I Went For A Road Trip In Serbia & Drove Across National Parks, Monasteries & Scenic Villages

by Nancy Johri
by Nancy Johri 1158

I have an overflowing bucket list that is a blend of innumerable possible and impossible tasks. After taking an enthralling road trip in Serbia, I wondered why I didn’t include that in my ‘to do things’ earlier. It definitely deserves a place in the wish list of every wanderlust, who loves the unknown. I somehow felt that a few days on the road was all the meditation I needed. I drove across two national parks, visited monasteries and ethno villages, tasted different wines, and spent time at idyllically beautiful viewpoints. There were instances of natives getting amazed when they saw someone from India for the first time in the far-flung corners of Serbia.

As a traveller, have you ever seen or done something that started to influence the way you perceive everything around you? Well, this road trip in Serbia was exactly ‘that’ for me. Why and how? Let me take you on my journey to show you how I got dazzled with the Serbian charm.

I rented a car from Belgrade Airport and hit the road. My destination for the day was Novi Sad—the city in northern Serbia on the banks of the Danube River.

I have always loved the roads. For me, they signify our life and how we manage to reach our destination despite several obstacles. That day, I drove across the Fruška Gora National Park, which is also referred to as the jewel of Serbia. It is dotted with picturesque villages, monasteries, and vineyards. Its forests are perfect for hikes and off-road bike rides. The presence of dry trees on both sides with their leaves fallen on the ground, grey clouds above, and an unknown path ahead gave me the kind of emotional peace that is hard to put in words. Natural beauty like this touches my heart to the extent that I get tears of joy.

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Krušedol Monastery

This was my first stop. It is one of the 16 late medieval monasteries that were built between the 15th and 18th centuries to protect Serbian culture from the Turks. Constructed in the ancient Greek style, you have to walk on a path starting from a bright red church-shaped gate.

Krušedol Monastery is set up across a vast area that overflows with greenery. I am an atheist but a place like that, where I experienced complete silence and natural beauty, calmed my mind unimaginably.

Irig

How I recall Irig is that it is a colorful town with super-friendly people who buy you Turkish coffee when you travel all the way from India. Two gentlemen sipping beer in a cold afternoon at a restaurant were amazed to see someone from India and that too on a road trip. It was their first time that they had seen an Indian in their country, and thus they treated me like their guest. One of them thought that I am from England, probably because of my name! They bought me coffee and had a friendly interaction. I can never forget their warm hospitality.

The town is located within the Fruška Gora National Park, and its surrounding area is actually one big vineyard. What else an oenophile (a lover of wine) could ask for? Surrounded by wine everywhere!!

Vrdnička Kula Etno Village

This ethno village is located at the border of the Fruška Gora National Park. As soon as I entered from the gate, I noticed wooden cottages of different sizes surrounded by pine trees. Strictly on a budget trip, I could not even think of staying at one of those bungalows, but if you have some extra money to spend, then I would suggest you to book your accommodation here for one night at least if you want to spend quality time and enjoy luxury amidst the natural splendor. And for wine lovers, again you will find a wine cellar here!

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Sremski Karlovci

The city of vineyards known for its rich culture, Karlovci is scattered between the green slopes of Fruška Gora and the blueness of Danube. It had been the meeting point of the elites, poets, and famous personae in the past. Today, you can see Catholic churches here along with various restaurants and pubs.

Karlovci has a popular legend according to which if you drink from the Four Lions fountain located in the city center, then you will surely return to this city and get married here. Getting married there or not, I think that whoever has seen Karlovci once would like to visit the city again!

The next day of my road trip included exploring Novi Sad and reaching Banja Koviljača, which is the oldest spa town in Serbia. It is located in the city of Loznica. The town is popular for its abundant springs of sulphuric water, healthful mud, and favorable climate. Also, I fulfilled my wish of enjoying a drink at a local pub there. I saw all happy faces as soon as I entered a pub that had a unique native appeal. The people were singing, dancing, and chatting. The music was so loud that the person sitting next to you had to shout in your ear.

Old Town

This part of Novi Sad reminds me of mulled wine—a warm drink made with red wine along with various mulling spices. It is a must-try if you love wine. Its smooth, perfect flavor gives you the right amount of happy high! One of the best things about buying local wine from anywhere in Serbia is that you get to taste every kind and then pick the best one as per your choice. Sweet or bitter, you can taste before buying.

Along with that, this place is perfect for buying souvenirs. Fridge magnets, shot glasses, coffee mugs, postcards, showpieces, and Rakija (fruit brandy popular in the Balkans)—you just name it and Old Town has it.

Petrovaradin Fortress

Earlier a significant military fort of the Austrian rulers, now this fort is the city’s art center and home to Exit Festival, which is one of the largest European music festivals. One interesting thing worth noticing here is the Clock Tower at the Ludwig bastion. The clock has unusual clock-hands—the little hand indicates minutes, while the big hand represents hours. Looking at the time couldn’t get any trickier!

These were the first two days of my road trip. The last days were the most memorable ones when I said ‘Hi!’ to Bosnia and Herzegovina while standing at the Serbian land, visited one of the world’s smallest rivers, finally saw snow, and a lot more!

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What are you waiting for? Start planning your road trip in Serbia. I can guarantee that you will have a memorable time of your life. Of course, you will be getting lost, taking detours, and whatnot, but believe in the words of Babs Hoffman—“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.”

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