Are you visiting Serbia in winter? There’s lots on offer in this Balkan country, even in the colder months.
From amazing food to fascinating history to beautiful cities and world-class ski resorts, this guide will show you what’s on offer in Serbia in the winter months.
Here are all of the best places to visit in Serbia in the winter – plus some things to consider when you visit!
Where is Serbia?
Serbia is a landlocked Balkan country bordering Bulgaria, Romania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Hungary.
Its capital is Belgrade, and most travellers start their trip here.
You can either fly into the international airport or cross over from any of its neighbouring countries.
Places to visit in Serbia in winter
Being the capital city, Belgrade has to be on your visiting list, especially in winter.
Going through Knez Mihailova Street during winter days is a scene straight out of a fairytale.
There are decorations all around, and with Christmas huts scattered all over the place, it’s sure to leave you amazed.
Besides that, you’d also want to visit the Belgrade Fortress – Kalemegdan.
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
Kalemegdan Fortress was built in the 19th and 20th centuries and has withstood the test of time as one of Belgrade’s most beautiful places.
Other than that, whether you are a religious person or not, I’d advise you to visit the Church of Saint Sava as it is one of the biggest and most magnificent buildings in all of Serbia.
There are also lots of excellent museums like the Nikola Tesla Museum, which focuses on the scientist’s life and work.
You could also take a wintery walk through Kalemegdan Park, one of the city’s most prominent parks.
Being the capital, there is, of course, a lively restaurant and bar scene in Belgrade. In the winter months, you might find that you can enjoy more local places!
Novi Sad and Petrovaradin Fortress
The second-largest city, and probably the most beautiful one in Serbia, Novi Sad is another destination that you should mark on your map.
Mainly known for being the host of Exit Festival which is one of the most famous music festivals during summer, it’s a city with gorgeous architecture and numerous sights to behold.
The first place to visit has to be Trg Slobode (Liberty Square), which is the very centre of Novi Sad.
Of course, the biggest attraction there is The Name of Mary Church, a Roman Catholic church over 70 meters tall.
Next to it is Dunavska Street, filled with cultural monuments and many townhouses.
Obviously, you can’t say that you’ve been to Novi Sad if you haven’t visited the Petrovaradin Fortress.
Seeing it covered by a layer of snow just adds to the beauty of this place.
Also, make sure to take a picture of the Petrovaradin Clock Tower, which is a really popular destination!
Kopaonik National Park
If you are a skiier or just someone who enjoys spending winter in the mountains, look no further than Kopaonik.
It’s the biggest ski resort in the Balkans with over 30 different ski slopes and three professional FIS slopes used for competitions.
There are different types of slopes throughout the mountain range, suitable for beginner and experienced skiiers.
Even if you aren’t really into winter sports, there are many other things to try out.
There are various hiking routes in this Serbian mountain area, and the centre of town is filled with nightclubs and restaurants.
Although they are a bit more expensive, you are sure to get your money’s worth here. Some of the best restaurants are Hotel Grand and Kraljevi Čardaci as well as restaurants The Pub and Salaš.
Tara National Park
If you prefer hikes in the snowy forest and a quieter atmosphere but still want to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, Tara National Park is an excellent choice.
Situated in the west of Serbia, next to the Bosnian border, Tara is a national park with the most amount of different Serbian plant and animal species.
It’s also home to some of the oldest restaurants in the whole country; so Tara National Park is definitely the place if you are looking for some good food.
A couple of kilometres west of Tara National Park sits Zaovine Lake. This is a big lake with a maximum depth of 110 meters.
What makes this lake fascinating is the water quality, as it needs minimal processing to be drinkable.
Everyone who visits the Zaovine Lake agrees that it is the lake with the clearest water in Serbia, especially during winter.
Golubac and Golubac Fortress
If you’re a history enthusiast, you probably already know about Golubac and its rich and stormy history.
It’s a small town in the east of Serbia and a part of the Djerdap National Park. Its main attraction is the Golubac Fortress, which is 4km away from the city.
It’s built on the tall cliffs just before the beginning of the Djerdap Gorge, a place that was constantly fought over between the Ottomans and Hungarians in the 19th century.
Today, it’s recognized as a cultural monument of great importance and as a popular tourist destination all year round.
Lake Palic is a large beautiful lake close to the city of Subotica.
Although it’s popular as a summer destination because of swimming, it’s also a magnificent sight during winter.
Next to it, you’ll find the city of Subotica, the northernmost town in Serbia which is close to the Hungarian border.
Some places to visit here include the Subotica City Hall and different cathedrals and churches, such as St Theresa of Avila Cathedral and the Subotica Synagogue.
Niš is the third biggest town in Serbia, after Belgrade and Novi Sad, and it’s an equally popular tourist destination.
Previously known as Naisus, it is the birthplace of Constantine the Great.
The major attraction here is a bit scary and not something you would expect. The Skull Tower (Ćele Kula) is an imposing building with over 900 skulls embedded in its walls.
Built by the Ottomans after a failed battle for the freedom of Niš, the Skull Tower was a threat to never try to overthrow the occupiers.
Of course, if you aren’t into skulls (which you probably shouldn’t be), there are many more places to see.
There’s nothing more relaxing during winter than taking a walk through the Niška Banja park or visiting the Jelašnica Gorge.
If you’re more interested in nightlife, you can find many clubs and cafes in the centre of town.
Stara Planina and the Old Mountain
If you plan to explore the south part of Serbia and love mountains, you can’t miss Stara Planina.
Filled with beautiful nature and a friendly atmosphere, it’s perfect for anyone interested in trying traditional dishes while still enjoying the winter mountains.
