General information   

Official name: Republic of Serbia

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

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

Population: 7,020,858 (June 2017 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

Official Language: Serbian

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.).


Before Serbia

Serbs settled the Balkan Peninsula in the 6th and 7th centuries and adopted Christianity in the 9th century. In 1166, Stefan Nemanja, a Serbian warrior and chief, founded the first Serbian state. By the 14th century, under the rule of Stefan Dusan, it became the most powerful state in the Balkans. After Serbia was defeated in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, it was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Throughout the 19th century its struggle against Ottoman rule intensified, and in 1878 Serbia gained independence after Russia defeated the Ottoman Turks in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878. In the Balkan wars (1912–1913), Serbia and other Balkan states seized hold of more former Ottoman lands on the peninsula.

World War I began when a Serbian nationalist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914, which led to Austria's declaration of war against Serbia. Within months, much of Europe was at war. In the war's aftermath, Serbia became part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918). It included the former kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Croatia-Slavonia, a semiautonomous region of Hungary; and Dalmatia. King Peter I of Serbia became the first monarch; his son, Alexander I, succeeded him on Aug. 16, 1921. Croatian demands for a federal state led Alexander to assume dictatorial powers in 1929 and to change the country's name to Yugoslavia. Serbian dominance continued despite his efforts, amid the resentment of other regions. A Macedonian associated with Croatian dissidents assassinated Alexander in Marseilles, France, on Oct. 9, 1934, and his cousin, Prince Paul, became regent for the king's son, Prince Peter.

Paul's pro-Axis policy brought Yugoslavia to sign the Axis Pact on March 25, 1941, and opponents overthrew the government two days later. On April 6 the Nazis occupied the country, and the young king and his government fled. Two guerrilla armies—the Chetniks under Draza Mihajlovic supporting the monarchy and the Partisans under Tito (Josip Broz) leaning toward the USSR—fought the Nazis for the duration of the war. In 1943, Tito established a provisional government, and in 1945 he won the federal election while monarchists boycotted the vote. The monarchy was abolished and the Communist Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia, with Tito as prime minister, was born. Tito ruthlessly eliminated the opposition and broke with the Soviet bloc in 1948. Yugoslavia followed a middle road, combining orthodox Communist control of politics and general overall economic policy with a varying degree of freedom in the arts, travel, and individual enterprise. Tito became president in 1953 and president-for-life under a revised constitution adopted in 1963.

Modern Serbia

After Tito's death on May 4, 1980, a rotating presidency designed to avoid internal dissension was put into effect, and the feared clash of Yugoslavia's multiple nationalities and regions appeared to have been averted. In 1989, Slobodan Milosevic became president of the Serbian republic. His arch-nationalism and calls for Serbian domination inflamed ethnic tensions and spurred on the breakup of Yugoslavia. In May 1991 Croatia declared independence, and by December so had Slovenia and Bosnia. Slovenia was able to break away with only a brief period of fighting, but because 12% of Croatia's population was Serbian, Serb-dominated Yugoslavia fought hard against its secession. Bosnia's declaration of independence led to even more brutal fighting. The most ethnically diverse of the Yugoslav republics, Bosnia was 43% Muslim, 31% Serbian, and 17% Croatian. The largely Serbian-led Yugoslav military pounded Bosnia, and with Yugoslavia's help, the Bosnian Serb minority took the offensive against Bosnian Muslims. It carried out ruthless campaigns of ethnic cleansing, which involved the expulsion or massacre of Muslims. The war did not end until NATO stepped in, bombing Serb positions in Bosnia in Aug. and Sept. 1995. In Nov. 1995, Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia signed the Dayton Peace Accords, ending the four-year-long war in which 250,000 people died and another 2.7 million became refugees.

Despite entangling his country in almost continuous war for four years and bringing it to near economic collapse, the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic maintained its effective control over the remainder of Yugoslavia. Constitutionally barred from another term as president of Serbia, Milosevic became president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (which at this stage consisted of just Serbia and Montenegro) in July 1997.

In Feb. 1998 the Yugoslav army and Serbian police began fighting against the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army, but their scorched-earth tactics were concentrated on ethnic Albanian civilians—Muslims who make up 90% of Kosovo's population. More than 900 Kosovars were killed in the fighting, and the hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes were without adequate food and shelter. Although Serbs made up only 10% of Kosovo's population, the region figures strongly in Serbian nationalist mythology.

NATO was reluctant to intervene because Kosovo—unlike Bosnia in 1992—was legally a province of Yugoslavia. The proof of civilian massacres finally gave NATO the impetus to intervene for the first time ever in the dealings of a sovereign nation with its own people. NATO's reason for involvement in Kosovo changed from avoiding a wider Balkan war to preventing a human rights calamity. On March 24, 1999, NATO began launching air strikes. Weeks of daily bombings destroyed significant Serbian military targets, yet Milosevic showed no signs of relenting. In fact, Serbian militia stepped up civilian massacres and deportations in Kosovo, and by the end of the conflict, the UN high commissioner for refugees estimated that at least 850,000 people had fled Kosovo. Serbia finally agreed to sign a UN-approved peace agreement with NATO on June 3, ending the 11-week war.   

In the referendum in May 2006, the people of Montenegro decided that Montenegro should gain independence, which ended the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and from that date on Serbia existed as an independent country under the name Republic of Serbia.


Serbian is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and North 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   


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).


By plane:


Niš -  

By train:

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

For timetables and all other info check the website of Serbian Railways:

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

By bus:

Bus lines connect Serbia with all neighbouring 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). Tickets 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):  



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 North 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 favourable 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. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to cash in, as not all banks will accept them, and finding one that may prove to be a time-consuming effort. Unless you have no alternative, try not to rely on these for your visit to Serbia.   

Euro (€) rates

US Dollar ($) rates

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!


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:


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.


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