical landmark that is popular for its tower and preserved old architecture. Lined with cute restaurants and offering the view of the River Danube, I spent my evening sitting on the shore and enjoying the silence. It was the perfect way to conclude my wonderful journey in Belgrade.

That is how I spent two mesmerizing days in Belgrade. I noticed that the Serbians are quite welcoming and friendly. And yes, everyone smokes, everywhere. You may smell like an ashtray while crossing a street. The public transport is quite smooth here. Talking about the streets, the city is beautified with street art.

From the next day onwards, I started my road trip across Serbia. I drove across Fruška Gora, Novi Sad, Zlatibor, Tara National Park, Potpeće, and more. I saw Bosnia and Herzegovina (of course, from a distance), River Vrelo (one of the shortest rivers in the world), and most importantly, snow (one of the major reasons to travel to this country). I also spotted a red deer and a fox on the way. The drive on those scenic roads was like meditation for me. A lot of interesting incidents happened on the way about which I will be telling you in my next blog.   

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