Serbia

General information   


Official name: Republic of Serbia

Location: Serbia is a landlocked country in South East Europe and covers part of the Pannonian Plain and Central and Western Balkan Peninsula. It borders Hungary to the north, Romania and Bulgaria to the east, Macedonia and Kosovo to the south, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the west.

Area: 88,361 km2 or 34,116 sq mi

Population: 7.224 million (2012 est.)

Capital: BELGRADE (1,166,763 inhabitants (2011 est.))

Landscape: Extremely varied. The northern part of the country covers the fertile Pannonian Plain. The western part includes the eastern ridges of Carpathian and Balkan mountains, while the southeastern mountainous area belongs to Rilo-Rodopa mountain system. Dinaric Alps stretch in the west and the southwest. The central part consists chiefly of hills and valleys, traversed by rivers; Serbia is crossed or borders several big rivers among which are Danube, Sava, Morava, Nishava, Timish, Timok, Drina, Ibar, etc.

State Government: Serbia is a parliamentary republic. The affairs of the government are led by a Cabinet of Ministers, headed by a Prime Minister. The President is Head of State.

President: Tomislav Nikolić

The official language: Serbian language   

Religions: Serbian Orthodox - 84.6%, Catholics - 5%, Muslims - 3.1%, Protestants - 1%, atheists - 1.1%, other - 0.8%, undeclared or unknown - 4.5% (2011 est.)

Time Difference: Serbia is in the Central European Time Zone. Central European Standard Time (CET) is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). Like most states in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) Time is accepted in Serbia, where the time is shifted forward by 1 hour (2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time - GMT+2). After the summer months the time is shifted back by 1 hour to Central European Time or GMT+1.

Country dialing code: + 381

Emergency numbers: General emergency number is 112; It can be called when faced with any emergency situation is toll-free and operator independent. Other emergency numbers are:   

Police – 192; Ambulance – 194; Fire – 193.

Measure units: degree Celsius (ºC), meter (m.), Kilogram (kg), liter (l.).

Language   


Serbian is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia by about 9-10 million people. It is official in Serbia, and is the principal language of the Serbs. Serbian is currently written with both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, which are both officially recognized, although Cyrillic was made the official script of Serbia's government in 2006.

Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (ћирилица)

This chart shows the Cyrillic alphabet for Serbian in printed and cursive styles, with the names of the letters, their Latin equivalents, and their IPA transcriptions.

Cyrillic Latin IPA value
А а A a a
Б б B b b
В в V v ʋ
Г г G g ɡ
Д д D d d
Ђ ђ Đ đ d͡ʑ
Е е E e e
Ж ж Ž ž ʒ
З з Z z z
И и I i i
Ј ј J j j
К к K k k
Л л L l l
Љ љ Lj lj ʎ
М м M m m
Cyrillic Latin IPA value
Н н N n n
Њ њ Nj nj ɲ
О о O o >o
П п P p p
Р р R r r
С с S s s
Т т T t t
Ћ ћ Ć ć t͡ɕ
У у U u u
Ф ф F f f
Х х H h x
Ц ц C c t͡s
Ч ч Č č t͡ʃ
Џ џ Dž dž d͡ʒ
Ш ш Š š ʃ

Hello.Здраво. Zdravo. (ZDRAH-voh)
How are you?Kaкo стe? Kako ste? (KAH-koh steh?)
Well, thanks.Добро, хвала. Dobro, hvala. (DOH-broh, HVAH-lah)
What is your name?Kaкo ce зoвeтe? Kako se zovete? (KAH-koh seh zoh-VEH-teh)
My name is ______ .Зoвeм ce_____. Zovem se_____. (ZOH-vehm seh_____.)
Pleased to meet you.Дpaгo ми je. Drago mi je. (DRAH-goh mee yeh)
Please.Mолим. Molim. (MOH-leem)
Thank you.Xвала. Hvala. (HVAH-lah)
You're welcome.Mолим. Molim. (MOH-leem)
Yes.Да. Da. (DAH)
No.Не. Ne. (NEH)
Excuse me. (getting attention)Извинитe. Izvinite. (eez-VEE-nee-teh)
Excuse me. (begging pardon)Извинитe. Izvinite. (eez-VEE-nee-teh)
I'm sorry. (if it isn't speaker's fault, eg if you hear bad news)Жao ми je. Žao mi je. (ZHOW mee yeh)
I'm sorry. (if it's speaker's fault, eg if you bump into someone)Извините. Izvinite. (eez-VEE-nee-teh)
GoodbyeДoвиђeњa. Doviđenja. (doh vee-JEH-nyah)