It has numerous places to visit, most of which are nature-based and virtually untouched by humans.
Some of them are Kozji Kamik, Tupavica Waterfall, Vrelo, and many more. They all have traditional restaurants near them, so make sure to try all the specials they offer.
If you are a skiier, don’t worry because there’s a great ski resort Babin Zub.
Despite being a lot smaller than the one on Kopaonik, it still has different difficult slopes and can accommodate everyone.
Moreover, it’s near Hotel Babin Zub, the choice for most skiiers and tourists visiting the region.
Regarded as the most popular destination in Serbia during winter, Zlatibor is a place best suited for people who enjoy parties and nightlife.
Of course, it also has a lot of places to see and visit, so it should be on your visit list regardless.
While it’s one of the more expensive places to visit in Serbia during winter, many of the attractions are worth it!
You could spend your money on the kajmak lepinja (cream bun), the traditional dish of Zlatibor.
The centre is full of restaurants and cafes, but make sure to select the one that has the best view over Zlatibor Lake.
It’s in the middle of the park and is breathtaking during the snowy season.
It sometimes even has friendly ducks, so be sure to bring some food for them too!
For all wine lovers, there’s got a place for you in Serbia!
Sremski Karlovci is a town next to Novi Sad and sits on the bank of the Danube River.
It’s not a very big city, so you’ll be able to explore it on foot to see all the different sites.
The first place to visit has to be the Beekeeping Museum of the Živanović family, where you can taste various beekeeping products as well as delicious wines.
Plus, don’t miss a trip to Bogoslovija, the biggest Orthodox school in Serbia, built all the way back in 1902.
If you decide to stay in Tara, be sure to spend a day to visit Drvengrad.
It’s a village almost entirely made out of wood, created by a famous Serbian director, Emir Kusturica.
He used it to film the hit Serbian movie “Life is a miracle”.
While you’re there, ask if the Cinema Underground is working. It’s a small underground cinema where the movie is played from time to time.
Also, don’t forget to visit the bakery Anica, which serves all kinds of homemade cookies and sweets, especially during the winter season.
If you don’t really enjoy hiking and winter sports, and you just want to relax and take a hot bath, there’s no better place than Sokobanja.
It’s known for its spa towns and thermal waters built by the Romans during the occupation in the 17th century.
Apart from hot baths and saunas, you’ll also experience the cleanest air possible, as it is high in negative ions and air pollution is close to non-existent.
So take a walk through the centre of town and feel the relaxing atmosphere for yourself.
Just don’t forget to buy a souvenir when leaving!
How to get around Serbia
Driving around the country is pretty simple, as there are just 2-3 main highways and most of the popular tourist destinations are connected by them.
These roads are constantly being taken care of even during winter, so you shouldn’t have to worry about ice or snow.
The only problem drivers can encounter is the capital city, Belgrade. There are a lot of one-way streets, and if you aren’t careful enough, you can easily take a wrong turn and get lost.
It is advised to either have sat nav helping you or just to take public transport because it’s cheap (under 1€ for a whole day of use).
However, sometimes it can be a bit crowded, especially if it is snowing or raining during winter.
If you choose to take public transport, you should download an app called Moovit.
It’s an app that has all the information concerning Belgrade’s public transport and calculates the quickest way to your destination.
If you are not into public transport, you can download CarGo, it’s the Serbian version of Uber, which can be far cheaper than taxis.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a car and you want to travel between cities you can just take a bus from the Belgrade Bus Station – bus tickets aren’t that expensive.
There are daily buses for every tourist destination, so there’s no risk of tickets selling out.
What to pack for Serbia in winter
Winter in Serbia, at least compared to some other countries, isn’t that cold. Temperatures are usually always around 0°C.
Nonetheless, you should probably have some warm clothes with you: such as a winter jacket, some hoodies and sweaters, and boots in case it snows.
If you are a skiier, there are a lot of great ski centres, so don’t forget to pack your equipment if you plan to visit them.
If you want to visit as many tourist destinations as possible, I’d recommend you visit serbia.travel, as it has all the information you need about various places worth visiting.
Checking out Trip Advisor is the best way to find restaurants. Even I, who live in Serbia, have used it multiple times to discover hidden gems I wouldn’t find otherwise.
What to eat and drink in Serbia in winter
Probably the main reason for most people visiting Serbia is, of course, the Serbian cuisine!
Regarded as one of the best Balkan cuisines, Serbian food is a must-try for anyone visiting the country, particularly during winter, as most dishes use the freshest ingredients at that time of the year.
If you are a meat lover, then you’ll love the Serbian BBQ, especially if you visit Leskovac, a city known for the best barbeque in Serbia.
For people looking for more traditional Balkan cuisine, there are many options such as stuffed peppers, sour cabbage, prebranac (a dish made from beans), and not to forget sarma, the favourite dish of almost any Serbian.
Of course, these aren’t exclusively winter dishes, but the cosiness that winter brings just adds a bit more flavour to them.
If you happen to be vegan, don’t worry as most Serbian food has vegan versions, which are no worse than the original.
You must also try kajmak and ajvar, two salads or side dishes which are usually served with every meal.
As well as Serbian food, there are lots of great beverages that you must try!
The list of drinks to try is endless, but I’d recommend Niško and Zaječarsko if you’re into beers and, above all, rakija, the most well-known alcoholic drink in Serbia, made from fermented fruits like plum and quince.
You’ll never find a lousy šljivovica in Serbia!
If you’re looking for somewhere to spend your winter holidays, I heartily recommend Serbia!
While it can be a bit chilly, there are plenty of all-season attractions, and you can catch the ski season if you go into the mountains.
Visiting in winter will also help you to have local experiences.