Travel Basics   


Weather

The various landscape, differences in elevation, proximity to the Adriatic Sea, the large river basins etc. account for some climate differences. Climate in the north and the central part of Serbia is continental, with cold winters and hot, humid summers with well-distributed rainfall. The southern areas of the country are subject to Mediterranean climate influences, with relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns. The mean January temperatures are around 0 °C (32 °F) and mean July temperatures are around 22 °C (72 °F).

Food & Drinks

The Serbian gastronomy is a mix of oriental, central European and Balkan cuisines, offering an overwhelming variety of meals. Besides in restaurants and kafanas (something like a tavern), Serbs tend to eat lots of fast food, especially grilled for lunch, and pastry for any other meal. Serbia has a lot to offer to hedonists and eating out to catch local flavors is an unforgettable experience and a highlight for many visitors. When spending time in Belgrade or elsewhere in Serbia, make sure you try the local dishes. Local favorites are ćevapčići (small rolls of mixed minced meat), which are eaten with plain onions and warm bread. Pljeskavica, another extremely popular and tasty dish, is the actual ancestor of the hamburger. It is made of minced meat sprinkled with spices and grilled. You will come across all kinds of grilled meat, sarma (minced beef and pork with rice enveloped in pickled cabbage or vine leaves), stuffed peppers, Serbian beans, podvarak (roast meat in sauerkraut), musaka (minced pork or beef mixed with eggs and potatoes and then baked), gibanica (pastry sheats with eggs, cheese and then baked), proja (corn bread), etc. Famous local spirits are šljivovica (plum brandy) and lozovača (grape brandy).

Travel

By plane:

Belgrade- http://www.beg.aero/welcome.54.html

Niš - http://nis-airport.com/

By train:

Several international trains connect Belgrade with Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Romania and Bulgaria. Trains to Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia tend to be often quite late and often are old and not very comfortable.

For timetables and all other infos check website of Serbian Railways: http://www.serbianrailways.com/active/en/home.html

A cheap way of traveling to or from Serbia might be the Balkan Flexipass.   

By bus:

Bus lines connect Serbia with all neighboring counties.

With Bulgaria There are buses every day from Sofia (Bulgaria) to Belgrade and Niš. The buses in Sofia depart from the Central Bus Station (next to the Central Railway Station) and arrive in Central Bus Station in Belgrade (BAS). Tikets cost approximately 25 euros one way, and 50 euros (return).

For more information, see the timetable (arrivals/departures) of the Belgrade bus station (in English): http://www.bas.rs/basweb_eng/RedVoznje.aspx?lng=en  

   

Taxi:

Always call for an official Taxi if it’s possible, especially in the Airports area. The easiest way to do it, is to go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask for a TAXI voucher (price depends on the distance). Is’s not advisable to stop one outside the airport. Regular taxis besides the plate with the name of the TAXI company have additional blue plate with just a number. This blue plate is saying that the taxi is registered and is obliged to use meter and to give you a bill should you ask for it.

Border crossing

Visitors are allowed to bring into Serbia items of personal luggage and prescription medication (in a quantity required to continue treatment for the duration of stay), as well as up to 1 perfume, 1 eau de toilette, 1 liter of spirits, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco without declaring it to customs authorities. There are special requirements for entering with pets or when importing plants. There is no limit on the amount of currency you are allowed to bring into Serbia, but if you are traveling with 10.000 EUR or more (or equivalent in other currencies) you are required to declare that you are transiting with the given amount in order to avoid complications when leaving Serbia. If you purchase a painting or antiquity (antique books included) during your stay, you will be required to obtain a special permit for export.

Visa requirements: Citizens of EU member countries, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, New Zealand, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, USA and British Overseas Territories do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days in duration.

  • Nationals of Macedonia do not require a visa for stays up to 60 days in duration.
  • Citizens of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation do not require a visa for stays up to 30 days in duration.
  • Visitors of all other nationalities need to obtain a visa prior to their arrival.

Since June 2010, citizens of EU member countries, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland can also use their national IDs to gain entry and stay in Serbia for up to 90 days.

Money / banks / credit cards

The official currency of Serbia is the Serbian dinar (ISO code: RSD; locally abbreviated as din.) which is made up of 100 para. Paper notes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 dinars, and coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 dinars are in circulation. The banknotes, at least in Belgrade, tend to be more common than the coins, so be prepared to carry around a large number of banknotes in varying conditions. Dinar is the only legal tender in Serbia. Exchange offices are ubiquitous in major cities, and they routinely accept euros, U.S. dollars and pounds sterling. If exchanging U.S. dollars, you might be required to present a valid form of ID and the procedure may take longer as note serial numbers are recorded. There are no such formalities when exchanging other currencies. Banks also perform currency exchange, but almost always at less favorable exchange rates than small exchange offices. Either way, there is no commission charged. There are also exchange machines which can be found at the airports and in major shopping malls. The exchange rate can fluctuate in excess of 1% from one day to the other. Both credit and debit cards are now widely accepted, though the situation is somewhat different in rural areas. The most commonly accepted cards are Visa, Visa Electron, Master and Maestro. Diners and American Express are less prevalent. Cards are rarely used in bakeries, fast food outlets and tobacco stores, and never in farmers' markets so it's good to have some cash handy, if shopping at these. ATMs are numerous in major cities. Traveler's cheques can be difficult to cash in, as not all banks will accept them, and finding one that will may prove to be a time-consuming effort. Unless you have no alternative, try not to rely on these for your visit to Serbia.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you plan to use your credit/debit card in Serbia, please inform your bank on your intention before departure! Otherwise it is very possible that your bank will block your account/ card for security reasons when you try to use it abroad! Unblocking your card, when abroad, may cost you lots of phone calls and troubles!

Communications

Internet: The Internet in Serbia is well developed

Phone calls:

Country code +381

In Serbia there are three mobile operators:

  1. Mobilna Telefonija Srbije (MTS) - Serbian mobile operator
  2. Telenor Norway mobile operator
  3. VIP Mobile Austrian mobile operator

examples :

MTS uses 064 and 065 prefixes - 064 123456 or 065 123456

Telenor uses 062 and 063 prefixes - 062 123456 or 063 123456

VIP uses 060 and 061 prefixes - 060 123456 or 061 123456

Calling cards of all listed operators you can buy in every tobacco shop, general shops with sticker of mobile operators.

Post Offices

For more details please visit: http://www.posta.rs/default-eng.asp

Electricity

The voltage in Serbia is 220-230 Volts with a frequency of 50Hz. The electric socket used is the European CEE7/7 "Schuko" wall outlet pictured to the left as well as its non-grounded equivalent, the European CEE7/16 "Europlug".

If your equipment uses different sockets, make sure that you bring correct adapters, as these are hard to find in stores in Serbia

Business hours

Throughout the year, apart from Festivals, businesses are open at the following hours:

Offices: Mondays to Fridays: 09:00 - 19.00

Saturdays: 08:00 - 15:00

Banks: as for offices.(There are banks open by rotations on Sundays.)

Stores: Mondays to Fridays: 08:00 - 19:00

Saturdays: 08:00 - 15:00

Shops may be found that are open, mainly for food, also on Sundays and as well some shops remain open around the clock during the rest of the week.

In Belgrade and the main cities in Serbia, some branches of the post office are open also on Sundays.

Emergency

In Serbia, you can call the police by dialing 92, the firemen by dialing 93 and medical emergency services by dialing 94.

Firemen: 93; police: 92; ambulances: 94.

Purchasing power

Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 600.00 Дин
Cappuccino (regular) 152.35 Дин
Water (0.33 liter bottle) 108.57 Дин
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 48.34 Дин
Milk (regular), (1 liter) 94.08 Дин
Apples (1kg) 102.74 Дин
Tomato (1kg) 119.97 Дин
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 562.81 Дин
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 72.00 Дин
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 825.36 Дин
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans) 11.30 Дин

BHFS Towns


Pirot and the Middle Nishava Region